You Know Times Have Changed When…

New Yorker Magazine Cover Suggests Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie are Gay

By Lisa Respers France, CNN
June 28, 2013 — Updated 2000 GMT (0400 HKT)

New Yorkers Bert and Ernie(CNN) — If you believe the cover of The New Yorker magazine, Bert and Ernie may be ready to come out.

“The cover, titled “Moment of Joy,” shows the Sesame Street pair cuddling as they watch a television set featuring members of the United States Supreme Court. The suggestion is that the characters were happily celebrating the recent SCOTUS rulings on gay marriage.”

New Yorker’s story is just a bit over the top.  My children grew up with Sesame Street, Bert and Ernie, and the show’s family educational and entertainment values. Bert and Ernie, were like Neil Simon’s “Odd Couple,” Oscar and Felix.  They have been best friends forever (BFF’s) who happened to be muppets; i.e., an asexual relationship!

Of course,  in today’s culture, unfortunately, almost anything goes and especially anything goes when it comes to advertising and selling  papers, magazines, or other products.–Just saying.

My 5 Most Embarrassing Moments

In no specific order:

  1. Joanne - First GradeI was 7, some people referred to me as being very demure for my age, and I was usually seen and not heard (because my Great Grandfather preferred children this way).  My Uncle John, Grandfather, Roy, and Dad, Frank, had just returned to the farm in Glenn Dale, Maryland, with a new Jersey cow on board inside a paneled truck.  brown_cowIt was a steamy hot summer afternoon.  As the whole family waited in great anticipation, they flung open the back doors of the truck.  And there it was–the cow.  But much more–the odors and sights inside startled me so, I immediately shouted to the top of my lungs; “My God, that cow’s done sh– all over the place”  And, just as funny–my grandfather had been sitting in the center seat of the truck’s bench front seat.  And he said; “And, I thought that that was just sweat rolling down my back!”
  2. In 8th grade following a few days off due to heavy snow and icing, I was trying to navigate down the hill to the entrance of my Junior High School.  Just before I started my trek down a fellow 8th grader (who I happened to have a crush on) appeared beside me.  And then it happened.  On my very next step, I hit a bad patch of ice.  With books flying everywhere, I tumbled head over heals a couple of times.  When I finally came to a halt in a partially seated position, my dress and coat were up to my waist.  Yes, he stopped to help me pick up my books, but I could never look him in the eyes again.
  3. In 1966, following one of Bob’s summer evening baseball games on the mall downtown, we usually stopped for pizza at a local restaurant.  I want to say that I was about 4-to-5 months pregnant with our first child.  pizzaBob, as usual, was placing our order.  He said in his put on Italian dialect; “I’d like a medium piece of …,” (and it wasn’t pizza!).  We both were mortified, but as pregnant as I was, I think I made a very brave and bold attempt to slip down under the table.
  4. All of our three children were born at the Columbia Hospital for Women in Washington, DC.  Columbia Hospital was a teaching hospital.
    English: The Columbia Hospital for Women, now ...

    The Columbia Hospital for Women, now known as The Columbia Residences, located at 2425 L Street, N.W., in the West End neighborhood of Washington, D.C.. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    With our third child, Jennifer, the doctor induced my labor at the hospital because my previous deliveries had taken only a few hours and he wanted to be sure all of us were near the hospital when my labor began.   However, Jennifer seemed to have a mind of her own, (yep, even then).  laborMy cervix dilated to 3 centimeters and then productive labor went on hold.  And, to boot (hmmm, freudian slip, I think), Jennifer was not properly positioned in the birth canal for a normal delivery.  Bob became too upset so he left the labor room and as typically depicted in stories and sitcoms, went to the bar to get a drink to calm down. So, after I agreed to do some exercises to reposition her, the doctors and nurses stood outside a curtained window that opened up for everyone’s easy viewing of the exercise session.  As if the pain of labor wasn’t enough!

  5. Our second child, Jeff, attended Barnaby Woods Summer Camp when he was about 10.  To finish out the summer, parents were invited to attend a closing program where they got to see their children perform in skits and receive awards for areas where they excelled.  All summer long, Jeff had had a crush on a little girl named Danielle.  As the day drew near, Jeff asked if we could pick up Danielle and her mother because they needed a ride.  When we picked them up Jeff began staring at Danielle’s mother quizzically and back again at Danielle.  Danielle’s mom was not unfamiliar with these kinds of stares.  You see, this was the first moment that Jeff realized that Danielle was of a different race than he was.  It was an uncomfortable few moments at first, but we mothers just exchanged glances and grinned through it.

