Child Poverty

~~ an essay

by tkbrown

When I began actively blogging on tkbrownwriter.wordpress.com and Tweeting on Twitter–@tkbrownwriter–there were many who were constantly orating regarding the hunger, starvation , and homelessness plaguing children from other countries. These children were being swarmed to and across our southern border by parents who would never qualify for entry if they entered via the legal immigration requirements. I agreed somewhat with what they were saying, but I was also concerned about children in America who suffer similar needs which were not being met.

Finally, I responded to the orations with an appeal acknowledging the validity of the needs being promoted while also noting the responsibility we hold to meet the needs of our own chidren. I told them, every night here in America many children go to bed hungry because there is not enough food to eat. In winter, many of those same children go to bed cold because the family budget was not sufficient to pay the heating bill. Many don’t even have a place to call home. How can we be an example to the world if we neglect our own to care for others. We need to first address the hunger and housing needs of our own America born children before trying to meet the needs of children from other countries. Now, the coronavirus has compounded these problems exponentially.

“There is currently a push in Congress to address the needs of every American child living in one-parent households earning $75,000 or less per year or in a two-parent household earning $150,000 or less per year. This plan would provide families of children ages 0-6 an additional $300 per month per child. It would also provide families of children ages 6-17 an additional $250 per month per child. These monthly disbursements would be made via the IRS Department” (Stein, 2021). The children of America are in much need of this additional assistance. The wealthiest country in the world should never be plagued with a reputation of not caring for its own.

While I am not one who typically condones regular and continuous dependence upon government subsidy funds. I do believe we owe it to our children to ensure they are not going hungry, or cold, or living on the streets. If we cannot take care of our own children, why should we be considered the country of choice for these needs by parents of children in other countries.

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Source:

Higgins, Tucker. (4 February 2021). “Romney child-payment proposal would spend more than Biden plan – but also aims to cut welfare programs.” CNBC. cnbc.com. (8 February 2021). Romney unveils plan to send families up to $4,200 per year per child (cnbc.com).

Stein, Jeff. (7 February 2021). “Senior Democrats to unveil $3,000-per-child benefit as Biden stimulus gains steam.” The Washington Post. Microsoft News: msn.com. (7 February 2021). Senior Democrats to unveil $3,000-per-child benefit as Biden stimulus gains steam (msn.com).

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My Morning Do . . . Writing Interrupted

~~ by tkbrown

21 January 2021 — I want to apologize for being absent so long. My computer was hacked and contracted a Trojan virus in early December. I just now am back up and running. It has been an interesting experience. I won’t bore you with the details. But, I will say I am learning a lot to facilitate my writing in the future. Each day brings new lessons in Internet Technology (IT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and a host of other concepts.

I was beginning to feel lost without my computer and the ability to write productively. I find I must type when I write. When I try to write my thoughts by hand, my brain goes much faster than I can write. So, I tend to lose a lot of my thoughts before I can put them to paper. When I sit down to type, more often than not, my thoughts seem to flow through my fingertips to the keys beneath them. Thus, another thing I have learned during this time of absentia is that my computer is a great writing companion.

I see that many of you have checked daily for my return, and I am very appreciative of your loyalty. You are each a true blessing to me, and I will do my best to make up for my absence. You have shown me, beyond any doubt, the true allegiance of your following. When I said I needed to take time for the writing of my books and not make quite so many posts, I did not intend to go a month or more between postings. Thank You for bearing with me.

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Photo Above: by Aaron Burden @Unsplash.com.

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History in the Making . . .

~~ by tkbrown ~~

20 January 2021 — Today, as the world looked on, we here in the United States of America were writing history books. The recent past has been filled with opinions, opines, differences, similarities, divisions, bridges, peacemakers, rioters, love, hate, sickness, health, and all that is in-between. Each new day brought its own headline: Covid-19, politics, the politics of the virus, mutations, commutations, charges, pardons, verdicts, blame, and forgiveness. Some have learned and gained from the lessons of the past year while others have lost–both literally and figuratively. In the end, it all came down to today. The world saw a whole new view in America: a woman — Kamala Harris — was sworn in as Vice-President.

The concept of seeing a woman positioned as a leader in the upper echelons is new to America. There have been inroads toward this moment for at least a century and a half. While other countries around the world reached this milestone long ago, America — the comparatively new kid on the block — took her time. Many women have attempted to attain the goal of President or Vice-President, but all have fallen short of the achievement–until today. Kamala Harris set her eyes upon this goal some time ago. Today, as an African American, South Asian American, female American — the daughter of immigrants who chose to make America their home — was sworn in as Vice-President of the United States of America. Vice-President Harris achieved her goal.

