1 July 2018 Be A Bridge (Chalk drawing, dream)

Hello.  How are you doing in this moment you visit here?  I hope you are well.  My heart is a bit heavy and conflicted.  It’s confusing emotionally to read news of about a murder suicide of a family of 5 in Price Delaware, the death toll from the flood in Western Japan rising, a newborn being killed in a tornado, tariff wars tempered with 6 year old twins saving a drowning child, interesting progress in space exploration, China offering to fund restoration of the Middle East….such a tenuous balance all of “this.”

My drawing from yesterday and the dream I had this morning kind of ties in nicely to this balance, this race we are running together….this bridge we are building.

10 July 2018 – I drew this without a message and then we got some piddly rain that came through (rain just enough to blurr the drawings I did ) so I went back and touched it up.

The dream this morning was of being at a running race that was taking place on a very high bridge like the one in this drawing.  The little yellow shapes on the bridge in my drawing are people.  So I’m initially below the bridge watching the people running and then I try to figure out how they got up on the bridge to run the race.  I take a closer look and see they are using trampolines to jump up to the top of the bridge to finish the race.  Then, like happens in dreams, fast forward and I’m on top of the bridge with other people like we are waiting for the others.  Then we transition to watching a version of the very same race in a very primitive video game form.

When I talked out this dream with Kyle we think it was like dream central saying, “Yeah, you guys are about 6 consoles away from getting your shit together.”   Funny Universe, very funny! 

We are innovative.  We have a lot of ambition, ingenuity and creativity as a species.  What we haven’t yet mastered, and I’m as guilty as anyone, is team work.   I’ve never been very good at working with others but I try.  My problem is I learned the lesson of self reliance all too well growing up.  I also learned that unless I do it, it’s not going to get done right….yeah…some trust issues.  Too many times I trusted people to do their jobs right and they didn’t.  They let me down.  Turns out that’s too bad because you can’t do everything by yourself!  Sooner or later you are going to have to let other people help.  You are going to have to trust other people to do things with and for you.  They may fuck up but that’s part of the journey and you just have to let that process happen.  Remember….Life is School.  We are all in Earth School.  

If we are going to survive as a species, we have got to ditch all those things we are using to exclude people from the team like skin color, physical appearance, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, economic class, profession, disabilities/health conditions.  It’s time to ditch the “labels” we put on people that make them ineligible to join the team of life.  The energy of God put us all here for a purpose otherwise we wouldn’t be here.  God doesn’t make junk!

Sooner or later we are all going to find our way to get to the top of the bridge and I think there has got to be an better way than relying on trampolines and a Nintendo console!

Source Internet: Track and Field

2 18 9 4 7 5

B R I D G E = 45/9 divided by 2 = 4.5 = 9 cycle (it is a very labor intensive work to build a bridge and keep it structurally sound)

9 18 5 12 1 14 4

I R E L A N D = 63/9 divided by 2 = 4.5 = 9 cycle (interesting that two unrelated words would be the same)

18 1 9 2 15 23

R A I N B O W = 68/14/5 divided by 2 = 2.5 = 7 divided by 2 = 3.5 = 8/4/2/1 (7 known colors to the rainbow, I’ve seen 8.  The color pink hidden in there)

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10 July 2018 We Are God’s Heart

Hello to you.  Hope this finds you well in whatever time and place this finds you.

Yesterday I took my pink spirit book and a pencil out to our pecan tree to jot down some thoughts that I couldn’t get out of my head.  I am a very spiritual person and quite often the topics that come up relate to the concept I have of God at this phase of my life.  Intelligent Energy.  I have come to believe that all of creation is an Energy construct.  When I lay in bed at night I can see all these tiny little vibrating particles that make up the wall, the dresser, the blankets draped over me….the dogs and Kyle.  When I lay down and gaze at the sky it’s much the same.  An untold number of tiny vibrating particles making reality real.  Each place I look, each breath I take….all God energy.

9 July 2018 – Drawing I did yesterday. It fits this post I think.

Here is what came up in my pink spirit book yesterday:

“Why a man to become a God? Why Jesus? Because human beings make God “care.”  To look at nature without the heart of man, one would think there was no loving God.  Everything is just food.  One energy feeding the next size up.  I saw a black spider wasp disable and dismantle a spider twice its size in seconds.  I’ve seen larger wasps do the same.  The bird I tried to console to its death was attacked by ants before it was completely dead.  Ants attacking and eating a molting Cicada before it can even fly away.  It’s new form devoured just inches from its previous one.  Just energy!  Just food!  One energy form devouring another.  There are no emotions.  There are no feelings.  There is no morality or conscience without human beings.  God can be cruel….nature can be cruel.

Some higher forms of life seem even more compassionate than humans or is it just our wanting them to be?  Our influence as observers on the “experiment” affecting how we perceive them?  What came to me during several of my episodes is we are only alive because the rest of existence allows it….just hasn’t figured out a way to eat us more quickly just yet!  Is this why we must not be still too long?  Eat or be eaten?!”

