4th of july, 2017


Happy 4th of July. Let’s remember how and why we got here. So…..Getting back to basics, today’s post is the Declaration of Independence:

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
Massachusetts:
John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Connecticut:
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Delaware:
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
Maryland:
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia:
George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Georgia:
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

a world gone mad on the eve of the 241st july 4th

In honor of July 4th approaching, I am choosing this photo. It belongs to my friend Barry who is a true patriot in the purest sense of the word. I rode in this balloon over Chester County on the 10th anniversary of 9/11

We live in a world gone mad. We are on the eve of July 4th, the 241st edition since 1776.  On July 4th, 1776 the Declaration of Independence was approved.  Originally supposed to have been approved on July 2nd, and John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail at the time:

“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

 

These men (and women) they fought, and bled, and died for our right to be free.  They fought, and bled, and died for US, as is all of us in the USA.  And where are we exactly 241 years later? Riding the crazy train of hatred and vile political rhetoric and vitriol.

The most patriotic man, ladies and gentlemen, is sometimes the man who goes in the direction that he thinks right even when he sees half the world against him. It is the dictate of patriotism to sacrifice yourself if you think that that is the path of honor and of duty. Do not blame others if they do not agree with you. Do not die with bitterness in your heart because you did not convince the rest of the world, but die happy because you believe that you tried to serve your country by not selling your soul. Those were grim days, the days of 1776. Those gentlemen did not attach their names to the Declaration of Independence on this table expecting a holiday on the next day, and that 4th of July was not itself a holiday. They attached their signatures to that significant document knowing that if they failed it was certain that every one of them would hang for the failure. They were committing treason in the interest of the liberty of 3,000,000 people in America. All the rest of the world was against them and smiled with cynical incredulity at the audacious undertaking. Do you think that if they could see this great Nation now they would regret anything that they then did to draw the gaze of a hostile world upon them? Every idea must be started by somebody, and it is a lonely thing to start anything. Yet if it is in you, you must start it if you have a man’s blood in you and if you love the country that you profess to be working for. ~Woodrow Wilson, Presidential Address at Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1914 July 4th

We used to be a country that reveled in our freedoms.  We used to be a country that celebrated the individual – and today if we are not the same Stepford carbon copy of what it is decreed somehow, we are reviled?

We have turned into a country where a good young man was arrested as he was in the middle of  taking steps to correct his citizenship status that was messed up years ago when he came to the US for refuge from persecution.

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Emma Lazarus (November 2, 1883)

We have turned into a country where young mothers from Chester County like Anna Maciejewska disappear into thin air.  She is still missing.  She came to the United States for a better life.  What has happened to her? Does anyone really believe she would leave her precious child? I don’t think she would, and I don’t know her at all.

We have turned into a country where a young girl on the verge of the rest of her life and a very bright future was shot dead on a Chester County road like she was an old beer bottle for target practice. Bianca Nikol Roberson was 18 years old.

I found out yesterday Bianca Nikol Roberson’s parents are friends of a very dear friend of mine, which once again proves the narrow threads that connect us all to one and other.  Bianca will never have her bright future she worked so hard in high school to attain.  She will never fall in love or get married or have her own family.  (Police released a sketch of her assailant.)

We live in a world where people are trying to politicize the Hate Has No Home Here signs into something ugly.

What I have heard: in Lower Merion Township some conservatives there have taken the position that the signs are hate signs against Republicans. HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE? I know Republicans, Democrats, and Independents ALL over (including on the Main Line) who have CHOSEN to have a sign, or a bumper sticker or whatever.

Hate Has No Home is NOT about hate. That is nonsensical. And offensive. It is a personal choice to display one’s wish for a better U.S.A.  If people can display Love Lives Here signs, why not Hate Has No Home Signs?

I find the premise of a sign promoting peace to be about hate utterly ABSURD. It is just part and parcel of the bobble headed rhetoric tearing the U.S. apart on a daily basis. (I have heard as a result of this that Better Angels will possibly be touching down on the Main Line soon as a result to mediate a dialogue we should be grown up enough to have, but apparently aren’t.)

Hate has no home ANYWHERE. The movement was started by young school children. Are we a country that now will squash independent thinking, free speech, creativity?

We are a nation born of immigrants.  We are a nation born of those escaping religious, political, and social persecution.  Yet today, the values that formed us as a country, here in the very cradle of liberty we live in, are under siege.

That has to stop.  We are destroying what makes us unique as Americans.  Extremism has all but destroyed our political system, and now it threatens even the very sociological structure of our country.

In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

We need to stop being a country of sheeple.  We need to embrace once again what makes us unique as Americans.  We need to celebrate our diversity, our multi-cultural, multi-racial, multi- religious selves.  We were not designed as humans to be identical.

In order to preserve, to truly preserve and rebuild what being an American really is about, we need to get back to basics.  We need to remember our country’s very history and learn to tolerate the differences in people again.  It is unrealistic that we will ever actually love every one we come in contact with, but surely we can relearn the all-American values of tolerance and respect?

We are a people in search of balance in every sense of the word. Become part of the change, not part of the problem.  Leave the hate out with the trash on the curb. As a collective people we need to free ourselves from the chains of hatred, and remember the great gifts our Founding Fathers bestowed upon us.

