Monday, May 15, 2017

Is America addicted to war?



Only rarely in its history has the United States of America not fought a war, and sometimes more than one at the same time. America was born in war and seemingly that has become its legacy. No wonder that many are asking the question: Is America addicted to war?

Graph 1 and 2 record all the wars the U.S. has been involved in from the American Revolution to the present. Look closely at the two graphs and it is readily apparent that there have been very few years when the U.S. has not been at war. It is remarkable that the U.S. has not become sick of war, but the explanation lies in part in its violent birth. Revolution breeds further revolution.

If we examine only the 12 major wars that the U.S. has fought, there is already enough evidence to prove this addiction. I cannot think of any other country that has been involved in so many wars for so long during its relatively short history. There cannot be any doubt that the U.S. is addicted to war.

Graph 1: American Wars 1775-1900



Graph 2: American Wars 1900-Present


The twelve wars in chronological order are (with the size of American involvement, death, and the reason for the war):

1. Revolutionary War (1775-83). U.S. troops engaged: 217,000. American battle deaths: 4,435. The 13 American colonies fought for independence from British rule to become the United States.

2. The War of 1812 (1812-15). U.S. troops engaged: 286,730. American battle deaths: 2,260.
The U.S. declared war on Great Britain during its war with France.

3. Mexican War (1846-48). U.S. troops engaged: 78,718. American battle deaths: 1,733. The U.S. fought against Mexico over Texas and California, in the name of "manifest destiny."

4. American Civil War (1861-1865). U.S. troops engaged: 2,213,363. Battle deaths: 140,414. The northern states and the southern states fought over slavery and states' rights.

5. Spanish-American War (1898). U.S. troops engaged: 306,760. American battle deaths: 385. Spain declared war on the U.S. because the U.S. supported Cuba's wish to be independent of Spanish rule.

6. WWI (1914-1918). U.S. troops engaged: 4,734,991. American casualties: 53,402. The U.S. joined the Allies (Britain, France, Russia, Italy, and Japan), who were at war with the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey). The U.S. declared war on Germany April 6, 1917.

7. World War II (1939-45 -- U.S. involved, 1941-46). U.S. troops engaged: 16,112,566. American casualties: 291,557. The U.S. joined the Allies (Britain, France, and the USSR) to fight the Axis Powers (Germany, Italy, and Japan) after the U.S. forces were attacked by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor in 1941.


8. Korean War (1950-53). U.S. troops engaged: 5,720,000. American battle deaths: 33,741.
North Korea's Communist forces fought against South Korea's non-Communist forces supported by U.N. forces, principally made up of U.S. troops. The Korean War was the first armed conflict in the global struggle between democracy and communism, called the “cold war.”

9. Vietnam War (1954-75 -- U.S. involved, 1961-75). U.S. troops engaged: 8,744,000. American battle deaths: 47,410. The U.S. helped non-Communist South Vietnam fight invasion by Communist North Vietnam.

10. Persian Gulf War (1991). U.S. troops engaged: 2,183,000. Allied casualties: 147. U.S., Britain, France, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, and Italy went to war with Iraq.

11. Afghanistan War (2002). Cause: Afghanistan’s Taliban government harbored Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda terrorist group responsible for Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. Outcome: The Taliban government was ousted and many terrorist camps in Afghanistan were destroyed.

12. Iraq War (2003). Cause: Saddam Hussein’s alleged possession of illegal weapons of mass destruction and Iraq’s suspected ties to terrorism prompted the U.S. and Britain to invade and topple his government. Outcome: Iraq was defeated and Saddam Hussein removed from power.

These are just the biggest mountains. If you look at the charts, you will notice how many more mountains there are. The U.S. has won many wars, but by no means all; some wars were inconclusive and others were lost. Experts conclude that the U.S. might win a war against the rest of the world combined, but victory is not certain.

The Cold War, the longest war in U.S. history, involved not just weapons and warfare but especially words and ideas. I began in 1945 and was a struggle between the U.S. and the USSR. The U.S. wanted to contain the spread of communism. The Cold War ended in 1990 with the collapse of the USSR. Even this war cost the U.S. enormous funds and contributed to the demise of the Soviet Union.