I don’t know that God/Nature is cruel, it’s just super efficient.  Everything around us is part of a perfect design and we, with our feelings and consciousness are the cog in the wheel so to speak!   We are the ones who will go out of our way to save a three legged dog from death.  If this dog were born into a setting without us, it would just be left to die.

I believe we are God’s heart.  Without us, without a Jesus or all the pantheon of other Gods taking human form, God just isn’t all that friendly and or relatable….tangible.

How we love and take care of each other makes God real on this earth.

Later in the day we watched the Queer Eye episode where the Fab  5 went to Gay Georgia to help with a lovely woman and her church community center.  A lot of irony in just that sentence!  They helped Tammye, her gay son, her family and the entire town.  What a beautiful example of what I am talking about!  Without the heart of human beings, without the act of building bridges between different worlds,  empathy, compassion and care, there really is no unconditionally loving God.   We give God all their senses (sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste) and our many beating hearts in which to process this complicated existence.

It’s people like the Fab 5, like Tammye and all those in this world who seek to fill this world with unconditional love that are God’s heart.

http://ew.com/tv/2018/06/19/queer-eye-season-2-episode-1-tammye-interview/

1 John 4:20 20Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.

Source Internet: Queer Eye Jonathan Van Ness, Karamo Broan Fire House episode

7 July 2018 Proof and Drawing

Hello to you. In my thoughts this afternoon was the recent headlines about President Duterte from the Philippines in regards to the traditional view of God and religion. People may have some really interesting things to say about him with how he has been running the country. I don’t want to get into that. I want to focus on his demand for someone to give him proof of God.

What came to me is what I have had to explore on this subject myself. There have been many many times I have asked for proof from God. There have been many times my prayers were answered and many times there was a busy signal or it felt like getting God’s answering machine…being put on hold even.  I have had to learn to pray without expectations.

When it comes to proof of God’s existence it seems sometimes people are looking for a miracle or some sort of magic trick to instantly happen. They will pray, like I used to, for all these specific things and when their prayer isn’t answered, they often will blame God or develop a resentment. From what I’ve read, Duterte has a legitimate reason for having a resentment against traditional religion’s version of God. Why did this God not save him as a child from being harmed by a man of the church? ? (https://www.rt.com/news/374333-duterte-priests-molesting-homosexual/)

I wonder sometimes if suffering and going through these sorts of things are part of the molding and shaping of us for the roles we will later take in life. Would Duterte be President if he had a pleasant childhood?

I wonder sometimes as I look back on my own life if going through these types of things isn’t a sort of fork in the road. Is who you will end up being determined by how you choose to deal with the trials placed upon you? Some people will go right and become healers, positive role models and leaders in their fields, and some take a deep left and live a life of suffering, crime and prison.

“It’s all about choices” – message that came to me in a dream

I believe God is pure energy and doesn’t feel about anything like we do. The phrase “it is what it is” comes to mind. I believe to some degree, and have even dreamt about this, that it’s all about the choices we make. We are co-creators with this universal energy and our thoughts, feelings and actions play a role in what is manifested for us as individuals.

My Dad helped me get back on my path to God the day he and I were sitting in our backyard and we were talking about God. My Dad and Mom are long time Roman Catholics. Since I’ve been away from home and an adult, I no longer attend church. I do not fly under any one walk of faiths banner. It’s been hard for my parents but they know I still believe in God.

On that day, Dad and I agreed that God is in everything. That moment in time helped me feel closer to my Dad. On that day, my view of God evolved out of the pages of a book and traditional views to thinking of God as the energy that gives all of creation tangible form.

I agree with Duterte to some degree with his views. I also believe there is a universal intelligence, a consciousness that makes this existence possible. In my altered states of consciousness aka “episodes”, I have experienced this intelligence. I have seen it at work and been a part of it. I watched people, places, things, sequences of events all perfectly synchronized like they were being directed by some invisible director. Everything moving through time without real consciousness of what was happening.

Sitting under our baby oak tree this evening, I thought about sitting with Duterte and showing him the proof that I have found of God’s existence. I would put him in front of a mirror and say to him, “There is your proof.”

God is energy, everything is energy. Without energy we do not exist. I think Duterte is opening an important dialogue it’s time we all had together. 

Who or what is God (Universe, Source, Nature, Energy, or Gods/Goddesses) to you?  Is there a space in you that you keep trying to fill with worldly things and nothing works or helps for very long?  For me, that is the space of God.  Nothing of this world can fill that space….believe me I’ve tried!   

By the numbers:

16 18 15 15 6

P R O O F = 70/7 divided by 2 = 3.5 = 8/4/2/1 – proof is subjected to perception

7 15 4

G O D = 26/8/4/2/1

5 14 5 18 7 25

E N E R G Y = 74/11/2/1

16 5 18 3 5 16 20 9 15 14

P E R C E P T I O N = 121/4/2/1

https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/07/08/1831585/duterte-show-me-proof-god-exists-ill-resign

Duterte: Show me proof God exists, I’ll resign

25shares711

Edith Regalado (The Philippine Star) – July 8, 2018 – 12:00am

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Show me your selfie with God and I will resign immediately.

President Duterte dared anyone who has gone to see God and have a selfie with Him to come back and prove the existence of God.

