The number of people in the world affected by hunger continues to rise despite a global commitment to end hunger, food insecurity and all forms of malnutrition by 2030, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Ensuring access to safe and sufficient food for all people or eradicating malnutrition has proven a substantial, if preventable, challenge. The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) indicates that, in 2020, between 720 and 811 million people faced hunger. Due to the global pandemic, the prevalence of undernourishment rose in 2020 to 9.9 percent from 8.4 percent the year prior. Worldwide, the Central African Republic, Yemen, Afghanistan, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), are among the countries with the highest three-year averages of undernourishment. Even though the United States and Canada have lower rates of undernourishment when compared on a global scale, food insecurity is still a concern domestically. According to Save the Children, 17 percent of all U.S. children are living in food-insecure households that cannot provide nutrition at some points during the year. Plus, a Household Food Insecurity in Canada study conducted by researchers at the University of Toronto found 15.9 percent of households across all provinces experienced food insecurity in 2021.
A reporter once asked Johnny Cash for his definition of paradise. Johnny’s reply was beautiful. “This morning, with her, having coffee.” He was speaking, of course, about paradise being that moment with his wife, June Carter Cash. Most Friday mornings are paradise to me. My husband tries to either work from home on Fridays or at least allow a more relaxed start to the day, which is how we found ourselves sitting in our bedroom this morning, having coffee, and watching Touched by an Angel. If you’re a repeat column customer, you know I can be a bit stingy with the funds. We cut the cable cord many years ago. Honestly, we rarely watch television at all. When we do, we use our handy dandy digital antennae to pluck Start TV out of the mysterious airwaves. Turns out, the mister loves old 90s TV shows as much as I do. Touched by an Angel was a tearjerker today. It got us both emotionally sideways with the introspection of free will and love for your enemies. The sun was shining outside the window. The birds were chirping. I asked him an odd question. “Isn’t it funny how life is so stinking busy when you’re young? You know the birds are chirping, but you don’t have the time or the patience to care. Then, one day you wake up and say, ‘Wow, isn’t that a cedar waxwing and aren’t they already supposed to be in South America by now?’” How does this happen?
“A boy gave Jesus five bread and two fish. I’ll give him 50 muffins a day,” says Caden, 5.
Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret!
I went to the UK as a just turned seventeen-year-old young woman in 1984, the summer before my senior year in high school. It was a school sponsored trip; a hybrid culture meets teaching vacay with my World History teacher as the guide. We had many meetings on what to expect during this 21-day multi country journey. Great Britain was first on the list. “Don’t think it will be a breeze in England,” I recall Linda Massey telling us. “They are not easy to understand, even though English is their mother tongue.” Ewww. Tongues. My seventeen-year-old brain wasn’t all that sophisticated. We practiced, relentlessly, how to ask for a restroom in French, Italian, and German. Then, we addressed the UK. “They don’t say bathroom or restroom. In fact, if you ask for a restroom in England, they’ll direct you to a park bench…to rest. You’ll have to ask for the WC. That stands for water closet. That’s what the Brits call a bathroom.” Imagine my shock and horror when I asked a young woman with a beyond thick Leicester accent – this is pronounced Lester, by the way, leading me to believe these must be the people who named Worcestershire sauce – where the closest water closet was, only for her to say a lot of mish mash words at the speed of light that included something called a loo. Me to my friend Tonya, “What’s a loo?” Tonya’s response did not aid in my discovery. “Like, skip to my Lou my darlin?” I did not think that was the case. Loo is, as we probably all know now, thanks to The Crown, short for lavatory. That makes as much sense as finding out Dick is short for Richard. I think about that moment often. They don’t say their Fs, these Leicester folks. And, their words pop out so fast, all staccatoed with rounded Os and lots of Oys. But, loo, lavatory, WC, water closet, bathroom, restroom… where did we get all these room names? Down the rabbit hole we go. And, we’re going fast. We only have 600 more words at our disposal. Insert wink face emoji.
“God created moms to cook most of the time and to water the chickens,” says Jed, 8.