There are those who say America is made up of bigoted racists. I believe today proved them wrong. As my old mother used to say, “The proof is in the pudding.” Today, the pudding in America’s melting pot rang true, and no victory could be finer. Once again, America has stood to the task and proved her ideals are still “alive and kicking.” When put to the test, Americans are winners, if they choose to be.

As a child, I was taught to never act in a racist manner toward any other person regardless of that person’s color or country of origin. As a teenager, I wrote my first poem about race relations. When my children were young, I began advocating for the underprivileged including children, people with disabilities, and people of color. As my children grew to adulthood, I tried to instill a respect toward all people and I continued my advocacy in the professional realm.

As we turned the page to a new chapter in America’s history, today the world witnessed the true potential for all who choose to make America their home. May God Bless America and all who live within her borders, and may we show the world the true colors of love and acceptance.

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Picture Above: by Gerd Altman @pixabay.com.

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My Morning Do . . . Tears

Tears of Grief — Grief of Tears

~~ by tkbrown — ≥∑

28 November 2020 — The worldwide loss associated with the Covid-19 pandemic has, is, and will have far more impact on us as individuals, as families, as communities, as states, as countries, and as a world than we might ever imagine. There is nothing to reference in responding to these losses. Yes, there have been pandemics before, but the world population, the interaction of countries around the world and the commercial interdependence around the world are far greater than ever before, so the impact of this type of phenomena is unprecedented.

The manner in which some of the losses have occurred, the extent of loss one individual must bear, the burden on families trying to somehow fill the shoes of a person, or persons, no longer with them–these are just a few of the personal losses being experienced. Similar losses have occurred in the professional/work realm, and at the governmental realm–and we are far from done with the related losses.

I believe these losses may be part of the impetus behind the need to protest to such extent as we are seeing in society today. There is no visible, touchable culprit causing these losses in our lives. There is not a “person” we can blame and vent upon, because it is not a person who caused the losses. This invisible force is ravaging our world, and the only way we know to let others know how much we are hurting is to savagely molest something that physically represents some other area in which we feel an intangible loss.

I would encourage caution in this approach. The one thing our families, governments, world do not need right now is another area of major loss. We need to shore each other up and find healthy outlets for our grief. A house divided is a house that falls. The same applies to governments and countries. Learn to grieve in healthy ways rather than creating more pain and grief. I know the tendency may be to lash out at the first possible expression of tangible loss. Remember, this only creates layers of losses. Do what you can to relieve the situation rather than add to it.

True grief, the cleansing kind of grief, involves the shedding of tears. If we do not ever cry, we can never release all of the negative. This release allows us to truly hold the good close to our heart. Many times, I have cried for the loss of someone I love. Many other times, I have told myself to “suck it up and be and adult.” Big girls don’t cry is the message I was sending myself. The question is: “Why did I send myself that message?”

Society teaches both girls and boys not to cry. “Big girls don’t cry” and “Big boys don’t cry” are phrases children are taught as they grow. No one wants to deal with a whiney crier, so it is deeply ingrained into a person by adulthood. We all “need” to cry sometimes. When we experience a loss, it is oft important to acknowledge that loss with tears. If we do not do this, we are never truly cleansed of the negativity associated with the loss (i.e., self-talk: “I can’t go on without _____.” “I can’t do this alone.”). There are any number of negative things we may say to ourselves when loss occurs.

This, “big boys and girls don’t cry” is much more deeply instilled in boys than in girls. It is generally acceptable for a woman to cry–sometimes. After all, women are the weaker sex, so we cannot be expected to go through life without crying. Men, on the other hand, have to “suck it up.” The message sent to men says it is never ok for them to cry. To that, I say: “Hogwash!”

All of us need to cry sometimes to release the pain associated with loss. Men hurt, too, when a loss occurs. We need to make a special effort to teach boys and girls it is ok to cry when we are deeply hurt. We also should accept that there are times tears are shed from joy or gratitude–and that is ok too.

The grieving process in the loss of a dear loved one is never complete until tears are shed. If we want to let go of the negative aspects we associate with that person’s leaving us, we must release those associations with our tears.

When my Daddy and Mama died, I didn’t cry at all until the funeral (just before–on the way to it) for Daddy. When the tears started, they would not stop until I had emptied those feelings of loss and–yes, deprivation–I was feeling. I cried so hard it worried so me who were there. I knew I would never be able to see them, hug them, tell them I loved them–ever again. The pain associated with knowing this had to be released. Only then could I know I would always be able to talk to them, because they are both a part of who I am.

