Archive for September, 2015

What’s in Your Backpack???

Posted: September 16, 2015 in World On The Edge

file0001338534726We are all hurt as we travel through life. We often hold on to those hurts. The betrayal of a friend, the infidelity of a spouse, the abuse of a parent, and on and on–things that stay with us for years after they occurred.

Some of us go through life aching and sweating, beneath a heavy backpack of grievances that weigh us down. Oddly, we keep adding to the weight of that backpack with fistful after fistful of “what he/she did to me,” and thoughts like, “I’ll never forget it. In fact, I won’t let them get away with it. I will pay them back!”

When we’re hauling around a backpack like that, we’re usually grumpy, or at the very least, difficult to be around. We’re certainly not smiling, or happy, because grudges make us inherently anxious.

How can we get over our grudges? How can we empty our backpack of all that disturbs us, and re-fill it with things that are worthwhile, things that do make us happy? (more…)

in cave

I’ve known a few people in life who’ve given up hope. Desperate people who blame themselves, or worse blame others for the demolished state they’re in.

They don’t believe they can be fixed.

Not true.

God can fix anything or anyone.

What is required for that kind of fixing?

Surrender is required.

Acceptance is required.

An emptying of self is required.

EXCUSE: Those are words, and the accomplishing of them isn’t easy.

ANSWER: Strength will be given.

Unconditional love will be given.

A replenishing of self will take place.

God can fix us.

Try Him.

father-as-leaderOver the years there have been many published studies on the importance of fathers.

From a father a child learns the basics: how to act, talk, react in certain situations. How can a father teach these things if he’s not present?

Without a father a child is much more likely to engage in activities that are abusive or harmful. In an article entitled The Plight of Fatherless Children from Gazette.net the following discoveries were noted for children without fathers:

  • Sixty-three percent of young people who commit suicide are from fatherless homes.
  • Eighty-five percent of children who exhibit behavioral disorders are from fatherless homes.
  • Eighty percent of rapists are from fatherless homes.
  • Seventy-one percent of high school dropouts are from fatherless homes.
  • Seventy-five percent of all adolescent patients in chemical-abuse centers are from fatherless homes.
  • Seventy percent of juveniles in state operated institutions come from fatherless homes.
  • Eighty-five percent of youth in prison are from fatherless homes.
  • Seventy percent of pregnant teens are from fatherless homes.

A man who is a father should be a champion for his children. Love for his child means sacrifice. Denying self is an expression of love. No way around it.

AMERICA IS NOW ON THE EDGE!

Posted: September 10, 2015 in World On The Edge
SONY DSC

SONY DSC

As human beings, we learn by example.
If we see someone trip, and then fall to his death off a dangerous cliff, wouldn’t we be very careful of that same drop ourselves?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy husband and I once stopped at an overlook on The Blue Ridge Parkway. It was Fall, so the mountains beyond us were blazing with color; every shade of red, orange, and yellow. To the side of the overlook, we noticed a little-worn path that led into the woods below. We took it.

Step by step we went down into an odd, emerald-colored shade, almost as if we had descended into a different season. There, we found a stream running between fat tree trunks and meandering down and around small rises in the earth. (more…)

conversationA human characteristic is the ability to speak, to converse, to give instruction, to make our opinions known. We talk. We use our tongues–sometimes without thinking, and sometimes very intentionally.

Our speech is directed to another, a listener. The listener may be a child, a friend, a family member, or a stranger in the grocery store. Regardless of who or where, what we say to each other matters. Speech is a gift to be used with care. I would suggest loving care, though I’m often guilty of overlooking that.

Matthew 12:36 says, But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.

Wow! That’s a lot of personal responsibility.

Yet what we say to each other is not always done with words. Often it’s what we D0 that speaks loudest.

How do our actions speak to our vulnerable children, or the friends and family who learn from us? Are we responsible in our actions as parents and teachers, leaders and co-workers?

Do we practice what we preach? Again, many of us often fall far short of that. It’s a good thing we have personal control over what we do, and if needed, the ability to correct ourselves.