If this happens, then he would immediately step down from the presidency.

He told more than 1,000 participants at the 2018 National Science and Technology Week celebration held at the SMX Convention Center at SM Lanang Premiere the other night that he never said he does not believe in God.

“I tend to talk a lot about things…I believe in one supreme God…I never said I do not believe in God. I’m not agnostic and I’m not an atheist. I just happen to be a human being believing that there’s a universal mind somewhere which controls the universe,” the President added.

Duterte tackled once again the controversial issue on the existence of God rather than delve on science and technology which, he admitted, is not among his strongest points.

He clarified that what he was questioning is the logic of why is there so much agony, pain and injustice in the world.

“We’ll never really know until maybe God chooses the time for us to know the answer,” he said as he lambasted religions that ask money from people on the pretext of helping other people.

Duterte, who was criticized recently for his comments on religious matters, added that he would step down as the country’s President if someone is able to talk to God in heaven and have a selfie with Him.

“You do that today, one single witness that there is a guy, a human being, who’s able to talk and to see God. Of the so many billions that passed through Earth, I just need one. And if there is one, ladies and gentlemen, I will announce my resignation immediately,” he said.

The President questioned why God created a perfect paradise only to allow humans to be besmirched with malice and original sin, in a way questioning the theory of creation where Adam and Eve were tempted by a snake with an apple.

“So where is the logic of God there? You create a perfect (world) then you spoil it through a snake and an apple. And you give us the sin that we never even agreed to commit and that is the original sin,” Duterte added.

Meanwhile, a lay group has asked the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to issue a very strong statement condemning the blasphemy of President Duterte for calling God stupid.

In a letter they submitted to the CBCP’s 117th Plenary Assembly attended by 73 active and six retired bishops, the Purple Cross Movement (PCM) also asked their leaders to condemn extrajudicial killings in the country.

The group members, who wore sacks and covered their faces with mud, went to the Pope Pius XII Center in Manila to relay their request.

Aleta Tolentino, a PCM member, said they expect the bishops to issue at the end of their three-day plenary “a very strong statement condemning the blasphemy and to call on the faithful to reject such blasphemy and to speak out against it.”

Tolentino asked one of the security guards at the center to deliver to the bishops their two-page letter expressing their sadness over the events that have been taking place since Duterte took power.

They asked for wisdom and guidance from their Church leaders and to tell their flock “what is right and what is wrong.”

“If the President is disrespecting our church and our God, is that right or wrong? They should categorically tell us because we are listening to them, they should lead us,” Tolentino stressed.

The PCM also appealed to Duterte to end his war against illegal drugs as it denounced the killing of Catholic priests Mark Ventura, Tito Paez and Richmond Nilo.

“Your Eminences and Excellencies, they are killing our flock – even the most vulnerable children are not spared. They are killing our flock – the rule of law is disregarded, the leaders who fight relentlessly for truth and justice are viciously silenced, and the indigenous people who live peacefully in the land they have nurtured all their lives are oppressed. They are killing our flock – our freedom of speech, our right to information and the sacred guarantee of the Constitution to due process are now clear casualties,” the PCM said in their letter.

“We refuse to be defeated and just stand idly by. We choose to learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression, bring justice to the fatherless and plead the widow’s cause,” they added.

They asked the prelates “to take your rightful place as God’s stewards of His Church. Reflection is a special time when God speaks to us and reveals Himself in silence, but from reflection comes action – a privilege and responsibility to represent God’s infinite love and justice.” – Evelyn Macairan

Read more at https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/07/08/1831585/duterte-show-me-proof-god-exists-ill-resign#kZ0H7x3AjGuyklav.99

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!

30 June 2018 Sunshine

Good morning to you.  Least it’s morning yet here as I write to you.  How are you?  I hope you are well in your where and when.  My drawing today lead me to the word sunshine and I found some interesting things.  We are never too young or too old to learn something new.  To find another way to appreciate the gift that is this life….this earth.   Sending you love, hugs and lots of positive vibes through these cords, wires and electric flares.

The world will be balanced when we are balanced.
Tarthang Tulku

19 21 13 13 5 18

S U M M E R = 89/17/8/4/2/1

19 15 12 19 20 9 3 5

S O L S T I C E = 102/3 cycle (of course!)

19 21 14 19 8 9 14 5

S U N S H I N E = 108/10/1

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/indepth/hello-sunshine-thousands-flock-to-stonehenge-to-mark-summer-solstice/ar-AAyWS2O I hope Zoie won’t mind me sharing this here.  The pictures are so beautiful and help bring this spiritual experience to folks like me.  Thank you for this article!

Hello sunshine! Thousands flock to Stonehenge to mark summer solstice

Zoie O’brien

Every year the neolithic Wiltshire monument becomes the centre of day-long celebrations to mark the official start of summer.

The sun breaks the horizon and shines through the stones at Stonehenge onto crowds of people celebrating the dawn of the longest day in the UK© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The sun breaks the horizon and shines through the stones at Stonehenge onto crowds of people celebrating the dawn of the longest day in the UK Up to 25,000 people attended the 2018 summer solstice at the site, as the sun rose at 4.52am this morning.

