14 July 2018 Seeing Without Eyes

Hello there.  How are you doing?  It’s Saturday night and now that the sun is dimming, it’s finally cooler.  It was a scorcher again today!  I slept a lot today to try and shake this fatigue I’ve been feeling.

A message came to me as I was trying to drift off, “You don’t have to have eyes to see.  There is vision in feeling…the clouds use the winds to see as well as feel.”   Those who have lost their vision can be physically blind or spiritually bankrupt.  It’s so easy in this world to be tempted to give our souls away to people, places and things that don’t deserve them!

Something I’ve had to learn and relearn over and overdon’t give your personal power away! 

What came to mind with this message about vision is what often happens when I go outside with my head phones on, close my eyes and move my hands through the air around me.  Sometimes I will go out and it’s completely still, no air moving at all.  Then I’ll do that simple ritual I do and a breeze will start to flow through the trees and around me.  It feels like nature responding to my touch almost!  It’s a beautiful experience!  I often imagine I’m flying when this happens.  I’ll open my eyes and look up in the sky and all sorts of birdies will be soaring around above me.

In all honesty, I’m thinking they are enjoying a nice meal I’ve stirred up for them with my moving around!  It’s magical to watch anyway!

22 9 19 9 15 14

V I S I O N = 88/16/7 divided by 2 = 3.5 = 8/4/2/1

19 9 7 8 20

S I G H T = 63/9 cycle

2 12 9 14 4

B L I N D = 41/5 divided by 2 = 2.5 = 7 divided by 2 = 3.5 = 8/4/2/1

19 5 14 19 5 19

S E N S E S = 81/9 cycle

6 5 5 12 9 14 7

F E E L I N G = 58/13/4/2/1

5 13 15 20 9 15 14 19

E M O T I O N S = 110/2/1

19 25 13 2 15 12

S Y M B O L = 86/14/5 divided by 2 = 2.5 – 7 divided by 2 = 3.5 = 8/4/2/1

23 15 18 4

W O R D = 60/6/3 cycle

I’ve shared this here before, I just love this scene, I love this movie.  This scene shows what it’s like for me sometimes when I’m outside, there is music in the winds.  When we just allow ourselves to connect with the child within the world becomes a place where anything is possible:

August Rush Opening

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12 July 2018 Double Rainbow on the Morning Walk

Hello!  We are just back from a walk with Link and Spot and were treated to a rare sight, a double rainbow!  One was bright and the other harder to see but it was there.  I was so excited I even stopped a neighbor as he drove by to ask if he saw the rainbow lol.  He smiled and said, “Yes I did!” I wasn’t sure we’d make it home in time to get a picture of them:

When your me and something like this happens where you’ve been drawing and or thinking about something and then a double rainbow appears, it feels like a conversation has occurred with God as I understand them.  They are saying with a colorful band in the sky “I am here.  I hear you.  I see you.  I will not only give you one rainbow but I will give you two!”  A reminder to slow down, let it go, look up and see the beauty of God in all creation! 

The three drawings here are me trying to work through finding out there was a reason I had a particular actor and his family on my mind these past couple of days.  I hadn’t checked on him in awhile to see what projects he was working on.  Well yesterday I decided to and found out there was another negative incident.  My prayers and positive intentions go out to him and his family.  What he is going through with anger resonates with me on so many levels and what his wife is having to go through resonates with my husband who is often my caretaker when I go off the rails.   I care more about this man as a person than I do as an actor and hope he can get what it is he needs in this life besides anger.

He and I need to sit on my back patio with all my chalks and draw together.  Chalk therapy with Jackie.

Egyptian archeologists found this massive black sarcophagus — and no one knows what’s inside

This was exciting to see – Kyle and I are hoping it’s some scrolls that avoided being burned in the main library of Alexandria or something!  WHAT’S IN THE BOX!!! 

9 July 2018 Sleep, Bird in the Water (missions) and Buy the Milk (story)

Hello – how are you doing in your here and now?  I hope this finds you well.  I’m tired again but getting better.  Think I’m getting closer to figuring out what the problem is – being too warm at night.  Link likes to cuddle right up next to me and he runs really warm.  Last night I went out to the couch and it was nice and cool and I actually slept some until he figured out I had left the bed and came looking for me lol.  Then we went back to the main bed and it had cooled down and I slept some more until things heated back up.   I’ve always slept better when it is cooler and ever since we adjusted the thermostat in the house, by just 1 degree higher, I haven’t been sleeping as well!

https://sports.yahoo.com/science-says-sleeping-cold-room-174708555.html

Science Says Sleeping In a Cold Room Is Better for Your Health

Courtney Campbell

Those who prefer to keep bedroom temperatures chilly while catching some shut eye may be on to something. According to an article written by Dr. Christopher Winter, Medical Director at Charlottesville Neurology & Sleep Medicine, and published by the Huffington Post, our bedroom temperatures can make a big difference when it comes to getting a good night of sleep.

Although most of us might not give a second thought to the temperature of our bedroom at night (unless you’re trying to save money), Winter says our rooms should be 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit for the best sleep. If the temperature goes above 75 degrees or below 54 degrees, it can cause people to toss and turn all night.

Why does the number on the thermostat matter? Our body temperatures naturally peak and decline during a 24-hour period, with the highest numbers occurring in the late afternoon and the lowest ones around 5 a.m. Sleep usually begins when our body temperature drops, so a colder room can encourage us to fall asleep faster.

If the promise of more sleep isn’t enough, there are plenty of other reasons to keep the air on cool:

You’ll have a more restful sleep.

Research done at the University of South Australia found that certain forms of insomnia occur with poor body temperature regulation. If you’re having trouble falling asleep at night, a colder room could help your body cool down enough to reach a level of deeper, restorative sleep.

It’ll keep you looking young.

Sleeping in a room warmer than 70 degrees will stop your body from releasing melatonin, one of the body’s best anti-aging hormones. Once we’re asleep in total darkness and our body temperature drops, it releases melatonin and triggers a slight cool-down in the body.

It can help you lose weight.

According to the Huffington Post, naturopathic doctor Natasha Turner says that as your body temperature drops and growth hormone is released, the stress hormone cortisol will also decrease with healthy sleep patterns. When you aren’t able to sleep enough, you’ll wake up with high levels of cortisol-meaning you’re more likely to reach for a box of cookies and have increased anxiety.

You lower your risk for metabolic disease.

One study found that sleeping in a room set to 66 degrees can help prevent certain metabolic diseases, like diabetes. Participants not only burned more calories when they were awake, but also nearly doubled their amount of brown fat, or good fat, which allows the body store fewer calories. Over time, this can lower the risk of metabolic diseases.

So, put on your favorite PJs, turn the A/C down to 65 degrees, and get ready to catch some zzz’s. ]]>😴

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Ugh…..yesterday was an emotional day for me.   It started with watching a video of a man saving an otter from killer whales.  Alas he couldn’t rescue the baby that was with her.  Hearing her scream for her baby just tore me up!  Little did I know this was going to be the tempo of my day!

As Temple Grandin says:

Temple Grandin

“Nature is cruel but we don’t have to be”

Temple Grandin, The Way I See It: A Personal Look at Autism & Asperger’s

8 July 2018 – Simple drawing I did before the sequence of events that would unfold

So yesterday Kyle and I decided to take the dogs on a walk in the evening and came across a loose dog.  He looked like Spot, probably even the same age, but was a Chihuahua.  He had tags and seemed to be a nice dog but we just couldn’t get close enough to him to read his tags.  Having Link and Spot along with us didn’t help either.  So we finished the walk and I went home.  I put a note about him and his whereabouts on our neighborhood Next Door page to let folks know about him in case they were looking.  Then I grabbed my phone and went out to see if I could get a picture to help identify him.

