Many Shades

If there was one thing I could teach young people today (and maybe everyone!), it would be that the world is not black and white.  There are many shades of color.  There is a Facebook meme that points out “6 + 3 = 9, but so does 5 + 4.”  It goes on to say, “The way you do things is not always the only way to do them.  Respect other people’s way of thinking.”

In truth, if you know anything about math, there are MANY ways to come up with 9.  Just like life, there are many ways to live it: many types of careers, activities, music, ways to travel, types of homes, cars, relationships…I think you get the point.  There are many different ways to solve many different problems.  But if we stick to a “black and white” way of thinking, better, more efficient ways of problem solving would go undiscovered.

If we were all the same, thought exactly the same way, did things the exact same way, what a boring world this would be!  Nothing new would ever be invented.  Nothing exciting would ever come about.  There would be nothing to pique our curiosity.  The world would be, well, black and white.  Wouldn’t that be sad?

Instead, there is a vastness to this world that is amazing and wonderful.  This near limitlessness applies, not only to the landscape, but to the people on it, the thought processes of the people and the utter variety of things to do!  And, while there are so many things to consider, not everyone wants to do the same things.  After all, there are more than 7.6 billion people living on this world in 195 different countries.  In 2014, a blog on National Geographic stated there were 117 million different lakes on this Earth!  Black and white doesn’t even begin to describe our reality, even though so many people would make it so.

Just to expand a little on the whole black and white mentality, here’s a simple example.  I like to bake…a lot!  My family couldn’t possibly eat everything I bake, because, well, they’d be the size of a house, so I take baked goods to work and share.  But, with baking comes problems.  Some people are gluten or corn intolerant.  Some are allergic to peanuts, dairy, chocolate or peppers.  Still, some despise cream cheese icing and nuts.  There are others who don’t like chocolate (yeah, I know, I couldn’t believe it, either!!!)!  If we were thinking in terms of black and white, we’d have fully gluten or corn baked goods, or none.  But, thinking in “many shades,” I now bake vegan cakes and muffins and am about to learn how to bake with alternative flours!  Score one for “many shades” thinking!

Want another simple example?  Pens…yes, pens!  While I am required to use a certain type pen at work, my very favorite pen is a Pentel RSVP, medium point with black ink.  If you’ve ever walked down the school supply aisle at any store, you know there are a multitude of different pens out there.  Just to name a few for you, there’s Bic, Paper Mate, Zebra, Pilot, Uni-Ball, Sharpie, and, of course, Pentel.  There are also ballpoint, fountain, gel, roller ball and felt tipped pens.  Bic, alone, makes a huge variety: Xtra Life, Xtra Smooth, Xtra Comfort, Xtra Bold, Velocity Retractable, Atlantis Original Retractable, Soft Feel Retractable, and this doesn’t include their everyday, plain old original Bic Cristal, the Clic Stic or the variety of colors of ink they offer.  I think you’re getting the picture!  What if I got to choose and force everyone to use Pentel RSVP?

Here are a few other simple examples, maybe in less detail.  Did you know there are around 4,200 different religions in the world?  I wonder how many of us could have guessed that?  What about clothing and shoes?  With how many brands are you familiar?  How about different colleges and universities, just the US?  Here’s one, what about different types and breeds of pets?  Plants?  What if someone got to choose the world’s religion and the dress code.  What if there were only one type cat and one type dog, and two types of plants?  Could you be happy with that?

The world is not black and white.  There are SO many different shades…SO many, and that’s what makes it so fascinating.  All the extraordinary variety!  All the different people, cultures, animals, art, scenery, ways to travel, places to live, food and beliefs.  This seems extreme, when considering thought patterns in black and white, but is it really?  By thinking in terms of black and white, we limit ourselves into following one of two directions.  Why would we ever want do that when there are SO many directions in which to go?  If there were only a couple of thought patterns, nothing new would ever come about!

Thinking outside the box is what drives creative processes and innovation.  It motivates us to do better in many different ways.  If we limit ourselves to black and white thinking, we limit what we can achieve and who and what we can become!   Should we really want to put limits on ourselves…especially when the only thing that can come of better innovation, more creativity and being better people is a better world!  Think about it!