This almost constant warfare has led to the U.S. as a source for production of weapons.  Warfare has utterly transformed the U.S. economy. Today that is labeled the military-industrial-congressional complex, a three-sided relationship, which results in the largest military spending budget in the world.  The U.S. now spends more than the next ten countries combined.

In 2015 the spending on the military alone consumed 54% of the budget of the U.S.  Aside from the question of the wisdom of spending so much on the military, this measures the cost of the American addiction to war. Not only has the U.S. waged war almost continuously since its inception it also spends more money on the military than any other country and the largest portion of the budget is devoted to defense.




The Defense Department is a misnomer. It should be called the Department of War. When presidents need to boost their popularity, they turn to the military, since such spending and the military itself are immensely popular.  President Trump is no exception.

Via an executive memorandum, Trump detailed plans to fulfill his campaign promises to invest in a bigger military -- including more troops, warships and a modernized nuclear arsenal. He declared he was beginning "a great rebuilding of the armed services of the United States." Later he added:
Developing a plan for new planes, new ships, new resources and new tools for our men and women in uniform-- and I’m very proud to be doing that, As we prepare our budget request for Congress --and I think Congress is going to be very happy to see it -- our military strength will be questioned by no one, but neither will our dedication to peace.
Trump's comments are hypocritical and false. His proposed military buildup is a major departure from the Obama administration on national security issues. It is an ominous development in a nation that is already addicted to war. This is not what the U.S. needs at the moment. 

What the U.S. needs is a large-scale reduction in its military and its defense budget. It does not need almost two million men and women bearing arms and a budget that exceeds a trillion dollars a year. A country that is addicted to war is not ready to listen to the biblical message of Isaiah (2:4, New Living Translation):
The LORD will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore.

Let Us Beat Swords into Plowshares, a sculpture by Evgeniy Vuchetich 
in the United Nations Art Collection

Yet this is the message that the U.S. must listen to and take to heart. The humongous defense budget can be put to better use that to support a bloated military.  If there is ever to be peace on earth, then non-stop war must end. A nation that fancies itself a Christian nation must turn its swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks and overcome its addiction to war. Then and only then shall peace reign on a war-weary world. May there be peace on earth!


             

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

What is a good death?

I have decided to begin blogging again on a regular basis. Now in this Easter season I can write with new energy and conviction. I will, however, refrain from discussing politics, especially the American variety, as much as possible. But my resolution may not be enough to deter me from such a discussion if the situation in the world continues to develop the way it has. Clearly the world is becoming more and more divided. 

Today, I want to discuss a topic that affects all of no matter who we are: death. Benjamin Franklin famously observed that nothing is certain in life, except death and taxes. (This saying is now attributed to Daniel Defoe or Christopher Bullock.) I would add that the rich can avoid taxes, but no one escapes death. 




What is a good death? This question is motivated by an article in The Economist on the topic of death. As the magazine explains, "death is inevitable, but a bad death is not." How does it define a good death? How would you and I define such a death?

Recently, I commemorated the death of my mother which occurred three years ago. It has been more than a decade since my father died. Both of them has led what many would describe as good -- even if difficult -- lives, but had they also experienced good deaths? I think not.

Death used to come by stealth, but that is no longer the case. Now, three-fifths of deaths come slowly and involve a slow, progressive deterioration of function. According to the article, people in wealthy countries can spend eight to ten years seriously ill at the end of life. Yet few of the 56m or so people who die each year receive good end-of-life care. 

In Britain, where the hospice movement which is dedicated to providing high-quality care to dying patients arose, only about a fifth of that country’s hospitals provide access to palliative care on a regular basis.That may change through the Conversation Project in which share stories of the "good deaths" and "bad deaths" experienced by their loved ones. 



Most people dread the experience of contemplating their own mortality. When death is hidden away in hospitals and nursing homes, it becomes less familiar and harder to talk about. I have lived in many countries where death is an everyday event. There it cannot be hidden; it is discussed daily. 

But honest and open conversations with the dying should be as much a part of modern medicine as prescribing drugs or fixing broken bones. The article concludes:"A better death means a better life, right until the end."

