What Happens When the “Cloud” Goes Dark

x

The ultra-sound scheduled for today was cancelled just as I was getting ready to go to Murietta for the test. Certainly happy that Bob and I didn’t get all the way there to find that “the machine wasn’t working.”  

  What happens when the machine isn’t working? I asked that question at the School Board Meeting when we weralmscussing technology for our kis. What happens when the computers go down? That means no access to all the technology we re teaching them to use. Will they even know how to check a book out of the great libraries we have almost abandoned? Will they know how to spell, to write, to speculate, to continue to discuss the topic at hand? Will they know the telephone number of their best friend or even their parents? Perhaps not even their own. I wonder most of all about their ability to carry on a verbal conversation about anything when their head is out of their smart phone.  

What if someone or something screws up the “cloud,”  the Supernova, and all the technology that operates by Moore’s Law? Wow!!!!! I have no idea. No access to medical records. No  instructions to the power grids. No student  records in  our schools unless we are fortunate enough to have paper trails.  No personnel records. No digital this, no that . What happens when nothing is available if the “cloud” that is the magical storehouse of all the magic of our smart phones, etc. becomes dark?

Will the human brain find its “cloud”?  

The Gift of Another “Decoration” Day

When I was young and celebrating Decoration Day, I never realized the gift I had been given. School had just ended, but our high school band would still play on Decoration Day. We would march to the cemetery from the high school to participate in the Day’s activities. It was hot, and we complained a lot. But when we entered the cemetery we knew reverence was expected of us. We knew the flags represented special people from our community who had ” gone to war.” It never occurred to me that one day I would proudly wear the uniform of the United States Navy. I left my first teaching job in 1942 in Aberdeen, South Dakota, to “go to war.

I would not experience the horrors of the battle fields, the solemnness of burying a comrade at sea, the horrible sight of a kamikaze pilot diving on my ship, or the unknown future from one day to the next. I never experienced being aboard a ship when all I knew was that I was somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.

Women were not allowed to “go over seas.” Only nurses wee allowed to do that. The women with whom I served would have been willing to do so; it was a topic of conversation often with us. So we served where we could. We certainly were on the front lines of information about War. We heard first hand what was happening to our shipmates. We would hear about the Pacific Island battles. Yes, we heard about the terrible casualties and always the successes.

I watched the ceremony today at Arlington National Cemetery. The laying of the wreath at the tomb of the Unknown, the prayers, the music, taps, and the remarks of the President and others. It was indeed a Memorial Day celebration. It truly was about all who have died protecting our precious freedoms, but it was more. It was about every single one, a person with a name, a home town, a mother and father, siblings, dreams, and courage beyond most of us. It was about the loved one, the athlete, the sparkling eyes, the letters home, and the knock on the door telling those who remained at home that their loved one wasn’t coming home. Every single one had the same flag next to their individuality on their grave marker–private or general, seaman or admiral, young and mature, and now women or men. Each heard again the Star Spangled Banner, America the Beautiful, the President, their military bosses, the prayers for peace, pand finally,Taps.     

 

 

A Half-Baked Cake

Don’t go off half-baked.  That’s a half-baked idea. Like so many expressions in our lexicon, the derivation is the Bible. I am constantly amazed at the depth of the contribution from our Christian Heritage to our daily life. I am also amaze at how little it is recognized as the basis of our culture and our values as a nation “under God with liberty and justice for all.”

This is such a terrific metaphor. If you’ve ever taken a cake out of the oven too soon, you truly do have a worthless cake. All the ingredients are wasted, the luscious fragrance of a cake baking in the oven is gone, and the cake is evidence of unfulfilled promise. It is a testament to a lack of patience. Maybe the environment was uninviting, the temperature not correct, somebody slammed a door and the cake “fell.” Maybe there wasn’t enough leavening agent in the batter. My mother always used to warn us about that when the cake was in the oven. :Don’t slam the door,” she would admonish, “The cake is in the oven.”  

I don’t want to be “worthless as a half-baked cake. I want to be worthy of the gifts I have been given. I have been given the greatest leavening agent of all–faith. It is the grand and glorious gift that can help  us to rise to heights of service we could not have imagined. We have the ingredients–the gifts and fruit of the Spirit.  

