Christmas 2013

It’s Christmas Eve. Friends and families are gathering, waiting for Jolly Old Saint Nick. Kids and bigger kids ever so eager to open their gifts.

Tonight parents and grandparents are wrapping gifts and welcoming visitors, trying to settle everyone for this holiday. It’s truly a gorgeous celebration that brings out the best in us.

Tonight reveling in the delight of a small Christmas miracle I’m thinking of the Christmas’ past in my life.

I have been feeling the dull ache of the season as a single person. No longer hollow, but still lonely. The kind of lonely that only other people divorced after a decade of togetherness will understand.

Christmas was Danny’s holiday.

We would spend the day with his family. Since age 20 I’ve spent few holidays with my family always content to keep with his family traditions. It was while blaring Shinedown driving way too fast home trying to drown out the ache that I made this realization. I burst into tears and was thankful no one could see me.

The terrible thing about this gorgeous holiday is that it brings back the pain that you thought was gone. The ache the loneliness. The anger. And you don’t know if you’re angry at the person or yourself.

Of all the times all year long that you just do your routine and think little of the other person who used to help manage your life this is the time of the year for the painful reminder of them missing. It really doesn’t matter what the reality was like at the time our minds fix it and we romanticize the past…we wonder what could have been if they had been a little more flexible or if you had been more tolerant. You daydream and convince yourself that just maybe…

But it’s not real. It will never be real so we cling to reality. The reality of the situation is all that matters.

My reality is that for all the promise the past held it got shattered, but it left me with the two brightest beacons of hope…my sons. I do not get to do things perfectly for them even if I would like to, the job that I work too much at for too little keeps the bills paid, but severely lacking in the gift giving ability department.

This Christmas I thought I had it figured out, but still came up short. While out for gifts I had gone up and down the aisles picking things out, hoping, praying I could get them everything they wanted. I know I can’t get them everything, but I can adjust their lists to fit my meager budget. By the time I left I had a few items that I had to leave behind.

There was no way I could afford them and God knows that I’m not going to spend every penny I have on Christmas.

Christmas is – in my religious tradition – about God…a celebration of the eternal, a celebration of birth and life and giving…but not of gifting. Give in ways large or small, but that is very different from gifting.

Anyway, I left it to God.

He replied…

When I came home this evening (after crying my eyes out in the car) I walked in the house and my babysitter had a surprise. Someone – I don’t know her name, but she works for Joshua Tree – had given the boys gifts.

Even now as I type it I have tears, because it’s all the things that I had looked at but couldn’t afford to buy.

Everything.

It seems that God guided the hand of a perfect stranger.

For as sad as I felt in the car before I arrived home, from loneliness and pain, I felt awed. I have no other word for it, but awe. I’m encouraged and blessed beyond words at this person’s kindness and I wish I could express how eternally grateful I feel.

There are so many things I could say, but they just seem lacking.

However I needed to share this with you all to perhaps give you a whisper of prayers answered. It’s a strange thing God’s been doing so openly lately in so many areas of my life. I just had to share.

From me and my family to yours I’d like to wish you a very blessed and Merry Christmas!!

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Education and Public Policy Series : Community

Before I begin this series I need to tell you all that this series is in conjunction with an announcement.

I decided several weeks ago, but haven’t written it on this blog, that I am running for the Texas State Board of Education, District 7.  In the last weeks since this became my reality I have been asked, well, why? Why would you do this? Why open up your life and your sanity to such scrutiny?

To be completely honest – I am on paper probably the least “qualified” of the people running. I am not – however – afraid of this difference.

I think we need to reframe who we think should be in charge and try to change things up.

Because I require a little support and guidance I have asked to run as the Libertarian party candidate for this position. I see so little difference between the Republicans and Democrats these days that I am…to say the least…disappointed in their behavior. I don’t think any one party has the right answer. The only way to make this work is to work together and vote my conscience, not because someone tells me to vote with my party. I think I should get to know the educators I will be representing and I hope that in the next 11 months I can meet all of them. As for the public scrutiny?? Dude! I write a blog and anything you ever wanted to know I have written myself in a very public platform. I have not lived perfectly, I have lived on the edge quite a bit and I am a rule breaker. I admit it…I am a ruler breaker…so lets see what we can do.

