Courtesy: The Key to Civil Society

Not to state the obvious, Roe v. Wade has been rescinded, and the political left has become the antithesis of civil society.  Acting in a manner that is rude, boorish, and bloody awful.  I know sugar-hyped, caffeine-strung-out, two-years-old who behave better than the supposed adults rioting, looting, and threatening violence.  Frankly, after the summer of rage (2020), I am fed up with the media cheerleading criminal behavior in the name of expressing themselves; let us now affirm and cherish as sacred courtesy as the preeminent civil virtue needed in society.

Elder Marvin J. Ashton, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints (October 1976), addressed the topic of courtesy while discussing self-management.  Quoting Elder Ashton, “Courtesy and self-respect are necessary ingredients” in properly being a member of any society, business, family, etc.  In a previous article, the discourteous behavior of the political left was discussed, especially those who choose to join the LGBTQ+ communities.  Why has courtesy dropped so precipitously in American society and too other cultures across the globe?  Elder Ashton discusses the answer:

Seeing men and women who think, speak, and act with propriety in any community or personal situation is refreshing and uplifting.  Good manners are necessary for the decency and peace of community living.  [Good Manners] should be a matter of grave concern to all, yet we hear and read less about their cultivation than we do about dieting and “daily dozens” to enhance our personal acceptance and development.”

Stemming from self-discipline, courtesy is an outward expression of inner strength, and our manners precede us into new situations.  As a kid, one of the deadliest sins we could commit was being late to an appointment, meeting, or scheduled event.  You could lose your temper, drop the worst language, but if you were late, you were in big trouble!  Sure, foul language was a punishment multiplier but was a punishment reducer if you were not late.  In the US Army, we were taught if you are not 15-minutes early, you are late.  15-minutes early was on time, building the mental toughness to understand the military requirement of “Hurry up and wait.”Common Courtesy Quotes Quotations. QuotesGram

Yet, what do we see too often since 2000, less and less is society expecting a person to be “on time,” let alone early to a scheduled appointment.  Worse, recently, I had a doctor’s appointment, and the staff in the office were grateful I had shown up, let alone was 15-minutes early to my appointment.  When further discussed, the conversation drifted to how people do not call to cancel, show up hours late, and still expect to be seen, and how the staff was forced to work overtime when people showed up late.  The provider felt compelled to see these patients, even though doing so meant staying late.  Importantly, sourced from Elder Ashton, serenity and poise are the companions of those who practice courtesy and judgment to always be on time.

As self-discipline has been reduced, social interactions have also declined as people feel attacked when courtesy is absent.  Worse, if I do not believe the same as you, social norms state I deserve to be attacked, even physically attacked, and this atrocious behavior is my fault for not having the courtesy to believe the same as you.  No!  This is not courtesy, self-discipline, or proper self-management, and I refuse to spend another microsecond being abused!

What is courtesy?

Jim Butcher is correct, “If you can’t manage courtesy, try silence.”  In defining courtesy, the dictionary refers to courtesy as “polite behavior” and “indulgence.”  Yet, I feel this is barely scratching the surface on defining courtesy, especially since indulgence is not a strong suit of mine.  Courtesy is a willingness, and ability, to properly relate to others.  Courtesy requires humility or a humble approach to social interactions.  Elder Ashton was clear, “Proper self-management will permit us to be a team member first, a coach, captain, or superstar second.”  Do we understand, and will we willingly accept, the role of a team member, participant, or active and engaged audience?Quotes On Consideration And Courtesy. QuotesGram

Early in life, I had some lessons forcibly taught me.  Elder Ashton sums up the lessons:

Good health habits, integrity, bearing, mannerisms, conversation, and self-control can be powerful assets in one’s balance sheet.  These traits outwardly reflect the views of the management.  Integrity within oneself makes it possible for honesty with God, family, and all other daily associates.  A person with integrity within himself will also have it in his relationship with others.”

At my current stage of life, I lack a “cherub-like demeanor” with anyone who tries to steal, infringe upon, or impugn my integrity.  This is wrong, and I struggle daily with the slings and arrows of our discourteous society.  Yet, still, we find a need to define courtesy, and while healthy eating, exercise, and patience help me in my struggles, these other aspects of courtesy remain invaluable.Erastus Wiman Quote: "Nothing is ever lost by courtesy. It is the ...

Courtesy, as an extension of self-respect and self-discipline, generates improved mental and physical health, further promoting courteous living and mental peace needed to suffer the fools slinging mud and practicing violence.  Do we understand the connection being discussed; Elder Ashton affirms, “our self-image and general conduct [observed through] dress, grooming, and hair standards, moderation of voice, use of worthy language, good manners, respect for other’s rights.”  However, does this define courtesy; not really, but they form the core of actions witnessed by those with self-respect and self-discipline.

Consider the recent media coverage of the two camps prominent in the Roe v. Wade protests since late February/early March.  The dress, language, general conduct, manners, and moderation of voice distinctly identified which camp one woman belonged to or another.  The distinction was easily observed long before either camp opened their mouths.  More to the point, look at the Republican and Democrat audiences at their respective national conventions.  The media coverage never ceases to amaze me, the camera operators and producers work tirelessly to not fuel stereotypes, but even then, the audiences are clearly distinct.Courtesy Quotes | Courtesy Sayings | Courtesy Picture Quotes

Elder Ashton states and I affirm in the strongest language, “In any community or personal situation, it is refreshing and uplifting to see men and women who think, speak, and act with propriety.”  Having traveled amongst incredibly diverse global cultures, it does not matter where you are or the culture you originate from; it is mentally and physically refreshing to be among people who act with propriety and courtesy and live with self-respect and self-discipline.  Clearly, courtesy is at its best when it is least obvious, and the least apparent; the greater self-respect shines through the actions and speech of courteous people.  Courtesy is a manner of living; it is a lifestyle choice and is not merely a religious thing stemming from a Judeo-Christian moral code (the Ten Commandments).  Aristotle is quoted saying, “We are what we repeatedly do; excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”  President Theodore Roosevelt said, “Courtesy is as much a mark of a gentleman as courage.”  Consider these two quotes for a moment; courtesy is an action displaying excellence, and courtesy is courage.  To Jacques Maritain goes the final word on defining courtesy, “Gratitude is the most exquisite form of courtesy.”

How do you practice grace and courtesy with your children? | Montessori ...Thus, gratitude, excellence, and gratitude are mere pieces of courteous behavior.  Interestingly, I find the best lessons on courteous behavior have arrived from the most disgustingly discourteous people.  In the US Army, I was called out by an incredibly courteous person for my language.  In the US Navy, I learned why courteous language was required through observing the consequences of the discourteous around me.  Several department members used horrific language, acted in manners revealing their lack of self-respect, and then cursed the gods for their predicament with women and money.

I am not saying that courteous living makes people rich or loved.  I merely relate that life is better the more I struggle to keep my cherub-like demeanor when stressed by those with manners more closely resembling pigs in rut than men with the potential to become God.  William Wordsworth stated in his writing, “Ode: Intimations of Immortality:”

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting.  The soul that rises with us, our life’s star, hath had elsewhere its setting, and cometh from afar: not in entire forgetfulness, and not in utter nakedness, but trailing clouds of glory do we come from God, who is our home.”

Disregarding religion for a moment, man has a tremendous imagination, but no religion yet has a discourteous god at its center.  Let us so live, with courtesy, self-respect, and self-discipline, that when we return to the God who made us, we trail clouds of glory as a mark of gratitude and courtesy.

© Copyright 2022 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

Honest Questions! Spurring Forthright Discussion.

Bobblehead DollThis is not my first rodeo where family members have chosen alternative lifestyles.  One family member was not hostile, quietly adopted a different lifestyle, and lives without bullying anyone.  One family member has just come of age, has chosen to live as a different gender, is passive-aggressive, and is hostile to everyone who refuses to participate in their mental disease.  The first person is an abnormality in the homosexual community where bullying, bullishness, and boorishness are the standard, not the exception.  The second family member has used their unhinged emotional wrecking ball to injure family and friends for the privilege of getting their way.  A wholly childish and selfish spectacle deserving of nothing more than abject derision and scorn.

Several friends have embraced different genders and lifestyles, moving from friendly to bully in a relatively short time, and have remained boorish and behaviorally reprehensible ever since.  One colleague was at a party, slipped a mickey, and woke up having been raped while drugged.  In any other community, this would have been a legal offense; in the homosexual community, this was not even worth mentioning.  A sad commentary in and of itself!  Unfortunately, this incident has left my friend degraded and feeling worthless, and unfortunately, we have lost touch over the years and miles since this incident.Question

Many questions remain after having worked around the LGBTQ+ community for more years than I would care to admit.  The number one question remaining is the following: If what you are doing is making you happy and more whole as a person, why the anger, resentment, bitterness, bullying, and boorish behaviors?  To me, this is a simple question; to my friends and family in the LGBTQ+ community, this is a complicated, complex, and nuanced question, where the person asked becomes more boorish, bullish, and obstinate.  So, please answer this question and tell me why this is such a complex and convoluted question.

Dear reader, I now pose the question to you.  I do not care how you choose to identify, the gender you prefer, your sexual preferences, or your religious lifestyle.  I do not care about race at birth or the race you choose to live.  Frankly, all I care about is what you bring to the table regarding talents, skills, abilities, and the attitude you choose.  Essentially, I have onboarded Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream; I judge solely by your character.  I am not racist, homophobic, sexist, ageist, or any other slur you wish to dream of; respect is often offered to resounding silence or aggressive vocal opposition and hatred, yet respect remains.Content of their Character

Religionists, including traditional and non-traditional, I realize the issues you are facing, and I agree with a lot of your concerns.  This does not mean you can be as boorish, bullish, and obstinate in your comments.  My agreement with your concerns does not reduce my respect for both parties.  Anyone abusing the comment section will have their comments moderated.  With that said, any person choosing to abuse the comments section will face the same moderation.  I do not tolerate emotionally charged bloviations.  Be logical, be respectful, and explain your ideas clearly.

Exclamation MarkBear with me for a moment.  I speak for myself.  I do not speak for all homo sapiens; I do not speak for anyone else but me — I research law, science, history, anthropology, psychology, and much more to form my opinions.  Agree or disagree, your choice.  Feel free to express your opinion, just understand I might disagree with your opinion, but I love to discuss topics with people.  Do not bring emotional hyperbole and try to pass it off as fact!  As I have told my wife, I do not care how you feel.

Currently, confusion has set in in global history, and I feel it is time to be truthful and specific.  Women have two XX chromosomes, men have an X and a Y chromosome, and this is the entire amount of genders and sexes in mammalian human science.  While some abnormalities and diseases will produce various (rare) chromosomal variations outside these two genders and sexes, there are absolutely no more than two sexes and two genders.  Recently I was told I was wrong and was informed there are 83 different gender categories, not including those who consider themselves part animal.  I continue to disagree pointedly!Dr. Duke on making good decisions in politics and life - David Duke.com

One of the misnomers in the gender/transgender discussion is that of human choice, which is more easily understood as agency.  The human, as an agent, chooses (exercising agency), and they have the right to choose, but in choosing, their consequences are not anyone else’s problem.  We need this point well understood.  Sexually transmitted diseases are not society’s problem; pregnancy is still not society’s problem; rape, drug addiction, depression, anxiety, etc., are not society’s problem.  How you choose to live your life is your choice; like I have said multiple times in these articles and elsewhere, keep those lifestyle choices in your bedroom and home, and leave the rest of society to live as they choose.

