One of my favorites for your listening pleasure…short and sweet!
Orchestra Version of Delores
One of my favorites for your listening pleasure…short and sweet!
Orchestra Version of Delores
From the first time I rode up the steep mountain from North Carolina to Fancy Gap, Virginia, I knew it was a special place. It took, however, living here as a “flat lander” to get to know the mountain people. One may ask, “What is a flat lander?” Those are the people who come from places far south…like Florida.
This “flat lander” had grown up in the Brushy Mountains of North Carolina and later in the Winston-Salem area. I was blessed with a big family…about 15 first cousins and many aunts and uncles…in that area, but my parents moved away from the cold of the mountains to the warmth of Florida. It took me over 50 years to return to my roots…even if for a few months of the year.
I found more than I had expected….a whole way of life that I now call the “Mountain Way”. It first became clear to me when my husband and I were looking for a second, get-away place in the Virginia area. The realtor who showed us around drove us in a 4-wheeler up a steep mountain that leveled out onto a pasture land with a beautiful view of the Blue Ridge. (In case the Blue Ridge is new to any of my readers, it is a stretch of mountains running over 400 miles through several southern states. The building of this wonderful place is another story, but briefly it was to give the people work during the depression. The wonderful rock bridges; scenic overlooks and miles of blooming rhododendron is worth the trip. Dogwoods blossom in the spring and there seems to be waves of trees and flowering bushes that make their entrance to the place known as the Blue Ridge Parkway.)
Back to my first introduction to the mountain way. The realtor stopped the car and a farmer who was bailing his hay made his way up slowly in our direction. No one introduced us, but the farmer and the realtor began an extensive discussion about his land. This conversation seemed to be quite long about almost nothing to those of us flat landers who like to get things done quickly. We sat quietly and listened. Finally something was mentioned about my early years down the mountain…in N.C. and all of my relatives there. There was a complete change of mood…and accepting smiles. We found out that the realtor knew what he was doing because in the mountains it is customary to “visit a while” before getting down to business.
Family relations mean everything to the mountain people. I was to find out that many of the old farms date back before the Civil War. One young man told us that his family was given hundreds of acres by the King of England, before the Revolutionary War. This land remains in his family until this day. One can see scattered around the hills little family cemeteries.
Mountain people, we are told, are glad that the outsiders come to the mountains…enjoy the area…and spend their money to help an ailing economy, but they have “about all the friends they need.” Almost everyone is related to someone…or if they are not, they have grown up with them and know all the family members.
These warm and friendly people are strong in their beliefs…as this is also known as the Bible Belt. Faith is important. When a politician made a remark about people “clinging to their guns and Bibles”. A truer statement could have not been made…even if it was said with some sarcasm. Even recently, we noticed that when the controversy about the Confederate flag made the people of the mountain think that their southern history was being attacked, the few Confederate flags suddenly became many flags being flown from porches or alongside the American flag. “Don’t tell us what should be politically correct here in the south….and don’t even think about taking away our guns!” one might hear a mountain man or woman say. While living here, we have not seen racial bias…which is not to say there isn’t any. One thing is certain. These are a strong people… a proud people…with mountain ways which anyone who plans to live here will be smart to learn and appreciate.
The mountain people have dug their roots deep into the soil. They are unpretentious and comfortable in who they are. It may be the older men who sit around at the local store passing the time or the hefty man in bib overalls talking on his cell phone about getting the cooler ready for a side of beef. Everyone shares their vegetables of corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, spinach and some things I didn’t know grew in the ground. Almost each time my husband returned from choir practice, he had a bag full of the latest items grown in someone’s garden.
Mountain stories and the history of the area tell of tough times when people tackled the cold of winter while raising huge families down in some of the mountain passes and hollows (low place in the mountain known as a “holler”). There are places with names like Buffalo Mountain, Fancy Gap, Groundhog Mountain and more than one can remember of gaps and passes. (*see history books below) The deer roam freely and stop their eating to stare at those of us passing by.
We had only just moved into our Virginia house when a man came down the road asking if we had seen his cow? It appeared that the cow had gotten through the fence…as did a very large, black bull that also came down our road. People in the mountains help each other…even the flat landers. Our neighbors arrived from Florida one snowy day and could not get up their steep driveway. Hearing the spinning tire noise, it was not long before another mountain neighbor came with his tractor to pull them the rest of the way up the drive.