Do you consider education to be one of the foundations of a community?

We are, each of us, in a community. Whether we have neighbors near or far we each have a group to share social experiences with…and if you don’t you are probably not reading this. My previous post defined community as people within an area, people with a common background, nations with common histories, or the other beings with whom you interact over the internet. Each of us has a community.

What is the foundation of any of these?

The ability to communicate. In one form or another you are in constant communication with the other people around you.

Every gesture, every behavior, certainly every word.

We begin learning these behaviors at birth. “I’m hungry!” Cry. “I’m tired!” Cry louder. “I’m happy!” Giggle, smile, and sometimes this eventually leads to crying. As the child grows older their methods of communication evolve, they sign, they speak, they go into the kitchen and get themselves a snack.

All behaviors that they have had to learn.

All communication is education on display.

The foundational knowledge that you build from infancy is called your working memory. Breath, think, eat, walk, run, process. The things we do automatically without even thinking about them, we learned to do.  If you have 10 minutes please watch this short TED talk from Peter Doolittle and see if you can remember the five words he gives about 3 minutes into the speech.

Click here –> For the record – tree, highway, Saturn, and Electrode are all I remember 2.5 hours later.

Education is the most natural of concepts for us to understand. We are born to it. We perhaps learn more in those first few years than during any other period of our lives. Because we know without acknowledging it that by learning more we can do more ourselves. We have a natural independence and curiosity that no amount of being told no can change.

Toddlers practice the scientific method every day and they don’t even know it! They are told not to do something because we as adults know the result, but they want to do it anyway and that is how they learn.

We've all seen this before - I think the original was in Parents or Parenting Magazine several years ago.

We’ve all seen this before – I think the original was in Parents or Parenting Magazine several years ago.

There is a very interesting playlist from TED of some of the leaders in brain science. The video lengths vary, but are all so interesting and link to more information and it’s hard to get it all into one easy to read post. I hope you will find the time to view this list…and the others.

We are amazing creatures and our brains are capable of doing anything we set our minds to do. This does make me wonder why is it then that our educational system doesn’t lend itself toward this natural energy, this curiosity? Why it is that children who should be up and running around and learning through play and experimentation are forced to sit at a desk and learn the skills to pass a standardized test?

Shouldn’t the very nature of childhood dictate that our communities should at their foundation encourage creativity, trial and error, and support?

Innovation is dismissed because some individuals don’t understand what it is that people who haven’t had their natural curiosity trained out of them think. The people who suggest better ideas and methods have to work twice as hard as the people who want to keep with the status quo. Not because they aren’t doing it right, but because they have to do it the old-fashioned way and develop the case for WHY their idea would make things better. As a community we should embrace our innovators!

I asked a friend of mine (easily one of the most well-read people I have ever spoken to)  if he considered education to be one of the foundations of community and with a resounding yes he stated the following.  “Education allows for you to rest in the shoes of the other…empathy for an individual is gained through education instead of through an unforgiving existence of learning your way up.”

Meaning that you don’t always have to be the toddler who has to feel the fire to know that you will get burned, by learning from your community and through education you can know what will work and what won’t.

Collective knowledge keeps us from having to reinvent the wheel with every generation.

He also said that “To learn to write is to learn to live, [because] it offers you the ability to articulate your point vividly and pointedly and gives you the strength to carry your ideas into the marketplace. To learn Chemistry, Physics and Biology (Hard sciences) must be liberally smoothed by the soft sciences, Sociology, anthropology, psychology, etc. in order to come up with creative linkages between one or more of the hard and soft sciences. The reason for the linkages is to be offered the knowledge of the disciplines and know what draws them together…example Mathematics. Neuroscience requires mathematics as well as psychology and scientific understand of the physiological requirements to make changes.”