Just as God dwells inside me because I am His temple, there are bits of the people I have lost inside me too. It matters not whether they are family, friends, acquaintances, co-workers–whatever the interaction that made us care for them as a person–to some extent, we need to release those feelings of loss. The death of a loved one–other than Mama and Daddy–has never pulled so many tears from me before I could stop them. Yes, I love my siblings–and I cry when they die–but it is not as intense as losing Mama and Daddy. The important thing I must stress here is: the tears did not occur with that intensity again. Yes, I would tear up occasionally; sometimes, I would cry for a minute or two, but I never cried like that again. I released the intensity of the loss with those tears. This left me with the ability to remember the good parts of my life-giving interaction with them–to hold those parts of them close to my heart. It also left me able to meet the responsibilities of job, family, etc. in the days and months that followed.

This need to cry when loss occurs applies to men too. It is not likely they will cry as hard as I did, but they may. It depends on the extent of loss they are feeling. The loss of some loved ones is no less painful for them than for a woman. Society tends to instill the “no tears” approach much more deeply in men. Whether it is the loss of a person, a thing, or a place–either permanently or for a time, tears may need to be shed. The more dearly and more closely held to our heart, the greater the need for tears. This is true for men as well as for women.

I believe this message allowing tears to be shed at times can be conveyed through learning, in books, the media, social studies, and via other means. It can begin during early childhood and progress into adulthood. In this way, we can give each other–both male and female–permission to release the pain through tears. It is when this is not allowed, the grief of tears becomes a negative concept–so we learn to “suck it up, be an adult.”

The grief of unshed tears can be far more damaging to our psyche than tears of grief ever could be. Tears held in and never released may sometimes be seen as anger toward self or others, negative views of self and/or others, or in other ways too difficult to explain or discuss in a brief manner. It can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and require the need for extensive processing to facilitate the healing of release. Whatever the setting, eventually those tears of grief must be shed or the grief of tears begins to become the norm.

If we think we cannot release our grief–that it must be held in until it is gone–we will never allow ourselves to properly grieve. It will not go away if we hold it in. So, if we can ever truly overcome our grief, the freedom and permission to cry will be a part of the path we take to the ultimate, healthy acceptance we desire to achieve. Healthy acceptance will never mean we do not miss the object of our loss. It means we accept the loss and its importance in our lives; we give ourselves permission to grieve for that loss when the need arises. This allows us to move past the grief and back into productivity.

I know, we don’t typically think of our familial and friendship relationships as an area of productivity, but a lack of productivity in these areas means those relationships die. Thus, a lack of interaction with family and friends–when it is within our ability–signals the probability of a loss that has not yet been resolved within. An unwillingness to interact signals that irreparable damage has been allowed to develop at some point in time. If not addressed and worked through (processed)–with or without the other person–healthy relationships are not likely to occur in the future because there will be a lack of trust. This lack of trust will impede the closeness of all relationships.

So, when loss occurs, give yourself permission to cleanse the unhealthy pain by allowing the tears to wash it away. Holding that pain in will cause its own grief–separate and apart from the loss. Big girls and boys do cry sometimes. These tears allow us to go on meeting other responsibilities so long as they do not dominate our life. Don’t allow your tears of grief to become the grief of tears not released.

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Sources:

Kubler-Ross, Elisabeth & D. Kessler. (2014). On Grief & Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss. Scribner. New York.

Kirby, Stephanie. Med. Rev. by Santa, Melinda. (17 September 2020). “The 7 Stages of Grief and How They Affect You.” betterhelp at betterhelp.com. Mountain View, California: betterhelp.com. (28 November 2020). https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/grief/the-7-stages-of-grief-and-how-they-affect-you/?utm_source=AdWords&utm_medium=Search_PPC_c&utm_term=_b&utm_content=80082676786&network=g&placement=&target=&matchtype=b&utm_campaign=6459244691&ad_type=text&adposition=&gclid=Cj0KCQjwqrb7BRDlARIsACwGad7NNf5XmV3-_em0YWLV2asKoQx8ZSJ4JJZ5K4bxBrDIFplE2zwlaWoaArSQEALw_wcBl.

Eds. Web MD. Reviewed By: Goldberg, Joseph, MD. (13 April 2018). Grief and Depression. WebMD at webmd.com. (28 November 2020). https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-grief#3.

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Photo Above: by pen_ash at pixabay.com.

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My Morning Do . . . Down on the Farm — I

~~ by tkbrown

19 November 2020 — From time to time, I begin to think anew upon the days when I was young, the things I did, the things I learned–things most folk today would have no idea how to do. I am thankful for those days, and I have fond memories of the learning, the doing, and the being a part of . . . whatever process was taking place.

