Monday, November 24, 2014

Thanksgiving Anniversary & Norman Rockwell

Two years ago on the eve of Thanksgiving in 2012,  I launched my blog, The Turn-Up PatchWhen I began my blogging adventure,  I decided to post writings and photos once a week but eventually cut it back to once every two weeks after a year of weekly posting.   I do admire those bloggers who post every single day with something new and interesting to share. I manage to keep up with the twice a month post, which works well for me.  As long as family, friends and readers keep turning up  to catch the latest post; I will continue my journey in the 'blogosphere'.  Presently, The Turn-Up Patch averages about 425 legitimate hits on each post, according to the current stats that are available to the blogger.   These hits come from various countries as well as within the United States.   I thank all my faithful readers who take time out in their busy lives to continue to visit me at The Turn-Up Patch.   Your encouragement and support is much appreciated.  You can check out the beginning post that also previews my first PhotoShow:

I recently spent some time with Norman Rockwell (at least with his illustrated paintings), which hold whimsical caricature of days gone by of ordinary people in everyday life.  His paintings evoke an nostalgia for a time and place that held respect and honor in the American spirit. "I paint life as I would like it to be", Rockwell once said.  In studying his illustrations, you can spot the innocence and idealism that his paintbrush produced.   He passed away in 1978 at the age of 84.  During his lifetime, he illustrated 321 covers for the Saturday Evening Post and painted over 4,000 original works

In 1941, Franklin Roosevelt's State of the Union address contained four essential human rights that should be universally protected.  The four freedoms are identified as "Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, Freedom from Fear".  Rockwell chose to illustrate a Thanksgiving theme for his interpretation in his painting on 'Freedom from Want' and it was published in the Post in 1943.
 Norman Rockwell - "Freedom From Want" - from March 6, 1943 

Norman Rockwell - "Make a Wish" - from November 19, 1921
The above illustration was an earlier work of Rockwell.  It appeared on the cover of  The Country Gentleman, which was a sister publication to Post magazine in 1921.  "Make a Wish" tells a story about the Thanksgiving tradition of making a wish with a dried u-shaped turkey bone.  Whoever got the biggest piece of the wishbone after pulling it apart got their wish.  The painting expresses the simplicity of a humorous notion of a hopeful wish to come true.

 Norman Rockwell - "Girl Praying" - from November 27, 1943

This third illustration has been called "Girl Praying or A Girl in Prayer or Refugee in Prayer".  The scene is a young refugee during World War II praying over a soldier's field rations.  An American soldier's field jacket is placed over her shoulders, providing warmth.  Even though the meal is simple and the jacket worn,  she is in a prayerful expression of gratitude.  And thankfulness for the generosity of a soldier who gave what he could in both nourishment and comfort when he saw the need.  This painting can be as relevant in today's world as it was when originally published in 1943.

These are just three of many Rockwell timeless illustrations about Thanksgiving, among them:  Saying Grace 1951, Thanksgiving 1919,  Catch the Turkey 1917, A Pilgrim Progress 1921, Ye Glutton 1923 and others.

A Norman Rockwell quote:  "When I go to farms or little towns, I am always surprised at the discontent I find.  And New York, too often, has looked across the sea at Europe.  And all of us who turn our eyes away from what we have are missing life."

There is an old saying, 'the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.'  Often our eyes are turned towards the other side of the fence thinking that is where our blessings are to be found.  Instead, during this Thanksgiving season and throughout the year, look for the reasons to be grateful where our life is at and not miss out on the blessings set before us.  

"When asked if my cup is half-full or half-empty my only response is that I am thankful I have a cup." - Sam Lefkowitz      

Meet me at The Turn-Up Patch on Monday, December 8.....    HAPPY THANKSGIVING!


Monday, November 10, 2014

Unbroken Forgiveness

In tackling such a subject as forgiveness, it is difficult to condense this powerful experience in just a few words.    We begin with our Creator who is perfect in all ways and that He has no limits in His attributes, including forgiveness that radiates out of mercy.  Since our heavenly Father is Agape Love, He takes no offense, does not harbor grudges, does not keep a record of wrongs done as in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.  You could say that He is  'unbroken forgiveness' - an eternal force that is in the very spiritual air that we breathe, always constant and available to all.   As we receive personal forgiveness, the same principle to forgive others is the dual dynamic in experiencing freedom. 

Jesus was asked by the disciples how many times they needed to forgive someone.  Jesus said, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven"  (Matthew 18:22).

To dissect the word forgive and split it into the prefix "for", it has a meaning of complete.   And the word "give" contains the meanings of surrender, yield, to change.  In this context, when a person forgives, they relinquish their personal right to hold on to that offense or injury, no matter how justified.   In effect, it is letting go of deeply held negative feelings.  This brings personal healing and liberation to the soul and a pardon to the offending person or circumstance.

Louis Zamperini is one example of what the power of forgiveness did in changing his life around.  He was a heroic Olympian and World War II survivor as a Japanese POW.  You can read about Louis in the book entitled, "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand and has been made into a movie by the same name.  He lived through an Air Force bomber crash in the Pacific Ocean and drifted for days on a life raft.  He survived only to suffer brutally at the hand of his Japanese captors.  Louis was haunted by the memories of his incarceration until he came face to face with the force of forgiveness.    He lived out the remainder of his years in joy and purpose and passed away this year at the ripe age of 97.

Here is one of his quotes:  "The one who forgives never brings up the past to that person's face.  When you forgive, it's like it never happened.  True forgiveness is complete and total."

Tomorrow, on November 11, we celebrate Veterans Day.  I wrote a post last year in honor of all our serving military, past and present.  Included in that post is an article on "What is a Vet?", written by Father Denis Edward O'Brien, MM/USMC.   I hope you take some time to read it at this link:

See you again at The Turn-Up Patch, two weeks from now on Monday, November 24....