Monday, November 19, 2018

A Traditional American Thanksgiving ?

In the event you missed my post written 5 years ago, 'Truly Full of Thanks,' (11/18/13),
I've decided a repeat performance was in order. I believe my description of a traditional American Thanksgiving reflects thousands of family get-togethers across the country. The women will be working frantically in the kitchen, but still make time catching up on the latest happenings in their lives. The men will be situated in front of the television viewing whatever football game is being televised at the moment. And the kids will be in and out of the house either chasing each other or tattle-telling on their siblings. Oh, happy day!

Houses filled with amazing aromas and the usual chaos will eventually settle down to a scrumptious table laden with turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, corn, biscuits, etc. Although the recipes may vary, the essentials will be there. Once seated, whether at the adult table or relegated to the kids' digs, everybody will join hands, bow their heads, and give thanks to the Lord above for the many blessings showered upon them over the past year.

Before I reinstate the 2013 post, let me acknowledge that there will also be thousands of families that
unfortunately will not be celebrating the holiday in the same manner. Some folks will be sitting alone in a drafty room remembering Thanksgivings of long ago. Either all of their relatives have passed, or live too far away to be together. Others may not even have a drafty room, but instead make their homes under bridges or in cardboard boxes. The homeless will be truly grateful for a turkey feast at the local shelter. Then there are those who will find themselves in hospitals, stricken with horrible diseases that prevent them from eating at all. Their conditions so dire that even the smell of food makes them nauseous. Finally the drug addicts and alcoholics will be roaming the streets looking for their next fix unaware that Thanksgiving Day is upon them. And, if in fact they are aware, the family gatherings of long ago will only serve up nothing but pain and guilt.

Perhaps there is no such thing as 'A Traditional American Thanksgiving'  anymore, even though many may disagree. But our country has drastically changed over the last 50 years, and the usual traditions are becoming more and more, the unusual. Sorry to say, but unless we take an active role in bringing back the glorious celebrations we once embraced, days like Thanksgiving will eventually become erased from the environment. If people continue to disengage from what was once held sacred, there will be nothing left to hand down to our children.

I am by no means casting the blame on the unfortunate for this present state of affairs, but rather calling on those of us who still remember and can afford to celebrate 'A Traditional American Thanksgiving.' to include those who, for whatever reason, can't. If we can invite some to our dinner table, great, but if that's not possible, then be generous in other ways in order to provide 'A Traditional American Thanksgiving' for all!

Originally I titled this post, 'A Traditional American Thanksgiving' without a question mark, but as the Spirit took over, I was made to realize the ? was necessary, and for that reason I've chosen not to include the 2013 polyanna post, 'Truly Full Of Thanks'. Wow, what a difference 5 years can make!

Blessings and Peace to ya'll!







Monday, November 5, 2018

What Has Happened To Common Sense?


Should it matter what color of skin a student has as to whether or not he or she receives suspension from school due to seriously violent/inappropriate behaviors? Seems that our government/school districts have instituted bans on teachers' rights to suspend minority students because according to the powers-that-be they have reached their limit for the school year? This is not only a disservice to our educators, but more importantly to the students who are in school to learn AND to the students causing the disruptions since they then realize that suspension is no longer a threat, therefore empowering them to up the ante when it comes to their behavioral choices. 


Why have so many school districts embraced this ridiculous policy which clearly exhibits a lack of common sense in my estimation? President Barack Obama’s “Dear Colleague” 2014 letter on school discipline issued 'a warning to school administrators that the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights would investigate the rates at which students of different races are disciplined. It advised school districts that traditional discipline policies ought to be used only “as a last resort.” '



"The 2014 letter is an affront to the separation of powers, federalism, and the rule of law. Nothing in the Constitution, legislation, or even regulation authorizes the secretary of education to dictate local school-discipline policy. Rather, the Obama administration did an end run around the Administrative Procedure Act by issuing a sweeping new policy by fiat. The Civil Rights Act unambiguously, and entirely properly, says that schools may not treat students differently based on their race. But the Obama administration declared that the Civil Rights Act forbids not only disparate treatment in school discipline, but also disparate impact. According to the 2014 letter, schools could face a federal investigation and potential loss of funding even if their rules are fair and applied evenhandedly."  https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/07/school-discipline-education-department-guidance-should-be-rescinded/
Max Eden is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Jonathan Butcher is a senior policy analyst at, and Lindsey M. Burke is the director of, the Center for Education Policy at the Heritage Foundation.



