We have a huge murder trial about to begin here in SWFL. In 2015 Dr. Theresa Sievers was bludgeoned to death in her home upon returning from vacation. Her husband and 2 other men have been charged in her murder. One of the hit men took a plea deal and is serving time in prison now. The trial of one of the hit men, Jimmy Rodgers, is about to begin with jury selection taking place right now. Mark Sievers trial will follow. Read more about the story behind the murder here.
Anyway, this is a pretty big trial here. It’s a death penalty trial. It’s all over our local &, national news. Court TV, Law and Crime are in Ft. Myers. Along with Netflix is here making a documentary. We’ve been following it on Court TV & WINK as the jury selection takes place, which is now on Day 4. The big question is about the death penalty.
We talked about the big question this morning. Is it up to us to decide whether someone lives or dies? I remember a religion course in nursing school called “Come Let us Play God”. What I learned and took away from that class still sits in the back of my mind. I’m not sure I could conceivably, without a doubt, decide that someone should receive the death penalty over life imprisonment.
What would you do?
Thoughts of my immigrant ancestors have been running through my mind lately, especially with everything that is going on in our country at this time. I think about my Irish ancestors and how when I was growing up it wasn’t a good thing to be a descendant of someone from Ireland. My great grandfather was from Ireland and it was just something my Grandma didn’t talk about. We all knew that we were Scotch/Irish on my dad’s side and English on my mom’s. But to get my Grandma to really talk about the immigration of her family to the United States was a road we just didn’t go down. I grew up in a suburb of Cleveland that was heavily Eastern European. I knew more about Hungarian or Polish food and culture than I did my own culture. Cleveland is a melting pot and it was embraced by the people living there. It wasn’t until we were living in Wisconsin and almost 100% of our church was from Norway that I learned the importance of really knowing where you come from and how to embrace it. The pride in their heritage and the ethnicity was incredible. It was something that was celebrated and lived everyday. Not something to be ashamed of as I felt as a part Irish lass. I became more aware of my heritage and wanted to know more. When our son had the opportunity to study in Ireland we were so excited to visit the country where my Great-Grandfather came from. I started digging into what I could find out about my Grandma’s family, which was a very difficult task when the particulars of births, deaths, date of immigration were unknown. It was at that time that I regretted and wished I had pressed my Grandma more to find out more about her family. I wish we had learned to celebrate our heritage as the people of our church did. But, it was too late as my Grandma was no longer with us and all those memories and information were never discovered. I am saddened that she was embarrassed to talk about being Irish.
We live in a country that was built on immigrants. If it weren’t for my great grandparents on both side coming to the US or Canada (my Scottish grands immigrated to PEI) I wouldn’t be here today. We have the opportunity to embrace and learn about so many different cultures that make us who we all are. Each one different, but the same in some way. So I guess my bottom line is that we should all be proud of where we come from. Don’t be ashamed or intimidated by the “go back where you came from”. Well, wait a minute! I did kind of go back to where I came from when I visited Ireland and I’m so grateful and thankful that I’ve had that chance not once but several times. It’s the homeland where I instantly felt a connection. . So, I guess maybe we could take the “go back where you came from” and turn it into a positive phrase by ignoring the hateful meaning behind it and turning it into a time to really discover where we came from and who we really are!
I admire our daughter-in-laws in so many ways but I’ve developed a new appreciation for their athleticism and admire them even more! I’ve set a goal for myself to run 5K by the time I turn 60 in July. I’ve never been a runner. A walker yes, but not a runner. This has been a challenge for me, but I’m bound and determined to hit my goal! This morning my training program had me run 2.5 miles without stopping. I thought I’d never hear the chime and “begin your cool down”. But I did it and I have developed an ever greater appreciation for what Heather and Susie do- they run marathons. They are my heroine’s!
