Monday, July 30, 2012

XXX – Olympic Games - London 2012

While watching jeopardy this week, one of the questions asked was which sport was recently added to the sports performed at the Olympic Games.  I was surprised to learn that it was trampolining.  That made me aware that I really didn’t know much about the many different disciplines of the Olympics and their history.

In the tradition of the Olympic Games the flame was relayed to the designated location in London from Olympia, Greece, where the first games were taking place in 776 B.C.  8,000 English men and women participated in the relay alone in Great Britain to take the torch through the various communities. The London games started on July 27, 2012 and go until August 12, 2012.  Here is the link to the official website:  

In modern times the games were revived by a French educator Baron Pierre deCoubertin, (1914-1920) in 1894. Ever since, every four years summer games were held, with some exception for war times or boycotts. The winter games are held also every four years, alternating two years after each summer event.  The Olympic motto is:

"Citius, Altius, Fortius" (faster, higher, stronger). 

Every participating athlete has to agree to the Olympic creed:

"The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."

Reading this one has to wonder about the various politics going on regarding the sport events, as well as the abuse of drugs.  Is there still fairness and true competition in the Games?  Important is the focus on the standard and the experience itself for the athletes to excel and to find an arena for high performance.  I believe that it is important to follow one’s own standard and compete to get better for the sake of improving one’s skills rather than battle for competitions sake.  In the contest of athletes from 204 different countries from all 5 continents of the world often new records are broken.  I hope we can see this time also some new records be reached and truly enjoy beautiful sports performances.

Here are some interesting facts for the Olympics in 2012:

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has voted out baseball and softball for games in London.

Here are some historical photos of Olympic’s past.

Women were allowed for the first time in the 1900’s Olympic Games in Paris, France, 4 years after the games were revived. An 47 art student, Margaret I. Abbott, won an Olympic gold medal in a golf tournament.

Here are some facts from the website:

·         1894 – Modern Olympic started and the marathon was introduced to commemorate the historical Olympics. The International Olympic Committee was founded at that time.

·         1900 – Women are allowed to compete for the first time in the Olympics.

·         1908 – Olympic Oath

·         1912 - Olympic medals are bronze, silver and gold-plated silver (not real gold as before.

·         1914 - Olympic flag was created representing all five continents.

·         1921 - Olympic motto

·         1928 - Olympic flame

·         1957 - Olympic hymn – became official, even though it had been played ever since the beginning of the modern games.

In the spirit of the Olympic cooperation and athletic fairness, may the 2012 Olympics in London truly bring us closer as international community until we meet again in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Monday, July 23, 2012

What I am learning from my Grand-daughter Jaya

Our second grand-daughter, Jaya, was born May 26, 2012.  Two hours later we were at the hospital and marveled at the beautiful little girl with dark hair and blue (?) eyes. 

She developed quickly and was very strong, maybe because she was born one week later than her due date.  As the days went on she learned to latch on to her mother’s breasts and was nursing very well.  Sometimes, the parents had to supplement some formula, either because there was not enough breast milk or just to give mom a break.

I can say that Jaya is a very different baby than the two I had nursed and raised.  She is what one would call a “high maintenance baby.”  She cries a lot, either because of tummy aches, or being hungry very quickly again (less than 2 hours after a feeding), or just to be held.  Since we live in the same house as the young couple, I am always ready to give a hand or arms to hold the precious little girl or “our little princess” as my husband calls her.

Over the last couple of months we learned a lot from this little baby and also how to cope better with her needs.  She is by now 2 months old and has already her own personality.  In order to deal with her crying spells we learned from searching the internet about Priscilla Dunston and her ways in which one can understand baby’s cries.  Ms. Dunston discovered that there are 5 universal cries:

“Neh” Hungry

“Owh” Sleepy

“Heh” discomfort

“Eair” Lower gas (may put up legs)

“Eh” needs burping to let out air

Here is the link to an interview of Priscilla with Oprah about the language of babies:

Understanding these cries helped a lot for this colicky baby.  We also learned that most babies outgrow these crying spells by about 3-4 months.  Most babies cry about 30 minutes per day.  If your baby cries longer, you may have a colicky baby and want to investigate into gripe water which has been traditionally made by mothers at home; or a product which helped our little one called ColicCalm.

