Welcome to Silver and Shadow

"Look at that sea, girls--all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen. We couldn't enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds." -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

This is a blog I will be using for topics other than food. Politics, religion, spirituality, humor, green living, anything that I want to talk about that doesn't fall under the food/cooking category.

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Starbucks Red Cup Controversy

One of the big news stories recently, was the "War on Christmas" that some Christians feel Starbucks is waging. The reason? Starbucks has chosen to use a minimal design of two shades of red for their cups this holiday season, without any images or words pertaining to Christmas. This has sent some people off to buy Starbucks coffee in protest, just so they can tell the barista that their name is "Merry Christmas" so that it'll be written on the cup. Take that Starbucks! And also their money...I don't think these people understand how a boycott works, but anyway...I was thinking about it tonight. I can completely understand where these protestors are coming from. I mean, if you read the Bible carefully, you can completely see the connections to Starbucks and the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In fact, I am going to remind you of the connection, by sharing with you, the passage in the Bible that explains it all. It's an oldie, but a goodie, and this is the time of year for us to be reminded of it...

As it is written in the book of Macchiato, chapter ten, verses 8-30:

"And Joseph went to the city of Bethlehem to be taxed by Cafe Americano, taking with him Mary, his wife, for he was of the line of David, and hailed from that city. Mary, his faithful wife, was great with child, making it a treacherous journey for all involved.

Along the way, Joseph stopped at the Starbucks of Bethlehem, on the outskirts of town, and ordered a Gingerbread Latte and steamed milk for Mary, for caffeine was bad for the baby. The long and treacherous trek continued from there, though they were mightily fortified by their drinks.

Once Joseph and Mary arrived in the center of the city of Bethlehem, it was past evening and all the houses and hostels had closed for the night. Joseph pleaded with many of the owners, but to no avail. It was the busy tourist season and there were no empty rooms available. One kindly owner, seeing Mary’s condition, granted them the use of his barn to stay the night.

During this night, the time for Mary’s baby to be born, arrived. Joseph, a carpenter by trade, knew nothing about birthing babies, and was filled with much fear, but also much caffeine, which gave him the energy needed for such a harrowing task.

Off in the distance, in a field, a group of shepherds tended their flocks by night, and they were sore tired, so they traveled, with their sheep, to the Starbucks of Bethlehem and ordered many drinks to stay awake. While there, they heard the cries of Mary all the way from the barn, and inquired what was happening. And lo, the barista of the Lord explained to them about the pregnant woman who had visited earlier that day, and told them where she had been headed. The shepherds were filled with much energy, and had nothing better to do with their time than to seek out Mary and see if the baby was all right, for many complications can arise if proper midwifery is unavailable.

When the shepherds and their flocks arrived at the barn, Mary’s baby, a boy she named Jesus, had been born and placed in a trough filled with hay. The shepherds commented on what an adorable child Jesus was, and how he took after his mother, more than Joseph. Joseph then threw out the shepherds and sent them on their way back to the fields, from whence they had come.

In the middle of the night, three wise kings were traveling from afar, and also did stop at the Starbucks of Bethlehem, for they had seen a lit billboard from many leagues away guiding them to the only 24 hour Starbucks in all the land. The shepherds had passed by on their way back to the fields and informed the barista of the Lord about the birth of Mary’s son, Jesus. As the barista of the Lord prepared drinks for the three wise kings, he told them of the interesting news, and the wise kings decided to buy some presents for the child’s parents, for they were wise, and knew that many sleepless nights awaited them.

And so, the three wise kings, having been given directions by the barista of the Lord, traveled to the barn and knocked on the door. Joseph opened the door for them and the three wise kings entered the barn and presented their gifts to the family. Gifts of green tea, caramel Frappuccino, and peppermint mocha were much appreciated by the new parents, who promised to use them well. And use them well they did, for Jesus, like all babies, cried many hours of the night, and Joseph and Mary were very grateful for the gifts the three wise kings had bestowed upon them."

So, as you can see, those protestors are absolutely right to be outraged that their Starbucks cups are not adorned with snowflakes and Santa hats this year. It's just an absolute travesty. So, let us all visit our local Starbucks, every day between now and New Year's Day, and give them what for. That'll teach them! We need to remember to stop taking the Starbucks out of Christmas!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Legend of Nara the Metal Death Demon

Nara is a metal death demon. It has long, dripping fangs, claws that tear flesh to shreds, and is covered in eyes. Nara is the god to whom many bow down. Nara has an insatiable hunger and demands sacrifices on a daily basis.

Nara is a trickster and confuses people into following its lead. Its chief form of slaughter is inhabiting humans who use small metal pieces that shoot even smaller metal bits into the bodies of others. It fills people’s minds with ideas that Nara is good and just and makes a person free, when really, it merely shackles them. Nara’s coffers are filled with riches as well as the bones of its victims. Nara will stop at nothing to gain more wealth and bodies.

Nobody knows if or when they will become a sacrifice to Nara. It chooses its human inhabitants at random, usually option for quiet men seeking attention, or the ill, but it rejoices with each slaughter of an innocent. It particularly loves children and those in educational settings. People learning to expand their minds are ripe for the picking by Nara, who feeds off their energy.

Nara is very good at making humans feel sorry for it. It convinces people it is the victim and needs protection, and so it has been cared for for decades of time, with no end in sight. It will use its trickster powers to convince people that the quiet attention seekers and the ill are at fault for the slaughters. It points its long, clawed fingers at them all while shaking its head in mocking sorrow. The people set up to protect our land are often fearful of Nara, or openly worship it, and so Nara’s power merely grows.