Onlookers watched on as the sun came up behind the Heel Stone, the ancient entrance to the Stone Circle, and rays of sunlight are channelled into the centre of the monument.

a group of people wearing costumes: People play drums while wearing colourful attire an as the sun rises at behind the Heel Stone, the ancient entrance to the Stone Circle© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited People play drums while wearing colourful attire an as the sun rises at behind the Heel Stone, the ancient entrance to the Stone Circle It is believed that solstices have been celebrated at Stonehenge for thousands of years.

a person talking on a cell phone: A tattooed woman with dreadlocks leans on her staff gazing into the skyline wearing a colourful jacket and bold jewellery for the occasion© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited A tattooed woman with dreadlocks leans on her staff gazing into the skyline wearing a colourful jacket and bold jewellery for the occasion

The event has long been associated with the Pagan religion, with Druids attending Stonehenge today.

a person wearing a yellow flower: A woman dons a colourful head-dress adorned with bright flowers and red toadstools gets involved in the day-long celebrations to mark the official start of summer© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited A woman dons a colourful head-dress adorned with bright flowers and red toadstools gets involved in the day-long celebrations to mark the official start of summer Jennifer Davies, English Heritage’s head of historic properties for Stonehenge, said: ‘Celebrating summer solstice at Stonehenge is a fantastic occasion for friends and families to come together to mark the longest day of the year in a very special place.

a person wearing a hat: Revellers participate in the summer solstice at Stonehenge (pictured). The annual festival attracts hundreds of people to the 5,000-year-old stone circle to mark the longest day in the northern hemisphere© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Revellers participate in the summer solstice at Stonehenge (pictured). The annual festival attracts hundreds of people to the 5,000-year-old stone circle to mark the longest day in the northern hemisphere ‘This year, we hope that even more people will choose to either share lifts or use public transport, and help reduce the number of cars and the amount of CO2 emissions in the World Heritage Site.

a view of a sunset: People get up with the rising sun on Calton Hill in Edinburgh for the summer solstice as today marks the longest day of the year© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited People get up with the rising sun on Calton Hill in Edinburgh for the summer solstice as today marks the longest day of the year

‘As its guardians, it is our job to look after Stonehenge and everyone who visits here.

‘We therefore ask people to please respect the stones and bring only small bags with you.

a group of people sitting in the grass: Thousands were at Stonehenge to make the annual occasion, many wearing traditional outfits (pictured). Solstice, from the Latin word sol sistere meaning Sun standstill, marks the longest day of the year as the sun reaches it's furthest point from the equator© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Thousands were at Stonehenge to make the annual occasion, many wearing traditional outfits (pictured). Solstice, from the Latin word sol sistere meaning Sun standstill, marks the longest day of the year as the sun reaches it’s furthest point from the equator ‘Please remember that alcohol is not permitted and help us keep solstice special, so that people will be able to experience midsummer here for many years to come.

‘Bag searches on entry might create slightly longer queues to get into the monument field so please be patient.’

a group of people standing around a fire: Every year the neolithic Wiltshire monument becomes the centre of day-long celebrations to mark the official start of summer© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Every year the neolithic Wiltshire monument becomes the centre of day-long celebrations to mark the official start of summer Last year, around 13,000 people attended Stonehenge for the summer solstice.

Only small bags will be allowed into the Monument Field and searches will take place throughout the night.

a group of people that are standing in the grass: Onlookers watched on as the sun rose behind the Heel Stone, the ancient entrance to the Stone Circle, and rays of sunlight are channelled into the centre of the monument© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Onlookers watched on as the sun rose behind the Heel Stone, the ancient entrance to the Stone Circle, and rays of sunlight are channelled into the centre of the monument Superintendent Dave Minty, of Wiltshire Police, said: ‘Once again we have been working closely with our colleagues at English Heritage and other agencies to ensure your safety at Stonehenge for Summer Solstice 2018.

a group of people flying kites in a field: People gather on the ridge overlooking the Avebury Neolithic henge monument, a UNESCO World Heritage site, as they wait to see the sun rise© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited People gather on the ridge overlooking the Avebury Neolithic henge monument, a UNESCO World Heritage site, as they wait to see the sun rise ‘Our main aim is to make sure that everyone attending can enjoy the celebration in a safe environment and the policing response at the site will be very similar to last year with officers conducting high visibility patrols.

a person sitting on the grass: On the longest day of the year, the sun rises behind the Heel Stone at Stonehenge in Wiltshire© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited On the longest day of the year, the sun rises behind the Heel Stone at Stonehenge in Wiltshire ‘Armed officers will be attending again this year to further enhance site security but this remains a precaution only and is not in response to any specific threat.’

a large stone building with a grassy field with Stonehenge in the background: The neolithic Wiltshire monument is built along the solstice alignment of the summer sunrise and the winter sunset© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The neolithic Wiltshire monument is built along the solstice alignment of the summer sunrise and the winter sunset A 40mph speed limit was implemented on the A303 near Stonehenge to assist traffic flow, with lay-bys closed and the dual carriageway reduced to a single lane.

