Aside

Top Ten Moments that Define America

Ok, so I was searching the internet for this list a while ago, and became rather frustrated with the results. Primarily because not ONE of the lists I found included the Declaration of Independence, which is the document that literally defined this country as a separate entity from Great Britain. Others left out some that I thought were critical. Still others were longer lists, and had most of the events I was thinking about, but maybe not in the top ten. So here is my own list, for future internet-searchers:

1. Declaration of Independence
Defines USA as: INDEPENDENT
Comment:  literally defined the country

2. Louisiana Purchase
Defines USA as:  AMBITIOUS
Comment: first of many “land grabs”

3. 13th Amendment
Defines USA as: FLAWED
Comment: freed the slaves, belatedly

4. Civil War
Defines USA as: DIFFERING
Comment: convictions to die for

5. World War I
Defines USA as: GLOBAL
Comment: 1st joined international allies

6. Great Depression
Defines USA as: FINANCIAL
Comment: stock market crash of ’29

7. Pearl Harbor
Defines USA as: AUDACIOUS
Comment: reckless, then brave

8. Hiroshima
Defines USA as: MIGHTY
Comment: D-Day, but in small package

9. Man on the Moon
Defines USA as: INGENIOUS
Comment: flag on another frontier

10. September 11
Defines USA as: ENVIED
Comment: a.k.a., “hated”

At first I had World War II as one event on the list, but couldn’t decide on a 10th item and felt the beginning and end of the war for America are both significant enough to be included.

Obviously it’s very hard to narrow US history to 10 moments, and several of the definition terms are represented by many other events. But this is what I came up with. There is a reason I was seeking a top ten, but it is certainly not to minimize any of the other moments that have made America what it is today.

What are your thoughts….?

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The Daily Routine

I’ve logged into WordPress for the first time in too long, and the first thing in my Reader feed I read as the word SCARED, which would be a very appropriate writing prompt for me on this particular morning. But that’s not really what it says. The invitation is to accept the Daily Prompt: Sacred. I can use that, too.

man holding briefcase in hurry to office clipartWhat I have found sacred lately is the daily routine that includes getting up, going to work, coming home, going to bed, repeat. There is a lot more to it than that, of course, but that is what the people that make up the workforce generally consider the basics of it. We live to work, and vice versa, and that is pretty much true for most of us. I’ve been among the many who have been fortunate to be confidently employed for the last seventeen years, and all but six months of my post-graduate life.

That all ended yesterday.

After receiving an improvement plan that I did not see coming, with a time frame and during the time of year when I couldn’t possibly achieve its goals, I decided to resign. I did not want to get fired for Christmas.

I’m not going to take this time to complain about being unemployed, when millions of people know the pain of joblessness much better than I do. Instead, I am discussing only the absence of routine; the unfamiliar abundance of free time I will have in the days ahead. Free time is great when it is paid time off from work, but when it is unexpected, it is a void. Get up,                       , go to bed. Repeat?

I intend to take some well-deserved time off, to revisit my goals and desires, so as not to return to the same field that has twice handed me my hat. I’d like to make a better attempt to do something personally fulfilling. Something more than a paycheck. But that is easier said than done.

Maybe I will finally write something for profit. I don’t know. Maybe I will volunteer for now. Shop local. Attend community events. Talk to people. Make those connections from which I’ve tended to look away, choosing to be buried in work. Whatever it is I choose to do, the challenge is to not stay idle for long. I must develop a new, if temporary, routine.

What ever may be the tasks that occupy our days, be they for profit, for pleasure, or for something else, those are what matter. Life is sustained by activity. Mine was a quite varied work schedule from day to day and week to week, but it was routine nonetheless. The few who can spend their days in frequent new adventures and experiences still have routine in that newness: Routine is knowing what to expect, even if you’re expecting surprises.

I find that routine, while often spoken of as a vile thing, is actually something to be cherished and not violated. It is sacred.

The Aging of My Things

This week began the demolition of another of my childhood landmarks, what I knew as Crestwood Plaza in the suburbs of St. Louis. When I heard a couple years ago that it was going to fall, I felt a need to be there for part of the event, to see its demise for myself. But now I am not so sure I want to do that. I feel like I have personally witnessed enough of my past being physically erased and should keep my attention instead on my future. But I can’t help seeing my life as an internet video that is playing faster than it is loading, the live action bar at the bottom of the screen methodically gaining on the one representing the unknown story yet to come. Continue reading

7/4/26

A Reason to Celebrate, to Mourn, and to Praise God

JAdams

I just finished David McCullough’s John Adams, and I will admit I got a little choked up at the end, as I tend to do when reading the stories of very real people and reaching the inevitable conclusion that is the same for everyone. But this one was like no other.

John and Abigail Adams left the world an abundance of personal correspondence–enough for us to really get to know them–and McCullough wrapped it up nicely in a 700-page tome. The gift the Adamses left was a window into their very beings. Continue reading