Kristy Landgren

Memorial Day, 2219

 

With the Memorial Day weekend rapidly approaching, it comes time to reflect on the reason we observe this holiday. It isn’t just about barbeques, picnics, poolside amusements, or a “day-off-work,” although they are welcomed and thoroughly enjoyed.  In fact, Memorial Day is a solemn remembrance of all those who died, serving our Country in the Armed Forces. 

    It was originally called Decoration Day and began, May 30, 1868, after the Civil War, to honor and commemorate the thousands of early American soldiers who lost their lives on the battlefield.  May 30, was set aside as a day to place flowers and flags at the grave sites of those fallen heroes, honoring their ultimate sacrifices for freedom. Today, American flags are usually flown at half-mast until noon, as the tradition continues, in appreciation of all the American veterans who gave their lives, so that we may enjoy our many liberties (which are the envy of the world). Although, May 30, is the official holiday, in 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Holiday Monday Act, which designated the observance of Memorial Day as the last Monday of the month, enabling a three-day weekend. I have a brother, whose birthday is on Memorial Day, so we have always enjoyed the jubilant activities of gathering in celebration of him, as well as, memorializing our noble servicemen and women. 

    But it seems that many, especially in younger generations, are no longer taught American history, civics, government, and economics in educational and cultural settings. They aren’t aware of the selfless sacrifices made over the past 243 years of America's existence. Unfortunately, many learn that America is imperialistic and has a history of prejudice and oppression, with nothing good that ever came from it. But, after a long, hard-fought Revolutionary War, between a rag-tag, colonial fighting-ensemble and the Royal, Majestic British Army/Navy, in 1776, this Country was finally born an independence nation! It began its infancy, then advanced through growing pains, as lessons were learned, and progress was made. History is a great teacher and, while mistakes occurred throughout it, just as imperfect human beings achieve growth from adversity, so do civilizations mature, enlarge, and improve with age, in wisdom and experience. 

    Unfortunately, it seems trendy today to embrace the deception of...

 

Rainbow Sheep

 

     I loved sheep.  They are one of the most enjoyable domesticated farm animals. The lambs are fun to watch, as they playfully frolic in the fields.  Sheep varieties come in many different colors and hues, which provide the best fleece for wool fibers and fabrics.  Sheep are friendly, they can learn their names, and will respond to them, whether they are pets or wild stock...

     The vibrant colors in this photo capture an exciting reminder that spring is here.  With it always come new life, rebirth, warmth, beauty and hopefulness.  Although, in the U.S., spring officially began March 20th, we see wide variations of it throughout the country...  Still, the longer, brighter days facilitate an increase in positivity and optimism.  This is the time for “spring” cleaning, which typically refers to the physical removal of dirt and clutter.  But it is also an appropriate time to spring-clean ourselves, emotionally and spiritually. 

     Everyone has baggage that needlessly gets carried around but there are things we can do to lighten our loads with some spring-cleaning...

Two Qualities Happy, Successful People Have

 

     It is an interesting phenomenon that we look at others, who seem to have it all, or have it "all together," we think their lives are perfect, they are flawless and they don’t have any problems.  It is such a natural tendency to assume that we are the only ones who are deficient in talents or consumed with worry.  Even though the grass is always greener on the other side, one of life’s great lessons is that everyone is here to grow, overcome, achieve, and triumph. 

     Even throughout the best of childhoods/adolescences, it is a struggle to find ourselves and to discover our purposes.  There are many avenues we can pursue in trying to do so.  Some people... 

 

 

Eyes on the Prize

 

 

For a musician, playing live is a truly noble profession. There are a few who do it exceptionally well and I have always stood in tremendous awe of their accomplishments. It is such good fortune to achieve dreams and to be able to make a living doing what one loves most — in my case, music.

I wish I could say I were in that League. My little league is the one that works by day to pay the bills and lives by night to make the music. Nevertheless, whether it is from the fifth row of an intimate theater or the pigeon rafters of an enormous auditorium, I find it remarkably rewarding to observe the great ones; I try to take away some morsel of craft that I can use to improve my performance skills.

One of the covers I always enjoyed doing was a Stevie Nicks song, “After the Glitter Fades.” It sings of excitement and glamour in the rock and roll world but also of the pain, sorrow and loneliness it brings. I never really did the song very convincingly. After all, I’m not a rock star, and how can I compete with that famous voice, anyway? But I always liked the song for its melody, sincerity and vulnerability.

Everyone is looking for happiness that lasts but sometimes the only kind we find is fleeting. If we are wise...

Moonlight to Daylight

 

 Photo by Caroline Ingebrigtsen on Unsplash

Welcome Daylight savings time!  I don’t know that I have been a proponent of year-long daylight savings.  I always enjoy the feel of a season change when shorter days become noticeable and longer nights appear earlier.  But with the approach of spring, it is enjoyable to bask in the glow of longer days and frolic in the warmth of moonlit nights.  Not that Spring has completely arrived.  It is certainly winter in most parts and, in California, it is still rainy and cool. Nevertheless, the Choir is undertaking rehearsals of heavenly music in preparation for its annual Easter Concert. I am reminded, through the inspirational lyrics, of the reaffirmation of new life, fresh beginnings, and endless possibilities. 

