external page We live in a 2005 28ft Airstream Safari LS on five acres of fireweed and spruce tree covered land on West Hill in Homer, Alaska.ithaca.edu Our journey from a two bedroom, two bath, 1300 square foot home in Palmer to our current airstream life has been one of growth and learning for the entire family. Currently we are 'boondocking' - or living in the camper without hooking up to water and electric -hauling water and using the outhouse on our property rather than the plumbing system in the camper. We use a small Honda generator for a couple of hours almost everyday to charge our phones and DeWalt batteries and to run certain tools when we are working on our building projects around the property. As much as we enjoy the airstream life, our ultimate goal is to build a cabin on our property and use the airstream for travel and work trips for Steve. I am journaling our experiences working towards our homestead goals here and on my instagram page, please subscribe to both and follow along on our adventure.
Conservatives: The number one culprit, to be honest, is conservatives, and I don’t mean the current fringe which has only absconded with the label. No, they’re just sheep. Yeah us. How did we do this? Since the 1990s at least, we conservatives have been angered by a GOP that seemed to keep nominating people who didn’t share our values. Time and again, the GOP nominated people who favored liberal ideas, saw conservatism as a quaint theory that would never work in practice, and who longed to compromise to win the applause of a leftist establishment. There weren’t actually many of these people, but there were some prominent ones and we hated them. Indeed, we did our best to drive these people out of the party in the name of purity. We even had a name for these traitors - RINOs!
This impulse for purity, however, began the problem. First, it found a bullhorn on talk radio and later on the internet. Then it became dogma. Unfortunately, what conservatives didn’t understand was that this type of thinking was exclusionary, was based on anger, and had within it a natural tendency to keep getting more intolerant all the time. Ronald Reagan had said, show me someone who agrees with me 80% of the time and I’ll show you someone I can worth with. This did three things which created Trump. First, it turned conservatives against the GOP establishment, which opened the door to an anti-conservative-establishment candidate.
Secondly, it destroyed the ranks of potential conservative candidates because no serious or experienced candidate could pass the impossible purity test. Third, it rid conservatism of its intellectual foundations, which allowed Trump to sell anger rather than ideas. This is why a man who has no conservative credentials and who promises nothing conservative, could become the champion of modern conservatives and defeat people conservatives had been pining for as recently as the last election. Liberals: The next culprit is liberals, specifically the liberals who “run” our culture. For some time now, conservatives have fled any occupation that influences the culture.
This left liberals in charge. But liberals are stupid, obnoxious hypocrites, and the kind of culture they created reflects that. Hence, over the past few decades, we’ve seen our culture driven relentlessly toward the lowest common denominator. Enter Trump, who feels perfectly normal in a world of scripted “reality” programs about cat fights, a world of yo'-mama-so-fat contests, and a world of unfettered violence, swearing, kinky sex, and blowhardism. Trump, through his reality TV show and penchant for tabloidism, became the perfect representative of modern culture. This made Trump acceptable to the public, and it was a simple matter for him to make the jump to politics. The Establishment: Finally, we come to the last suspect: the establishment. The establishment is the people who set up the current economic order. They replaced the free market with a social contract that traded power and wealth and influence (theirs) for economic and personal security along with an ever increasing sense of comfort (ours). To a degree, this worked swimmingly after World War II for several decades. But then it started to break. Check out these charts below.
I stopped in at JoAnn Fabrics the other night, hoping to find some cute chicken panels that I want for my kitchen, but of course they didn't have any, this being JoAnn's. But they did have some clear vinyl that I needed for a tablecloth, so I took it to the cutting counter. And there was a young man. I am serious. I don't think I've ever before had fabric cut by a young man at a fabric store. He had long ski-slope sideburns such as were in fashion in 1976, a piercing or two, and the nicest eyes and a warm smile.
Oh my. A nice young man who is noble enough to marry the lady of his life in this day and age, and he works at JoAnn Fabrics with great cheerfulness and professionalism. These chickens, he said, lay an egg every day, actually every 27 hours, just like the experts say they should. Well, they lay pretty well, but they're getting old and slacking off. His eyes lit up again. Oh, did I know that someone in England let chickens watch TV and it extended their laying life? In fact, what they really liked to watch was screen savers, and the most effective one was the flying toasters. Amazing. Thankfully it was late and there was no one waiting in line so we could talk freely.