Ever hear of the two finger way? Almost all mountain people use it. This means, regardless of who it may be…the passing driver will raise his two fingers off the stearing wheel to give a little wave as the other driver passes. My first impression of that was, “Do we know them?” The answer of course is “no”…but it is the friendly mountain way.
Music is a wonderful part of the mountains. Tonight we rode the parkway to the Music Center to hear a concert of country music along with the “blue grass” strumming of banjo, guitar, bass, and more. One of the best of the best is a gentleman named Wayne Henderson. Mr. Henderson has a tiny workshop where he makes guitars. These are so sought after that a person may wait years to get one…and at a very hefty price. He is a man of the mountains who has been honored for his contribution and preservation of mountain music…even playing in Carnegie Hall.
Below is a video that I’d like to share with you because this blog may become a book if I continue. The fact is I may write more about my experiences here in the mountains where the August temperature moves easily from 65-75 degrees, with a cool mountain breeze. Today this “flat lander” is glad to be in the mountains…enjoying the mountain ways and the wonderful people here.
Wayne Henderson video:
History books about the Blue Ridge areas found on Amazon.
The Man Who Moved a Mountain by Richard Davids
Our dog rules…and dog lovers will know what I mean. If we put on shoes; pick up the car keys…and we don’t spell out such words as “truck, ride, go” etc….she will sit by the door as if to say, “There is no way you are going to leave me behind!”
On the other hand, if we say that really bad sentence to her… “Go get on your bed…we’ll be back”, she will obediently do that, but will never look at us even if we call her name. (pouting…I think they call it.)
A friend of ours sent this video clip, and just for fun…I thought I’d pass it along to my readers and especially those with dogs. Yes, they are not only man’s (and woman’s) best friend, but they are truly smart!
Playing by the pool on a hot summer’s day can have a few challenges, but this little guy got it all figured out. (Turn on your sound)
Life changing experiences…where do they come from? Are they divine intervention or simply being at the right place at the right time? Perhaps there is something in both possibilities…but also that we have our eyes…and our hearts…open at any given time.
One night when my sleep pattern was a bit off, I randomly found this man online. My love of photography perked my interest in what this man is doing with his talent.
Let me introduce him to you…Rick Guidotti. I know nothing about him except that he had a career as a photographer in some of the hot spots of America and the world. He was a photographer of the most glamorous…and then his life changed when he spotted an albino woman walking down the street. Here is a short bio taken from his site named Positive Exposure. Certainly in this crazy world, we need something positive.
“Rick Guidotti, an award-winning former fashion photographer, has spent the past fifteen years working internationally with advocacy organizations/NGOs, medical schools, universities and other educational institutions to effect a sea-change in societal attitudes towards people
living with genetic difference; his work has been published in newspapers, magazines and journals as diverse as Elle, GQ, People, the American Journal of Medical Genetics, The Lancet, Spirituality and Health, the Washington Post, Atlantic Monthly and Life Magazine.
Rick is the founder and director of Positive Exposure, an innovative arts, education and advocacy organization, working with individuals living with genetic, physical, cognitive and behavioral difference. Positive Exposure utilizes the visual arts to significantly impact the fields of genetics, mental health and human rights.
Rick Guidotti’s photographic exhibition, Positive Exposure; The Spirit of Difference, premiered at the People’s Genome Celebration, June 2001, at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in DC. and continues to exhibit in galleries, museums and public arenas internationally.
Rick Guidotti’s Positive Exposure photo and video presentation explores the social and
psychological experiences of people living with genetic, physical, cognitive and behavioral conditions of all ages and ethno-cultural heritages. Positive Exposure provides new opportunities to see individuals living with a genetic difference first and foremost as a human being with his/her own challenges rather than as a specific diagnosis/disease entity.
Rick Guidotti and Positive Exposure continue to celebrate the richness and beauty of human diversity.”
It may be hard to imagine that just a few short years ago, people in Tanzania were being murdered for their body parts because they were albino. Being different…in whatever way…is a difficult life for many. How a person feels about himself can make “all the difference” and it seems that the life changing moment for Rick Guidotti is something that all of us need to learn. Take a look around you, see people in a different light…see their beauty as a human being.
