Lift Up Louisville

If you are from Louisville you will love this video of great music that also gives a glimpse of what our city is like. If you aren’t from Louisville, I think you might still enjoy the six  and one-half minutes of entertainment lead by Terry Abrams, Director of the Louisville Orchestra.

https://youtu.be/AcsiqH5AZ7g

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The End

If the world was to end tomorrow, what would you do and how would you spend your last twenty-four hours?

Hopefully, I would spend it with my wonderful family members  . . . all of them together.

During the last half-hour of those twenty-four I would eat fried shrimp!

Other things I’d enjoy doing, given the opportunity, would be to hold a baby, pet a kitten, pick a flower, watch a bird, see a summer sky and feel the sun on my face.

What would you like to do in your last twenty-four hours on this earth?

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“If you die in an elevator, be sure to push the Up button.” Sam Levenson

 

Photos by Pixabay

The Bright Hour

A Book Review: “The Bright Hour” by Nina Riggs

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People tease me about being too interested in death and I do see the subject as something to be explored. After all, it is the last and greatest mystery of all time. We won’t know what it’s like until it’s our death and then we won’t be able to share details. Therefore, I wonder about the subject.

While “The Bright Hour” subtitle is “A Memoir of Living and Dying” I saw it as much more about living. Nina Riggs faces death from terminal breast cancer while she is witnessing the death of her Mother from a blood cancer. Riggs is in her late thirties with two children. She and her husband face cancer with strength and even humor.

The author manages to find beauty and truth because she looks for it. She is brave and she shares her most personal hopes, fear, and treatments. I recommend this book. It will make you smile and maybe shed a tear.

“It’s mostly just normal human drama, negotiating life with your kids, your parents, your partner, your friends, you job, your home, your pets, etc. It’s life.” Nina Riggs

 

Ramadan

Ramadan

Muslims around the world began celebrating Ramadan at sunset last evening. The celebration lasting thirty days is a time for reflection, fasting, prayer, and community. It commemorates Muhammad’s first revelation and is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. Ramadan is on different dates each year coinciding with the lunar calendar’s crescent moons.

Greetings To our Muslim friends during this holy time.

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“Ramadan is, in its essence, a month of humanist spirituality.” Tariq Ramadan

Photos by Pixabay

Thief of Lives

thief of lives

crossing oceans,

an invisible enemy washes up

and rises to walk

the flourishing earth

it rises

and wanders among the living…

preying upon human weaknesses…

exploiting the need for closeness

and contact

it moves between people

from host to host,

wreaking havoc

on health and emotions

thief of lives, but never of souls

it thrives in the elderly and the compromised,

yet also in the young and healthy…

leaving no stone unturned,

no one invulnerable

nature watches with a knowing eye

as she wakens from her slumber…

but remains unbiased

in the unfurling of leaves

and the opening of blossoms…

she is impartial

to the plight of humankind…

oblivious to the chaos…

the loss of life and livelihood… knowing

that eventually this too shall pass

it will run its course

this abomination…

this thief…

thief of lives

but never of souls…

Sylvia L. Mattingly, April 18, 2020

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Earth Day

Earth Day 2020

Earth Day began as a response to oil spills, smog, and polluted rivers. On April 22, 1970, over 20 million Americans protested the crisis and demanded changes to protect the environment. This first Earth Day launched The Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts as well as the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Other countries followed suit and eventually, the United Nations signed the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The theme for this 50th anniversary of Earth Day is climate action. Climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of life on planet Earth. We all can and must be involved to make a difference. Our children’s and grandchildren’s lives depend on us.

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“Earth Day 1970 was irrefutable evidence that the American people understood the environmental threat and wanted action to resolve it.” Barry Commoner

 

Photo by Pixabay

What Song

Imagine that a calamity came along that would wipe out every song in the world except one and that you had the power to choose the one that would remain. All musical compositions would continue, but there could only be one song. What would be your choice to hear for the rest of your life? One song, that’s all, what would you choose?

This question, and my answer, came to me while watching Andrea Bocelli perform in a deserted Milan on Easter Sunday a few days ago. His twenty-five-minute solo concert included my pick for the eternal and solitary song for the world. As I listened to his awesome tenor voice, I recalled another heart-stopping time I had heard this song.

Several years ago while in Nova Scotia I was walking near Peggy’s Cove when I heard music that wafted across the rugged terrain and rode the wind with great effect. That music was from a bagpiper standing alone upon a hill of stone. There were no words, but I knew the words by heart.

I have no musical talent but I love all kinds of music and especially enjoy rock from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. The songs that stir my heart the most though are hymns I remember from my childhood. I can see my grandfather leading the singing in the little country church. You can hear my favorite song in all the world and the one I’d pick for forever here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRciWwLXctQ

What song would be your pick for the world?

 

The 25-minute live-streamed “Music for Hope” concert by the Italian singer reached more than 2.8 million concurrent viewers in the largest simultaneous audience for a classical live stream in YouTube history. You can hear and see Bocelli’s entire concert here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huTUOek4LgU

 

“A good song takes on more meaning as the years pass by.” Bruce Springsteen

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Book Review by Dianne Bynum

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

This is such a beautiful story and a joy to read. Circe is one of my favorite books and I was anxious to read Miller’s second novel, A Song for Achilles. I was surprised that it was a love story. I’m also surprised that the book wasn’t narrated by Achilles but by his lover and companion Patroclus. I’ve never heard this part of the myth and I thought it added some humility to the story of one of the world’s first super heroes. Achilles wasn’t a god, his father was human, but he had the air of entitlement that comes from knowing that royalty runs in your blood. You will love both of these young men because you meet them as young boys before Achilles is spoiled in battle. Young boys play together and learn together. You know that they are in love before they do and you’re happy when they finally discover it. There are a lot of surprises in the book so I don’t want to ruin it for you. Now whenever I hear the name Achilles, I’ll remember his loyal Patroclus, a mortal that taught the gods about love.