Some of those consequences break a person’s social trust with their chosen society; we call these laws, and breaking laws has additional consequences the agent must bear for exercising agency.  Breaking laws is black and white; how society’s agents apply those laws for enforcing those laws (judges, law enforcement officers, lawyers, etc.) is another topic; however, your lifestyle choices do not allow you to break society’s laws with impunity merely because you do not like a law or because that law interferes with your lifestyle.  It is against the law to picket, rally, or riot in front of a judge’s home to sway that judge’s opinion!  Blocking traffic is not an acceptable or legal method to air your grievances, and there is no such thing as a peaceful protest.  You can either legally protest or riot, media talking heads notwithstanding!

Your lifestyle choices do NOT permit you to groom children, become boorish, bullish, or abrasive in public, nor do your lifestyle choices enable you to change laws and social norms to fit your pleasure.  Everyone sacrifices to belong to society; not getting your way does not mean you have fewer rights than anyone else.  Are we clear on this issue?Founding Fathers Quotes on Justice and Equal Treatment Under the Law

Equal treatment under the law means you do not get a pass on sexual predation merely because your lifestyle is different from someone else’s.  Morals and values a society selects do not twist, morph, or get simply deleted because your lifestyle choices are out of sync with the rest of society.  Frankly, there is nothing new in your lifestyle preferences, so start being a member of society, act responsibly, and cease your incessant whining.  Finally, keep your lifestyle choices in your home; you are not allowed to teach children your lifestyle, you are not allowed to take over city streets for parades and displays, and whether you are hetero or homosexual when in public, act respectfully of others.REPEAL PRWORA PROJECT - GRANT EQUAL PROTECTION UNDER LAW - Bhavanajagat

Let me elaborate on that final statement.  I have been married for 25+ years; in public, I choose not to kiss, hold hands, or do any other action that could cause an observer to be discomfited.  I make these choices from the moral obligation I owe to our country’s social fabric and the respect I have for my partner.  I expect other couples to adhere to a similar standard of public behavior.  Nothing is so disgusting than to be forced to watch two immature people abuse the public square by disrespecting themselves and each other through inappropriate actions in public.  Are we clear, or do you want more specifications?

Having said all of this, why have you decided now is a good time to multiply sexes and genders?  Why now are you demanding “rights” when you already have equal protection under the law?  Why all of a sudden is the push on to change society in a warped image of your lifestyle?  Please answer these questions, and let’s have a discussion.

Knowledge Check!It is time for honest and forthright discussions on these topics.  Argumentative wrangling is not allowed.  Insulting, calling names, and political (emotional) drivel will only end the conversation, for I refuse to put up with sniveling and whining.  You seem to have a point; what is your point?  You want respect, fine, you have respect; please remember respect is earned and is a two-way street.  I will not participate in your mental illness, but I am always willing to discuss real issues honestly, openly, and transparently.

© Copyright 2022 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

Things Learned About Animals: Lesson 1

MumbleAs a teenager, I worked on a dairy farm in Morrill, Maine, and later as a hired hand on a sheep ranch in Bluebell, Utah.  Often growing up, my family had chickens, ducks, geese, goats, pigs, cats, and dogs.  There are several lessons I feel we could learn from the animals.  In discussing the animals, you are left to choose whether the lesson applies to you or not.  I am not here to convince anyone, I merely relate what I have observed and the lessons I learned.  If you can use the lesson to improve your life, I have achieved my goal.  If you choose not to like the lesson for any reason, happily know you are not the audience intended, and move on smartly.

Animal Gender

Let me be perfectly clear, gender is an eternal construct, is established in the first building blocks of a body, and cannot be changed.  Consider for a moment with me the steps in the gestation process of any animal.  The egg is fertilized, and the fertilization process is self-explanatory, needing no additional discussion from me.  After the egg is fertilized by sperm from a male, the egg from the female becomes a zygote.  This clump of cells shortly gender is known, and the biological differences between a male and a female begin.Egg fertilization and development | Download Scientific Diagram

Males develop larger lungs, denser bones, and other chemical and biological differences.  Females develop smaller lung capacity, less dense bones, and other chemical and biological differences.  We had a female goat who liked to mount other female goats.  While this was highly uncomfortable for the mounted female goat and generally produced fights between the females, we never worried about the goats becoming pregnant.  Interestingly, after this female goat had been impregnated, this female stopped mounting other female goats and was a great mother of kids.  Not speaking goat, I never understood why she mounted other females in what could have been considered her teenage years; one thing was sure, gender did not change because the goat was confused.

It never ceased to amaze me that one could reliably tell the males from the females almost immediately from birth.  Due to their birth size, their growth, and their respective attitudes.  In observing a group of kittens, the males would dominate the females for momma’s attention, the best places to nurse, and innately knew they were male.  The females were smaller, leaner, and sometimes just as feisty and stubborn as the males; they knew they were different from the males.

Baby Cows and CalvesLater while tending sheep, another interesting lesson was learned regarding gender.  Ewes, female sheep, who had lost their lambs, knew somehow if a misgendered animal was placed before them and drove that animal away.  That ewe knew she had birthed a male or female lamb, and any orphan trying to feed would not do; only orphans of the same gender, wearing the skins of their original lamb, were allowed to become a stepchild and be accepted if the ewe permitted them.

Another lesson learned watching a shepherd was the decisions of the ewes.  I saw ewes stand next to a stillborn lamb until the shepherd collected that lamb for disposal.  Crying, mourning, and sometimes choosing to end their life by not eating instead of adopting a motherless lamb.  I am not anthropomorphizing an animal here, that mother losing her lamb cried, mourned, and entered a depression where the ewe chose to join her lamb in death, and regrettably it did not happen only once or twice.  I do not know if the same happens for goats, cows, or other animals.  I know it happens for mother cats and sheep as I have observed these animals and witnessed this event for myself.Cotswold Sheep. Bottle feeding orphan lambs, by Tim Macmillan | Sheep, Animals, Lamb

On the topic of orphaned lambs, I noticed something important, lambs with mothers, even adopted mothers, were less daring, got into less hazardous situations, and generally were calmer socially.  Orphan lambs were wild, got into trouble, did not come to eat without insistence, and several times did not learn from past mistakes, injured, and sometimes died.  I do not know why orphaned lambs acted this way, and without anthropomorphizing, an animal cannot dictate well what I sense is the answer.  I know for certain that ewes impart information to lambs, which is an essential aspect of the health and safety of the herd.

A mother goat, sheep, horse, cat, etc., knows their children, numbers their children, and looks after them.  I witnessed a mother goat kicking the head of a kid who belonged to another goat but who was hungry and wanted food.  Driving that kid off to find their mother relentlessly, and learned something of note.  At first, I thought this was just an ornery goat thing, but then I saw a horse, a mother pig, a mother cat, and other animal mothers repeat the lesson learned about mothers knowing and numbering their children.  A rare mother indeed will accept an animal orphan, and there is order in the animal kingdom!

Order in the Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus Species - Várias ClassesConsider with me a process all herd managers perform, the castration process.  A bull castrated does not grow the female reproductive organs and becomes a cow.  A castrated lamb does not change gender after castration; even if that lamb is provided hormones from female animals, that lamb is male.  A neutered cat does not regrow new reproductive organs or change genders; from birth to death, the gender of that animal is cast, they do not change, and their instincts remain embedded in that animal.

Order is created and not disordered merely due to the loss of a few reproductive organs.  Mothers choose to allow orphans to replace their children or become their children.  Some animal fathers are part of their children’s lives; others grow merely with the input of their mothers.  Regardless, great order is found and maintained in the animal kingdom over roles assigned by gender at birth.

Allow me to elaborate with some observations.  A ewe whom the shepherd relied upon to adopt lambs refused to adopt a lamb.  The shepherd tried everything, including rubbing the lamb in the still wet lamb’s skin, skinning the dead lamb and securing the dead lamb’s skin on the orphaned lamb, and even placing the mother into a pen with her head secured to give the lamb a chance to suckle.  Nothing worked, and all of the methods had worked previously.  Several days later, the ewe died unexpectedly, and the veterinarian determined that the mother ewe had had a disease and probably sensed this when refusing that orphan to suckle.  Order is maintained in the herd, and the condition this ewe had contracted was not passed along to a new lamb.Sheep herd is walking. Animals on grassland. Good conditions for breeding livestock. Pasture in ...

Our gander had taken a spouse, and when the goose died sitting on a nest, the gander was exceedingly heartbroken—calling day and night for his spouse, all to no avail.  After a time, the gander took to liking the ducks whose drake had flown the coop unexpectedly.  Seeing as there was no drake and no female goose, the gander took to mourning his spouse but sleeping with the female ducks.  But, the gander was violently opposed to any duck sitting on a nest, and my parents could not understand why.  My parents captured some eggs that had not been smashed to pieces and tried to incubate the eggs.  The animals born were not ducks or geese, and none survived long.  There is order maintained in the animal kingdom, and the animals themselves know how to keep that order.

It never ceases to amaze me the order and respect animals have for order in the animal kingdom.  In raising goats and cows, the information gained through smell was always interesting to me that allowed animals to act how and why they did.  I could not smell the difference between herds, but the animals knew, and when herds of the same animals mingled, the order was still maintained, and herd integrity was sustained.What to Consider When Raising Sheep and Goats Together

A goat and sheep hered we knew raised the sheep and the goats together; even though both species ate the grass differently and had to be moved more often, raising them together helped protect the herd.  One day another herd was being driven through the area, and a couple of animals got into the pens.  But, the goats and sheep raised together knew the outsider was not orderly and helped keep those animals away from their young and isolated from the whole herd.  The smell is the only answer I have as the foreign herd was smelled by our herd and shunned.  Even when new animals were introduced for the herd to grow, it took several days and several smelling sessions before those new animals were trusted by the rest of the herd.

In one Herculean effort, I heard a goat herder who tried to introduce a foreign billy into the goatherd due to the death of the former billy.  The nanny goats would have nothing to do with the new billy, even when draped in the skin of the old billy goat.  The goat herder tried everything, but until that billy had spent sufficient time with the nannies and smelled correctly, the billy was powerless to lead the herd and perform the duties he had been purchased to complete.  Interestingly, a similar problem occurred for a cattle farmer when introducing a foreign bull.  The cows refused his bull-like advances until the bull had spent time with the herd.  While I do not know if these are isolated incidents, I merely know that order is essential in the animal kingdom.

Lessons for Humans to Consider:Bobblehead Doll

    1. Gender does not change merely because a person wants it. The disorder caused by trying to be a different gender has repercussions and consequences beyond that individual’s choice.
    2. Humans and animals have will and agency, but order remains an essential characteristic of the world. I have heard that scientists have found great order when the observed chaos is understood.  Through magnification, scientists have moved closer to how things move, and I find it incredible the order found that once was described as chaos.
    3. Parents have a duty and role to play. However, their children also play a role, and the order found in families is a prerequisite to good societies.  An animal analogy, the herd of sheep I moved and cared for as a hired hand was a collective society.  They had rules, expectations, and those not choosing to follow the herd society regularly found themselves in danger when the weather changed, when a threat was near, and generally were the ones you could count on to be injured or die unexpectedly.
    4. Diary cows, after milking, will run to the farthest fence in a field; if they find the fence strong, the whole herd will congregate, graze, and chew their cud knowing strong fences protect them. In a storm, trusting the fences, the dairy cows will huddle together and move as a unit to protect younger cows and warm each other.  Dairy cows are not terribly different from humans, we push at barriers (laws), and if we find them sufficiently strong, we band together for protection into social circles and groups.  Failure of laws finds society broken and easily conquered by external and internal threats.
    5. Order in human societies remains an essential element in protecting, promoting, and providing social growth and development. Herds of animals, gaggles of geese, flocks of ducks, murder of ravens, etc., all depend upon the order in their society, or that society falls apart and, like iron filings to a magnet, has to reform into new organizations.

