January 27, 2010

The Spiritual Lives of the Great Composers

As I read each one of the stories in the book, The Spiritual Lives of the Great Composers by Patrick Kavanaugh, I was touched with how every composer had to overcome his own unique set of challenges to achieve greatness. The one that touched me the most was the story of Anton Bruckner. I was already familiar with many of the great composers, but didn’t know anything about Anton Bruckner. Although all of the composers featured in this book shared various degrees of religious faith in God, I felt that Bruckner understood better than any other composer that the only one he ultimately answers to is God. He was quoted as saying, “Sometime I will have to give an account of myself. How would the Father in Heaven judge me if I followed others and not Him?”

How easy it is to listen to all the voices that pull us in different directions away from what God wants us to hear. Bruckner is a superb example of someone who did not become what others wanted him to be. “He listened to the ‘voice from within’ and looked to God, ‘whose praises he sang in every note of his music.’ Bruckner had a strong ‘conviction that only he who believes and trusts finds true peace and the glory of the Lord.’”

Bruckner also set a great example of perseverance. He experienced decades of hostility from various people in the music community. Sometimes people in the audience would walk out when his symphonies were performed. Another time a director told him to quit composing and threw his symphonies in a trash can. One critic called Bruckner “a fool and a half” and others criticized his music as being “insatiable rhetoric” and “unsingable.” A work that had been accepted by the Vienna Philharmonic was rejected after the first rehearsal. Bruckner found himself the enemy of a famous music critic that gave such malevolent reviews that it became nearly impossible to have his works performed for over a decade, “yet Bruckner continued to compose, believing that this talent was a trust given by God.”

Although Bruckner was not only unappreciated and attacked from many fronts for what he created, he did not attack in kind. “Instead, he continued to compose work after work, believing that his efforts would eventually be blessed...He so firmly believed that God wanted him to compose that he could neither desist nor waste time in meaningless verbal battles with his detractors.”

How often do we get caught up in feeling discouraged, overwhelmed or depleted when our initial or even ongoing attempts to do what we feel or know is right, isn’t met with the outcome or approval from others that we had hoped for? Do we just give up? Stop trying? Change our course of direction so that the world will give us their stamp of approval? It takes a lot of courage, faith and conviction to swim against the stream.

In time, the world came to love Bruckner’s great works and even to scorn those who disagreed. Bruckner never retaliated against his foes. He patiently endured the insults and attempts to stop his work and quietly continued to go on fulfilling his life’s mission. He never lost his faith in God. Anton Bruckner’s music is a lasting legacy of enduring faith, perseverance and humility. I will never listen to his music the same way again.

January 23, 2010

January's Title Swap

The Making of George Washington by William H Wilbur
Teach the Children by Neil Flinders
azurestandard.com Kim's resource for seeds, herbs, and bulk
The Little House Cook book by Garth Williams
Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann D. Wyss
The Fourth Turning by Strauss and Howe
Thomas Jefferson Education for Teens by DeMille and Brooks
Making the Best of the Basics, Family Preparedness Handbook by James Talmage Stevens

January 21, 2010

Some Needed Provisions for Survial During a Nuclear Holocaust

Cash (became worthless)
Canned milk
Running Water
Geiger Counter
Prescriptions for drugs (were worthless)
Short-wave radio
Underground shelter
Canned meat (freezer meat thawed out)
Mason jars
Kerosene lamps
Canning supplies
Pickling Salt
Insulin and syringes (needed refrigeration)
Flour (to bake bread)
Lighter fluid
Bicycles (and replacement parts
2 gallon pot to cook over a fire
Pitchfork, edger, scythe
Dog food
Cat food
Hens for eggs and meat
Portable radio
Oranges and fruit in orchards
First Aid Kits
Fishing Supplies
Toilet Paper
Evaporated milk
Rifles, shotguns, pistols
Rubber Nipples
Safety pins, sewing needles, thread
Spark plugs
Car batteries
30 weight oil
Vulcanizing kits
Honey (liquid gold)
Vaccines of all kinds
Soap powder
Shoes Old
Groceries Old
time sewing machine (foot propelled)
Pot bellied stove
Lawn roller

How Life Changed After "The Day"

