Tuesday, August 31, 2010

differences #2

I discovered the difference between the Northwest and the Southwest.

Northwest has a Starbucks on every corner.

In the Southwest every corner has a bank.

No kidding.

Monday, August 30, 2010

history


We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven into an age of unreason if we dig deep into our history and remember we are not descended from fearful men.

Edward R. Murrow

What do I do when I come face to face with my fear?

I wish I could say that I don't feel it...but I do. Just because I have the feeling, however, doesn't mean that I have to act on it.

Sure, there are time when my reptile brain takes over and I react without having the opportunity to think at all. Except for those moments, having a feeling--any feeling--doesn't require a particular action. I still have choice. My inner experience is mine alone. What I choose to bring into the world? That has the potential to affect everyone in my path.

What are you choosing today?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

bitterness



Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Being able to taste bitterness is important. Bitter herbs can heal.

Living in bitterness creates misery. I have known (up close and personal) people who reside there. Not only are they miserable, but there is danger of contagion if one stays too close for too long.

Yes, it is tempting to go there sometimes. And sometimes, pure grace sweetens the path.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

differences


So, let us not be blind to our differences--but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal.

JFK

Seeing differences without judgment seems to me to be a sign of maturity. Different. Not better than. Not worse than. Just different.

I love the concept of sitting "with grace and acceptance." I may not like it, but it is what it is. I may not be able to change it either. Acceptance and grace are stepping stones to peace. We don't all have to be the same for peace to reign.

Friday, August 27, 2010

every moment is a moment of grace


I express to you my deepest gratitude. No one is as capable of gratitude as one who has emerged from the kingdom of night. We know that every moment is a moment of grace, every hour an offering; not to share them would mean to betray them. Our lives no longer belong to us alone; they belong to all those who need us desperately.

Elie Wiesel

I keep being reminded that my word for the year is grace. I decided to look it up this evening and found from only one source that grace has at least 20 definitions.

My favorite is this: "the influence or spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them."

What's your favorite? I wish that for you.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

love thursday 08.26.10 ~ keep on trying


I find that it is better to love badly and faultily than not to try and love at all. God does not have to have perfect instruments, and the Holy One can use our feeble and faltering attempts at love and transform them. My task is to keep on trying to love, to be faithful in my continuing attempt, not necessarily to be successful. The quality of my love may well be the most important element of my spiritual guidance.

Morton T. Kelsey

from his book
Companions on the Inner Way

"Badly" and "faultily"...?

Love counts. When we do the best we can, that's what matters.

May you know Love today.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

grateful


In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.

Albert Schweitzer

For those in my life who are kind...

...generous...

...thoughtful...

...caring...

...patient...

...willing to share what you know, as well as what you have...

Thank you.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

productive


Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.

FDR


I continue to be so productive I can hardly stand myself. Making lists. Completing the tasks. Checking them off.

Yes!

Monday, August 23, 2010

summer list

Projects I have completed this summer:

  • replaced sprinkler valves
  • built a worm bin
  • built a shoe cubby for the closet
  • installed a composting kitty litter toilet
  • assembled a book on blurb.com
Ah...the life of the urban farmer!

How about you? Tell me about a project you've finished.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

older...not up



I'm growing older but not up
My metabolic rate is pleasantly stuck
So let the winds of change blow over my head
I'd rather die while I'm living then live while I'm dead


Jimmy Buffett

Friday, August 20, 2010

choose faith



To choose what is difficult all one’s days, as if it were easy, that is faith.

W.H. Auden

from
For the Time Being

Faith is not always difficult. Some days it rolls off the edge of my mind just like breathing. Other days...not so much.

You see, I don't really like surprises and faith is all about not knowing--not seeing.

Another stretch. Another challenge. I guess it separates the sheep and the goats.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

love thursday 08.19.10 ~ compassionate business


There is a common perception that compassion is, if not actually an impediment, at least irrelevant to professional life. Personally, I would argue that not only is it relevant, but that when compassion is lacking, our activities are in danger of becoming destructive. This is because when we ignore the question of the impact our actions have on others' well-being, inevitably we end up hurting them.

HH Dalai Lama

One thing all businesses have in common: People. Whether customers, employees, or owners, every business is made up of interpersonal interactions. If we do not bring compassion to those relationships, the potential for hurt or harm is great.

Will we make mistakes and hurt each other anyway? Sure. Humans do that on occasion even when the best of intentions abide as the rule. However, if we are known as compassionate beings, when the anomaly happens there is room for understanding, forgiveness, and relationship repair.

When we bring compassion and respect to all of our interactions, there is much more latitude for success. With compassion and respect as the groundwork, much greater yield is possible--on all levels.

...when we ignore the question of the impact our actions have on others' well-being, inevitably we end up hurting them.

Actions include how we use our words--tone of voice, comments, speech, written communication. Consider the ripple. Start with compassion.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

open hands


To create this new society, we must present outstretched and friendly hands, without hatred and rancor, even as we show great determination and never waver in the defense of truth and justice. Because we know that we cannot sow seeds with clenched fists. To sow we must open our hands.

Adolfo Pérez Esquivel

Argentinian human rights activist, from his Nobel Lecture

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

aging gracefully


"Except for the dying part, getting older is so fabulous, I love it....everybody I know is better older. They are more relaxed, they're more mellow, they're more alert as friends, they have a confidence....You really do acquire a kind of 'I don't give a damn' about what people think, which is so liberating. I love this age now."

Candice Bergen


The quote above and the quote below come from a newsletter I received from Dr. Zur. I love the part about how our brains continue developing into our 50s and 60s. Hope. I am always looking for hope.

