2020. Wow what a year! Thanks to COVID-19 some of us may be graduating by Zoom and getting our diplomas by USPS. Others of us may even be in regular school this summer instead of the usual boring vacation.
On to the good part of the season.
Here’s a question: What are the two subjects conspicuously missing from all the textbooks in school?
Right. Love and money–only the two subjects crowding out the space in all our waking and sleeping thoughts and dreams. In Victoree’s Industrial Mythology Summer Camp For the next 4 weeks we are going to talk sensibly– no fluff; no bull– to fill in some of the blank spaces in the basic BOK (body of knowledge).
The light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train. It’s knowledge. This year’s summer camp 2020 will be about money: earning it, saving it, spending it, investing it and giving it.
By no means will it be all encompassing, but I hope it will be informative enough to be like a little cheat sheet for life. Bring your sleeping bag. Looking for to a great summer!
This week, Victoree is celebrating the beginning of the Lenten season with a workday of life planning during Mardi Gras. A big fan of Michael Hyatt, Victoreee is using “the day” to do a project that will inform the rest of her retirement. After all, transitioning into a new season of life merits being marked with ritual and celebration.
You may not choose to do a “life planning day”, but, whatever you do this week to commemorate Lent, may it move you forward. How about making the 40 days of Lent a time to double down on that big New Year promise?
Emperor Claudius of Rome noticed that he couldn’t get enough recruits for his armies and why was that? Men did not want to leave their wives and sweeties! So, Clever Claudius put out an executive order cancelling all marriages and engagements. Voila! One stroke of a feathered pen and no marriages, so no trouble getting soldiers to guard the Roman borders against the Picts and the Goths. Of course, as you know, “the stricter the government, the wiser the population”. One maverick priest called Valentine secretly performed weddings and the government found him out. The emperor issued Father Valentine a party invitation that could not be declined. He was martyred Feb. 14th AD 270 and the church awarded him sainthood.
In another legend also sourcing from the time of the late Roman Empire, Valentine was arrested for being part of a radical religion considered a threat to the state, “Christianity” (adherents to this radical sect broken off from Judaism were called”people of The Way” back then). He fell in love with the jailer’s daughter and she used to visit him in prison. When Valentine was marched to his final appearance in a live performance featuring lions killing “enemies of the state” in the arena, he left a note to his girlfriend signed, “from your Valentine”. We still use that phrase today.
In the middle ages people in England and France believed that birds began their mating seasons about February 14th and the practice of lovers sending romantic, hand-crafted greetings on that day arose. St. Valentine became the patron saint of lovers. During the reign of a very romantic queen, Victoria (she started the fashion of wearing white for weddings too), a new technology called lithography made commercially produced “Valentines” widely available.
These days, we tend to forget Valentine was a saint. Over the years there came more and more emphasis on the romantic, even pornographic festival of marketing prurience the day has become. Really, the feast of St. Valentine has absolutely nothing to do with a plot hatched in hell or by Hallmark.It is a commemoration of an early Christian martyr who couldn’t stand to see people in love apart.
It’s the year of the fire rooster according to the Chinese reckoning. That’s a promise of surprises (yeah! travel bans!), bold moves (three huge protest rallies in 30 days!)and outbreaks of radical ideas from unexpected places and people. This is the year the board gets knocked off the table, not just cleared; this is the year the game changes and the rules shift; this is the year social tectonic plates collide. Who can guess what forms the quakes and tsunamis will take or where they will hit? It might be the year that a new business finally gets off the ground or a new career begins. Early retirement begins for me this year. Work will take a”twist”, as paid employment will be a lesser part of the lifestyle combination instead of the main event. As more “boomers” are choosing this option, it becomes a subject worthy of investigation. Whatever this year of the fire fowl will bring (will that wall really go up?) may it bring blessing in surprising ways all through.
