Peace on Earth…

By GrannyMumantoog, a Trail Mix Contributor

It’s Christmas time again for much of the world. For others it may be called something else but many of the sentiments, hopes and wishes are the same. It’s a season of reflection, sometimes reconciliation, looking back on the year gone by and thinking about what will happen in the year ahead.

This time of year people all over the world think about peace. World peace is the stuff of song and story but it never seems to be a reality. It’s often just an anecdote or a punchline like in the movie Miss Congeniality:

Everyone says I want peace, I’m praying for peace, I hope my children will live in a world of peace. But, what do we do about it? Is it even possible? What would that kind of peace really look like? Has it ever existed? One of the earliest quotes about peace is the one that Christians are most familiar with. There are actually 2 interpretations/translations of the quote. It comes from the gospel of Luke:

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace to men of good will.

The highlighted section is in many bibles translated as “good will towards men.” Most scholars believe that “peace to men of good will” is the correct translation of the original text. It makes more sense that a celestial being would use that phrase when addressing a group of frightened men. Letting them know that if they have good will in their hearts, they will find peace. The irony is that even when those words were spoken the world was not at peace. Many years and many wars later we’re still looking for those men of good will to raise their voices and be heard.

During the Civil War Henry Wadsworth Longfellow went from deep despair to finding a spark of good will within himself and gave us one of the most beautiful poems of the era many people know it as a song:

…It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

More recently we have applauded stories of a few young men of good will abstaining from battle for a brief day during WWI. If only the entire world had stopped the madness. But, alas, those men of good will were not in charge and the killing continued.

It is sadly expressed in this song: ‘Christmas 1915’

The problem with trying to acheive peace is that the world is still filled with frightened men and they never understood the “good will” part of the task given to them 2000 years ago. The angel was admonishing them that peace would not be achieved until the world was filled with men of good will. That those men must become the loudest voices or nothing will ever change. This, as many before, has been a trying year for the world. For many it is the first time since the 40s that Americans are fearing an attack on US soil. It has become clear to the world that there are no men of good will running things. The US government seems to be about money, power and isolationist rhetoric with very little evidence of good will in the hearts if its leaders.

As we see, much has been written, said and sung about peace on earth in 2000 years. We will keep praying for peace and celebrating that original story of the possibility of peace on earth. We will keep believing that men of good will can eventually prevail. Where are they right now? Perhaps they are our children and grandchildren who will be taught to love instead of learning to hate and fear their fellow man before it’s too late. Maybe the next generation will save us from ourselves if we teach them right. If we can get them off of social medial and off their cell phones long enough. The future will belong to them. Let’s hope they do a better job than their elders have done.

There are over 100 quotes about peace listed on this page from the greatest thinkers, leaders, writers and speakers of every era. Share these with the young ones you know.

Here is just one quote from a man of good will in the 21st century: “Peace does not mean an absence of conflicts; differences will always be there. Peace means solving these differences through peaceful means; through dialogue, education, knowledge; and through humane ways.” ~ Dalai Lama XIV

On final song from our era: This is my wish – Kevin Ross

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all, in whatever form you celebrate them!

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History Lessons!

By GrannyMumantoog, a Trail Mix Contributor

I was going to write something the other day, in the Cassandra topic, based on something Pat commented, about how ill prepared most people are today to deal with living off the grid or at least being able to survive in minimalist conditions. Pat mentioned that we don’t have enough books and things to help us survive. I was going to comment at the time, but I knew that I had lot to say on the subject so I decided to write a post about it.

I think survival skills that everyone once took for granted are a lost art for most people. We live in such an instant everything society that people are easily devastated when they find themselves having to survive without all the easy lifestyle must-haves they’re so accustomed to.

History is something that most people these days don’t really appreciate except as something long ago and far away. History is very much all around us, all the time. We just stopped looking and learning. Especially learning. Thankfully, for some people it is part of their every day thought processes, activities, fun and so much more.