  • Ms. Bergen is right: Older people are happier, more positive, have better emotional control, and are less concerned about peer pressure.
  • While rats develop 5,000 to 10,000 new hippocampal neurons every day, whether the neurons survive depends on whether the rats do challenging tasks (such as complex mazes or difficult discriminations).
  • Your brain improves nerve cell transmission with increased myelination though your fifties or sixties, and thus continues to develop.
  • In middle age, people start making more use of both sides of their brains (bilateralization).
  • With aging, people tend to place less value on achievement and novelty and more value on relationships and experiences.
  • Air traffic controllers, aged 53-64, perform as well as controllers aged 20-27 (Canadian controllers had to be used for the research, as U.S. controllers are required to retire at 55).
  • Since 1984, disability rates, as measured by the ability to perform activities of daily living, have been declining 1.5% to 2.5% a year. Thus, seniors are staying healthier longer.

Monday, August 16, 2010

dream big


Some of my dreams are so big they would scare you!

Dolly Parton

Sunday, August 15, 2010

happy birthday, so


you are the light and love of my life,

the designer and keeper of our gardens.

i am so glad you are still here

on this planet

with me

making life worthwhile.

may you be blessed

and loved

without measure.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

oh, come on...

You've gotta be shittin' me!

Whose paycheck are these scientists receiving?

Friday, August 13, 2010

we're waiting....




The time will come when wealth will be redistributed, when the workers of the world will once again unite -- standing for economic justice -- for a world where we can all have enough to live fully and well.

bell hooks

from her book
Where We Stand

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

evil


(canna--taken with my phone's camera)

I've been thinking about evil a lot lately--mostly because it seems I keep running into it. I've been having some conversations with friends about evil and suffering, too.

I'm going to give you the abbreviated version of what I've been thinking because I seem to be short on words these days.

One of my recent conversations had to do with why does God create (or allow) suffering. (Bear with me because this is related.) My real answer to this is, "I don't know." I don't really think that God created suffering in the direct sense. What God did create is us and gave us free will...and we created the rest. In order to stop us from doing some of those things that bring about undesirable outcomes (evil and / or suffering), we would be stripped of our free will.

Believe me, that would not be a happy making event. This became clear to me in some of my recent encounters with insurance companies and banks (just to name a couple of categories). They arbitrarily create rules that are known only to them, won't share the rules, and seem to change them capriciously. The effect on me is one of taking away my choice--akin to taking away my free will. In other words, when the powerful entity is controlling, the one being controlled has no free will.

When I am being controlled, I erupt. Not always outwardly. Sometimes I implode. My point is, I think if God restricted me (took away my free will) I might not like it much more than I do when corporations take away my choice.

Let me give you an example. A few years ago I attended a training. During that training for reasons I couldn't understand, I found myself wanting to kill something (metaphorically, of course). I was cranky and irritable and I just wanted to fight or do something really negative. Later I learned that the leader of the training had created an energy container that would not allow any negative energy. Huh?

So what happened? Was I acting out the negativity that was being suppressed? Was I picking up all the energy that wasn't "allowed" there? I'm not sure. But I do know that "not allowing" it didn't make the negativity go away.

While we might think that taking away free will and only allowing "love and light" would be the solution to evil and suffering, I don't think it would work. At least not at this stage of the development of humanity. It's too late for that type of intervention.

We have to figure out the solution. It's up to us.

I'll tell you this: Evil exists and while I don't have the answer, I do believe it is contrary to our original design. On the other hand, love only works when we choose it. And Love is more than a feeling. It's a decision.

(Now aren't you glad I gave you the abbreviated version?)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

stringing you all along until i have something to say



Let everyone sweep in front of his own door and the whole world will be clean.

~ Goethe ~

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Thursday, August 05, 2010

love thursday 08.05.10 ~ being seen


Many people are hungry not for bread only, but they are hungry for ... love. Many people are not only naked for want of a piece of cloth, but they are naked for human dignity ... Homelessness is not only not having a home made of bricks, but homelessness is being rejected, unwanted, unloved, uncared for. People have forgotten what the human touch is, what it is to smile, for somebody to smile at them, somebody to recognize them, somebody to wish them well.

~ Mother Teresa ~

We are not really loved until we are seen. Purely the raw form of who we are.

If I don't see you but only my expectations, assumptions, or prejudices I am not loving you.

We all need to be seen. Look at someone today. Are they really who you think they are? Or can you see them better? Love them better?

I know I need to see more clearly. Only then will I also love more dearly.



Tuesday, August 03, 2010

mystery plant



It's at least 8 feet tall.
No flowers that I've seen.




The leaves are fuzzy,
shaped like you see above,
and some are almost like bowls.



The stalk is thick,
fuzzy, and
speckled.

Can anyone tell me what this is?

There is no prize.
I don't have the answer.
That's why I am asking.




Monday, August 02, 2010

box


(and it can be used as a bench)


Here it is. Done. I decided that building a whole new box made more sense than trying to rig something up with a "ready made" box that wasn't "ready" because it didn't fit. Too much time, effort, and energy to make retrofit it. Besides, if something goes wrong in the future, I'll have a lot more room to get in and fix it.




Those green things you see in the box? Those are the valves I had to replace first. They required the most trips to Home Depot because they were installed wrong in the first place by the builder. Then I repeated his mistake and had to figure it out. Then...I had to fix it.



See the nifty feature I added? The front of the box can be removed so I can reach in farther, if needed. This way, it doesn't matter how long my arms are.

Today...I fill in the hole.

Done.




Sunday, August 01, 2010

valves and such

Valves are in place and not leaking. YES!

Now I have to figure out how to repair the box since the valves are now above ground and they don't make a box deep enough. Sigh.

So I am going to go buy gravel...

...and then make my daily trip to Home Depot--at least once...maybe more.