 

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As Life Goes

There have been several life-changing events over the passed few months.  Maybe I should start with the bad news first…my estranged husband passed away two months ago.  While we were still married, we had lived mostly separate lives for several years.  He became very ill in 2010, and basically lost his business in 2012, so he moved into the basement apartment in the house I rent with our younger daughter.  As his illness progressed, I tried to help him.  He was, after all, the father of my children…children whom I love more than life, itself.  But, he has now passed away.  It’s a weird feeling to lose someone with whom you were so close, and yet estranged, at the same time.  Strange emotions come into play.

Much more recently, and quite a bit more joyous, our older daughter married her best friend.  It was a simple, yet elegant, wedding. The only real tragedy here being that her father wasn’t there to give her away.   Before her father died, my daughter realized he was so ill he may not be able to walk her down the aisle, so she, quite diplomatically, asked her soon-to-be father-in-law to walk her down the aisle. You see, he lost his daughter a couple of years ago, and would not have this opportunity.  In a very touching move, he asked her if he might give her a kiss on the cheek as he left her to wed his son.  It was a beautiful day.

Somewhere in the middle of all this, I managed to nearly lose my soul mate (a subject best left for another time…). It’s been a busy two months…

Through all of this, though, one thing has remained constant.  Life goes on.  It doesn’t pause and it doesn’t retreat…it moves forward.

There are two lessons to be learned from all this.

One; we CAN live through our saddest times.  We can survive them.  It seems tough, at first…in fact, nearly devastating, but we can make it through, as long as we have the courage to take action and faith in ourselves…

Two; since life does go on, we can either move forward with it, or wallow in self pity and make living our lives that much more difficult. But why do that?  Life can be hard enough without us interfering and making it harder for ourselves.

It was never promised that life would be easy…just that we could get through it.  We have to be proactive and choose in which fashion we want our lives to go.  While we have to face our tragedies, if we hold on to the glorious days, hours, even minutes, we will find it easier to stay positive and survive as life goes on.

Regrets…

Most of us live with regrets.  Sometimes they weigh on us like an anchor. We find ourselves dwelling on them, some of them constantly.  A few of our regrets can  be more devastating than others.  Maybe it was the way we treated another or a missed job opportunity.  It could have been a big cross country move.  Or, maybe it was the chance to tell someone just how much we love them…for the first time, or, even more regrettably, the last.  Yes…regrets come all too often, and they can be extremely hard on our body, heart and soul.

But…what if we could, from this day forward, live our lives so we have no more regrets at all?  Could we be strong enough do what it takes?

One thing we could do is think before we speak.  Yes, I know, it’s harder than it seems.  We find ourselves in the heat of the moment and before we know it, we have said something we regret.  Part of a more complex saying comes to mind; something you can never get back once it’s uttered are your words.  And, remembering that words can be as painful as actual, physical pain, this should be a no-brainer.

Another thing we could do is to not act so rashly.  Give our words and actions a little thought.  Consider that what we do doesn’t just affect us.  It affects those around us.

Still, on the other side of that, we should stop over-thinking things.  We all tend to do it, and by the time we’ve thought it out, our opportunity has passed us by.

One more thing we can do is be fully present in the moment, so that when something comes up, we’re more prepared.  We can make a good decision about it because we are aware.

Still there is a better answer.  Something so basic, it should be second nature to all of us.  Act with love, concern, kindness and compassion every moment of every day.  If we can do that, we should never have to harbor another regret as long as we live.

 

The Change We Wish To See

All over, for months, years even, people are posting and talking about war with the next nasty enemy of the US.  No one seems to grasp what is missing.  To those supporting the next war, there are a few things for you to consider.

On a political note:
Most “wars” in the US have been manipulated and/or manufactured. Yes, you heard that correctly.  One of documentaries which I researched and wrote deals with media and government manipulation, and ultimately influence, of the population, AND government manipulation of the media.  This country was founded as a non-interventionist country.  George Washington said we should be friends with all and take no sides because, if we did, in the end, it would cost us dearly.  It has.  Especially if you believe the official account of 9/11.  Recently, and over the past few years, Ron Paul has correctly stated that the world views the US as an aggressor.  I say flat out that our country has become the proverbial bully on the playground.  Collateral damage is huge and devastating.  The images of death and destruction are everywhere, except maybe in the mainstream media here in the US.  It’s an abomination for a supposedly “Christian” nation to act with such reckless abandon towards another country.  Our founding generation is rolling over in their graves!!!