There are whole groups of people who consider themselves preppers, survivalists etc and since the election, I think their numbers have grown. They are on one end of the spectrum. There are others who just love history and what it can teach them. These people love to pass on what they’ve learned in one form or another. These people include re-enactors, people who have educational YouTube channels and there are even some YouTube RV channels and blogs that are actually very good at exploring historical sites and talking about history.

One history enthusiast that I follow has a website and a channel on YouTube. Townsands is his channel and he has produced quite a variety of how to videos. To clarify, they are how to do things like the folks would do them in the 17th & 18th century, but there is a wealth of side history involved too. He published one today that is just about his love of history so I thought I’d share it since I was already writing this when I watched it and thought it was appropriate.

So, to reiterate, there are the preppers, and history enthusiasts. Then there are people like me, who dabble. I have always loved history and living in Mass history abounds! I’ve spent time in old Plymouth, old Sturbridge, old Deerfield and dozens of other places like them with museums, re-enactors and solemn sites and museums to explore. Of course Boston is a treasure trove of history and I’ve explored quite a bit of it. But my love of history isn’t why I started dabbling.

I originally started about 5 years ago preparing myself to eventually move into an RV full time and live off the grid as much as possible. Even before that I purchased a small camp stove and some cylinders of propane to keep on hand in power emergencies, like snowstorms. I picked up an old fashioned percolator and a few LED lanterns along the way too. I recently replaced them with better ones. Another thing that is essential for living off the grid is a magnesium fire starter. These are very small, often can hook onto a key chain and will last a very long time. They’re pretty cheap too, and if you have a baggie full of dryer lint you’re good to go in an emergency. No need to learn how to rub two sticks together. 😀  Of course it goes without saying that some knowledge of water purification and, at its simplest, keeping a bag of water purifying tablets handy is essential. This is a pretty big subject but I thought I’d just touch the surface a little.

The main part of my dabbling has to do with something Pat talked about regarding books. I started a few years ago gathering all kinds of kindle books. I also have a very small solar charging panel that folds up and can fit in a backpack. It’s stong enough to charge your cell phones, tablets, small laptops and a few other small itmes like rechargable lanterns, for instance. I started doing this because it occurred to me that books are heavy. There are a few special volumes that I might take with me if I went off the grid, but mostly, books would be dead weight! I have a small laptop/tablet hybrid and my kindle app inside is filled with books. I also have a usb stick that has over 1000 books on it that I can plug into my tablet for more choices. And I even have some audio books so that if need be, I can audio read myself to sleep. 😉 The audio books are all classics which makes them especially pleasant to listen to at night. At least that’s what I think.

I began collecting all these books when I started to think about: what happens for extended periods of time if I’m out of range of even minimal wifi, power or people? How would I entertain myself all night long in some wild location? And I realized my tablet would be my only form of entertainment as long as I had a solar charger. I’m admittedly a little wacko with the book thing, but ever since the election I’ve thought more and more about what would happen I’ve added even more books in the last year. I’ve even started collecting old reference books, encyclopedia type books, wildcrafting books (foraging for wild foods), other how-to books and more. You’d be surprised how many kindle books you can get for free or very minimal cost. Any pdf can be turned into a kindle book, which makes most of the Project Gutenberg library available for free!

I may never live my RV, off the grid dream. I still think collecting these things is useful when I look at all the recent disasters or think about a potential war scenario. Shudder! I was a girl scout and my boys were in scouts. I was a den mother too. “Be prepared” is needed now before we forget how to survive completely. As it stands now, a lot of history will always be at my fingertips! My, now extensive, library may be varied enough to save my life in the future. At the very least, I’ll never run out of things to read!

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Is DT Illiterate?

By Granny Mumantoog, a Trail Mix Contributor

I’ve decided to take another short break from my design enterprise to post a topic of interest to me. I haven’t seen any (relevant) place where I can put this as a comment in the last few days, so I’m just going to take the bull(sh*t) by the horns.

