Thursday, November 22, 2012


I don't know what it is about water but it really is an amazing thing.  Let me turn on the shower, begin to hear the water run and my brain goes into creative overdrive.  When I actually step in and the water pours over me that is when the real ideas start swirling.  I swear if I could take a computer into the shower with me I'd have written a novel by now.  Its the craziest thing.  Of course, by the time I get out, the ideas are making their last turn around the drain as they whisk out into the septic field.  That feels about like what I've been creating lately...stuff ready for the ...well never mind. 

Not only does the running water in the bathtub bring on inspiration but other watery places provide similar stimulus.  Last January, while visiting Florida, I stayed in an old cypress cabin perched above the roiling, winter ocean.  Here the waves beat the rhythm of the tides against the small cliff.  The voice of the sea echoed amongst the stacked rocks of the cliff sometimes in angry vowels as it forced the salt spray into the air and at other times it whispered it's wisdom to those who would listen as it caressed the weathered mass of rocks and broken shells with soft, watery fingers.  It was here that I started a story that has yet to be finished, in the middle of it's writing, I flew home.

One summer while working as a Naturalist for a local park district, I spent a part of many working days sitting next to, walking by or doing programs close to some body of water.  I had my office next to a large lake where children and adults came to enjoy its peace and coolness.  I sat on a bench talking to park guests a footpath width away from a medium sized pond and learned from the pond inhabitants about the wisdom of the seasons.  I studied the frogs and toads and a beautiful Green Heron standing on the shore of another small pond.  From them, I learned that nature provides in abundance if you live in harmony with her.  This message I took to those who attended my programs.  I considered this time to be a peak in my creative life.

So, what does this have to do with Thanks-giving, you ask? Well, during this morning's shower I came up with a great idea which this time I remembered.  I am grateful for my creative gift but have not been doing much with it lately.  So, I decided that during this season of thanks and giving that I would try to write something, if not every day at least once a week as my giving of thanks to the creator for the gift of creativity that has been given to me.  I may or may not post everything here but I will try to write something regularly.  Maybe I'll even roll out some bio-fiction.    

 So, what would happen if we all took the time to consider our talents and then decided to gift them to our world of friends during the rest of November and December?  Who might you lift up, who might you inspire, maybe you'd make someone laugh out loud, maybe you'd heal some wounds or make a new friend.  Despite the animosity prevalent in our world today, I believe that together we stand or fall.  My passion for writing might not be yours but maybe you can bake the best pecan pie EVER (DEB!) or maybe you are a creative genius with a needle, maybe you love to garden or can paint or take photographs that inspire. 

As the end of the world as we know it approaches on December 21, 2012 some think terrible things will happen or maybe nothing at all will occur.  I think that as an old cycle ends we have the opportunity to kick off a new cycle, a cycle where we all live better, higher lives that are more focused on love, kindness and support of each other.  A cycle where we recognize the talents we have been gifted with and instead of working for years doing things we hate for money, learn to live in a world that appreciates these gifts even if they are not the traditional ones.  Like I said, I think when we all achieve, everyone wins.  So, what will you give to the world in the next weeks?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Kindness Can Mean Everything

(written about 6 weeks ago.....)
I recently read an article on the Daily Good blog about how "It is more important to be kind than being clever."  The blog's author related a story about how he made a clever comment to his grandmother when he was 10 years old.  He made her cry.  That was when his grandfather made this profound statement.  Read the whole article at .

This article made me stop for a moment to ponder what it actually was saying.  Was it saying that in our business ventures we have become more concerned with money and getting ahead then thinking about how our actions affect our fellow man?  Does it say that every action has a consequence in some one's life and the ability to be really good or really bad? Or does it simply make the point that kindness should be the basis of everything we do and that you never know how profoundly you can make a difference with a single act?

I think it says all of those things.  I find it particularly telling when in a country where we are told constantly that things are REALLY bad, that big businesses are not prospering, that people are unemployed and it is becoming harder to get ahead in this world, where our 20 plus year old children with college educations can't find jobs and where mature workers sit idly by in minimum wage service jobs not valued for their knowledge or wisdom..that the prevailing attitude among many people I know is,  "Oh well, too bad, glad I'm not you!"