As part of such a conversation, I want to share the story of my parents. Neither of them experienced what I would term a "good death," one where they in their last days were treated with the dignity they deserved and without unnecessary pain, although my father's death occurred more quickly than that of my mother and it was relatively painless. Even then, his death was not the "good death" he might have wished.

My father died as the result of a fall, yet he should have been allowed to die at home rather than in a hospital where I saw him yet in bed for a few weeks. What kept him alive, I think, was his desire to celebrate his 87th birthday, which he did the day before he died. I had to rush back from Nigeria where I was working only a month after returning there. I arrived just in time for his funeral. 


Some principles of a good death

My mother suffered unnecessary pain for many years in a nursing home before she died. I say unnecessary because she was deprived of the pain killers that could have made her last days more bearable. Only in the last week of her life was she allowed to receive as much morphine as she needed. Why? Were her doctors afraid that she would become addicted?

For a long time she also suffered the indignity of witnessing cancer eating away her face and limbs. Pain and a loss of dignity caused her to ask God to end her suffering and take her "home." She was a woman of deep faith, and yet she was not afraid to ask her children to pray that God would hasten her death. I confess that I prayed that with her on more than one occasion. 

The day before her death I took a final photo of her, but I deleted it the next day because I could not bear this memento of a once proud woman. A shell was all that was left of my mother. I did not want to dishonor my memory of someone who had borne me and my siblings and had raised us with love. She prayed every day for her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and not just for God to take her home.

In spite of her prayers for relief from her suffering, she enjoyed what was left in her life. Eating was one of her little remaining pleasures. Another was a little drink once in a while. Why not? She could have stopped eating and ended her life that way, but that was not her style. Only in the last week, when she could no longer eat, did that hasten her death. How sad in a way! How wonderful in another. Finally, release from her suffering.



My father holding my mother's hand the day before he died

God granted her 93 and a half years of life, 63 years of marriage, and six children, as well as numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She loved all of them, sometimes too much so, perhaps, in a smothering way. And all who knew her loved her. Her's was a good life but not a good death. 

Her zest for life -- at least the limited one that still remained -- did not permit her to contemplate suicide. While some of my siblings might dispute some of my claims about her, I want to retain my own memories of our mother. She was not perfect -- after all, who of us is? 

But she did have a strong faith, as did my father. That was what led them to emigrate to Canada in 1951. Their emigration allowed my siblings and I to get an education. But most important, they passed on their faith. Parents sharing their faith with their children. There can no greater gift than that!

Even though she wanted God to end her suffering swiftly, my mother did not contemplate suicide, unlike Hamlet whose long soliloquy is focused, as is often claimed, on the thought of taking his own life. He is struggling with the issue of life and death -- the same issue we all must deal with. My mother struggled with that issue as well.



Listen to Hamlet as he poignantly voices the issues involved: 

To be, or not to be? That is the question—
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And, by opposing, end them? To die, to sleep—
No more—and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to—’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished! To die, to sleep.
To sleep, perchance to dream—ay, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.

In brief, for Hamlet death is something he earnestly desires -- it is devoutly to be wished. In his opinion, it nothing more than a sleep. However, there’s a catch, a rub or obstacle, as he calls it. The problem is that life after death is unknown and could be even worse than life. It’s a frightening thought for him. 

This obstacle has a religious dimension: it is a sin to take one’s life. For this reason, the fear of the unknown, of what will happen after death, is intensified. He realizes too that death will deprive him of the action he must take: to revenge his father's death. Hence his doubts.




For my mother there was never such existential doubt. Her faith is evident in the text she chose for her funeral was Ephesians 5:18b-20:
Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Singing and praising God was her joy in life and that is what she saw herself doing too after her death. For her, "death has been swallowed up in victory," as the Apostle Paul writes in I Corinthians 15. That is why she wanted to give thanks to God for the victory over death we all enjoy through our Lord Jesus Christ.

There was no real doubt in her mind of this victory even if the all too human fears that we all have did arise at times; fears that Hamlet too expressed in this famous soliloquy. Therefore it is so sad that she had to suffer the way she did for so many years.