I didn’t find the sweet boy but I did find something quite tragic in front of my neighbor Fred’s place.  There was a bird in a puddle of water in his front yard.  At first glance I wasn’t sure if it was dead or alive.  When I stopped to really look, I saw labored breathing.  I chose to stop and sit down next to the dying being.  Their wings were all messed up.  I sat and talked to them in soothing tones and stroked their head which they seemed to respond to.  There were tears on my part because I knew there wasn’t much else I could do for the poor thing.  Fred’s cats were out and I knew it was either they were going to get the bird or it was going to be the ants we have around here.  We have ants that wait for Cicada’s to molt and eat them before they even fully get out of their casing!

So I was sitting there and Fred came home and asked me if everything was ok.  I told him about the bird.  He is a hospice nurse and was just home from work.  He was very tired and said, “Why always in my front yard?  The last time it was you telling me about my favorite cat!”  A year or so ago I had been walking and found his favorite cat with it’s throat torn on his front yard.  I had taken the time to tell him instead of just ignoring it.  He told me he had just been on vacation to California and it’s been 8 months since his wife died.  I said that I bet Cindy would be happy that he’s moving on, that she would want him to be happy…he deserved to be happy.  His wife had been sick for a very long time and they both suffered so much with it.   The dying bird I was sitting with was almost symbolic of what they had been through.

He went inside and grabbed some paper towels for me so I could remove the bird to what I hoped would be a safer dying place in my yard.  The bird seemed to find peace in being wrapped and closed it’s eyes as I carried it home.  One last effortless flight.  Alas the space I chose to give this poor thing rest in my yard was later found by the ants.  I think, I HOPE,  the bird had already passed on.  There just was no winning with this case.  I am praying that the bird found a moment of peace with how I chose to handle things.

Remember the message about life is about choices?  What I’ve shared with you illustrates this.  It’s probably happened so many times in your own life and you may not even have been conscious of it!

1) Kyle and I chose to take the dogs for a second walk which we don’t normally do in the summer here.  2) This lead us to the loose dog we wanted to help.  3) This lead me to going back out for a longer walk.   4) This lead me to finding and trying to console a dying bird.  5) This lead me to a loving conversation with Fred about his wife who died after suffering a long illness.

All of this felt like a mission.  I don’t believe that it was “just a coincidence.”  There is the hidden director at work!  Do you heed the direction or do you ignore it?

A long time friend shared a story with me recently.  I don’t know if it’s true story but it was a great example of what I have experienced in my own life when I heed direction from the unseen director….God of energy, the Source….the Universe.

http://www.gospelweb.net/Illustrations/BuyTheMilk.htm

Buy The MilkOr Are You An Angel?
Author Unknown
Bible.Flag
Follow Book & Flag

A young man had been to Wednesday night Bible Study. The Pastor had spoken about “listening to God and obeying the Lord’s voice.”

The young man couldn’t help but wonder, “Does God still speak to people?” After service he went out with some friends for coffee and pie and they discussed the message. Several different ones talked about how God had led them in different ways. It was about ten o’clock when the young man started driving home. Sitting in his car, he just began to pray, “God, if you still speak to people, speak to me. I will listen. I will do my best to obey.”

As he drove down the main street of his town, he had the strangest thought to stop and buy a gallon of milk. He shook his head and said out loud, “God is that you?” He didn’t get a reply, so he started on toward home. But again, the thought came to him… buy a gallon of milk.

The young man thought about Samuel, and how he didn’t recognize the voice of God, and how little Samuel ran to Eli. “Okay, God, in case that is you, I will buy the milk.” It didn’t seem like too hard a test of obedience. He could always use the milk. So, he stopped and purchased the gallon of milk and started toward home.

As he passed Seventh Street, he again felt the urge, “Turn down that street.” This is crazy, he thought, and drove on past the intersection. Again, he felt that he should turn down Seventh Street. At the next intersection, he turned back and headed down Seventh. Half jokingly, he said out loud, “Okay, God, I will”.

He drove several blocks, when suddenly, he felt like he should stop. He pulled over to the curb and looked around. He was in a semi-commercial area of town. It wasn’t the best, but it wasn’t the worst of neighborhoods either. The businesses were closed and most of the houses looked dark, like people were already in bed.

Again, he sensed something, “Go and give the milk to the people in the house across the street.” The young man looked at the house. It was dark and it looked like the people were either gone or they were already asleep. He started to open the door and then sat back in the car seat. “Lord, this is insane. Those people are asleep and if I wake them up, they are going to be mad and I will look stupid.”

Again, he felt like he should go and give the milk. Finally, he opened the door and said, “Okay God, if this is you, I will go to the door and I will give them the milk. If you want me to look like a crazy person, okay. I want to be obedient. I guess that will count for something but, if they don’t answer right away, I am out of here.”

He walked across the street and rang the bell. He could hear some noise inside. A man’s voice yelled out, “Who is it? What do you want?”

Then the door opened before the young man could get away. The man was standing there in his jeans and T-shirt. He looked like he just got out of bed. He had a strange look on his face and he didn’t seem too happy to have some stranger standing on his doorstep.

The man asked, “What is it?”

The young man thrust out the gallon of milk and said, “Here, I brought this to you,” he said.

The man took the milk and rushed down a hallway speaking loudly in Spanish. Then from down the hall came a woman carrying the milk toward the kitchen. The man was following her holding a baby. The baby was crying. The man had tears streaming down his face.

The man began speaking and half crying, “We were just praying. We had some big bills this month and we ran out of money. We didn’t have any milk for our baby. I was just praying and asking God to show me how to get some milk.”

His wife in the kitchen yelled out,”I ask him to send an angel with some. Are you an Angel?”

The young man reached into his wallet and pulled out all the money he had on him and put it in the man’s hand. Then he turned and walked back toward his car and tears were streaming down his face. He knew then that God does still speak to people… and answer prayers.

 

8 July 2018 – Simple drawing I did before the sequence of events that would unfold – looks like a man in a box looking for a way out to me. 

 

7 July 2018 Mermaid Returns (chalk drawing) and Genome of Redwoods

Found some quotes I liked from the Daily Good site – http://www.dailygood.org/ :

Great art picks up where nature ends.
Marc Chagall

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.
C. S. Lewis

When we show our respect for other living things, they show respect for us.
Arapahoe Proverb

The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation.
Bertrand Russell

Water is life’s mater and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water.
Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, Hungarian biochemist and Nobel Prize Winner for Medicine

If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.
Meister Eckhart

I hope this finds you well in mind, body and spirit as you visit here.  I’m in the ocean and in the woods today lool!  Going to try and go back to bed and see if I can get some sleep.  I seem to be experiencing a bit of insomnia which is uncommon for me.  In talking to several other people, this condition seems to be going around!

I hope no one minds me sharing this Interesting article.  I am grateful for CBS News for posting it.  Sometimes these positive stories get overlooked in all the negative “b.s” that usually permeates the headlines.  This morning I actually woke up with it on my mind!  I have wondered for the longest time if this type of thing was ever going to be done.  I have wondered why we aren’t doing autopsies on falling trees to find out their stories so we can do more to preserve them.  Looks like they are actually doing this now:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/mapping-the-genome-of-redwoods/ar-AAzqj3W

CBS News

Mapping the genome of redwoods

Our liberties and traditions are rooted in history, as are some of our natural monuments along our West Coast. Lee Cowan reports our Cover Story:
Deep in one of California’s few remaining old-growth forests sat an oddity, popular with tourists since the 1880s: a giant sequoia so giant a tunnel was carved in its trunk.

Last year that tree toppled over during a storm. It was estimated to be around a thousand years old.

It – and others redwoods like it – are a testament to how much we are fascinated by these ancient evergreen, but it’s also a reminder of how much we’ve abused them.

“It looked like the redwoods were a limitless resource, that we could never possibly cut all of them down,” said Ranger Alex Tabone. “We needed those for houses and lumber camps, and mine shaft tunnel shore-up poles.”

a person standing next to a tree in a forest: Correspondent Lee Cowan with Ranger Alex Tabone at Big Basin Redwoods State Park in California.

© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. Correspondent Lee Cowan with Ranger Alex Tabone at Big Basin Redwoods State Park in California. Tabone is a ranger at the very first state park in California – Big Basin Redwoods State Park – about 65 miles south of San Francisco.