     Easter egg hunts, furry bunnies, and assorted candies are all fun reminders that Spring is almost here, but Jesus is the real reason for the season.  Redemption from past mistakes, as we forge a new course of corrective action, is among the healing gifts of His Atonement.  Peace, hope, and the assurance of a bright future are powerful rewards for even the most infantile of our efforts.  As our exertion increases, mighty changes can occur, through God’s divine Omnipotence, enabling us to achieve personal accomplishments and profound joy, those of which were previously unimagined. 

     Beyond the immediate, the optimism of the Resurrection instills comfort and confidence in deliverance from life’s greatest tragedies.  How it is that we are able to cope with pain, disappointment and the suffering of mortality?

What Do Black Holes, Cosmic Butterflies, & Shooting Stars Have to Say About Your Chances for Success

 

 Hubble Telescope “Spies” a Cosmic Butterfly (huffingtonpost.com)

    Amazing! That was the impression I recall when I think back to The Imax Theater’s 3D movie production of the Hubble Telescope. It was beyond incredible! The images from the telescope and the scientific discoveries were absolutely mind-boggling. I returned several times just to try to begin to absorb such infinite significance.

    Remember how much fun it used to be to go to an observatory and look through telescopes? Not anymore! Earth’s atmosphere distorts even the most sophisticated telescope’s photographs so that they seem primitive and inadequate. The Hubble orbits the entire earth in 97 minutes, traveling 5 miles/second, capturing a crystal-clear display of stars and worlds in countless galaxies. There is no atmosphere to interfere with the Hubble’s picture-taking abilities so, it’s phenomenal visual achievement will ultimately enlighten scientists and amaze onlookers for years to come.

    Sitting in the movie theater and attempting to comprehend the perfect order of space truly realigns and rearranges one’s perspective and priorities. I felt slightly foolish for focusing on some over-analyzed problem: Like when...

2019: Continual Thanksgiving

 

 The past year-end holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas are still fresh in my mind, even with the passing of two full months in 2019. Cold winters and cloudy days still have me remembering the sparkling lights, family, friends, food, reunion, gratefulness, fun, music, presents, love and joy! The miracle of the season is the confirmation of Belief, which confirmation occurs from the small, but exciting, acts of heartfelt gift-giving and service. The Holidays are the time of year when love, hopefulness, and renewal are most apparent.

     Psalms 51:15–16 reminds us to “Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows to the Most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee and thou shalt glorify me” (KJV). This is one of those Scriptural passages, in which God gives commandments and then states the reward He intends to bestow. First, He commands us to offer thanksgiving: Be thankful. Secondly, He instructs us to pay vows: Keep commitments to God. Then, we are directed to call upon Him in the day of trouble: Pray for assistance. Next, He guarantees deliverance from trouble: Relief. Finally, He commands us to glorify Him, once deliverance has occurred: Return thanksgiving.

     When we are thankful...

Happy Valentine's Week

 

    Thursday is February 14:  Valentine’s Day.  Although, the day is most traditionally associated with flowers and chocolates for a sweetheart, it is also recognized as a day to show affection for friends and others important to us.  But too often, as with other holidays which have become over-commercialized, there is an unnecessary emphasis on the biggest and best gift(s), and possibly not enough reflection on the personal touches that represent the caring and appreciation we have for those dearly beloved.  While there is nothing wrong with retail purchases, a sincere love focuses on doing something for the friend or loved one, making memories by spending time together, and a devotion to those creative means, which increase bonds and reinforce an ever-deepening relationship.  

     I was fortunate to enjoy a recent weekend with two of my brothers.  I went with one of them to the hockey arena to watch a game in their two ticketed seats, while the other stayed home and viewed the game on TV.  Several times, when the play occurring near our seats was captured by cameras in the end zone...

Hope and Healing

 

     Healing can be a complicated endeavor.  Physical, emotional, and spiritual pain often seem too consuming or overwhelming to resolve.  How do we heal such deep wounds when they are frequently out of our control?  Well, healing is a process, a series of steps and actions that, with awareness, effort, and patience, can eventually lead to a successful result.  It is rarely a quick fix because it requires time and effort for mind and body to recover.  But the good news is that...

Book/CD Optimism

 

 

           According to the Pew Research Center, several resources, including comScore TV Essentials and FactTank, found that the three major cable news networks (CNN, Fox News, & MSNBC), Network News, and Local News organizations all saw declines in the average audience viewership during the time slot of the evening news in 2017.  The average audience for the daytime slots remained relatively stable.  More “Americans are relying less on television for their news”.  The Pew analysis found that Local News experienced the greatest decline but still retains the largest audience of the three news sectors...

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