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September 2017
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RESPONDING TO RESPONSES TO MY POSTS

The following responses to my posts wound up in my spam mail box, which indicates they were computer generated; but, hey – I say there are some smart computers out there! So, here are some oldfashionedhomeschooling responses:

 

Said newyork:  “haha this was one funny post.  I laughed when I read it.”   (An August Cat Saga) 

That’s good for both of us, newyork.  The soul likes to be happy, and is made happy in countless ways – by laughter, by bringing mirth to another, giving and receiving, and bon accord exchange of thoughts.  We did that!  Sounds like we’re doing OK!  Thanks for sharing.

 

Said Sz138:  “Man if i ever saw two raccoons fighting over a blog it would be this one, nicely done my friend. Keep it up.   (Britains Got Talent – Susan Boyle)

Shucks, Sz138,   you’ve got me chuckling.  Thanks!.  Speaking of raccoons, we had quite a large one forging for food last night, out back.

 

Said Quiz:  “Excellent read, I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing a little research on that. And he actually bought me lunch because I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch!”

Computer generated or not, Quiz, your cleverness caught my fancy.  Your colleague bought you lunch and I had a part in it?  Cool!

 

Said z.y:  “You most certainly have made this website into something that is eye opening and essential.”

Thanks, z.y.  I’m pleased you think so.  I promise to do my best to keep my blog a worthwhile stop.  Stop by often!

 

Said: k.w.  “Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with a few pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is great blog. A fantastic read. I will definitely be back.” 

 I read your mind?  Oh, quite the contrary, k.w.!  You’ve read MY mind!   I presume you meant “An August Cat Saga” for which I’ve lined up a talented young artist to do the pictures.  She’s just started a new job. Hopefully, and not too far down the road,  “An August Cat Saga” will be available on my site as an e-book.  And you are going to “be back?” – teriffic!

 

Said Vila:  “*Aw, this was a really nice post. An idea I would like to put in writing like this  additionally – taking time and actual effort to make a very good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a lot and by no means seem to get something done.”

I wonder, Vila, if procrastinating is not the most common habit shared by humans.  One thing I think, is certain;  we don’t so easily put off the things we love to do – I’m betting it is the same with you.  Try picking up a pen every day and writing just a paragraph.  Make it a habit.  Every day – just one paragraph.  Be creative!

Have you ever primed a pump?  Pouring a little water into the top of the pump when pumping wasn’t bringing the water up, did the trick in the old days.  Just a little water poured down  would bring water up to fill the pail, or glass; but, of course you had to pump as the water was going down.

Putting a few words on paper is kind of like priming the mind.  Write a sentence and see where it takes you.  If you really want to write, start by priming the mind.  Get that old subconscious to kick in for it is the “source of ideals, of aspiration, of the  imagination, and  is the channel through which to recognize our Divine Source and to come into an understanding of the source of power¹.” 

 Make it a point to write one paragraph a day.  Your subconscious  just might  surprise you and start leading the way.  If you wake up with a great idea — get up, immediately and write it down.  If you wait until you are ready to get up, I’m betting the idea will be GONE – forever!  It’s as if God is saying, I gave you the idea, you ignored it.  I’ll take it back!  But, when I learned to get right up and at my computer, the old brain was still primed – plenty.  Check it out and let me know if it works for you.

  If any of these respond – I’ll do more in the future.

¹ “The Master Key” by Charles F. Haanel, Part Two.

THANKS FOR THE MESSAGES

Today’s post, specifically, is addressed to all who’ve managed to find my site; especially  those who have left personal messages.  Forgive me for being a month absent from my blog, and from not having responded to messages, and for bearing with me – which was my plea back on December 21st, 2010.  The plain and simple truth is I’m just an old fogy (old fashioned and highly conservative) who learned to type on a manual typewriter a long time ago – back when brains were wired for a simpler way of life. 

Let me memorize and recite a poem or the Gettysburg Address; or go back in time 50 years and get the cows up at milking time – I’m happy.   For me, such is a cup of tea; but knee deep in computer technology – quite plainly – is not where I yearn to be.   Most likely I shall always want it to be like once was: buy an electrical apparatus, file the instructions or pitch them.  Plug in the radio, or fan, or whatever, and turn it on.  Tune in a station, set the fan on low, medium or high, etc. and go on with all the other things the day held in store.

But, now, instruction manuals are a mix of English and gibberish!  Spend an hour or half a day reading and learn practically …… NOTHING!  Well, perhaps I exaggerate a trifle, but, oh, how I miss the simplicity of before computers and digital gadgets!  Now, if I can just learn how to hear what I recorded once – several years ago on my new digital recorder that a tech employee talked me into buying when all I really wanted was the old type of recorder!  Well, you know the old adage:  “live and learn”.

For those comments that specifically required my reply – my apology in not getting the job done.  If you are still on board, please send me the same again, and let me acquit my conscience by doing it right – this time.

I was heartened by the many responses to “The Timeless Principle Behind Susan Boyle’s Success”.  There will be more posts on that same venue as that is the subject most dear to my heart; and the one in which we as humans can become so immersed – woefully or happily.   

Of course we want our immersion to be one of great satisfaction.  That’s where we desire to spend our lives.  We don’t want to feel as if our lives are being bushwhacked by misery at every turn.  If misery is our lot in life, it is because we have allowed it by how we have reacted to our own unique life experiences. 

But, really, the choice is ours.  All we have to do is rewire our subconscious minds – if they have been sabotaged by secular thinking.  Rewiring the subconscious actually is a very conscious activity; once the awareness is acknowledged and the knack is acquired, life can start opening up to bring our heart’s desires as the subconscious is trained to more and more take rightful control of our lives.         

The world wants, and waits for right thinking.  So, stay on board – “the best is yet to come!”

Messages thus far received have easily divided into two distinct categories.  Obviously, some are intended to attract traffic back to the originating site.  Many of those are written in a manner that identifies them as computer generated – by odd placement of words much like those of one just learning the English language.  Whether computer generated or sincerely written – I’ve read every message, over time, and just a few minutes ago – alas,  managed to delete all of them without intending too. 

The other category of comments – which totals not as many as computer generated – were sincere and heartfelt people comments on different ones of my posts.  They were heartfelt sent, and on this end – have been heartwarming and appreciatively received.  Especially, do I request: keep the people comments coming and keep in mind: ‘though I am an old fogy, I am a people person.  Sincerity makes a big hit with me.

Some of the latter comments plaintively said, “answer me” and that I intended to do.  I promise to do better in the future.  However, as I said on December 21st, bear with me.   I think, finally, I’ve caught on enough to be more consistent and to not get halted by tech difficulties and life’s unexpected interruptions – such as March was full of.    

On Monday next, I shall post what could have more timely been posted yesterday.  It is another memory from my long ago youth – a treasured memory of the ONE time that I was able to fool my father on April Fool’s Day.  So, if you like to see the law of balance applied at least once in a while, then, stop in on Monday morning, April 4th to see How I – Finally – April Fooled Dad. 

Today’s ending verse comes from a long poem, “Rabbi Ben Ezra”, by Robert Browning which I found by googling “the best is yet to be”.  The line – remembered from high school Literature class just popped into my mind – a few paragraphs up as a fitting end to today’s post.   It comes from a long poem by Browning. 

Twelve vocabulary words are listed from today’s post.  Keep in mind that a child’s acquiring a good vocabulary cultivates the mind.  Teaching children to love learning useful new words helps pave the way through life in a more expedient way and brings culture to their mental processing.  Some of the words may seem difficult for younger children.  Offer them anyway to give them opportunity to at least begin developing an affinity to them.  Then, let them select what they want to learn, use, and retain.  But, of course, make sure they at least hear each word spoken, and hear each used in a sentence.  Older children can look the words up in a dictionary and help convey enthusiasm in the household by using the words at opportunity throughout the week. 

fogy

apparatus

gibberish

trifle

adage

acquit

conscience

venue

bushwhacked

sabotaged

secular

knack

  

 

Rabbi Ben Ezra

  

Grow old along with me!

The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith, 'A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!
by Robert Browning (1812-1899)

Born in England, Browning’s education was mostly acquired from the 6000 book library of his banking clerk, father.  His mother, a devout evangelical Christian; also, was an accomplished pianist.  Learn more by googling: “grow old along with me” by Robert Browning,

THE TIMELESS PRINCIPLE BEHIND SUSAN BOYLE’S SUCCESS

From time to time, I view the youtube video of Susan Boyle singing “I Dreamed  a Dream”.    It is a lovely reminder of the indominable human spirit; plus it is so uplifting!  Each time—vying for attention in my mind—always—are two words:  wow! … and grace!  No matter how many times I view Susan Boyle’s awesome performance, it makes me want to jump up and shout in jubilation ….. or just sit quietly— smiling from ear to ear, enjoying a brief respite of all is well— in a crazy, mixed up world.  This—not just because Susan obtained her dream; but, because, also, of the subtle message she conveyed of just how success is obtained.  Bear with me.