Spring is the peak time for bird migration through Texas, but the bright lights of cities and towns can confuse birds as they fly to their northern breeding grounds. Texans are encouraged to help our winged friends on their journey by turning “Lights Out” at night across the state through May.
May 6, 2023, was Election Day and marked our local Joint Election, during which voters had the opportunity to decide which candidates they would like to lead the Forney Independent School District, as well as our local government for the City of Forney.
B Dear Aunt B, I am worried that I can’t keep up with my identified goals. I don’t trust myself and wish I had not shared my new plans with anyone. I know they don’t believe I can do them, and frankly I don’t either. How do I turn back now and save face?
“Taking glory for yourself is stealing the glory from God,” says Forrest, 10.
I was with a group of friends recently. We were chatting about life’s challenges. There was a discussion about someone near and dear to us who is going through times tougher than you would wish on your worst enemy. That’s a perplexing saying, yes? I do my darndest to not have enemies, to see situations from another’s point of view when possible or plausible. But, I guess it does illustrate a point. We did a little verbal dance within our circle. This person is going through this. This person is going through this other thing. We stopped mentioning names. It became more of a prayer activity. I’ve always felt like group prayer can get tricky. Amazing, yes. But, as humans, we are a curious bunch. We love crossing the line into gossip, you know, for the sake of the good. But, back to the altruistic moment. Someone said something that went a little like this, “People are broken, aren’t they. We are broken, aren’t we?” I hadn’t spoken for a long while, but suddenly, I felt emboldened with a tiny seed of motivation that began to take root. I thought of something that only someone who’s been around the hurting block could harvest from the recesses of the gut. I belted it out fast and purposefully. “We’re like glow sticks. We don’t work until you break us.” Everyone paused. “Oh, great,” I thought. “Look what you did, dummy. Now they know. You’re weird, what with your rambling thoughts and those odd nuggets of useless trivia you store up in your soul that fix nothing but bubble out at the worst moments.” But, the pause ended as quickly as it had started. A few people reached for their phones. “Say that again,” one friend demanded. “I want to write that down.” Sheepishly, I confessed that I was 78% sure it was either something I’d seen on Pinterest or read in Oprah’s magazine. We ended our get together and someone joked that they were going to embroider that saying onto tea towels or a pillowcase or some other such nonsense. As I drove home that day, I started thinking about many things: people in need, people in turmoil, people at the end of their respective ropes, and glow sticks. I thought long and hard about glow sticks.
B Dear Aunt B, What makes for happiness? Is happy too big of a goal? What am I missing? I just feel like happiness is too hard.
People, rather us, as we are people – the collective us, talk an awful lot about karma. Karma is given the identity of a woman, apparently, as “she” is oft referred to in this manner. Karma is a B word. Karma will come back to bite you. It is the revenge of the woman scorned. That, at least, is the American interpretation, though we tend to skew things to our advantage rather than use them as intended, to learn an important lesson or illustrate a point. Karma is Hindu. But, we’ve done a bang-up job of misappropriating “her” into western society. The above referenced quote has even been bastardized. It should read, “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, nor Hell a fury like a woman scorned.” And, no, it is not from the Bible. Also, it was not written by Shakespeare. It’s from another British dude, William Congreve. He wrote a play, considered a brilliant tragedy, called The Mourning Bride. This all went down in 1697, over 80 years after The Bard bid the world a fond farewell. And, this ends your lesson on karma. Because, trust me on this – listen closely, karma is bull poop. You heard it here first. Wanna know why? Because, I strive to be a good person on the daily, but I am a lowly sinner. I have hurt more people than I care to acknowledge. I have messed up the unmessupable. I have sliced people with words sharper than knives. I have middle fingered those who were only trying to save me. I have been a good person. I have been an awful person. I have been everything in between. And yet, here I sit, still trying, still plugging along, still offering up my pitiful penances and still praying for redemption and a kinder heart. Karma did not come back to me. She has not bitten me, nor has she scorned me, nor has she taught me any promised, painful lessons. In fact, I sit here crying tears, eating parmesan crisps, and drinking hot tea, in awe of how kind of a place the world really is – at least to me.