A temporary pedestrian crossing was also installed near the Stonehenge Cottages for people walking from Stonehenge Road in Amesbury.

a group of people holding wine glasses: People of all religions enjoy the summer solstice although it is widely associated with paganism© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited People of all religions enjoy the summer solstice although it is widely associated with paganism Gareth Price, Highways England’s emergency planning officer for the south west, said: ‘We are anticipating traffic volumes to increase around the event, and our aim is to keep the Highways England network running while keeping road users safe and informed.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: First, a selfie: Men and women clamber on the ancient stones to take pictures before the sunrise© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited First, a selfie: Men and women clamber on the ancient stones to take pictures before the sunrise ‘The traffic management will be in place for safety and to keep disruption to a minimum, and we advise all road users to check our traffic and travel information channels, plan their journeys and allow plenty of time.’

Summer Solstice Timelapse Stonehenge 2017 (the one I saw for 2018 wasn’t timelapse and not that fun to watch)

 

http://www.thisiswiltshire.co.uk/news/national/16323497.More_sunshine_ahead_as_roads_melt_and_hosepipe_ban_begins_in_Northern_Ireland/Excerpt – guess North Texas isn’t the only place getting a heat wave right now!  I was curious about this because of my wondering what a hosepipe ban was lol.  Same as here – unless we water on designated days, we can only water with handheld garden hose.  29th June

More sunshine ahead as roads melt and hosepipe ban begins in Northern Ireland

Press Association 2018

Roads melted, train tracks reached 49C (120.2F) and a hosepipe ban came into force as the UK basks in the scorching heatwave.

The first hosepipe ban began in Northern Ireland at 6pm on Friday, with plenty more hot sunshine forecast for the coming days.

Northern Ireland Water said demand was outstripping supply, leaving them with no option but to bring in the ban in order to save water.

Elsewhere across the UK consumers are being urged to take simple steps to reduce the amount of water they use.

The meaning of the term “sunshine law” was unfamiliar to me.  When I put sunshine in my search engine, the phrase came up a lot in regards to business. 

Sunshine laws are regulations requiring openness in government or business. Sunshine laws make meetings, records, votes, deliberations and other official actions available for public observation, participation and/or inspection.

Sunshine Laws – Investopedia

www.investopedia.com/terms/s/sunshinelaws.asp

 1033am – this drawing was following the sunshine theme so had to add it to the post.  I surprised myself with drawing the sun in the form of a flower.  I hadn’t thought of doing that before.

25 June 2018 Unwanted (Dream), Haunted Dolls and Insight About Mexico ( Mexican Elections: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Hello to you.  How are you doing?  I’m doing pretty good today.  We had a blessing of a smidge of rain we desperately needed coming through this morning.  It will probably be completely evaporated by the time I finish writing this but it was an answered prayer!

Had an interesting dream this morning just before waking up.  It was about a little girl and a baby that looked like a doll but it was a child.  It seemed unwanted.  I picked up and examined the baby and it had a golden eye – two different colored eyes.  Then there was a soldier-like man who had the same colored eyes that seemed to blame the little girl for the baby existing.

My husband tells me that I must have subconsciously been picking up on goings-on from his playing the Kingdom Hearts video game lol.  It could be my subconscious processing a bunch of videos we’ve seen lately with haunted baby dolls.  We are both very highly suspicious of most of these types of videos but every once and awhile you will see one that gives you pricklies on the back of the neck!

When I was younger I used to have a lot of dreams about objects doing things without anybody being there.  For example I remember having a dream about my red Datsun 210 starting by itself and driving into the driveway.  Another was of walking by the front of my childhood home and the living room curtains moving when nobody was in the house.  The creepiest was one of being in our basement and the vacuum cleaner lifting off of the ground by itself and in the dream my thinking my birth mom was the one doing it.

Anyhew….if I was a spirit and wanted to keep an eye on my prey and or majorly mess with somebody I’d get in a doll I think lol.   It wouldn’t have to be like Chuckie or anything.  Some of the videos we’ve seen are so subtle the people taking the videos don’t even notice the movement until somebody else says something or they play back the video.  I’m still very suspicious of most of them being just a way to get attention.

10 Haunted Dolls Caught On Tape

Changing subjects.

This morning Kyle and I were talking about immigration again and what would be the motivating factors for people wanting to come to this country.  We were pleased to see John OIiver has just put out a video exploring what’s going on in Mexico with regards to their political system.  After watching this video, I can see many motivators for someone to want to leave Mexico.  They have had 113 politicians murdered this election season alone!  As I’ve mentioned before, and most already know this, if someone can tick off the hierarchy of needs checklist they are most likely going to stay where they are and flourish.   Sadly and ironically it’s not much different for these folks here or in Mexico!  I was thinking this morning that instead of using all that money to build a wall, why not use those funds to collaborate to make both Mexico and America better countries?  I know, that would be too easy….

24 June 2018 – my drawing after it cooled down…”Rise.”

My prayer for the Mexican people and their upcoming elections is that whatever the outcome, it will be for their very best.  I want better for these hard working and in some cases very desperate people.  They deserve better!  (So do we but that’s a box I’m not going to open!) 