After finishing my post on Susan, on January 28th, I googled grace to see what I might find.    I found plenty of quotes fitting Susan Boyle to a T —to perfection— and selected several with which to follow the post.  As my current thoughts flow into words, I reflect upon the fact that Susan is one of those special people in the world who rise above difficult circumstances; sometimes, seemingly impossible circumstances to obtain their dreams.

They show us that dreams are obtainable. Their examples are gifts to us to light our way.  Perhaps they cause us to examine our own attitudes to know whether a change in attitude might be just the thing needed ….. by us, for us…. and not just for us, but for others, as well.  But, do we?  Usually, no.  Self examination to recognize our flaws is not exactly a willing pursuit; but therein, lies insight to what it is that life brings to us. 

If our minds are open, then we allow ourselves to improve our lot in life.  No other individual has such an opportunity, for no other knows us as well as we know ourselves.  Although others can see things about us that we fail to see; individually, we’ve been with ourselves on every step through our life’s trek on earth.  We know the trials and tribulations that have shaped the way we view the world, and the way we operate in the world.  If our mental mode of operandi has been damaged, we need essential information accompanied by right attitude.  Then, we are on track to  “fix” ourselves.   It is no quick fix; but, with right thinking, we CAN empower our thoughts— immensely.  That power lies within us.

Somewhere, in her trek through childhood—from taunts of school mates, from the harshness of the world, Susan Boyle could have acquired a defeatist or angry attitude.  But she didn’t; and whether she is aware or not, she has been led through life by the world’s greatest secreta secret available to all; yet, many spend entire lives not knowing it.  A curious fact is: some need the secret and don’t have it; others who don’t have it may not need it.

 I know the secret; it rules my life.  But, I shall not try to explain —what has been so well said by ancient and modern day practitioners of the secret —which began when man first began to think.     Read the following quotes and excerpts, and see what you think.  They are a smidgeon of quotes taken from what I consider to be a priceless gift to humanity—a 2006 book by Rhonda Byrne: the Secret”.   So, what IS the secret?  Hear it, now— from the Secret“:

 “The Secret is the law of attraction!”

 “The greatest teachers who have ever lived have told us that the law of attraction is the most powerful law in the universe.”   “Everything that’s coming into your life you are attracting into your life.  And it’s attracted to you by  virtue of the images you’re holding in your mind.  It’s what you’re thinking.  Whatever is going on in your mind you are attracting to you.”  —Bob Proctor

“You want to become aware of your thoughts and choose your thoughts carefully and you want to have fun with this, because you are the masterpiece of your own life.  You are the Michelangelo of your own life.  The David you are sculpting is you. —Dr. Joe Vitale

 “All that we are is a result of what we have thought.” —Buddha (563 BC-483 BC)

 “Every thought of yours is a real thing—a force.” —Prentice Mulford (1834-1891) 

“That a man can change himself….and master his own destiny is the conclusion of every mind that is wide awake to the power of right thought.” — Christian D. Larson (1866-1954)

 “A person who sets his or her mind on the dark side of life, who lives over and over the misfortunes and disappointments of the past, prays for similar misfortunes and disappointments in the future.  If you will see nothing but ill luck in the future, you are praying for such ill luck and will surely get it.”  Prentice Mulford (1834-1891)

 “All power is within and therefore under our control.”  Robert Collier (1885-1950

 “Imagination is everything.  It is the preview of coming attractions”. —Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

 “Divine Mind is the only reality.”  Charles Fillmore (1854-1948)

In summing up what each of  the above has said; I say, be very careful to allow only good and generous  thoughts to form and grow in your mind; for from our thoughts is built our tomorrows.  What are we building each day — grief or satisfaction?  To discern which it is one is building— requires a conscious examination of inner thoughts.   If they are honorable, that’s great.  If not, they should be evicted and  entry back should be refused–by the determination of your own mind; of course that is easier said and done, but in no way is it impossible.

The Secret was published in 2006 by Beyond Words Publishing, which is a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.  I thank the Secret Team for giving me permission to use the above quotes.

 I first learned the secret from “The Master Key”, — a metaphysical book written by Charles F. Haanel; originally published in 1916.  It is a remarkable book of great wisdom and great depth.  It was written in 24 Parts.  One week was/is to be spent on each Part, and each part was/is to be read two to three times a week. 

Following each Part was/is a lesson for building strength and positive control into one’s own mind.  Each lesson builds on the previous lesson, and is, also, to be done twice or thrice, weekly.  In this book lies the transformative powers of the human mind.  What ever harm life has done to our thinking, CAN be reversed.  We CAN be the person God intended us to be.  The book, however, is not an easy study, for several reasons:

 1st, because it was written in the language of the eighteen hundreds, when America’s children still read and learned success principles from  the Judeo-Christian Bible; which made their collective minds more receptive to  profound truths.   2nd, back then, religion and education were still closely tied in the public classroom from which children learned culture as well as reason and logics in thinking skills.  Haanel’s book was written for people more attuned to receive spiritual concepts of human thought.

In The “Master Key”, Haanel said: “truth is the imperative condition of all well being.”  He defined “mental microbes” as troublesome thoughts that lodge in our  thought processing.  To recognize that mental microbes do exist; to understand how they can manage to set up shop in a child’s thought processes; to understand that they can be inflicted by self or by other individuals; that they carry life wrecking potential that can lead to mental illness; and most importantly, that they can be be disloged—I believe— are steps along the road back to normal thought processing.  The real work is in the application of quality thoughts and in the suppression of trash thoughts.

As a book in my home library, “The Master Key” ranks 2nd, right after the Judeo-Christian Bible, as the most important, most outstanding book I have ever read and studied.   Now, nearly one hundred years later,  the Secret”, available in both book and CD,  beautifully, and  in easy to comprehend concepts, presents the important concepts of The Master Key.   ~

 

Especially for parents:  the poem for today’s post, is from Emily Dickinson, and is perfect for today’s topic of mind is creative.  Like many of Dickinson’s 1800+ poems, it has no title and is brief to the point.   In just 19 words she has expressed the fact that words are powerful things.  

The poem inplies that words can convey good or ill.  Ill words once spoken can not be unspoken.  But, the thought—and the habit—can be changed to insure good words for our tomorrows.  Bad old thought patterns can be broken up and good patterns can be established; and that is the purpose of the 24 different Master Key exercises for the mind.  

 The following are suggestions to impress upon children the vital importance of correct thinking and careful choice of words:

After reading the poem to your children, ask:  What are the two different viewpoints of the poem?  Which do they think is correct?

Be sure the childrenheard” the poem.  Call attention to how much was said in few words.

Discuss with them how important it is to think good thoughts and to suppress bad thoughts.  Impress upon them that all words originate in thought. Assign the poem to be said and discussed in a family situation, perhaps at the dinner table.

 Assign members of your household to carefully weigh their words the entire week.  At the end of the week discuss with them what they have observed/experienced/learned.

 Untitled Dickinson poem:

 A word is dead

When it is said,

Some say.

I say it just

Begins to live

That day.

 —Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

In reviewing the vocabulary words with your children, point out that the word, subtle, has a silent consonant; and that for smidgeon, Webster’s Dictionary gives three different approved spellings.  My choice, as I’ve always spelled it—is listed by Webster’s as one of the two alternate spellings.  As usual, let them look the words up in the dictionary.  Again, assign what you feel is appropriate, always aiming at making learning new words and looking them up to be  enjoyable pursuits.

vying

jubilation

respite

subtle

trek

smidgeon

excerpt

metaphysical

profound

 Whether you are or are not home schooling, you, as parent—have an important role in the early sculpting of your child’s mind.  Keep in mind, always, the words of Charles F. Haanel, author of “The Master Key”, “Mind is creative, and conditions, environment and all experiences in life are the result of our habitual or pre-dominant mental attitude”.

Consider “the Secret” as an excellent, easier source of timeless wisdom to make available to your children; perhaps reading and discussing with them a few pages each day. 

FEBRUARY CELEBRATES BIRTHS OF THREE GREAT AMERICAN PRESIDENTS

*Little month of February.

You are filled with big events.

But we love you best because

You gave us *three great presidents.

~

George Washington – 1st president of the United States

Born:  February 22, 1732, in Pope’s Creek, Westmoreland County, VA

Died:  December 14, 1799 in Mount Vernon, VA, age 67

Buried:  Mount Vernon, VA

Religion:  Episcopalian.