It’s been a park since 1902, ever since a photographer named Andrew P. Hill led the first of its kind conservation charge to protect these giants – like what’s now called the Father of the Forest tree.

“It was probably only going to be another six months to a year before all of these old-growth trees were standing in right now, would have been gone,” said Tabone.

While those trees were saved, other old growth groves were not so lucky. In a 1965 CBS News documentary, our own Charles Kuralt reported on the rush to turn some of the last remaining redwood forests either into lumber or to clear them out of the way to make room for a highway.

“A hundred years ago the great original Redwood forest covered two million acres along the California coast,” Kuralt said, “but more than two-thirds of the virgin redwood trees are gone.”

Their loss was lamented even then. One woman told CBS News, “The more you can preserve of this, the better. I don’t think that the world needs any more freeways. Pretty soon you’re just going to end up with a bunch of roads with no place to go on ’em.”

The final tally: 95% of California’s original Redwood forest was logged, wiped clean, leaving only giant stumps as reminders of what had stood here for so long.

And it’s not as if threat is entirely over. Even today, only about a quarter of the coast redwood habitat is protected from commercial logging and development.

Those that remain stand as cathedrals of nature. Some have been here long before Columbus landed in the Americas, and tower some 30 stories tall.

Cowan asked, “What’s it like when you’re here and you see someone that’s never been in a redwood forest before to come here and see this?”

“That’s the best, that is the best,” replied Sam Hodder, president and CEO of the non-profit Save the Redwoods League.

“What do they say?”

“Usually it’s something along the lines of ‘Aaaahhhhhh my God!” he laughed.

a close up of a tree: Lee Cowan and Sam Hodder in a ferry ring of densely-populated redwood trees.

© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. Lee Cowan and Sam Hodder in a ferry ring of densely-populated redwood trees. His organization’s founders started buying up forest land a hundred years ago, but much of it is younger forests that aren’t maturing as big or as fast as some conservationists would like to see.

“We’re working with redwood forests that have been clear cut multiple times, and are growing back with such a density of stems, that they’re crowding each other out,” Hodder said. “It becomes a thicket of spindly trees that don’t get enough sunlight, that don’t get enough water. … There’s too much competition.”

So, there’s a subtle shift underway from forest conservation to forest restoration – which includes one idea that may have you scratching your heads: logging.

Over the next five years, Save the Redwoods League will be working to thin over 10,000 acres of smaller trees in order to give the remaining redwoods more space, more nutrients, and more light – in order to grow faster.

“Just like in a garden where you prune to accelerate the growth of the dominant plants, you need to thin,” said Hodder.,

But figuring out which of these precious trees stay and which ones go is no easy decision.

“We treat all the trees like they’re the same, but they’re really, really not,” said League scientist Emily Burns. She and University of California at Davis professor David Neale are trying to unlock the genetic secrets of some of the oldest living things on the planet.

Cowan asked, “So, as old as they are, and as iconic as they are, we don’t really know that much about them?”

“They’re the strong silent type,” Burns said. “And so we have to use science to help decode what’s going on with these trees.”

Last year in two labs – one at UC Davis, the other at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore – they began the complex task of mapping the redwood genome, to uncover Nature’s blueprint that is as unique to every tree as our own genetic makeup is to us.

“You have to have a parts lists to understand whether anything is the same or different than it was before,” said Neale. “The parts list for redwoods did not exist.”

“It is a daunting task though, right?”

“Yeah, we won’t be able to do it overnight, you know? I mean it might take a few years, but it’s achievable.”

We as humans have three billion pairs of DNA – pretty complicated. But the coast redwood has some 30 billion base pairs.

“But I thought we were the most complex organisms on Earth?” asked Cowan.

“Well, no, you should rethink that!” Neale laughed.

It all starts with the redwood’s cones – and the seeds embedded in them, high up in the canopy, where someone has to make their way all the way up and pluck them off by hand. It’s from the seeds where the DNA is extracted, one scalpel cut at a time.

a close up of a tree: Plucking cones from the tops of redwood trees, some 200-300 feet in the air.©

Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. Plucking cones from the tops of redwood trees, some 200-300 feet in the air. Millions of little pieces of DNA, the chemical building blocks of life, are all sequenced, and then fed into a powerful computer. “Basically you take a puzzle and you throw it on the floor, and now you have to put it back together,” Neale said.

The $2.6 million project has been funded by mostly private donations. When it’s done, scientists will have mapped enough of the genome in enough trees to help identify the kinds that are the most resilient and likely to live a nice long life.

“Within a hundred years we absolutely can set these forests on a healthy trajectory where they have many of the characteristics we’re looking for in old growth,” Burns said.

Call it a nurturing nudge from science, all to save what John Steinbeck once called “ambassadors from another time.”

“When so much of the conversation today is about what we’ve lost – the damming of the world’s waterways, the receding glaciers – we have in the redwoods a sense of hope,” said Hodder. “And we can truly leave the world better than we found it.”

a close up of a tree: The "Father of the Forest" redwood tree.

© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. The “Father of the Forest” redwood tree.       For more info:

Big Basin Redwoods State Park, Boulder Creek, Calif.Save the Redwoods LeagueDavid Neale, College of Biological Sciences, UC Davis        Story produced by Mark Hudspeth.

In order to restore old-growth giants like those in California's Big Basin Redwoods State Park, scientists are studying the DNA of the coast redwood tree and its relative, the giant sequoia.: redwood-trees-promo.jpg

© CBS News redwood-trees-promo.jpg

5 July 2018 Milk Glass Vase, Watching a Different Sort of Darren Criss, The Practice of Walking (Daily Good)

Hello to you.  Just a quick visit.  I’m really tired.  I haven’t had much sleep the past couple of days.  We had a really nice visit with Kyle’s family yesterday and that of course included lots of furry people too.  It was just nice to get caught up as we hadn’t seen each other in several months.  They understood that it was best to steer clear of us until my cycle was over.  So we had burgers and chicken from the grill, some potato and macaroni salads, the blueberry pie Beth made from scratch and my chocolate pudding pie.  We played  a round of Yahtzee and Kyle and his Dad were the only ones to actually roll Yahtzee’s lol!  There were far too many zero’s on my score sheet but it was so fun to play together.  I like the sound of the dice in the cup when you shake it for your roll lol!  I like my dice shaken but not stirred lool!

What is Yahtzee?

Yahtzee

Yahtzee
Yahtzee is a dice game made by Milton Bradley, which was first marketed as Yatzie by the National Association Service of Toledo, Ohio, in the early 1940s. Yatzie was included in a game set called LUCK – 15 Grand Dice Games. It was marketed under the name of Yahtzee by game entrepreneur Edwin S. Lowe in 1956. Lowe is also responsible for introducing Bingo to the U.S. market. The game is a development of earlier dice games such as Poker Dice, Yacht and Generala. It is also similar to Yatzy, which is popular in Scandinavia
This mornings drawing isn’t what I had wrote myself a note to draw.  I was supposed to draw a mermaid for my dear Cindy! I will be sure to do that after I’m rested so she actually looks like a mermaid!  I’m not firing on all cylinders lol!  One of the two milk glass pieces my Aunt Ruth gave me that belonged to my Grandparents made it into things today.  When you think of milk glass do you immediately think about dipping an oreo or something in a glass of milk?  Well there is a type of glass that is actually called Milk glass:

5 July 2018 Milk glass vase that belonged to Grandma and Grandpa Becker Alvarado TX

https://www.countryliving.com/shopping/antiques/g2965/milk-glass-facts/ – a vase like the one I have is actually in this article, valued at about $10.  It’s worth much more in sentimental value of course!
“Opaque Glass originated in 16th century Venice and came in a variety of colors, including white, pink, yellow, blue, and brown. The white variety beloved today rose to prominence during the Victorian era, when 
it was coveted as an economic dead-ringer for porcelain. (The Victorians also get credit for coining the term “milk glass.”) Its production and popularity waned during the Great Depression but saw a resurgence after World War II. Thanks to a frenzy of mass production during the 1950s and 1960s from companies such as Anchor Hocking, Fenton, and Westmoreland, the mid-century finds are readily available today—many for mere milk money. Here are some pretty pieces to add to your own collection.”
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Last night Mom Beth and I stayed up late and watched about half of The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story starring Darren Criss (Blaine from Fox show Glee):https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Assassination_of_Gianni_Versace:_American_Crime_Story

