Kierkegaard on Beauty

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Adversity draws men together and produces

beauty and harmony in life’s relationships,

just as the cold of winter produces ice-flowers

on the window panes, which vanish with the warmth.

Soren Kierkegaard

     There have been far fewer pictures on the Internet of people helping people with Irma than there were with Harvey. It’s probably because there has been such a huge problem with power and Internet capabilities. I have heard of many beautiful stories about people graciously offering their homes to strangers in need, repairing a neighbor’s generator, and sharing the precious gas supplies in the early aftermath, but have found almost no pictures. Lots of hard work to be done, but, in many situations, people have graciously risen to demands of the situation with a generosity that inspires us all.

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One Beautiful Car, Many Beautiful People

 

 

 

First Lt. Jonathan Rozier loved his wife, Jessica, his baby son, Justin, and his new  convertible, a 1999 Toyota Celicia GT, but he left them all behind to serve his country in Iraq. Sadly he never returned.

Jessica ended up selling his car when times got tough for the young widow trying to make ends meet. Sometimes, you just have to bite the bullet and make hard decisions.

That was in 2003.

In 2017, the baby son begin driving, and she started to daydream about finding his father’s old convertible and buying it for him. Somehow she traced its whereabouts to Pleasant Grove, Utah and posted a picture of the car and its first owner on the town’s FaceBook page along with the car’s history.

Pleasant Grove’s leader of the patriotic group, Follow The Flag, saw the posting and began reporting the story among his wide circle of acquaintances. Sure enough, one of Kyle Fox’s friends happened to see the car, the one day it was parked on the neighborhood street instead of in the owner’s garage.

The fairly new owner of the Celicia GT, Jorge Cruz, had dreamed about owning that very model since he was a teenager himself. But when he heard about Justin, he readily agreed to sell.

“I believe nothing happens for just chance. Something has a purpose in life, and if you can make somebody happy, do it,” Cruz said. “It’s bittersweet for me, but that’s a good feeling somebody is going to be happy out of this.”

Seeing the Facebook post about buying his father’s car for Justin convinced Cruz to sell it.

Meanwhile, Kyle Fox began a Go Fund Me page to fix up the car before returning it to Justin and his mother in Texas. He said that it was his way of saying “thanks” to Lt. Jonathon Rozier for his sacrifice for our freedom.

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Lt. Jonathan Rozier with his son, Justin, before deployment to Iraq.

He Led A Beautiful Life

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From PowerLine:

I first wrote about Rick Rescorla in 2003 after finishing James Stewart’s Heart of a Soldier, the book based on Stewart’s New Yorker article “The real heroes are dead.” (“The real heroes are dead” is what Rescorla would say in response to recognition of his heroism on the battlefield in Vietnam.) It’s a good book that touches on profound themes in a thought-provoking way: life and death, love and friendship,  Read Here: http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/09/a-day-to-be-proud-8.php

From UK Daily Mail:

Twin Towers hero who predicted terror attacks led 2,700 to safety… but died as he went back to look for stragglers
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2033919/Twin-Towers-hero-predicted-terror-attacks-led-2-700-safety–died-went-look-stragglers.html#ixzz4sOH0w87F

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2033919/Twin-Towers-hero-predicted-terror-attacks-led-2-700-safety–died-went-look-stragglers.html?ito=email_share_article-bottom

From Conservative Tree House:

A man who was convinced the Twin Towers would be targeted in a terror attack led 2,700 people to safety from the World Trade Center before being killed when he went back in looking for stragglers. Security chief Rick Rescorla […]

Read more of this post

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Beautiful Food, II

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A conversation with another state university lecturer first alerted me to the heart cry of many, if not most, college students. Her casual mention of preparing the evening meal for her husband and children that day created a storm of envy from the class. Some insisted they couldn’t remember a parent cooking any meal for the family during the week, others said a parent usually picked up take-out food and brought it home for family members to consume whenever they arrived, and still others considered their favorite family times had been sharing fast-food “happy meals” before heading to the next stop.

Thus, these families had missed out on the centuries-old practice of “team building” through shared meals and shared conversations. If they had ever seen Babbette’s Feast, they didn’t take its message to heart – that good food and good conversation heal many wounds. And these 18 and 19 year-olds were angrily aware of their loss.