My friend also stated that an education “Offers you a smoother, more complete route to understanding your vocation in life.”

“If I came into this world and knew nothing. How would I want the world to be set and governed?” John Rawls.

Later that same day I spoke with an educator in Houston, Bon Crowder, she is a Math teacher and Education innovator, Bon writes Math is a Four Letter Word. A website full of practical ways for parents to teach their children solid math skills. Her response to my question was surprising. She said “No! Education as we know it is no longer a part of the community. It should be, but it is not.”

Bon went on to state that as it is the Texas Educational system now is purely based on the standardized test scores and in order to ensure that all the requirements are met teachers are forced to teach little else. All that counts at the end of the year is the grades received by the classes on statewide testing. There is no room for critical thinking or creativity, no place for the scientific method to be put into practice. Math is now a series of memorization tables and practical exercises that won’t teach the child to think.

I think that both Bon and Mark are correct. Here in lies the problem, and it is one that is not unfamiliar to hiring managers everywhere. We are teaching our children to memorize numbers, but not to use them. We are teaching them that A+B=C but what if A is a theory on thought and B is a theory on progress, however are they ever going to find C? Children have lost the ability to critically think. There is no formula to memorize, no prescribed thought pattern to follow.

How does this relate to community?

Well, we no longer question. We follow the rules and do as we are told and don’t stray from the line because if you stray from the line there is no turning back. We call the thinkers black sheep for daring to do something different and then we tell everyone to treat them differently because if you want to be different you HAVE to do it alone. This is a shocking error in judgement. We have to dare to be different if we are ever going to make the community known as the world reach its maximum potential.

How do we solve the problems of hatred, pollution, disease, or education unless we have those thinkers who are willing to put themselves out there for the good of the whole?

I leave you with this to contemplate. A caption from Sagan, from an interview that I saw on Upworthy.

Education and Public Policy Series : Definitions

education-phonetic

Below are some definitions that will be helpful in my upcoming series on education. I don’t think I’ve ever written in-depth on this blog about what I think and how I feel about our educational system as a whole. Hopefully, by the end of the series you will understand what has gotten me pointed in this direction. I encourage you to share your thoughts with me as this series progresses. I promise you these will be discussed throughout the course of the next year. Your insights are very important to me. They are important for the future of the nation and the world.

While you are considering education I want to think about a few things.

What do you consider to be the foundations we build our community?

What impact does society and culture have on education?

What impact should religion have on education?

When should we allow public opinion to impact science?

How has the system changed between your time in public school and your child’s time in public school?

What is prompting so many people to return to homeschooling their children?

If you could do one thing, change one thing about public school, what would it be?

Education

Definition:  1. Educating: the imparting and inquiring of knowledge through teaching and learning, especially at a school or similar institution. “After all, what is education but a process by which a person begins to learn how to learn?” ~Peter Ustinov, Dear Me  2. Knowledge: the knowledge or abilities gained through being educated.   3. Instruction:  Training and instruction in a particular subject, e.g. health matters.  4. Learning Experience:  an informative experience  5. Study of teaching: the study of the theories and practices of teaching.  6. System for educating people: The system of educating people in a community or society.

Community

Definition:  1. People in area:  A group of people who live in the same are, or the area in which they live.  2. People with common background:  a group of people with common background or with shared interests within society.  3. Nations with common history:  A group of nations with a common history or political interests.  4. Society:  The public or society in general.  5. Interacting plants and animals:  all the plants and animals that live in the same area and interact with one another.  6. Same as virtual community:  People sharing cyberspace connection: a group of people communicating with each other via the Internet.

Society

Definition:  1. Relationships among groups:  The sum of social relationships among groups of humans or animals.  2. Structured community of people:  A structured community of people bound together by similar traditions, institutions, or nationality.  3. Customs of a community:  The customs of a community and the way it is organized, e.g. its class structure.  4. Subset of Community: A particular section of a community that is distinguished by particular qualities.  5. Prominent People:  The prominent or fashionable people in a community, or their social life.  6. Companionship: the state of being with other people.  7. Group sharing interests:  an organized group of people who share an interest, aim, or profession.