IN HIS OWN WORDS…changing the concept of self
After video click here to See Rick’s other Photography celebrating human diversity
My last post featured one of the most recognized and honored songs, Amazing Grace. Playing the piano was Condoleezza Rice. Her story is one that all people should know about in these days of unrest and violence. After reading this, one will come up with at least three thoughts:
Who would have thought that a young, black girl growing up in segregated Alabama would have a whisper of a chance to be one of the most respected and powerful women in modern history? This is her story. It is also a story of inspiration for all those who think their chances are slim and life is not fair. Never heard of her? Well, you must be too young? Now you have a chance to know about a woman of excellence.
(Taken in part from the World Encyclopedia of Biographies)
Condoleezza Rice became one of the most influential women in the world of global politics when President George W. Bush named her as his national security adviser in December of 2000. Her role became extremely important after the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York City and the Pentagon in Washington. Rice has played a crucial part in shaping the most aggressive U.S. foreign policy in modern history, with wars launched against Afghanistan and Iraq during her time in office.
Rice grew up during a deeply segregated era of American history. She was born in 1954 in Birmingham, Alabama, to parents who were both educators. Her father, John Wesley Rice Jr., was a football coach and high school guidance counselor at one of Birmingham’s black public schools. He was also an ordained Presbyterian minister in Birmingham’s Westminster Presbyterian Church, which had been founded by his own father, also a minister. Rice’s mother, Angelena, was a teacher and church organist. Angelena loved opera, and so named her only child after an Italian term, con dolcezza. It is used in musical notation and means “to play with sweetness.”
Birmingham was clearly divided into black and white spheres during Rice’s childhood, and the two worlds rarely met. But her parents were determined that their only child would grow up to be an accomplished and well-rounded young woman. Rice began piano lessons at the age of three, and gave her first recital a year later. She became somewhat of a musical prodigy in the Birmingham area, performing often at school and community events. In addition to long hours spent practicing the piano, she also took French and Spanish lessons after school, and later became a competitive figure skater.
When interviewed, Miss Rice said this, “My whole community was determined not to let their children’s horizons be limited by growing up in segregated Birmingham. Sometimes I think they overcompensated because they wanted their kids to be so much better. I find football so interesting strategically. It’s the closest thing to war. What you’re really doing is taking and yielding territory, and you have certain strategies and tactics.”
(This may have been her war on being left behind because during this time of her life, there were fewer opportunities for people of color in America.) Not surprisingly, Rice earned good grades in school, even at an early age. Attending segregated schools in Birmingham, she skipped the first grade entirely and was later promoted from the sixth directly into the eighth grade.
Her city became a battleground during the emerging civil rights movement in the late 1950s, and the strife directly touched Rice’s early life. In 1963 the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, situated in the middle of Birmingham’s black community, was the site of a tragic firebombing that killed four little girls who were attending Sunday school. Rice knew two of them.
(Moving to Colorado may have been a turning point in her life for the schools were not segregated as in Alabama.) Rice’s family moved to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, around 1965, when she was eleven years old. Her father had taken a job there as a college administrator. They later settled in Denver, Colorado, where she attended an integrated public school for the first time in her life, beginning with the tenth grade. She finished her last year of high school and her first year at the University of Denver at the same time.
U.S. national security adviser Condoleezza Rice has sometimes been described as the most influential woman in global politics. A university professor and expert on Russian history, Rice is known for her cool, calm manner. When Bush appointed her to the job in 2000, some wondered if she was qualified for it…A job such as Rice’s requires nerves of steel, and the French- and Russian-fluent academic, whose friends and family call her “Condi,” fits the bill.
She explained in another interview “My parents went to great lengths to make sure I was confident. My mother was also a great believer in being proper.”
As an African American and a professional, Rice has experienced the occasional racial snub. She recalled one occasion when she asked to see some of the nicer jewelry in a store, and the saleswoman mumbled a rude remark under her breath. (Condi was not afraid to stand up for herself) “‘Let’s get one thing clear. If you could afford anything in here, you wouldn’t be behind this counter. So I strongly suggest you do your job.'”