The good news is that everyone can participate in the remedy! And frankly, it’s time for each person to bravely step up to the plate of beautiful mealtimes. (Pun intended.)

If you recall, Babbette’s guests started the meal she had prepared with fear and trepidation. They were actually afraid of enjoying it or each other. Yet, overcome by the gentle persuasion of course after course of gourmet foods beautifully presented, by the end they were happily sharing stories, ideas, and compassion.

Today’s overloaded families or apartment-mates don’t need an in-house, world class chef to improve the ambiance of the evening meal they share. When anyone goes to the trouble to make any occasion more beautiful, the entire group improves, perhaps slowly, but all good habits eventually create excellence.

The composition or ages of the group who lives together does not matter in the least. The first step is always to just decide to change.

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Here are a few examples of innovations to consider. I welcome other suggestions, even anonymous ones, in the comments section.

     1. Fix simple meals with the highest quality ingredients available. This will usually save time, money, and energy. No need to copy Babbette’s elaborate menu, but do follow her precedent by carefully selecting the best examples of each food item needed for the meal.

     2. Take turns or share the chores involved. Shopping, setting the table, cooking, and clean-up are part of every meal. Teenagers and adults can take turns with any of these aspects of a beautiful occasion, while smaller children can learn to set the table, fold the napkins, and clear the table one plate at a time. Soon they can even load the dishwasher and prepare simple recipes.

     3. Whoever cooks should strive to present the dish attractively. Neatness is the most important factor, but with practice one does develop expertise in arranging the platter or bowl.

     4. Wait until everyone arrives before beginning the meal. Children learn their own value to others by insisting that they are part of the group and the group needs their participation.

     5. Table time is for eating, talking, and learning from each other. No electronics are allowed! No television. No radio. No phones in the room. If a phone rings, the call can be returned after the meal. This rule applies to both home and restaurant meals.

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Copyright 2017 by Kaye Fairweather

Beautiful Food

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Choosing to walk in beauty involves every dimension of living: your posture, your attire, your decor, your attitude, and your manner of living. But none of these important areas depend upon a great expenditure of money or time; they merely require the mindfulness that evolves into good habits.  Today I want to concentrate on food.

If you’ve read Isak Dinesen’s short story, Babbette’s Feast, or seen the movie based upon it, you already understand something about the importance of good food, well prepared, and artfully presented. If you haven’t, watch a download of the movie  at home this weekend.

Pay attention to every detail, for this is a story of people changing their attitudes, not a fast moving thriller. Only by noticing the details or clues and putting them together, does one catch the full impact of the story.

In fact, every detail is so important that many viewers could see it two or three times before understanding the insights Dinesen offers.  Most Americans probably first approach it as a quaint, Victorian story about a peculiar village of overly pious people. Yet, there is a bad habit that both the fictional Danes and today’s Americans share. — Each group misses the importance of beautiful food that is chosen and prepared with care, then presented attractively in a setting that encourages conversation.

The Danish villagers feared that giving too much attention to physical pleasure would draw them away from God’s love. They saw God as a stern taskmaster and viewed holiness as paying very strict attention to the tasks He assigned, not the virtues He espoused. Without emphasizing those virtues, through the years the believers began quarreling over petty matters until every meeting was marred by merciless accusations that were never forgiven.

While Americans readily  succumb to the very sensual pleasures their fictional counterparts most detested, they sacrifice good family meals and pleasant conversations on the altar of efficiency and convenience.  Too many meals every week come from the drive through track at a nearby fast food place and are consumed in the car. Or if at home, gathered around the table, parents and children alike play with their smart phones instead of communicating with each other. Often the television is on to further distract family members from actually glimpsing the problems that each other faces.  Consequently, they begin quarreling over petty matters until every day is marred by merciless accusations that are never forgiven.

The villagers learned love and forgiveness at one glorious banquet the likes of which they had never imagined even existed. The bad habits of American families will take longer to change, but at much less cost.

Stay tuned for easy suggestions to add more love and beauty to your evening meal.

Copyright 2017 by Kaye Fairweather