I grew up on a farm in the middle of Brown Hollow in the heart of the Ozark Mountains–Southen Missouri, USA. We worked eighty acres–the back forty belonged to us, and the front forty belonged to my uncle. My uncle’s forty acres had an old clapboard house that served as our home. Life was not easy on the farm. We grew most of our food, herded cattle, sheep, a pig sty, rabbits, chickens, ducks, turkeys, guineas–you name it, we probably had it at some point in time–not really, but it often seemed to be the case.

Each summer, we grew a ten-acre garden and a small (probably an acre or so) kitchen garden right behind the house. Five acres of the main garden were dedicated to vegetables of various sorts. Each year, this section included some new vegetable. My Mama loved trying new vegetables–most often chosen from the Henry Fields Seed Catalog, the Burpee Seed Catalog, or from a brother or some neighbor’s son who were selling seeds as an FFA Project (Future Farmers of America). Through her venturesome nature I got my first exposure to Kohlrabi, Rutabagas, Peanuts, Beets, and learned of the many and varied types of tomatoes, green beans, etc. When it came time to plant or hoe, those rows seemed to never end. The remaining five acres were planted in corn and potatoes. The corn was mainly used to feed the stock during the colder months, but part of it was put into the freezer or canned to be eaten with family meals.

The potatoes were one of our staples. Our evening meals almost always consisted of cornbread and potatoes along with other filling, stick-to-the-ribs type foods–i.e., beans of some sort. The potatoes were typically boiled–with or without the jackets (peels)–mashed, fried, or creamed. We never had fancy food, but what we had was prepared and served with love. Since I was the seventh of nine living children, we all pitched-in and helped cook and clean up afterward. Teaching us how to cook took much of Mama’s time, but she made it seem like we were learning on our own–I still have not figured out how she did that.

My earliest memories of cooking began around the age of four. We had an old round oak, pedestal table where Mama did most of her biscuit making, and other baking preparations. When family would come from out of state or out of county, they always asked for her hand-slung biscuits. Each was about three inches in diameter and about three inches high. In a 9 x 13 baking pan, she would cook twelve biscuits–four rows of three. Mama was famous for her biscuits.

We had an old empty lard can big enough to hold about forty to fifty pounds of flour. With nine people to feed, that did not last long. Many breakfasts boasted Mama’s biscuits with eggs or gravy–or both. During the winter, we usually ate oatmeal with those biscuits.

When seh was prepping food to cook, I would sit on the lard can–which also served as my seat at the dinner table–and watch her prepare those biscuits. She would let me dip the flour out of the can for her to sift, and as I learned the process, I was allowed to sift too. When she made short-bread or cornbread, I could help stir. I have no doubt this was the beginning of me loving to cook. As I was learning to cook, I took the experience outside and blended it into playtime by making mudpies and all sorts of goodies to be served to a make-believe family at a make-believe table. As I grew older, instead of mudpies, I made cakes, pies, cookies, coffee cakes, etc. which were eaten at my real-family mealtime. I became known in the community for my cakes. There were those who would make a special trip to get a piece of cake if they knew I was baking. This was quite a feat in a rural community with very few telephones. This says even people from the community encouraged skills which were above average. Cooking has been a hobby of mine since that time.

I remember when I was four years old, we were preparing for an especially difficult winter when the money was tight. Daddy went to the old smokehouse and brought-out an old, old, hand-grinder for corn and other grains. We used it to grind corn for cornmeal. The grind was very coarse, more like grits than cornmeal, but it worked. It was an interesting learning experience for a four or five year old.

The old smokehouse was built using 1/2 inch x four- or five-inch boards about seven feet long. These were nailed side by side onto the frame. The roof was aluminum colored tin sheets nailed to the trusses which were cross braced with 2 x 4s cut to fit. The wood was very porous from age and weathered to a gun-metal gray. When Daddy was a child (during the early twentieth century), the old smokehouse was truly used as intended–to smoke meats. It was one room with a flue in the roof which allowed the smoke to escape. I seem to remember, when I was very young, the door was attached with straps of leather. At some time during my early years, those straps were replaced with long, angled, black-looking steel hinges attached to the outside. During my childhood, the old smokehouse served as a storage shed for tools and other items that were beloved but no longer used. This is also where we kept the gardening tools–i.e., hoes, rakes, spades, picks, shovels, etc. Gardening was hard work, but the fresh produce was wonderful. I loved it.