Education:  schooled by his mother until about  15; learned surveying at age 16

Nickname:  Father of his country

~

When asked to serve a 3rd term as president, Washington sagaciously declined stating that more than two presidential terms was reverting back to the rule of European monarchs, from which our forbearers fled.  His wise words were heeded until Franklin Roosevelt successfully ran for 3rd and 4th terms in 1940 and 1944.

~

Washington, quoted:

“The Constitution is the guide which I never will abandon.”

“Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.”

“There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily.”

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”

“Occupants of public offices love power and are prone to abuse it.”

“Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of Liberty abused to licentiousness.”

“In time of peace, prepare for war.”

“To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.”

“Happiness is more effectually dispensed to mankind under a republican form of government than any other.  “Government is not reason. It is not eloquence. It is a force, like fire: a dangerous servant and a terrible master”.

“Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” ─ Farewell address of George Washington — it first appeared on September 19, 1796 in the Philadelphia Daily American Advertiser; then in papers around the country.

Washington trivia:

He was a great dancer and horseman.

He began to lose his teeth in his 20s.

He was the first of seven Presidents from Virginia.

His second Inaugural Address, only 135 words long, was the shortest in history.

His farewell address in 1796 was printed in the newspaper but was never delivered orally.

He was the only president who was unanimously elected,  and both terms, he ran unopposed.

Named after him are the nation’s capital, one state, seven mountains, eight streams, 10 lakes, 33 counties, 9 colleges, and 121 towns and villages…… and who knows how many streets?

George Washington left no descendents.

~

*Washington our noble hero.

Lessons fine his life imparts

First in war and first in peace,

And always first within our hearts.

~

Abraham Lincoln – 16th president of the United States

Born:  February 12, 1809; in a one-room log cabin on Nolin Creek, Hardin County, Kentucky.

Died:  April 15, 1865 in Washington, D.C. ─age 56

Buried: Springfield, IL

Religion: lived his life to the precepts of Jesus

Education:  less than one year of schooling; as an adult; was self taught as an attorney at law.  Books from which he learned as a child:  The Holy Bible, The Life of George Washington by Parson Weems, Aesop’s Fables, Pilgrim’s Progress, and Adventures of Robinson Carouse.

Nicknames:  Honest Abe; The Rail Splitter;” “The Great Emancipator;” and “Father Abraham

~

“Abraham Lincoln was brought up by Baptist parents.  He was married to Mary Todd by an Episcopal minister. During his life, however, he never joined a church; but occasionally attended Presbyterial services with his wife; she was a church member.”

Lincoln, quoted:

“That I am not a member of any Christian Church, is true; but I have never denied the truth of the Scriptures; and I have never spoken with intentional disrespect of religion in general, or of any denomination of Christians in particular. … I do not think I could, myself, be brought to support a man for office whom I knew to be an open enemy of, and scoffer at, religion. Leaving the higher matter of eternal consequences between him and his Maker, I still do not think any man has the right thus to insult the feelings, and injure the morals, of the community in which he may live …  “In regard to this Great Book (Bible), I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book.”

“…I know that the Lord is always on the side of the right. But it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation should be on the Lord’s side.”

“The ballot is stronger than the bullet.”

What is conservatism? Is it not adherence to the old and tried, against the new and untried?” Lincoln’s Cooper Institute Address, February 27, 1860

“Nearly all men can withstand adversity; if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

“Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.”

Lincoln Trivia:

Abraham Lincoln was the first president to be born in  Kentucky

He name came from his grandfather, Abraham Lincoln, who was killed by Indians in 1786.

Lincoln could quote many parts of the Bible, but his absolute favorite book was Psalms.

He has no living descendents. His oldest son, Robert Todd Lincoln, was his only child to live into adulthood. Robert’s three grandchildren died at ages 79, 76, and 81; all without issue. The last of these three Lincoln descendents was Abraham Lincoln’s great grandson, Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, who passed away on December 24, 1985.

~

*Lincoln loved by all the nation,

What a wondrous man was he.

Undivided kept our land,

And set a grateful people free.

~

Ronald Wilson Reagan – 40th president of the United States

Born: February 6, 1911, in Tampico, Illinois.

Died: June 5, 2004 in Bel-Air, California, age 93

Buried:  Ronald Reagan Presidential Lirary, Simi Valley, CA

Religion:  Christian Church

Education: Eureka College (1932)

Nicknames: “Dutch,” “The Gipper,” “The Great Communicator”

~

My fondest memory of President Reagan’s first inaugural, January 20, 1981, was the sea of tiny flags—held by Americans as they stood listening.  I had almost forgotten how it felt to experience such an awesome display of love and devotion to America; and to hear an inaugural address from one so humble and sincere.

President Reagan was void of guile, as were Washington and Lincoln.  All three were tempered and made great by  scripture of the Holy Bible, instilled in their minds at earliest age by their mothers.

Reagan was blessed with a sunny disposition, a genuinely good nature, and a wonderful sense of humour that enabled him to stay in good stead with Americans.  He capitalized on barbs from Washington Democrats and from members of the liberal media to subtly ….  and kindly…. turn tables of thought.

The following quotes were selected to showcase Ronald Reagan’s wit and sagacious nature—both of which were rooted in the Christian religion that made him so outstanding.  These few quotes are replete with Reagan’s love for America and fellow man:

Of Republican Senator Baker, IL, Reagan said:

“Howard Baker told me on the steps of the capitol at the time of the Inaugural – he said, Mr. President, I will be with you through thick.  When I said, what about thin?  He said, welcome to Washington.

During the 1979 presidential campaign, Democrats and the liberal media insisted Reagan, at age 68, was too old to be running for president.  Their words were fodder to the Reagan skill at disarming the opposition, and were at times deflected back by Reagan at  appropriate opportunities– always, in good nature.  Following are several of President Reagan’s well placed zingers from different speeches:

“Thomas Jefferson once said, ‘We should never judge a president by his age, only by his works.’ And ever since he told me that, I stopped worrying.”

“I have already lived about 20 years past my life expectancy at the time I was born.  That’s a source of annoyance to a great many people.”

At a press conference, White House newsman, Sam Donaldson bitingly queried:

“Mr. President, in talking about the continuing recession, tonight, you blamed mistakes on the past, you blamed Congress; does any of the blame belong to you?”

Without missing a beat; with the usual twinkle in his eye, Reagan said:

“Yes, because for many years I was a Democrat.”

Humour aside; Reagan’s greatness was replete with meaningful words:

“There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and wonder.”

“No arsenal … is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.”

“I know in my heart that man is good. That what is right will always eventually triumph. And there’s purpose and worth to each and every life.”

“America has begun a spiritual reawakening. Faith and hope are being restored. Americans are turning back to God. Church attendance is up. Audiences for religious books and broadcasts are growing. And I do believe that HE has begun to heal our blessed land.”

“America represents something universal in the human spirit. I received a letter not long ago from a man who said, ‘You can go to Japan to live, but you cannot become Japanese. You can go to France to live and not become a Frenchman. You can go to live in Germany or Turkey, and you won’t become a German or a Turk.’ But then he added, ‘Anybody from any corner of the world can come to America to live and become an American.’

Reagan Trivia:

He was the only president to have gotten a divorce.

He was 77 when he left office of President.  What witness can forget the last sight of Ronald and Nancy Reagan, climbing into a helicopter after President Bush was sworn in and watching — with lumps in throats  – the helicopter make one final pass around the capitol city before flying off to California, leaving the total limelight to the new president?

Even in his 1994 announcement to Americans that he had Alzheimer’s Disease, Reagan remained true to his positive outlook:  “I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead.”

Ronald Reagan may eventually have no living descendents. His marriage to actress Jane Wyman produced one daughter, Maureen, and an adopted son, Michael. Maureen Reagan Revell and husband adopted a child from Uganda. Michael and his wife have two children. Michael Reagan is a conservative writer for newsmax.com. President Reagan’s two children from his marriage to Nancy Davis—Patty and Ronald─ are between 50 and 60 in age; both remain childless.

~

*And now, the legend marches on─

These brave men; still, standing tall─

Reagan gave his great command.

“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

~

*The original poem, “Little Month of February” containing the 1st three verses … Author unknown ….. I acquired in 1963.   The number two in the 1st verse, I changed to three here to include Reagan. The last verse was written at my request by a member of my household, who prefers to remain anonymous.

Vocabulary words from this post are:

precepts

guile

replete

fodder

queried  (query)

formidable

~

BRITAIN’S GOT TALENT – SUSAN BOYLE

My vote for most memorable performance on Britain’s Got Talent, 2009, is Susan Boyle singing, “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables.  The judges were blown away by her awesome voice.  Overnight, she was a world sensation.    Her video performance on Youtube.com has been witnessed by over one hundred million viewers.