On a spiritual note:
Our Divine Parent(s) created all life…Again, as a Christian nation, why is it that we do not heed the words in the very book from which we claim to get our Divine Instruction?  What happened to “Revenge is mine” says God? What happened to “Love thy neighbor,” says Jesus?  What happened to turning the other cheek, giving someone in need a hand, walking with our brothers and sisters in their times of trouble and loving our enemies? Maybe we have forgotten what Jesus taught?  One of the most blasphemous things I think I have ever heard was when President Bush said God told him to initiate the war on terror.  If we are to believe that God created all and God said vengeance is mine, why would we ever think that if God wanted someone vanquished, God couldn’t take care of that?

There are a few thing we could learn, true life lessons: to love one another…unconditionally.  To support each other’s goals…without restraint.  To be the better person…a shining example of Our Divine and loving Creator in a dark and dreary world.  To be better than those who went before us.  If we could only stop thinking with fear and hate in our hearts, open up that same heart and love, truly love, those waiting on the outside, can you imagine what we could accomplish?

I am thankful for…YOU!

Do you realize what a blessing you are to those around you?  Our Creator, using the most WONDERFUL use of finite wisdom in the universe, gave us you.  You are more beautiful, talented, intelligent, brave, caring, loving and just plain awe-inspiring than you realize!  Not only that, but Our Creator knew we would all need each other one day…and that day has come!  Look at all the great things we can and have done together…for each other, for others, and for ourselves.

Blessing aren’t big, and they aren’t far away or in the future…Look in the mirror.  YOU are the blessing!

Hope your Thanksgiving Holiday is as perfect as you are!

Much love and light to you and yours!

Lessons: Enjoying Another’s Humiliation

It’s amazing how, if we are paying attention, we truly can learn lessons from anywhere.  I do not watch television very often, but a new roommate watches non stop.  Today before lunch, this person was watching America’s Funniest Home Videos.  I didn’t even know that show was still on! For whatever reason, I never really cared for it even when I did watch television.

Since the kitchen is near the living area, I could not only hear it, but see it, at times.  The lesson sprang to mind as I listened to my room mate laughing at someone’s video taped misfortune.  It escaped me for a bit, as I wasn’t really paying attention, then I realized, not all, but much of this show revolves around humiliating instances in someone else’s life.

While we shouldn’t take life SO seriously, should we really be laughing at someone else’s humiliation?  If you believe in Karma, what are you setting yourself up for?  While others who had joined us for lunch were getting a laugh at some of the things going on, it dawned on me…if that was happening to you, you would not think it so funny!  Sure, some of these people were making weird choices and some were even getting hurt, but an audience full of people, as well as a few people in this living room, thought this pain was funny.

Any of us who have experienced karma at work knows this cannot be a good thing.  And, any of us who believes you get what you put out there knows what is about to happen in some of these people’s lives…

Our lives are precious and people need encouragement.  Will this somewhat innocent form of eavesdropping cost us spiritually?  After all, it is meant as fun.  Or, have we turned into a society that gets our kicks from someone else’s misfortune?  AND, just how much of this type of behavior do we participate in in person?

But, you don’t have to believe in karma to realize you get what you put out.  All you have to realize is that if you are being loving and nurturing to others, well, isn’t that what Yahushua (Jesus) taught us to do?  Love our neighbor as ourselves?  If we truly love ourselves, we would not treat ourselves in a humiliating manner…so we wouldn’t treat our neighbor that way, either!

We are our Creator’s child, and as such, we have a responsibility to treat each other with respect, to be nurturing of each other’s spirit and to support each other in all we do.  Our goal is to live, be happy, and hopefully healthy, be productive, but it seems enjoying someone else’s misfortunes doesn’t fit in with that…

I say, be careful what you put out…it might come back to bite ya!

Growing Lessons

Hope your day is shaping up to be a rather nice one!  It’s hotter than usual here in the mid part of the country, as we are going on our 11th day of over 100 degree temps.  For some of you from the south, this is nothing new, for here it is…well…different.  And we have had no rain, at least where I am, for weeks.  Again, unusual.  BUT, the interesting thing is that as I was watering my plants this morning, I noticed something encouraging…New growth on all of my pepper plants!  Also, my tomato plants that I planted REALLY late are actually taking hold and growing nicely.  If I can keep them alive in this heat, they will grow and produce in the fall…so, again, nice!  My garden area does not get the proper sun, but I am thinking since the sun is so much hotter, that might not be such a bad thing!

