Tuesday, December 29, 2020

2020: Masks, Toilet Paper Hoarding, Unemployment, Death, Sadness

I won't ever again be able to hear the word "pandemic" without recalling the year 2020. It has been a challenging year for people around the world. From a deadly pandemic to a global movement for racial justice, the year 2020 has certainly experienced its fair share of world-shifting events. Deadly wildfires erupted from California to Washington state, burning millions of acres and displacing hundreds of thousands of people. The U.S. President faced an impeachment trial in January, around the same time that the World Health Organization announced that the deadly Coronavirus had emerged in Wuhan, China. COVID-19 triggered a global recession as numerous countries went into lockdown. In March 2020, the Dow Jones industrial average suffered its worst single-day point drop ever.

The police-involved killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor in 2020 sparked waves of demonstrations and riots around the world to demand an end to police brutality and racial injustice. More protests erupted in August when 29-year-old Jacob Blake was shot by a Wisconsin police officer. Joe Biden became the 46th president of the United States, defeating President Trump, in one of the most contentious elections in history. Biden selected Kamala Harris as his running mate and she became the first black woman and the first Asian woman on a major party’s presidential ticket. In late 2020, the COVID-19 vaccine started to be delivered. As 2020 progressed, we lost some well-known people -- such as Alex Trebek; Eddie Van Halen; Ruth Bader Ginsburg; Chadwick Boseman; Kirk Douglas; Kenny Rogers; Little Richard; Jerry Stiller; Kelly Preston; Sean Connery; and, Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna.

As we close out this year, I am focusing more on the blessings of 2020 than the struggles. Amidst a pandemic that had many lose their jobs and businesses, I was fortunate to work every day in my job. In fact, I never had to miss even one day due to the Coronavirus. My wife and I completed many home projects and enjoyed time with our children. Our home has been a constant place for peace, safety and love as the world has struggled through these COVID-19 days. I believe that each of us are ending 2020 stronger than when we began it, and more appreciative of the little things in life that can be so easily overlooked. For many, 2020 has been a year that has brought them to their knees. For me, it has brought me to my knees in prayer and thanksgiving for all that I've been blessed with. May 2021 bring everyone more stability, more happiness, more love, more hope, more gratitude, and more peace.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Monday, December 28, 2020

A Fading Tradition -- Asking a Woman's Father for Her Hand in Marriage

One tradition that has been slowly fading away from Western society is asking a woman’s father for her hand in marriage. There are, however, some who believe it's respectful to ask a future bride’s father for his blessing as a couple starts down the path towards matrimony. Asking is a sign of a true gentleman and lets the father know that the intentions are sincere. It’s an important tradition, a rite of passage, and a bonding experience between the future father-in-law and the son-in-law to be. Also, many women consider it to be a sweet gesture.

Recently, I received a phone call from a fine gentleman in Minnesota seeking my approval and blessing to propose to my eldest daughter. It's a phone call that most fathers (at least those who appreciate tradition) look forward to. He certainly didn't have to call me and ask, but he chose to and I truly appreciate it. I did indeed give my approval and blessing, and my daughter is now engaged. I am so happy for the two of them and I wish them endless love, true happiness and abundant success on life's path together.

A survey conducted by TheKnot.com reveals that 77 percent of men ask for permission from their partner's father or parents before they propose. Even so, some people argue that asking a father for permission is sexist and recalls a time when women were treated like property. One online feminist blogger wrote that men who ask for permission and/or a blessing from a father are "mindlessly following a tradition" and that women allow it because "we don't want to upset our dusty fusty fathers." It's so sad to see such an attitude.

I know that we live in a time when women are proposing more (about 5 percent of proposals in the U.S. are by women); when some traditions connected with engagements and weddings are fading; and, when the numbers of marriages are declining. Even so, it's wonderful that there are still men out there who will respectfully approach a father about marrying his daughter. As a father for 27 years, I am very appreciative of that moment I experienced a few weeks ago.

I believe that there are more women than not who want a man to open their car door, to have the man they love contact their father before proposing, and who do appreciate traditions that allow a man to truly be a gentleman. I can tell you this... at the age of 56, I'm seeing these things less and less in our world.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

A Family Christmas Tradition Continues...

Tomorrow evening is one of my favorite times of the year. As a family, we choose a night before Christmas arrives when we put sleeping bags in the living room and watch Christmas shows on TV, enjoying goodies and just being together. Then, we sleep out by our Christmas tree. My wife and I know that these precious years with children go way too fast and the two remaining at home are closing in on the ages of 13 and 16. Before we know it, this particular tradition will be one of memory.

A U.S. survey conducted last year shows that 90 percent of parents hope that their children will carry on the holiday traditions that they grew up with. At a time when we're wrapping up a year that has been challenging in many ways due to the global pandemic, it's important to hold on to traditions of the season.

Our family will be spending Christmas and New Years at home in Indiana, enjoying time together and counting our blessings. May your Christmas be one filled with tradition, joy and contentment.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

My Christmas Shopping is Complete! Wishing All a Blessed Christmas!

According to a Lending Tree survey, 25 percent of Americans completed their Christmas shopping before Halloween. I, however, just finished my Christmas shopping today. Those of you who usually follow this blog have seen that I've posted only eight writings in the past month. Between decorating and shopping for Christmas, working 40 hours per week at my job, and preparing Sunday school lessons in my spare time... I just haven't had much time for tossing writings onto this blog. That's typically how it is this time of year.

So, my shopping is done and I have about 75 percent of my wrapping accomplished. I guess that's not too bad for there still being two weeks before Christmas. It was recently reported that the average American consumer is expected to spend about $850 on Christmas gifts. As we've seen in the news, this year has seen record online sales -- primarily due to limitations on in-store shopping due to the Coronavirus. Many retailers had "Black Friday" deals throughout much of November!

This year, our home has the most Christmas trees we've ever put up -- a total of three full-size trees, completely decorated. There's one in the living room, one in the formal dining room, and one in our sunroom (as seen in the photos). However, businesswoman Martha Stewart certainly has us beat! She puts up 40 in her Bedford, New York home! She has reported that she puts up at least five trees in each room. So, our three trees are nothing compared to the number in Martha's house!

Our family is truly looking forward to the next few weeks as we celebrate Christmas and then bring in the new year. I pray that each of you reading this has a very blessed time in the coming weeks!

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,