Knowledge Check!Are humans really so different from animals?  Are human societies much different from the societies of animals?  I ponder these questions regularly and am not surprised when social problems in humans are resolved by watching animal herds.  Covering a bull in the skin of a horse does not make a bull into a horse.  Castrating a bull does not morph the bull into a cow.  We must understand better the order, the laws, and the social requirements for society.  Animals and humans choose which society (country, town, city, etc.) they prefer.  If they choose to belong to that society, they must obey or onboard that society’s rules and social expectations.Taking Advantage of the 80/20 Rule | People First

Rarely does the 80% of the herd get into trouble, but the 20% of the herd does not sway or influence into danger the other 80%.  Right now, in human societies, there is a vocal 20% who insist that their reality must become the reality of the entire community.  Do we sacrifice the safety and security of the 80% for the choices and lifestyles of the 20%?  This is the question before us, and animal societies have provided the answer if we are willing to act accordingly.

© Copyright 2022 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

Brevis Ipas Vita Est Sed Malis Fit Longior – Adversity

Father Mulcahy 3The title is Latin for “Life is short, but trouble makes it longer.”  Recently I was reminded of the power and blessing of adversity.  One of the comments that struck me was, “You will all experience your own Gethsemane’s.”  Gethsemane is a garden at the foot of the Mount of Olives and became famous in the New Testament for the place where Jesus went to pray and, according to the New Testament, completed the atonement.  Gethsemane remains a symbol of hope for people experiencing trouble, difficulty, or adversity.  However, the thought of us experiencing our own Gethsemane individually intrigues me as a concept.

One of the scriptures that holds a lot of hope for me comes from the Doctrine and Covenants Section 121 7-9:

7 My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
8 And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.
9 Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands
.

Nowhere is recorded how long Jesus spent in Gethsemane; one might presume the time was longer than an hour, but less than 8 hours.  Beyond that, I cannot guess and will not venture an opinion.  However, the thought that adversity will be but a small moment rings like an eternal truth in my mind.  Let me elaborate on this point, my wife and I spent 6-months homeless, living out of our car, showering at her mom’s apartment, and working as often as I could find work.  During this time, I was studying for a master’s in business administration and struggling with depression for feeling like an absolute failure for not being able to provide a home for my spouse.Adversity is an advantage to embrace, not an annoyance to avoid. | Art Coombs Art Coombs

Yet, as I look back on this homelessness period, it seems but a small moment.  While I know mentally that the timeframe was six excruciating months, the truth is that the adversity felt like a moment even during the adversity and the months following.  My friends found during this time were such an incredible solace; my wife’s family and even my studies became lifts to my spirit and a balm to my mental processes.  How grateful I am for the adversity that has shaped me since this event and the incredible people who supported my wife and me.

Interestingly, in M*A*S*H 4077, the final episode “Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen,” the poignancy of Father Mulcahy’s predicament with losing his hearing has become more meaningful since this episode of homelessness.  Indeed life is lived forward and understood backward.  As Father Mulcahy said, “What good is a deaf priest?”  The value is found in learning and living, but the learning and living is the adversity shaping us physically, mentally, and spiritually.Grit - Defined

Long have I pondered what a piece of clay must think as it is placed on a potter’s wheel, and if it realizes that when the potter is done, the adversity on that wheel will make it something beautiful, useful, or both.  Whether you believe in god, God, or gods, what are the adversities in your life making out of you, and will you recognize yourself when the potter is done?  Will you care what the potter has made you?  Those two questions lay on my mind, not with weight, but nonetheless with power.  A final question struck me as Father Mulcahy was marrying Klinger and Sun Lee, will we respect the potter for the work invested in creating us through adversity?

30 Best Adversity Quotes To Regain The Courage | Brainy ReadersIt’s no secret to those who have known me that I did not like serving in the US Navy and the pressure cooker of the USS Barry (DDG 52) from 2000-2004.  I have often cursed and shook my fist at the sky over the experiences during the US Navy.  Yet, even now, the experiences in the US Navy are felt as a small moment, and time does help heal wounds.  Better still, time tends to soften the edges, and one of the other things I have found is that how we choose changes how we remember.  I loved being “haze grey and underway” in the navy.  Many things were better while sailing that worsened to the point of breaking while in port.  More to the point, being “haze grey and underway” was always an adventure, fun, and never dull, even while pulling five and dime watch standing, doing maintenance on a pitching deck, or even climbing the mast while underway to fix something broke.

Adversity QuotesMajor Winchester leaving M*A*S*H in a garbage truck reminds me of my time in the US Navy, very appropriate.  As soon as Major Winchester came to M*A*S*H 4077, I watched to see what pranks could be done to Major Charles Emerson Winchester the third.  I loved watching Charles become the butt of a joke.  Yet, even as I type, I cannot help but wonder, was a garbage truck appropriate; is it disrespectful of the potter to see another person struggle and heap more scorn upon them?  Charles’ life changed dramatically and horribly; his ways of thinking, the path of his life, and even his belief in his own self-worth were constantly challenged and scrutinized.  I can understand Charles’ experiences more now than at any time previously.

Having been homeless multiple times in my life, one of my greatest difficulties is seeing someone putting up their petition for help and not being able to help.  I know there are a lot of scams out there, but that has never mattered to me; not being able to help bothers me greatly.  The war in Ukraine, the orphans left after war and storms, the hunger and depravity in this world, those individual adversities we see all around us.  I always want to help.  Long have I thought if I could relieve an ounce, a dram, a smidge of suffering, I could sleep better at night or know I succeeded at something.  Life has taught me how to fight, then it taught me how to think, and then my body was injured, and I am left stuck somewhere in between—proving that adversity comes in many shapes, colors, sizes, and types!Adversity Quotes

Please know, I am not maudlin or melancholy about my life.  I have some great stories, met some truly amazing people, and lived to tell those tales.  All I ever wanted out of life was to be “an interesting old person,” and if I can keep reading and thinking, and especially writing, I should be able to tell some of those stories.  If I died tomorrow, I could say I lived a rich, full life, with no regrets.  I have no complaints and look forward to learning a lot more.  Bringing up another exciting facet of adversity, the learning that comes through adversity.

For example, did you know you do not teach adults?  Anyone who tells you differently does not know what they are talking about.  Teaching only happens to children, and if those kids are like me, barely even then.  For adults, you help them see their life experiences in a new light, applying existing knowledge to current situations to improve how they think.  You do not teach adults; they teach themselves; as an adult educator, my job is to help them learn how to think.15 Quotes About Overcoming Adversity Never to Forget

I know a kid, now an adult, who had been molested, beaten, and suffered greatly.  Growing into a scrappy adult, this child had experienced the horrible and survived.  Sure, you might teach this kid how to reach a formulaic solution, but the core knowledge of life, this kid held a doctorate.  Adversity had trained this kid how to think, how to act, how to understand, and how to fight back.  While other kids learned how to wield a bat and hit a ball, this kid was learning how to throw punches, duck, dodge, and handle pain.  While some kids learned how to cook, this kid already knew how to cook and could make meals out of practically anything.  Adversity taught this kid, and the student was worthy of the master’s teachings how I have longed to be as apt a pupil to adversity’s teachings as this kid.A Layman's Blog: Pasternak on adversity.............

When considering the potter, as we are placed upon the wheel, then into a kiln, are we clay, easily molded, or a rock choosing to be chased off the potter’s wheel for refusing to change and be moldable?  A young adult uttered the saddest commentary on life I have ever heard.  My father did it this way; his father did it this way; his father did it this way; going back as far as family memory can relate, I am doing it this way.  When I saw the stubbornness of this person, I felt like weeping for the potential lost to generations who choose not to change.  Adversity gets us asking questions; for me, those questions are always about how I improve—improving myself, a process, an environment, the situation, anything that can be changed to drive improvements.John Wooden Quote: "Adversity often produces an unexpected opportunity. Look for it ! Appreciate ...

Another book referred to the “captivity of the fathers.”  In the movie “Fiddler on the Roof,” Tevia sings the song of “Tradition!”  Is adversity trying to tell us there is a better way, and tradition is trying to hold us back?  In previous articles, I discussed how a friend of mine related that he is the first generation of his family who could read, and his children and grandchildren are graduating college because as a child, he was forced onto a bus, driven to Oklahoma, and forced into school and off the Indian reservation.  He experienced traumatic adversity as a child of seven.  The blessing of that adversity has lived and made him every day since, but to make him, the traditions of his fathers had to be forced out of his mind by formal education hundreds of miles from his northern Arizona home.  I weep for that little boy but cheer for the man he became and cherish my friendship with a man who had to justify two worlds.  Beware the traditions of your fathers so they do not become captivity your children must suffer to escape.

Not for any other purpose than trying and making the adversarial moment something I do not have to repeat.  I have repeated too many adversarial moments; there must be a better way to live!  For example, I was forced into bankruptcy twice!  I hope to learn from my mistakes, and if anyone knows how to raise money, improve earnings, and live more fully within one’s means, I am all ears!  If you know how to monetize a website, I will trade for this knowledge and assistance.  Bringing up another powerful tool of adversity, placing us into situations where we can help and will choose to be helped.Adversity Opportunity Quotes. QuotesGram

One of the reasons why some adversarial incidents last as long as they do is because we are proud people, and giving help is easier than accepting help and multitudes of times easier than asking for help.  My first time homeless, I had to get off the streets as walking the streets all night was interfering with my ability to work a complete shift.  Plus, it was cold, and those nights in Auburn, Washington in October and November were miserable!  So, I asked for help from a church, and asking for help was one of the most challenging events in my life.  In fact, asking for help has never gotten easier with time or experience.  I would rather get beat with a brick stick than ask for help; is it any wonder that pride is one of the seven deadly sins?Adversity | Adversity, Lds quotes, Church quotes

To ask for help, I felt I needed to have a plan to repay the money.  I demanded that I stick with that repayment schedule, even after being told, very kindly, that I did not have to repay and that there was no debt to repay.  How often do we make the pains and problems of adversity worse because we struggle to ask for help or feel a need to repay debts when there are no debts?  The reality is that when adversity appears to drag on and on without end, being a relentless taskmaster, many times I am the problem making adversity worse.Adversity Quotes By Famous People. QuotesGram

Bring us back to that garden near the Mount of Olives and the suffering of Jesus Christ.  Leaving me with a final question, how do I know when enough is sufficient?  I do not know how to answer this question, nor am I sure I am asking the right question; I merely know that adversity is not occurring because the intelligence’s of the universe want to see me struggle, adversity is not happening because I committed a crime or deserved being punished.  Adversity is a tool that helps us gain strength and I am weak, and the only way to get my attention is to put me in situations where I can grow through the things I suffer.  But help is always available; this is another lesson adversity teaches.  Help, assistance, support, we are not left bereft of these in our times of need, and this is a comfort and a hope.

Knowledge Check!Let us choose to be more charitable, relieve suffering where we can, ask for help when we need, and choose to make today a little better than yesterday through our involvement in the world around us.  I am not asking anyone to go broke helping those putting up their petitions, and it does not matter where the money goes.  Be the hand reaching out, and you WILL always find a hand reaching out to you; this is the final lesson adversity teaches us.

© Copyright 2022 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

Woman!

Detective 4The majority of this article was drafted before the controversy with the SCOTUS nominee.  The intent is to honor the role of women and woman.  Affirming again that how you choose to live is your business and is between you and whatever god, God, or gods you worship.  Provided you allow others the same rights to life, liberty, and pursue happiness, I do not care how you choose to live.

How you choose to live should not denigrate anyone, let alone biologically living males and females, men and women.  Leading this discussion to answer the simple question posed by US Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn) to SCOTUS nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, “What is a woman?”  Again, affirming the role and embodiment of a woman is more than the sum of her sexual parts; the question does have merit and deserves answered.  What is a woman?