I’ve become a fan of David Pakman’s YouTube channel recently and his stories about trumplestiltskins illiteracy have mirrored something that I’ve been thinking for quite a while.

I’ve said on this forum and elsewhere that I find it worrisome that he just signs whatever is put in front of him. He seems to just do what his people want him to do without any thought or foresight and certainly without any research on the issue…which would require reading. I’ve heard him say many times, off-handedly, that he doesn’t read and any time anyone asks him about a certain report, book, article or anything that required reading, he always says he hasn’t read it. It doesn’t appear to me that he even listens to audio books. The man has the attention span of a flea so any research that requires more than 5 minutes would be beyond his scope from what I’ve seen, read and heard!

Possible illiteracy, coupled with the fact that he can’t string 3 coherent sentences together when asked important questions, should worry any American with more than two brain cells! This man is a puppet president in many more ways than one. Russia may be the least of our worries if his incompetence isn’t addressed soon!

There are 3 (Pakman) videos on the illiteracy issue, and another couple that either mention the issue or other people’s (or countries’) responses to the issue etc. The 3 main videos are from Feb 2, 6, and 13 respectively. Wondering what everyone thinks about this issue or if anyone but me thinks that it is an issue.

That’s it for now, boys and girls. Hope you enjoy the show LOL!

Sue aka Granny Mumantoog

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An Immigration Story!

Democratic presidential candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton campaigns on Monday, Feb. 29, 2016 at the Lyman and Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History in Springfield, Mass.

By GrannyMumanToog, a Trail Mix Contributor

This is Luis. On Friday, January 27, 2017 he’ll be 21 years old. He came to this country when he was 2 from the land of his birth, Mexico. He’s undocumented. His mother was a young widow with no chance for a future for herself and her son so like many thousands of others, she came to America seeking a better life. When her temp visa expired she began her life as an illegal immigrant.

She worked hard to provide a good life for Luis. At one point, the parents of her deceased husband asked her to send him back to Mexico for a vacation. They said they would pay for and arrange it. It seemed harmless, so she sent him. I don’t know how the arrangements were made, but once he was there they refused to send him back. His mother, in desperation, went back to Mexico and retrieved him. She then had to get across the border again. She tells a story about one of her crossings when she fell into the river and nearly drowned, like it’s about someone else. But she and Luis made it back to the U.S. and she moved to another state and started over.

There are jobs for illegal immigrants. All you have to do is be willing to work like a slave for people who don’t care about bending the law. She worked in a tourist heavy city at a Mexican restaurant. She worked 12-14 hour days, 6 days a week. She was very good and made excellent tips, which was her pay! But this is how she gave her son everything she could, including living in a nice apartment, in a good neighborhood. One of her brothers watched Luis when she worked. When she wasn’t at work, she devoted all of her time to her son.

After the death of her husband, she never thought she would remarry but she met a young man who ate at her restaurant. She spoke almost no English and he didn’t speak Spanish, but it was one of those “Their eyes met…” kind of things. Eventually, when Luis was 8 or 9 they were married. Most people think that if you marry an American you’re automatically a citizen. Maybe it was that way once, but not now.

After about a year they had a son, and Luis was thrilled to have a baby brother. They had gotten hooked up with an immigration lawyer but before anything could proceed the husband had to fix some problematic tax issues and he hired a friend of a friend who was supposed to know what he was doing, to work on it. After over a year and thousands of dollars, it was clear that he was not going to be of any help. Eventually the tax issue was resolved and then they had to spend a few thousand more dollars just to get her officially registered with immigration and put on a very long waiting list to even have her status looked into. Then the recession hit and they lost everything. So Luis and his mother, his new father and baby brother started over again.

Luis is an amazing young man. He’s never been in any trouble, got good grades in school and played football like your average American boy. He doesn’t smoke, drink or use drugs. Thanks to some immigration reforms by President Obama, he was able to get a drivers license and legally work, so he got an after school job when he was about 17. He did so well in high school that he graduated with one of the best scholarships his state offers to pay for college tuition. When he applied at his local community college, he discovered that his undocumented status meant that he couldn’t use the scholarship. He’s been paying his own way through school ever since, a few classes at a time. He also works full time and is now a supervisor at the company he went to work for in high school.