What else has our little Jaya been teaching us in her young life?

·         This baby is all feelings and not at all afraid to express them.  I believe that is why we are naturally drawn to babies; they are totally themselves, helpless and open.

·         This baby breathes deeply into her abdomen; I watch her belly go up and down, especially when she sleeps.

·         This baby moves all the time, even in her sleep. 

·         This baby trusts us completely and is totally depending on our care.

·         This baby engages us with her smiles and funny faces.  Watch her eyes getting bigger when she sees or hears something interesting; or when something exciting or unexpected happens like blowing in her face; or you put her in front of a flower or even a mirror.

·         This baby likes to be touched and held a lot.  It is the easiest way to put her to sleep by walking around with her and/or rocking her to sleep.

·         This baby likes to be swaddled and/or held tight when preparing her for sleeping.

Now, you probably say, she is just a normal baby.  Maybe I am just a little prejudiced; I am making these comments for those who think: oh, it’s just a baby what can I learn from her? - I have to teach her everything. 

That’s my wisdom as a grandmother; you can’t spoil a baby.  If we attend this little one with all of our love and full attention, she will be the best daughter for her parents, the greatest older sister, the most excellent mother’s helper, and the finest future wife and companion to any husband in the future. 

Here are some websites I visited to get some of the feedback:

Monday, July 16, 2012

Bed and Breakfast Adventure

My husband and I are celebrating our 30th Anniversary this year.  For weeks we were thinking about how we could best commemorate this particular day.  Since we wanted to connect the special day with a trip to Minnesota visiting his family, we decided to take a little detour to visit beautiful Michigan.  Instead of taking the usual route we headed north on interstate 75.  We were hoping to escape the heat wave but it followed us all the way though Michigan.

Our first destination was Frankenmuth – the Christmas town.  After a stroll through Bronner’s biggest Christmas store  in the world (?) we visited the more quiet chapel which is a replica of the church in which the German Christmas song “Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht (Holy night)” originated.

During this part of our trip we stayed in “Bed and Breakfast Homes.”  Our first sleepover would be in Bay City at the Historical Midland Street Bed & Breakfast.  We found the house in a quiet part of town and enjoyed the hospitality of Mr. and Mrs.  Joyce Loomis.  Since we were the only guests in the house we had the whole upper floor for ourselves.  The couple advised us that there was good eating at the Atrium restaurant in the downtown area of Bay City.  We weren’t too crazy about the food, that’s why we quickly moved to the river site to watch the sunset where we were serenaded from a close by bar. 

The next morning we were served breakfast in the very cozy dining room which was beautifully decorated and the table was set just for us.  We had delicious French toast with fresh fruits, coffee and juice.  After saying good bye to our hosts we headed to Mackinaw City and admired the impressive bridge which is the official divider between Lake Huron and Lake Michigan.   We couldn’t have asked for better weather with plenty of sunshine and as further north as we drove, the lower the temperatures went.     On the way to our next sleepover we enjoyed first the drive over the magnificent Mackinaw Bridge and then the south shore of the Upper Peninsula.  We saw white sand beaches and a very calm Lake Michigan.  The water seemed a little slimy with algae and I didn’t feel like swimming in it, even though many people did.

We had booked a room at the Blaney Park Lodge and found it a little run down.  But the owners Howard and Lorene were very friendly and many other guests seemed regular visitors, enjoying the historical lodge.  In its heydays the lodge was part of the Blaney Park Resort which was an example of lumber towns that survived in transmuted form  where people came by car, horse carriage and plane to discover the peaceful nature surrounding the resort.  After a hardy breakfast with oatmeal and blueberry muffins we went on our way.

