Thought for the Day: Celebrate Those Who Lead Humble Lives

In perhaps her greatest novel, Middlemarch, George Eliot celebrates those who lead humble lives:

“The growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who live faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”

“[T]he effect of her being on those around her,” says George Eliot,” was incalculably diffusive.”

To all family members, known and unknown – yours and mine.  Their choices and actions have helped create who we are today.



For:  Gram & Gramp Adsit, Grandpa Riley, & our parents Doris & Jim Riley.  They each have had an immeasurable impact on my siblings and me.

Loudon City Cemetery

Loudon City Cemetery


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About reneeriley

Our blog was begun as a way to share our experiences in China. From August 2010 to July 2011, my husband, Barry Kristel, and I were at our University of Hawaii Maui College sister school, Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University in Lin'an, China, a city considered rural because it has only 500,000 people! We had a wonderful time. Then in February 2012, we returned to teach this time at our other sister school, Shanghai Normal University, in a city of over 21 million people. We've made many discoveries. Did you know that now Chinese girls, at least the ones who go to university, for the most part feel they are luckier than the Chinese boys? Did you know that Shanghai saved over 20,000 European Jews during WWII? Do you know how Chinese university students would deal with problems that come up in Dear Abby letters? What's it like to be on the Great Wall of China? Do you know how many Chinese girls had their feet bound and why? And we have recipes from many of the places we've visited. Among others, you can find instructions on how to fry cicadas from one of my ZAFU students and how to make chocolate-Kahlua waffles from my brother Mike in Gainesville. You can also look back to our earliest entry to see what we experienced in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2006 during the mainly peaceful six months of protest until the Mexican government sent in the troops. Between our stays in China, Barry and I have been on the Mainland U.S. visiting family, friends and Servas hosts as we traveled home to Maui. We share those experiences too. Welcome to our blog! Aloha and Zài Jiàn, Renée and Barry

6 responses to “Thought for the Day: Celebrate Those Who Lead Humble Lives”

  1. Rosita says :

    Oh, thank you! 🙂 but I didn’t walk Bali, because I believe that local dogs need to be free, as I asked. And my methods of dog training are DIFFERENT of Cesar Millan’s methods 😀 they’re most holistic, comprehensive (sometimes I think I was a dog on my past life, because I understand them as I was a dog hahaha) and humane, with NO leashes or any form of torture, as spanking, only sweetness and tolerance, and…fruits! Dogs loves fruits, no? Hahaha I DON’T use dog biscuits NEITHER the click training: only fruits, because I think that it’s more healthy than artificial-flavored products. Of course, I have a DIFFERENT method of dog training, an it’s very good 😀 I’m a feminine version of Cesar Millan’s hahaha and I understand A LOT about dogs comportment and illnesses 😉 so, I have a good comprehension of canine universe. My dogs are the family who I chosen. And do you train your dogs? If yes, how? 🙂

    • reneeriley says :

      Hi Rosita: Maybe you will have a show someday to share your way of training. The three-hours a day of leashed walking with your dog that Cesar recommends is not practical (although our dogs and we would be healthy). I’ve never tried giving fruit as a dog treat, but I will now.

      When I was growing up, all we did was open the door when our dog wanted to come in or out. Dogs had the run of the neighborhood – and were happy. But now the U.S. is VERY litigious! Cities, condo boards, neighborhood associations all have rules and laws against dogs running free. It makes for some fat, unhappy dogs especially in the cities. But there are dog parks (although usually not very big) or in outdoorsy places like Colorado, you can find some dog friendly trails.

      For our dog Ben, I needed to walk him on a leash several times a day. As he got older, he had hip problems, so I was able to read a book as I “walked” him. Then we got Pua. Again (and this happens to most moms), I was the one who walked her and took care of her. I did take her to the dog training classes at the Maui Humane Society, and she could sit, but I couldn’t let her off her leash. She was a rascal! She learned to dig under – and jump over our fence and take herself swimming in the ocean, which was about five minutes from our townhouse – but across a busy street. 😦 She loved body surfing! 🙂 Once she got us in lots of trouble with our condo association. I was working about 70 hours a week and just didn’t have time to take good care of her and do everything else I needed to do. I still feel guilty that I didn’t pay more attention to her.

      Now we don’t have a dog (just a bossy, but cute cat that has us well-trained). Our son and his girlfriend each have a dog. They take the dogs hiking or swimming in the ocean every day! They are really responsible dog owners – and Barry and I get to have happy dogs in our lives without the challenges.

      I know your dogs are happy. Perhaps you could start dog-training classes for owners and share your techniques. Lots of dogs out there need responsible and well-trained owners.

      Aloha, Renee

  2. Rosy says :

    I really don’t know much about IS (Islamic State), Al Qaeda or other terroristic groups, but i think that ALL FORMS of terrorism are bad and only cause destruction and death 😦 and I have fear of a Third World War. I think that thoSe persons who threat to make it are probable psychopaths with an intense desire of kill innocent people, who’s too awful! I think that these people who make bombs, wars and modify viruses of bacterias to make biological wars are monsters and have a bad karma. I think that a Third World War isn’t impossible, but I fight for World Peace, and you? 🙂 what do you think about the threat of a (possible) Third World War and the dream of a (possible, if we contributes) World Peace? 😉 do you think that the Third World War is possible? And how about World’s Peace?

  3. reneeriley says :

    Hi Rosita: There are sick, evil people, but most people want love and a hopeful future for themselves and their families. Most people, I think, are working for peace in some way.

    When he was in the U.S. last week, Pope Francis mentioned Dorothea Day as a North American he admires. According to the book, “The Road to Character” by David Brooks, in 1933, during the U.S. Depression, Day started a newspaper called “The Catholic Worker” – to mobilize the proletariat and apply Catholic social teaching “toward the goal of creating a society in which it is easier for people to be good. It wasn’t only a newspaper; it was a movement. . . The paper had a soup kitchen and fed as many as fifteen hundred each morning. It was an activist aid organization that brought the rich and poor into contact. . . Day spent the rest of her life, until her death on November 29, 1980, as a Catholic worker, working on the newspaper and serving bread and soup to the poor and mentally disabled. She wrote eleven books and more than a thousand article. The service work was prosaic” (p. 90-91).

    Day said, “Start your work from where you live, with the small concrete needs right around you. Help ease tension in your workplace. Help feed the person right in front of you” (90). I think many people are doing such work. When you take care of your dogs, you are helping to bring peace to the world.

    It’s easy to get disheartened. The news is full of stories telling of bad behavior by individuals and by governments.

    But in a journal, Dorothea Day said, “We must make every effort of will to love more and more–to hang on to each other with love” (92).

    Such actions can bring about World Peace. However, we have much work to do to achieve it. Aloha, Renee

  4. Rosy says :

    Terima Kasih! 💕 I always say that I don’t adopted my dogs, they adopted me hahaha and about world peace… It’s an utopia, but an utopia can turn reality, if we dream and work hard to make it.

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