Being in the educational field for my entire professional career, I can tell you with authority that there are times when teachers have no other alternative than to issue suspensions for egregious actions. If we abide by Obama's letter, we tie the hands of folks who have dedicated their lives to teaching our young to someday be positive contributors to society. Teachers are not responsible for the devastating effects of single-parent homes, neighborhood violence, and extreme poverty that statistics confirm plague black children at higher rates than their white counterparts. Because of these detriments, it only stands to reason that more suspensions are likely to be issued to minorities.
Not only are teachers adversely affected by this mandate, but the children themselves suffer immeasurably. Every child has the right to a quality education and a safe place to learn. When disruptions occur on a daily basis that take away from actual teaching time, and when said disruptions involve violent and inappropriate behaviors, the youngster that thirst for knowledge are denied their opportunities again and again. This leads to lower self-esteem, insecurities, and fear for their own safety. Common sense would tell us that by simply removing the offenders these injustices would be lessened if not eradicated entirely. 
Since it is the teachers who interact with students every day of the school year, don't you think they know best when it comes to handing out suspensions based on past behaviors and what is fair in regards for the good of all?
That's just plain common sense!
And  the Federal Government needs to stay out of establishing rules and regulations for school districts. If and when our congressmen and senators step into today's classrooms and accept the role of teacher for only one semester, I guarantee you, they'd rescind the "Dear Colleague" letter in a New York minute. 
And their common sense would return as well!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Alcohol Use, the Quiet Epidemic in the U.S.

True, in recent years the opiate epidemic has rallied the troops to take action to curtail this hideous disease which continues to plague our country. Government efforts, law enforcement actions, local and family campaigns work tirelessly to combat the ugly death and destruction resulting from drug use, yet it seems to escalate daily despite all the efforts being used to eradicate it.

Now I'm not saying we should give up this fight, because one life saved is definitely worth anything and everything we can do to protect and serve. However, as Vince Mercuri cited in his Thursday, October 25th article, 'Alcohol Use Is The Quiet Epidemic In The U.S.' in the Tribune-Review, Westmoreland Edition, we need to get behind the war on alcohol consumption with the same earnest intent. People are dying and causing death while under the influence and few seem to notice. Perhaps, because drinking has been around for so long that it has become socially acceptable, and sadly we've become numb to the staggering statistics surrounding this horrific nemesis.

Rather than try to paraphrase Mr. Mercuri's excellent coverage on the topic of alcoholism, from this point forward I have chosen to quote him:
"On Aug. 23, a global study from British journal, The Lancet, addressed the health effects from alcohol consumption. The study was conducted between 1990 and 2016 in 195 countries with male and female subjects ages 15 - 49. Researchers found that alcohol use was the leading risk factor for death and disability, accounting for nearly 10% of all deaths globally which equates to about 2.8 million alcohol-related deaths annually."

Further into his report, Mercuri states that "While these numbers are staggering, what is most frightening is the lack of basic knowledge regarding the physical impact alcohol has on the human body...Ninety-five percent of alcohol consumed is absorbed into the bloodstream through the lining of the stomach and small intestine, then quickly travels throughout the body: Every single cell and tissue is negatively effected by alcohol consumption. Even casual social patterns of use have the potential for significant health problems..."

I was taken aback by the number of health issues  related to drinking: cancers of the larynx, the esophagus, and breast cancer, liver failure and heart disease are specifically named, pointing the finger at about 15% of breast cancer deaths the result of alcoholic intake each year. I find that extremely shocking since I've never associated drinking and cancer before, have you?

Timothy Niami, co-author of this 26 year study, stated that, "Alcohol is a known cancer-causing agent in humans, but it has been severely overlooked and a preventable cause of cancer deaths. This reflects a public health blind spot."

Finally for this discussion, Mr. Mercuri shines a light on past contradictions held steadfast for decades by our medical communities.

"...Previous health guidelines espoused health benefits associated with consuming up to two drinks per day; the  Lancet study says that any benefits were offset by the risks of developing 23 other  alcohol-related diseases, specifically cancers and alcohol-related accidents..."

I've taken the liberty to make bold those facts in this article that are worthy of your careful consideration, I'm not trying to be a know-it-all, I'm trying to help save your life.

Blessings and Peace

Monday, October 22, 2018

There Are No Words


After listening to the heartache of someone who has been visited by death more often and in so short a time than anybody should ever have to endure, I was compelled to find words of comfort, but found none. Hopefully the giving of myself will be able to lift her spirit even a little.


There Are No Words

All through the night,
I searched in vain
for just the right words
to ease your pain.

As night became day,
My mind still blank,
Any hopes that I had
Eventually sank.

Finally it hit me,
No words could convey
The loss that you suffered
In the harshest of ways.

Instead join my tears
With those you have cried
For all of your loved ones
Whom to early have died.

Allow me some heartache
You feel deep inside,
Knowing I'm with you,
Aware that I've tried.