It was one of my observations while on the Upper Peninsula seeing many little towns as well as, hotels and properties abandoned like ghost towns.  As we made our way toward Munising, we decided to take a boat ride to see the majestic rock formations of “Pictured Rocks.”

The boat tour took over two hours as we passed ancient rock formations colored by mineral dripping and seeping from higher places into lower layers and creating the most beautiful colors only nature can paint.  Our tour guide explained about the different rock formations and what they represent.  With a lot of imagination we saw “marine fleet”, “Indian head”, and many others.  During the trip a picture book was passed around and the captain announced that a lucky winner would be announced at the sales desk.  Guess what, we were the winners.

That night we found our way to the “Big Bay Lighthouse.”  The B&B was housed in the historic lighthouse which was still functioning with its blinker at night.  It was a beautiful full moon night and the light house was even more magical.  The inside was completely modern beautifully decorated with the light house theme everywhere.  We had a very tasty breakfast with other guests and exchanged traveling stories with the light house inn owner, Linda Gamble.

Then it was time to leave the Upper Peninsula and pass through Duluth to find our last B&B at the Superior Gateway Lodge in Two Harbors.  The sky became very dark as we drove through town, and we hastened to find the location of our lodging.  It was hidden in a big forest outside of town.  We finally found the beautiful new log cabin.  The owners were not there to advise us but had given us a nicer room to accommodate another family needing an extra room.  We met Joe and Pat the next morning.  We were surprised that breakfast was not included in the rate.  Since we were hungry, we paid the extra fee and were served a lovely breakfast along with the other lodging family.

I like very much the hospitality at Bed &Breakfast lodgings and meeting other travelers at the breakfast table.  The hosts have everybody assemble around the same table, serving them homemade fresh baked goods and fruits.  I had a very good experience with my four sleep-overs at B&Bs and can promote them warmly.  It makes it easier to travel off the beaten path and find remote places in natural surroundings.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Journey of the Hare and the Tortoise

Most people are familiar with the morale of the traditional story of the Hare and the Tortoise.  The story goes like this according to the Aesop’s Fables: 
One day a hare was bragging about how fast he could run. He bragged and bragged and even laughed at the tortoise who was so slow. The tortoise stretched out his long neck and challenged the hare to a race, which, of course, made the hare laugh. 
"My, my, what a joke!" thought the hare.
"A race, indeed; a race. Oh!  What fun!  My, my!  A race, of course, Mr. Tortoise, we shall race!" said the hare. 
The forest animals met and mapped out the course. The race begun, and the hare, being such a swift runner, soon left the tortoise far behind. About halfway through the course, it occurred to the hare that he had plenty of time to beat the slow trodden tortoise.
"Oh, my!" thought the hare, "I have plenty of time to play in the meadow here."
And so he did.
After the hare finished playing, he decided that he had time to take a little nap.
"I have plenty of time to beat that tortoise," he thought. And he cuddled up against a tree and dozed.
The tortoise, in the meantime, continued to plod on, albeit, it ever so slowly. He never stopped, but took one good step after another.
The hare finally woke from his nap. "Time to get going," he thought. And off he went faster than he had ever run before! He dashed as quickly as anyone ever could up to the finish line, where he met the tortoise, who was patiently awaiting his arrival.
Morale: Plodding wins the race.

“Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson

There are many other ways to look at this story and find a morale in it:
Morale: Success depends on using your talents, not just having them.
Morale: Never give up when faced with failure.
Morale: Over-confidence, careless and lax; took winning for granted.
Morale: Slow and steady versus fast and reliable.
Morale: Arrogance and being a douche bag with a big ego.
Morale: Working with your strength will get you noticed; and bring advancement and growth.
Morale: With cooperation, they both can win; and face all kinds of challenges, like the hare carrying the tortoise over land while the tortoise was carrying the hare while swimming across the river.
Morale: Life is not only competition against others; compete against the circumstance or against yourself (trying to better yourself) to increase your performance.