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story is the second season of the FX true crime anthology television series American Crime Story. The season premiered on January 17, 2018,[1][2] and concluded on March 21, 2018. It consists of a total of 9 episodes,[3] and explores the murder of designer Gianni Versace by spree killer Andrew Cunanan, based on Maureen Orth‘s book Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History.[2][4]

I normally don’t like to watch television shows with gun violence or based on real stories.  I used to but with the way things have gotten in this country, I don’t need it in my entertainment too.  This said, this was Darren Criss and Beth and I both have an appreciation for him ever since his role as Blaine on Glee.  While it was strangely delightful watching him dance around in a Speedo at one point, it was equally awful watching him murder people and be the kind of human being he was asked to be for this part.  At least they didn’t do the cardinal sin of showing the harming of a dog (physically.)  Ryan Murphy was at the helm of this production.  You could tell.  He knows how to do character development almost too well!  There were times as I was watching that I squirmed, felt a great awkwardness with watching Darren as Andrew being a sociopath and just never telling the truth.  I was physically uncomfortable, cringed and just felt so mortified for the people being portrayed that had once been alive and how Darren Criss’s character Andrew Cunanan destroyed them.

The last I saw of the show last night was the part that brought Beth and I both to tears and it was enough that I don’t know if I could watch anymore of the series.  It’s when he killed the young architect David Madson.  Ryan really put together a sequence for this that just really brought home the message that David was someone’s little boy once and he was dearly loved.   No matter how his Dad felt about David being gay, he loved him more than anything. 

Like I said, I don’t indulge and or relish watching gun violence in most everything now.  When the violent parts happened in the show, I kept saying to Beth, “this is why I like to watch baking and home decorating shows!”  I see someone being hurt, it’s like it’s happening to me.  This said, this scene I am sharing isn’t all about that.  It’s a painfully poignant scene where Andrew is gunning David down and in this process David is transported to one of his most special memories with his Dad.  He realizes he shouldn’t be there again but it brings him peace in the middle of yet another terrifying bit of time with Andrew and just before he dies:

American Crime Story Versace 2×04- Andrew kills David ( Ending Scene)

How do you smudge your soul after channeling someone like Andrew Cunanan?  I see young actors like Darren, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and others who take on these very dark aspects of human nature and I worry about them.  What is the aftercare for their soul after exposing it to such horror?  Even if it is “just pretend?”  I imagine it is probably therapeutic to some degree to be able to “let loose” of the shadow self.  I know when I’m allowed to really yell, scream or release anger I feel better afterwards but how do you bring things back to balance afterwards?  We’ve seen many instances of actors who just couldn’t get back to balance.  It’s very rare that someone can channel such a villain and not implode or explode afterwards.  People like Christopher Lee, Anthony Hopkins, Alan Rickman, Liam Neeson and Mads Mikkelsen don’t come along too often!

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.
Frederick Douglas

Great article topic from the daily good to share!

http://www.dailygood.org/2018/07/05/the-practice-of-walking/this is one of the most important things in my sanity toolkit.  A 40 min walk is great therapy!

But the beauty is in the walking — we are betrayed by destinations. –Gwyn Thomas

 

The Practice of Walking

–by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee & Hilary Hart, syndicated from heartfulnessmagazine.com, Jul 05, 2018

In the busy-ness of our contemporary life, we are drawn into ceaseless activity that often separates us from the deeper dimension of ourselves. With our smartphones and computer screens, we often remain caught on the surface of our lives amidst the noise and chatter that continually distract us, that stops us from being rooted in our true nature. Unaware we are drowned deeper and deeper in a culture of soulless materialism.

At this time I find it more and more important to have outer activities that can connect us to what is more natural and help us live in relationship to the deep root of our being, and in an awareness of the moment which alone can give real meaning to our everyday existence. Over the years I have developed a number of simple practices that bring together action and a quality of heart-centered attention, or deepening awareness, that can nourish our lives in hidden ways. These activities, like walking, cooking with love and attention, can reconnect us with the web of life, our natural interconnection with life in its beauty and wonder. They can help us ‘declutter’ our outer life and instead become rooted in what is simple and real. One of these practices, which combines action with awareness, is walking.


Walk as if you are kissing
the Earth with your feet.

—Thich Nhat Hanh


I have always loved to walk early in the morning, to sense the Earth at the beginning of a day, to feel Her pulse, Her beauty and magic, before thoughts and demands clutter my day. Waking early, I have a hot cup of tea, meditate in silence, and then, as soon as the first light comes, I walk down the hill to the road beside the wetlands where I live. Sometimes the frost is sparkling around me, sometimes the water is clouded with fog, an egret appearing white against the reeds. This is another time of silent meditation, walking, breathing, feeling the Earth. I try to be as empty as possible, just to be present in the half-light, aware of what is around me. Prayer, meditation, presence, awareness – these are just words for a practice that immerses me in a mystery we call nature. Here the sacred speaks to me in its own language, and I try to listen.

Now I live beside the wetlands, and the tidal water is part of this meeting, this communion. Other times, in other landscapes, it has been rivers and streams, the sounds of waterfowls’ wings, the dawn rising across meadows. Or in forests, a different bird chorus, animals skittering across the path, a deer and her young. Always it is a listening awareness, a deep receptivity to what is around me, an honoring of a world other than people. It is a remembrance of what is essential, elemental, and its nourishment carries me through the day. It is a return to the sacred, sensed and felt, without words or thoughts – a primal consciousness as if of the first day.

This is a practice that has been with me since my teens – when I first started to meditate I also needed to walk. It was not taught or learned, but came as a need, a way to be, an antidote to much of the world around me – a world of people and problems, demands and desires. When one foot follows the other and the day has hardly begun, it seems these demands cannot touch me, as if I am immersed in something simpler, more essential. Placing each foot on the earth is a practice, but a practice that comes from my own roots, not a book or a teacher. Later I came to hear it called “walking in a sacred manner,” and it is sacred, a return to what is sacred. But it also is deeper or more primal than any purpose. Nature speaks to me and I listen. Nature calls and something deep within me responds, and I just need to give it space. I am part of a life far greater than any ‘me’.



The Earth gives us sustenance: the air we breathe, the food we eat. She is generous in so many ways, even as we forget Her and abuse Her. But there is also this deeper nourishment, this invisible, intangible giving. My early morning walk is a communion – if I am receptive, it is a wine drunk deeply. It comes through Her landscape, moss dripping from the trees, white and pink blossoms welcoming spring, the cry of a sea bird. Those first rays of sunrise are always a blessing. I do not understand this with my mind, but my soul feels it, needs it. Once again we are back at the beginning, in that elemental world we never truly leave. Our present culture may have forgotten it, disowned it, covered it over, may pretend we no longer need this communion, but my soul and my feet know otherwise. This is the landscape of the soul as much as it is the wetlands stretching towards the ocean. But it is also any landscape we walk. A walk on city streets is made of the same elements: feet touching ground, the rhythm of walking, breathing, the same sky overhead, the wind touching the face.

I would like to say it is easy, but so often I have to remember to reconnect, to empty the clutter of the coming day from my mind, my everyday thoughts. I have to stay in a place of awareness, sense my feet, feel the air, listen. I have to remember that I am not separate but part of everything around me. I have to push aside this great myth of separation, the great untruth. We are the air we breathe, the earth we touch, the same one life, alive in so many ways. We are the Earth awakening in the early morning, just as we are the buds breaking into color in the spring. To be fully alive is to feel how we are part of this embracing mystery. My morning walk is a remembrance, a reconnection, experienced in the body and felt in the soul.