The eggs we had for breakfast were most often laid by hens on the farm. They were grain fed, free range. We found laying nests in some of the strangest places, and the eggs were delicious. Sometimes, they were quite large. Once in a while, we would get one that had two yolks, These were typically a bit larger than the regular fare. When there was an excess of eggs, Mama would break enough for a meal of scrambled eggs into a plastic freezer container and freeze them. In wintertime, when the hens were not laying many eggs due to the cold, we would use those eggs–usually on the weekend.

Mama and Daddy would purchase two or three flats of baby chickens each year. We would tend to them as they grew. When they were about six weeks old, they were good to eat as fryers. We would kill, pluck, clean, cut and freeze enough to last most of the summer. During the fall, we would repeat the process with older hens and roosters which were used for chicken soups, chicken and dumplings, and fried chicken during the colder months.

We had a small herd of beef cattle and a small herd of milking cows. Daddy and my brothers would milk the cows each morning and night. We took out what we needed for the family, and the rest was stored in ten gallon cans which were kept in a cooling tank. The milkman would come twice a week, pick up what we had in the cooler and leave the empty cans for more milk. The cream on this milk ranged from an inch and a half thick on top of the milk to three inches thick. We skimmed most of the cream off to make hand churned butter. We often kept a gallon or two in the freezer. When Mama made grape dumplings in the winter months (using the half-gallon jars of grape pulp she had canned the previous summer), this frozen cream was scooped out and served atop the dumplings. Mmmmmm!!! This was some good eatin’ on a cold winter night.

There is so much more I could tell, but this gives a general synopsis of life “Down on the Farm” when I was young.

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Photo Above: by Gabriel Jiminez @ Unsplash.com.

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My Morning Do . . . Pray for President Trump

~~ by tkbrown

3 October 2020 — As we all probably know by now, President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump were diagnosed as having Coronavirus early yesterday morning. He has now admitted himself to Walter Reed Medical Center for treatment and monitoring. Now, several of his chief support staff and friends have tested positive for the virus. My prayers are with President Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, Vice-President Pence, Second Lady Karen Pence, and all close associates–those who have tested positive for Covid-19 and those who have not. My prayers are also with Democratic Presidential Nominee and Former Vice-President, Joe Biden and his wife Jill. I ask that all who believe in the power of prayer and faith join me in prayer for these and for our country.

The myriad reactions in the press to the virus finally reaching the White House has left me slack-jawed! I cannot believe the amount of negativity surrounding this development. When we focus so strongly on what is wrong, are we not increasing the likelihood of further testing by the powers that be? I pray our country can move past the negativity shown across the nation in recent months. If we want healing, our focus must move to those things that are right with an intentional movement to build upon them.

Every family goes through times when it seems everything goes wrong. Right now, our nation is in one of those times. When your family is surrounded by unpleasantness, do you contribute to it by ranting, raving, and assaulting one another? Or do you try to heal the problems . Every person in this nation has a right to his or her beliefs from one side of the political spectrum to the other. I respect this right in others even when I strongly disagree with the belief itself. I do not try to force anyone to believe as I believe or to act as I act. Right now, there is a strong push for everyone to move to the left. Be careful what you wish for! You just might get it!

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Photo Above: by Tabrez Syed on Unsplash.com.

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My Morning Do . . . Grief and Proactivity

~~ by tkbrown

26 September 2020 — As I mentioned in my previous post, depression associated with grieving is a normal reaction to loss. There are myriad possibilities as to what the loss may be, and one will be dealt with a bit differently from another. If addressed proactively as the grieving process progresses, oftentimes serious depression can be avoided. However, if one does begin finding it difficult to engage normal daily living activities, it may be necessary to schedule a few days to work on specific areas of concern. This can be accomplished alone or with the help of a person who has already proven to be a trustworthy support person in the grieving process.

Depression slows one down during the grieving to aid the introspective work necessary to move past it and into some level of acceptance. Taking some time for inner exploration will speed the path to recovery. There are ways to address the depression on your own, without any outside help if these activities are begun before recognizable impairment develops.

One way to move into and through depressive thoughts is to journal. Set aside a time each day to record thoughts in a composition notebook. Sitting in a quiet place, away from any possible interruptions, begin writing–whatever you are thinking at the time. If what you write does not make sense, this is ok.

The purpose of this portion of the journaling activity is to see the organization of your thoughts. Try not to miss any words — stream of thought is important. Write quickly; slow transcription of thought to paper can cause thoughts to wander due to distraction which causes inaccurate reflection. Recording of thoughts should continue for five to ten minutes. Set a timer or an alarm so concerns about the time do not interrupt the flow of thought.