Dogs Are Family, Too – Part 2

UPDATE – June 30, 2013:

My brother in 1973 at the age of 15 tried with all his might to build a wheelchair for DeeDee but the technology wasn’t there yet.  If DeeDee had been alive and became crippled today,   there are now new options available:


On Presidents’ Day in 1970, Bob and I were visiting the local mall as we often did. We came across one of those pet stores that had the cutest little puppies in the window. Inside, we saw a wonderful looking long-haired dachshund  pup. If I recall, the sale price  was $800. That was a great deal of money for us back in those days. But, we had our trusty plastic card and went ahead and purchased her.

DeeDee2DeeDee, as we named her, was a lovely little puppy–perfect in every way.   Her coat was deep, rich, red for the most part, but the tips of her long hair and ears were brilliant black.

We were apartment dwellers and had two little boys–Bobby, 4, and Jeff, 2. DeeDee had a litter of pups after her first heat.  We sold a couple and gave two to friends and neighbors. But  before they were old enough to adopt, our toddler, Jeff decided to give one of them a swim in our toilet bowl. Bob literally wrung her little body out and then gave her mouth to nose-and-mouth CPR and and restored her breathing.  Our neighbors adopted her and named her Muffin (they loved to bake). My brother’s friend, Steve, took the last of the litter. They named him Socks. Apparently, Socks had quite an attitude. He loved his family unconditionally, but never socialized with other dogs or people. And, he was just ornery enough that he lived a good long life to the ripe old age of 12.

Meanwhile, Dee Dee developed an allergy to grass, making her times outside in Spring less than perfect.  But, her times inside and out with our boys and family were extraordinary. In the video below you can see just how much DeeDee loved playing in the snow and with the rest of our family, friends, and neighbors. “Riley,” a red Irish Setter, was DeeDee’s friend who lived in the apartment next to us. Based upon DeeDee’s always happy behavior and her socialization skills, I would highly recommend the dachshund breed as a family pet.

In March 1973, we learned we were going to become parents for the third time in November. This event would really round out our family:  two boys, one parakeet named Sherman, and six 29-gallon tropical fish aquariums in our den filled with thriving kissing gouramis, angel fish, tiger barbs, neon tetra, silver dollars, and plecostomus (sucker mouths) that helped keep the tanks clean. Also, Bob was working in the printing industry during the day and traveling to The Computer Learning Center in Springfield, Virginia, evenings. He was studying computer programming which meant he was maintaining 18-20 hour days away from home and my full time job was to care for the boys, the parakeet, the fish, the apartment, and DeeDee.

One morning in early summer we awoke to find Dee Dee unusually quiet and still. As we coaxed her to come and inspected her more closely we discovered that overnight her hind quarters had been paralyzed. We took her immediately to our vet. He said we had only two options–to euthanize her or to see how she and the family could adapt to her new life of crawling on her two front legs like a seal. The vet taught me how to evacuate her bladder and bowels which also were paralyzed. We took DeeDee home and she immediately started navigating using her front feet only. Her attitude and behavior were unchanged. She was still a happy, playful little dog. My 15-year-old brother, Frank, tried building her a cart for her hind end. He used a belt, a skate board and roller skate wheels. He went through several iterations, trying to keep it balanced so it wouldn’t fall over on its side when she went around corners. But, all attempts failed and she was back to the seal approach. This worked for a while, but her belly soon became irritated and infected from being dragged across the carpets and hardwood floors. Despite our best efforts and as difficult as it was for all of us, inevitably, we had to have DeeDee euthanized. We believe the cause of DeeDee’s paralysis probably occurred during the night. DeeDee must have gotten up on the couch or chair and when jumping back down with her long back herniated some of the discs, which then pressed on her spinal column and paralyzed her lower half. As much as we loved DeeDee, we never got another dachshund because of their known problems with their backs. DeeDee was only 3 years old, but she was definitely a big and happy part of our family and lives on in our memories today.

Dogs Are Family, Too!

DogsAreFamilyTimelineTo borrow just a few words from my good friends at Google, “the loyalty, affection, and exploits”of my dogs throughout my years on this earth have inspired a rich body of true, sometimes hilarious and sometimes sad stories that have only added to my life events.  My blog would be incomplete without at least a few of them.  And sorry, kids, but if I write about our dogs, the stories are probably going to include you, too!

My Eight Years With My Sole Companion, Mutt

MuttAs you can see from my doggie timeline above, Mutt was my first pet! I guess you can tell he got his name because he was “Heinz 57” as they used to call mixed breeds.  My grandfather Roy rescued him from street kids in an alley outside a local market.  It seems these kids had nothing better to do than to set fire to this small pup’s tail.  Roy brought him home to me when I was about three and helped me heal him.  And, this could be where Mutt got his distrust of people.  For the next 8 years Mutt was by my side everywhere I went and in everything I did.

Let’s see, Mutt’s big time personality changes transformed him from my unkempt, closed mouthed, accident prone, and socially inept, but lovable confidant into something like the Nutty Professor’s “Buddy Love.”  His in-your-face, arrogant alter ego, overachiever, superdog protector persona overtook him at a moment’s notice.