The Bible relates that all creation occurred in six days; on the sixth day, the woman was created as the supreme creation of God, and then God rested on the seventh day.  Not here to argue religion, but to herald that final glorious act of creation, the woman.  How grateful I am for the women in my life.  Various scriptures relate that woman was created so man would not be alone, so a helpmeet was found for Adam, and the woman would be equal to the man in all things.  An interesting dichotomy was found in creating the woman: Adam was created of the dust, but the woman was created from Adam’s side.  According to biblical accounts, no other female in the species created replicated this pattern.  Clearly, there is a lesson for us to understand, acknowledge, and support socially through laws and societal norms.

Male v. FemaleWhat a unique creation the woman is.  Paradoxical in all things, a woman is soft and strong, inflexible and flexile, independent, and a great team member.  What family is complete without a woman and a man?  One of the great truths in life is that man and woman were created separate and dependent, and gender is an eternal construct.  Each person is born male and female, with their creator’s traits, personalities, and intelligence.  Yet what do we see in all modern societies; the continued blurring of lines, roles, and dehumanization of the grandeur of man and woman, but of the two woman, has been taking the worst hits.

Consider fashion; since the feminist movement began, fashion for women has warped and destroyed the modesty, chastity, and glory of a woman.  Fashionistas are trying to make the woman into a young boy at best.  Always to be “fashionable,” the woman is made to squeeze, pinch, and be uncomfortable.  Women’s shoes are a contortion and torture exercise, a balancing act sacrificing function and comfort for some twisted idea of style.  Long have I looked upon the inequality in fashion between men and women and been abhorred, disgusted, and discomfited by the base and profane ideas accepted as “stylish” and “fashionable.”  Women, why do you allow yourself and your high and holy station to be demeaned in the name of “fashion?”

Consider make-up and all the chemicals a woman is “supposed” to use to “improve” her beauty.  The emoluments alone are sufficient to baffle and bewilder, then add the smells and paints, and the woman is taught from day one that being natural is insufficient to being attractive or whole.  Yet, I know differently, for I have seen strong and powerful women who never touch these things and remain effective, regnant, and influential.  Tell me honestly, what you put on your face, to make up, what value is there in this process?  Who told you you needed these chemicals to be a woman?Virtuous Woman 3

Human biology, and I would presume all biological sciences, defines a female as having two X chromosomes, whereas males have an X and a Y chromosome.  I passed biology with high marks but failed zoology as I did not attend enough to be scored.  If there is a biologist who would like to weigh in, please feel free to correct me.  The developing fetus develops as either a male or female as growth occurs in the germinal, embryonic, and fetal stages of life.  The physical characteristics separating males and females are coded into a person’s DNA, and fourth-grade science was apparent on these topics.

Psychology in recent years has declared that a person’s choices can change the gender of a person, but the sex of a person remains coded genetically.  Thus, woman, as a biologically separate class of animals, have different bone structures, hair, glands, skin, hormones, etc., coded from birth, regardless of how that person chooses how to live.  Please allow me to make a strong point, a woman, and for that matter, a man, are more than the sum of their sexual parts.  If this were not true, then those men having sexual reassignment surgery to obtain female genitalia would automatically adopt all the characteristics of a woman upon the conclusion of surgery.  VaccineEstrogen and testosterone, hormones, and chemicals would not need to be supplemented, and the mental processes separating a man and a woman would not need to be fought so assiduously by those having their sex surgically or chemically altered.  Again, supporting the fact that it is psychology and not biology, establishing the difference between biological men and women, and the sum of their sexual parts is a non-issue.

On the topic of psychology, look to the results of choosing to live in a manner opposite of birth sex.  We discover suicides, depression, anxiety, and a host of other mental diseases prevalent in this population, not witnessed to the same degree in different populations.  Why the LGBTQ+ populations have such prevalent and significant occurrences of these mental diseases is a question modern society refuses to research as this has been termed out of bounds as potentially anti-LGBTQ+.  Thus, research supports that the populations of those choosing to live life in this manner have these mental problems but refuses to ask why; do you see a problematic situation?  All this while attacking the role, lifestyles, and position of woman.

20 Inspirational Quotes for Women All Around the WorldUnder the role of woman, there is a title worthy of acknowledgment, and the title is lady.  Like gender, being a lady is a choice, a lifestyle, and contains social obligations, societal expectations, and requires significant effort on the part of the woman to obtain the title lady.  For example, Nancy Reagan was a lady, Hilary Clinton is merely a woman.  What separates these two women is class, respect, dignity, and more, not politics, not personality, and definitely not lifestyles and social circles.  Being a lady requires sacrifice, making choices over long periods of time, and it demands total commitment to achieve.  Females become women through growth, females become ladies by choice and sacrifice, and are granted this title by others.

In attempting to make this distinction clearer, allow me to draw a more specific example between women and ladies.  Gretchen Wilson sings a song, “Redneck Woman.”  The song lists qualities of a woman, specifically a class of woman “Redneck women.”  No aspersions cast, no denigration, and no offense offered.  Frankly, I have deep respect for several redneck women.  I am also proud to know and respect a lot of women who ride horses as cowgirls and rodeo stars, some really kick butt women from the US Military, and more.  But, a lady is phenomenally different by choice, and this is the point.18 Inspiring Independent Women Quotes By Famous & Powerful Women

Great ladies of history include amongst their ranks Katherine Hepburn, Doris Day, Nancy Reagan, Barbara “The Silver Fox” Bush, Abagail Adams, Mary Todd Lincoln, Mother Theresa, Queen Elizabeth II, Margaret Thatcher, Sarah and Esther of Old Testament fame, Mary of New Testament fame, these and more are ladies.  First and foremost, these females are women, strong and independent, then they choose to become ladies and are honored more than mere women or as the sum of their sexual parts.  Women honored, revered, and respected for their contributions to womanhood, society, and sacrifices, women who practiced gentleness, compassion, respect, and kindness as quintessential aspects of their core identity, not for worldly fame or personal gain.  Abraham Lincoln, America’s 16th President, honored two women as mothers and called both ladies of influence.  Yet, Disney would have us believe that all stepmothers are horrible creatures.  A vast chasm exists between women and ladies, and this is but one of the separations or classifications between women; by the choices the woman makes, a lady is created.Strong Women Quotes, Powerful Independent Woman Quotes

In trying to make a point about not hitting women, President Biden accidentally created a problem.  President Biden remarked that nobody should punch a woman in the face.  Distinguishing multiple times in the same speech that hitting a woman in the face, specifically, is not allowed.  As a kid, I learned not to hit women at all; even if being attacked by a woman, a man merely defends themselves restraining a woman if necessary, not to cause additional injury to herself or someone else.  But, Biden implied that only hitting a woman in the face is problematic; what a detestable creature is the man who would hit a woman!  I am not condoning violence in any shape or against any person.  For thousands of years and across hundreds of societies, those who would enact violence, society, rightly, has dolled out steeper punishments to those committing violence against women.Quotes from some of the most Famous Women in History ! - TechStory

Social laws throughout recorded history have always treated women differently.  Sometimes in history, this has been to the detriment and unequal treatment of women, and recently in history, treating women as equals to men is a fact that should be cheered and heralded.  Yet, along comes transgenderism demanding equal treatment under the law, not as a separate but equal category, but supplanting women, representing more attacks on women and womanhood by conspiring men for personal gain.  Don’t believe me; look at the story of the NCAA and the recent swimmer making news and winning championships, and tell me that conspiring men are not attacking the equality of women.  A charade of disrespect is cast before us, slandering women and womanhood for some amorphous and ambiguous term for lifestyle choices and not sound science, or respectful dialogue about laws.

Knowledge Check!I conclude where I began, respecting women, honoring ladies, and decrying the attack on women and womanhood as the demented and twisted attack of conspiring men and women who would see women destroyed upon the altar of political correctness.  Ladies, you have my respect, admiration, and sword, for you are deserving.  Women, you have my respect for the roles you fill as opposites of men and your work as mothers, teachers, and the co-equal helpmeet of men.  May those conspiring to destroy you be found buried in the hole they have dug for your destruction.

© Copyright 2022 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

Flashes – The Law of the Harvest

Exclamation MarkConsider a well-known truth that never appears to be fully understood, does a man sow thistles and reap strawberries?  Leo J. Muir’s book, “Flashes from the Eternal Semaphore,” lists this as the fifth semaphore, and of the six semaphores, this one is probably my favorite to discuss.  Not because I am sowing rocks and reaping corn and beans, but because I often sow rancid vegetables and reap garbage, then wonder why I cannot improve my harvest.  As the writings on flash four stated, “Thy speech betrayeth thee,” I am a slow learned and generally only really grasp things after experiencing some consequences that would kill others.  As we discuss the Law of the Harvest, please note I am not here to convince or convert, merely to help myself.  If you find value in this topic, join me, teach me, that we may both then learn more perfectly.

The law of the harvest is straightforward; many farmers know this law cold, “You reap what you sow.”  If you sow lima beans, you do not raise grapes.  If you are sowing carrots, you cannot harvest apples.  No matter how many times you plant them, Cheerios do not sprout a doughnut tree; I know as I planted a LOT of Cheerios.  Bubble gum, when planted, never grows into a bubble gum tree; my mother lied!

Yet, with this mindset, many people, myself included, become depressed, disconnected from reality, and mentally unstable.  Thinking, oh, I can sow gossip and truth, and equity and justice will be shown to me.  I can tell lies, cheat, steal, then become rich, famous, and never have any negative consequences.  I can take and plant some cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, etc., in my body and remain healthy, strong, active, and never suffer mentally, emotionally, or spiritually.  The law of the harvest doesn’t work like this, yet, this remains the greatest living lie.Quotes About Reaping What You Sow. QuotesGram

From the eternal semaphore comes the following:

Be NOT Deceived!  [emphasis mine]”

Now, consider how many people drink alcohol and expect not to suffer a hangover.  Consider the people consuming vast amounts of sugar, in all its various forms, who think they will never suffer diabetes, become overweight, or suffer any consequences from all that sugar.  My aunt is a great woman, fantastic artist, amazingly kind and generous person, and a chocoholic.  She never thought about the consequences of consuming chocolate because the research shows chocolate is healthy; she never could overcome the mental illness she suffered from that the chocolate was a comforting influence.  Her family mourns her passing!

The law of the harvest is a stern warning and an incredible promise.

He that soweth to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”

The pattern is evident for those struggling who sow goodness, kindness, and happiness.  Hold on; your harvest WILL come, and it will be glorious.  In the same breath, those sowing hate, envy, strife, malice, greed, and so much more, your harvest is also coming, and I feel awful for what your harvest will be.  For the law of the harvest comes with a profound sentiment:

God will not be mocked.”Frederick William Robertson Quote: "You reap what you sow - not something else, but that. An act ...

I promise, there is a God, an atonement IS available through His Son, and the Holy Ghost is real and powerful.  The enclosed sentiment in the Law of the Harvest remains my comfort when harvesting the bitter fruits my heart grows.  Yes, many times, I quake for the thought that I desperately need to find a way to raise a better crop on the stony ground of my heart.  Long have I prayed for a change of heart, for a line from Stephen King’s “Pet Sematary” rings forever in my mind:

The soil of a man’s heart is stony ground.  A man grows what he can, and he tends it.  ‘Cause, what you buy is what you own.  And what you own… always comes home to you.”

If you get nothing more out of this flash than the need to change fertilizers and seeds, all with an eye to improving your harvest, I have accomplished my goal.  Confucius is quoted as saying, “Our headstrong passions shut the doors of our souls against God.”  What great counsel, our passions are the seeds, the consequences are the fruit, and the law of the harvest governs whether we will have a harvest to enjoy or curse, and we choose how to value that harvest.

Bear with me a moment; I might have lost a few of you.  Let me explain.  As a kid, we often had gardens, and I was regularly on the working end of a hoe killing weeds.  I cursed those weeds; I despised every second I wielded that hoe in the garden.  My cherub-like demeanor was nowhere to be found working those garden rows!  Then came the endless days of harvesting, canning, storing, and eating that which could not be stored; I still was NOT a happy person.  Ever eat zucchini for weeks on end because that horrible stuff reproduces like rabbits in perpetual heat whose water is full of Viagra?You reap what you sow. #bible #liveBigly #life #affiliate #quote #inspiration #message #world # ...