There are times though, when we’re not the ‘speakers’ or the ‘doers,’ but the receivers, the targets of speech and action. Over this, we have little control, and no doubt the voices and actions are loud–the media, movies, TV, newspapers, books, and even our own government. Except each of these segments are made up of individuals like us.

Are these individuals any less responsible than us for what is said and done in today’s world? Don’t they, too, have the ability to correct themselves–or have greed and power simply struck them dumb and immobile.

IMG_7695When we are very young, we are easily bored. We like different experiences, and we like them frequently. When we are adults, we tone down a bit. We learn which experiences are better suited to us, and our personalities. And as we get older, we like comfort and continuity.

Still, whether young or old, most of us go through periods when we want a change. We want something fresh and new. We’ve grown weary of the same old stuff, or maybe, we’ve even grown weary of the same people.

There’s a lot to be said for the ‘tried and true.’ But there’s a lot to be said, too, for change.

And we don’t have to throw the baby out with the bath water.

Part of being creative is looking for a new slant on an old thing–even if the old thing is comfortable, continuous, and—well, brilliant. If we continue day after day, doing, hearing, and seeing, exactly the same thing, it can become stale, flat, and close to unbearable.

If a relationship with a family member or a friend is getting too predictable and bland, we look for ways to revive it–anything that freshens up the scene–a new place to go together, a new project both are interested in, a different way to converse or even to disagree.

Another example might be a piece antique furniture, say a Victorian chair—still comfortable, still beautiful. Except you’ve changed everything else in the room. You don’t want to throw out the chair, but in your eyes, it is becoming stodgy. You might look for a new slant— in a throw, a different place in the room, or even re-upholstery, so you keep the old, but freshen it up.

Freshening up to re-issue is done frequently with pieces of art: painting, sculpture, music, dance, and of course, with old movies.

One more concrete example: Everyone who’s been to a wedding has probably heard Pachelbel’s Cannon in D more times than they’d care to. But you’ve probably never heard it like the following video presents it.

The Cannon is there in all its brilliance, because there is value in the ‘tried and true,’ but a little something new can give it a whole new life.

What do you think of the change? I love it!

Photo by Oleander, 2015, MorgueFile.com

Photo by Oleander, 2015, MorgueFile.com

When an artist creates a work he/she creates an expression of something personally known, even if the work is far-out science fiction writing, or abstract painting. An artist paints, writes words, writes music, acts in film or on stage, or sculpts, from something personal within. The viewable, readable, or audible creation may be untrue all the way around, but the artist often uses untruth to bring forth truth. When an artist does this, it is a truth he or she accepts, and then the artist attempts to impart that truth to viewers, readers, listeners.

We all know that Art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize truth at least the truth that is given us to understand. The artist must know the manner whereby to convince others of the truthfulness of his lies. -― Pablo Picasso

An artist makes a statement about the world as he understands it. This is a personal world. In the artist’s view, it can be a good world that he wants to praise, or a bad one that he wants to condemn.

But an artist will have strong feelings about it, one way or another, before his art is complete. This is the motivation for a person who creates. It is a statement, an observation, a whole persona.

The artist has been given a gift. A vocation to follow. And in doing so, he/she can live a good life, a life of purpose. A life of service, and even holiness.

The most direct way for the artist to live a good life is by making good art. To this task the artist must bring, not so much Christian principles, but the whole of his or her personality, including religious faith. A particular artist’s work begins with his or her distinct talents and preoccupations. Yet much of the self must be left behind in the act of making. Virtue, for the artist, involves subordinating the good of the self to the good of the thing made; and to do this, the artist must cultivate “the habit of art”—by developing skills and work habits and purifying the source of inspiration. There is service in this, even holiness; at the same time, there is freedom for the artist to put some of those scruples about everyday life aside.– Paul Elie, Pious Anxiety: Flannery O’Connor’s Prayer Journal

An artist who allows his/her soul to move them toward truth, is a satisfied artist, and that is a very good life.