So often I have to remember to reconnect,
to empty the clutter of the coming day from my mind,
my everyday thoughts.
I have to stay in a place of awareness,
sense my feet, feel the air, listen.
I have to remember that I am not separate
but part of everything around me.


Walking Practice


Walking reinforces our connection to the Earth, one step at a time. Attuning to the rhythms of one’s feet, the swaying of one’s arms, the in and out of breath, the ways walking moves us through time and space, helps develop this relationship, reminding us consciously and unconsciously just how much a part of nature we are. Nature is cyclic and rhythmic, and walking – when we are not focused on where we are going – attunes us to this non-linear reality.

Walking practice is perhaps best begun alone, when the intimacy of nature’s communication can be sensed without distraction. Just as when we meet a lover in the early part of a relationship, we do not want to share that meeting with others. Choose a time when you can be alone, when listening, hearing, and sensing can take place. Perhaps the start or the end of the day, before life’s clamoring takes hold or after it lets go. Lunchtime or an afternoon break from work might be more difficult, but if that is the time available, then make sure the walk is long enough for you to let go of work thoughts or tensions of the day.

Turn off the cell phone, or better yet, leave it at home or the office. There is a way that the vulnerabilities that come with being alive have been squelched by our daily-life safety tools, like cell phones. If you can be without the protection and constant access they provide, try it. Social media will not miss documentation from your walk.

Find a park or a path through quiet woods if you can. Let the rhythm of your steps soothe your mind and create a space for listening. Feel how your feet connect with the earth, how the air moves through your lungs. Follow your attention as it is drawn inward and outward both – to the inner movements of your body and to the feeling of warmth or cold, the sight of birds, the sound of a distant plane. Let your thoughts and impressions move through and out, as part of the natural rhythm of walking. Just as we come back to the breath in silent meditation, return your attention to your feet and their meeting and letting go of the ground.

Commit to walking every day if you can. Walk without expectation, with an attitude of openness and gratitude. If you feel a longing inside you – a need to connect, a desire to be closer to nature – let it motivate and guide you.

The nineteenth-century existential philosopher Søren Kierkegaard once wrote in a letter to his niece, “Every day, I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it.”


Syndicated from Heartfulness MagazineLLEWELLYN VAUGHAN-LEE & HILARY HART explore the contemplative, spiritual value of walking in Nature, and share with us a simple walking practice.

 

 

 

3 July 2018 Repurposing

Hello to you this HOT Texas afternoon.  Oh my goodness it’s summer lol.  I can’t believe I could forget how toasty and crunchy this time of the year can be.  At least the Cicada’s sing to me all day 🙂

As you may or may not remember, earlier this year I was not myself.  During this time Kyle was tested sorely and one of my precious crystals got tossed really hard on the pavement.  It was just one of the many things that were nearly destroyed when time in the Anger Room in Dallas (https://www.angerroom.com/) would have served us better!  Well we’ve managed to mend our relationship as we always do.  In celebration of our progress, today I decided to try and repurpose or fix the crystal he tossed.  I had saved some of the main pieces and thought it would be neat to soften the rough edges with shells we collected on our wedding cruise to Puerto Rico, to St. Martin in particular.  I know some would cringe at the thought of doing this to a quartz crystal ball but I am very pleased with her new look.  She looks like a queen now and is a fusion of land and sea!

I’m so grateful Kyle has stuck around despite the stormy times we’ve had together.  I’m so grateful he about as unconditionally as is humanly possible loves me and the person I am….as changeable as that can be sometimes!

For those who celebrate the 4th of July, hope you have a great day.  Remember if you have furry loved ones to make sure they are secure before the firework displays start.  They have much better hearing than we do!  We’ve already had a lot of dogs and cats running away around here because of the loud noises.

http://www.wafb.com/story/38566600/vets-warn-pet-owners-about-fireworks-shows-4th-of-july

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) –

Before you shoot off fireworks over the Independence Day holiday, think about your pets.

RELATED: Where you can and can’t shoot off fireworks

Doctors with the LSU Veterinary School of Medicine are warning owners about the dangers of fireworks shows. They say pets like dogs, cats, and livestock have enhanced hearing and are easily startled by the loud noises.

“They have very sensitive hearing, so it’s a lot harder for them to hear and see that than it is for us,” said Dr. Nancy Welborn. “And they don’t know it’s coming, so it’s scary. So the best thing, one, is never take pets to a fireworks show.”

Dr. Welborn says pets will run off and can get lost. She says it’s best to let your pet find a safe spot inside and stay there until the show is over.

“My dog, my personal dog, he hides in a closet, and it’s dark in there. I kind of close the door and he’s fine,” Dr. Welborn said. “They can pick their spot where they want to be.”

Dr. Welborn recommends that if you pet is overly anxious, you consider medication to relieve stress. But you must consult your veterinarian before administering any kind of drug.

Also, make sure your pet has a collar. Microchips are even better, because then you can easily track your pet if they get scared and run off.

Doctors also say you need to keep livestock in mind. Horses and cattle are easily startled, so if you are about to start a fireworks show, make sure it’s a safe distance away from any livestock.

Copyright 2018 WAFB. All rights reserved.

2 July 2018 Drawings, Young People Trying to Save the Earth and Nature is Medicine – Even in Prison Cell

If you are curious to read about Felix’s program:

https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/german-12-year-old-boy-plants-1million-trees-takes-over-un-program-to-plant-a-trillion-more/excerpt from John Large article

German 12-Year-old Boy Plants 1Million Trees, Takes Over UN Program to Plant a Trillion More – By John Large 

“The world is a lot greener thanks to this 20-year-old and his army of “climate ambassadors” who have pledged to plant trees and use youth power to avert climate change.

Ever since he was 9 years old, Felix Finkbeiner has been an international figurehead for saving the planet. In 2007, the German youngster founded a global youth movement called “Plant for the Planet” – an initiative that trains and recruits kids from around the world to plant trees as a means of combatting climate change.

Since its creation, the movement has already made significant progress with the help of over 100,000 enthusiastic youth between the ages of 9 and 12—and he planted his one-millionth tree in Germany when he was just twelve. Alongside the Paris Agreement, Finkbeiner’s campaign is a formidable defense of the planet.”

http://www.dailygood.org/story/2012/nature-is-medicine-even-in-a-prison-cell-nalini-nadkarni/

Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven.
–Rabindranath Tagore

Nature is Medicine — Even in a Prison Cell

–by Nalini Nadkarni, syndicated from Yes Magazine, Jul 02, 2018

 excerpt, use link for entire article

“The “Moss-in-Prison” project helped me bring my love for trees and forest to men and women in the deepest windowless reaches of the prison system.

The human environment of hospitals is in many ways similar to those of prisons. The “inmates” of both prisons and hospital wards experience extreme stress and anxiety, as their activities and fate are no longer under their own control. Interior spaces are stark and sterile—for punitive and security reasons for prisoners; for health reasons for patients. Their webs of social interactions are entirely dependent on who might choose to visit them; often these individuals are islands in a frightening sea. Behavioral psychologists have documented that the view of nature outside a window or portrayed on backlit panels can reduce stress and speed recovery. In 2013, I found a maximum security prison in Oregon that was open to the idea of showing nature videos to men in their solitary confinement cellblocks to explore whether this might reduce agitation, anxiety, and the violent infractions that cause injury to inmates and officers. We installed a projector in the exercise room of one of the cellblocks and provided inmates with the opportunity to view the videos during their exercise time—one hour a day, three days a week.

After a year, our surveys and interviews of staff and inmates revealed that they felt lower stress, agitation, and irritability, and were able to carry a “sense of calmness” from seeing the nature video when they returned to their individual cells. Most significantly, we learned that the inmates who viewed nature videos committed twenty-six percent fewer violent infractions than those who did not view them, a convincing result for the prison officers and administrators—and for ourselves. Further work is now needed to learn how this “nature intervention” might work in other prisons, and to understand which elements of nature were most effective in bringing light to the darkest parts of our prison system.