We love to watch hummingbirds at our feeders and seeing as how they migrate to S. Texas we have an abundance of them like we’ve never seen before. So we’ve picked up new feeder-it’s like the high rise of all hummingbird feeders with 3 different tiers to it. But, not only do the hummingbirds love the nectar in the feeders but so do the bees. We’ve hung our high-rise feeder right outside of our kitchen window where we can really watch the antics of the birds and of course the bees. I thought for sure that many bees on the feeder (and there has to be a couple dozen of them) would deter the hummingbirds from using the feeder. I was so wrong. The other day I noticed one of the birds approaching the feeder and as he was feeding a bee flew up to the same little opening. Very politely the bird hovered back a little and gently just went to the next little opening. Again, another bee flew up to that same opening and landed to feed. And again the bird hovered back and moved to the next little opening. This continued on for quite sometime. I started thinking this morning how very politely they co-exist in the same little area. Bees sting and I’m sure, at least in my mind, they can still other creatures. But the hummingbird didn’t even let that faze him. He came up to the feeder, drank, moved back, allowed the bee to feed and quietly moved to the next opening. My point- what would life be like if humans could all co-exist in the same way. What would life be like if we could occupy the same space with someone that has a tendency to sting when provoked. What would life be like if we just quietly hovered back and gently moved to the side, rather than trying to match words or actions. I read a blog yesterday about taking the high road and how sometimes we don’t always do that, but really should. What would life be like…..?
So I’ve decided to join the wordpress challenge of posting daily/weekly and it looks as if I’ve got a little catching up to do. For those of you that know me and how AR I can be this may be a challenge since I really hate getting behind on stuff! Yikes! So here goes.
Yesterday’s topic was to ‘List three countries you’d like to visit, and why you want to go.’ O.k. this is a pretty easy one for me!
1. Of course, my first country is Ireland. Since I have some Irish in me (my great-grandfather was from county Cork) I just can’t seem to get enough of visiting the Emerald Isle. But, we’ve been there 3 times and so I guess that maybe this one doesn’t really count in my list of 3. So on to 3 new places I’d like to visit and why.
- Greece or Turkey: I’ve heard so much about these two countries and how beautiful they are. Ever since seeing the moving “Mama Mia” (yes, I’m one of the weird ones that loves this movie) I’ve always wanted to visit the island where the movie was filmed. The scenery is gorgeous, the people look they they love life, I love greek food, and the history is amazing. Plus, I’d really like to do a tour in the footsteps of Paul. How exciting that would be to be able to walk where Paul walked, learn where he taught, and just be immersed in what he has taught us about being a fully devoted follower of Christ.
- Germany- Being a life-long Lutheran it would be interesting to visit where the Lutheran world began, this time following the footsteps of Martin Lutheran. Of course, Germany holds other interests for me. We have friends that live there, I love German food and drink!
- This last one is stateside- I’ve always wanted to visit Seattle/Portland. Brett & Heather have vacationed out there and Jon has spent some time in Seattle so I’ve heard of how beautiful it is. I’ve seen pictures and I know they don’t do it justice. Plus, I want to see the fishmongers throwing the fish at Pike Place Market, & walk where Starbucks started! Also, it’s one of the few areas of the states (besides Hawaii and Alaska) that I’ve not seen.
So, that completes my list of 3 places I’d like to visit. Onto todays topic—-
“Who deserves more credit”
This time I’m supposed to name someone who deserves more credit than they get. And for bonus points, how to change things so they get more. Oh boy this first part isn’t tough at all because I’d always say that my husband is the one person that I think deserves more credit than he gets. He’s always had to balance the demands of being a pastor, husband, & father and I know that I’ve not always given him credit for the awesome job that he does, his huge heart, gentle spirit, patience-especially with me- and just being him. How to change things so that he gets more lies in my responsibility. I think I’ll start right now by not teasing him so much when he relaxes in the recliner that I’ve so often threatened to get rid of! Thanks, Jon for all you’ve given me and our family!
Jon was out taking pictures yesterday of the ice fog. It never ceases to amaze me the creations that God gives us to admire when we are in the depths of the cold, winter weather.