Why was she denied a good death? The answer lies not so much in an investigation of God's will, but it lies more in the way our society deals with death through refusing to provide the proper palliative care that all of us deserve. People should not have to die in hospitals, like my father did, nor in nursing homes, like my mother.

People should be allowed to die at home surrounded by loved ones. They should not die alone or only in the company of strangers. The Economist has provided an excellent survey of the problem that all of us will face some day: how can we experience a good death?

A good death is one in which suffering is reduced as much as possible and in the presence of loved ones. The reality of death is already terrifying enough without the suffering that too often accompanies it. My parents deserved better; all of us deserve better.

Let's begin by openly and honest addressing the question of death. As the article concludes, "Death will remain terrifying for many people. Unless the way health care is organised changes, most people will continue to suffer unnecessarily at the end."
         

Friday, March 10, 2017

Giving up politics for Lent and doing something for the Earth

My blogging will continue, even if intermittently. You may notice the absence of politics for the next while. Here is why. It is Lent. During Lent I also want to give up something else for the sake of the Earth. Read on.


I have decided to give up politics for Lent. This means that I don't want to discuss politics during the entire period, especially not on FB nor on this blog. In a previous post, I already announced that I would stop posting on FB for a while. That moratorium involves more than politics. How long I will stay off FB remains to be seen, but Lent gives me an opportunity to test my resolve to temporarily leave politics alone in this blog.

There are thousands who have made the same decision not to discuss politics during Lent. The chief political lightning rod for many, especially in the USA, is President Trump. My decision goes further than not discussing Trump. I am extending it to include all politicians and all forms of political talk. This is hard for me.
I have to admit that that I have already broken this self-imposed rule once or twice since Lent started and I will probably do so again. Lord, have mercy!  I confess that I am addicted to politics or at least political discussion.  By temperament, I would never have made a good politician, but politics is in my blood. My family has always enjoyed political debate, as my children will readily testify.

Lent, as celebrated in many Christian churches, is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Lent comes from the Anglo Saxon word "len(c)ten", which means "spring." The Dutch word for spring" is "lente."

The forty days represents the length of time that Jesus spent in the wilderness, where he endured the temptations of Satan and prepared to begin his ministry. But there are many other references to forty in the Bible that indicate such a period of preparation.


Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. This involves self-examination and reflection. In the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism.

Today, many Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer and give of themselves for others. This is what I am also doing during Lent this year, as I will mention in a moment.

Let me begin with something to give up: politics or, at least, the discussion thereof. Why politics in general? The answer is spelled: TRUMP. He has given politics and many politicians all over the world a bad name. I had hoped not to use his name at all, but that is unavoidable in the context of explaining why I don't want to discuss politics for a while during Lent.

I have friends, some of whom are dual American and Canadian citizens, all of whom get livid when his name is mentioned. If only out of respect for them, I would refrain from any discussions in which his name might come up. But it is almost impossible to engage in any political discussion at present or discuss any politician without referring to him.

For the sake of my friends, my own mental health, and indeed the sake of my soul, I have decided to stop such discussions until Lent is over. Addictions can make many forms. It seems that our whole society is addicted to discussing this man. Hardly a day goes by without an organized protest taking place somewhere either for or against him.


Rarely has anyone so polarized people as much as this man. You either love him or hate him. However, since I am not allowed to hate anyone, it is difficult for me as a Christian to engage in any political discussions without transgressing the commandment to love my neighbor. The feelings he generates in me are that strong.

Of course, this will not change after Lent. But, at least during these few weeks, I can try to do what God commands me to do: to love others as myself. This commandment is difficult at the best of times, but these are not those times.

So, what can I do? My decision stems from my faith obligation to love even those who are largely unlovable. Even if I do keep my resolution during Lent as much as I can, this does not eliminate the problem I will face afterwards. It remains just as the obsessions or whatever we resolve to give up for Lent do.

Nevertheless, the attempt to control our obsessions is spiritually enriching. It may never stop them entirely, but it does strengthen our resolve to do more in the future. It signifies this as well to ourselves and to others.That is why we should not be afraid to mention our resolutions to those around us.