But finally we exhausted the subject and I left, oddly encouraged about life. Then yesterday I took Jenny to the dentist and she wanted me back in the room with her so I could hold her foot when she gets shots. She needed three, with about 5 minutes of waiting for each, so we had lots of time to talk with the dentist. How did you decide on this field, I asked him. Well, he was in college, taking general courses and trying to decide what to do. He was somewhat artistic, so he wanted to do something with his hands. But he was also working in the produce department at Albertsons and knew he wanted something with more of a future than that. And he wanted to make a decent living. Meanwhile there was this girl who was a really good friend, and the two of them went to the beach one day, and were talking about what he should do. She thought about all these criteria for his future and came up with the idea of being a dentist.
Today’s lesson addresses discrimination of all types and is intended to help you see that each of us plays an important role in ending discrimination against those with whom we live and work. Although it seems as if the reasons we should be concerned about ending discrimination are so obvious they need not be stated, I think it’s important that we keep in mind how damaging discrimination really is. Discrimination is dehumanizing. When you treat someone differently solely based on race, gender, age, etc., you deny the value of who they are as an individual. Discrimination hurts. Whether discrimination is subtle or overt, people know when they are being discriminated against, and it’s painful. Awareness of the problem of racial discrimination is probably the highest it’s ever been, and most would probably agree that we’ve made measurable progress on race issues in this country in the past generation.
But we still have a long way to go. A law firm has an unspoken rule that no female will make partner until a quota of male partners has been reached because they believe that clients have more faith in male attorneys than female attorneys. A high-end salon turns away otherwise qualified applicants because they don’t have the right look. A high-end restaurant uses a proprietary database to decline reservations for individuals who do not meet certain demographic qualifications. A local civic organization denies membership to individuals who do not hold the political views that are predominant in the current group. In each of these cases, the individuals who may be turned away are being discriminated against for a host of different reasons: their gender, their looks, their income, or their political affiliation.
I can think of no valid reason why anyone should be treated differently for factors beyond their control, nor should they be viewed negatively because of their beliefs. I titled this post, The End of Discrimination Starts With You because you are the only person you can change. If enough of us make a daily, conscious effort not to discriminate, it is possible for real societal change to take place. In my own personal and professional life, I am more prone to help someone who I believe is discriminated against than someone who is not. When I see that someone is disadvantaged because of something beyond their control, I go out of my way to befriend them and help in any way I can.
Therefore, I am challenging you to start looking at everyone as equal, and Life Alaskan Style going above and beyond to support those who likely feel discriminated against. When you do, you benefit from knowing it’s the right thing to do. In addition, you will be showing greater respect to those around you and will present yourself as someone with a balanced and tolerant worldview. If you wish to join me in taking an active stance against all forms of discrimination, here are some ways you can begin.nypost.com Never again say anything negative or derogatory about anyone as it relates to things outside their control.
Be more aware of discrimination. When you witness it, ask yourself if there is anything you can do personally to remedy the situation. Be intentional about giving favor to those whom you know are being discriminated against. Say the words and practice the behavior you want children to imitate. As parents and teachers, we have a huge influence on our children and their views. Guard your thoughts and words when with those who make discriminating remarks. Stand up for what’s right. Choose your friends carefully. People who discriminate are not friends of mine. Remember that you are the average of your five closest friends. Todd Smith is a successful entrepreneur of 34 years and founder of Little Things Matter. To receive Todd’s lessons, subscribe here. All Todd’s lessons are also available on iTunes as downloadable podcasts.
Let us pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all of our hearts be acceptable in your sight O God, our strength and our redeemer. There’s a story that’s told from the horrible years of World War II. It’s legend not history. It never really happened, or at least the details of it didn’t happen although the historical background of the story did; but it’s a great story. It goes like this: The Nazis overran one of the countries of my ancestors, Denmark in this case. And they did what they did all over the lands they had conquered.
They began first to harass the Jewish people of those lands, then to round them up, then to ship them off to the death camps. The first thing they did was make them put Stars of David on their clothing so everyone could see that they were Jews. One day King Christian of Denmark rode out of his palace on a fine horse. Sewn to his coat was a Star of David. He wasn’t Jewish. As a Danish king he was certainly Lutheran. But he was the king. He was the king of all the people of Denmark, and he knew it. He valued all of his people, be they Christian, Jewish, or anything else.
