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.
Happy St. Valentine’s Day with all my love,
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.
Happy Lunar New Year,
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.
God speed, John Glenn.
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.
For Alfredo Prado Hector Stanford, immigrant from Panama; father of the author
There are two branches of serice seldom spoken of except when they are obvious by their absence:the Coast Guard and the Merchant Marines. My dad served in the Merchant Marines as a ship’s chief cook. There were few employment opportunities available dockside in the 50’s for a canal-zone born mestizo immigrant in segregated Norfolk, Virginia.
He went to sea. He saw to it that thousands of they who served on ships were properly nourished. After that last voyage during the Vietnam conflict he was never the same. Living with a family member afflicted with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrom was my first real contact with the effect of war. It is why I became a pacafist; why I never followed my brother into the Navy. But, to hear any one of them in spoken of in a dishonoring way, or made fun of, as I heard in this last election campaign season, makes me sad. Today I salute the “taken for granted service” of all who are feeding, provisioning, munitioning, maintaining, and otherwise “taking care” of the servicepeople of all the armed forces. I honor all of the people who launder, repair, refuel and refurbish with honor. and love.
Happy Veterans Day,
Second bloom on Lake Anne
November’s arrival turns our heads to think about wealth a whole lot: (the 90%) who’s got it; (the rest of us) who does not; how to get more of it; how to keep it (from being stolen, embezzled, bamboozled, extorted by your own government); where to find it; how to keep it…
You know what I am beginning to understand? wealth is the sum total of all you have in life. Money is a only a small part of wealth. I noticed over and over again in all the listening and all the reading in the personal development genre one ruby among the basic principles: appreciating, understanding and recognizing the value of what I already have is the cornerstone of developing wealth. The talent; the relationships; the life experiences; the opportunities I have is wealth.
That’s why I started a “gratitude journal”. From time to time I write down thank you notes to My Creator about little bits of my wealth. When I start feeling “poor”, I open the journal, read the notes, and remember how rich I am. Becoming wealthier all starts with gratitude.
Thank you for reading “Victoree” and sharing your ideas about work, wealth, life and a basket of other fanciful fruit. November’s best blessings,
The Forest king and his brothers
October 2016 is a very special season of ending and beginning. Of course Celtic New Year, Samhain, the beginning of winter, is at the edge of mind.Casting the longest shadow, however, is this being the October of the fourth year–the eve of presidental election month. At my house, as I prepare for the coming winter celebrations, new president included, I open the gates of change in household decor and “fall clean”, letting in new ideas. No longer do I have to strike the summer screens and put in storm windows, but I enter the season with a “blank canvas” sort of mind. This is “winter faire” year: year four of a circle of four, and the theme for this year’s holiday decor calls for all things that suggest the cleansing, purifying power of the cold. You may catch some of this year’s holiday decor theme on Pintrest, “Edia’s Holiday Home”. Here’s my holiday decorating cycle:
- 2013: Year one – Red with Gold – renaissance ispired; contemporary
- 2014: Year two – Red with Green – Retro inspired; traditional
- 2015: Year three – Mistletoe Harvest – green; nature inspired; historical
- 2016: Year Four – Winter Faire – ice blue; snow, winter queen, mirror surfaces
As we look forward to what promises to be an election with lots of thunder and lightning this is no time to be decidedly silent, no matter what position of choice. The truth is that each of us individually is making that thunder and lightning behind the curtain of the voting booth….
and that’s no “humbug”. Happy Celtic New Year,