Choose Faith or Choose Fear

It’s a cold, cold night. The winter storm is coming. Tomorrow is supposed to be -35 degrees. I am warm inside the house. I let my dogs out for 5 minutes and then bring them back inside. They whimper because the ice is frigid. It hurts their paws.

The storm is coming.

I could worry about everything. Will my car start? Will I make it through the snow and ice? What about the storms at work? What if someone else gets Covid? What will we do? What about this? What about that?

What if…What if…What if…

2022 is not starting out well. We are stuck in a bad, bad approaching storm. Think about the economy, think about Covid, think about the supply chain shortages, think about this, think about that…..think about all the bad stuff on the news…….get all filled up with anxiety and fear. Get all angry and frustrated and all worked up.

Or…..

choose to stay calm. Choose faith. Not the crazy blinding stupid faith that totally ignores the potential dangers. No the kind of faith that informs the serenity prayer.

Lord, help us to accept the things we cannot change and give us the courage to know the difference between what we can and what we cannot do.

I went to Galilee when I was 21. It was a study abroad for a summer. We took a rickety old metal bus up to the Golan Heights for the day and then on the way back, we stopped at an outside cafe. We got the wild notion to swim in the Sea with our clothes on. I still remember the joy of that moment swimming in the Sea with friends.

It really wasn’t that big, the Sea of Galilee. You could see the other side….much like a big Missouri lake. I wondered then what the disciples were so afraid of when the storms tossed their boat around and the waves threatened to come over the sides. Why did they panic? Jesus was asleep in the boat and they came to him and asked him to save them. Now, I realize that they probably didn’t know how to swim. That would be scary for sure.

Anyway, he got up and told them to have faith and then he calmed the waters to ease their minds.

We’re all kinda stuck in a Galilee boat and we don’t know what to do and we’re worried that this dang disease is gonna drown us. But remember what JFK said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Fear causes anxiety and procrastination and arguing and in-fighting and endless stupid drama which only serves to compound our problems. It causes the blame game and finger pointing. People stop fixing things and looking for solutions. Instead, they just throw shade and throw each other under the bus in an attempt to save their own hide. Every man for himself like we’re on the Titanic and there’s only one lifeboat left.

Admit it. You’ve done this. I’ve done it too. But this time…

Relax. Stay calm. Stay the course.

We’ll get out of this.

The man who wrote the song Amazing Grace was once in a storm too off the coast of England. He tied himself to the boat and he asked for mercy. He came through the storm and gave up his profession of slave trading. He went on to become a prolific preacher and hymn writer and we still sing his songs to this day.

It’s getting colder and colder outside. I could sit here and worry myself to death about the endless possibilities of what could go wrong. Or I could sit here and write something encouraging.

I choose to write.

Events of 2021

Here is a quick rundown of major events that happened in 2021:

* January 6th mob in Washington DC.

* Biden inauguration on January 20th.

* Vaccines approved for use in January/February.

* 1.9 trillion dollar economic plan started in March 2021.

* US rejoined the Paris Climate Accord and WHO.

* US military withdrawal from Afghanistan.

* Juneteenth became a federal holiday.

* 20th anniversary of 9-11.

* Summer Olympics held in Tokyo.

* Meghan and Harry left royal life.

* Broadway theaters in NYC opened back up.

* The Buccaneers beat the Chiefs in Super Bowl. 7th Super Bowl ring for Tom Brady.

* There were mass shootings in Atlanta and Boulder.

* A condominium collapsed in Florida.

* There was a massive winter storm and power failures in Texas.

* Scorching heat and wildfires continued in the Pacific West.

* Hurricane Ida hit the coast.

* Derek Chauvin was found guilty in the murder of George Floyd.

* Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted.

* 3 men charged in murder of Ahmaud Arbery.

* R Kelly was convicted.

* Bill Cosby was released from prison.

* Britney Spears gained her freedom back.

* NASA Rover Perseverance landed on Mars.

* Space X sent civilians to space.

* Blue Origin sent William Shatner to space.

* Facebook rebranded as Meta.

* We faced supply chain shortages and critical staffing needs.

* We experienced the Delta and Omicron variants.

* 7.4 billion people worldwide were vaccinated.

* 5.4 million people worldwide have passed from Covid since the beginning of the pandemic.

* We also lost these notables: Prince Philip, Hank Aaron, Colin Powell, Beverly Cleary, Anne Rice, Donald Rumsfield, Bob Dole, Larry King, Rush Limbaugh, Christopher Plummer, Stephen Sondheim.

Part 2: The Importance of the Redneck

I’ve been watching news in India of the farmer protests with some concern. India is one of the big four producers of food for the planet: China, India, Brazil, and the United States. We should be watching what happens more closely as it may impact the world quite a lot.

Although agriculture represents a very small percentage of our GDP, here in America food producers make a large portion of the total world food supply, enough to feed approximately 10 billion people.

Wait a sec. The current world population is 7.84 so why are there famines all over the place?

I’m not sure. There are probably a myriad of reasons including a need for better food systems that prevent spoilage.

The U.S. is first in the world in corn production, third in wheat, fifth in potatoes, tenth in sugarcane, and twelfth in rice production.

Why is the U. S. such a powerhouse for food supply? The geographical and atmospheric conditions for farming here are some of the best in the world and we have the quickly depleting Ogallala Aquifer.