Need to be informed re fallout (obtain pamphlets and read before disaster happens)
No phones
No electricity
No running water
No gas
No Western Union
No trucks
No mail service
No Traveler’s checks
No Government Savings Bonds
No banks
No gas stations
No stores
Need your own strength in a crisis
Dig latrines
Be physically fit to walk/manual labor
Carry a gun at all times
Face reality and cope with it
Neighbors put their resources together and divide and share everything
Stockpiles should be in the country and not in the big cities (as big cities were demolished)
Plant crops
Elderly and sick died
Elderly had difficulty accepting change
Bury the dead quickly
Rule of war: economy of effort and forces
Connected water pipes from artesian well which connected neighbors together
Watched out for each other
Someone has to assume leadership role and gives orders to the others (and it wasn’t necessarily elected community leaders)
Stop feeling sorry for yourself - there are two choices: have to start over or die
Use car battery to power short-wave radio
In everything they did, now, was with an eye for the future
Be a woman of courage
Survival of the fittest and make it a conscious decision
Small dog can be used as a foot warmer in bed
6 inch hunting knife can be used as a razor (sharpened on a whetstone and belt)
Missed music from phonograph and radio
Missed cigarettes
Used whiskey for anesthesia and for trading
Missed coffee (most valuable)
People lost weight and were more fit
No Income Tax
No alimony
No bills/debts/house payments
Barter system (Ex: Gas traded for MD house-calls)
Guard the food supply
Chop wood
Youth take on adult responsibilities
Rotate nights to guard animals
Everyone worked hard all day just to survive and eat - depended on each other
Had assignments (that were taken very seriously)
Finding more wood became more difficult to obtain/transport
All entertainment, amusements, escapes and information again centered on the library
(Because all the other distractions had been removed)
Reading classics was providing a superior education
It required a holocaust to make the librarian’s life worth living - she became an important person
The local park is where goods were traded and notices were posted
This disaster equalized blacks and whites
Cadillac traded for only 2 bike tires and a bike pump
Outdoor, interdenominational Easter Services
Hair and clothing fashions didn’t matter
Survivors didn’t know who won the war and they had differing opinions - topic of discussion
Abandoned cars appeared as stripped, unburied carcasses of giant beetles
No garbage collection
Some people (in Pistolville) defecated and urinated in public
No mongrel dogs or feral cats to be found (they had been eaten)
In four months time, Pistolville had regressed 4000 years
Even pets were killed and eaten
“The rules were off”
The past (life before “The Day”) seemed more removed or distant than actual amount of time that had passed
Everything was remembered as happening “before” or “after” “The Day”
More greed
Radium burns from “hot” looted jewelry
Unkempt yards quickly turned into jungles of overgrowth
Bubba Offenhaus was Deputy Director of Civil Defense and Undertaker but all the requests and problems frightened him. He did not lead the community. He hid in his home.
Mayor barricaded himself in his home - besieged by imaginary and irrational fears.
Authority had disintegrated
Chief of Police dead and two other police abandoned their posts
No Fire and Sanitation Departments
Martial Law came into effect
Randy Bragg found leadership to be a lonely experience
Everyone had to be careful. A simple fracture could be compound disaster
Make whiskey from homegrown corn and sugar cane
Make own distillery (Use lawn roller, a mule and crush corn and cane on cement slabs. Copper tubing from cars)
Nature is just and even merciful. By natural selection, nature will attempt to undo what man has done.
Helen loses touch with reality and temporarily believes her fantasy that her brother-in-law is her deceased husband
Read book about edible palms, grasses, and herbs from library to find other food sources.
Without communications, the simplest mechanical failure could turn into a nightmare and disaster
Randy didn’t sleep well unless he knew all was well in his perimeter
Made a homemade spear
North American civilization returned to the Neolithic Age
A boy grows up fast or doesn’t grow up at all
The survivors in the contaminated zone wondered if the rest of America had forgot them
Dan Gunn (the town doctor) was attacked by highwaymen; beaten up, lost his car, glasses and medical bag with supplies
Traffic was no longer a problem
Some domestic dogs turned into wolves
There were human jackals for every human disaster
Typhoid was the unwelcome, evil sister of any disaster in which the water supply was destroyed or polluted and normal disposal of human waste difficult or impossible.
Shoes wore out and didn’t have replacements (children’s feet kept growing)
Armadillo’s only enemy was the automobile - now they were multiplying (due to lack of cars)
Lip Radio: once spoken at the library, the news would spread through Fort Repose
After “The Day” people were willing to wake up before dawn and walk three miles on empty stomachs to watch the sun come up and attend an interdenominational Easter service
Under Martial Law can make up own rules and take the law into their own hands
Randy and Lib were married the day after they decided to do it (no preparation time)
Marriages and Births were recorded and records kept at the local library
Highwaymen attacked again - killed the parents and the children escaped to aunt’s home
Three Highwaymen were gunned down by Randy and his helpers
One Highwayman was hung at the park to deter others from plundering the people
Community members enlisted in the Fort Repose Provisional Company (Bragg’s Troop)
Fishing pliers, darning needles, metal hair clips six-pound nylon line sterilized in boiling water would have to become primitive surgical instruments
Unable to replace blown-out tube for short-wave radio - all contact with outside world is cut off
Within 5 months, gasoline vanished entirely
Homemade moonshine (made from corn and sugarcane) made excellent bug repellent, liniment and preoperative skin antiseptic
Books from the library taught Dan Gunn (doctor) how to do hypnotism to be used as anesthesia
Ran out of candles and kerosene for their lamps, burned furnace oil in lamps
Dan operated on Ben on a billiard table using hypnosis and primitive surgical tools
After eight months, ran out of salt (which was used for medical saline solutions, brushing teeth, pickling foods and hides, etc)
In the heat of August, fish stopped biting (had to change how they fished)
Found a hidden source of natural salt and crabs near the salty beach (from a journal kept by Randy’s grandfather)
Responsibility for teaching the children became the parent’s responsibility
Home library room became the schoolroom
Nine months after “The Day” the first post-Day baby was born bright and healthy signifying that life would go on
Military leaflets used as toilet paper, and paper money (10 leaflets would buy an egg, 50 a chicken)
American became at least a 2nd Class Power, if not 3rd Class after the nuclear holocaust
About a year after “The Day” Randy and his family and closest neighbors had no desire to leave their community and start over somewhere else