So he sewed a Star of David on his coat in solidarity with his Jewish subjects. Many other Danes did the same thing. Because they did, many of the Jewish citizens of Denmark were saved. Here’s another story that I know is true. It happened in Billings, Montana, during the holiday season of 1993. There was a Jewish family in town named the Schnitzers. It was the season of Hanukah, and the Schnitzers had put menorahs in their windows. The menorah is the symbol of Hanukah, kind of like the Christmas tree is our symbol of Christmas. It’s a candelabra with eight candles on it. Young Isaac Schnitzer was sitting at a desk in his house that wasn’t in his bedroom doing his homework.
His parents weren’t home, but a babysitter was with him. Suddenly he heard a loud crash. When he and the sitter went to investigate they found that someone had thrown a rock through the window of his bedroom, a window that had a menorah in it. The sitter called Isaac’s parents. They came home and called the police. A wise police chief came. He told the Schnitzers that he would do everything he could to find the culprits who had done that hateful thing. But he also said that the whole town needed to respond to this act of hate. There had been other acts of hate in Billings in those days. African Americans and Native Americans had been targeted by skinheads filled with hate.
A Christian woman named Margaret MacDonald and the chief called a meeting of all of the people of Billings, and many came. She had heard the legend about King Christian and the Danes during World War II. Mrs. MacDonald said “Why don’t we all put menorahs in our windows to show that we stand with the Schnitzers and won’t tolerate acts of hatred in our town? ” And they all agreed to do it. A certain Rev. Torney, pastor of the First Congregational Church of Billings, said he would talk to other religious leaders and get them on board. Soon there were menorahs in windows all over Billings. And the incidence of hate crimes went down.
Today we have a President-elect who says he wants to register all Muslims in our country. Many of us Christians have stood with our brothers and sisters against this and other kinds of discrimination for a long time. We have stood against demonizing people who are different from us. We need to do it again today. Many of us have said that if our government tries to make Muslims register we will go and register as Muslims even though we aren’t. If we do we will be taking a risk. Standing up for what is right always involves a risk. Many Danes really did help many Jews escape to unoccupied Sweden.
They took a risk. The people of Billings took a risk when they put menorahs in their windows. The haters smashed some of those windows. Doing what is right always involves a risk. And we wonder how we can have the courage to take such a risk for someone else, for someone not like us. Here’s how. We can have the courage to take that risk because today is Christmas Day. Today we celebrate how God took an enormous risk by becoming human. God took the risk of being rejected. God took the risk of being scorned. God took the risk of being tortured.
God even took the risk of being killed. And all of those things happened to God in Jesus Christ. And God overcame it all. God raised Jesus from the dead. Through Jesus’ resurrection God inspired a movement that we now call Christianity that has brought more people to God than any other movement ever has. That has brought more people more peace, strength, comfort, and hope, than any other movement ever has. That has inspired more human acts of generosity, kindness, and courage than any other movement ever has. That has inspired more people to take great risks to do what is right than any other movement ever has. Yes, Christians have done horrible things too, but that’s not a topic for this day of celebration.
Today we celebrate God taking the risk to come to us as one of us.amazon.com If God was willing to take that risk, how can we not take much smaller risks to do what is right? So in the year to come, if we see something wrong, let’s have the courage to stand against it. Let’s have the courage to do what’s right. Maybe people won’t like us when we do. Maybe we won’t be able to stop evil when we do. The Danes couldn’t stop the Nazis from killing some of the Jews if Denmark. We might even get hurt when we do. But we can still do what is right. We can still do our part to make God’s dream of a world of peace and justice for all people a reality. We can still say thank you, God, for your gift of Jesus by doing what Jesus would have done, by doing what’s right. He comes to us today as a helpless infant. He comes to us every day as the Spirit of hope, peace, joy, and love. Let’s have the courage of Billings and Denmark. Let’s have the courage to do what’s right. With Jesus as our help and our hope, we can.
Pippi helped me choose which images to use . Though she looks like she is asleep, she is in fact, studying the Images ! Smaller size one above . Larger size one below . Though my Dad has been gone now for 14 years, thoughts of him often pop into my head when I am doing my little painted revamps. You see Dad was a painter for most of his life. My grandson Alec is proving to be quite the painter himself & I often think how much pleasure Alec would've bought Dad had he lived long enough to enjoy him. Incidently the reason he is wearing two hats is because he has a tendency to also put the paint brush in his ear !washingtonpost.com Bless you little Alec.