That is the point; when the harvest comes, and a harvest always comes, we choose how we value that which is being harvested.  My father tried hard to teach me this lesson, but all I ever saw were the endless hours sweating in a kitchen preparing jars for canning, the blisters from hoeing the weeds, and the time spent doing that which we would eventually purchase in cans as winter dragged on and on.  I could not see any value in gardening, so the blessings of the harvest were lost on me.  Headstrong passions blinded my eyes to the blessings of the harvest, and I cursed the day I was conceived.  Confucius is correct, and I have witnessed the problems with headstrong passions interfering with the Law of the Harvest many times since.

I am also experiencing the truth from Cicero:

A youth of sensuality and intemperance delivers over to old age a worn-out body.”

I would add, an intemperate youth also yields a worn-out mind!  Having observed this as a youth, I thought I could escape the problems of being intemperate, and I can honestly proclaim, I was wrong!  Since my youth, I lifted objects heavier than practical; I gloried in the strength of my body and pushed it to the absolute limit many times.  What am I reaping; I was disabled by the time I was 30.  I am now older but not wiser.  I still want to push my boundaries without regard for consequences and wind up on the floor, in hospital, or mentally unable to think properly for weeks on end.  As a kid, when my parents were told of one of their kids being punished (a not infrequent occurrence), they regularly said, “Well, he brought that on himself.”  To quote Ray Stevens, “Yeah, I Did!”  I did bring on myself the harvest of intemperance and am delivering a worn-out body and mind to old-age.  There are lots of seeds we plant and many different types of harvests we reap.  When valuing the harvest, choose wisely how you evaluate the crop.#everything #you #do #say #choice #soon #later #quote #lessons #learned #life | Lessons learned ...

Pliny, more famously known as Gaius Plinius Secundus, also known as Pliny, the Elder,” was a Roman author, naturalist, philosopher, and naval and army commander.  He is quoted as saying:

Lust is an enemy to the purse, a foe to the person, [a] canker to the mind, a corrosive to the conscience, a weakness of the wit, a besotter of the senses, and finally a mortal bane to all of the body.”

Lust is regularly only thought of as an intense sexual desire.  This type of lust definitely fits what Pliny is warning about; however, lust is also an overwhelming craving, unassailable desire, and intense eagerness or enthusiasm.  Yet, many might not fully grasp the semaphore Pliny is flashing; Henry Wordsworth Longfellow might be easier to understand:

The blossoms of passion, gay and luxuriant flowers, are bright and full of fragrance, but they beguile us and lead us astray, and their odor is deadly.”

Henry Giles and John Howe are both flashing the same message, trying to capture our attention and teach the same lesson:

The passions are at once tempters and chastisers.  As tempters, they come with garlands of flowers on brows of youth; as chastisers, they appear with wreaths of snakes on the forehead of deformity.  They are angels of light in their delusions; they are fiends of torment in their afflictions.”

Sensual delights soon end in loathing, quickly bring a glutting surfeit, and degenerate into torment.”

What do you regret from your youth as the first tastes of passion’s deadly fruits?  Let me speak plainer; of course, you remember your first time in love, the rush of passions start, and the heartbreak of closure.  Do you see the seeds of passion and the harvested fruits as beneficial or deadly?  I know my answers to this question and understand more fully why modesty, chastity, and virtue are to be honored, respected, and cherished.  You choose how you evaluate your experiences.You reap what you sow | Everyday quotes, Peace quotes, One word inspiration

I currently work with a person who curses their ex-wife in the vilest language imaginable, yet, they praise their child in the same breath and bless the day they came into their life.  What seeds are being planted in the child, the co-workers, and society?  Will the bitter fruit be understood and evaluated as good?  Time will tell.  Byron summed this semaphore perfectly:

Vice digs her own voluptuous tomb.”

Of all the advice given, I wish I had observed the following more perfectly, and while I do not know the author, many have semaphored the following message in one form or another:

Shun the obscene!”

A long time back, exactly when escaped me, I watched a comedian who told some off-color stories for the audience’s amusement.  Those seeds bore some of the most pernicious weeds in my mind, choking out life and pleasure, goodness, and all things clean and kind.  Killing those weeds is a constant exercise, some would classify as futile.  But, I have chosen differently and fought those weeds desiring something better, and the fight continues.  I do not find swearing, debauchery, lewdness, immorality, perversion, and such amusing anymore.  When I came to myself, I cleaned out a LOT of entertainment, removing books, magazines, music, movies, and more in an effort to cling to the good and shun the obscene.  I had to re-learn lessons from childhood.

Now I look back on those mistakes, those seeds planted carelessly, and the bitter and thorny weeds I now fight and wish I could help others understand the same lesson I learned.  Not shunning the obscene leads to problems immeasurable.  In the US Navy, I had a good acquaintance who went to a party, was slipped a mickey, and woke up having been raped by another female.  I counseled my friend to report this event and get tested.  My friend declined because she “did not know if she liked it or not.”  I mourned my friend that day and many days after as she experienced what happened after not shunning the obscene.  Before she revealed her true self, her rapist was a person I respected and who was removed from military service for other actions.  But the crime of rape went unreported, a sad commentary indeed!  John Howe was absolutely correct:

Sensual delights soon end in loathing, quickly bring a glutting surfeit, and degenerate into torment.”

Quotes You Reap What You SowMy friend’s experience in the US Navy always brings a poem to mind courtesy of Alexander Pope:

Vice is a monster of so frightful mien
as to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace
.”

The truth of the matter remains permanently etched upon our souls or consciousness, “You reap what you sow.”  We inherently know this truth, and then become sidetracked by temptation, which comes in the forms of misery, depression, beauty, emotions, and more; wrapped in shiny foil, the fruit inside is always bitter, but the first bite is a temptation that over time becomes that which we would have died to avoid.  Robert Southey, the English poet, semaphored this message thusly:

They who engage in iniquitous designs deceive themselves into thinking that they will go so far and no farther.  One fault begets another; one crime makes another necessary.  Thus downward they go into the depths of guilt, which at the commencement of their career they would have died rather than incurred.”

QuestionCan you relate to your experiences with planting and harvesting?  What are you teaching and semaphoring?  Dr. Johnson adds a comment worth remembering: “The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.”  While Dr. Johnson is correct, there is a “Balm in Gilead,” there are chain cutters available through repentance and a path back.  There is a reason to hope!  Not speaking religiously, nor am I here to convert anyone to any religious flavor, merely to alert those needing it that there is a way to clean your mind and heart, that your future may produce a better harvest.  Even if you might have to harvest garbage for a while as the ground cleans itself of the impurities dumped into it.  Mr. Muir quotes Simons, a reference unknown, regarding the path:

Impure thoughts awaken impure feelings, lead to impure expressions, and beget impure actions, and these lead to imbecility both of body and of mind, and to the ruin of all that is noble and pure in character.”

We who have survived youthful transgressions understand this path perfectly.  Note, we live in an age of severe iconoclasm, where every day, we are bombarded by attacks on established beliefs by institutions built for the sole purpose of tearing down others.  Who cannot replace their depravity and destruction with anything wholesome, good, pure, or worthwhile.  Where beliefs of religion, societal norms, and institutions representing the living and breathing were destroyed for the wanton pleasure of the iconoclasts.  The age of the iconoclasts began with the 1960s, and nothing built since is worth the pain and suffering we are experiencing now.  Worse, those iconoclasts from the 1960s are now teachers and professors, elected leaders, and their legacy of destruction stares them in the face while they laugh and take pleasure at your suffering.Quotes About Reaping What You Sow. QuotesGram

With each successive generation of iconoclastic behavior, the succeeding generations are a factor of 10 worse than their parents.  Think of how many generations have come and multiplied this abhorrent behavior into society.  Is it any wonder as a society we are in the mess we are in, where criminals get off, the victims are repeatedly punished, good is heralded as evil and evil for good.  But, I promise there is a “Balm in Gilead,” there is a path forward that leads back to life, growth, happiness, goodness, and a morally upright society.  Shunning the obscene is the first step!

Knowledge Check!We must be the generation that begins the repair job from the iconoclast’s destruction.  The ravages inflicted upon us will require re-learning, embracing hope, building faith, and acting charitably through faith and hope to act charitably first to ourselves, then to our families and friends, and then to the broader societies we all live in.  Whether you embrace a religious community or not, the imperative to “Shun the obscene:” the need to sow better crops to reap a more desirable harvest valued by others is universal.  Not to create fervor and fanaticism, but to create a people dedicated to improving ourselves and after improving ourselves to improve the world around us.

May we all enjoy a better harvest is my hope!

© Copyright 2022 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

Flashes – Speech: An Honest and Frank Discussion

Bobblehead DollBefore I begin, I need to make clear that I am a full-on total failure on this topic.  No ifs, ands, or buts, I struggle with controlling my thoughts and fight continuously to curb my tongue.  My intent is to help be a road sign of what traps to avoid, for maybe I can then learn to improve.  As a soldier, I struggled but appeared to master my spoken words for a time.  But controlling thoughts, especially those where I want to fight, kick, and scream, remains a challenge.  As a sailor, forget about it; I even learned new language and taught how to swear more effectively.  Oi, I do need to change this aspect of me!  I am reminded of the words from an anonymous author:

Of thine unspoken word thou art master; thy spoken word is master of thee.”

Of all the truths most evident in today’s culture, none compares to this simple truth speak, and your words become your master.  In the New Testament, Gospel of Matthew, 26:73, the reader finds the following:

Thy speech betrayeth thee…”

While said to identify a Galilean, the sentiment remains particularly powerful; consider the axiom “swearing like a sailor.”  As a child, when a person broke out in a rainbow-colored diatribe, people automatically assumed the speaker had been or was currently a sailor.  I respected several people who constantly swore as they were tough, rugged, and individualistic.  When I used those exact words, I wound up eating a lot of soap!  Indeed, your speech betrays who you are, your intelligence, and your willingness to conform to a societal communication standard.https://i0.wp.com/www.quotehd.com/imagequotes/authors4/publilius-syrus-quote-speech-is-the-mirror-of-the-soul-as-a-man-speaks.jpg

Speaking of my childhood, I was raised in a home by hippies, but we had three rules we were obliged to follow:

  1. Thou shalt use the King’s English.
  2. Thou shalt properly pronounce and annunciate your words.
  3. Thou shalt not use any word if you do not know the meaning of that term and can find it in the dictionary.

The dictionary of my youth was not full and complete, and I have long since learned that there are many dictionaries in existence.  That being said, there are ways, mannerisms, and styles of speaking that our constant moving introduced us to; having now traveled ¾’s of the way around the globe, and having met thousands upon thousands of people, the rules of social etiquette where speech is concerned remain powerfully appropriate.  Each society has its communication standards, requirements, and even specialized language.  With that said, general society also has its own rules, styles, and conditions that, when in public, should be respected.Speech Therapist Quotes. QuotesGram

For example, I had spoken to people who chose to be offended when a man spoke harshly, or with colorful language, in front of children or to a female.  I mistakenly dropped a colorful rant in front of some elderly people who were strong enough of character to issue a verbal harangue to me for breaching social etiquette.  How grateful I am for their remonstrations.  The words of Solomon come to mind:

The tongue of the wise is in his heart; the heart of the fool is in his mouth.”

It never surprises me how often this flash from the eternal semaphore is being communicated to the world, “Hold thy tongue” for “Thy speech betrayeth thee!”  All through the history of man, many a philosopher, author, speaker, and leader has uttered words to be careful how and what you say, for “Thy speech betrayeth thee.”  One of my favorite from this category is Halifax, who is quoted as saying:

True merit is like a river; the deeper it is, the less noise it makes.”