Culture

Definition:  1. Arts collectively:  Art, music, literature, and related intellectual activities, considered collectively. Culture is necessary for a healthy society. Popular Culture.  2. Knowledge and sophistication: enlightenment and sophistication acquired through education and exposure to the arts. They are people of culture.  3. Shared beliefs and values of group:  The belief, customs, practices, and social behavior of a particular nation or people. Southeast Asian Culture.  4. People with shared beliefs and practices:  A group of people whose shared beliefs and practices identify the particular place, class, or time to which they belong.  5. Shared attitudes:  A particular set of attitudes that characterizes a group of people. The company tries hard to avoid a blame culture.  (And then there are all the medical definitions, but we don’t need these for our purposes.)

Politics

Definition: 1. Activities associated with government: The theory and practice of government, especially the activities associated with governing, with obtaining legislative or executive power, or with forming and running organizations connected with government. 2. Political Life: Political activity as a profession.  3. Power relationships in specific field: the interrelationships between the people, groups, or organizations in a particular area of life especially insofar as they involve power and influence or conflict. The politics of education.  4. Calculated Advancement: The use of tactics and strategy to gain power in a group or organization.  5. Same as political science: The study of political organizations and institutions, especially governments

All definitions from the Encarta Dictionary: English (North America), Microsoft 2011

“We are Stardust”

I know I am not the only one who believes in my right to speak my mind and not agree, but some speakers with bigger world views than mine bring my mind to focus.

On a cold cool night in a place outside the city I can be reminded of my space when I lay down in an open space and gaze up at the cosmos. For a few brief moments your breath is caught in your throat and you are humbled by the vastness that is before you. Billions of tiny dots a trails of dust light up the night sky, and for a moment I remember that I am on one of the smallest dots.

If someone were looking back at my sun – they probably wouldn’t see me.

Pale_Blue_Dot_Carl_Sagan_ANnotated_copy

When I consider this truth I wonder why we go to war. I wonder why we have to work so hard to pay someone money that thy world provides for free if we just let her do her job and stop trying to change her. It is difficult to perceive why we have allowed this to happen. As you will see in the video below all the history we have ever known, all the blood that has been spilt, all the violence that we have seen all in the name of what? For something that may or may not be true on a bit of dust the size of our planet.

I would love for you to take a drive out in the country on a clear night and lay down under the stars and just remember how tiny we really are and how non-existent any perceived problem really is…it’s only a problem because we let it.

I think this may have posted the whole playlist, but for the perspective I was looking at scroll to the end and watch the 11th video.

If you have more time than that, please watch them all. You will not regret it.

A Poem : Cold

The cold bites my exposed skin.
Through the holes in my pushed up sleeve
I smile through the pain,
Looking for the warmth of flame.
Cold and shattered I pretend
Laugh while inside I cry.
Eyes always on the edge of tears,
Veils and masks hide the fears.
It’s easy to figure out this life
“I know you can do it, you always do.”
Survive, Arrive, Follow all the rules
That’s not what I want to hear
When I scream.
Shouting, Fighting, Praying for relief
God! Why do we live so exposed!?
Why do our hearts tremble in the cold?
Why can’t every life be easy and warm?
When will I break free from this storm?
Their eyes rejuvenate me,
Beautiful blue pools
That anchor me
Make me see, make me hear
God replying to every prayer.
The sun peaks through the clouds
Wrapping me in Angelic warmth.

Because of them I know God

A Poem: Bird

Life is funny
It can’t be seen
Constantly directed behind the scenes.
We follow a path drawn on a cloud
Get lost, wander, find our way around
As years pass we plant our roots
Get married, have kids,
Grow radiant in the light
Leave our dreams to the night.
Then we age a year in a day
Suddenly aware that change is near
Funny this life
We built solidly seems
To trickle away like falling leaves.
A season has passed
Our roots cannot hold us
Dreams pursuing us
One day we wake
We realize
We were the bird
Not the tree.
We are free to fly
From sea to sea.