I like you to consider a completely different viewpoint on this story.  Let’s consider the hare and the tortoise stand for two different personalities.  One races through life, never looking left or right; never stopping long enough to learn and to enjoy. He arrives at the goal, only to find out that he missed out on life itself.  While the tortoise goes slowly, smelling the flowers, learning lessons and overcoming setbacks, arriving at the goal with a great satisfaction.
The second example could be compared to the healing journey where we can restore our mind, body and soul.  Winning can have a whole different meaning in this context.  It is the one who arrives at the goal relaxed and peaceful who is the true victor.  In the end it is not important how fast we get to the goal but rather that we reach it with all the accomplishment of a rich and vibrant life.  Obviously, this has a different meaning for all of us.  None-the-less, we want to learn the lessons of life and grow and develop our full potential.  Life often asks us to stand back and listen.  Most importantly, we don’t want to compare ourselves with others, since each one has a different course based on our personal history.
Note that I am putting a lot of symbolic meaning in my observation.  The idea of going slow to go fast has its origin in the Martial Arts.  The meaning there is that we need to be relaxed to go faster.  It is certainly helpful to have a plan of action and think things through rather than just running and then run out of steam or motivation.

With vacation time approaching I hope that we all can take some time to slow down and enjoy ‘the art of vacationing' which is to slow down enough to make room for something new. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Road Less Traveled

There is a famous poem by Robert Frost (American poet and writer, 1874-1963) called:

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down as far as I could

To where it bent in the under growth;

See this website for the rest of the poem:  

The Road Less Traveled is also the title of a book by M. Scott Peck (American Psychiatrist and writer, 1936-2005).  Mr. Peck in this best known work describes our emotional, mental and spiritual journey through life.  He also gives advice on how to travel this road; not the popular and fashionable way but rather accepting a path of discipline, delay of gratification, and accepting responsibility.  He also argues the idea of romantic love and concludes that it is a myth.  He suggests that true love is achieved if one is willing to limit his ego, sacrifices the self and nurtures each other in a committed relationship. Love is attentive, courageous, and willing to risk loss, independence, commitment, and confrontation.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

~ Edmund Burke

Mr. Peck’s analysis is truly unpopular today in our liberal dominated society.  Is this why we have fallen from the grace of God?  

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

~ Matthew 7:13-14)

Great leaders, teachers, discoverers and inventors have always taken the road less traveled.  If people like Abraham Lincoln, Jesus, Columbus, Thomas Edison, Mahatma Ghandi, and Martin Luther King had not taken the road less traveled we all would be worse off.  They were courageous in that they didn’t listen to opposition, persecution and ridicule.

When I met some followers of Rev. Sun Myung Moon in 1972 I was searching for purpose and meaning in my life.  I was also looking for ways to solve the division of my fatherland Germany which at time was still divided.  I joined the Unification Movement and began to travel and met many young people who had the same ideas.  In 1982 I was blessed in holy matrimony at the suggestion of the Rev. Moon.  My husband and I have been married for 30 years as of yesterday.  Have we taken the road less travelled? You bet.  We didn’t experience the romantic love from the beginning.  With commitment and determination we built a relationship which has lasted through separation (because of different missions), delayed education, cultural differences, raising a family, sickness and health.  The courage to stand up against ignorance and misunderstandings because of different beliefs (mostly from the families and relatives), came from a deep conviction and knowing God as our heavenly parent and learning that history has evolved around the providence of restoration directed by that same God.


We enjoy now an extended family with our two children being married and blessed with a grand-daughter each.  Do we have challenges?  Sure.  Life is never without it.  I have never regretted to have taken the road less traveled because my life has hope now and doesn’t just end ‘til death do us part.’  I know that I will live with my family forever and ever in the presence of my Heavenly Father.

I am very proud of the 30 years and celebrate this day not only with my husband but with 2075 other couples who made the same commitment 30 years ago.

Happy Anniversary!