One hot summer morning, our neighbor was squatting beside his car washing its wheels.  Mutt walked over, lifted his leg, and decided to give him a personal rinse job.

Now, I was an only child up until I was 11.  And Mutt was a best companion.  I could tell Mutt anything and everything–and I did.  He just sat or laid beside me and looked into my eyes to let me know he understood how I was feeling on any given topic we were discussing.

Unlike some of my dogs later in life, Mutt had a real dislike for neighbors on bicycles, in cars, and on motorcycles.  One red headed young man would speed past our house almost nightly during good weather days.  Most times Mutt couldn’t catch him, but he always gave him a run for his money.  Well, one night it finally happened.  Either the biker slowed down or Mutt had that extra surge of energy.  Unfortunately, Mutt won this one and the biker was sent to the hospital and received multiple stitches in his leg.  And, for this, Mutt had to be restrained for three weeks, awaiting the word from the animal authorities that the man did not develop any further disease–like rabies!!!

I sometimes played tag with our neighbors across the street.  They were a blended family and had at least 6 children, plus others nearby who always came to their house.  With Mutt only a few feet behind me, I got tagged by one of the neighbors and Mutt tagged the neighbor back big time.  My protector was in jail again for another three weeks.

The ice cream man was another guy that Mutt took a dislike to–and rightly so.  It turns out, that he was a pervert, but unfortunately, Mutt wasn’t there when “it was revealed to me.”  The “Good Humor” man was much less than humorous that day!

Well, I don’t even remember who the victim of the third bite was, but, it was the last straw. Mutt had protected me for the very last time.  And, although it broke my heart and my dad’s too, Mutt had to be euthanized.  I was 11 and Mutt had been my best friend and protector since I was three.  And, because of his love for me, he had to be put down.

Next Meet Our Little Dog, Origins from China–Sammy, the Pekingnese

Sam1Sammy was a nickname for his proper name “Sampan,” which was also a name for a type of Chinese fishing boat.  I would say Sammy came into our home about six months to nine months after Mutt was laid to rest. Sammy was  part of a litter of three.  My uncle Johnny and his wife picked out the black and white one, Mei;  my grandmother got the orange male and called him, “Pekoe,” like the orange tea, because of his coat’s coloring and we got Sammy, the tan male. Uncle Johnny and his wife split up shortly afterward. His wife took Mei with her.

Pekoe  had one bad habit.  He often napped under the cars in the driveway to get away from the sun.   We all knew this about Pekoe and we would always check before moving the cars. Well, this one time, a friend forgot to look and it was all over in an instant for sweet little Pekoe.

Sammy was the feisty one among the litter of young pups. Our daily schedule was to let Sammy outside while we all got ready for the day ahead. Sammy had the routine for about a year, but this one day, he was late coming back. Then, came the knock at our door from a neighbor. Sammy, too, had been hit by a car and his injuries were incompatible with life. Yet another hard lesson to teach me that life being made up of only fleeting moments.

Our family, in spite of and because of our genuine love of animals,  promised to never get another pet unless we could afford an appropriate fenced in area.   And, my parents at the time were house hunting.   When we moved the first two things they purchased–first, a fenced in back yard that the back door opened right into it.  And, second, another pekingese, that they named Sammy II.  At the time of our move, I was 13, had a baby brother to help care for, and was moving into my teenaged years, where my need for constant companionship from of dog was not as important as it had been in my early years and as an only child.  So Sammy II was definitely mom and dad’s third child and he lived a long and happy life.  Sammy passed suddenly and quietly while lying out in the backyard on a bright and sunny day at the age of 12.

To be Continued…

JOIN US NOW at the Dragon Boat Races in North Beach!



By Guest Author and Photographer:  Kylie Brianne McDaniel


Having a great time in North Beach enjoying the dragon boat races. Come join us and help to end hunger in Calvert County!

Dragon Boat Racers Help End Hunger in Calvert County

About the Sport

Dragon boat racing is an amateur paddle team water sport.  Its roots lie in ancient Chinese folklore with annual competitions of local villagers held in China for more than 20 centuries.

The Dragon Boat festival, or Duān Wǔ Jié, celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, is one of the oldest and most popular traditional Chinese festivals. This year, it fell on June 12.

Today, dragon boat racing can be great fun for anyone, young or old.   It is among the fastest growing of team water sports, with scores of thousands of participants in various organizations and clubs in over 60 countries.  The sport is recognized for the camaraderie, strength and endurance fostered among teams, and is a very popular corporate and charitable sporting event. Crew members may be of any level of fitness and quickly adapt to and develop a passion for this sport.

