Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Recollections of a Childhood Christmas

2018 Nativity Scene at Our House

I can still remember some of the earliest holiday celebrations as a child in Holland. First came Saint Nicholas.  He began to show up in parades and parties in mid-November.  I remember how for a few years my dad’s employer would throw a party where all the children were treated with a gift and candy, particularly “speculaas”, some form of ginger bread, “pepernoten”  or peppernuts  “taaj-taaj”, chewy spiced honey cake dolls,  “marsepijn”, marzipan. The gift was usually something  that would seem insignificant today but was huge back then.  The festivities would end the night of December 5th, when St Nicholas visited each home while we were sleeping and dropped off gifts .  We would always leave our shoes by the fire stove, hoping that Saint Nicholas would fill them with extra treats.  One of the biggest treats each year was chocolate in the shape of the first alphabet letter of your first name. For many years, we looked forward to something special, a Hershey candy bar for us kids mailed to us by a Canadian soldier that befriended my parents during the liberation of occupied Holland.  This I will never forget.  It was from someone we as children never met.  Nor will I forget the one year when someone left a care package at our door steps. My parents wondered for many years who that generous person could have been, and it had a large impact on me.  

When December 6th rolled around, the gift exchanges and festivities were over, well in advance of Christmas.The focus of Christmas was on the birth of Christ.  It was celebrated in many fashions.  My dad reluctantly bought a Christmas tree, and it was decorated with real candles.  Our catholic neighbors had a nativity display in their living room, and us kids were invited to come over and look at it.  While my dad allowed us to go, we were well reminded that such a display was idolatry, as was the display of any picture or statue of Jesus.  There was no adoration of baby Jesus in our celebration.  There were very few Christmas hymns that we sang in church, the main one I remember was “Glory to God In the highest!  Peace on the earth, peace on the earth to the people who have God’s favor”. Looking back, it was more of a solemn festivity than a celebration.
These are my recollections.  Many people have different recollections, including younger members of my family.  Some of the practices and beliefs have changed.  One thing we have learned is that God’s  grace extends far beyond one’s particular faith. Today there is some opposition to greeting people with “Happy Holiday” instead of “Merry Christmas”  As children, we were not allowed to say ”Merry Christmas” or “Happy New Year”  It was “Zalig Kerstfeest” (Blessed Christmas) and “Veel Heil en Zegen” (Wishing you much goodness and blessings this coming year).Happy Holidays, everyone!

Thursday, November 22, 2018


This is truly my most favorite holiday. Years ago I used to go to church on this day, and give thanks to God through prayer and song.  Sadly very few churches celebrate this holiday any longer. Sports and holiday bargains have taken over.  My hearing disabilities also wont tell me if I my voice is on pitch or not so singing is out.  Fortunately there is that inner voice. Always on pitch and reachable from anywhere.

    1. "Now thank we all our God
      With hearts and hands and voices,
      Who wondrous things hath done,
      In whom his earth rejoices;
      Who, from our mothers' arms,
      Hath blessed us on our way
      With countless gifts of love
      And still is ours today.
    2. Oh, may our bounteous God
      Through all our life be near us,
      With ever-joyful hearts
      And blessed peace to cheer us,
      And keep us in his love,
      And guide us day and night,
      And free us from all ills,
      Protect us by his might.


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Heading in the wrong direction

First the left said Trump supporters would incite violence amongst the right wingers.  Now that it are the radical left wingers that are causing disruption and violence, they still hold Trump responsible.

Yesterday I read about a truck being set afire most likely because it had Trump bumper stickers.  It's not the first time a vehicle was deliberately damaged for that reason.  People with apparel indicating support for Trump are accosted on the streets, sometimes even refused service in restaurants. People like me are becoming afraid to show support for Trump for fear of property damage or physical harm.

It is not Trump who is inciting violence.  It are those who blame Trump for it.

The attempt to cause fear and disruption amongst well intended Trump supporters appears to be working.  And it's being caused by those people who compare Trump supporters to Nazis.

My parents taught me all about Nazis; bullies, licensed to push their way around, using fear as one of their weapons, accosting  people on the streets or in their homes, and creating genocide.

I'm not sure how we get rid of the hatred that has infested so many of our people. I hope it won't have to be some natural disaster, war, or civil unrest.  Wake up, America.  We are much better than this.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Classic Example of Deceit by the Press

Excerpt from The Western Journal, September 21, 2018.

-“Last Thursday, The New York Times wrote a story that now bears the prosaic headline, “State Department Spent $52,701 on Curtains for Residence of U.N. Envoy.”

However, when it appeared, the headline read, “Nikki Haley’s View of New York is Priceless. Her Curtains? $52,701,” The Hill reported. Haley’s photo also appeared with the story, which claimed that the spending was done at the same time the State Department was cutting back in other areas.
Even the initial Times story noted that the decision to move the U.N. ambassador’s residence was made in 2016 and that the purchase was approved by the Obama administration.”