Susan Boyle had long, yearned for a singing career.  At age 47, looking like a frumpy, middle aged woman, she appeared on Britain’s Got Talent.  Simon Cowell, Chief Judge, was disparaging in his questions to her, especially after she told him she wanted a singing career.  But, Susan did not flinch from his insults  Then she sang, “I Dreamed a Dream”.

Does anyone doubt that her professional career was launched before she finished the song?  Here is a short autobiography on Susan Boyle, who sings like an angel.

She was born in Blackburn, West Lothian, Scotland, on April 1, 1961, the youngest of nine children.  Her mother was 47 when Susan was born.  It was a difficult birth, causing oxygen deprivation from which Susan suffered mild brain injury that resulted in learning difficulties.  Understandably, her childhood was difficult.  She was mocked and bullied at school.

But that didn’t stop Susan from enjoying a musical family, or participating in the school choir and musical productions, or taking singing lessons from a voice coach, or singing in her church choir, or singing in a local karoke bar, or entering and winning local singing contests.  It didn’t stop her from having a beautiful personality to high-light her beautiful voice.

It didn’t stop her when Simon Cowell made his unkind remarks.  I’ll bet Susan has seen the video of her performance.  And I’ll bet she smiled when she saw the look on Simon’s face when she sang the opening line to “I Dreamed a Dream”.   Just the thought of Susan smiling at his surprised look makes me smile.  Sometimes, life delivers perfectly!

To Simon’s credit; he became an instant fan and supporter of Susan’s new musical career.

The youtube video of Susan Boyle’s first time on Britains Got Talent can no longer be copied  to other sites.  But, you can still see the entirety of Simon’s interviewing Susan before she sang and the gracious manner in which she responded.  Go to www.youtube.com, and type Susan Boyle, Britain’s Got Talent, episode 1 in the search bar at the top.

 

Grace is the door to the peace beyond the mind.”  ~ Rumi

“Grace is unity, oneness with ourselves, oneness with God.”     ~ Thomas Merton

“Grace waits nearby to flood the heart with light.  It is up to us to open
the heart’s windows, unlock the door, and make an altar there for the spirit…”  
~ Ingrid Goff-Maidoff

Wisdom is the art of living in rhythm with your soul, your life, and with the Divine….Wisdom is the way you learn to decipher the unknown which is our closest companion.”  ~ John O’Donohue

 

Refuge
Sara Teasdale

From my spirit’s gray defeat,
From my pulse’s flagging beat,
From my hopes that turned to sand
Sifting through my close-clenched hand,
From my own fault’s slavery,
If I can sing, I still am free.

For with my singing I can make
A refuge for my spirit’s sake,
A house of shining words, to be
My fragile immortality.

THE NIGHT OF THE SONIC BOOM

I became acquainted with James Thurber, writer of rib tickling short stories in my high school literature class.  I thought Thurber had a wonderful ability to look at and to experience life, from which to wring delightful humour.  His account of, “The Night the Bed Fell” is my favorite.  Ever so often, I reread it, and chuckle all over again….at the great consternation caused by a huge wooden  bed… falling with his father in it, in the middle of the night…..in an attic bedroom….. with a great crash heard all over the house.

Sometime after I first read the story in high school literature, I had my own night of consternation; to be ever after remembered as, “The Night of the Sonic Boom”.  It was in the dead of a summer night.  I was blissfully and peacefully, sleeping the sleep of the dead—the contented sleep of the, yet, to fly the coop, nestling.  All the house occupants were in the arms of Morpheus; the Greek god of sleep. 

Then—in the stillness of that night occurred the rudest awakening one should ever hope to have.  It was a formidable sound; loud and explosively startling—like a sonic boom!  Not from the sky, however.  It was inside the house—in the hallway—right outside my door at the top of the stairs!  It was about the loudest sound I think I’d ever heard.  Instantly awake, I was aware of two things:  my heart, thumping, and my brain, searching:  “WHAT?  WHAT?  WHAT? Fervently, I strained to know what the loud sound was, and what I might next expect.

There was brief silence.  Then, diagonally, from across the hall and through the dark, came this question from my youngest brother—every single word was emphasized: “MY GOD, WHAT WAS THAT!!?”  With five emphatic words, he had perfectly expressed the general question and consternation of all.  His words passed through my mind, electrifying the moment with humour; for, I was already hearing another sound—different from the first.  This new sound, on the heel of my brother’s words, was at that very moment solving the mystery, bringing immense relief and restoring peace and quiet to my world and to the household.  I reflected upon the humor of his words and the startling, loud sound before giving way to a fit of laughter.  

Without having to look, I now knew that, a huge clump of plaster had fallen from the ceiling at the top of the stairs—and that following the split second of quiet and my brother’s word—pieces of  plaster were now, methodically bouncing down the stairs.

This was not an unusual event in our old house—my dad was forever, patching plaster.  On that night, for 10, maybe 20 seconds the pieces continued to bounce, through the dark, to the hall floor, below, before all was quiet, again.  My story is not to tickle the ribs as is “The Night the Bed Fell”.  However, the suspense, the impactful, loud boom, the not knowing what had happened, the humorous words of my brother, and the ultimate moment of recognition and relief; all seared a delicious memory into my conscious mind, where it has lodged, to this day, as one brief moment of my youth.  I shall always remember it as, “The Night of the Sonic Boom”.

 As was my intent, as stated in my first post,Bells and Whistles”; it was to give the extras that can so wondrously and so powerfully shape a child’s mind.  God knows that is the way in which my mother—of all her marvelous attributes, really shined.  In so doing, she gave of the treasure of her mind, which has always meant more to me than treasure from a mine.

 My personal experience of a disruptive sound in the middle of the night, found its self written into a literary counterpart, albeit, a lesser one to, “The Night the Bed Fell”.  Otherwise, it might never have been written.  It was just one tiny cog along life’s way; one tiny literary cog among countless others.  Who can say it was not inspired by James Thurber?  Expect other literary cogs from my personal memory to pop up, here, from time to time.

 By God’s grace, my earliest years were steeped in the best of man’s mind; creative nuggets that were recorded, accumulated, and preserved over thousands of years.  How fortunate for us humans!  Wisdom of the Bible, English and American Classics, nursery rhymes, fairy tales, Aesop’s fables, songs, rhymes, and more— can be woven throughout the days and years of our youths, to run continuously along side of the unrolling of our lives.  I couldn’t have asked for better; and as I said in my ending paragraph of my first post:

 “After all: it is World Literature and obedience to God that contributes largely to the character of the American soul.  The earlier both are introduced to children, the better for the mark they will make in life.  I don’t believe there is another person living who knows this any better than I.  Of course, my mom did, and up there in heaven, I’m positive she is looking down with a serene smile and an approving eye.”

 

  WHO HAS A BOOK

 Who has a book has friends at hand

And gold and gear at his command;

And rich estates, if he but look,

Are held by him, who has a book.

Who has a book has to read

And he may be a king indeed;

His kingdom is his inglenook

All this is his who has a book.

 —Author Unknown 

 

Vocabulary words:

consternation

sonic boom

Morpheus

formidable

fervent

plaster

attributes

albeit

inglenook

Suggestion:  Next to the listed vocabulary words on your refrigerator, have another list next to it, with names of all your household members.  On it, keep a record of who used which words throughout the week.

Make the activity fun, challenging, and rewarding as a way of sharing together in adding literary nuggets to young lives.  Homework offers, already, enough of what children consider to be drudgery.  Let acquiring a vocabulary be what it should be; not drudgery, at all, but effortless and appreciated; preparation for their individual life journeys; and openers of doors of opportunity. 

AN AUGUST CAT SAGA

About 4:30 on a Saturday morning—a year ago last spring—my spouse called me out of bed; “quick!  Come look out the back door!  I roused, went and saw a cat—and four little kittens.  Two of the kittens; one gray, and one gray and white, were playfully scampering around inside our privacy fence.  The other two, one entirely light yellow; the other, light yellow and white; were huddled on the bottom step looking forlorn and miserable. It was heart rendering to see that they were terribly malnourished.

We had decided, years ago, to give up having cats around the house after our last cat died.  Parting was just too painful.  Our last was our beloved Pogi: a long haired yellow and white tomcat that stole our hearts away; and in return, gave us eight years of treasured companionship and devotion.

The two yellow kittens were already at death’s door.  One died the next day, and the other, a few days later.  Each was buried next to the big old fir tree in our back yard.  By now, we had, inadvertently acquired heavy hearts, an emaciated mother cat and her remaining two kittens. Although thin, obviously, they had gotten the larger share of their mother’s milk. We started them on kitten food.  They thrived.  In good time, we were fortunate to find good owners for both.  All that was left was the mother cat.  From us, she acquired a home and her name: Matilda.