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Talking to the Animals

If you could communicate with animals, what species would you like to talk with?

My Answer: Dogs and Cats

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I would want to know what they remember, if they can think of the future and whether they get their feelings hurt. I feel sure that they love deeply.

Your Answer?

 

“Children, old crones, peasants, and dogs ramble; cats and philosophers stick to their point.” H. P. Lovecraft

Photos by Pixabay

 

Coping

New Normal

These are unprecedented times. No one living has experienced such a pandemic in their adult lives. Restrictions depend upon where you live, but almost everyone is restricted in some way. Each country’s precautions are a little different and in the US it is up to each state to decide how much we must restrict our movements.

Regardless, we have all had to adjust to a new normal and there is nothing about it that feels, “Normal.” We must remember that physical distancing, masks, gloves and stay at home orders are designated to protect others as well as ourselves.

Coping

So-called social distancing is hard for me a hug loving, social being. I miss my friends. I miss my family. I miss going to the grocery and volunteering and driving and everything else that made up my daily life before COVID-19 dropped in on us.

  • I am trying to cope by taking one day at a time. This isolation is so open-ended at this point that it is depressing to think of the month or months stretching ahead. I try to have a goal (or two) for each day and when I achieve those I feel energized. The goals are too mundane to share, but of course, include such chores as reorganizing a closet.
  • This is also a wonderful opportunity to read. I have many books on my shelves that beg to be re-read and I have about fifty on my Kindle that I have not read. Reading is always informative and it swallows up a lot of free time.
  • This final coping mechanism should have been listed first because I think it is probably the most important. Here in Kentucky, I feel very fortunate that this pandemic has occurred in springtime. The sun shines bright almost every day and there are flowering trees and plants sprinkling color all around. Each day I go for a walk in the neighborhood and I am grateful that this virus did not visit in winter.
  • One last thought: Many people are making it possible for us to live during this trying time. Let’s remember those working in hospitals, grocery stores, law enforcement, and other essential capacities.

As our governor, Andy Beshear, reminds us each day, “We will get through this together.” 

How Are You coping?

 

“Think first of the action that is right to take, think later about coping with one’s fears.” Barbara Deming

Happy Easter

Easter is a Christian observance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Whether you celebrate this as a Christian or non-Christian it is a time of renewal and awakening. Kids anticipate the Easter Bunny, dye eggs and have fun with many traditions. Easter holds promise and heralds springtime for many.

 

“Easter is very important to me, it’s a second chance.” Reba McEntire

Photos by Pixabay

Writing Prompt 4

How important is writing to you and what does writing do for you?

As much as I like to talk it is hard to believe but I would rather write. I express myself more clearly in writing. I especially like to write using the computer. It is clearer, neater, and gives helpful prompts and corrections. Since getting older my cursive penmanship has suffered . . . or should it be “penwomanship?”

How about you, how do you feel about writing?

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“Only the hand that erases can write the true thing.” Meister Eckhart

 

Laptop Photo by Pixabay

What Is This Place

What is this place?  Masks, gloves, plexiglass partitions

What is this place? Tape on the floor where we’re to stand

I search the masked faces for a smile.

I dread the touch of rubber gloved workers.

Do I really need to disinfect my groceries?

Has someone coughed on my fruit or vegetables?

Do I even want these items in my kitchen?

What is this place where we were once comfortable?

What is this place where we once entertained?

Can this be my neighborhood?

Can this be my home?

Where are the hugs for which I long?

What is this place?

It’s National Poetry Month

Poem by Sylvia

A million shades of gray

Once I thought life was all black and white

Half a century now gone by…things have gone from day to night

I’ve learned that in the book of life, the words are a colorful array

And everything in between the lines is but a million shades of gray

Once I thought life was all black and white

That everything around me was either wrong or was right

That the world was of nothing but opposite extremes

And then I found that life wasn’t what I saw in my dreams

I once was an idealist and dreamed of everything white

If it wasn’t, it was black and black wasn’t all right

I dreamed of white, pure and good… the color of snow

But over five decades, I have now come to know

Life is as colorful as we choose it to be, but with many shades of gray

Reality lives, and we must understand that the sun doesn’t shine every day

There’s not always a rainbow, there’s not always snow, and darkness doesn’t always thrive… 

It’s not the black and the white but the million shades of gray that actually keep us alive

Written by: Sylvia L. Mattingly 11/30/11

 

The Dante Club

A Book Review by Dianne Bynum

I’m struggling with the rating for this book. It was fun and I enjoyed the characters but the writing really got it the way. I’ve read the expression, “This book could have used a good editor.” and I’ve never understood it until now. The plot was imaginative and interesting, the characters – quirky and fun, but I caught myself wishing that the book had ended long before it did. So many elements of the plot were spelled out so literally that I wanted to scream, “I get it!” Dante is the important but never present character in the book and it is obvious he’s revered by the author, Matthew Pearl. He didn’t miss a chance to glorify the man and his writing until the reader begins to tire of hearing his name. There are too many incidental characters that aren’t important to the story and they muddle the fun. I’ve been curious about Dante ever since reading Dan Brown’s Inferno but they’re both 3-star books. So “Abandon hope” if you enter this book, it’s not worth the trip.

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Quarantine

John Pavlovitz is a blogger who I follow. His latest post (the link is below) says a lot that is important during this time of physical distancing. I’ve been thinking about blogging about the issues he discusses. He does it so well, please read. Thank You

https://johnpavlovitz.com/2020/04/01/dont-quarantine-yourself-from-life/