Mexican Elections: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) – WARNING – this video has a very inappropriate Santa Claus in it!

23 June 2018 Music Makes Time Travelers Of Us All (James Corden and Paul McCartney), Sewing and Drawings

Hello to you.  How are you doing in your where and when as you visit here?  I hope you are well.  We are still drying our happy tears and glowing a bit from watching this video of James Corden and Paul McCartney carpooling down memory lane in song:

Paul McCartney Carpool Karaoke

Published on Jun 21, 2018

James Corden heads to Liverpool for a special day with Paul McCartney spent exploring the city of Paul’s youth, visiting his childhood home where he wrote music with John Lennon, performing songs in a local pub and of course driving around singing a few of Paul’s biggest hits. Pre-order Paul McCartney’s new album Egypt Station and download his two new songs “Come On To Me” and “I Don’t Know” here: https://paulmccartney.lnk.to/EgyptSta… – Watch The Late Late Show with James Corden’s episodes from London only on Sky One at 10pm.

Just like looking at a photograph, singing and or hearing a song can propel us through our time on this earth.  Music makes time travelers of all of us.  Watching this made my heart ache a bit because there aren’t very many like Paul left here.  Watching this also made me incredibly grateful we have songs of love, hope and unity to turn to and some of the folks who made them yet here to sing them with us!   Thank you for doing this James and Paul!

https://musicandmemory.org/ – great organization that uses music to help people regain some of what Alzheimer’s and dementia makes them lose.

I thought it was beautiful that the inspiration for this song came from Paul’s having a visit from his deceased mother in a dream.

22 June 2018 – drawing I did when it had finally cooled down last night!

Let It Be

When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be,
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.

And when the broken hearted people
Living in the world agree
There will be an answer, let it be.
For though they may be parted there is still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be.
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be,
There will be an answer, let it be.

And when the night is cloudy
There is still a light that shines on me
Shine until tomorrow, let it be.
I wake up to the sound of music
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be,
There will be an answer, let it be.

Songwriters: JOHN LENNON,PAUL MCCARTNEY
© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
For non-commercial use only.
Data from: LyricFind

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

20 June 2018 Morning Chalk Drawings and World Refugee Day

Hello to you.  How are you?  My mind feels like there are just marshmallows up there lately!  Just a very surreal feeling all around for me lately.  I guess the movie we watched last night was perfect for that!  We finally watched Through the Looking Glass last night and we enjoyed it.  I loved the imagery throughout and Kyle could see many video game inspired sets.  Seeing the Alan Rickman farewell tribute was sad.  I thought his being the voice of a blue butterfly, which symbolizes freedom, was perfect for this being his last film. 

Alice Through the Looking Glass Official Trailer #2 (2016) – Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp Movie HD

This morning on the dog walk I saw another neighbors yard that looked like someone had messed with it.  So far there have been three that I’ve seen in our immediate neighborhood.  We aren’t quite sure if the culprit is a human or a large canine that’s getting loose.  It looked like human activity to me.  We are living in a small town that is starting to experience big city problems.  People move to small towns from larger ones and bring their problems along with them.  Taking a young person of whatever age from a place where there friends are, support systems are and where there is more to do and transplanting them into a town like ours can be quite a culture shock for them.  When you are bored, and I know this from being their age once, you sometimes do stupid shit you will regret.  All the things that are going on are things I warned the city council before the growth and development started and it’s so frustrating to see it actually happening.   

http://www.cleburnetimesreview.com/news/vandalism-occurring-at-alvarado-parks-on-a-daily-basis/article_01727e86-7000-11e8-aa1f-9b6b57c211a0.html

“Over at Parkway Park on Monday there was some graffiti of racial slurs,” he said. “It was tagged on some of the benches, the little library and the skate park. It took about four hours to try to remove the paint, which they weren’t able to do all the way so they had to just sand it down and go back later to repaint.”

Alvarado Park board member Terri Fulton said the little free libraries — built and donated by members of the Alvarado Rocks group — have been the most disheartening.

“We’re a little irritated about this,” she said. “You will see that people are constantly refilling them with books, so that means kids are using them. But there’s been spray painting on them and the other day someone busted out the Plexiglass in one of them.”

And then they are talking about growing our town….ironically for the past few days we’ve been unable to properly flush the toilet for lack of water pressure!  This has been an ongoing problem since we moved here in 2009 too!  It’s taken millions of dollars to fix just the plumbing and sewer  infrastructure.  Don’t get me started on the conditions of our roads!   

http://www.cleburnetimesreview.com/news/durington-welcomes-growth-to-alvarado/article_32870120-6b61-11e8-b234-030937a8f7a1.html

“Holden said some of the challenges the mayor discussed during the meeting scare him.

“I’ve got to be able to provide water and I’ve got to be able for you to flush the toilet, and if I can’t, there is a big problem,” he said. “We want people to come [to Alvarado], but if they do we are going to have to do some major improvements to the system. We are working on ways right now, looking at all of the development as a whole. We want to be able to look at the big picture.”