Gardening, even in small ways, is such a learning opportunity!  And, from today, the lesson for my journey is this, even in the face of adversity, we can grow.  Even in the face of what appears to be a lull in our lives, we can still move forward.  The only thing holding us back is ourselves.  Truly, if the plants, in the face of such drought conditions, can continue to grow and even add new growth, then we, as brothers and sisters to the plants, can do this too!  (All life is all related, you know!)

It’s easy for me to imagine that the plants don’t over think things like we do.  It’s easy for me to see that, while things are rough for them now, they just say, “Yep it’s hot, but that won’t stop me from doing what I was put on this earth to do…grow!”  And we can learn from that!  Did we wake up this morning?  Yep!  SO, that gives us another day to work towards our goal…Yesterday is in the past.  Keep the lesson from yesterday’s decisions and live in the now, knowing you can change your way of thinking, the things you are doing and the influence with which you let others influence your life.  Your decisions can start over every single day, and if need be, find a different path that offers you different results, every day…

Don’t be a slave to old thoughts, past actions or past decisions.  Challenges are not obstacles unless you allow them to be… Wake up in the morning with a renewed sense of awareness…The knowledge that you CAN change your mind, do things differently and interact with life on this planet in different ways.  You are the key to YOUR future…If you have given up that power over you to someone else, well, take it back!  You truly are the one you’ve been waiting for and your world will open up for you when you embrace yourself.  So, what are you waiting for!?!

Blessings for your day, and weekend, next week, and always!  Much love and light to you and your family…May the blessings of Our Creator rain down on you until you have had your fill, and may it all happen for you again on every tomorrow!

Peace be with you

Beauty is in the…

We’ve all heard the saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”  Literally, it means whatever one person sees as beautiful IS beautiful.  And we know this to be true, there are so many different attributes people see as beautiful, and they aren’t all the same!  Some people like blonde hair, others like red, brown and still others prefer brunette…straight, wavy, curly, long medium, short.  Some people prefer purple, others think green is the color, others like orange best.  Some people like muscular, other’s don’t.  People tend to a have vastly different criteria for what they believe is beautiful.  Another interesting saying is “Beauty is only skin deep.”   This one tends to refer to character rather than actual physical beauty.  And there are just as many personality trait favorites as physical ones.

We tend to think of beauty as something that is pretty, lovely, attractive and pleasing to the eye.  BUT, there’s more than just sight that needs to be pleased!  Let’s take a look at the actual definition of the word “beauty.”  Merriam Webster defines “beauty” as, “the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit.”  Add a definition for the word “beautiful,” “generally pleasing,” and you can get a sense that both words can also mean beauty with regards to something not necessarily seen, like beauty that strikes our mind, heart, soul, or maybe even our spirit.  I think we can all agree that what is generally pleasing to the eye is not always pleasing to these other aspects of our selves, and that’s worth noting!

Take for instance a beautiful plant or flower.  We expect it to be very wonderfully fragrant, but that’s not always so.  What surprises may lurk within the walls of a beautiful house, which could be hiding a money pit of repairs.  A nice looking car could cost us a fortune in repairs, as well.  Or, what about a beautiful person with an angry disposition?  All of these may be pleasing to the eye, but none would fulfill other parts of our being.  BUT, I think we could all agree that a sweet smelling flower, a nice sturdy home, a solidly built car or someone with a wonderful personality, regardless of outward appearance, can touch more than just our eyes, protecting us from disaster.  Also, looking past the aesthetically pleasing could reach our very soul and spirit…the true essence of who we are.  What can be more fulfilling than that?

We live in an age of where almost nothing physical is out of reach.  Car, home, things, person, but we are always searching, never satisfied.  Why?

We are complex beings and to satisfy us, we need more than beauty that we can see.  We need beauty that touches our mind, heart, soul…our spirit!  Wouldn’t the world be a much better place if we all started looking with not just our eyes, but our entire being?  Oh, what we would be able to sense…to feel on a cellular level!  Looking with just our eyes can be fun, but it can also be deceiving.  Looking with our entire being, now there’s how we will find true beauty!