Matilda had plenty to eat, fresh water, a place of refuge from the elements, and once again, the caring hands of humans. I feel certain she was once somebody’s pet.  It was quite some time, however, before we could get close to her, but over time, she, somewhat, warmed up to us; but never, like the numerous cats we had owned in previous years.

One day, when I opened the back door, she was lounging on the stoop.  Not only did she hold her ground instead of jumping off; so intently did she peer inside the still open door that I mused — perhaps, she had been someone’s indoor pet.  As months passed, our greatest pleasure came from seeing the gradual transformation of her anguished face  to one of contentment.

However; whenever the broom was reached for to sweep steps and patio, she would make a fast, frantic exit from the privacy area; which told us she had experienced an unfriendly broom elsewhere.  Oh, the hardships that must fall upon hapless, homeless felines in their struggles to exist!   Under our care, she settled into a secure routine.

Last spring, Matilda had kittens beneath a shed, behind a house across the street; as told to me by our neighbor, whose house is on the lot next to the shed.  For the first three or four days, Matilda showed up for just one meal.  Then she quit going at all, across the street.  We knew that her kittens, most likely, were no longer alive; most likely killed by one of the several feral tomcats that lived and foraged for mice in the field behind the shed.

Towards the end of July, she had a new litter of kittens.  This time, she had them under our tool shed, although we did not know it at the time.  Only later, by circumstantial evidence did we reach that realization; I will explain, shortly.  For the time being, all we knew was she’d had kittens; all we could do was hope that they were safe.

About three weeks later on an August Monday I looked out the back door to our privacy area, and to my surprise, there she was with four beautiful kittens; two calicos, one yellow, and one black.  Of the calicos, one had bright colors; the other was long haired, with faded colors and a distinctively marked face.  It was the face an artist might have whimsically designed.  Different colors arranged on either side, as if a straight line had first been drawn from the middle point between its ears, to its nose, before the colors were assigned.   His was the first name given: Faded Glory.

I felt great relief, knowing the kittens were safely inside the fence, and that Matilda had brought them to us while they were still young enough for us to cultivate in them, a sense of family with spouse and me.   It was a joyous moment!  We stepped out into the yard to look them over and within minutes noticed the absence of Faded Glory.  Where had he gone?

He was nowhere to be found inside the privacy fence.  We pondered: how could so little of a critter have disappeared so fast?  We did not see him again until four or five hours later, when he suddenly reappeared.   The next few days, he continued to disappear and reappear.  It was mystifying; until we finally caught a glimpse of him stealing under the fence and under the tool shed.  Then, it was obvious; he was just skittering off to the safe, familiar place where he was born.

By that time, I had already closed the space between the bottom of the fence and the ground with left over fireplace logs, all along the left side, and along the back side as far as the tool shed, to keep the kittens from straying off.   So, then we closed the exit that Faded Glory accessed to underneath the shed.  It was obvious that he was fearful of us; and a little fearful of his siblings.  But, allowing him to continue spending big parts of his day in isolation, we knew, was not going to make him tamer.

Why he, only, fled to safety to under the tool shed ceased being mystifying as we observed that the mother cat fed him apart from the other three.  The only reason we could see for this was that the three were quiet feeders, except occasionally, when he fed with them.  In her “cat” wisdom, Matilda chose to feed him alone for peace of mind; but, in the process he was missing out on an important part of kitten-hood:

Whether sleeping or awake, he was usually alone while the others fed, slept, and good naturedly played and wrestled together.  If one of them pounced on him to wrestle, he would wiggle free and flee! With his long hair, he appeared the larger of the four, but in behavior, was the most fearful.  So, closing off his exit to the tool shed was our first step on behalf of our fearful little kitten.

 But, alas!  Before the week was finished, the cat moved them!   It was very disheartening!  We had so enjoyed watching them playing, wrestling, and chasing each other about.  In abilities and skills, the three were evenly matched and good natured.  It seemed as if they took turns at winning at wrestling and not one of the three, so got the worst of it as to be cross with the other(s), except for once in a great while.  Often, two would be wrestling and the third would jump right in to make for vigorous, but contented three-way wrestling!

The smallest of the four, was the black female.  Her reflexes, notably quicker than the others, compensated for her smallness.  As Faded Glory was fearful she was fearless.  Her legs and paws were slender and graceful.   As I watched her antics—in my mind —words formed   —“quick—ER—than a cat!  Hence, she was named Zenyatta, after the amazing filly in the video above (click on the tab–top row).  Zenyatta, the dancing racehorse, the swift racehorse, was retired after 19 straight wins and one loss.  The name of this unique horse was perfect for our unique kitten.

So, I looked out the back door one morning, and they were gone—but not for long! Matilda had moved them to just behind the privacy fence, under a huge fir tree.  For at least a week, she had them all to herself, again.  We, purposely, left them alone, fearing she would move them, further away, if we intruded.  But, one day, heavy rainfall was predicted.  I held off until the rain began; predictions don’t always mean for sure.  But, I could see, by then, a downpour was at hand.

By the time I got three kittens under cover, I was soaked—Faded Glory had lit out for under the shed as soon as he saw me lifting the lower branches.  Matilda showed up much later.  I’ll never know exactly what she thought.  I’m pretty sure it wasn’t gratitude that her kids were not drenched, because the next morning, only three were inside the privacy fence.  Zenyatta was gone!  Imagine my chagrin!

I determined to keep an eye on the rest and to be alert for opportunity to, perhaps, learn the whereabouts of her new hiding place.  But, drat!  After frequent trips to the window, Faded Glory was gone!   Just after dark, the other two were huddled under daylily leaves.  When I looked again, about 15 minutes later, she had nabbed another!  Zelda, the female calico was gone.  Only Shiloh, the yellow kitten, remained.

Not to be outfoxed, again, I picked Shiloh up, and took him inside, where he spent the evening in my lap, and the night in a cardboard box.  Expecting Matilda to show up around 6:00 in the morning, I resolved to let the kitten out then, and to do better at keeping an eye out.  Still, I already knew she would give me the slip, if at all possible.

My spouse woke me at 5:45 a.m., to say the cat was at the door.  I got right up, got the kitten and food and put both out.  Then we hatched our plan and watched like hawks!  The plan was to move one car from garage to the yard, where I could wait inside to watch her come around the corner from the back.  The car was positioned; then we alternated keeping watch at the back window.

She ate, fed the kitten, washed his face and hers, and proceeded to dawdle.  She seemed, always, to have a mystical sense of knowing when my attention was diverted.  At this point of the morning, both were on the stoop right outside the back door.  I was at the window when I heard her emit a warning growl. Then, in a flash she shot off the stoop to the left after a big old yellow tomcat from across the street.  I hurried to the door for a better view.

Here’s where it got comical!  I leaned out the door and to my surprise the big yellow tomcat was on his back leaning up against the corner of fence and house with all four paws up in the air; his usual exit, now blocked;  and she was right in his face with her fur in alert mode!   Both were frozen like statues; his face looked as if he was pleading; “have mercy”!

My leaning out broke the spell and he shot to the opposite side of the fence, where there was an opening, and made a lightning swift exit.  She was right on his tracks!  Zing!  Gone!  All we could do was laugh, and laugh, and laugh some more.  Big Yeller, as we called him, got an unexpected stand of fury from our protective mother cat.  Normally, he would have strolled in, unchallenged, to gobble up anything remaining in her food dish. It was so funny! Just the memory of that “have mercy!” look, still brings us a chortle.

I wish I could see a replay of the entire episode; because from the instant mother cat shot off the stoop …… within a split second, her much startled and frightened kitten shot off in the same direction, and dropped a height of the two steps ….. to where the bewildered critter found refuge and a momentary huddle ‘twixt corner made by house and stoop.   His sole experience with the stoop thus far had been barely navigating the two steps up, and being stumped at how to navigate the two steps down.  However, that didn’t interfere with his shooting from the stoop ─ quick as lightening and smooth as silk!

After my retrieving the kitten, half concealed by daylily leaves; and reuniting the two, Matilda picked him up by nape of his neck … as I watched!  I was dumfounded. Obviously, she had scrapped the usual ploy of waiting until we were distracted, and the coast clear to vanish with the last kitten to the new hiding place.  The tom cat showing up, apparently, changed her mind.

With our cell phones in hand, my spouse assumed my watch at the window.   I went out through the garage and climbed into the car parked in the yard, which would allow me to observe her carrying the kitten without her being the wiser.  Our plan worked like a charm! In less than a minute she came around the corner with kitten in tow.  I called and told my spouse that she was in my sights, headed to the front.