I often wonder where all the kindness and love went in this country supposedly built upon those very "Christian" principles.  

We are facing in our current elections this fall a stark difference in philosophical beliefs.  One party, despite what they may say in the next 6 weeks of campaigning is solidly a party of Christian's who believes that if you are poor, unemployed, old, physically or mentally challenged, desirous of an education at any age or enjoy the arts that well, it sucks to be you.  I spoke recently with a friend about the upcoming elections, he is a kind person, he is a Christian .  He agreed with me that if the Republican party wins in November that EVERY social support from NPR to Pell Grants, Dept of Education to support of the less fortunate would disappear.  I was excited yet sad that he would agree with me.  

On the other hand, our friends the Democrats have instituted the beginning of a Health Care plan that's major tenet was Health Care for Everyone because its too costly now. I think we can all agree that the pharmaceutical companies and health insurance industries are out of control.  I have no insurance and if I get sick...I cannot go to the doctor without incurring a $100 charge....for an office visit.  THAT is outrageous. A Z pack prescription costs $150 for this popular antibiotic...ridiculous!  Obama has also tried to save the biggest industry in America by giving it a hand when it needed it (kind eh?) and stopped banks from charging our kids double the interest on their Pell Grants. 

My point is that the Republicans seem to be a party of money grubbing, religious zealots without hearts who think that it is ok to prevaricate at every turn to get their way.  Democrats, on the other hand at least appear to want to try to solve some social issues in the only way it's been done in the past which it to make another plan and throw money at it.  At least they seem to be kind.  

So, I did not intend this to be a political treatise as I want this to be a kind blog, one that speaks about my journey and the things I've learned along the way. So...PLEASE forgive me this one digression. 

One thing I've learned is that it HURTS me when I find out that an action I've taken has hurt someone.  If I've been unkind or unloving, either from omission or commission, and it has trickled down, its ripples running out into people's lives ...then I feel badly and wonder how that ripple might have bumped people temporarily off their path or affected them, maybe even caused them to change their direction or intention.  A single word can totally change a person's life, 3 words,  I love you, are the best words to hear ever.

I've been the recipient of a lot of kindnesses.  This computer I am using now plus the 2 before were given to me without cost.  Some one's castoffs for sure but after some repair (thank you Jim,Jake,Roger & Robert!) they work/ed great.  What a wonderful gift! These friends didn't have to think about my needs or do a kind act but they did and those acts had a huge affect on my life!  There are many others who have acted kindly towards me providing a service, money or a summer job because they could.  They knew what a big deal it would be to me.  

What response have these acts elicited from me, have I, in return, demanded more kind acts?  Have I held tightly onto my good fortune and thought, "wow too bad for you that you are over there suffering, Ha ha, I've got stuff and you don't!" No, instead, kind acts breed kind acts and I have in turn tried to watch others carefully for signs of need so that I can extend support, looked at strangers with new eyes knowing how hard it is right now maybe there are things, actions, information that I have that I can give away which will help someone along their path.  I do not speak about this usually, as kindness multiplies, I think, when done in secret without demands.

There are a lot of good Republicans and Democrats out there, kind, generous, normal people who have worked hard to get where they are.  They've had lots of breaks along the way, things have probably pretty much gone swimmingly for them. But there are also out there a lot of good Democrats and Republicans who thought they had the American dream made then 2008 happened and they lost it all.  They did nothing wrong except in some cases be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  It was kind of like a tornado when it hits, one house stands another is blown away.  These fine folks didn't ask or deserve this but yet here they were up to their hips in muck they never dreamed of being in.  So, what ya gonna do about this situation? All our fighting and yelling at each other is neither kind nor conducive to problem solving.  

So, I don't have the answers to our national/international problems.  I do know what Jesus would do....he'd give that homeless person his coat without question and then walk with him that next mile....Would you?