About the North Beach/Anne Arundel/Calvert County Event

dragonboatunloadingThe power behind our North Beach-based dragon boat teams comes from God-inspired community members who want to have fun and #givewhereyoulive to help End Hunger in Calvert County.  Each team sponsoring a crew of about 20 will be racing on the Chesapeake Bay on Saturday, June 22 from 9 a.m. to
3 p.m. You can see our teams practicing their teak wood watercraft propelling and maneuvering skills evenings this week from Tuesday-Friday beginning at 6 p.m. at the beach.  First efforts videoed by Robert Hahn, Chair of End Hunger in Calvert County, aptly display the need for practice and help us anticipate the fun to be had by all on Saturday, race day.

The Legend that First Inspired Dragon Boat Racing

Qu YuanThe saga tells of a Chinese court official named Qu Yuan, (phoneticised as “Ch’u Yuen”) who lived in the pre-imperial “warring states period” 475-221 BC. We know this area today as central China.  Back then, the area was divided into seven main states or kingdoms battling among themselves for supremacy at the conclusion of the Zhou (Chou) Dynasty, (China’s classical age during which Confucius lived).

Qu Yuan was a minister in Chu, one of the seven warring state governments.  He was a champion of political loyalty and integrity and eager to maintain his state’s imperialistic autonomy over all others. As the legend goes, the other state ministers were jealous of Qu Yuan and successfully conspired to have him exiled.

In his exile, Qu Yuan was said to produce some of China’s greatest early poetry and literature that expressed his  love and concern for his state and its future.

As the story goes, in the year 278 B.C., upon learning of impending devastation of his state by neighboring states, Qu Yuan waded into the Miluo river in today’s Hunan Province.  There, he committed ritualistic suicide as a form of protest against the corruption of the era. The Qin or Chin kingdom eventually conquered all the states and unified them into the first Chinese empire. [The word China derives from this first dynasty of empire.)

The fishermen, upon learning of Qu Yuan’s suicide, raced in their boats to the middle of the river and tried desperately to save him. They beat drums and splashed the water with their paddles to keep the fish and evil spirits away from him. Later, they scattered rice into the water to prevent Qu Yuan from suffering hunger.  DragonBoat_MarqueeHence, this Saturday, our community’s first annual dragon boat event where we will be beating our drums and splashing our waters with paddles to help end hunger in Calvert County.

But, to conclude Qu Yuan’s legend, late one night his spirit appeared before his friends. He asked his friends to wrap their rice into three-cornered silk packages to ward off dragons. This has been a traditional food ever since known as “zongzi” or sticky rice wrapped in leaves. Since then, people have commemorated Qu Yuan through dragon boat races, eating zongzi and other foods, and participating in other festival activities on the anniversary of his death.

The Present

dragon_headsToday, Dragon Boat Racing is one of the fastest-growing international water sports in the world.  For competition events, dragon boats are generally rigged with decorative Chinese dragon heads and tails. The decorative regalia are removed for training but a drum remains aboard for practice by drummers.

The World Championships of Dragon Boat Racing have been held annually in Hong Kong since 1976.  In 1991, the International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF) was formed in response to the explosive growth of the sport.  Based in Hong Kong, the IDBF boasts over 100 member organizations in more than 60 countries.  Since 1995, World Championship events have been awarded to Canada, China, New Zealand, England, Australia and the United States.  A Commission was developed to oversee the standardization of equipment, rules and regulations.

Backed by a strong sprint canoeing background, North America emerged in a relatively short time as an international Dragon Boat Racing powerhouse, shaking the foundations of a sport that historically was dominated by Asian countries.

Abridged Chronology of Dragon Boat Festivals and Races

A festival race is typically a sprint event of several hundred meters, with 500 meters being a standard distance in many international festival races.

Orlando, Florida’s International Dragon Boat Festival was the first time for a dragon boat racing event (1998) to be held within a major world class amusement park property–Walt Disney World.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania hosted the IDBF World Championships in 2001 and now sports over 150 teams. The championships and festival are held on the famous Schuylkill River rowing regatta course.

In 2005, the IDBF introduced a Corporate and Community World Championships (WCorcom) designed for crews that normally race in Festival Races and aimed at the ‘weekend warrior’ type of competitor.

In 2006 under the patronage of the IDBF, the 1st World Championships for Breast Cancer Survivors (BCS), – the ‘Pink Paddlers’ – were held in Singapore.

The 2006 Club Crew World Championships (CCWC,) took place at the Western Beaches Watercourse, in Toronto’s west end. Spectators and dragon boat fans came from across North America and the world. Over 2000 competitors took part in that event that generated over 2 million dollars Canadian for the local economy.

The Missouri River 340 (545 kilometers) is open to canoe, kayak and dragon boats. Team Beauties and Barnacles took third place overall in August 2010, setting the current Guinness World Record for longest distance travelled in a dragon boat with a time of 38 hours and 5 minutes.

A new Guinness World Record was created on December 30, 2011, for the Greatest Distance by Dragon Boat in 24 hours (relay) – 227 km–held by the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Association.

The biggest racing events among dragon boat festivals attract about 200 25-person crews or 5,000 participants. 