As soon as she reached the garage, she turned right; went up our front walk past the stoop, turned right, again, to disappear under the bushes running all along the front of the house.  I relayed this new development to my spouse, who then went the opposite direction around the house to see if the cat came out from the other end of the bushes.  She didn’t; so now we knew, and with great relief that the kittens were close at hand and relatively secure.

After the morning’s encounter with what may well be the father of the kittens, she threw dawdling and caution to the wind; without the usual wait for us to get preoccupied.  We could only suppose the tomcat showing up gave her urgency to get back around front with the last kitten.

My hunch that she would move them no more, proved right.  In less than two weeks, she moved them back to inside the privacy fence, and from then on seemed perfectly content to let us share their affections. ~

Especially, for home schooling, today’s post is followed by:

a bit of prose about cats, written by an unknown person (anonymous) in the style of William Shakespeare.  The prose is written as if being spoken by a cat; and is a parody of the lines spoken by Prince Hamlet in Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet.  The speaker is lamenting the unpleasant things of life.

quotes about cats that just might make you and your children smile or laugh out loud.  We certainly know that both smiles and laughter are good for the soul!

vocabulary words: again, a long list.  Select and use as you wish.  Help your children understand the value of learning and using new words to add interest, meaning, and impact to what they say and write.  Make sure a dictionary is always handy, and encourage your children to develop the highly important habit of looking up new words.  Learning to be adept with words is best started, early as possible.

HAMLET’S CAT

To go outside, and there perchance to stay

Or to remain within: that is the question.

Whether ‘tis better for a cat to suffer

The cuffs and buffets of inclement weather

That nature rains on those who roam abroad,

Or take a nap upon a scrap of carpet,

And so by dozing melt the solid hours

That clog the clock’s bright gears with sullen time

And stall the dinner bell.

To sit, to stare outdoors, and by a stare to seem to state

A wish to venture forth without delay,

Then when the portal’s opened up, to stand

as if transfixed by doubt. To prowl; to sleep;

To choose not knowing when we may once more

Our re-admittance gain: aye, there’s the hairball;

For if a paw were shaped to turn a knob,

Or work a lock or slip a window-catch

And going out and coming in were made

As simple as the breaking of a bowl.

What cat would bear the household’s petty plagues,

The cook’s well-practiced kicks, the butler’s broom,

The infant’s careless pokes, the tickled ears,

The trampled tail, and all the daily shocks

That fur is heir to, when of his own free will,

He might his exodus or entrance make with a mere mitten?

Who would spaniel fear,

Or strays trespassing from a neighbor’s yard,

But that the dread of our unheeded cries

And scratches at a barricaded door

No claw can open up, dispels our nerve

And makes us rather bear our humans’ faults

Than run away to us-guessed miseries?

Thus caution doth make house cats of us all;

And thus the bristling hair of resolution

Is softened up with the pale brush of thought

And since our choices hinge on weighty things,

We pause upon the threshold of decision.

~Author Unknown

Quotes:

“Cats have it all – admiration, an endless sleep, and company only when they want it.” ~ Rod McKuen

“Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier ‘n puttin’ it back in!” ~ Will Rogers

“If only cats grew into kittens.”  ~ R. D. Stern

“My husband said it was him or the cat.  I miss him sometimes.”  ~ Anonymous

“A cat will assume the shape of its container.”  ~ Author Unknown

“It’s very hard to be polite if you’re a cat.  ~ Anonymous

“If cats could talk, they wouldn’t.”  ~ Nan Porter

“A cat in grass is a tiger in the jungle.”  ~ English proverb

“The cat is mighty dignified, until the dog comes by.”  ~ American proverb

“The cat has nine lives – three for playing – three for straying, and three for staying.”  ~ English Proverb

I had to let my husband go.  The cat was allergic.  ~ Author Unknown

Buy a dog a toy, and he’ll play with it forever.  Buy a cat a present, and it will play with the wrapper for ten minutes.”  ~ Author Unknown

“The cat is there when you call her – if she doesn’t have something better to do.”  ~Bill Alder

“Here, kitty, kitty, kitty.”  “What? You have food?  No food?”  Not now:  I need to check out these curtains.” ~ Author Unknown

Vocabulary Words:

bewildered

calico

chagrin

chortle

cultivate

dawdle

elements

emaciated

feral

forage

forlorn

intrude

muse

nape

peer

refuge

stoop

thrive

tow

whimsical

Suggested lessons:

Assign your children/child to write a short poem or prose about cats.  For help in starting a poem, give them pairs of rhyming words such as cat/hat; funny/sunny; fight/night light/kite; lap/nap; ball/call; jump/bump, fish/dish, hall/tall/; small/fall.

Or:  have them draw a picture of Matilda and Old Yeller in the corner; with Matilda’s fur reflecting her protective mode, and Old Yeller’s face that seems to be saying, “Have mercy”!

(If you haven’t read the vocabulary instructions at the end of all previous four posts; I encourage taking a few minutes to do so that you may better apply today’s lesson.)

Each week, display the selected words on the refrigerator, and encourage their use during discussions and conversations –by every household member.  Explain, or remind them, that the Dictionary words may have more than one meaning.  The assignment is to look them up in the Dictionary, and find the meaning that fits the context of the sentence or paragraph.

As the week draws to an end, consider rereading to the children, An August Cat Saga and ask them if learning and using the new words has added more enjoyment in hearing the story a second time.

Finally:

Use the prose in Hamlet’s Cat to help them experience empathy for animals that rely on humans for protection and substance.

From time to time, or year to year, have them reread Hamlet’s Cat.  As they get older, they will better comprehend what they are reading.  It may, also, help them acquire a real appreciation of Shakespeare.

KILLED A KING; KILLED BY A KING

The picture is an artist’s portrayal of the unexpected death of William II, King of England, on August 2, 1100.  Yes, it is true.  William II, favored son of England’s Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings, 1066, was killed while hunting in New Forest, the king’s preserve. 

At mid-day, William II, also known as King Rufus and hunting companion Walter Tyrrell had ridden off together plunging deep into the forest; Walter with two and Rufus with four of the king’s “special arrows”.  Elsewhere in the forest was the rest of the king’s hunting party, including his younger brother, Henry.

At nightfall, a charcoal burner came across the deserted body of King Rufus, who, because he was not a good king wasn’t liked much by anyone.   He had been killed by an arrow.  His body was dumped by the charcoal burner into his peasant’s cart and delivered to the Cathedral at Winchester.

There was speculation on how Rufus met his fate.  Could his death have been by the hands of his younger brother Henry, next in line to be king?   Or by those of his older brother Robert, whose quarrel with the Conqueror had gotten him exiled across the English Channel to Normandy? 

All three of the ambitious brothers had experienced tumultuous relationships with each other.   Both, Robert and Henry stood to gain by the king’s death.  Although Robert was out of the country, either of the two brothers could have had Rufus killed by the hands of another; and Henry was in the forest on the king’s fateful day. But, the king had many enemies; as well, so the list of suspects was more than just several.

Walter Tyrrell, whether it was an arrow shot by him, by intent or not, was nowhere to be seen.  He knew he would be blamed, regardless.  If he did kill the king, I prefer to think it was by accident.  I prefer to think that is the way it was because Wat Tyrrell is one of my ancestors.  

Two stories exist of Wat’s whereabouts from that time on.  One is he sped from England and never returned.  In the other, he did return, eventually.  In The Conquerors, a 1946 historical novel by English historian William B. Costain, the author included this brief description of William, II: “There is only one good thing to be said about the reign of William II, called Rufus.  It was brief.”

My mother, a high school teacher of Latin and English, could, I’m sure, have just as much enjoyed teaching European and America History.  It is probable that her interest in history increased over the more than fifty years that she researched family genealogy.

My keen interest in history − both American and European, stems from both of my parents; through my dad, by the many family stories of past generations, told him by his grandfather.  But I especially recall my mother saying, when telling interesting stories from history − especially of English kings and queens − that historical truth was often stranger than fiction.  Indeed, I did and still, agree.

I have a great regret that appears fixed for the remainder of my earthly time.  My mother could never get any of her six children to take time to share in her genealogical passion.  Although I wanted to, as did others of us, including several grandchildren; there never seemed time enough to get involved beyond listening to the latest “finds”. 

Her family chart had evolved over 50 years of sending letters across the country and waiting for the desired response.  Sometimes, years later, the mail would bring return of one of her neatly penned, self stamped, self addressed envelopes.  More often than not, new information lay inside along with a joyous moment of hoped for success. 

Only, after my spouse and I became caretakers for Mom, at age 95, did I realize how wondrously the web had opened up to genealogists.  I knew that therein lay a fantastic time of sharing in her great journey through the past; and it was a right time, at last.  But, first at hand, was the task of surmounting my mother’s reluctance to learn operating basics of a computer.