Monday, September 17, 2018

Let Him Without Sin Cast The First Stone

Even if it were true that at one time in his youth Judge Kavanaugh made someone feel endangered or uncomfortable, he still seems to be the most puritanical man in the world.

Shame on those who demonize him.  Shame on Senator Feinstein for being in possession of a letter accusing Judge Kavanaugh of misconduct and not bringing it up earlier during the Judiciary Committee's hearing.  Shame on all those who demonize him and ignore the thousands of people who have spoken well of his character.  Shame on those who are ignoring Judge Kavanaugh's qualifications based on his record.  Shame on those have turned the judiciary hearings into an embarrassing circus. 

I find it hard to believe that in this modern age we still burn witches, and not by the fundamental Christians on the right, but by the "puritans" on the left; those who over fifty years ago introduced us to raunchy speech, movies, and behavior.

It seems to me our two party system needs a giant overhaul. Not even children can act the way  our elected national representatives do. We need to draw back to the center, focus on good government, and stop acting as if we were in an extremely nasty divorce. 


(Taken from a bumper sticker)

Monday, August 20, 2018

The right wing left

It is a pity that you have to be conscious of taking  life into your own hands when you wear or demonstrate anything that identifies you as a Trump supporter.

Conservative people are being accused as being bullies and a threat to democracy while it is the liberal left that demonizes conservatives. It are not the liberals who are refused service in restaurants, are accosted in public, receive verbal abuse, or get honked at or get the finger for supporting our duly elected government.

I can only imagine the furor if such behaviors were demonstrated towards our previous administration.   

While there are extremists within the Republican party, they are not in charge of the party and should be condemned for their views and actions.  Still it are not only the left wing extremists but also some mainstream Democrats who spew hatred and condemnation and even suggest violence against  those who do not agree with them. 

We may have a President in the White House who should never have been elected but he was. A person as egotistical and narcistic as him may not be good for the United States but he is the duly elected President.  

The far right reeks of totalitarianism and the far left reeks of socialism.  Both would be a disaster for the United States.  Extremists on both sides try to control their respective parties.  That's scary.. Hatred has no place here or anywhere.  May more reasonable voices sustain, and let us be reminded that we are a government of laws, founded on our constitution. And let us continue to allow freedom of expression without the fear of reprisal.  And yes, let's put America first so we can continue to exist as the country we were.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Equal before the Law, Equal in the Eyes of God

Let's face it.  Discrimination is wrong.  Racial bias is wrong.  And no matter how hard we try to eradicate discrimination, it will never go away.  There will always be those who think they deserve more that others, be it because of race, religion, size, economic stature or age, it is just a fact we need to recognize.  Call them anything you want, but they exist and will continue to exist.

Why are we focusing on the bad behavior of a few, when mainstream America is doing its best to accept all races, people of all colors, people of all kinds of backgrounds?

We will never live in a perfect world, but many of us make serious efforts.  We want to live as one nation, a nation of many colors and ethnic backgrounds. What's stopping us?

There are many who try to divide us, currently because of the color of one's skin. I'm not one of them.  Who cares how light  or dark skinned you are, what your ethnic background is,  we live in a country that believes and confirms we are all created equal.

Still there are those who want to separate us, white vs black, black vs white. This only adds fuel to the fire.

We need to eradicate hatred. Condemn it.  Don't let it take control anywhere. Kill it when it flares up.

 Please adopt me, I desperately want to be your brother or sister, not some distant relative  whom  I have to treat differently.  You don't have to conform.  You don't have to change the pride you have in your ancestry. Just accept me as I am.

Friday, July 27, 2018

The "Deep State" Conspiracy

I am not much of a believer in conspiracies but I do have a theory on the "Deep State" conspiracy that existed to keep Donald Trump from becoming President.

The way I see it, there were people with the best of intentions to influence the election. Many of these were people within our own government.  These people felt strongly  that Mr. Trump becoming President would be detrimental to the security of our country.  These people truly believed that actions they took were patriotic and to the best interest of the United States.

As the elections drew nearer, it became obvious to these people that Hillary Clinton would win the election. Coming to that conclusion, the head of the FBI took a gamble and informed the American public about Hillary Clinton's problems with sharing information on a non-secured private server.
This had to come out prior to the election because if all this information came out after the election The FBI and/or the Department of Justice would be in serious trouble for withholding this information from the public. After all, rumors were confirmed that there was an investigation going on regarding Donald Trump's campaign, and to hide information about Hillary Clinton would definitely prove that  the FBI and the Justice Department influenced the American public.