Such a public pronouncement can help us to keep our resolutions. That is what I am doing in this post. Yet this too is not enough. It is negative: it something I want to avoid. I also want to do something positive,


This Lent, Citizens for Public Justice is encouraging Canadian Christians to Give it up for the Earth! I am on the board of this faith-based organization. Give it up for the Earth! is a campaign that challenges us to see Lent as an opportunity to promote the well-being of the global community as we work to mitigate climate change. (Please use the links for more information.

Let me quote from the webpage of Give it up for the Earth!
Give it up for the Earth! campaign is centred on a postcard that includes:
  1. a pledge to individual climate action, and 
  2. a call for more far-reaching national climate policy.
The aims of Give it up for the Earth! are to raise awareness about climate change, and collect signatures as a demonstration of support for increased federal government action. How you do this is up to you!
I have my ideas and you have yours. Send them to CPJ, and they will forward them the federal Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna. These ideas will be presented to her at a campaign closing event on/around Earth Day (April 22).

You don't have to order cards from CPJ in order to participate in this campaign. Just decide to make a change in your life for the sake of the Earth. That is a small sacrifice to make. That is what I am also doing during Lent. Your decision is vital to help reduce the effects of climate change and to save the Earth.


Give it up for the Earth! goes beyond changing personal habits like driving or eating meat everyday, taking long-haul flights or making money from investments in fossil fuel companies. as important as these are to show our commitment to God’s call to care for the well-being of people and the planet. For Canadians, it is imperative that our governments also change their priorities on climate change. We can do so by presenting our ideas to them as vigorously as we can.

This message of speaking up for stronger government action on climate is not only for Canadians. In every nation Christians are called to care for the earth. The OT prophet Jeremiah addressed the misuse that God's people had made of the land he had given them: "And I brought you into a plentiful land to enjoy its fruits and its good things. But when you came in, you defiled my land and made my heritage an abomination" (2:7).

This message has never been more relevant as humanity faces the devastating consequences of climate change around the world, while those with the power to act do so little. As citizens of wealthy, developed countries, we have both the ability and responsibility to take action to protect creation. All faith communities increasingly recognize this.

So, this Lent I am doing something negative in givng up politics, at least for a little while. I am also doing something positive by giving up something for the sake of the Earth by making changes in our personal lives and urging our governments to do what they can to limit climate change.

I am not suggesting that you need to follow me to stop discussing politics for Lent. But I do invite you to join me in doing what we can for the sake of the Earth. I have written many times about climate change. In my opinion, climate change is the biggest threat to human existence today. Let's all do what we can to save our planet! That is the best way to observe Lent 2017.
   

Friday, February 24, 2017

Confessions of a blogger


I'm back. Sort of. Blogging that is. Like Hamlet, I have pondered this existential question and decided to blog again, even if more intermittently than in the past.

Let me explain what happened and why I am beginning to blog again after a break of almost three months. It's been a long time for me as well, but there are many valid reasons and there are also some confessions.

About these confessions, don't expect anything prurient. My reasons are practical (at least for me), yet I owe everyone an explanation for my absence for these many months.

If you have missed receiving any new posts recently, my apology for that loss. If you did't, I apologize as well. Maybe I can earn your interest this time around.

Blogging is a personal experience. The postings are my own reflections on what is happening in the world, but they are also ones that I want to share with others, otherwise I would not write them. Yet blogging has created some problems for me. Thus let me begin with a few personal confessions.


First of all, I am getting older. Even though aging is a chronic condition that afflicts each and every one of us, I now realize that it is afflicting me more intensely every year. The list of my infirmities is growing. Walking has become a challenge because of back problems, but sitting behind a computer is also difficult. Moreover, my eyes are progressively clouding over, although surgery can correct that.

So I needed a break to give my body time to heal. That healing as been much slower than I expected. And thus I am back to blogging, albeit cautiously. My previous schedule of weekly postings has slowly but surely been diminishing since I started blogging about six years ago.

Both my back and my eyes have made it a challenge to keep up this schedule. Even now, it is difficult for me to sit in front of the computer for extended periods of time. This is frustrating for me. Even this post is more onerous than previous ones over the years.