When time has elapsed, take five minutes to free your mind. Then, read over what has been written. Try to note any patterns or specific lines of thought. Note topics and related concerns on a clean sheet of paper. Then take fifteen minutes to write about worries–concerns noted since your last journaling exercise. Elaborate a bit on each. Discuss specific thoughts noted to be interrupting normal activity.

Now, list some enjoyable activities. Hobbies of a creative nature are often helpful in overcome disruptive depression. If drawing or painting are enjoyable options, express feelings in the art. Draw or paint feelings onto paper or canvas. There are no right or wrong approaches. Just draw, sketch, or paint using charcoal, coloring pencils, pastels, or paints as mediums.

Other creative activities to consider include writing (i.e., poetry or prose), needlecrafts such as sewing, quilting, knitting, crocheting, embroidery, cross-stitch. Cooking, (i.e., making breads–rolls, loaf breads, even cookies) anything that allows complete distraction from the loss. These activities will assist the process of moving through the depression to beginning life again after the loss. Acceptance involves learning to live with the loss. Fill time, previously engaged by the loss, with activities and people you enjoy.

As enjoyable activities continue, begin taking ten or fifteen minutes of daily journaling time to discuss the previous day’s activities. Describe your perceptions of the creative activities and endeavors being pursued. Write anything coming to mind. The goal is to slowly notice movement back into a normal activity level.

The loss will always be a part of the person you become. As you remember positive aspects previously brought to life by the loss, begin to focus on ways related memories are transitioning into strengths and creating the “you of tomorrow.” Proactive approaches, such as journaling and conscious activation of hobbies can be very helpful to resuming normal daily living.

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7 September 2020 — National Buy a Book Day

~~ by tkbrown

I just learned, 7 September has been designated both National and International Buy a Book Day! So, if you have been eyeing that one certain book that will enhance your library–or your mind–just so, this is the day to BUY IT!! With all of the digital learning today, I worry that it will be relied upon to the exclusion of establishing personal libraries in our homes. Personally, there is no better feeling than to curl up in a corner with a book in hand and consume it.

Really though, if we neglect to establish a personal library in our homes, we are missing a great opportunity to let our families and other people know what we are about. Through physical books, we can leave a legacy of history that is lost when obtained in digital learning and reading. If you prefer the digital reading experience, that is all well and good, but think on what you have read–that which reflects the person you are–and choose some good books reflecting the same values to purchase. Your library will thank you for it, and one day your children and grandchildren will too!

I am all for digital learning, digital sharing, and for making that digital learning a shared experience with the underprivileged who may not have the means to access it. Digital libraries should be available just like physical libraries. Children today should be able to access any topic of interest and learn about it without it costing them. It does not cost to check out a book at the physical library–so long as it is either returned or renewed by the designated date. I believe digital libraries should offer the same. If we want our children to progress with the digital age, we must make it available to them–all of them! While it is necessary for parents to be aware of the content a child is accessing, it should be available. Just like healthy food is necessary for growing a healthy physical body, books and the reading of them–digitally or in hand–is necessary for growing a healthy and informed mind.

Sooooo, DO YOUR PART–BUY A BOOK TODAY!

Women in American History

          by tkbrown

March 8 is International Women’s Day. Activities to celebrate this day began in 1911. The United Nations commemorated the day in 1978 and officially recognized it in 1980. That same year, President Jimmy Carter formally declared the nation’s first official National Women’s History Week beginning March 8, 1980: thus, explaining the choice of March 8 for International Women’s Day. With annual activities celebrating the achievements of women, the focus began to shift — highlighting issues of equality, opportunity, advancement and recognition of women vs men.

From a personal viewpoint, during the years of my childhood, little was said about women’s history, much less their rights. The sixties were dominated by the hippie movement and women across the nation began burning their bras — tsk, tsk — to recognize the celebrated masculinity and the virtual ignorance of contributions made by the feminine gender.

Inequality between men and women has existed through the ages. In the United States, the first woman known to have brought attention to this fact was Abigail Adams — wife and future First Lady to John Adams, Second President of the newly formed United States of America. On 31 March 1776, Ms Adams penned a letter to her husband and to the Continental Congress. In it, she asked that they “remember the ladies” as they worked to develop new laws suitable to the endeavors of a new nation under formation. She cautioned the men to “be more generous to the ladies than their ancestors had been.” Ms Adams went on to warn them of impending rebellion by ‘their ladies’ if the situation were not addressed because “the colonial women would not be bound by any laws not co-founded by them,” (Eds. history.com). Ms. Abigail Adams is not alone in addressing this cause. Many women in America have promoted women’s rights; some made history in so doing. Thus, from the outset, American women have run the gamut from imploring to demanding the American men remember their rights.