SomethingNewIsComingEvery year more states are getting involved with this sport. Most festivals feature different race categories, vendors and entertainment.  You can be sure our Annual Dragon Boat Races to End Hunger Calvert County will be  as exciting as the examples included in this article and will include vendors and entertainment, too.  Help us make Calvert County’s event the first of many exciting dragon boat events to come.


  1.  “Longest distance by a dragon boat in 24 hours”. 2010-10-10.
  2. The 5th World Championships were originally to be held in Shanghai, but were postponed due the outbreak of SARS. As a result, World Championships were held in 2003, 2004 and 2005.
  3. The 2009 World Championships were originally to be held in Poznan, but moved to Prague due to conflicted scheduling with the 2009 World Rowing Championships. “Dragon Boating Not Just for Asians”AsianWeek.
  6. “Dragon Boat – Canoeing South Africa”.

External links

My Favorite Mullethead

This little tike, my #2 grandson, was two when this picture was taken of him in 1990.  He’s now 25 and has twins of his own (a boy and a girl) who will be two in just a few months.  With all of today’s varying cultures and social styles, I’ll be interested in seeing their first haircuts.

Justin MulletOne thing for sure–my grandson’s mom worked as a hairdresser.  As handsome as he was (and is), he always was one of the first to sport whatever new cuts came down the pike because he was her guinea pig for testing out the new styles. (And, he probably donned the “rat tail” much longer than most.  It wasn’t until he was being bullied for it at school that mom decided she would cut it off.)

And, just what was behind the mullet do’s?  When and why did mullets come into being?  Did they serve a practical, political, or social purpose?

As you can see, the mullet  hairstyle was short at the front and sides, and hung long in the back.

History of the Mullet

cultural significance

The first known literary reference to the hairstyle currently known as the mullet occurred in Homer‘s Iliad.   The Iliad is among the oldest extant works of Western literature, and its written version is usually dated to around the 8th century BC (760-710 BC according to the most recent statistical models on language evolution).

“The sprinting Abantes followed hard at his heels,
their forelocks cropped, hair grown long in the back,
troops nerved to lunge with their tough ashen spears
and slash the enemies’ breastplates round their chests.”

 in Popular Media

billy-ray-cyrus2011The mullet began to appear in popular media in the 1960s and 1970s but was most well known during the early 1980s and into the mid-1990s.  Some of the better known mullet coifs were donned by Richard Dean Anderson in his TV role as MacGyver and My Achy Breaky Heart, one-hit-wonder, Billy Ray Cyrus–better known today as Miley Cyrus’s/Hannah Montana’s dad. (His 2011 picture on the right shows him still sporting a version of that mullet!)  Joe_dirt

And there was at least one other mullet die-hard:  David Spade in 2001 when he starred in the comedy movie, Joe Dirt. If you were victimized by this movie, then you will know that Joe Dirt  was an idiot character who worked as an oil weller in search for his parents who abandoned him as a baby at the grand canyon.  Which is my long-way-around approach to the meaning of mullethead.  The word “mullethead.” meaning dim-witted, originated in the late 19th century.
From a practical-living standpoint, came the term BIFPIB, meaning “business in the front (for day) and party in the back,” (for evenings and weekends).

And then, it seemed that the Jerry Springer TV Show drew from a demographic of mulletheads for his TV talk show that began in 1991 and continues to focus on dumb-to-dismal relationships among under-educated and under-cultured guests.

So my take on all of this–from my cutie-pie mullethead of 1990 to the present day–if you want to look and be successful (outside of the entertainment industry), then it’s best not to don a mullet or hang out with those who do.  And, if you do want to, then you might try a different spin on the mullet.  I understand the 37th Annual  2013 Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival (recently named one of the USA’s top 12 food festivals by Parade Magazine) happens in Niceville, Florida, this October.  (The story gets a little fishy, here.) You might need to check it out at

“If You’re Reading This”

Tim McGraw 2013

While driving from my home to my parents this morning, I heard a song on a country radio station that affected me so deeply that I had to pull off the side of the road until it had ended and I had composed myself again.  The music, lyrics, and singing were great, but its sentiment hit me like a ton of bricks.  And, guess what–this song is six years old.  I don’t know where I’ve been that I hadn’t heard it before today.    I’m talking about If You’re Reading This, by American Country Music Artist Tim McGraw.

After researching it, I learned that Tim first performed this song live at the Academy of Country Music (ACM) awards which were held in Las Vegas, Nevada and aired May 15, 2007 on the CBS Television Network just two weeks before 2007’s official Memorial Day.

About the Song

If You’re Reading This is a tribute to the families of soldiers who have died. Its lyrics take the form of a letter written from a soldier to his family — a letter that is intended to be sent only if the soldier died.

About the Authors and Singer

Inspired by reading a magazine article on war casualties, McGraw, along with Brad and Brett Warren of country duo The Warren Brothers, co-wrote If You’re Reading This about three weeks before the ACM awards aired. 