We started with simple emails to family members who had acquired computers.  “Just a few lines, Mother”, I said, for the first session.  After a brief introduction to a keyboard stranger to her than the old manual typewriters, I left the room so she could learn on her own and take time to attune to so different an experience.  In a little while, I looked in.  She had dozed off …… with the little finger of her left hand on the “Z” key.  On the screen were rows and rows and rows of “Zs”!  

I could only smile.  Because she had a wonderful sense of humor, and a charming ability to laugh at her self, I could not resist waking her to share in this unexpected moment to laugh, together; and certainly that is what we did. 

Next, she learned to play solitaire; first Free Cell, before advancing to Spider Solitaire.  I treasure the moments of passing her room and glimpsing her sitting, serenely and poker straight in her chair, enjoying this new way of playing cards.

But, her old excitement for genealogy just wasn’t there.  Not until we had our first session, and swiftly found an ancestor who had long evaded her efforts.  She saw, then, how researching by computer went lickety-split.  Alas!  Before nine days had passed, my dear angel of a mother had passed from this earth − felled suddenly by pneumonia − shortly after our first session. 

The following Monday, she had wakened early, having trouble breathing.  Within a few hours she was in the hospital, and for the first several days, was miserable.  By Friday, she was recovering, but not quite her old self. 

I went to the hospital in the evenings, sometimes with spouse along; always, taking a fresh salad of green lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, olive oil and vinegar that she so enjoyed.    On Saturday morning I was there with a fresh cut up pear; pleased to have it sweeter than normally found in grocery stores.  We had a brief conversation before a nurse came in to draw a sample of blood.

My mother’s veins were “roll over” veins − BIG TIME!  I always pitied a lesser experienced nurse; but, I pitied my mother more to see the vein, as usual, continue to evade the needle.  So it was that morning, and seeing more than usual distress of my mother, I offered to the nurse: “don’t feel bad; usually, a nurse more experience with roll over veins takes over.  Can you have one come in?”  Unless I misread the reaction of the nurse, she was glad to be relieved.  In a few minutes in came an older nurse, and in her expert hands the needle quickly found a vein.

At the same moment; however, my mother sneezed and the needle came out.  First, a pause; then quietly and pleasantly, the nurse said, “my, but that was an ill timed sneeze”. Surmising my mother had had quite enough, she said, ‘I’ll try again, later”, and left. I couldn’t believe the timing, and grimaced to think the unpleasant process had yet to be completed.

With her eyes closed, my mother began saying, “no, no, no, no, no, no”.   Clearly, she had had enough of seemingly endless poking and invasive needles chasing her “roll over” veins.  She continued to protest, “no no, no, no….”

Distressed, I wrapped my arms around her and I said, “I love you, Mother.  Please stop saying, no.  I’m sure it will go better when this nurse tries again”.  Then, I kissed her forehead.  I didn’t know what else to do or say.   It just wasn’t her nature to pity herself or to make big bones of life’s unpleasant moments; for me, it was uncharted territory and terribly wrenching.

I yearned for her mood to lighten, but was unable to connect with her.  Her mind seemed fixed elsewhere.  So, telling her I would return late afternoon, I left and drove home; my heart was heavy.  Still, with the positive outlook I inherited or acquired from her, I fixed in my mind returning later, to see her old cheerful spirit returned.

That evening, when I walked into her room, she was sleeping peacefully. I had not the heart to wake her after seeing her so troubled earlier.  I hunted up her nurse to have the salad put into a refrigerator, and was assured my mother would have it when she awoke.   I drove home; this time, disappointed to not have spoken with her; yet, gratified to have seen her sleeping so peacefully.

The phone rang, just after midnight.  I didn’t hear it because my sleep was sound; a life time habit whenever I experience mind troubling and body exhausting times. My spouse spoke my name to wake me; “the hospital just called ….. your mother died!”  It was a moment unlike any I had ever faced, and surreal. 

We dressed.  As we drove to the hospital all I could think was, my mother is dead; died with not one family member present, and I never got to see her smile again or hear the optimism she so readily conveyed. Closure, I was convinced, would forever evade me.  Today, still, I know closure will not come until I walk through heaven’s pearly gate; oh, joy, joy!

For many months that followed her death, I had many sleepless nights; found comfort in my computer and continued research I’d thought to share with her.  I felt gypped that she was gone before we could have had a satisfying pursuit of ancestors, together.  But, at the same time, while searching the web, I strongly felt her presence, strongly felt her delight at my “finds”; which was powerfully comforting.  In the many months ahead, lickity-split accumulation of four big notebooks of ancestors wondrously soothed my aching spirit.

So it was.  My discovering our connection to Walter Tyrrell was not to be physically shared with Mom.  Nor, was finding the − killed by a king ancestor − on my dad’s side, which would have thrilled him.  But, in my heart, I’m sure she already knew.  I believed then, and still believe, that she was having the time of her spiritual life ….. exploring the universe!  Maybe that’s how it is, and maybe it isn’t. But, that’s what I choose to believe; it keeps me content.

Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth, 22nd August 1485; Richard is on a white horse with blue trappings

The man killed by a king was my 14th great grandfather, William Brandon.  The king was Richard III.  The challenging Lancastrian army was led by Henry Tudor, the Earl of Richmond, who on that day became England’s next king. The picture, by Welsh artist, Mark Churms was completed in 1993.

William Brandon was the standard-bearer for Henry Tudor.  Thomas Costain, in his historical novel, The Last Plantagenets, aptly describes the last moments of, both,  standard-bearer Brandon and King Richard III:

“Followed by a small mounted group of his most faithful men, the young king (he was only thirty-two years old) charged headlong into the enemy lines.  Swinging his (battle) ax, he bore down and killed Brandon, Henry’s standard-bearer.  Before him now loomed the gigantic figure of Sir John Cheney.  A single blow unhorsed that powerful knight.  On his left arm, he bore his heavy shield and with it also he controlled the wild course of his maddened steed.”

(Cheney was a well-known jousting champion, also, another ancestor.)

Then, Richard was unhorsed.  He plunged ahead:

“It was a magnificent effort and almost brought the two leaders face to face.  But the king’s handful had thinned behind him.  He stood alone at the last and fought singlehanded against the Lancastrians who now swarmed about him.  His armor broken, his ax limp with his weariness, he went down under the blows of his enemies” 

“Richard’s crown, retrieved from a clump of bushes, it is said, was placed on Henry’s head before he rode out to direct the pursuit of the royal army.  The Wars of the Roses had come to an end and a new family of kings and queens would succeed the Plantagenets”

The Last Plantagenets by Thomas B. Costain (pub. 1962)

Long after Henry VII was dead, his son Henry VIII hired Italian historian, Polydore Vergil (or Virgil), to document the lives of himself and his father.   Vergil’s account includes the betrayal of Richard by the Stanley brothers, Sir William and Thomas, 2nd Baron Stanley, who watched from the sidelines with their own private army before switching allegiance to Henry of Richmond and entering the battle.

The following quote from Vergil captures the betrayal:

 “Characteristically leading from the front King Richard slays many a knight, including William Brandon (Henry’s standard-bearer) in his vain attempt to kill his rival. At this crucial moment Lord Stanley decides to join Henry’s cause, attacks the choice force and drives it from the field. In the brutal hand to hand fighting the king is unhorsed and though surrounded, fights to the end.  King Richard alone was killed fighting manfully in the thickest press of his enemies – his courage was high and fierce and failed him not even at the death which when his men forsook him, he preferred to take by the sword, rather than by foul flight to prolong his life”

As my mother said, historical truth is often stranger than fiction.  I must add; and more fun when it includes one or more ancestors.

Today’s post ends with a bit of Shakespeare and an ancient Ballad with three vocabulary words, for the most part, obsolete.

First:  From Richard III, Act 5, Scene IV, comes one of Shakespeare’s best known lines; spoken by Richard III.  In this scene,  one of Richard’s principal councilors, Sir William Catesby, speaks first.  

Fighting alongside of Richard at Bosworth Field, Catesby was captured, and three days later was executed.  Not until I googled Sir William Catesby to find out more about him, did I discover, he, too, is an ancestor.  In working back to royalty, or to ancestors that hobnobbed with royalty, one is likely to turn up lots of ancestors.

Seeing Richard unhorsed, Catesby speaks with urgency to Norfolk (John Howard, 1st Duke of Norfolk).  A loyal supporter of and good friend to Richard,  Norfolk,  would die on Bosworth Field; but, not before Catesby says to him:

Rescue, my Lord of Norfolk, rescue, rescue!
The king enacts more wonders than a man,
Daring an opposite to every danger:
His horse is slain, and all on foot he fights,
Seeking for Richmond in the throat of death.
Rescue, fair lord, or else the day is lost!