I have been intimate with trees—through the curious eyes of a tree-climbing child, the number-filled notebooks of an academic scientist, the borrowed lenses from people of diverse disciplines and experiences, and most importantly, moving the shuttle of a loom that brings together the intersecting threads of nature and the multiple ways that society comes to perceive and communicate insights about our world. Practicing natural history—and the love that grows organically from that action—is a critical thread in the tapestry that makes up our world, an entity that is complex, connected, useful, strong, fragile, and beautiful.”

 

Links:

https://www.plant-for-the-planet.org/en/home#intro – link to his main website with more information  and if you would like to start your own program and or donate.

https://www.theoceancleanup.com/ – reading about Felix made me think of another young man with ambitions goals to help save this planets oceans from being overrun by plastic, Boyan Slat.

We have some amazing young people rising up on this planet and they give me hope for the future.  Thank you for your courage! Love, hugs and positive vibes for all those stopping by today.  I appreciate your visits!

28 June 2018 For You

Hello to you.  Just a quick note.  I hope you can make out the picture from this morning.  I like to draw when there is shade on that side of the house so my pictures don’t come out as bright as I’d like.  I tried doing a trick with a metal tray like in The Fifth Element movie – “Aziz Light!”  – but it didn’t work lool.

The Fifth Element – Aziz Light!

An important thing I keep having to remember is when I do things like my drawings, this blog or whatever to do it for myself first.  I have to check my motivation for doing things.  There have been times in my life when I have done things for others expecting something in return and all I got out of the deal was a resentment!  My husband has taught me during the course of our marriage the important lesson of living without expectations.   If you are going to do something, make sure you are doing it for the right reasons.

 

Life is short and we have not too much time
for gladdening the hearts of those
who are traveling the dark way with us.
Oh, be swift to love! Make haste to be kind.

henri-frederic amiel – 1885

 

My Aunt shared this video on Facebook and I loved it so much I shared it too!  Sharing it here for my animal lovers in case you haven’t seen it.  This video is good for your heart!

Therapy Pets

21 June 2018 Shadows, Drawing, Dream and Building Relationships with People from Different Cultures (Community Toolbox)

Hello to you.  I hope this finds you well wherever and whenever you are.

My mind put together some keys and made a very strange dream for me last night.  In my waking world there was a visit to our door from two girls from Estonia.  They were foreign exchange students trying to sell children’s books and since Link and Spot can’t read, we didn’t buy any books lol.  Thinking about all the immigrant, refugee, racial and other tensions going on in our world.  Then just before bed I was reading from the Chronicles of Narnia about Edmund, Peter, Susan, Lucy and Trumpkin not letting a bear they killed go to waste and stripping it for meat for their travels.

Well the dream was of me meeting Vladimir Putin through a glass door.  He looked at me and mouthed the word, “White.”  In the dream I looked like I did back in the 90’s when I had let me hair grown long and wavy and I was really tan.  I said, “I am white.”  Then there is a scene of me using a hammer to cut raw meat on an anvil to make steaks for us to eat.

Weird right?!  I am still holding out for the day that our world leaders are all sitting together playing a round of Monster Hunter together or some PVP.

People doing yoga together outside on a beautiful day. (Source Internet)

25 15 7 1

Y O G A = 48/12/3 cycle

When people go to work they shouldn’t have to leave their hearts at home.
Betty Bender

It’s so complicated and yet so simple what’s going on in our world today.  For example today is World Yoga Day.  It’s so simple to imagine a bunch of people from all walks of life sitting in a natural setting together.   Focused on their breathing, meditating and in my case probably drifting off for a nap.

It starts to get very complicated when you see what happens after all those same people get up and head out into their own lives.  Kind of like what happens after a church service, a concert, a festival or a family gathering.  What happens to the peace, unity, acceptance, calm, togetherness…..love for each other?  People get behind the wheels of their cars and start honking, making angry faces and tailgating their ways out of the parking lot and on to the busy roads that lead to their daily lives.

My hope for more people is for them to be able to hold on to what they experience and learn when they are sharing space with people of all walks of life beyond the experience and into the day to day world.

Seek first to understand……..

I found this on my digital travels this morning and felt it was really good and wanted to share it with you.  What is discussed here is what I think is missing from a lot of the places that are experiencing so many problems with race, religion and sexual orientation.  A lot of people operate under assumptions, misinformation, stereotypes and just narrow minded programming starting at childhood and it can cause a lot of problems at all levels of existence in our world!  It’s never too late to change and grow!

https://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/culture/cultural-competence/building-relationships/main

Section 2. Building Relationships with People from Different Cultures

  • How do you learn about people’s cultures?

  • How do you build relationships with people from other cultures?

 

Photo of people in a circle with their hands in the middle

 

Relationships are powerful. Our one-to-one connections with each other are the foundation for change. And building relationships with people from different cultures, often many different cultures, is key in building diverse communities that are powerful enough to achieve significant goals.

Whether you want to make sure your children get a good education, bring quality health care into your communities, or promote economic development, there is a good chance you will need to work with people from several different racial, language, ethnic, or economic groups. And in order to work with people from different cultural groups effectively, you will need to build sturdy and caring relationships based on trust, understanding, and shared goals.

Why? Because trusting relationships are the glue that hold people together as they work on a common problem. As people work on challenging problems, they will have to hang in there together when things get hard. They will have to support each other to stay with an effort, even when it feels discouraging. People will have to resist the efforts of those who use divide-and-conquer techniques–pitting one cultural group against another.

Regardless of your racial, ethnic, religious, or socioeconomic group, you will probably need to establish relationships with people whose group you may know very little about.

Each one of us is like a hub of a wheel. Each one of us can build relationships and friendships around ourselves that provide us with the necessary strength to achieve community goals. If each person builds a network of diverse and strong relationships, we can come together and solve problems that we have in common.

In this section, we are going to talk about:

  • Becoming aware of your own culture as a first step in learning about other people’s culture.
  • Building relationships with people from many different cultures.

But first let’s talk about what culture is. Culture is a complex concept, with many different definitions. But, simply put, “culture” refers to a group or community with which we share common experiences that shape the way we understand the world. It includes groups that we are born into, such as gender, race, national origin, class, or religion. It can also include groups we join or become part of. For example, we can acquire a new culture by moving to a new region, by a change in our economic status, or by becoming disabled. When we think of culture this broadly we realize we all belong to many cultures at once. Do you agree? How might this apply to you?

How do you learn about people’s cultures?

Start by becoming aware of your own culture.

It may seem odd that in order to learn about people in other cultures, we start by becoming more aware of our own culture. But we believe this is true. Why?

If you haven’t had a chance to understand how your culture has affected you first hand, it’s more difficult to understand how it could affect anyone else or why it might be important to them. If you are comfortable talking about your own culture, then you will become better at listening to others talk about theirs. Or, if you understand how discrimination has affected you, then you may be more aware of how it has affected others.

Here are some tips on how to becoming more aware of your own culture:

What is your culture?

Do you have a culture? Do you have more than one? What is your cultural background?

Even if you don’t know who your ancestors are, you have a culture. Even if you are a mix of many cultures, you have one. Culture evolves and changes all the time. It came from your ancestors from many generations ago, and it comes from your family and community today.

In addition to the cultural groups we belong to, we also each have groups we identify with, such as being a parent, an athlete, an immigrant, a small business owner, or a wage worker. These kinds of groups, although not exactly the same as a culture, have similarities to cultural groups. For example, being a parent or and an immigrant may be an identity that influences how you view the world and how the world views you. Becoming aware of your different identities can help you understand what it might be like to belong to a cultural group.

Exercise:

Try listing all the cultures and identities you have: (This is just a list of suggestions to get you started. Add as many as you think describe you.)

What is your:

Religion
Nationality
Race
Sexual identity
Ethnicity
Occupation
Marital status
Age
Geographic region

Are you:

A female
A male
Disabled
From an urban area
From a rural area
A parent
A student

Have you ever been:

In the military
Poor
In prison
Wealthy
In the middle class
In the working class

Did this help you think about your identities and cultures? How have these different cultures and identities affected your life?