We have no reason to be half-baded.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Gift of Time–I’m too Busy to………

I’m so busy. There’s so much going on. I just don’t have time. And on and on about  being too busy.

  One of two things: perhaps we are too busy doing things that won’t make a difference to anyone, or we have forgotten the gift we have in our busyness.

The gift of having something to fill our days with activities that can make a difference to someone, somewhere in our lives; is enormous. You don’t even need rose-colored glasses; you just need to look through the positive side of the lenses rather than the negative. 

The gift of being busy is the gift of hope that you have been entrusted with activities that can make a difference. It is the joy and pleasure that can be added somewhere in your universe. It is the opportunity to practice compassion and love in lives around you. It is the opportunity to serve, serve, serve.

I have the gift of this day. There are no rainbows on my ceiling this morning; because the sun has been replaced today with gray skies; those gray skies are filled with the hope of the coming rain.  

P.S.  If you’re still too busy, punch the delete key on some of the stuff tha won’t make a difference to anyone. 

America First Again–A New Look

How does it feel to hear those words again?

My birthday is coming soon. On June 13th, I will be 96. For most of those years, I have lived in an America that was proud of its status. It was first in pioneering spirit. It explored and shared its wonders. Its technology has changed everything for most people; it has shared its wonders in medicine and business. It has been a primary force in saving the world from itself in two World Wars. It has shared its treasure and its young to remain free and to help others in their quest for freedom. 

But most of all, it created this amazing form of government called a republic. Our Founders offered their all to brave tyranny and created our founding documents. They clearly acknowledged that they had Divine Guidance in their endeavors. These documents that govern us have lasted in spite of the attacks on them. When they survive the current attacks, they will be even more remarkable because we will again have realized their greatness.

When we survive the attacks on our national symbols, when our young are again taught our real history, when our universities and colleges stop tilting their world left and become true institutions of learning, when we recognize our Christian heritage as our foundation, we will have more folks wearing flags on their lapels than those stomping on the flag or burning it. 

We will learn to walk humbly in our America First, Again shoes. We will feel the pride of sharing with and serving our neighbors. We can only do great things when we have great things to offer. I cannot offer you half a loaf if I have no loaf. I cannot model freedom for you if I have lost mine. I cannot shine my light on the darkness of tyranny if I have allowed tyranny to extinguish my light.

 

 

 

America First, Again–Reducing Health Care Costs

WE CANNOT REDUCE THE COST OF HEALTH CARE, SECURE MORE ACCESS, AND MAINTAIN THE QUALITY WE WANT UNLESS THE COST AND SPECIFIC CARE TO BE PROVIDED ARE KNOWN TO THE PATIENT AND THE DOCTOR AT THE TIME THE CARE IS GIVEN.   

The costs involved in health care have become prohibitive and erratic. The same procedures costs different amounts in different places and circumstances.  A multiplicity of tests are performed for defensive purposes because doctors and other practitioners are afraid of legal action against them. Some of these tests could be more dangerous than the procedure.

Specialists, the practitioners with years and years of extra training, are so specialized that they often have forgotten how their special part of the body is connected to the rest of the body. So much treatment is given for symptoms with little understanding of the cause of the difficulty.  

Nevertheless, I don’t think there is a better system in the world than ours. Then, how do we improve on what we have, keep the best, treat the whole person, no longer have to perform excessive tests for fear of litigation, and make it accessible and affordable for all?  

I believe that the only way that we can move in the future is to have the patient driving the bus:  the patient takes responsibility for preventive care and is rewarded for it; the doctor publishes the price of every procedure and service; the patient is aware before anything is done what the cost will be; no charge is sent to an insurance company without the signature of the patient; at the end of each session/treatment/consultation, the doctor gives the patient a summary of what has taken place with all treatments and costs; any questions should be answered then; the patient should know what the cost is before they leave the area of treatment; the patient should be able to go anywhere and get nearly the same cost for any particular procedure.

 

And most of all, the cost should be the same if I pay cash or if my insurance company is billed. I have had the experience of having a certain number of treatments authorized by the insurance; when I chose to continue and pay for them myself, I found that my cash price was half of what the insurance company was billed. There must be a set price, cash or insurance.

