Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas - 2010

As I write this post, we're between shifts in our Christmas. Some of our kids alternate Christmas morning with their in-laws and come see us in the afternoon. This is their year to show up for lunch. The others see us every Christmas morning, so we got up and celebrated Christmas 2010 First Shift at about 8am. Eight adults and two 2-year olds (one is only 1+1/2, but that's close). Second shift means five of the adults leave and four new ones come in (Mom-in-law works split shift, she came in mid-first shift and stays for second). The two little ones leave and two new 2-year olds (ok, another 1+1/2 year old) and a 4 year old come in their place. It will be a busy household all day.

This year we've been blessed in many ways. I want to take this moment to wish you and your family blessings from the (very) extended Barnett Household. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Is war ever worth fighting

My last post included a video of Joan Baez singing "Where have all the flowers gone?" The song was recorded by just about everyone in the 60's and it seemed to be a statement about the war in Vietnam. I was too young to really understand, but it seemed like a good time to be against something and the Vietnam war was an easy target (war as a target, that's something). Songs like this and "One, two, three, four, what are we fighting for?" (officially "I feel like I'm fixing to die" found here with mild profanity) were about as rebellious as I ever became. By the time I was draft age, the Vietnam War was a memory, a bad memory for a lot of people.

You may have seen that the review of the Afghanistan War is out, to be made official tomorrow. This comes at a time when "a record-high 60 percent of Americans think the war is not worth fighting," according this this article. The war has been raging on for just over 9 years now and an end is far away by anyone's judgment.

It made me think - is war ever worth fighting? Our President has said that this is a war of necessity (one of the few times he has agreed with former President Bush). A year ago he approved a surge, much like the one in Iraq, to send 30,000 more troops in, while also announcing an end date. Many on the left disapproved of this surge, wishing instead to get all troops out.

To me, the answer to the question can be found in a poem put to music by Pete Seeger, the same person who put "Where have all the flowers gone?" to music (the poem is found in the Bible, written by Solomon, the other Seeger song was from an old Ukranian folk song according to Wikipedia, not sure if Seeger actually wrote anything himself). According to the song (and to Solomon), "To every thing there is a season" and more importantly there is "a time of war, and a time of peace." If the Byrds sang it, it has to be so.

The real key is understanding when is the time for war and when is the time for peace. Most Americans would agree that 1776 was a time for war. Through a long fought battle, that wasn't popular with all Americans, we gained our freedom and began a democratic experiment that goes on today. Most people today blame Southerners for the Civil War, and while we did fire the first shot, the war would never have begun if the Union states had left the Confederate states alone. If you believe that the war was over slavery and that slavery needed to be ended (and I do to both), you'll have to say that 1861 was a time for war.

I may not always (often?) agree with this President, but I have to say that I believe he understands this concept. Sometimes, there is a time for war. We may soon find out if this is a time for war in Korea. I hope not. But I hope this President will continue to grow in his understanding of the phrase "a time to every purpose under the heaven:"

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Where have all the bloggers gone?

Seems a lot of the blogs I follow have gone silent with one blog even completely being deleted. Some of these had started and never followed through (or are using Facebook/Twitter to share), others are out doing things like the Nutcracker Ballet (I think).

My schedule has made it more difficult to follow a regular schedule, although I think that's changing as we near the end of 2010. But it made me think of this song.

Ok, I don't like the political commentary she added in, but the song is from a different era, a different time.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

A Quarter of a Century

Quarter of a Century. Saying it that way makes it sound like a long time, doesn't it? Twenty-five years ago, my wife & I were expecting our second child. She awoke early and couldn't sleep, so she went in the other room. Around 5am, she came and told me we needed to think about the fact that she might be in labor. Being the loving, supportive husband I was, I told her she probably wasn't and rolled over.

When I heard the slamming of the door accompanied with a muttered "FINE!", I made a wise decision. I got up. After sitting with her a few minutes, we decided it was time to go to the hospital. We finished packing and called a neighbor who had agreed to take care of our 2-year old daughter. As we finished packing her things, he called back and told us to remember a car-seat and something and something and something. I told him that he was more nervous than I was.

On the way to the hospital on the planned route (this was still pre-rush hour traffic) I saw a road-sign that looked familiar. I was pretty sure I knew where the other end of this road was and it would be a quicker route, so I decided to try a road never travelled before (at least by me). The funny thing about roads in Charlotte, they all have similar names. There's Sharon Rd, Sharon Lane, Sharon Amity and I ain't Sharin' Sharon. No wait, that last one is a song by Jim Stafford.

Anyway, when I got the end of Sharon something it wasn't quite where I thought it would be, but it was close. My wife was not amused or impressed. We still got to the hospital before rush hour and in plenty of time.

Ultrasounds were not as common 25 years ago, so we had no idea if we were expecting a girl or a boy (even in that day, those were still the only two choices). We entertained a lot of ideas about determining the sex, tried a boiled egg resting on the belly and a few other tricks, but these were mainly for fun. Our nurse that day told us that the baby's heartbeat would tell you, but many times it was wrong. But she had great confidence when she told us THIS one was a boy.

We took the nurse's prediction seriously, as we had chosen girl names but no boy names. Between contractions for two hours we discussed names as we had discussed for the last nine months, still with no resolution. Fortunately for us, no decision was needed as our little girl was born early that afternoon. I'm not sure if the nurse ever knew about her mistake.

Happy Birthday Katie. You've gone from being my little "bean green" to a wonderful lady with 2.2 children of your own. We love you. Hope today is as happy for you as my day was 25 years ago.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Elizabeth Edwards dies at age 61

Unless you missed the news, Elizabeth Edwards passed away today. She was 61.

I wrote about Mrs. Edwards' cancer back in 2007 (here). Let me echo something I said back then. There will be those who say this is God's punishment for something or another. Shame on them.

My heart goes out to the family. She left three children, including a 12 year old and a 10 year old. These children will have to go on without a mother.

One interesting tidbit that I found was that Edwards' son Wade (who was killed in an auto accident at age 16) was honored by then First Lady Clinton for an essay he wrote. After his death, the essay and his obituary were entered into the Congressional Record by Senator Jesse Helms (for those unfamiliar with Helms, he would have seldom agree with the Edwardses politically).