How do you build relationships with people from other cultures?

There are many ways that people can learn about other people’s cultures and build relationships at the same time. Here are some steps you can take. They are first listed, and then elaborated upon one at a time.

  • Make a conscious decision to establish friendships with people from other cultures.
  • Put yourself in situations where you will meet people of other cultures.
  • Examine your biases about people from other cultures.
  • Ask people questions about their cultures, customs, and views.
  • Read about other people’s culture’s and histories
  • Listen to people tell their stories
  • Notice differences in communication styles and values; don’t assume that the majority’s way is the right way
  • Risk making mistakes
  • Learn to be an ally.

Make a conscious decision to establish friendships with people from other cultures

Making a decision is the first step. In order to build relationships with people different from yourself, you have to make a concerted effort to do so. There are societal forces that serve to separate us from each other. People from different economic groups, religions, ethnic groups, and races are often isolated from each other in schools, jobs, and neighborhoods. So, if we want things to be different, we need to take active steps to make them different.

You can join a sports team or club, become active in an organization, choose a job, or move to a neighborhood that puts you in contact with people of cultures different than your own. Also, you may want to take a few minutes to notice the diversity that is presently nearby. If you think about the people you see and interact with every day, you may become more aware of the cultural differences that are around you.

Once you have made the decision to make friends with people different from yourself, you can go ahead and make friends with them in much the same way as with anyone else. You may need to take more time, and you may need to be more persistent. You may need to reach out and take the initiative more than you are used to. People who have been mistreated by society may take more time to trust you than people who haven’t. Don’t let people discourage you. There are good reasons why people have built up defenses, but it is not impossible to overcome them and make a connection. The effort is totally worth it.

Put yourself in situations where you will meet people of other cultures; especially if you haven’t had the experience of being a minority, take the risk.

One of the first and most important steps is to show up in places where you will meet people of cultures other than your own. Go to meetings and celebrations of groups whose members you want to get to know. Or hang out in restaurants and other gathering places that different cultural groups go. You may feel embarrassed or shy at first, but your efforts will pay off. People of a cultural group will notice if you take the risk of coming to one of their events. If it is difficult for you to be the only person like yourself attending, you can bring a buddy with you and support each other in making friends.

Examine your biases about people from other cultures.

We all carry misinformation and stereotypes about people in different cultures. Especially, when we are young, we acquire this information in bits and pieces from TV, from listening to people talk, and from the culture at large. We are not bad people because we acquired this; no one requested to be misinformed. But in order to build relationships with people of different cultures, we have to become aware of the misinformation we acquired.

An excellent way to become aware of your own stereotypes is to pick groups that you generalize about and write down your opinions. Once you have, examine the thoughts that came to your mind and where you acquired them.

Another way to become aware of stereotypes is to talk about them with people who have similar cultures to your own. In such settings you can talk about the misinformation you acquired without being offensive to people from a particular group. You can get together with a friend or two and talk about how you acquired stereotypes or fears of other different people. You can answer these kinds of questions:

  • How did your parents feel about different ethnic, racial, or religious groups?
  • What did your parents communicate to you with their actions and words?
  • Were your parents friends with people from many different groups?
  • What did you learn in school about a particular group?
  • Was there a lack of information about some people?
  • Are there some people you shy away from? Why?

Ask people questions about their cultures, customs, and views

People, for the most part, want to be asked questions about their lives and their cultures. Many of us were told that asking questions was nosy; but if we are thoughtful, asking questions can help you learn about people of different cultures and help build relationships. People are usually pleasantly surprised when others show interest in their cultures. If you are sincere and you can listen, people will tell you a lot.

Read about other people’s cultures and histories

It helps to read about and learn about people’s cultures and histories. If you know something about the reality of someone’s life and history, it shows that you care enough to take the time to find out about it. It also gives you background information that will make it easier to ask questions that make sense.

However, you don’t have to be an expert on someone’s culture to get to know them or to ask questions. People who are, themselves, from a culture are usually the best experts, anyway.

Don’t forget to care and show caring

It is easy to forget that the basis of any relationship is caring. Everyone wants to care and be cared about. Caring about people is what makes a relationship real. Don’t let your awkwardness around cultural differences get in the way of caring about people.

Listen to people tell their stories

If you get an opportunity to hear someone tell you her life story first hand, you can learn a lot–and build a strong relationship at the same time. Every person has an important story to tell. Each person’s story tells something about their culture.

Listening to people’s stories, we can get a fuller picture of what people’s lives are like–their feelings, their nuances, and the richness of their lives. Listening to people also helps us get through our numbness– there is a real person before us, not someone who is reduced to stereotypes in the media.

Additionally, listening to members of groups that have been discriminated against can give us a better understanding of what that experience is like. Listening gives us a picture of discrimination that is more real than what we can get from reading an article or listening to the radio.

Exercise:

You can informally ask people in your neighborhood or organization to tell you a part of their life stories as a member of a particular group. You can also incorporate this activity into a workshop or retreat for your group or organization. Have people each take five or ten minutes to talk about one piece of their life stories. If the group is large, you will probably have to divide into small groups, so everyone gets a chance to speak.

Notice differences in communication styles and values; don’t assume that the majority’s way is the right way.

We all have a tendency to assume that the way that most people do things is the acceptable, normal, or right way. As community workers, we need to learn about cultural differences in values and communication styles, and not assume that the majority way is the right way to think or behave.

Example:

You are in a group discussion. Some group members don’t speak up, while others dominate, filling all the silences. The more vocal members of the group become exasperated that others don’t talk. It also seems that the more vocal people are those that are members of the more mainstream culture, while those who are less vocal are from minority cultures.

How do we understand this? How can this be resolved?

In some cultures, people feel uncomfortable with silence, so they speak to fill the silences. In other cultures, it is customary to wait for a period of silence before speaking. If there aren’t any silences, people from those cultures may not ever speak. Also, members of some groups (women, people of low income, some racial and ethnic minorities, and others) don’t speak up because they have received messages from society at large that their contribution is not as important as others; they have gotten into the habit of deferring their thinking to the thinking of others.

When some people don’t share their thinking, we all lose out. We all need the opinions and voices of those people who have traditionally been discouraged from contributing.

In situations like the one described above, becoming impatient with people for not speaking is usually counter-productive. However, you can structure a meeting to encourage the quieter people to speak. For example, you can:

  • Have people break into pairs before discussing a topic in the larger group.
  • At certain times have each person in the circle make a comment. (People can pass if they want to.)
  • Follow a guideline that everyone speaks once, before anyone speaks twice.
  • Invite the quieter people to lead part of the meeting.
  • Talk about the problem openly in a meeting, and invite the more vocal people to try to speak less often.
  • Between meetings, ask the quieter people what would help them speak, or ask them for their ideas on how a meeting should be run.

A high school basketball team has to practice and play on many afternoons and evenings. One team member is a recent immigrant whose family requires her to attend the birthday parties of all the relatives in her extended family. The coach is angry with the parents for this requirement, because it takes his player away from the team.

How do we understand this? How can this be resolved?

Families have different values, especially when it comes to family closeness, loyalty, and responsibility. In many immigrant and ethnic families, young people are required to put their family’s needs first, before the requirements of extra-curricular activities. Young people from immigrant families who grow up in the U.S. often feel torn between the majority culture and the culture of their families; they feel pressure from each cultures to live according to its values, and they feel they have to choose between the two.

As community workers, we need to support and respect minority and immigrant families and their values. It may already be a huge concession on the part of a family to allow a teenager to participate in extracurricular activities at all. We need to make allowances for the cultural differences and try to help young people feel that they can have both worlds–instead of having to reject one set of values for another.

As community builders, it helps to develop relationships with parents. If a young person sees her parents have relationships with people from the mainstream culture, it can help her feel that their family is accepted. It supports the teen in being more connected to her family and her community–and also, both relationships are critical protective factors for drug and alcohol abuse and other dangerous behaviors. In addition, in building relationships with parents, we develop lines of communication, so when conflicts arise, they can be more easily resolved.