Birds, Gulf of Mexico photo by Me

Birds, Gulf of Mexico photo by Me

Jobless isn’t the end of the World – Right?

What do you do when you are faced with a problem?

Do you tuck tail and hide? (Because that’s what I feel like doing.)

Do you ignore the chatter and rise from the ashes? (Hope to do)

Eat pumpkin anything and gain 20 pounds? (As I type I am eating delicious pumpkin bread pudding…and it’s amazing!)

Here is the problem – and it’s not really a problem – just something else on the path to understanding. I am losing my job. I have been here since April 2012, and I have worked my tail off letting everything including this blog suffer and for what? To be told that since your boss was a bad boss we had to let him go and since we have a whole team assembled who can do your job in another city we are going to let them do it.

Sure, they have offered to move me to one of two locations – without an increase in pay – one is in the middle of desert surrounded by the pollution that I loathe and the other is deep in hickville away from proper civilization. I don’t require much, but for a girl who loves theater, symphony music, and museums…hickville’s not going to cut it.

So I am here…arriving at decision time with three months to decide my fate.

Pulled from Google Images - If you know who made it I will give them full credit.

Pulled from Google Images – If you know who made it I will give them full credit.

I guess it’s really not three months, more like two and a half, but it is also right at the holiday season when NO ONE wants to hire!

It would be perfect if I could leave here at the end of the year, take a week off, and start right up somewhere else, but to get them to even look at my resume. No actually it would be perfect if “they” could find a way to keep me for at least a few more years, or if they could pay me more, or if I didn’t have to be on the road 3 hours a day just commuting to and from work.

I figure that’s just part of life living in one of the most spread out cities in the country.

I get excited at the idea of leaving…but where would I go? What will I do? Where will I live?

Do I move to get out of a city full of smog?

Do I find something that keeps the rest of my life as it is and just humbly soldier on?

Honestly, I do have responsibilities here.

I lead a Cub Scout den. I will start leading Danielle Laporte’s Desire Map book club for the “South of Houston” area in January (I would have to give that up – and I don’t wanna.) I am a member of a church that I have grown to love and get excited to attend every week.

I would love to work locally though, heck – I’d love to work from home! Wouldn’t that be awesome! I could do a lot if I worked from home. I would save money and not be on the road so much. I don’t think it will happen, but it is fun to dream.

I feel stuck. I shouldn’t because I have time, experience, and options on my side.

I feel let down because something I thought would last is ending.

I feel nervous because of timing and possibilities. Fortunately some of those possibilities are out of my control and with a little prayer and meditation the nervousness can be tempered.

I also feel excited by those possibilities. What could happen if I just step out of this shell that I’ve encased myself in? What if I find exactly what I am looking for in a job and career?

What if something amazing happens because now I get to look for it out in the open without recourse by my employer because they told me to see what’s out there?

Now time to reread my post from last week…I think that line of thinking is key to my next step.

Until next time –

Just found on Raw for Beauty’s facebook page, by way of the Desire Map group. It’s long but so beautiful and appropriate for this post.

What makes You itch?

What makes you itch? ~Alan Watts

I love that.

I hear that and so many ideas come to mind. Writing the great American Novel, Globe School, having a Bed and Breakfast, being a stay at home mom, or being a successful independent business woman. But what really makes me itch? More pointedly, as Alan asks at the end of the video

“What do I desire?”

All kinds of things.

Galveston Beach - Sunset September 29

Galveston, Sunny Beach, Sunset – September 29, 2013

I challenge you to ask yourself every morning while you are brushing your teeth,

“What do I desire today?”

Where will you be if you work to create the feelings inside of you that fulfill that desire?

Do you desire happiness? This is a choice made each day. Make it and own your happiness.

Do you desire freedom? We are not as free as we once were, but we are as free as we want to be to drive down the road with the top down, to run around the beach, to go out into the world and experience it. We are free to be ourselves. Claim your freedom.