Such days we’re in, January 2017; such days. We greeted a new year, celebrated a barrier crashing hero and inaugurated a new world leader. I only watched snippets of the new president’s first address to the nation. I will perhaps watch the entire speech sometime this week out of the draft of the death breath commentary from the usual post speech hyenas and ravens–the bone pickers. Yesterday, I attended the women’s march in spirit from my living room so I included a little solar new year greeting today (remember the lunar new year is coming next week). We are like danelion. Each one of us is an idea that when we share our thoughts spread them over the whole field–our sphere of influence. Words are the seeds of ideas. If you blog; if you are a communicator.Those seeds on the current of the winds of media go on to make new gardens in other places. This is going to be an unusual year judging from its beginnings…may all the ideas we plant bring a harvest of good things.
Victoree is celebrating the coming of The Light into the world this week. A very “merrie Christ-mass tide to all. In Saturnalia, in the solstice of winter, in Channuka; in Kwanzaa–sound the feast; light the torch; raise the song in your heart and your home. May we meet again on the first day of the new year.
In defiance to a very dark winter of our discontent let the light remain alive.
There seems to be one idea embedded in this season for several celebrations that happen in the winter: light overcoming the darkness. Generally, human beings would rather not be in the dark. It’s scary and often cold. Anyone who would bring light to anything anywhere will have to purposefully chose to vacate the safety of the communal fire and brave the darkness. Seeing the naked face of the unknown; the darkness is an accepted occupational hazard for pioneers. In the times John Glenn lived, there was a critical mass of the brave. It was a season that required a convergence of strength, but conquering entrenched cultural darkness certainly can be lonely. Winter nights so long, dark and cold can get so depressing that just a single flicker of light brings a sense of relief and hope.Few faith systems celebrate the darkness. Rituals to drive darkness away abound. Today we celebrate the life of one who went beyond the protective, warm atmosphere of earth into the dark and cold of space. John Glenn’s travels are done. This pioneer in space and government on earth relocated from the gathering dark and cold of winter in humanity to the “Bosom of Abraham”, a place of bright light and warmth. Earth out.
We welcome and embrace December: cold, rainy, snowy, last-month-of-the-year December. And, what do we think about? What is behind all the fighting at the mall? Somebody’s smile! December is about GIVING! All the greasy stuff at the bottom of the drip pan that floated up about the legitimacy of certain non-profits the presidential candidates associated with generally put non-profit organizations in a not-so-flattering light. An “Ebenezer Scrooge spirit” has gripped America as reflected in weaker, stingier resposes to the call of the mercy-showers on behalf of the needy.
Let me predict something here: the rules about who gets funded and who goes down in flames will definately and drastically change –not in the favor of charitable/humanitarian orgainizations. Fewer volunteers will answer. Fewer donors will contribute less. Some of the biggest and best known names in the non-profit world will close their door forever. It will not be a kinder, gentler America unless…
…We defy hopelessness and come up with new ideas:more cost effective, more effective, less wasteful ways to alleviate poverty and its ugly sisters. Refusing to throw a general “Bah, humbug” blanket over all non-profits, we will purpose to give fearlessly. Resisting the urge to withdraw we will move forward toward fearless giving. We will lend our knowledge and skill to help a startup business come into existence. We will start and support grass roots effots to give a “hand up” wherever we can. For ecample: pre-interview low-cost haircuts and grooming essentials for the unemployed; a one-year subscription to Lynda or Alison learning companies for anyone who wants to upgrade a skillset.
I say fight the current move toward “Scrooge-ism”. It’s December. It’s giving season. Go ‘head! Give fearlessly!
Victoree is on vacation this week because Thanksgiving Day is the “superbowl” of homemaking when women from coast to coast freak out about dust bunnies and the right wine. Please pardon the poor soul who just could not help preparing the image on the left to display, but since the turn of events happened, a turkey had to be dropped in for another year. The bubbly will stay closed until the first hour of 2017.
However, we still have something to be extremely grateful for. After the Civil War, President Lincoln signed into law an observance of thanks for the genius that is America. Thanksgiving Day is one day out of all the days on the calendar that America stops to recognize the blessing that even changes like the revolution of 11/8/16 could happen without tanks rolling in the streets and soldiers posted on every corner.