However, the new nation was busy with growth and development. For the most part, no one paid any attention to the women until Susan B Anthony was denied the right to speak at a temperance convention in 1841. She quickly added women’s rights to her alcohol and abolitionist endeavors. Anthony, a teacher raised in a Quaker household, was a staunch supporter of anti-slavery activity — through which she met Elizabeth Cady Stanton, The two co-founded the New York Temperance Society. Soon after, they formed the New York State Women’s Rights Committee, and Anthony served as an agent for the American Anti-Slavery Society. Joint efforts with Stanton eventually led her to head the National American Woman Suffrage Association.

In 1868, the two women began producing a weekly publication designed to promote women’s rights. The Revolution’s motto was “men their rights, and nothing more: women their rights, and nothing less,” (Eds, biography.com, 2019).

In a nation that prided itself upon freedom, justice and domestic tranquility, Susan B Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton shined a bright light on the inequality of men vs women by promoting women’s right to vote. Until they set about securing the passage of Amendment 19 to the United States Constitution, little thought was given to the fact that women had been denied freedom, justice and equality by being perceived as the property of husbands, fathers and brothers. The fact that women were denied the right to vote spoke volumes to women being viewed as non-persons. Other women involved in the Suffragists push for women’s right to vote were Carrie Chapman Catt, Clara Barton, Elizabeth Smith Miller and her daughter Annie Fitzhugh Miller to name a few. The National American Woman Suffrage Association holds a Collection of documents depicting the work of these women and many others — the size of which defies imagination. First introduced in Congress in 1878, the 19th Amendment was finally approved 4 Jun 1919, and on 26 August 1920, Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby certified the 19th Amendment’s ratification.

The push for women’s rights calmed a bit following ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment. The Roaring Twenties, the Depression Era and World War II dominated the scene. During the latter, women took charge at home while men went to fight for world freedom. Jobs traditionally held by men were now filled by women. The stay at home lifestyle gave way to the country’s economic needs, the needs of servicemen overseas and the necessity of a paycheck to fund the home, food, clothing and other family needs. Some women even joined the men in the fight for freedom around the world.

With the end of World War II, the men returned to resume earning the paychecks and the women returned to the background — keeping the home fires burning — while launching a period of prosperity and the ‘baby boom.’ As the Vietnam War spawned the above-mentioned hippie movement, the focus was on ‘make love, not war’ as the desire for a return to peace flamed across the nation. Demonstrations for peace turned violent and the need for women in the workforce returned.

A burst of feminism resulted in newfound energy directed toward passage of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). First written by Alice Paul and Crystal Eastman, the original push for the ERA was proposed in 1923. Failing to pass Congress most every year until October 1971 when Representative Martha Griffiths introduced it once more, it finally passed the U.S. House of Representatives. It moved forward for Senate approval on 22 March 1972 and was submitted to State Congresses for ratification with a deadline of 22 March 1979. Thirty-eight states ratified the ERA, then four rescinded their state’s ratification. The legislatures extended the deadline to 30 June 1982 when, due to lack of additional ratifications, it was tabled.

In 1987, Congress declared March to be National Women’s History Month, and a special Presidential Proclamation issued every year highlights achievements of American Women. The United States, the United Kingdom and Australia have all designated March as the month for such celebrations. In Canada, Women’s History is recognized during the month of October. As efforts continue toward “Equality of Rights under a law designed to ensure that no right shall be denied or abridged by the United States — or by any State — on account of sex,” (Carter, 1980: quoted from MacGregor, 2019), the need for our message of equality at school, at work and at play continues.

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The image above by Marketa Machova from pixabay.com

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Sources:

Cohen, Sara E. (14 February 2020). 200 Years after Susan B Anthony’s Birth, Examining Her Role in the History of Women.s Voting Rights. Because of HER Story. Smithsonian. Washington D.C., USA. (2 March 2020). https://womenshistory.si.edu/news/2020/02/200-years-after-susan-b-anthony’s-birth-examining-her-role-history-women’s-voting.

Eds, biography.com, (16 July 2019), Susan B Anthony Biography: Editor, Civil Rights Activist, Publisher, Journalist (1820-1906). A&E Television Networks. (22 September 2019). https://www.biography.com/activist/susan-b-anthony.

Eds, First Ladies Biography. (2 March 2020). Abigail Adams. First Lady Biography. The National First Ladies’ Library. Canton, Ohio. (2 March 2020). http://www.firstladies.org/biographies/firstladies.aspx?biography=2.