He’s very interested in politics and business. He followed this election closely and even got his little brother, and now little sister, involved in discussions. But of course, he couldn’t vote.

These are the people Donald Trump wants to round up. These are the people Donald Trump wants to keep out. These are the people Donald Trump calls criminals, rapists, terrorists and thieves. If he builds his wall, who will take all the menial, low paying jobs and work slave hours to make some rich person richer? These are the stories that nobody knows about, unless they take the trouble to find out!

I highly recommend a movie called Under the Same Moon. It came out in ’08 and it’s a beautiful story of an undocumented mother and her son. The story is told from both their points of view. The little boy is amazing. If you want to learn about it you can check IMDB here.

Funny but true: When the movie came out, Luis bought his mother the DVD for Christmas. On Christmas morning, when he opened his presents, he found the same DVD from his mother to him.

The End
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Giving The Gift of Caring!

By GrannyMumantoog, a Trail Mix Contributor

Another holiday season is upon us. I know this year has been an especially difficult for some of us here on the Trail. Things seem bleak and we struggle to know what to do, how to cope.

Over the years I’ve done a lot of volunteer work, as well as work for (meager) pay in human services. I’ve seen a lot of suffering in my lifetime, both personally and professionally, but it never fails to amaze me that when I help another person I feel wonderful!

No matter what is going on in my life or the world around me, I get lovely moments of joy when I help other people. Some of my happiest moments came serving holiday meals at soup kitchens.

It’s really a very selfish act! So, especially at this time of year, I’d like to invite everyone to be selfish!

Below you can read a poem that I actually wrote about 35 years ago. As you read it you may notice that not much has changed.

Don’t be discouraged.

Just pick one thing on one line of that poem and make it your way to help others…individuals or society at large. I know that much of what I did might not have made a difference. But I also know that there were some people whose lives were changed by something I said or did.

No matter how low I get I can always conjure up an image of a child or a mother I know I helped in some way, who may have even said thank you.

Those thoughts and mental images lead me to think there could be others I may not personally know about, but knowing it or not knowing it doesn’t negate the good that was done.

So, at those moments I can smile and thank God I was there. You don’t even have to believe in God to care about humanity or our planet.

Our Mother’s Cry

They tell me that it all began
One bright day, long ago.
It started as the simplest plan
The universe would know.

We all were born one family
Where everyone would care.
All made to live in harmony,
Earth’s riches meant to share.

This family was our Mother’s pride,
She loved each special race.
We loved the home she did provide,
Each creature, every place.

What happened to our loving clan?
Where did it all go wrong?
It wasn’t in the early plan
That some did not belong.

Our land, sea, air and creatures too,
Have suffered from abuse.
Some do still care. Are we too few
To be of any use?

Some creatures are no longer here.
Some air can’t be inhaled.
Some water is not clean and clear.
Some land has been assailed.

Some children cry alone at night.
Some grown-ups turn away.
Some people think they know what’s right.
Some might speak out…someday.

Some hungry people sit and weep.
Some will not learn to share.
Some have no place in which to sleep.
Some simply stand and stare.

Some shades of skin are not allowed.
Some hide behind a wall.
Some try to teach us to be proud.
Some will not look at all.

Some women live with pain and fear.
Some rage cannot be heard.
Some men to violence adhere.
Some just don’t say a word.

The Mother of us all begins
To wonder when and how
Her family will repent the sins
That make her suffer now.

Yes, our Mother Earth is crying.
She sheds sad tears tonight.
She sees her family dying.
She fears the end in sight.

She begs us, with her last appeal,
To recognize our worth.
And let the power of love unseal
The fate of our home on Earth.

Happy Holidays with love from Sue (aka Granny)

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