Do you desire love? This is trickier, but I think you must love yourself broken and bruised before anyone else can love you. Until the day you meet someone who is the shining reflection of your inner light keep yourself a work in progress.

Don’t let yourself be defined by the people who may have broken you before.

You are worthy of love. Believe it.

But these aren’t really what this video is about. This video is about way more than that.

Alan Watts is speaking about the quality of your life.

“What would you do if money were no object?”

Imagine for a moment that you are the most wealthy woman (or man) to ever inherit money on the planet and never had to work another day in your life.

How would you fill the hours?

Would you paint?

Would you write?

Would you buy a farm and tend the land?

Would you fight for the causes that cause you the most heartache?

Would you simply live life and raise a family?

Would you spend your life in selfish pursuits? I’m not judging, it’s a valid choice.

Dock for Post 10-10

Galveston Bay, Sometime in April, from the balcony of Noah’s Ark Cafe

I think I would not hesitate on globe school a moment longer. My sons and I would head out as soon as the money was in the bank! But even traveling and educating them would leave me with a hole, a void that would need to be filled.

I do not exist in a vacuum. I see through the façade too easily to be able to live so solitarily for too long.

After our journey I would buy a B&B somewhere and settle into writing books and cleaning toilets and making delicious gourmet treats. I would find a way to give back to the community.

But life isn’t this way. We have to work. We have to live. We have to make money for the things that pay for the fact that we live in the world we do.

On second thought and as Alan Watts states in the video,

“If money IS the only thing, then you will spend your entire life completely wasting your time.”

I have moments where I know I am completely wasting my time. I do too much that I have to do and not enough of what I want to do. I ignore the desires. I hide in my happiness because that is a choice I make each day, but it’s not always how I feel.

That’s not right!

We all enter the world with a purpose that is ours to discover and we are blessed with the abilities to do it, whatever “it” is.

Money is a means by which we have to live, but it should not define us.

What if we stopped focusing so much on monetary value and started to focus on our worth?

What if we focused on our passion?

What would you do?

Would you write? Would you paint? Would you have more children? Would you give of yourself to charity?

It is baffling, but there are actually people who love to sit at a desk all day maintaining ledgers and making the world run.

What if we each did what we were meant to do instead of what we have to do?

So much of our daily activity is soul crushing and menial.

Statistically as our society and culture became center more on money, than on pursuits of passion, the need for mental health treatment has risen – dramatically.

That should tell you something.

We have problems because we were not made to have money as our only focus. We were not made to be slaves to a clock or to sit in cubes and offices all day doing nothing but mindless tasks.

We were made to create!

We were made to be free!

We were made to love and live on this miraculous planet.

So, what makes you itch?

Why don’t you run for office?

In 1982, there was a film called, The Verdict, I had never heard of it until today. However, thanks to John Cusack’s Twitter feed, I saw the Courtroom summation scene.

This speech really sums up how many American’s feel this week.

The quiet desperation in Paul Newman’s voice, the hopeful ending, and the knowledge that the Jury was the law. They had legal books for guidance, but the jury really was the law. The people are the law.

America is at an impasse. Our democratic government is broken and there is only one way to fix it. We must remember that we are the government. The top only functions as well as the rest. The people are the law.

What is a democracy?

 A democracy is a form of government in which all eligible citizens participate equally – either directly or through elected representatives – in the proposal, development, and creation of laws. It encompasses social, economic, and cultural conditions that enable the free and equal practice of political self-determination.

This means that our government is us…we elect people. We create the machine. We can now recreate the machine. The people are the law and the people are the law makers.

What are the requirements to becoming an elected official?

Depending on the office you have to be 21 to 30 years of age, a U.S. citizen, and a resident of the location you will represent. Also depending on state and location you must have lived there a certain number of years.

That is it. You do not need a fancy degree. You don’t need any degree. You don’t need to belong to some secret society. You just need to raise enough votes for the office you seek.

How do you get those votes?