Where liberty dwells, there is my country. ~Benjamin Franklin

sometimes you have to slow down and smell the flowers…and help a turtle cross the road

I read this quote today on a friend’s Facebook timeline:

“This is what Christianity is about. Whether it’s ethics, our understanding of God, our thoughts about the future, or the central image of the Christian story—it’s all love, from first to last. Every bit of it is an attempt to explain, demonstrate, or extrapolate on love.”

 

It was shared along with this blog post : by Micha Redding “Christianity is Love”  

So simple, yet so powerful.  The post also contained this:

Love your neighbor as yourself’. Love does no harm to its neighbor, therefore love is the fulfillment of the Law.” (Romans 13:8-10)

Yet we seem to live in a country that seems so blood thirsty today for lack of a better description.  Some people absolutely can’t feel good about themselves unless they are trying to beat someone else down. They seem to think they find their power by hurting others.  Do they? Or does that just make them sad and mean?

I saw these quote after I was thinking about this post, which is about most simply put sometimes you have to slow down and smell the flowers…and help a turtle cross the road.

Seriously.

This morning I was enjoying the simple majesty of a cool, slightly damp morning, my song birds and my flowers, when I saw something in the road.

Yes it is a turtle.  As I later found out, a snapping turtle.  I gave it wide berth and walked behind it like a shepherd until it crossed the road.

And the marvelous thing about the snapping turtle that did not snap? It got people outside for a few minutes, away from the minutia of daily life to see a creature we do not often get a glimpse at.

It was nice.  It was one of life’s little interludes. Maybe the universe is telling us all something?

happy summer solstice!

Photo Credit Buzz Feed News 2016

Today is the summer solstice, or the first day of summer.  This is an important celebration and I am told (and have read) this is a time when many rituals issue forth to send positive energies into the months which lie ahead. It is a celebration of the gentle days of summer and hope and blessings for crops, fertility, and the fortune for remaining months of the year.  If you are a wee bit fey, you will celebrate wherever you are.


Summer solstice is also known as Midsummer. As per Wikipedia:

Photo credit the Scientific American Facebook Page

The summer solstice (or estival solstice), also known as midsummer, occurs when a planet’s rotational axis, or geographic pole on either its northern or its southern hemisphere, is most inclined toward the star that it orbits. On the summer solstice, Earth’s maximum axial tilt toward the Sun is 23.44°. (Likewise, the Sun’s declination from the celestial equator is +23.44° in the Northern Sky and −23.44° in the Southern Sky.) This happens twice each year (once in each hemisphere), when the Sun reaches its highest position in the sky as seen from the north or south pole.

The summer solstice occurs during the hemisphere’s summer.[2] This is the northern solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the southern solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. Depending on the shift of the calendar, the summer solstice occurs some time between June 20 and June 22 in the Northern Hemisphere[3][4] and between December 20 and December 23 each year in the Southern Hemisphere.[5] The same dates in the opposite hemisphere are referred to as the winter solstice.

As seen from a geographic pole, the Sun reaches its highest altitude of the year on the summer solstice. It can be solar noon only along that longitude, which at that moment lies in the direction of the Sun from the pole. For other longitudes, it is not noon. Noon has either passed or has yet to come. Hence the notion of a solstice day is useful. The term is colloquially used like “midsummer” to refer to the day on which solstice occurs. The summer solstice day has the longest period of daylight, except in the polar regions, where daytime remains continuous for 24 hours every day during a period ranging from a few days to six months around the summer solstice….

Worldwide, interpretation of the event has varied among cultures, but most recognize the event in some way with holidays, festivals, and rituals around that time with themes of religion or fertility.[9] In some regions, the summer solstice is seen as the beginning of summer and the end of spring. In other cultural conventions, the solstice is closer to the middle of summer.[10]

Solstice is derived from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still).

Image may contain: 16 people, people smiling, child and outdoor

Photo courtesy English Heritage Facebook Page

Read more about it here:

BBC Summer solstice 2017: Stonehenge crowds as sun rises

Mirror UK: What is the Summer Solstice 2017? Times, rituals and traditions as Google doodle marks the longest day of the year/Happy Summer Solstice 2017! Get ready – it’s officially the start of summer

Vox: The summer solstice is upon us: 7 things to know about the longest day of the year

The New Yorker: On This Summer Solstice, Be Glad You Live on Earth By Alan Burdick 10:46 A.M.

Learn about Stonehenge on English Heritage.

“This is the solstice, the still point
of the sun, its cusp and midnight,
the year’s threshold
and unlocking, where the past
lets go of and becomes the future;
the place of caught breath…”

― Margaret Atwood, Eating Fire: Selected Poetry 1965-1995

restaurant rave: mino in malvern


Mino in Malvern on Lancaster Avenue is marvelous!  We had never eaten there and decided to try it this evening.

Hands down, the best sushi around.  I have enjoyed other sushi places, but this is the best. Friends of mine have been telling me for years it’s the best, and now I must say I concur wholeheartedly.

The fish is super fresh, and other things like the dumplings are divine. They also have a house blend matcha green tea that has this nutty note to it because I believe it is also brewed with roasted  brown rice if I understood the waitress correctly.

And also the staff – they have an amazing waitstaff at Mino. So nice and so knowledgeable about their own menu.

If you have never been, you should definitely check it out. Extraordinary menu, reasonably priced. It also has a super nice atmosphere with their new interior makeover.

Mino – 321 Lancaster Avenue, Malvern, PA 19355. 610-651-8756.