Nara leaves many questions in its wake. Can nothing stop it? Is it more powerful than we? Will we continue to mourn the loss of Nara’s many sacrifices? Will its hunger ever abate? If only there was somebody strong enough to battle Nara. Perhaps one day, there will arise one who can, and will. If only that one had arisen long ago…

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Memorial Day Tribute

I have never lost a loved one to war, for which I am very grateful. But there is somebody that I would like to pay tribute to. A person to whom my entire family owes its very existence, though I never had the pleasure of meeting him. His name is Owen Hardeman, and he is my grandmother's first husband. Allow me to tell my family's story...

I have three grandmothers, two biological, and one adopted. My adopted grandmother's name was Winnifred, aka Winnie, though us grandchildren called her "Moggie". Moggie's first husband was Owen Hardeman, and she loved him very much. But there was a war, and he joined the fight over in Europe. He was a pilot during the Second World War, and sadly, he was shot down somewhere during a flight from Britain to France. He and his plane were never recovered, and Moggie was never able to give him a proper burial. During the rest of the war, Moggie did her best to get through her life as a young war widow who would never get real closure.

When the war ended, Moggie traveled all the way to India, where she spent several years as a teacher, and I would imagine, trying to find meaning in her life again. Trying to get through each day and hope that some day, it would all make sense again and she might be happy once more.

After returning to Seattle in the mid 1950's, she moved into her mother's house and continued to drift through life. In an effort to encourage her daughter to find something to do with her life, her mother mentioned that there was a family just a short distance away whose young mother was dying of cancer and they needed help. Their father was a train conductor who was away from home a lot, and the four children were all under the age of eleven, including the youngest, was was only three years old. Perhaps she could volunteer her time and help keep the house and tend to the children.

That is how Moggie was introduced to my family. She volunteered her time and life to them, and in doing so, found her purpose once again. The four children would come to see her as a surrogate mother, and when their mother eventually died of cancer at the young age of thirty three, Moggie would continue to be there for them. In time, she and the children's father married, and she became the stepmother to the four children. Several years after that, their father died as well, at the age of thirty eight, leaving her alone with the children. Instead of being done with the children and shipping them off to live with extended family or to an orphanage, she kept them and raised them as her own. Because to her, they were her children. She was their mother.

The youngest of the four children is my mother, and my family continues to share the story of Moggie and our family history with one another, and the new generations who have joined our family over the years. I cannot help but think that none of us would be here, if it hadn't been for Owen Hardeman's death in the War.

I don't tend to be one of those people who thinks that God does something so that something else can come of it, but I do think that He is a good opportunist Who sometimes nudges things in a particular direction. Call it karmic balance, if you will.

Something horrible happened to one man during a war and it cost him his life. Through the actions of others, his widow was eventually able to help keep four people together who would otherwise have been separated or moved out of the city they called home. Because of this, my mother was able to meet my father in the time and place that they did, and subsequently were married. And then I was born. It's all connected, and for that, I feel deeply grateful for the sacrifice of a man I never met. Because of him, I am.

This is why I am honoring him and his story, on this day, a day set aside to honor all the Owen Hardemans of this country, from all wars. Thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you for giving your life so that I, and my family, can live freely in this country. I will always continue to fight making this place better for all who live in it and call themselves Americans. I think that is the best thing I can do to make sure that your deaths were not in vain.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Let the Protests Begin!

Ok, America, it looks like we need a refresher course on nonviolent protesting. I love how passionate most of us are about fighting for change against bad laws in certain states recently, but some of you are going about it the wrong way. Here's a handy do and don't list to follow.

Do: Support businesses who serve all people. They deserve your money, regardless of what state they're in.
Do: Tell others about businesses out there who support all people. The instinct is to boycott entire states, but as I saw beautifully quoted online yesterday, "Boycott the hate, not the state." Besides, the supporters of religious freedom laws will tell you they are doing it to support the free market. So, why not let the free market decide. It can be a double-edged sword, that pesky free market...Let the public decide who will stay in business and who will go out of business. Remember, in a free market, your dollar is your vote. So vote often for the businesses you like, and simply let the ones who perpetuate hatred, fade away from lack of support.

Do not: Threaten the lives and property of people and businesses who support religious freedom bills. This just makes them look like a martyr to their supporters. It also makes you a bully. We're looking to change hearts and minds, or at the very least, create laws to protect all groups of people from being discriminated against. Nobody ever changed their mind by being threatened. It only makes them cling more tightly to their belief.
Do not: Name call or taunt people you speak to who feel differently about this. Nobody likes to be made to feel stupid or worthless. It's really easy to get carried away through social media, but remember why we are fighting: to ensure the rights of all our fellow citizens. Don't lose sight of that goal in the heat of the moment. If you try to live by the Golden Rule, this is the most important time not to forget it. And remember, karma does have a way of kicking your butt when you get too out of control. 

It's really pretty simple, if you follow these few rules. Now, let's get protesting!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Open Letter to Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks

To Pete Carroll and the Seahawks,

You have yet to play the big game on Sunday, but you have already won. A team that plays for one another, and has integrity and the high level of sportsmanship you have, can never be looked upon as losers. A score is merely a number on a board. It won't tell you the hard work that went into it, or the amount of love a team has for one another. It can't tell you how much it brings a city and an entire region together. It doesn't distinguish between playing fairly or playing not-so fairly. Such things cannot be quantified. They come from the team itself.

Regardless of the outcome of Sunday's game, you are the winners. You are our champions, and we will pridefully and lovingly welcome you back to town with cheers and applause. We thank you for your hard work, effort, and dedication to the team and to our city.

May you play on Sunday with strength, dignity, and integrity. May you keep your heads above the fray. May you do your best, try your hardest, and keep a weathered eye out for whatever your opponents throw your way.

Now, that being said, I would really love it if you guys won, because I really want to see Captain America come to town wearing a Seahawks jersey...

Go Hawks!
-Summer Whitesell