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Quiet amidst chaos

I am frequently asked why I would want to live in a small rural community. After all, I grew up in metropolitan southern California and have lived in other urban/suburban areas for most of my life. The simple answer: Peace. On days like today, the loudest noise are the animals outside and the occasional train. The peace allows me to think, to breathe, to be.

I ran across a post recently that has a poem by Pablo Neruda that echoes much of why I have chosen this life. I think that if more people could learn to embrace quiet and the beauty it contains, the world would be a calmer place.

Pablo Neruda “Keeping Quiet”

 
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Posted by on 09/10/2016 in Insight

 

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Beneath the Facade

We all have a facade of some sort. You know the one– the face we show to the world. It goes deeper than that. Out actions and demeanor varies, depending on the situation. In fact, I’ve recently heard somewhere that we actually have three faces: The one we show to the world, one to family, and the one that no one else ever sees. I know I certainly have those three faces.

What is unnerving is when you are accustomed to a certain person’s face  and then, perhaps unexpectedly, see one of the others.

I inadvertently eavesdropped on a conversation between two people yesterday. I know that eavesdropping can lead to hearing things not meant for me. What I heard was the “family only” voice of someone who I considered family, and the tone and content was unexpected. It was cold, calculating, and manipulative, dismissive of anyone else’s problems except for her own. In that moment, I realized that I may have only seen this “face” of this person a few times. Each time I have seen it, I have the same reactions: surprise, anger, and fierce protectiveness of those about whom I care the most.

What’s the lesson here? Don’t eavesdrop. Know that we all likely have that less-favorable side that might distress others if they truly witnessed it. Remember that who I am is diminished in no way whatsoever by this other person.

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Posted by on 08/30/2016 in Growth, Insight

 

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What does RA + Amusement Park Equal?

On the surface, it is a big bag of “aaaaaaaaaaaa!”

Late last evening, I made the choice to go to a local, large-name amusement park with my family. I knew it would be physically painful, but the way my daughters’ eyes lit up when I consented to go drove away any trepidation I felt. They make pain killers, after all. What can’t be made is that last day of summer before we all gear up for the next school year.

It was a lovely, warm August day. We left when we were all ready to go, and the trip was relaxing. We had one of those precious days when we were telling jokes and laughing at nothing in particular. 

Then the RA monster woke from its slumber. That damn beast has the most erratic schedule and often appears unannounced. What nerve!

For those who aren’t familiar with RA, it is nothing like advertisements depict. I don’t take a pill and then feel up to running a marathon, playing on a beach, or any of that nonsense. Instead, I get to take three handfuls of meds each day and two injections per week just to be able to maintain some sort of normalcy that allows me to function in daily life. When injury strikes or the disease-monster flares, I don’t heal quickly. I eat right and exercise, but the meds pack on weight, no matter what I do. I tire easily and unpredictably, and my balance and concentration can be wonky. This, from a body that used to be thin, strong, and active. While everyone’s experience with RA is different, that is my story.

So I’m putting my weary, painkiller-laden self to bed. But the love my family gave me all day makes my heart light.

 
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Posted by on 08/19/2016 in Motivation

 

The best part of us

My social media feeds seem to have a constant stream of unbelievably outrageous content. If I believed half of what I read, I would think that people are corrupt, narcissistic, mindless, and bigoted. The daily news in the current election season seems to have no limit to the atrocities it reports.

Then I watched– truly watched — the Olympics and the media, social and otherwise, it generates. Here are the glimpses of what has struck me.

 

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I think that the Olympics is an opportunity to be our best, not just as athletes, but as human beings. I’m glad we have this particular set happening now. It reminds me that good people are everywhere. We just have to look for them.

 
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Posted by on 08/15/2016 in Motivation

 

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What if?

What if we aren’t as different as some people would have us believe?

What if we realized that we all have the same hopes, fears, needs, and dreams?

What if one action we took or one decision we made could change the world?

What if we Americans were the ones who were wrong about our priorities?

What if we listened– truly listened– to our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world?

Could we become better citizens of the world?

What would it look and feel like if we did?

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Posted by on 08/05/2016 in Motivation

 

My life, expressed in a single word

 
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Posted by on 08/02/2016 in Insight

 

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Values

I have more thoughts in my head than proverbial irons in the fire. I have started and scrapped at least a dozen posts, so I figured I should try to get one written. It may come out as a mish-mosh of different ideas, and I apologize in advance.

Today in church, a good friend of mine delivered a sermon about balancing news with the Bible. I’m not a Bible thumper of any sort, and I take any mainstream media outlet with a cowlick of salt. However, something about the message echoed some of the angst I’ve been feeling about this year’s election season.

This season comes down to a question of values. Who are we as a people? What do we value? I can’t possibly guess at anyone else’s values, so I can only speak to my own. In no particular order, I value:

  • Family, both blood and chosen
  • Freedom to live as I choose
  • Acceptance of people as they are
  • Love, in whatever shape or form it may appear

My biggest fear, and one that I believe is shared by many people, is that these things I value will be somehow threatened or otherwise jeopardized because of the divisiveness and hate I hear proclaimed by one of the candidates. I came across the following cartoon from The New Yorker and I found it particularly clever. I think it characterizes the values of the candidates quite interestingly.

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Posted by on 07/31/2016 in Insight

 

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