For the record, in 2011 and 2012 I had 64 posts each year. In 2013 my total went down to 61 and the following year it was 49. In 2015 the total went down even further to 39, while last year, in spite of only one post in December, the total rose slightly to 41. The grand total now stands at almost 320.

The total number of pageviews over that period is approaching 600,000. One post has attracted about 72,000 pageviews, but most garner only a few hundred views each. I typically have had an average of approximately 10,000 views per month. That is still how many I receive per month after being absent for so many months. Evidently, there is interest in my blog. Enough to encourage me to take up my pen, er computer, and continue blogging.


My second confession is political. I confess my disdain for Trump. I refuse to dignify him with the title of "President." He may have been properly elected (although that system needs a major overhaul), and thus earned this title, but in my heart I refuse to acknowledge him as such. He is not MY president. I am a Canadian, thus this is true of me by definition. But I share my disdain for Trump with many Americans who also make this claim, as was evident on Presidents' Day.

Trump is perhaps the primary reason for my absence from blogging. I found it too difficult for me to write every week and avoid discussing this man. After his inauguration, my problem only became worse. I  have previously referred to him as "He whose name shall never be used in my house!"

That gives you some idea what I think of him. I did not want to spend the next few months irritated by him nor have comments irritate others the same way. This break was one way of protesting the current scandal of American politics. My silence has allowed me to reflect on what is happening. America has become a pigsty, one that I don't want to wallow in it any longer.

I am not afraid to speak out publicly against Trump and his administration. The worst they could do is to refuse me entry to Trumpland. This would be a serious loss for me because some of my children and grandchildren live there, and I have many friends there as well. But I refuse to sully my mind every day by describing what is happening in Trumpland. You can read that yourself in your newspaper of choice.

A well-known Dutch theologian wrote a book some decades ago with the title (translated), Politics is everything, but not everything is politics. He meant to say that politics influences every part of life but it is not the most important thing in life. In the Trump era it is easy to regard politics more important than it is.


For a few weeks I wanted to step back and reassess what I was doing in this blog. Aside from Trump, I discovered that I was devoting too much time and space to politics in general, and drifting away from the role that religion plays in life, which is the central focus of my blog.

My most popular posts are not intentionally political. Climate change, has generated the most attention of my readers. This topic certainly has strong political aspects but it is not inherently political. It is, however, a religious topic since it touches on our view of the world and the place of human beings in the world.

Have we as human beings contributed to climate change? Our answer to that question is at heart a religious one. Religion, as I define it, deals with more than the existence of God or of many gods. It also deals with this world and how we perceive our role in it.

In the next few weeks and months, I hope to concentrate more on the role of religion in life, not just in the private sphere, where it has been relegated by secularism, but also in the public arena. That is where we live out our lives and interact with each other. This is where we express our faith. It is also where our hopes and our fears come to the surface.

In my future posts I also intend to explain certain subjects that interest me and, I hope, you as well. Things that I do not fully understand, and thus want to clarify, if only for myself. This too is part of What in the World. I could turn the title of my blog into a question: "What in the World Is . . . ?"


So I intend to veer away from the politics of Trumpland, but not necessarily politics as such. There is much that is happening in the world that has not (so far) fallen victim to Trumpism. That I will emphasize, rather than the excesses of you know who.

I hope that this confession helps to explain why I have not posted anything for several months. Health concerns are only part of the story; Trump also plays a significant role.  I want to purge my soul of that awful man as much as possible. These months have been a catharsis for me.

So with some fear and trepidation I hope to return to blogging with a degree of regularity. Health issues will continue to restrain me, but my intention is to write as much as I can, but at the same time ignore Trump. The rest of the world cannot ignore him. but I will as much as possible for the sake of my sanity.

Confession, it is said, is good for the soul. If so, that is yet another step to in this cleansing process. I have bared my soul a bit. Please encourage me as I open a new page of this blog. I need to know that I am doing what you want as well. We need to encourage each other in a world that has seemingly become crazy.



This post is being published on the day that my father would have turned 97. Tomorrow marks the tenth anniversary of his death. I dedicate this post in his memory.