Just some thoughts that popped into my head as we sat watching “The Today Show” this morning. Last weekend we headed up to Minneapolis to celebrate Brett’s birthday. As usual, it was up to the birthday person to be the cruise director for the celebration. Our bunch always find the coolest things to do when we visit them, so not only were we excited to be heading up to visit with them and for Brett’s birthday, the first that we’ve been able to celebrate all together as a family in about 5 years, but we were waiting to see what he had planned for the weekend. Friday night we headed across the street to a new restaurant that was just opening up that evening, Victory 44. A small restaurant, but one with great atmosphere, bright, eclectic and soon filled to the brim. We were treated to a complimentary bottle of wine for their grand opening. The menus were clipped to a clipboard, so we figured that it will be a rotating menu since it was fairly limited. Between the 6 of us Jon and Justin has a sausage roll with salt & vinegar fries (actually it was a smoked kielbasa), Susie and I had an apple walnut salad, which was just a bit tiny but very tasty. Heather had fish and chips, which both she and Brett concurred that it was delicious. Brett ordered a burger with an egg on top (I think he was the most adventurous). The food was absolutely delicious, but unfortunately we all agreed that they weren’t really expecting such a huge crowd for their opening as the service was quite slow. Despite several reminders to the waitress Brett never received his food until we were all totally finished with ours. Not to worry though as we were most pleasantly surprised when we were not charged for any of our food and we most definitely will try it again. And Heather’s homemade chocolate cupcakes with an almond flavored frosting really helped cap off the night.
Sat. was amazing! Brett had planned for us to go to the Festival of Nations in St. Paul. Being the festival junkies that we all are we were really looking forward to the day. It was amazing. The lower level of the RiverCenter was filled with food booths galore from just about every country you could imagine. My eye quickly caught the cream puffs as big as softballs at the Denmark booth. It was too early to eat just yet so we headed to the bazaar area first. I’ve not seen so many different colorful booths filled with items from all over the world. It was really so cool to see the variety of items, folks in native dress, entertainment from around the world and just a hodge podge of all nationalities. Of course, hunger took over so we headed back to the food area. We had food from Taiwan, Columbia, Turkey, Greece & Poland. I do have to admit that there were some countries that I figured if I were to visit them I’d come back pretty skinny- take Africa and India off my list of gastronomical wonders! Upstairs there were cultural exhibits that focused on what each country is well know for inventing, developing etc. It was such a reminder of how diverse my life had been growing up in Cleveland and then as we’ve moved around serving churches with so many different heritages, Norwegian, Danish, German, etc. It was a really awesome afternoon!
So here are where my thoughts come in. This morning we the Today Show crew was at the Statue of Liberty and then Ellis Island. I’ve not ever visited either place, but they talked about how being there made them so proud to be an American and the emotion behind what each place stands for. I would love to visit Ellis Island as we both have relatives that probably somewhere along the way came through there either from Yugoslavia or Ireland or England. I was putting myself in the place of the immigrants as they came off the boat into a country where they maybe knew no one, didn’t speak the language, maybe left families behind, were very young, had no job and no idea where they were going to go or what they were going to do. They weren’t even guaranteed entry into the country! Enter into the big hall, filled with 12,000 people, all kinds of languages being spoken, sitting on a bench and waiting for your name to be called and not knowing where you were headed when they pointed you towards the stairway divided into 3 sections. Were you going to be sent down the middle section that meant you were not being admitted? Had you received a train ticket and were being sent down the right side of the staircase and being sent west? Or were you headed down the left side and staying in New York/New Jersey and maybe there were relatives down there waiting to warmly welcome you into the country? What a daunting adventure our immigrant relatives went through! I don’t think I would have been that brave.
It truly makes me think of all the people that continue to enter our country because it gives them a life that they may not have in their own country. We are so blessed by what God has given us here in our country and we are so blessed to be able to be a blessing to those looking for a better life for themselves and their families. I think sometimes we tend to forget how lucky we really are.
So those are my Friday thoughts! Hope you all can glean something from it, if nothing more than just some enjoyment from my little buggy brain! Be blessed everyone and have a great weekend!