Yep….growing pains on the small town scale and then there is World Refugee Day today and our extremely sad and embarrassing goings on with immigration in my country.  I don’t even know what to do with this in my heart.  It’s a very complex and sensitive issue that can’t be handled with rough hands.  I feel like we have yet to really tackle as a globe the core issues as to “why” it’s happening in the first place.  If people have food, clean water, clothing, shelter, meaningiful work and education opportunities, and they feel safe living where they are (not in the center of crime, violence, slavery and or a war zone) will tend to stay where they are and flourish.  We apparently have oodles of  people without checkmarks in those boxes and are understandably on the move!  

18 5 6 21 7 5 5

R E F U G E E = 67/13/4/2/1

9 13 13 9 7 18 1 14 20

I M M I G R A N T = 104/5 divide by 2 = 2.5 = 7 = 3.5 = 8/4/2/1

Number of refugees worldwide

The total includes 16 million refugees and asylum seekers and 26 million internally displaced people uprooted within their own countries, according to UNHCR’s annual “Global Trends” report released today.

 

Why do immigrants and refugees  keep coming to America?  Part of it has to be money.  Someone is paying them enough money to live here.  I think if our government is going to insist on punishing these people and their children like this, they need to “follow the money.”  In all the articles I’ve looked at about this chronic issue, this element just doesn’t come up.  The blame always seems to fall on the immigrants and refugees for their existing.   Who is hiring these people to be nannies, yard workers, produce pickers, home builders, masons, welders, road construction workers, janitors etc?! 

https://blogs.voanews.com/all-about-america/2015/08/24/most-common-jobs-held-by-immigrants-in-each-us-state/If there is no economic – this article is rather dated but does show interesting information that probably hasn’t changed too much:

Most Common Jobs Held by Immigrants in each US State

There are 41 million foreign-born people living in the United States and a new map illustrates the most common jobs held by those immigrants.

Business Insider  used information from the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, an ongoing statistical survey that samples a small percentage of the population every year. The data was assembled and processed by the Minnesota Population Center’s Integrated Public Use Microdata Series program.

The map below shows the jobs most commonly held by people who said they were born in a country other than the United States.

Immigrants make up 12.9 percent of the overall population, according to the Center for American Progress. That sounds like a lot of people, but the high point for immigration in the U.S. actually came in 1890, when 14.8 percent of the population was foreign born.

most-common-job-held-by-immigrants-in-each-state-corrected-background

While the map shows that many immigrants are housekeepers, janitors and agricultural workers, the majority of jobs thought to be overwhelmingly worked by non-natives are in fact filled by native-born Americans, according to the Center for Immigration Studies:

  • Maids and housekeepers: 51% native-born
  • Taxi drivers and chauffeurs: 58% native-born
  • Butchers and meat processors: 63% native-born
  • Grounds maintenance workers: 64% native-born
  • Construction laborers: 66% native-born
  • Porters, bellhops, and concierges: 72% native-born
  • Janitors: 73% native-born

Jobs worked by immigrants tend to pay low wages and usually require little formal education. In high-immigrant occupations, 59 percent of the workers have a high school education or lower, compared to 31 percent of the rest of the labor force.

 https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/pope-francis-criticizes-separation-of-immigrant-children-from-their-parents-on-us-border/ar-AAyUlD7

https://www.npr.org/2018/06/19/621065383/what-we-know-family-separation-and-zero-tolerance-at-the-border

https://www.madinamerica.com/2016/11/combining-art-therapy-mindfulness-refugees/ I found this article and it really resonated for me as a way to help promote internal healing for both refugees and the immigrant children we are seeing locked up in detention centers right now: 

Combining Art Therapy and Mindfulness for Refugees

Program in Hong Kong demonstrates the healing power of art therapy and mindfulness for refugees and asylum seekers

A new article, published in The Arts in Psychotherapy, describes the ways art therapy and mindfulness have benefitted refugees and asylum seekers in Hong Kong. The article describes how the program, Inhabited Studio, which provides workshops on art making and mindfulness meditation, has supported individuals in moving forward after traumatic experiences.

“The combination of art therapy and mindfulness helped participants cope day to day and allowed participants to begin to get a sense of not only who they were and what they had lived through, but potentially who they could become,” write the authors, led by Debra Kalmanowitz from the Department of Social Work and Social Administration at the University of Hong Kong.

The increasing number of Syrian refugees has raised the issue of how to support the mental health of individuals who have fled their countries and experienced political violence. An estimated 11 million refugees have left Syria since 2011 and there are over 21 million refugees worldwide. Although the majority of refugees do not develop Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, mental health professionals working with refugees often use a trauma framework.

The authors state:  “It is true that we do not want to medicalize distress and that we cannot take it out of context, and yet we cannot ignore the disadvantaged situation in which asylum seekers live or the suffering they endure.”

Both art therapy and mindfulness have been used with survivors of trauma. This theoretical article “considers how the combination of art therapy and mindfulness in work with refugees acknowledges human suffering and traumatic events while at the same time recognises the resilience that exists and the search for healing, health and growth.”

The authors describe the ways art therapy and mindfulness have been combined to provide support for refugees and asylum seekers at Inhabited Studio in Hong Kong. Inhabited Studio is a short-term group program that uses a holistic approach and provides workshops over an 8 day period. “The presence of the group allowed for the individuals to be seen, witnessed and heard (even without words) and in so doing served to share and normalize behavior and expression,” write the authors. The authors outline nine features found in the work at Inhabited Studio that may be used as broader guides for providing support to refugees.