Viewer and Listener Responses

When McGraw performed the song at the  awards show, one hundred relatives of soldiers joined him onstage, under a banner that read “Families of Fallen Heroes”. Audience members and families on stage gave him a standing ovation.

Then, radio stations began playing it on air from the telecast.  And, it debuted at #35  on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts from the unsolicited airplay.   McGraw later released a remixed version of the live recording for radio broadcast as a single. (A live recording studio version was never cut.)   In November 2007, If You’re Reading This reached a peak of #3 on the Billboard country charts, becoming McGraw’s 42nd Top Ten country hit overall. The song also peaked at #41 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Today’s music has too few songs that really touch our hearts and make us think about who we are and the times we live in.  I just wanted to share this one with you. I hope you enjoy it.

Daily Prompt: The Normal

The Real Normal

The Normal–a Coincidence–a Good Thing, A Bad Thing, Neither?

It’s more than coincidence when the daily prompt request, “The Normal,” falls on the heels of the end to a 7-week teaching series at my church on “The Real Normal.”  So, feeling compelled to respond from a higher authority, and with the help of my church teachers (Robert Hahn and Ann Edwards) and note taking daughter, I have summarized what we learned about “being normal.”  For those who want to hear from the teacher, I also have included the 30-minute podcast for each week’s topic.

The Real Word – 

To understand what God says is ‘normal,’ we need to understand why the Bible is the only reliable source of eternal truth. We say we believe the Bible, yet we often knowingly and unknowingly reject its most basic teachings.  We learned why accepting that The Real Word is the only path to The Real Normal.

Some people think the Bible is irrelevant and out of touch, so they do not take it seriously. They think believing in God is one thing, but believing and reading the Bible is not normal.

At Chesapeake Church, we believe the Bible is the authoritative source on how people should live. We believe that Christian living is normal; that full devotion to Jesus Christ is normal. We believe the Bible is the Real Word and it is real reliable. To understand this, we need to understand oral tradition and the fullness of time.

In Jewish culture, oral tradition is as reliable as scanning a document. For them, knowing the first five books of the Bible (their “Torah,” or the “books of Moses”), is critical. They serve as the foundation and the full expression of how God’s people are to live. They were written by scribes and defined who they were as a nation.

The time between the last book of the Old Testament, Malachi and the first book of the New Testament, Matthew was 400 years. It is referred to as “the 400 years of silence” because there were no prophets. During that time, God was silent, but not dormant.

During those 400 years, communication via a single language (Greek) was established and travel was made easier by the creation of a road system. Both of these allowed for information to spread freely.

Then Jesus arrived in the fullness of time (Galatians 4:4). He was born, lived, taught, died, and rose from the dead. Within 30 years, the Gospels were written and within 100 years from the death of Jesus, copies of the Old and New Testament were available in the common language.

Institutions of higher learning teach from the writings of historians and scholars like Plato, Herodotus, Aristotle, and Homer when few original copies of their writings exist. 24,000 original copies of the Bible exist. Not accepting the Bible as reliable is an uneducated stance. (Check out these charts

God’s word reins and is the center of our lives. The Bible is God’s promises to us. They are real and immeasurable. Live the life.

The Real Problem – 

We all sin. It’s that simple and yet it’s so difficult to deal with. The Bible teaches we’re not sinners because we sin, but rather we sin because we’re sinners. Every struggle in our lives can be traced back to that truth. No matter how we try to rationalize the troubles of life, ever since Adam & Eve, one thing remains clear: sin is The Real Problem.

The Real Love – 

The Bible says that God is love (1 John 4:8) but that doesn’t mean anything done in the name of love is of God. In this teaching, we looked at how the Bible says we are to express love by looking at the source of love, the God who so loved.

 The Real Reason – 

People are sexual beings; God created us that way. But does that mean anything goes? Is anything between ‘consenting adults’ of God?  We studied the bible and learned that God gave us physical intimacy for a purpose – His purpose.

 The Real Mom –

In a contest of which job description has gone through the most change over past decades, the role of the mom has got to be at the top. In this week’s lesson we honored moms everywhere, and learned that being a “mom” isn’t a job.  That it’s a calling intended to fulfill a specific purpose in God’s eternal plan.

The Mother’s Day message is simple. The perfect mom is not the real mom and the real mom is not the perfect mom.

God didn’t design us to be perfect, he designed us to teach and help and pave the way for future generations. We will tell the next generation the praise worthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done (Psalm 78:4). Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children (Titus 2:3-4).

The Real Joy – 

“Doesn’t the Bible say that God wants me to be happy?” You may have heard that question – you may have asked it. But the answer may surprise you. Rather than happiness, which the Bible doesn’t promise, God desires us to have joy and even better, He wants us to be joyful people. There’s a big difference.