 

Unless the patient is aware of and is responsible  for the amount of the bill, fraud, excessive charges, vastly different charges for the same procedure, unnecessary tests and defensive procedures will endure, hospitals will charge exorbitant amounts for insignificant stuff, and the costs will continue to soar.  

 

Patients must eliminate the attitude that it doesn’t cost them anything when their insurance company is billed. This will continue when the patient is removed from the responsibility of at least knowing what the charges are.

 

More than just the treatment should be between patient and doctor. The cost must also be known to both at the same time. I believe most will take seriously the ethics of responsibility.

 

WHEN THE PATIENT IS UNAWARE OF THE COST OF MEDICAL TREATMENT UNTIL THEY SEE THE MATERIAL FROM THE INSURANCE COMPANY, THE COST WILL NOT GO DOWN.

 

 

 

America First, Again–Health Care

 At 95 years of age, I have lived with health care a long time. I have watched it in operation not only for myself, but for members of a large extended family, and for neighbors and friends. I have experienced people with and without health care. I have watched my mother pay our doctor bills with farm produce or whatever she gathered together. Everybody in our small town, including the doctor, loved my mother’s cottage cheese, garden vegetables, and berries.  Dr. John was a large affable man who was always available, whether or not you had money to pay the bill. Mother bartered for most of ours.

Never did I hear my mother complain or bitch about “our rights to health care.” Health care, along with everything else in our life, was built on opportunity, not entitlement. We had access with compassion, care with caution (when we went to the doctor, he knew mother had done everything that she could), and we lived with large doses of preventive health.

 Even the smallest towns had a doctor for medical care. And the doctors were all general practitioners. The Doctors Mayo were in Rochester, not far from my Iowa home. I knew there were hospitals in larger cities. I knew when I was a child that there was help in Iowa City for the really bad things that you couldn’t pay for . My mother went there once when I was a small child; I was very frightened. I had a severe grease burn on my leg; nothing could be done. Maybe that’s when I learned to endure pain. My first son was born when his father was overseas slated for the invasion of Japan; the four days of labor were barbaric by today’s standards or any standards.  But  I also learned then that there were greater forces than the medical profession determining that we would both live.

There was more faith and trust than tests and pills. No, I am not suggesting the good old days, but I do believe that the patient and the treatment have to be more closely connected–including the cost. There is no other way we can afford today’s health care. Neither can we afford to continue to dispense “medicine” at the rate that we are doing. Wanting a pill or a shot every time we feel a tinge or trace of something, does not allow for the amazing body we were given by our Creator to heal itself. The Great Physician needs to be on one side of that scale.  

 

 

 

Freedom and My Grandfather

I’ve been thinking a lot about freedom these days. When you farm or have a ranch, I think it is clear that all sorts of regulations curtail your activity. You cannot do what you want with your land and your crops. I am not judging the value or nuisance of all the curtailments/regulations that exist; I am just saying they are there. But as I look back, I wonder how so much could have happened in my lifetime. How did we lose so much freedom? I remember my grandfather refusing to take/follow a government program that required  him not to plant anything on many acres of his farm. He could be paid for not growing anything on that land. I was just a little girl, but I remember my grandfather’s anger at the government; it could tell him what he must do with his land. My grandfather had come from Germany with nothing to come to the “land of the free.”

He was experiencing the American Dream that brought him to this country. He worked hard, acquired land, tilled the land, built a home and farm buildings, acquired more land, and became a very successful farmer in Iowa. His barns were full of hay, the cribs were full of corn, and  another building we called the grainey, was full  of wheat, oats, and barley. And my grandfather had so many cattle and hogs to sell each year that he was allowed to ride in the caboose of the train that took the animals to the Chicago stockyards.

My grandfather was one of those immigrants we keep talking about when we declare that we are a nation of immigrants.  He was proud, courageous, entrepreneurial, stern, generous: a man of faith. He raised a large family, was tutor to many, and was one of the most industrious people I have known. He lived past eighty. He never gave us money, but he always provided opportunities for us to earn money. He was quiet but far from mute when it mattered. He was a great teacher when we desired to be students. George Meyer was an amazing man.