KING RICHARD III:

A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!

CATESBY:

Withdraw, my lord; I’ll help you to a horse.

The Ballad of Bosworth Field

Amongst all other Knights, remember

Which were hardy, and therto *wight;

Sir William Brandon was one of those,

King Henry’s Standard he kept on height,

                      −stanza 155

And *vanted it with manhood and might

Until with *dints he was driven down

And died like an ancient Knight,

with Henry of England that wears the crown.

                      −stanza 156

 − Anonymous

 

*wight²:  (Saxon) strong, brisk, active, brave, swift, nimble

*vaunt-courier: (Saxon) 1. a soldier sent out in advance of an army;  2. a forerunner; precursor

*dints: (French) 1. a blow; a stroke; 2. Force; violence; power exerted; as to win by dint of arms, by dint of war, by dint of argument or importunity; 3. The mark made by a blow; a cavity or impression made by a heavy blow or by pressure on a substance

Wight and vaunt are pretty much obsolete, but still found in Webster’s New World Dictionary; 3rd College Edition.  For dints, I had to go to my great grandfather’s 1830’s Dictionary.

The following is the unedited Ballad of Bosworth Field:

amongst all other Knights, remember
which were hardy, & therto wight;
Sir william Brandon was one of those,
King Heneryes Standard he kept on height,

& vanted itt with manhood & might
vntill with dints hee was dr(i)uen downe,
& dyed like an ancyent Knight,
with HENERY of England that ware the crowne.
—Bosworth Ffeilde, anonymous author

If you managed to get this far …. not all are interested in English history ….. won’t you agree with me that English History, indeed, is fascinating?

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A FITTING FINALE TO THE LIFE OF RONALD REAGAN

 

On one of my bookshelves is a book that is there because Ronald Reagan died. Would I rather have him back instead of the book?  YES!  I absolutely loved the man.  I loved what he represented and that he understood the true American spirit, and that he loved America. I miss his optimism and sunny disposition and genuine goodness.   I miss his strong guiding hand upon America.

I will get back to the book; first things first.

President Reagan’s state funeral took place on June 11, 2004 in Washington, D. C., at the National Cathedral.   Majestic is the cathedral; majestic was the service that closed with the hauntingly beautiful anthem that was delivered to the nation’s ears by television.  It was, and shall remain, the most poignantly awesome moment of my life.  In my heart, I knew then, as I know now that shall I live to be a hundred I will never have another moment of greater exquisite value. 

The anthem offered an unexpected gift to my soul.  I flat out accepted and the gift went straight into the treasury of my heart to be savored long after the music might be heard no more.  A more stirring or fitting finale to the remarkable life of President Ronald Reagan, I could not begin to imagine.

Soon after, I downloaded the anthem to my media file to hear again, and again, and again. Then I ordered a DVD of Reagan’s funeral service from the Reagan Library in California; made possible by Fox News and a number of notable individuals. 

(Reagan Presidential Library and Museum; 800-998-7641, www.reaganlibrary.com)

I did learn that the anthem, The Mansions of the Lord, was written for the 2002 film: We Were Soldiers, starring Mel Gibson.   Randall Wallace wrote the words and Nick Glennie-Smith set them to music.  At the Reagan funeral, it was sung by the Armed Forces Chorus and played by the United States Marine Chamber Orchestra;

I became devoted to Reagan when he declared his candidacy for the 1980 election. As a conservative, I admired his congenial, unflappable nature.  I adored his ability to defuse press hostility by unexpected responses.  Whether with wit, or charm, or a bemused sense of humor; for eight years, his kindly zingers to the press were delivered with priceless self assurance and humility. Most of all, I admired his strong faith and belief in America’s Christian heritage, from which his many sterling qualities sprang.

In a world that now hinges on the press, politicians, and jihad terrorists, Reagan was a genuine example of the true Christian mind and spirit at work.  He understood the workings of the human mind in far greater depth than most, today.  Brother Neil and he were sons of an alcoholic father and a devoutly Christian mother.  Of the role that his mother played in his youth, I got a glimpse from a radio talk show host a day or two after Reagan’s death.

I was working in our garage.  The host said that young Ronald, about 12 years of age, had gone to his mother with a book, and said, “Mother, I’ve read this book about a young boy, a little older than me, who made right decisions in tough times.  He was a good Christian boy.  I want to be like him.”  Then the radio host gave the name of the book, and I flew inside to get a pencil to write, “That Printer of Udell’s” by Harold Bell Wright.  It was published first in 1902 – two years before my parents were born.

In those days, folks took Christianity seriously.  No one back then could have imagined anyone insisting prayer did not belong in public schools; or that the Ten Commandments should not be publicly displayed; or that manger scenes did not belong on government property; or that Christians should just pipe down.  Anyone professing such would have been considered a community heretic. 

Then, it was a commonly held belief that obedience to spiritual law is what protected America and kept her the great and good country she was.   Indeed!  The law of our land was founded on scripture.  Our Supreme Court was conservative from its beginning; until Franklin Roosevelt had three full terms to flip it to liberal.  Just 19 years later, FDR’s liberal Court (1962) banned prayer in public schools. Congress began legislating immorality in the seventies; and secular/atheist judges soon followed in overturning majority rule of the people.

Even when our founders were creating a new government, the anti-God mind was already established in the new world, stealthily working to overthrow our Christian heritage.  During George Washington’s presidency, members of a secret atheist society, The Illuminati, crossed the Atlantic and infiltrated his Masonic Lodge.

In 1825, Robert Owen, an atheist from Scotland, came to the United States, specifically to socialize America’s children.  Many like minded individuals followed him from around the world.  Their first attempts failed.  They regrouped.

Within a year or two, Robert Owen and a few of his followers activated three goals:

  1. finding like minded people to run for local public offices
  2. working to establish, and gain control of public schools.
  3. working to subtly undercut ministers and Christianity

The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) was established in 1920 by Roger Baldwin.  Baldwin stated: “we are for socialism, disarmament, and ultimately for abolishing the state itself… we seek the social ownership of property, the abolition of the propertied class, and the sole control of those who produce wealth. Communism is the goal.”

Saul Alinsky (1909-1972) was Chicago’s first community organizer.   In the opening pages of his book: Rules for Radicals, pub. 1939; Alinsky, who inspired radicals from the sixties, and those now running our government, wrote:

“Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins …… or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom – Lucifer”

I’m betting Alinsky knew nothing of the Book of Revelation, which has an epilogue to Lucifer’s ill gained kingdom:

“And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever”.  (Revelation 20:10)  In chapters 21 & 22 is revealed, “A New Heaven and a New Earth”, for those who throughout the ages, have triumphed over evil.  Get ready ……….. The King is Coming!

The atheist goal of transforming America to a Humanist society has been a continuing work in progress for over two hundred years.  I believe it is just as God saw eons ago.  America is now being radically transformed; which I believe is the only reason to require the Messiah’s return for his faithful followers.  God Be Praised!

From across the great divide, via a radio talk host, the Gipper – our great communicator – reached out to capture my interest.   Many people believe, and I happen to be one of them that coincidences and similar incidences don’t just happen; but are messages from God – like, “That Printer of Udell’s”; one that I just happened to not have missed. 

I bought and read the book.  It was a real eye opener; also, a good resource book on our country’s Christian drift, albeit, a novel.  Not only has religion waned greatly in the last 50 years since prayer was banned from public schools, it had already waned, considerably before I was born and more than I had realized during the first sixty years of last century. 

I’m signing off this particular post ……. with the usual: a poem for today’s blog, and vocabulary words from today’s blog.   But, everyone: scroll to the end.   Bye-bye!

Poem by Emily Dickinson; no title:

He ate and drank the precious words,

His spirit grew robust;

He knew no more that he was poor,

Nor that his frame was dust.

He danced along the dingy days,

And this bequest of wings

Was but a book.  What liberty

A loosened spirit brings!

Keep scrolling – beyond vocabulary words.

Don’t be dismayed by so many vocabulary words listed for your children.  Select a few for now to list and post where your children can look at them from time to time to look up for themselves.  Incorporating them into daily conversation is your children’s ticket to a more creative and more spiritually profitable future.

majestic

haunting

anthem

poignantly

exquisite

savored

finale

defuse

heretic

realm 

The Mansions of the Lord

To fallen soldiers let us sing,

Where no rockets fly nor bullets wing,

Our broken brothers let us bring

To the Mansions of the Lord.

No more bleeding, no more fight,

No prayers pleading through the night,

Just divine embrace, eternal light

In the Mansions of the Lord.

Where no mothers cry and no children weep,

We will stand and guard though the angels sleep,

Though through the ages safely keep

The Mansions of the Lord.