Joy seems to be in short supply. It’s hard to stay upbeat when you’re facing difficult circumstances.

Philippians 4:4 tells us to always be full of joy in the Lord. The apostle Paul was no stranger to difficult circumstances, yet he had joy. He knew it came from Jesus Christ. Paul knew joy is not the absence of problems. It is God who is with us during difficult circumstances.

Real joy comes with the presence of God. Zephaniah 3:17 explains that joy originates with God. In John 15:11, Jesus tells us that as we get to know Him and do life with Him, we will have joy that is overflowing.

Thank you Ann Edwards for instructing us that no matter our circumstances, we need to bring joy.

“That’s not normal!” “It’s normal now!” “Welcome to the new normal!”

Just what is ‘normal’ and who says so? We, at Chesapeake Church, say that ‘full devotion to Jesus Christ is normal,’ so when it comes to how we live, we turn to Him and His Word for direction. Normal isn’t new – it’s eternal. Welcome to The Real Normal.

Searching for and Documenting Ancestral Gifts and Talents: I’ve Got the Music In Me, Part 7

This post continues a discussion I began on FaceBook about three months ago, “Has anyone documented gifts and talents, especially musicality of Bolling ancestors?”  The post received about 100 views and several responses from a dozen or so descendants of the Bolling family.  So, I thought I would summarize the anecdotal information below and include a couple of examples of the talents:

Surnames of those Bolling Descendants who Responded with Comments:

Boling, Bostwick, Bowling, Boyance, Bushman, Frazier, Hutson, Pollard, Powell Goins, Semones Probus, Tomlinson

Three Months of Anecdotal Responses:

  • My mom was a Boling and very artistic and creative… Also musical–played piano by ear! Most of her descendants inherited her creativity.  February 23 at 10:40am
  • Must surely be genetic talent–everyone on my maternal side (who descend from Bolling) is musical! March 1 at 12:22am

  • I was able to play almost any instrument given to me as a kid. My older kids definitely inherited that. I’m also an artist and writer. All my kids seem to be artistically gifted.  April 7 at 6:44pm
  • My grandmother, mother, and many other family members are very artistic. Painting, drawing, music, etc.  April 7 at 7:26pm 
  • My husband is the BOLING, most of his kin are very, very artistic and musical.  April 8 at 8:03pm 
  • Same here, My dad was artistic, My oldest girl,15, is amazing at drawing, painting and has taught herself almost five instruments. It just passed over me I think.
  • I don’t have a bit of artistic ability.  April 9 at 6:41pm 
  • I have an artist web site and would love to have others from here post their work on it. Be sure to say you’re from the bowling/bolling page.  Would be fun to see some family work. April 9 at 6:43pm
  • I remember drawing and writing poetry and short stories up until high school but I was never encouraged to keep it up and I just stopped. My children all seem to be able to draw, sing, play instruments etc.. That makes me happy and I encourage them to continue.  April 9 at 7:06pm
  • I didn’t think about writing poetry…I do write well and I really like it. Haven’t written for fun in a long time. Not since I started back to school.  April 9 at 7:07pm Sophia Frazier Book Cover
  • So far, I know I’m from the Clarissa Bowling *father Ambrose G Bowling* line, if that helps. I’m a published author and have sold some paintings. I was adopted so will have to ask my cousins who else on my father’s side may have some artistic talent. I remember them telling me one of my uncles or grandpa wrote a book.  April 9 at 7:10pm 
  • If bad singing is a musical talent, we’ve got it covered! April 10 at 11:21am 
  • LeonaBushmanBookcoverI’ve written a few books. My dad plays musical instruments. My dad, my sister and I all draw. My niece writes poetry.  April 10 at 1:11pm
  • Yeah, singing, I love to, but have to have an instrument blaring in my ear.  If someone asked if I could sing, I used to say, “Only if I wish to offend…” April 10 at 1:58pm 
  • I sang in high school and now in the church choir. My daughter, Alex, can sing the first verse of the Ave Maria she is only 9.  April 16 at 8:49am 
  • Amazing talents abound. We are so blessed. April 16 at 9:03am 
  • Jason Crabb - Grammy Award Winning Gospel Singer

    Jason Crabb – Grammy Award Winning Gospel Singer

    My distant cousins (the Crabb Family) of the “Bowling Family Group” sing gospel. One is the sister of Jason Crabb (Grammy Award Winning Gospel Vocalist) April 19 at 2:59pm [BTW, Jason’s features very much resemble several of the men in my Boling family.]

  • Music is my thing. Played tbone in high school. Play guitar and piano. At one time I was studying drums and wind instruments. May 3 at 2:41am 
  • I also tried my hand at art and singing–I was told to sing “so low” and based upon my drawings–not to give up my day job!
  • Brother and sons are musicians and songwriters.  From “Crosswords” 1999 Album, “Cain”:  I’ve Been

    – my son is the drummer in this Contemporary Christian Music Band.  My grandchildren are gifted artists, writers and musicians.

