Thursday, July 24, 2014

On Valuing Our Views of Home

"The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is 

at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” 

– G.K. Chesterton

Summers find me traveling. Last summer, I flew to Alabama and drove with our younger son to Upstate New York.  The summer before my husband and our sons spent time in Lancaster County,  Pennsylvania. This summer, my journeys have included driving to Indiana with my husband and will soon include a visit to Vermont for a family reunion. Every place I visit, I go on long walks. In fact, my husband and I are training to walk a half marathon in San Antonio in December. 

It's easy to see the notice the beauty of  unfamiliar places. The trick, however, is to see familiar places in a new way. Today I took a long (5.5 mile) midday walk with our dog.  I tried very hard to notice the views in front of me.  Here is the photo I shot in a county park in our town, a park where I have spent dozens, if not hundreds, of hours since Greg and I moved here nearly two decades ago. Pretty, isn't it?! 

Monday, July 21, 2014

In Princeton: Grace-filled Moments at Vocal Music Camp

I apologize in advance if this entire post sounds like an advertisement. I am not on commission from the Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey!  Our 14-year-old son, who discovered he's a bass not a tenor,  just spent two weeks at Westminster's Vocal Institute, sleeping in the dorms of this school and spending his days singing with 101 other high school students, who traveled as far as Florida to attend. If you have a child with a penchant for singing,  and money in your family budget (there are also scholarships available) consider this camp.  It was truly transformative for our son. Dr. Amanda Quist started the Vocal Institute four years ago with 50 students. Given the state of our economy, it's quite a testament to her and the other professionals that it was doubled in size already.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Vonnegut: On Being Poor

AP: People on line for a job fair in Atlanta
From Slaughterhouse-Five:

"America is the wealthiest nation on Earth, but its people are mainly poor, and poor Americans are urged to hate themselves. To quote the American humorist Kin Hubbard, “It ain’t no disgrace to be poor, but it might as well be.” It is in fact a crime for an American to be poor, even though America is a nation of poor. Every other nation has folk traditions of men who were poor but extremely wise and virtuous, and therefore more estimable than anyone with power and gold. No such tales are told by the American poor. They mock themselves and glorify their betters. The meanest eating or drinking establishment, owned by a man who is himself poor, is very likely to have a sign on its wall asking this cruel question: “if you’re so smart, why ain’t you rich?” There will also be an American flag no larger than a child’s hand – glued to a lollipop stick and flying from the cash register.
Americans, like human beings everywhere, believe many things that are obviously untrue. Their most destructive untruth is that it is very easy for any American to make money. They will not acknowledge how in fact hard money is to come by, and, therefore, those who have no money blame and blame and blame themselves. This inward blame has been a treasure for the rich and powerful, who have had to do less for their poor, publicly and privately, than any other ruling class since, say Napoleonic times. Many novelties have come from America. The most startling of these, a thing without precedent, is a mass of undignified poor. They do not love one another because they do not love themselves."