(Dignified in every way, yet much the woman) The confidence that Rice’s parents instilled in her comes out in other ways, too. She favors suits by Italian designer Giorgio Armani, but the trim, fit national security adviser prefers her skirts to hit just above the knee. Her favorite lipstick comes from the Yves Saint Laurent cosmetics counter. When asked about her off-duty hours, she watches sports and goes shopping. (One wonders how the secret service took this?) Rice responded with a humor rarely on display in public, “They can handle shopping.”
For years Rice dreamed of becoming a concert pianist. At the University of Denver she was originally a music major, but eventually gave up on her dream after spending a summer at music camp. “Technically, I can play most anything. But I’ll never play it the way the truly great pianists do.”
She fell in love with political science and Russian history after she took a class taught by Josef Korbel, a refugee from Czechoslovakia. His daughter became the first female U.S. Secretary of State.
Rice began taking Russian-language and history courses, and became fascinated by Cold War politics. The term refers to the hostilities between the United States and the world’s first Communist state, Soviet Russia, in the years following World War II (1939–45). Each “superpower” tried to win allies to its brand of politics, and in the process each side built up a large arsenal of nuclear weapons. After she graduated from the University of Denver in 1974, Rice enrolled at Notre Dame University in Indiana, where she earned a master’s degree in government and international studies.
Rice was a promising new talent in her field even before she earned a doctorate in 1981. Her dissertation investigated the relationship between the Czechoslovak Communist Party and its army. Soon she was offered a fellowship at Stanford University. No other woman had ever been offered a fellowship to its Center for International Security and Arms Control. She eagerly accepted, and the following year she was hired by Stanford to teach political science.
Rice became a tenured professor at Stanford in 1987. She was also a rising star in U.S. foreign policy circles. She served as the informal campaign adviser to a Colorado Democrat, Gary Hart, during his 1984 bid for the White House. She came to know a foreign policy expert, Brent Scowcroft, and was offered her first official job in government. Scowcroft had been named national security adviser by George H. W. Bush who was elected president in 1988. Scowcroft then hired Rice as a staff member on the National Security Council.
The National Security Council helps analyze data and plan American foreign policy. It looks at potential global threats from hostile nations, and works to make strategic alliances with friendly ones. Rice eventually became a special assistant to the first President Bush, serving as his expert on Soviet and East European affairs. It was an important time in American foreign policy. The political system of the Soviet Union was crumbling, and by 1991 the Communist governments allied with Soviet Russia had been peacefully ousted throughout the Eastern Bloc (as the communist nations in Eastern Europe were known).
Rice tired of the toll the White House job took on her personal life, and she resigned in 1991. She went back to teaching at Stanford, and in 1993 became the university’s first-ever female provost, which essentially made her second-in-command at the school. She was also the first African American to be selected for the position.
“That was the toughest job I ever had.” She was charged with eliminating a large budget deficit, and the university had also been accused of misusing government grant money intended for military research. There was internal turmoil as well, and some faculty members complained about Rice’s no-nonsense manner.
“I told people, ‘I don’t do committees,'” she explained.
Bush won the Republican party nomination and later was declared the winner of a hotly contested November election. The president-elect immediately named Rice as his national security adviser. Though she was not the first African American ever to hold the post—Bush’s new Secretary of State, Colin L. Powell, had held the job for a year in the late 1980s—she was the first woman ever to serve in the position. The national security adviser helps shape American foreign policy, both on the public front and behind the scenes, in strategy sessions with the president and his team.
Rice’s duties also included coming up with ideas to combat threats to American interests at home and overseas. This became an important part of her job on the morning of September 11, 2001. She was in a meeting at the White House when an aide notified her that a plane had struck the World Trade Center. She quickly ended the meeting and notified the President, who was in Florida. After a second plane crashed into the other tower of the New York landmark, she and other key personnel gathered in what is known as the White House “Situation Room.” When a third plane crashed into the Pentagon Building, which is the command center for the U.S. Armed Forces, Rice and the others retreated to an underground bunker. The attack was the deadliest ever to occur on American soil.