  • My great niece is 8 and has an angelic voice with perfect pitch.
  • My aunt looked and sang very much like Patsy Cline.
  • JackieDrawingforFathersDay2013My young adult nephews and nieces are natural artists from caricatures to portraits.  My niece drew the next two pictures of herself, siblings, and father.
  • One of my artistic nephews tried art school, fell on hard times, and had to quit. He’s now a cook at a local pub, but playing guitar and singing in a small local band.
  • 20130502-162539.jpgJohn Doan Concert at the Chapel Arts Center, Bath, England

Posted on April 30, 2013 by Lorelle – Press Release (Bath, UK):— Emmy nominee and master harp guitarist John Doan with family roots to Bath and Burton, will perform at the Chapel Arts Centre, St James’s Memorial Hall as part of his European Tour 2013. Chapel Arts Centre is located at Lower Borough Walls, Bath, BA1 1QR. The show is scheduled for 8pm on Tuesday, May 21, 2013. Tickets are advance: £8.00, Door: £10.00. For more information, call the Chapel Arts Centre at 01225 461700.

A “Celtic Pilgrimage with John Doan” features music from John’s award winning recording “Eire – Isle of the Saints” (Winner of “Best Celtic Album of the Year”) and Wayfarer (also nominated for the same title).

Concert Description

Master harp guitarist and storyteller John Doan is a Bard for the 21st Century bringing back soulful and provocative musical sketches from a pilgrimage to the most sacred sites of the British Isles. “Thin Places,” as they were once called, were believed to be where the space between heaven and earth, and past and future, were thinly divided. John shares what he found there inspired by breathtaking landscapes, historic ruins, and dynamic stories underlying the faith and vision of a people who shaped the world we have come to call our own. He now leads his audiences back down ancient paths to locations made famous by St. Patrick and the “Twelve Apostles of Ireland” along winding roads to secluded sanctuaries and by boat to remote island retreats. Adventurous, thoughtful, and renewing, this is a journey memorable for its achingly beautiful moments and encouraging spirit.

What makes John Doan’s music provocative is that it is both ancient and contemporary, familiar and like nothing an audience has ever heard before. Some of the music on his Celtic albums were composed at Glastonbury while he was on tour, retracing his roots both in spirit and music.

Billboard Magazine says, “Critics Choice – John Doan’s music is a nearly perfect evocation of the Celtic spirit … intricate arrangements … poignant melodies.”

Philadelphia Weekly notes, “John Doan’s 20 strings liberates truly enchanting Celtic music… Doan transports us to another place and time.”

John Doan’s Instrument with Roots in England

John Doan has performed in various concert halls and festivals across the US and Europe, and his pioneering efforts – the first in modern times to compose and perform the twenty-string harp guitar – have resulted in the “John Doan Model” being manufactured in Ukraine this year.

Reminiscent of Queen Elizabeth the first’s favorite instrument, the Poliphont, the harp guitar supplements the standard guitar’s six fretted strings with six unfretted sub-bass strings and eight super treble strings, which ring with bell-like clarity. John Doan describes it as “almost the range of the piano but it is a lot easier to carry with you!”

John Doan’s Performance Background

In addition to his solo performances John has shared the stage with Burl Ives, Donovan, Rickie Lee Jones, among others. His virtuoso playing and arranging has attracted praise from no less guitar luminaries than Chet Atkins and Doc Watson.

John Doan has starred in various American PBS television specials one of which was awarded an Emmy-Nomination for “Best Entertainment Special of the Year.” John lives in the Northwest United States with his wife, Deirdra, where he is Associate Professor of music at Willamette University.

Family Roots in Bath

John Doan has family roots to Bath as the descendant of a former Mayor and the prominent Ames family of Burton. His puritan Doan ancestor escaped religious persecution in England and left to form the Plymouth Colony in North America in 1620 and served as assistant to the governor.

[This ancestor was Deacon John Doane, whose daughter Abigail Doane, married my 8th maternal great grandfather Samuel Lathrop/Lothrop.]

Doan is hoping that thousands of his extended family will give a good show of family spirit by attending his concert in Bath. He would like to formally forgive those in attendance for their ancestors inhospitable behavior toward his family (or ask for forgiveness for his family’s behavior who left to the USA). All should prepare for a good laugh or perhaps a cathartic experience. Either way, the audience should feel better than they did before the concert.

I may have gone a little overboard with my lengthy last example, but if I am to build a comprehensive and worthwhile database of gifts and talents that includes heritage and relationships, I would need more bibliographic and biographic information to make it both more interesting and meaningful to its viewers.  And the ancient Bolling family, too, has an aristocratic history, many of whom were politicians and office holders, ministers, doctors, lawyers, authors, etc.  This is no short task before me.  More contributors/contributions of examples appreciated.