It was my very great displeasure to work for a person in the US Navy who was a fool.  No merit, no redeeming grace, lazy, obnoxious, and he had risen to the maximum level of his incompetence as a Fireman (E3), and his current rank was Second-Class Petty Officer (E-5).  This person could not be trusted to complete any work but talked a good game; the department chief pulled me aside and told me on my first day, “He talks a good game.”  The chief meant this dude was full of BS, but the chief also highly favored this person, and it was my fault I spoke better and less.  Hence, I was to be punished with every dirty job, horrible detail, and tedious task until this twit left the ship.  Truly, every time he opened his mouth, his ignorance was displayed for the world to see, and I often swore his jaw was double-hung to allow him to blather tediously 24/7.  Even sleeping, this guy’s ignorance was displayed heroically.Speech Quotes. QuotesGram

I do not know the author, but the following is spot-on:

Look out for your tongue; it resides in a wet place and may slip.”

You can tell the kind of wheels a man has in his head by the spokes that come out of his mouth.”

Elbert Hubbard is the author of the best one; it has been quoted to me numerous times.  “After all, perhaps it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.”  The last three quotes strongly introduce a truth, knowledge is a check on the tongue.  Knowledge is a composite of education (formal and informal), time, and reflection after experiences.  The idea of knowledge is to allow yourself the time to fail into wisdom, to reflect on better paths, and spend time discovering how to improve using the formal and informal education received.  There are certainly times when I think I have failed enough; I have sufficiently reflected and obtained the education, when do I obtain the knowledge?  These moments serve to pop my ever capacious ego!"Mend your speech a little, Lest you may mar your fortunes." - Kwize

Jeremy Taylor provides counsel on the power of knowledge worthy of consideration:

Great knowledge, if it be without vanity, is the most severe bridle of the tongue.  For I have heard all the noise and pratings of the pool, the croakings of frogs and toads, are hushed and appeased when the light of a candle or a torch is brought upon them.  Every beam of reason and every ray of knowledge checks the dissolution of the tongue.”

Since knowledge has been defined, knowledge without vanity, let’s review vanity.  I kick against a lot of pricks.  I hate bullies, liars, and despise thieves with the passion equivalent to a thousand suns.  Yet, vanity provides an interesting lesson; excessive pride, conceit, worthlessness, pointlessness, or futility describe vanity.  Superiority is synonymous with vanity.  While I do not feel superior to anyone, I have been counseled to stop showing superiority many times.  I am not vane in my appearance, and I am not conceited (possessing fanciful ideas of oneself worth); I would think vanity is part of my problem in curbing my tongue—knowledge without vanity, a worthwhile subject to study.https://i0.wp.com/statusmind.com/images/2015/01/Smart-Quotes-54212-statusmind.com.jpg

Bringing up an interesting point; in fact, it was a question I asked a supervisor in the US Navy.  If I possess a lot of knowledge from reading and learning, is it vanity (or superiority) to readily use that knowledge?  My bosses told me I was narcissistic for possessing all this knowledge and wanting to share it; I pointedly disagreed.  Yet, even when dropping foul deprecations, my speech still betrayed me, and I was considered a fool for “casting my pearls before swine.”  Leo J. Muir was given fatherly advice through his older brother:

Keep your feet warm; your head cool; your mouth shut; your eyes open, and you will get along all right.”

What wonderful advice; I wish, like anything, I could apply that last bit about keeping my mouth shut.  I answer when someone asks a question, even when I shouldn’t.  I tend to start conversations, especially when I should not.  I am so excited to share; I even talk to myself and about myself in the third person, just to speak.  I wonder if this reflects what Homer was talking about:

The smaller the caliber of mind, the greater the bore of a perpetually open mouth.”

Since moving to an employment situation where I work from home, I have learned the truth of this old rhyme:

A wise old owl lived in an oak;
The more he saw, the less he spoke;
The less he spoke, the more he heard;
Now wasn’t that a wise old bird?

Often I have asked, how do I live more like this wise old bird?  The answers elude me.  Yet, knowledge is power, the power to act, think, and speak.  But, knowledge is not authority and authority is the key to understanding when and where to speak.  On my first day in the US Army, I made this mistake on a grand scale; you would think I would have learned over time, or at least over a couple of hundred push-ups.  You would be mistaken, though; I did not learn what I should have learned long before my first day in the US Army.  I met some incredible people while pushing Fort Leonardwood to China, but that’s a story for a different venue.Quotes About Public Speaking. QuotesGram

In Christendom, there is a story, true or not; it relays a truth.  As Jesus was about to bestow speech upon a man mute from birth, it is related that the Savior of the world stopped for a moment, cast his eyes heavenward, and paused in contemplative thought.  Considering how great a power He was about to bestow upon a person.  The ability to get into and out of trouble using speech, a faculty of passion, power, and peril; indeed, the Master might hesitate, and so should we.  In reading and watching the unfolding drama in Ukraine, I am often caught thinking about the peril in speaking, especially when President Biden opens his mouth.  Socrates was right, “Know thyself!” kingly counsel indeed.

Interestingly, and in conclusion, there is one more power-filled truth to expound upon, the words uttered represent the heart.  When “Thy speech betrayeth thee,” the words uttered represent the heart displayed for good or ill.  Of all the truths discussed, this one brings me to pause before discussing further.  Long have I prayed for a change of heart, for a line from Stephen King’s “Pet Sematary” rings forever in my mind:

The soil of a man’s heart is stony ground.  A man grows what he can, and he tends it.  ‘Cause, what you buy is what you own.  And what you own… always comes home to you.”

Knowledge Check!I have tended some bitter fruit because that was all the stony ground my heart would grow.  I own that bitter fruit, and bitter fruit comes home, generally because I opened my mouth.  Surely, “Thy speech betrayeth thee.”  May you, dear reader, find wisdom in my sign and learn better, so you may teach more perfectly.

© Copyright 2022 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

Flashes – How is your quest for JOY coming?

Bobblehead DollLong before I read Leo J. Muir’s book, “Flashes from the Eternal Semaphore,” I knew I wanted to find joy.  But, I was stuck; what is joy and how do I identify joy were my first two obstacles.  Yet, from many sources comes the following, in many different forms:

Man is that he might find joy.”

What is Joy?

An appeal to the dictionary confuses joy and happiness, forming part of the problem where understanding joy is concerned.  The closest definition for joy coming from the dictionary is to define joy as an ecstatic feeling, pleasure, or deep satisfaction.  But, if a person goes around chasing a euphoric feeling, they will be disappointed in pursuing joy.  If we consider joy as not an emotion but the result of an unexpected event that creates feelings of peace and contentment, then joy is more fully understood, but the quest for joy becomes more challenging to pursue.  How does one pursue an unexpected gift?

Christians, and some Jews, share a description of joy as a “good feeling in the soul, produced by a visit from the Holy Ghost (Spirit); thus, joy is felt as a consequence of a visit from another being.  However, unless you pursue education into those religions, you still might not fully grasp what joy is and why we seek joy so ardently.  One of the most straightforward descriptions for joy comes from the writings of Pope, an English author from the 16th century who wrote:

Reason’s whole pleasure, all the joys of sense, lie in the three words –health, peace, and competence.”

Hence the pursuit of joy is gaining health, peace, and competence.  So we can conclude that joy is found in possessing health, peace, and competence, as a consequence or good feeling stemming from achieving these three items.  Now, I know someone will get bent out of shape here; what if I have poor health, how can I pursue joy?  The answer lies in understanding peace and competence as co-equal parts of health.50+ Joy Quotes - a Perspective on Life | iCreateDaily | Quotes

Recently on YouTube, I watched an amputee discuss their amputation, health, peace, and display their competence.  One could argue that losing a foot is poor health, yet this person glows with good health for having joined health to peace and competence.  By the same token, I know several people who possess poor health, are depressed from not finding peace, and are not competent.  While working with mental health patients, I met a person in a wheelchair who cannot walk, can barely speak, and this person chooses to live on the street in misery.  This person has plenty of money for an apartment but chooses to live on the street eating from garbage cans in abject misery.  Thus, we can see the need for combining health, peace, and competence to obtain joy.  One might even define joy as a consequence of choices that build a life.  However, and this is critical, the feelings of joy are internal!

Imperative to understanding joy as a consequence is the need to grasp that joy is an internal feeling of ecstasy, delight, and wonder while dependent upon health, peace, and competence.  We cannot understate this importance nor overstate the criticality of joy to the combination of health, peace, and competence.  I have met very depressed people who possess competence but cannot find joy.  I have met people with great health and who are miserable.  Possessing one or two of these components does not disqualify you from obtaining joy or pursuing joy, but lacking all three will not produce joy in any quantity or with any staying power.  Joy is not an event in life but a collection of events from life, where “everything just clicked.”50+ Joy Quotes - a Perspective on Life | iCreateDaily | Quotes

Finally, it must be expressly noted joy is not an emotion; thus, joy cannot be chosen from a list of emotions to fit circumstances.  Since joy is not an emotion, this is where happy and joy are most often confused.  If an external event occurs, and health, peace, and competence are not present, happiness, not joy, is being felt or experienced.  If health, peace, and competence are present, and the feeling of joy swells inside, independent of all other factors, then joy is being experienced.

Case in point, in the US Navy, I served in a toxic working environment as a highly competent sailor.  I possessed health and, through inner strength, enjoyed peace inside myself.  Frequently, I would experience joy, even though external elements and environments appeared expressly designed to “make me miserable.”  By choosing to disallow an external event to choose my emotions, peace was mine, and joy was a consequence.Joy Quotes 3 | QuoteReel

Another English author from the 16th century was Edward Young, who concluded the following:

On the soft bed of luxury, most kingdoms have expired.”

What is happiness?

The definition of happiness is as convoluted as the definition of joy.  Consider the following: “Any state of being, having considerable permanence, in which pleasure predominates over pain.”  Yeah, that’s going to help a person understand!  Sarcasm aside, the definitions of happiness also include some interesting aspects for consideration: fortuitous aptness or fitness, grace, beauty, and felicitousness.  Happiness is also the quality or state of being happy, as if that actually helps.

Happy, the root word of happiness, is defined as cheerful, willing, possessing good luck or fortunate, a marked pleasure satisfaction, or showing the same.  What the dictionary skips, and the elements needed for understanding happy and happiness, is that being happy relies upon external factors and is a choice.  We choose to emote happy or happiness based upon external forces, societies, people, events, and environments.Spread Happiness Quotes. QuotesGram

Steven Aitchison is quoted as saying, “Happiness begins with the decision to no longer feel sad.”  Is it clear that happiness, like all emotions, is a choice?  The importance of choosing our emotions cannot be understated, and many of life’s biggest problems would disappear if we chose better emotional responses to external stimuli.  Aristotle provides the final word on happiness:

True happiness comes from gaining insight and growing into your best possible self.  Otherwise, all you’re having is immediate gratification pleasure, which is fleeting and doesn’t grow you as a person.”

What is the difference between Joy and Happiness?

Of a truth for certain, confusing Joy and Happiness leads to despair, misery, and failure.  Please keep the following clearly in mind; happiness is external.  Happiness is based on situations, events, people, places, things, and thoughts.  Happiness is connected to your hope.  Believe it or not, the following observation is not religious thinking, faith builds hope, hope builds charity, and charity is nothing but an outward action of an inner commitment (faith).  Happiness is faith and hope expressed for everyone to see.  Put the words in any order and use a thesaurus.  The result never varies; happiness is a consequence (resulting from) of faith and hope combined into action, and others might call that action charity.Quotes about happiness

If further questions arise about distinguishing between joy and happiness, please review the above definitions where I have attempted to clarify the delineation.  One essential factor in pursuing peace is time to reflect, which promotes peace and distills into competence.  Competence breeds from education (formal and informal) applied over time and understood through reflection.  Peace is stability, mental calm and derives from reflection and additional education (formal and informal).  Health can be physical, mental, and spiritual, but of these three, mental and spiritual are more important than physical health.  Again, when combined, independent of all external forces and environments, joy is the consequence, not happiness!