Needless to say, much of this backfired when Donald Trump won the election.  Soon after the election, it became public knowledge that Russia tried to influence our election and an official investigation began focusing on the Trump Campaign and Trump himself.

Ever since the election, the press and political opponents have demonized President Trump.

It is sad to see how our criminal justice works when it comes to building a case against a suspect, despite lack of evidence. It seems the investigation has resulted in the persecution of witnesses for non related crimes, and putting enough pressure on them to snitch on others, with the hope of gaining evidence of collusion by Donald Trump with a foreign nation, specifically Russia.

That Russia interfered with our 2016 should not come as a surprise.  If fact it was well known prior to the election, It's hard to believe that our people were so inept that they did not see this threat, but if they did, they did nothing.

Spending two years trying to build a case against President Trump seems overkill.  The least that will come out of this investigation  are non related charges against the President.

I believe we should also do a more thorough investigation in election meddling by our own Department of Justice.  It seems obvious that there were people within the organizations who tried to steer the election towards Hillary Clinton.

Why did the FBI fail to follow up on the use of an unsecured server by Hillary Clinton?  Looking at what is happening to some of President Trump's associates, (being accused of non-related crimes), it is possible that it was something that could be held over her head when elected President.  Isn't that the same way J. Edgar Hoover operated?

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Spy Games

What's all the fuzz about Russians trying to influence the outcome of elections?  What would you expect from the leadership in Russia?  Spy games are back on or never really were non-existent
since the Cold War,  Russia has spies in this country, as do many other nations.  The game is the same, the methods have changed.  There are those who believe that Russian interference helped President Donald Trump win the election.  Whether or not that is true is debatable. Certainly the interference has hurt President Trump the most, with an ongoing investigation trying to tie him to
the Russian interference.

What is even more disturbing to me and many others is that our government never really seemed to be concerned that this was going on, or wasn't really aware of it. Russia 1 - USA 0.

We are at war with Russia. The rules of war have changed.  With the threat of nuclear annihilation and modern technology, it may not be necessary to fight in the trenches.  Threats of interference exist in the banking industry, transportation, utilities and many other industries. Interference in elections is not the only threat.

The United States should be diligent in counter intelligence, and be one step ahead of its enemies.  Are we?  Should we not or are we not prepared to strike back against Russian vulnerabilities?

One-upmanship.  That's what it is all about in the world today.  We need to do a better job of protecting our many industries, and at the same time have the capability to do our enemies one better.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Independence Day

On the Fourth of July our country celebrates  independence from British Rule.  A new nation was born, free from foreign oppression.  Our Nation has thrived over the next two centuries, allowing us to celebrate another year.

I feel strongly about people having the right to govern themselves, and  for nations to celebrate their sovereignty.  

Living in the United States of America is a privilege, offers opportunity but comes with obligations.
Being an American citizen makes me proud, not ashamed.  Unfortunately there both friends and enemies who believe in open borders and permitting foreigners to enter our country without any requirements other than their desire to come here.

While it is a noble idea to open borders and permitting refugees into the country without screening, it will also be the end of our nation as we know it today. We are a sovereignty and should be able to set the direction and future of our country.

We are also a country of laws.  That means our various legislators write laws, and law enforcement enforces the law.  With such a system, we don't judge by emotions or favoritism. When there  is no or little enforcement, chaos is created.  This is evident by looking at our current immigration situations.  The fault of our current problems is caused by our own government's failure to uphold the laws over several decades. 

Don't blame the offenders , don't blame those who we encouraged to come to this country illegally. In the meantime yes, protect our borders.

Here is a wish for all who consider themselves American, with the hope we can continue to celebrate many centuries in the future.

Here is some suggested reading, an editorial by John Tossel.

The Fourth of July

In the meantime, tell your legislatures to pass laws that can and will be enforced and that are for the good of this country.

Saturday, June 30, 2018


After laying dormant for over seventy years, it's  time to wake up[ and speak up. Not that my opinion will have a significant impact on the future of the world, I just don't want to be the only one without a voice.

Many people offer opinions using different styles.  Some, (perhaps like me) just wish to be heard.  Other's opinions are so diluted with political correctness that their messages are lost.  Some just steamroll ahead with no sensitivity towards their audience.

The suggestion that you should avoid discussing religion or politics with your friends, neighbors or co-workers  is a good one if you believe in peace.  We need to live alongside one another despite our differences.  

When I was very young, the religious protestant denomination my father belonged to had numerous factions. Church members and family members became so obsessed with their opinion of the literal translation of the Bible that  in church  they would not sit in the same pew with a neighbor who disagreed with their interpretation of perhaps one  Bible verse.  Families ended up not talking to each other, and for years there would be schisms  There is a lesson in that.  You can't just switch allegiances because of one disagreement or difference in philosophy.  We need to tolerate and often accept facts as they are, whether we disagree with them or not.