I was in high school when he passed away. But the image of my grandfather is clear in my memory bank. So are all of the things that he taught me–not so much with words, but by who he was. He built a very large three-family home on his beloved farm. My first four years of life were spent in the “big house.” The attic was full of treasures. The farm was full of adventure. I had many wonderful questions to ask, and so many incredible opportunities to learn, to test the boundaries, and learn the parameters of faith–in others, and more importantly, in myself. My grandfather was my early model.

Grandpa didn’t say it so many words, but I think he taught me that only the God-given fruit of the Spirit are free–love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  (Galatians 5:22)

Catching Up

It has been some time since I published a blog. My son, Britt, spent nearly a month with me, helping me do all manner of things. When you have macular degeneration and are 95, you appreciate the company and the help. It is great to get up to the aroma of a fresh pot of coffee, the smell of bacon, and the thought that Britt makes wonderful omelets.

A wonderful family Christmas is history. But the memories of the whole family being together are etched in the memory bank. When you have one granddaughter in college, one granddaughter in Colorado, a grandson in Palm Desert, a son and daughter-in-law who live in Portland, Oregon, a son and family next door, to be sharing Christmas together is pretty special. The late December days were filled with seizing as much family time together as we could. And then it’s December 31.

Yes, Christmas is past, but the memory film of the wonderful church services I have attended on Christmas Eve is precious. It is a film I could try to edit but would never be able to say, “Cut.” The crunch of the snow in Iowa as we made our way to the church, the Christmas program where every child had a “piece” to recite, the bag that each child got in church with the prize of an orange in the bag.  Then you watch your children become a part of the scene, and then your grandchildren become a part of the Christmas Eve Service, the service to teach us all about the greatest gift ever in our lives–the gift that keeps on giving, the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

And then it’s January 1, 2017. You stayed up to watch the New Year celebrated around the world. It is a new beginning for all of God’s creatures. It’s very late for a New Year’s resolution but here is mine: Joy and the good things of life emanate from gratitude; therefore, I will focus on being grateful for the positive things that happen every day, some so very simple, and I will be grateful for what I can do and not what I can no longer do. I will always thank my Creator for the gifts that are mine if I have the faith to see and grasp them.

January flew by, and now we are in February. Wow. The days are getting longer, we have had some much needed rain, I have my first daffodils proclaiming spring, and the beautiful winter blooming jade bushes are starting to give way to the spring flowers. And so the year moves on, and I am grateful to get the first blog on in a very long time.

Our Flag Waves Over the Brave and the Not So Brave

 

The stadium is packed; the Army Navy game is ready to start. The public address announcer has to turn the volume up for the announcement. “Ladies and gentlemen: Please stand for the Invocations and remain standing for the National Anthem.  The crowd grew silent, and the Chaplain’s voice filled the stadium. He delivered an amazing Invocation. The cadet and midshipman choirs were lined up on the field to sing the National Anthem. It was a beautiful sound and a beautiful sight. The stands were filled with reverent people, people who were showing respect for our Christian Heritage and our flag. What a wonderful moment.

As I watched this scene with butterflies in my stomach and pride in the total representation of the best of our great nation, I couldn’t help but remember another scene witnessed several times recently. That was the scene at several professional football and basketball games, and I suspect many others that I don’t know about; when Colin K. and other athletes failed to stand, took a knee, or used other ways to protest their view of social injustice or something they think is wrong with their great country. But I guess they don’t think it is so great. It only allowed them the opportunity to become very rich. It only allowed them to stand up in protest because of the great documents that give them “free speech.” It allows them the freedom to dishonor the flag and the national anthem.  

Then my mind shifts back to the Army Navy game. Wow. What a sight. The young men and women who carry the flag to the far-flung corners of the world, who fight and die for the things that flag stands for, and who pledge their allegiance to that red, white, and blue beauty, were still standing with dignity and respect as the last sounds drifted away. They will give their life, if necessary, to protect the freedom of those who dishonor it. They will climb mountains, march in mud, sail in stormy waters to plant that flag as a declaration of freedom. 

Oh, say does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave, O’er the Land of the Free, and the home of the brave–and the not so brave? Fortunately for all of us, Yes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

t.