Risk making mistakes

As you are building relationships with people who have different cultural backgrounds than your own, you will probably make mistakes at some point. That happens. Don’t let making mistakes of making mistakes keep you from going ahead and building relationships.

If you say or do something that is insensitive, you can learn something from it. Ask the affected person what you bothered or offended them, apologize, and then go on in building the relationship. Don’t let guilt bog you down.

Learn to be an ally

One of the best ways to help you build relationships with people of different cultures is to demonstrate that you are willing to take a stand against discrimination when it occurs. People will be much more motivated to get to know you if they see that you are willing to take risks on their behalf.

We also have to educate ourselves and keep informed so that we understand the issues that each group faces and we become involved in their struggles–instead of sitting on the sidelines and watching from a distance.

In Summary

Friendship is powerful. It is our connection to each other that gives meaning to our lives. Our caring for each other is often what motivates us to make change. And establishing connections with people from diverse backgrounds can be key in making significant changes in our communities.

As individuals, and in groups, we can change our communities. We can set up neighborhoods and institutions in which people commit themselves to working to form strong relationships and alliances with people of diverse cultures and backgrounds. We can establish networks and coalitions in which people are knowledgeable about each other’s struggles, and are willing to lend a hand. Together, we can do it.

Contributor
Marya Axner

Online Resources

Brown University Training MaterialsCultural Competence and Community Studies: Concepts and Practices for Cultural Competence The Northeast Education Partnership provides online access to PowerPoint training slides on topics in research ethics and cultural competence in environmental research. These have been created for professionals/students in environmental sciences, health, and policy; and community-based research. If you are interested in receiving an electronic copy of one the presentations, just download their Materials Request Form (found on the main Training Presentations page under “related files”), complete the form, and email it to NEEPethics@yahoo.com.

The Center for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services collects and describes early childhood/early intervention resources and serves as point of exchange for users.

Culture Matters is a cross-cultural training workbook developed by the Peace Corps to help new volunteers acquire the knowledge and skills to work successfully and respectfully in other cultures.

The International & Cross-Cultural Evaluation Topical Interest Group, an organization that is affiliated with the American Evaluation Association, provides evaluators who are interested in cross-cultural issues with opportunities for professional development.

The Multicultural Pavilion offers resources and dialogue for educators, students and activists on all aspects of multicultural education.

The National Center for Cultural Competence at Georgetown University increases the capacity of health care and mental health programs to design, implement and evaluate culturally and linguistically competent service delivery systems. Publications and web links available.

SIL International makes available “The Stranger’s Eyes,” an article that speaks to cultural sensitivity with questions that can be strong tools for discussion.

Study, Discussion and Action on Issues of Race, Racism and Inclusion – a partial list of resources utilized and prepared by Yusef Mgeni.

Organizations:

Center for Living Democracy
289 Fox Farm Rd
PO Box 8187
Brattleboro, VT 05304-8187
(802) 254-1234

National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI)
1835 K Street, N.W., Suite 715
Washington, D.C. 20006
(202) 785-9400

Re-evaluation Counseling
719 Second Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 284-0113

Southern Poverty Law Center
400 Washington Ave.
Montgomery, AL 36104

Print Resource

Axner, D. (1993). The Community leadership project curriculum. Pomfret, CT: Topsfield Foundation.

Banks, J. (1997). Educating citizens in a multicultural society. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Brown, C.,& Mazza, G. (1997). Healing into action. Washington, DC: National Coalition Building Institute.

DuPraw, M.,& Axner, M. (1997). Working on common cross-cultural communication challenges. In Martha McCoy, et. al., Toward a More Perfect Union in an Age of Diversity. Pomfret, CT: Topsfield Foundation, 12-16.

Ford, C. (1994). We can all get along: 50 steps you can take to end racism. New York, NY: Dell Publishing.

Kaye, G., & Wolff, T. (1995). From the ground up: A workbook on coalition building and community development. Amherst, MA: AHEC/Community Partners. (Available from Tom Wolff and Associates.)

McCoy, M.,&  et al. (1997). Toward a more perfect union in an age of diversity: A guide for building stronger communities through public dialogue. Pomfret, CT: Topsfield Foundation.

McIntosh, P. (1988). White privilege and male privilege: A personal account of coming to see correspondences through work in women’s studies. Wellesley, MA: Center for Research on Women, Wellesley College.

Okihiro, G. (1994). Margins and mainstreams: Asians in American history and culture. Seattle, WA: The University of Washington Press.

Takaki, R. (1993). A different mirror: A history of multicultural America. Boston: Little, Brown and

17 June 2018 Drawings and Positive Reality Television

Hello to you.  Not tired yet so figured I would go ahead and put this together now.  Today has been a good day.  A cloud went by this morning and left a couple droplets for us but nothing heavy yet.  We are getting those fissures in the backyard where the earth splits wide and deep enough I can put an entire tree branch down in it!  It’s feast or famine for us when it comes to rain.

Kyle and I started watching a fun show called 100% Hotter on Netflix.  It’s one of those shows where a train wreck of a person shows up dressed how they like to dress and then gets transformed by a fashion consultant, hair dresser and makeup artist.  We are watching this show for the same reason we love the Queer Eye show and loved Tattoo Nightmares.  We enjoy watching shows where help people become a better version of themselves.  It’s uplifting to watch caring people help someone who doesn’t have a very high opinion of themselves or don’t really know that they are amazing.

There are so many young people in our world that use over the top hair, makeup, style/clothes as literal body armor to get through this life when they should be able to be who they are without all that.  It’s fun to dress up for cosplay, for Halloween or parties but some people wear these things all the time.  It’s truly amazing to see who has been hiding when they remove the fake tan, the layers of foundation, eye makeup and lipstick.  Such truly beautiful spirits.  We are about 5 episodes into the show and the only complaints we really have are some of the clothing choices and the rating system where they go and ask people to rate how they see the people they are working with.  Sometimes that is pretty brutal.  Other than that is just amazing what these folks manage to do for these people that come in.

100% Hotter Wednesday at 8pm on 5STAR

We are really enjoying Queer Eye for so many reasons.  They are not just taking somebody and dressing them up.  These guys are tackling the whole person and have been touching on some very sensitive issues in such a beautiful way.  They have dealt with the really sensitive subject of the relationship between blacks and police.  They have dealt with Christianity and homosexuality.  They have shown someone coming out after many years to their parent.  They have dealt with isolation and have gotten into the “why’s” behind why people sometimes let themselves go or isolate themselves from the world.  Kyle and I watch this show and are like, we need these guys to come to our house.  They also have done some AMAZING transformations to the living spaces of the people they work with.

Queer Eye | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix

I found this song I’ve never heard before and thought it was perfect for this theme:

Francesca Battistelli Free To Be Me Lyrics

“Free To Be Me”

 

At twenty years of age I’m still looking for a dream
A war’s already waged for my destiny
But You’ve already won the battle
And You’ve got great plans for me
Though I can’t always see’Cause I got a couple dents in my fender
Got a couple rips in my jeans
Try to fit the pieces together
But perfection is my enemy
On my own I’m so clumsy
But on Your shoulders I can see
I’m free to be me

When I was just a girl I thought I had it figured out
My life would turn out right, and I’d make it here somehow
But things don’t always come that easy
And sometimes I would doubt

‘Cause I got a couple dents in my fender
Got a couple rips in my jeans
Try to fit the pieces together
But perfection is my enemy
On my own I’m so clumsy
But on Your shoulders I can see
I’m free to be me

And you’re free to be you

Sometimes I believe that I can do anything
Yet other times I think I’ve got nothing good to bring
But You look at my heart and You tell me
That I’ve got all You seek
And it’s easy to believe
Even though

‘Cause I got a couple dents in my fender
Got a couple rips in my jeans
Try to fit the pieces together
But perfection is my enemy
On my own I’m so clumsy
But on Your shoulders I can see
I’m free to be me

 

 

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