The Ogallala Aquifer is one of the largest groundwater resources in the world. It lies under 112 million acres of land and under 8 states: Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas, South Dakota, and Nebraska and Wyoming. Nebraska has the bulk of the aquifer and the deepest areas. The aquifer can go as low as 1,200 feet. About one third of U.S. agriculture is irrigated by this great aquifer. Once depleted, it will take 6,000 years to restore. We are taking way more water out for irrigation than is sustainable at this rate. Expected complete depletion year for the aquifer is around 2060.

America used to be plagued by dust bowls and drought or even severe flooding in the Midwest. Two adaptations after WW2 fixed some of this: dam systems to control flooding more and also central pivot irrigators for better irrigating of crops. Many of these dams now are very old, at least 50 years and were created under the great infrastructure plans of FDR and Eisenhower.

Maybe the answer to our joint economic and environmental concerns here is to initiate another set of infrastructure improvements that will hire many men and women to build or repair civil engineering and environmental engineering projects.

When you look at Kansas, my state, it is still called the bread basket making 400 million bushels a year with two thirds of this shipped to other countries. Kansas is ranked third in cattle and produces the majority of the grain sorghum. In 2017, Kansas produced 5.69 billion lbs. of red meat.

Texas leads the states in number of farms with around 247,000. Missouri is next with 95,000. Iowa is third with 85,300.

When you think of farming, you imagine the Midwest probably. But the top supplier of a whole lot of farm food is California.

The U.S. makes 139.5 billion in food exporting but, as I said earlier, is just one of the big four: China, India, Brazil, and United States.

We should really watch what is going on in India with the farmer protests because it may impact us all. Also, the depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer is a major issue. 2060 is only thirty-nine years away.

How do we sustain a growing world population of 7.84 people with depleting resources, older dams and infrastructure in need of repairs, and political strife involving our food producers as well as our food pickers? This topic involves labor issues in regards to immigration policies too. How do we take care of these immigrants that work in agriculture? How do we create more efficient food systems? These are important issues for the upcoming years.

Listen to the Hillbilly Redneck Moron

I got called a hillbilly redneck moron today for saying people should work together, a centrist narrative. At first I was upset. But then I realized this was an oxymoron.

I am 42 years old. I am the granddaughter of two farmers I greatly respected and admired because they were actually some of the smartest folks I ever met. Why? Because they grew things and conserved things on a large scale for others. Do you know how hard it is to grow and sustain things? Once, in college, I killed a cactus cause I overwatered it but I was taking Calculus. Book smart does not equal real world smart. Farmers are real world smart. They know when to water. They know when to not water. They know all sorts of fascinating and essential details about growing thousands upon thousands of crops or raising cows, or chickens, or whatever for our mass human consumption. Farming is real hard work plagued by all sorts of variables. You cannot be lazy and be a farmer.

So hillbilly redneck is, in fact, in my book synonymous with genius. But genius without reward or adulation.

What is the most fascinating thing I learned lately about farmers?

Farmers are generally usually conservative probably by nature of their work close to nature and their constant need for resourcefulness. They have to fix things themselves, survive things on their own. They just can’t run to town to fix the tractor so the crops can be taken care of. They rely on themselves and their network of neighbors.

Do you know in the history of mankind, what follows revolution?

Famine. Massive famine.

Why?

Because the conservatives who produce the food disappear (through various means). This happened after the French Revolution and the Bolshevik Revolution. The revolutionaries wiped out the one group in society they so critically relied on.

What is my point?

It is important to respect the farmer hillbilly redneck. He is the weathered and worn hand that feeds without much recognition or reward.

That hillbilly redneck is the best damn human I know. And yes, you may not like his beliefs or views. He may be old school. But you get rid of that guy at your own peril.

Great Article

I like this short article by Jackie Gingrich Cushman. I think it expresses the sentiments of many Americans at this time. It is not overly one-sided but reaches across both aisles of the debate to shake hands. I like that part. It also delves into our past and the thoughts of previous presidential leaders such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Barack Obama.

I tried to embed the link to send you to the article. It is an opinion piece titled, “A More Perfect and Lasting Union.” Well worth the read. And, I agree 100% about the exceptionalism part of it. I agree with Obama too that Americans are capable of “exceptionalist” behavior without being preachy, arrogant, narcissistic, or vain. Exceptionalism as defined this way is working towards a better common good and opening ourselves to a capacity of change/correction if necessary to improve life for future generations. Through introspection and discussion, we celebrate where we went right and recognize where we went wrong and strive/endeavor through positive action within our communities to improve.

It doesn’t mean I’m a self-identified Republican nor a Democrat, rather simply that I view myself as part of a very large group of diverse people that inhabit this land called America.

Here is the article:

https://magicvalley.com/opinion/columnists/cushman-a-more-perfect-and-lasting-union/article_71c2d6c4-8381-514b-b0ca-38a8725507fc.html

E Pluribus Unum

This was the official motto of the original 13 colonies during the American Revolution. It was proposed in 1776 by three men to become the Great Seal motto. These men were Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. Later on, this saying would be replaced in the 1950s by the words, “In God we trust.” I’m not sure where the Latin phrase for “E Pluribus Unum” originated. It really reminds me of the phrase of the French Four Musketeers. That phrase was “All for one, one for all.”

E pluribus unum simply means “out of many, there is one.” It means we stand together as a union, in good times and bad, in sickness and in health, through tragedy and through celebration. We recognize our unique qualities and diversity yet also lean on our human bond as together we pursue life, liberty, and happiness. This is not a revolutionary idea. It is a motto for all friendships and relationships and it’s loyalty is the fundamental cornerstone of our foundations in life and as a nation.

We need to bring back this motto.