Rice worked long days in the months afterward to shape U.S. foreign policy. The first order of business involved Afghanistan, which was suspected of harboring the shadowy Islamic fundamentalist group known as Al Qaeda. It was founded by a Saudi exile, Osama bin Laden, who quickly took responsibility for the 9/11 attacks. Less than a month later, U.S. forces invaded Afghanistan. Rice also worked to create a new policy for dealing with longtime Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
The fourth year of the Bush Administration was a difficult one for Rice and other top White House and Pentagon personnel. Though Hussein had been captured and the war in Iraq was officially declared over, U.S. troops stationed in Iraq had become the target of repeated attacks by insurgents. And American military operatives had yet to capture bin Laden. In April of 2004 Rice was called to testify before a special panel that had been set up to investigate the 9/11 attacks, namely whether or not the attacks could have been prevented and how the emergency response to such an attack could be improved. There were charges that U.S. intelligence officials may have come across suspicious information but failed to put the pieces together. Rice sat before the official 9/11 Commission, in front of a barrage of television cameras, and held her ground.
“There was nothing demonstrating or showing that something was coming in the United States. If there had been something, we would have acted on it.”
Rice lives in a luxury apartment complex in Washington known as Watergate. Her mother died in 1985, and her father died the same month that Bush named her to the national security adviser post. She attends church regularly, and is known to be close to the President and his wife, Laura (1946–). At the Maryland presidential retreat known as Camp David, she has been known to watch hours of televised sports with President Bush.
Rice’s name has been mentioned as a possible future vice-presidential candidate. Although she has joked that she would love to serve as commissioner of the National Football League (Which some said she would have been great at this job also. After leaving the White House, Condi Rice wanted to return to teaching. She was always wanting to give back.)
“I miss my kids. In a class of 20, there are always two or three for whom the lights go on. When that happens, I think I’ve done for them what Dr. Korbel did for me.”
Miss Rice went on to serve as Secretary of State from 2005-2009. She is a black woman who never has forgotten her roots…her family…and her upbringing. One may say that she has all the credentials for being the first woman president. However, it is probably not what Condoleezza Rice will ever be. She may be too smart to mix a perfectly good life with an unforgiving position.
On this special day, we wish all the lovers of freedom and those who have served to give us lasting freedom, a very Happy 4th of July!
Standing at my kitchen window, I can see our back yard and a meadow behind our fence. Suddenly, a rainbow appeared very close to the ground.
My camera was close at hand and I was able to get two pictures before it disappeared in seconds. Friends that I sent the picture to have commented on how unusual and my 92-year-old uncle said, “Perhaps God is telling you….” I pondered that for a while because I have been trying to focus on the beauties of nature here in the mountains of Virginia and not on other concerning matters. I decided to look up what the Holy Scripture has to say about the rainbow. There was one interesting thing I found:
Bible Question: What is the meaning of the rainbow?
Bible Answer: The Bible tells us that the rainbow did not occur until after Noah’s flood. God gave it to us as a promise that He would never destroy the earth with a flood again.
“And I establish My covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth.” And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations; I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. And it shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud, and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh.” (NASB) Genesis 9:11-15
The rainbow was not only a promise from God but it was a reminder of how rain fits in the Scriptures.- a scientific fact – when we realize the Bible tells us that there was no rain before the flood (Gen. 2:5 and Gen. 7:4, 12). When God caused the flood to occur, He also brought the first rain. Then God caused rainbows to start appearing in the sky when rain occurs. This is consistent with science since rainbows only appear when water droplets are airborne. We can see rainbows in water fountains and in the midst of a rain storm…even in our water sprinklers.
When rain or mist is present a rainbow can appear. When it does appear, it is actually a full circle. A rainbow appears when sunlight reflects off the inside of a water drop. The full circle cannot usually be seen from the ground but only from above the earth. Someone in an airplane can see the full bow.
It is also interesting to discover that rainbows contain all the colors of the spectrum with the inner part of the bow being violet and the outer red.
The Bible did not say the rainbow occurred before rain starting appearing on the earth but afterwards. Clouds did not appear before the flood but after the flood. God’s design for a rainbow requires rain…and as we know from scientific study.
Food for thought: Why did God place violet in the inner portion of the rainbow and red in the outer portion? Is it possible that God uses red as a reminder of Jesus’ blood which was shed when He died and violet as a reminder of His future eternal Kingdom? Whatever the reason, God has created a wonder in the sky to remind us of His faithfulness.
Other rainbow pictures to remind us of God’s promises:
The fact is that we can look around us and see all the colors of the rainbow in the abundance of nature which God has made for our pleasure.