Safety: Establishing a sense of safety is one of the most basic needs after experiencing a trauma and the authors note that it “is an on-going process and not something that is established once and maintained.” The authors found that art therapy and meditation assisted individuals in regulating their emotions, which aided in regaining a sense of emotional safety.

Doing versus thinking: The authors explain that art therapy and mindfulness emphasize doing, and describe the importance of an experiential approach. “Art making and mindfulness meditation demand a focus of the mind through activity or inactivity, action or inaction, through direct experience,” write the authors.

Changing our relationship to our thoughts and feelings: “Making art externalizes our thoughts and feelings and creates a distance between them” while “mindfulness effects relationship too; rather than trying to control the thoughts and feelings, there is an emphasis on acknowledgment and acceptance of them,” explain the authors.

Time: According to the authors, “trauma can trap a person in the past.” Since both the creative process and mindfulness are grounded in the present moment, they can be helpful activities for those who are overwhelmed by memories.

Making meaning: Meaning making involves both making sense of the trauma and of one’s current experiences. The authors explain how art therapy and mindfulness can assist in meaning making because “both lead to an awareness of the self and the context of the self in relation to the event, the group, the culture, the violence and or society.” To illustrate this, one of the participants of Inhabited Studio reported, “I am very proud of this drawing… it tells me something very clear that I did not know.”

Flexibility: Individuals who have experienced trauma may get stuck in their thinking patterns. The creative process can facilitate mental flexibility, and mindfulness can make it easier to tolerate intense negative emotions and still return to an emotional equilibrium.

Catharsis: “Art therapy can facilitate the expression of feelings that are associated with the trauma, suffering, and coping, such as anger, rage, vulnerability, depression, frustration or joy and pleasure. This can lead to a sense of relief as well as reveal that which was previously unconscious,” explain the authors.

Increased self-awareness and self-knowledge: Both self-awareness and self-knowledge can be promoted by art making and mindfulness practices. One participant described how the process of making multiple pieces of art helped her to clarify her emotions, “I have many mixed feelings although I am looking towards a better future. So the next painting I tried to sort out the colours to help me next time to be more focused… to know exactly what I want.”

Coping with loss: The authors report, “Art therapy and mindfulness together allowed for the expression of loss and also to begin a process of the formation of a new identity… It took strength and imagination to create a new identity and the open structure, along with the non-judgemental attitude of the Studio provided the potential.”

“Political violence has far-reaching effects. It can challenge the community and society, lead to fragmentation and destruction and impact on culture at large. Political violence impacts on the individual and can lead to the breakdown of relationships between individuals, community and society itself,” write the authors. Refugees and asylum seekers who have experienced trauma and political violence deserve support services that do not pathologize their experiences, but instead honor both their suffering and strength.

The focus on art therapy for refugees is part of a larger trend to explore how art can be used in therapeutic ways (for example, art therapy for veterans with PTSD or for individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia, and music therapy for children and adolescents). The authors in the present article state that the “overlap between art therapy and mindfulness in this context represent the realities of the suffering of the participants as well as the possibility of working towards enhancing coping and resilience.”

Kalmanowitz, D., & Ho, R. T. (2016). Out of our mind. Art therapy and mindfulness with refugees, political violence and trauma. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 49, 57-65. (Abstract)

 

Here are some links to some music I was exploring this morning.  I am on the hunt for new sounds and this Electro Swing and Modern Jazz struck a chord:

Club Des Belugas – The Beat Is Rhythm

Orkestra Obsolete play Blue Monday using 1930s instruments – BBC Arts – I love the version done by Orgy for this song so finding this tickled me.

Electro Swing Collection – ads in between

Published on Dec 2, 2014

PLAYLIST OF INDIVIDUAL SONGS
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6-TW…

SONGS
0:00:00 Parov Stelar – All Night
0:02:42 Jamie Berry (ft Rosie Harte) – Peeping Tom
0:06:12 Scott Bradlee & Post Modern Jukebox – Thrift Shop (Baker&Bart Electro Swing Remix)
0:09:59 Parov Stelar – The Mojo Radio Gang
0:12:38 Lionel Hampton – It Don’t Mean A Thing
0:16:14 Caravan Palace – Dragons
0:20:27 Tape Five – Geraldines Routine
0:23:32 Caravan Palace – Suzy
0:27:40 Jamie Berry (ft Octavia Rose) – Delight
0:33:24 Dunkelbunt (Ft Boban) – Cinnamon Girl
0:37:20 Jamie Berry – Sweet Rascal
0:41:28 Parov Stelar – Booty Swing
0:44:40 Parov Stelar – Libella Swing
0:49:00 Parov Stelar – Catgroove
0:53:29 Parov Stelar – Chambermaid Swing
0:59:15 Jamie Berry – Dirty Stop Out
1:05:25 Parov Stelar – Beatbuddy Swing
1:09:44 Parov Stelar – Josephine

 

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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