Update: MI Dept of Natural Resources Responds…

I must admit, when I called the Gaylord Office, the fellow who answered the phone there was more than polite and listened to my concerns.  The lady who answered in Lansing was polite, but I could tell she was tired of dealing with the issue.  I repeat, though, she wasn’t rude.

I did write the Director’s office about the issue, not truly expecting a reply, because I figured they are swamped.   To my surprise, I did receive a reply.  In fact, I received two.

According to the responses, this was not a “bizarre new “Invasive Species Order” (ISO) that has suddenly declared traditional livestock to be an invasive species”  as Natural News would have you believe.  The response I received stats the order went into effect October 8. 2011, and they held off enforcing the law for another 6 months to allow farmers and ranches time to come into compliance.   Yet, it’s not an “old” order, either!

Under subsection 40.4 in the MI DNR Invasive Species Order talks about the offending swine:

(b) Wild boar, wild hog, wild swine, feral pig, feral hog, feral swine, Old world swine, razorback, eurasian wild boar, Russian wild boar (Sus scrofa Linnaeus). This subsection does not and is not intended to affect sus domestica involved in domestic hog production.

Now, that seems pretty general to me, but I could be wrong.  I don’t know much about swine.

Natural News, an organization for which I have a lot of respect, sensationalized their report further, by stating the farmers were forced to slaughter their “baby piglets in cold blood.”  Knowing the order was coming and allowing the sows to mate to produce more piglets is not the fault of the DNR.

That being said, if they are wild and tearing up the place, I MIGHT could understand the need to control them, given they carry diseases and destroy property, according to reports.  (And my understanding of that is bases solely on said reports.  IF it isn’t true, I can’t understand it!)

Still., the story seems to be two sided from both Natural News and the MI DNR.  We know how government operations go, from time to time, lacking respect for people and property, but the MI DNR SAYS they conducted no raids (Natural News reports there WERE raids).  On the other hand, the MI DNR says the inspections were “voluntary” and, for those who would not consent,  search warrants were acquired (Again, according to the MI DNR).  My one thought on this is, if the searches were truly voluntary, why would there be a need to get a search warrant?  That, alone means the searches were expected…which means they aren’t truly voluntary, now are they?  Tricky wording, but look at the facts, and you get the picture!

In my humble opinion, this comes down to our rights, with regard to pigs on the farms, and farming, in general.  Are we allowed to pursue our happiness or not?  If, in pursuing our happiness, we are responsible about the way we conduct our business, whose right is it to tell us what we can and can’t do, on our own property?  I say again, if the hogs are in the wild and are causing a major nuisance, then by all means, get rid of them.  BUT, if the farmer in question has chosen to raise these hogs, and has taken the responsibility to put up appropriate fencing, why make him get rid of stock that helps him make a living in times when livings are so hard to come by?

The whole story is still being revealed, but we need to remember, when we start outlawing the right of people to make their own decisions, and especially on their own property, where does it stop?  Where does government draw the line?  Today it is about invasive swine that the MI DNR says are dangerous to MI.  But, what will it be tomorrow?  And this is just the tip of the iceberg with regard to our rights…There is SO much going on all over, no one person can keep up with it…No one!

My advice for you is that you need to take a stand.  Maybe this isn’t your fight, but someday it might be.  IF you need help, wouldn’t it be nice to know someone will stand up for your rights?

Battle between light and shadow

Sometimes Life casts shadows
on unsuspecting fools,
keeping them in dark places.

We worry, sigh and hide,
unsure of things to come,
as darkness nods and laughs.

“I’ve got you now, you careless dolt!
You’re scared to venture forth,
content in my dreary deep!”

Just then, someone comes along,
seemingly on purpose,
sent to pull us from despair.

Moving, slowly, one foot out,
“It’s warm in this light!”
The other foot follows.

Basking in the phosphoric glow,
it feels good.  Safe…
free from the gloomy dusk.

Peeling off the shadows
that seem to be relentless,
light illuminates every inch of our soul.

The shadow wanders on,
enraged by being cast off,
vowing to return…some day.

Light smiles at its conquest
of the shadow’s murky deep,
and radiates brighter still.

Light knows time is not fixed.
It, too, could be retaken,
yet, its luminescence burns on.

And, just for this day,
the victory is won.
All is right, once again!

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By suggesting reading and alternative therapies, we are not attempting to diagnose or treat any illness. Our suggestions are merely that, based on personal experience and research and should, in no way, be a substitute for medical advice.