Please allow me to point out something truly obvious when a person wishes you joy, they generally also include happiness as an addition to their blessing.  For example, the Whitney Houston song whose lyrics claim:

I wish to you joy and happiness.  But above all this, I wish you love.”

Thus confirming that joy and happiness are two distinct and separate entities.  The US Constitution allows and encourages a person to pursue “Life, liberty, and happiness” as inalienable rights.”  Joy is not included!  Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying:

The US Constitution doesn’t guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it.  You have to catch up with it yourself.”

The Quest for Joy

The quest for joy begins with education (formal and informal) as a building block for competence and to begin the process of finding peace.  While influenced by external factors (drugs, alcohol, disease, viruses, bacteria, etc.), health requires mental and spiritual inputs and is not content without peace.  Choosing to accept physical limitations is part of building mental and spiritual peace, and the human body cannot long survive without mental and spiritual health and peace, but the body can long endure physical health problems if mental and spiritual health remains.Meme Quotes » Happiness

Another truth becomes evident when questing for joy, “Joy dwells in the ordinary.”  Consider this for a moment; a person gives another person a flower.  Ordinary, simplistic, and yet this giving provides joy to the giver and receiver.  How swift and fleeting is the happiness of Christmas, where the gifts are generally more extravagant, costly, and luxurious, but a simple flower can spark a world of memories.

Why bees & biodiversity benefit from indigenous wildflowersMy granddaughter, a toddler at the time, and I took a walk.  She found a wildflower in the midst of thousands of other flowers on this walk which was important to her.  Upon our walk concluding, we pressed that flower into a book.  The time spent with her remains a cherished memory for me, and when I see wildflowers, the memories of this walk and flower pressing come back readily.  Truly, joy is found in the ordinary!

Elbert Hubbard reminds us that:

Ozone and friendship will be our stimulants – let the drugs, tobacco, and strong drink go forever.  Natural joy brings no headaches and no heartaches.”

Why; because natural joy combines health, peace, and competence into a powerful force.  No further stimulation is needed or wanted.  Bulwer Lytton provides the best flashing sign for contemplation:

We lose the peace of years when we hunt after the rapture of the moments.”

What will you sacrifice in the quest for joy, the peace of years, or the rapture of moments?  One of the most miserable people I have ever met chased rapture in the moments and could not understand why chasing momentous euphoria did not lead to anything other than the chase for more rapturous moments.  Like any drug, the mind and body build a resistance to the drug over time, and more and more of the drug is required to obtain a similar experience.  Be the drug sugar, chocolate, heroin, cocaine, tobacco, alcohol, etc., the pattern is the same, and the consequences are the same.  Depression, anxiety, addiction, destruction, call the consequences what you will, chasing the rapture of moments is death.

We conclude with the following from Robert Louis Stevenson, may his words ring out on our journey for joy as a beacon and a sounding board to base decisions upon:

He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much; who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who has never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauties, nor failed to express it; who has always looked for the best in others and given the best he has; whose life is an inspiration; whose memory, a benediction.”

May your quest for joy be fruitful!

© Copyright 2022 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

Year End (2021) – An After Action Report

Bobblehead DollBetween Christmas and New Year 2019, I accepted an offer to write more frequently for a group that, at the time, was calling itself “No More BS.”  What an amazing opportunity the challenge to write more regularly became, and how much I have come to enjoy writing.  Like all things in life, the challenge came with a cost; I had exhausted myself mentally, I was spent by October.  Physically my body could not answer the call of my mind, and my mind was screaming at me to stop.  Let’s talk about drivers and BS, for the importance to American society success is found in ending the BS.

Little Joey Biden and his Afghanistan Debacle are still unfolding, and I fully admit this turn of events from August 2021 has left me numb.  When America left Hanoi (April 1975) and Vietnam fell, many Americans, especially veterans, felt defeated in ways hard to describe.  Who knew that in such a short space of time (less than 50 years), America would repeat Hanoi (August 2021) by a couple of magnitudes?  Some very cynical veterans I know suspected the politicization of Afghanistan would lead to a repeat of history; but, I can honestly say I never expected Biden to act in such a disastrous and self-defeating manner.

Leaving Americans, allies, and stakeholders on the ground, holding the bag of responsibility, remains the quintessential yellow-spine craven move of the new century.  One of the greatest insults from my time in the US Military was the corporatization of the military officer corps.  Disconnecting responsibility and accountability, honoring weak-kneed drivel to the detriment of the professional NCOs and the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines has been utterly unacceptable.  Why; because every corporatized military in history has failed!  Now, America has Afghanistan and Vietnam, and the government leaders refuse to acknowledge they are the problem, and the sitting president rewards pubescent behavior.  Sickening!Angry Grizzly Bear

The military, to be effective, must be out of sync with the society they protect.  A sacrifice principle is required from those who love country more than themselves and voluntarily wear their country’s uniform.  Yet, the politics and political leaders refuse to allow the military to act at home and abroad, so we repeat history.  May I ask, how many more Vietnam’s and Afghanistan’s does America need to relive before accepting that personal sacrifice is quintessential to a strong military?  Mr. President, Little Joey, when does the BS end, and the motivation to lead return from bureaucratic hands to professional officers and NCOs?  For I warn you, what you have right now is a mob, and you desperately need a military!

But, Afghanistan, in all its depravity, is not the only outrage from this year where BS needs to end.  Consider something with me, the power of jury trials.  High-profile trials have been occurring and continue through this holiday season and end-of-year celebrations.  How incredibly grateful I am for the rule of Constitutional Law that provides for a jury by peers.  More often than not, juries get the law right and hand down fair verdicts.  Yet, the Corporate Media refuses to accept that jury trials are the best method for handling problems in a constitutional society.  I have seen the media meltdowns repeatedly when juries hand down verdicts the media have tried and failed to influence.

Now ask yourself, dear reader, why does the media try cases before all the facts have been presented?  Power, the answer remains ever simple, the media have become what they consider as THE single greatest power in American society.  The self-delusion is a steaming hot pile of BS dished up for public consumption 24/7/365, and the media refuses to eat the BS they are serving.  Considering themselves better than common citizens, above the law, the media companies have decided they can arbitrate, decide, and deserve to be listened to and obeyed.  Well, jury trials work, and it is time more journalists are introduced to the concept through defending themselves in a court of law.

QuestionWorse than the corporatization of the US Military has been the continual erosion of the rule of law.  The Uniform Code of Military Justice is regularly abused for the benefit of the powerful and the destruction of the weak.  When the law is cheapened, joked about, and castigated, the trust in civil society is broken, and the military is but a smaller example of what is occurring in American society as a whole.  When warriors are not judged by their deeds, but upon their political connections, the society hiring warriors, training warriors, and sending them into harm’s way will quickly find the warriors are gone.  Their replacements are not worth the honor and trust.  Leading to society being taken over and destroyed.

Feel free to disagree, but Rome remains the quintessential example in history of what happens when a republic fails to accept social consequences, infects its society from within, and then picks fights with neighbors.  Rome had the greatest military in recorded history, and it fell ingloriously all because the military, a microcosm of the society as a whole, decided politics was more important than the rule of law.  Popularity became more important than law and obedience to the rule of law.  Who taught Rome to fall; who brought the Roman Legions to their knees?  Look no further than their politically elected leaders who spent their time and the people’s money in riotous living, perversions, and trying to evade responsibility for their actions.  Tell me, are we not seeing the same exact abuses in current society that is witnessed on the pages of history with Rome falling?

What is the only difference between Rome’s fall and any other government with elected political leaders?  Advanced weaponry to include nuclear weapons.  What is the only safeguard in republican and democratic societies strong enough to save those societies from repeating Rome’s example; learning history and obeying the rule of law.  Of the two, learning history is more important, which is why learning history was the second casualty in the fight to overthrow the rule of law.  The first casualty was teaching students how to read.

The abuse of children remains an utter abomination, and rightly so.  But until the political leaders can be made to accept they are facilitating abusers of children masquerading as K-12 School Districts and teachers, the abuse of children, the wasting of precious resources, and the sacrifice of innocence will continue and worsen.  In Virginia’s gubernatorial election this past November, the central theme was public education.  Virginia, as your newly elected officials come into power, are you willing to watch those elected and demand they obey the electorate’s will and change education in your commonwealth?Lemmings 1

Over the holiday, I watched heart-wrenching videos of parents who almost lost their child to suicide because the teachers groomed the child into transgenderism, all without the parent’s knowledge.  Worse, the parents were abused by the government when the teachers involved called “Child Protection Services (CPS).”  Tell me, when bureaucrats join together for the abuse of those they are duly sworn and duty-bound to protect, who is at fault; the elected leaders!  What did the elected leaders do when the parents complained; they joined forces to continue abusing the child and the parents.  The exact opposite of what they were hired to do, scrutinize the government employees and protect the electorate from abusive government operations, practices, and people.

Unfortunately, some of you think this is only happening in California, Virginia, New York, or some distant city/county/state.  No, the truth of the matter is this is occurring in your child’s school district right now.  Your children, grandchildren, cousins, and neighbors are all being abused and harmed, and the rot is at your doors.  Don’t take my word for it; investigate for yourself.  Go to local school board meetings and ask to see the curriculum your child is being exposed to, and you will find the truth, and the truth will first abhor, then anger, and then motivate you.

I hope the motivation will be sufficient to inspire action to become more informed, pay closer attention to local political races, and stop allowing incumbents a free pass to officiate in the destruction of America.  One of the frequent conversations in my home is, “What are my plans after I complete the Ph.D. degree I am chasing?”  The temptation is real to run for political office, either mayor or school board, sheriff, or judge; I want to get into this fight to defend the America I love.  Most people think the battle for America’s soul is being fought in the US Senate or House of Representatives when the reality is the fight for America’s soul is being fought and lost in local elections, and it is time to find strong candidates who are willing to run for office and fight this fight locally.

Jesus, Minion Memes Aren't Funny : terriblefacebookmemesThe biggest lesson I have learned in writing this year, a degree doesn’t represent smarts or capability; those come by working in the trenches for something more important than self.  The US Navy taught me endurance in the face of insurmountable odds and enemy shenanigans, and the US Army taught me to think and have grit and determination.  I know I am not perfect; I am not the “picture perfect politician.”  I prefer blue jeans and button-downs to suits and ties, but I know people, and I prefer real people to the fake effrontery currently holding the reigns of political power.

Writing this past year, I have faced my demons, and while I still fight those demons, I know the need to engage is real, helping others promotes healing, and teaching provides the opportunity to learn more perfectly.  I know the power of citizens motivated to protect hearth and home, and I celebrate freedom.  I would see my neighbors armed with knowledge, possessing the motivation to speak out and act according to beliefs and win the American heritage left us.  I believe in America, and I know that when Americans are left alone, they use the power of freedom to change the world; all we need is to shrink the government, and America will begin to blossom again.LinkedIn Image

Shrinking the government begins locally.  The local government protects against county and state government abuses.  The state government protects against federal violations.  The federal government protects borders and provides for the common trade of goods across state lines.  Limiting government is not a bad idea at all; in fact, it is the only good idea that can help save America.  Join me!

© Copyright 2021 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

Christmas and Other Holidays – A Frank and Open Discussion

I am unapologetically a Christian, I regularly attend church, and I exercise faith through daily scripture reading, prayer, and other works synonymous with being a Christian.  Being a Christian, I embrace freedom, especially freedom of religion; “Let [all people] worship how, where, or what they may.”  I am not smart enough to tell anyone, convince anyone, or try to force anyone to believe anything.  As a point of fact, my articles very specifically encourage you to find your answers, much as I have done, through study, learning, and faith.