You go door to door if you have to, but you also hold rallies, make public appearances, you get to know the people you are going to represent.

Better yet, be one of the people you represent.

I posed the question to my Facebook friends yesterday on what they think should be the requirements of getting elected.

The replies:

1)      Be from a lower income. – If you have never been poor you have no idea how hard it is and you can’t vote from that perspective. No amount of empathy can make you understand poverty. Why? We each have our own version of poverty. Some people see it as a single mom living in a slum, others see it as the people in foreign countries on Unicef commercials. If you are going to represent the people you should be part of the 99%.

2)      They don’t want to run for office. – People who crave power are a troublesome bunch. They could be anyone and they are everywhere. People who crave power should not be public servants. The key that politicians seem to keep forgetting is that they are in service to their districts, states, and country. If you crave power go do something else.

3)      They should never have held the office that they are seeking in the previous ten years. – As a resident of Texas whose politicians rarely change I agree with this thought wholeheartedly. It keeps the law from stagnation.

4)      They cannot have been employed by any organization that lobbies the position that they are seeking. – This one is harder to do because some people work in Oil and Gas for the pay check, but are quite against it just the same. It’s a hypocritical part of life, but it does happen.

5)      They should have been in Military Service – If you haven’t worn the uniform you shouldn’t be able to dictate to the uniform. These men and women are willing to selflessly die every day for our selfish society if you want to give them orders to walk into battle you better have tested yourself on the battlefield.

I would add that they need to be younger, they should advocate for our Constitutional Rights, believe in a truly free state, and not be scared to stand up for the Truth.

My candidate would also have made bad choices, but learned from the mistakes. If you never mess up you have never lived and I wouldn’t want that for the person that represents me. I mess up. Life is a messy, dirty, glorious event. My candidate would need to be anything but squeaky clean.

As a people we get tired of the posturing that happens daily in each political body in our nation. We resign our fate to the hands of the ruling class. We either neglect or forget that each November we have the ability to make a revolution. We just have to get to the polls to vote. You not only need to register, but you need to show up to vote. In the last national election less than a third of the population voted, but I know at least two-thirds have complained about the decisions made ever since.

This week there have been a lot of opinions floating around the web, but I think this is clear – We have had it and we are angry.

Register to Vote at: Our Time

This from Upworthy via Our Time is amazing and says more than I could say about Americans and voting.

http://www.upworthy.com/theres-something-that-all-americans-could-do-to-make-their-lives-better-that-so-many-forget

Courtesy of Google Images - If it's yours - Let me know!

Courtesy of Google Images – If it’s yours – Let me know!

America – We missed the mark on Remembrance

Remembrance does strange things to people. It makes them intolerant. It makes them violent. It takes a day that is already bad enough and makes it worse.

Yesterday was the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that left America scattered and scared. The 12th anniversary of the deaths of thousands at the hands of 19 individuals whose moral compass had become so extreme that they were willing to die to make us pay for…I don’t know exactly.

I never understood the why’s of 9/11. I won’t share in the conspiracy theory there is tons of that online and in life. The point is that this was a tragedy that has become a religious and racist argument that will never be won.

The Devil has already won if we continue to fight about whose God is right.

We are all humans. We live on a planet we call Earth. We all bleed red. We all eat and drink and procreate. The things that set us apart from the animals are – murder and mind.

We have the ability to cognitively process everything that happens to us and around us. There are theories as to evolution, but we don’t know why we became so evolved. We just are.

So, why do we kill each other for any reason?

Is it humanity’s fatal flaw to be violent in the face of power, passion, or religion?

Is religion a fatal flaw?

We are all people after all and we all want to live long full lives, so it doesn’t make sense to take someone else’s life from them. At least it doesn’t to me. We live on a huge planet. Go live somewhere else if you can’t stand where you are and who you are with.

If you can’t stand someone ELSE’s religion then don’t practice it.