Give me your sadness
To help lighten the load,
As you travel without them
Life's tumultuous road.

Extend your hand,
And I'll tightly grab hold
To walk right beside you
When you're empty and cold.

Any strength and courage
You find missing today,
Take all that you need,
Glad to give it away.

If there's ever a time
You decide not to fight,
Remember I'm with you
To move towards the light.

We both know the truth
That closure's a lie,
Our hearts remain broken
When love ones have died.

Yet being together
With no words to say,
I think is more helpful
Than going our way...alone.

There are no words.

Blessings and Peace, dear child. my love is all I have to give.













Monday, October 1, 2018

Oh, So Weary

I was ten years old when my family got our first television set. My brother and I were playing catch in the backyard. My mother yelled out the window for us to come in, she had a big surprise for us. As we entered the living room, sitting in the far corner was a huge piece of furniture with a very tiny screen smack dab in the middle of it! And so our love affair with watching T.V. began.

In its infancy, television broadcasting was extremely limited.  If I remember correctly, shows were available only a few hours a day, the rest of the time a test pattern symbol accompanied by an annoying noise was the only choice we had.

From the moment Katilius delivered it, every evening after dinner and baths, we gathered around the television to watch the news and 'a few wholesome shows like 'Howdy Doody' and 'Sky King.'
Saturdays were special because at 7:00 wrestling was on.  Oh how my Baba loved wrestling! She'd cheer loudly for her favorites and boo the ones that, in her opinion, were playing dirty.

For many years, the only violence produced and viewed then was wrestling. Fast-forward to 2018, turn on the T.V. at any time on any day, and all you see is violence! Literally every show, even cartoons, is infiltrated with whacks, smacks, and cruelty. Fighting, bullying, cursing and worse are what lures us to watch. Take that stuff out, and the show in question will suffer miserable ratings and be canceled in the blink of an eye. And let's be honest here, we are all guilty of tuning into programs that scare and offend our sensibilities.

Perhaps the most violent television broadcasting today isn't the weekly shows though, but the daily news. In the beginning, the purpose of the news was to inform and alert, and sometimes even to uplift. Only 15 minutes was allotted for said programming twice daily during the week. I really don't ever remember watching the news on the weekends. Now television networks schedule news programs anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes at a clip, and vie for the bragging rights to present the most recent and most horrific events of the day. "You heard it here first," is commonly expressed so casual viewers will become regulars.

The content of today's news is a constant reporting of shootings, stabbings, killings, drug seller take-downs, cases of domestic and sexual abuse, political bad-mouthing, fraud, and the list goes on and on! Rarely, if ever, is something wholesome presented. After all, who wants to watch good when evil is so much more exciting, right? And because of  the major channels' time extensions, these tragedies are repeated over and over again so that eventually we become numb to the violent world we now live in. When a shooting occurs, we don't flinch, but ask if the victim lived or died. When a child goes missing, we simply assume a family member was responsible and move on, and if a house fire is reported, we wonder if arson was the cause.

It's gotten to the point that I watch the news at noon and skip the rest of the broadcasts. I am so weary of what T.V. stations deem as 'news worthy,' oh, so weary!











Monday, September 24, 2018

GLORIOUS SWITZERLAND IN REVUE!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I couldn't agree more!
















































I could add 500 more, but I think you get the picture! Glorious Switzerland! More to come later!

Monday, September 3, 2018

I AM EVAPORATING



This poem is a take on my journey towards self-actualization. Only when we become less of what holds us back, keeps us down, limits forward gain, can we become more of who we were meant to be, one with the immensely infinite  universe. Appreciate comments so I can improve both as a writer and a person. Blessings and Peace, love ya'll





I AM EVAPORATING
by Flo Barnett

I am evaporating,
Vanishing into thin air.
Particle by Particle,
There is less of me today.

I am evaporating,
Vanishing into thin air.
Little by little by little,
Disappearing!

There is no pain, no suffering
I’ve not shed a single tear,
I’m not afraid to fade away,
No angst, no dread, no fear.

Evaporating
IS
Oddly exhilarating,
Excitingly sensual,
Completely freeing!

I am evaporating,
Vanishing into thin air.
Being breathed in by the living, 
Becoming one with every existence.
 Oddly exhilarating!

Seeing the world in technicolor,
Hearing the call of the wild,
Tasting the lips of hungry lovers, 
Frolicking to rhythms of diversity.
Excitedly sensual!

I am evaporating,
Vanishing into thin air,
Integrating with thousands of waiting hearts,
Millions of generous souls,
Billions of shining stars, and...

One immensely infinite universe!

I am evaporating,
Vanishing into thin air
Only to be absolutely me.
Completely freeing!