Yes, this is a discussion!  I do not understand Christmas in any way, shape, or form; while this also applies to all accepted holidays, Christmas is my focus.  If you understand Christmas better or any holiday mentioned, feel free to teach me so that we both may learn more perfectly.  Christmas, as a child, was only once a time of wonder.  I remember that Christmas; I must have been 6 or 7 years.  I do not remember what I got for Christmas, but I remember how I felt.  I have not felt similarly since, and while I know why, I do not understand how to put the wonder back into Christmas.

Annually, Christmas, New Year, and the rest of the mid-winter holidays are a time for deep depression.  I struggle to feel anything from Halloween to mid-February; think London Fog as a mental condition, and your close to understanding what is happening between my ears annually.  As a child and teen, the holidays were always a time of stress, increased drama, and tons, and tons, of dishes.  The holiday season brought increased torment as parents’ stress (especially) resulted in increased violence (physical and mental).  Thus, I learned not to appreciate the holidays but loath the workload, violence, and abuse and view the holiday season as a time of greater pain and suffering.

Don’t even get me started on how to celebrate Mother’s and Father’s Day.  There are holidays, and choosing to celebrate or not is just as important as how to celebrate and whom to celebrate.  The biggest mistake society makes is trying to force everyone to celebrate the same holiday!

As an adult, mainly due to the depression, I avoid stores between Halloween and mid-February, like the plague!  The music of “Christmas” does not lift, and I find it difficult to hear.  To me, the people during Christmas are more challenging to be around.  I do not understand their choices and changes in attitude, their happiness, nor share in their wonder and excitement.  The pagan beliefs Catholicized into Christmas traditions blow my ever-loving mind!  I do not see Christ in a decorated “Christmas” Tree or other Christmas pageantry.  Simply put, every Christmas Tradition, generally accepted by Christendom, is stolen from mid-winter pagan holidays.  As I have studied the origins and beliefs inherent in Christmas, Easter, Halloween, All Saints Day, etc., I see more and more of the historical imprint of early Catholic Church leaders, and I stand aghast that these beliefs have turned into traditions that bind and hold fast the human mind.

Yet, to not wish someone else, especially another Christian, “Merry Christmas” is to be judged less a Christian.  I do not understand!  I believe in Christ; I believe in and have a knowledge of his reality, birth, life, death, resurrection, and visitation to all the Twelve Tribes of Israel after his resurrection.  I accept Christ as my Savior and advocate before the Father.  But, I do not understand Christmas celebrations or why these celebrations “speak of Christ, rejoice in Christ,” or promote Christian beliefs!  I understand the underpinnings of, and like the Jewish holiday Hanukkah.  I see Christ in this celebration of lights and appreciate those who celebrate this simple holiday simply.  But Hanukkah is not a holiday I can fully enjoy either, not for the lack of trying.

I have the same problem with Passover, not for the lack of trying, but I cannot celebrate this holiday, for I feel something is missing.  Easter, will someone please explain to me the lines of logical congruence between a bunny rabbit laying eggs and the resurrection of Jesus Christ!  None of the “traditions” of Easter make a lick of sense to me.  While I feel different at Easter than I do with any other holiday, I do not celebrate this holiday either, even though I respect and honor, follow and try to emulate Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, advocate, and hopefully friend.  While we’re on the topic of incongruent traditions, Santa Claus creeps me out!  The fear of being judged without an advocate or appeals process is anti-Christian, but Santa Claus continues to play a fearful role in Christmas.  Worse, the mysticism prevalent in a belief in Santa Claus fills my mind, not with Christ’s giving of himself, but of Halloween!  Tim Burton’s movie, “Nightmare Before Christmas,” is closer to how I see Santa Claus, put him in Halloween, and leave him there!

Yet, here we are, another Christmas celebration is upon the world, and I do not understand!  I like the lights of Christmas and enjoy them year-round, but they are not symbols of Christ lighting the world; they are just lights to me, with no particular holiday attachment.  I am a foodie, but food is just that, food.  No special holiday attachment; worse, as a diabetic, I have to watch how, when, where, and what I eat.  There is no fun in that, no holiday significance, and frankly, no joy in Mudville.

A friend declared, Christmas is about love.  What is love?  I know from significant study what love is not.  Love is not sex!  Love is not punishment, abuse, torment, and throwing all the dishes out of the cupboard and forcing a young child to wash every dish in the house repeatedly until that dish somehow passes an arbitrary level of cleanliness, with frequent beatings for failure to meet that level of cleanliness!  Love is not inflicting pain, causing tears, and being violent.  It has been easy to identify what love is not.  But defining what love is, what it feels like, and how to share love, I have no clue!

Often, I am referred to as a “Cold-Hearted, mean, bastard,” many times, other adjectives are thrown in to describe me.  I wear a “bar-sinister” proudly; I am a bastard!  I fight this nature of myself every single day; sometimes I win, more often I lose.  Sometimes I have thought, maybe this aspect of my character is why I cannot fathom the meaning of holidays, find wonder, or experience joy as readily as others.  Sometimes I think the method of how I was raised is inherent in being that bastard I despise.  Yet, I am a survivor because of the ways and manners of my childhood upbringing, and I have gratitude for being a survivor.  Meaning somewhere in there is gratitude for how I was raised and being a bastard.  I fully appreciate how paradoxical that thinking is.  Remember, a paradox is where two points that appear contradictory at first glance but in deeper understanding are closer than they are apart.

What does being a bastard have to do with Christmas and celebrating the birth and life of Jesus Christ; thankfully, I can answer that question.  Only in and through Jesus Christ can my nature change.  That single hope is precious to me, remains an impetus in motivating me to change, and powers my striving.  Without the birth of Christ, there could not be a death and resurrection.  Without the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ, man could not change his nature, understand and possess freedom, or comprehend the higher laws of giving of self, choosing a different method of living, and rising above the natural man and comprehending why man has to rise above his natural beliefs into a higher understanding.

Yes, I celebrate Jesus Christ!  Make no mistake; I am grateful for my Savior; but, I do not understand Christmas!  I cannot fathom a celebration of Easter as currently celebrated and understood in Christendom.  I long for further light and knowledge to more appropriately commemorate the birth, life, reality, resurrection, and example that is Jesus Christ!  I know that only through the merits, mercy, and justice of Christ can I eventually gain the further light and knowledge I seek.  Please don’t think I do not celebrate when I wish you the happiest of holidays; it is an honest expression of a heartfelt desire for you to celebrate and worship how, where, when, and what you may.  Please understand, though, I am not participating, not because I do not believe, but because I do not understand.

A well-intentioned person told me to “Fake it until you make it.”  I have tried following this advice, and while it worked in other aspects of life, I learned more, and faking it stopped working.  Where holidays are concerned, I cannot “Fake it, hoping to somehow, make it.”  Faking it requires a method of belief with a hope.  I have hope and knowledge; thus, I do not have a belief, or reason to believe.  In possessing knowledge, my belief can take wing with confidence, and in that understanding, I can no longer “fake it.”  As a respecter of religious belief, and as a seeker of light and knowledge, there have been times I have thought how easy it could be to be an atheist; but, in possessing knowledge, I understand I cannot live without the belief and knowledge of a Savior, a Heavenly Father who had the sense to hand man laws, cover his mind with a veil of his past life, and tell man to live by faith.  The atheist cannot understand the value in living by faith, for they choose not to believe, even when presented with evidence.

C. S. Lewis is one of my favorite authors, speakers, and characters from history. He understood the chasm between choice and the consequences of choosing not to believe and live according to beliefs. Mark Twain is another character, author, and speaker who I deeply admire and appreciate, for many of the same qualities exhibited by C. S. Lewis, are found in Mark Twain.  Thus, we find both an exemplar of the principles discussed and another issue with the holidays.  Knowing what I know regarding the origins of the holidays, the traditions adopted and Christianized, and the chains which bind from traditions, I struggle with celebrating holidays.

As a child, I asked why do we decorate a Christmas Tree?  After removing all the religiosity, the answer was because their parents did it that way.  Why did we feast; remove the religiosity, and we find it’s because everyone else celebrates holidays (peer pressure and traditions) with feasting.  In the movie and play “Fiddler on the Roof,” the primary character sings, discusses, and lives under the iron fist of tyrannical tradition, and I am left with one question, “Why?”  Why do something just because it is tradition?  Jesus Christ brought freedom of conscience; believe how, when, where, and what you may, act and live according to your beliefs, and you are exercising freedom and liberty.  Where does tradition fit into belief and living according to choice, freedom, and agency?

Bringing the conversation back to principles of freedom, choice and showcasing how decisions determine destiny.  Again, I am not casting aspersions, nor trying to convince anyone to do something they are not comfortable with, nor am I denigrating or deriding anyone’s beliefs, traditions, or methods of worship or celebration.  My intent is not to cause a crisis of faith but to understand for myself.  Please, embrace your freedom to choose to worship, and celebrate, how, where, when, and what you may.  In possessing this freedom, allow others to worship and celebrate how, when, where, and what they may.  Enjoy your holiday traditions and celebrations.  But, please do not judge me as less because I do not understand, believe differently, and live according to my beliefs.

Santa Claus coming to town fills me with dread and despair, not hope, wonder, or joy.  A white Christmas is not a dream for me but a symbol of more snow to shovel, even though I LOVE watching the snow fall and playing in the snow.  Christmas trees do not thrill me but represent a ton of work to put up, more work to maintain, and more work to take down.  Food is not a celebration but represents more work, time, effort, and sacrifice, for momentary pleasure.  While I enjoy food, eat food, and talk about recipes to make food, I do not worship at the altar of food or see any connection between food and traditional celebrations.

I totally get it; the Children of Israel fled Egypt the Passover is a sacred remembrance and should be celebrated; but, Christ showed a better way, and through that better way, the bitterness of fleeing is swallowed up in joy.  Why eat bitter herbs and unleavened bread as part of the tradition and celebration?  Joy is knowledge with aspects of painful experience encapsulated in achievement.  Thus, to me, the flight of Israel shows how faith, painful experience, and achievement are possible, and I want to shout and sing for joy.  I have always thought of Passover as a time for glorious celebration.  Strike up a band, sing, shout, and make merry, for we survived the Passover, escaped Egyptian slavery and harsh bondage, and now are free!  The same goes for Hanukkah, the resurrection of Christ, the birth of Christ, and every other holiday.  The holiday, to my understanding, represents, or signifies, a reason to make merry because those who came before achieved something through enormous difficulty, suffered dreadful pains, and achieved a better place.  They have joy, and we share in that joy.

Bringing up the final aspect of the holidays, sharing joy.  How do we share in the joy those who suffered experienced?  This is the crux of holiday celebrations.  How we answer this question determines the traditions we embrace; the decisions and consequences produce a destiny.  Consequences are neither good nor bad, simply natural actions formed from a choice an agent made.  How we choose to place a value on those consequences immediately determines how often we will make the same choice again, leading to determined destiny over time and repetition.  Using this understanding of choices and consequences, we revisit the question, “How do we choose to share joy?”

I do not know how to answer this question!  Worse, I feel this single question forms the crux of all holiday celebrations, and I am flummoxed!  Some have suggested I perform more service to share joy.  Others suggest giving gifts.  Others have offered well-meaning opinions, ideas, and suggestions that I cannot fathom as connected to a holiday—leading to a need to understand why.  Why act differently leading up to a holiday when you act in an opposing manner the rest of the year?  Why not act the same year-round?

Again, there is no judging, no aspersions cast, no denigration of actions and choices here.  I am not your judge!  But, these questions are the questions I struggle with living, understanding, and connecting to holiday celebrations.  If you have answers, please share them with me, help me understand how you share joy, celebrate, and feel.

© Copyright 2021 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.