Yesterday there was a plan for a “Million Muslim March” on the Mall in Washington, D.C. It happened but more like a fraction of a percent of Muslims participated in the event. Reasoning being unclear as to why there were not more people. Perhaps they knew the backlash that could have resulted from this or perhaps it was the 2 million bikers that thought to show up and interrupt this event.

I’d be scared if 2 million bikers promised to end my march…as it was there was no violence just a bunch of bikers driving through DC. The police blocked them from doing anything else and wouldn’t give them a permit for a march of their own.

Yesterday should have been a day of Peace and Remembrance. We should have pondered those who lost their lives. We should have spent the day reaching out to our loved ones and friends telling them we love them and appreciate them.

A gathering of Muslims for Peace on a day that produced violence by Muslims seems like a way for that community to come full circle. It was meant to be an olive branch in the religious inconsistencies of our national character.

Want religious freedom? Well that doesn’t just mean your religion. Religious freedom is meant to be for everyone.

Want to be able to meet and assemble? That doesn’t mean just for causes you find worthy.

Want to be able to complain about it? Freedom of speech is for everyone.

Those are your first amendment rights. They are for everyone. Anyone on American soil has these freedoms. This is what the Revolutionary War was fought for and what our soldiers continue to believe as they fight for us. There are so many differing views on religion, politics, heredity, and social standing that these have become unimportant in light of someone’s character and interaction with the rest of the world.

What if starting today we lived without prejudice?

What if starting today we lived fully compassionate lives?

What if starting today we began to trust again?

What if starting today we showed respect for everyone?

What if starting today we chose to live as God intended?

To begin with you need to stop grouping a set of strangers together calling all of them bad people who want to kill us all without actually knowing anything about them. A sad state of American society is that we automatically classify people of the Muslim religion as extremists who want to murder us and take over the country.

Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble, but this is profoundly untrue. The Muslim religion is not to blame, no more than the Christian religion is to blame for the Holocaust or the Spanish Inquisition. Those things happened because of the thoughts and actions of a small group of people, not because of their religion. Step one someone else’s religion is not your responsibility. Your responsibility is your faith, your path, your choice of religion.

As a Christian I believe that at the end of my life I will be placed before God and judged. He will not judge me on my works; He will judge me on my faith and my obedience in accepting Jesus Christ as my eternal Savior. What part does anything to do with someone else’s religion? Nada.

Another part of my walk as a Christian is more of a universal rule that I live by and would appreciate others to do as well. “Treat others as you would like to be treated.” I know I didn’t quote the scripture or verse, but you know what I mean. This fully encapsulates how to live compassionately. If you see someone who is hungry try to feed him. If you see someone that needs a home, show him where to get the help to get a home.

Living compassionately is not a life in the mission field, it should simply be life.

If you claim to be Christian the rule we are taught is to live a “Christ-like Life.” Who was Christ? Jesus. How did he live? He was self-sacrificing and lived to make the lives of those around him better than his own. We cannot save the world, but we can show each other mercy.

What do you think the world would be like if more Christians lived that way?

I think it would be easier to trust if you knew that the people who claimed to be good, peace-loving, wholesome individuals really were. There is nothing more troubling than believing in others and having them shatter that belief. Perhaps my trust in others is my fatal flaw, because I trust everyone until they’ve given me a reason not to and that is dangerous. Because you can’t actually trust anyone these days until they have proven their worth.

If you can’t trust simply try to respect others. Everyone.

All trust starts with respect. If someone can’t respect other people they can’t be trusted. Of all the definitions of respect I think the one most closely resembling what we view as respect is thoughtfulness or consideration. By being considerate of others we can earn their trust and compassion, which could bring them to a non-judgmental state regardless of your chosen lifestyle or religion…which are none of their business anyway.

I for one like my rights as an American and I would hate to see them further sullied because of some extreme belief in the supremacy of one religion over another.

Every time you act and react is a characteristic of yourself, not your religion, not your hometown, not even your family. We are all on this planet. We won’t all agree. We won’t all get along.

Tolerance isn’t about conformity it’s about life.

Pulled from a Facebook Share

Pulled from a Facebook Share