Eds, history.com. (28 July 2018). Equal Rights Amendment passed by Congress. History. A&E Television Networks. (2 March 2020). https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/equal-rights-amendment-passed-by-congress.

Eds, history.com. (26 February 2019). Milestones in Women’s History: A Timeline. A&E Television Networks. (22 September 2019). https://www.history.com/topics/womens-history/womens-history-us-timeline.

Eds, Wikipedia. (23 February 2020). Equal Rights Amendment. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Project Powered by MediaWiki. (2 March 2020). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal_Rights_Amendment.

Hamlin, Kimberly A. (1 March 2020). The problem with women’s history month in 2020. The Washington Post. WP Company LLC. Washington D.C., USA (2 March 2020). https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/03/01/problem-with-womens-history-month-2020/.

MacGregor, Molly Murphy. (2019). Why March is National Women’s History Month. National Women’s History Alliance; Santa Rosa, California. (2 March 2020). https://nationalwomenshistoryalliance.org/womens-history-month/womens-history-month-history/.

Researchers, Library of Congress. (13 June 2019). 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Primary Documents in American History. The Library of Congress: Web Guides. Washington D.C., USA. (2 March 2020). https://www.loc.gov/rr//program/bib/ourdocs/19thamendment.html#top.

Willingham, AJ. (1 Mar 2020). Why Women’s History Month is in March. Represented. CNN. Atlanta, Georgia (2 March 2020). https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/01/us/womens-history-month-why-march-trnd/index.html.

Zorthian, Julia. (1 March 2018). This is How March Became Women’s History Month. Time. Time USA, LLC. (2 March 2020). https://time.com/section/us/.

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~~ 29 February 2020 ~~ Leap Day and Leap Year

by tkbrown

What is Leap Year, Leap Day? Why do we have them?

Prior to the establishment of the Julian Calendar in 45 B.C., there were no Leap Days or Leap Years. When Julius Caesar implemented the current calendar, he added ten days to the 355-day year in the Roman Calendar. He also changed the date of New Year’s Day from March 1 to January 1 and added a leap day every four years.

The Roman Calendar embraced a ten-month, 355-day year based on the lunar cycle. Each month had three phases: Kalends, or the ‘new moon’ coincided with the first of the month; Nones, defined by the first quarter-moon occurred on the fifth or seventh day of the month; Ides, the first full moon designated either the 13th or the 15th day of the month. Then, with the next Kalends, a new month began.

New Year’s Day in the Roman Calendar occurred on March 1 instead of the Julian Calendar’s January 1. The New Year’s Day Celebration, however, occurred on March 15th (during the first full moon) instead of March 1st (the actual New Year’s beginning day). The full moon probably made partying more enjoyable by increasing visibility. Celebrations included food, music and other festivities.

Then came the Gregorian Calendar with skipped days and relived days to really confuse things. First introduced in October 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII — for whom it is named. According to http://www.timeanddate.com, it is the most widely used Calendar around the world. Catholic countries adopted the calendar quickly with Spain, Portugal and Italy Leading the Group. It has been adopted by the international standard for Representation of date and times, (Hocken, 2017).

Protestant countries were leery of adopting the new calendar, fearing it to be a way of silencing the Protestant movement. Two hundred years after it was introduced, an Act of Parliament declared it to be the new Calendar for England and the (then) colonies, and the date immediately changed from September 2 to September 14, 1752, (Hocken, 2017).

Hocken on http://www.timeanddate.com quotes Benjamin Franklin, who “famously wrote about the switch in his almanac. ‘ . . . And what an indulgence is here, for those who love their pillow to lie down in Peace on the second of this month and not perhaps awake till the morning of the fourteenth.'” (Quoted by timeanddate.com from Cowan, 29; Irwin, 98).

“Orthodox countries followed the Julian calendar even longer, and their national churches have still not adopted Pope Gregory XIII’s calendar,” (Hoken, 2017).

Leap Year and Leap Day come with heaps of folk-lore attached. Leap Year, commonly known as an open opportunity for the woman to propose marriage to her love, does not encourage marriage that same year. It is supposedly unlucky for couples to marry during Leap Year.

Tell me what YOU think!

Sources:

Hocken, Vigdis. (14 November 2017). “Leap Day Customs & Traditions.” Time and Date AS. (28 February 2020). https://www.timeanddate.com/date/leap-day-february-29,html.

Hocken, Vigdis. (14 November 2017). “The Gregorian Calendar.” Time and Date AS. (28 February 2020). https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/gregorian-calendar.html.