Friday, March 28, 2008

Believing in Myself

March 20

Today's Quotation:

I believe that in our constant search for security we can never
gain any peace of mind until we secure our own soul. And this
I do believe above all, especially in my times of greatest
discouragement, that I must believe--that I must believe
in my fellow people-- that I must believe in myself--that I
must believe in God--if life is to have any meaning.

Margaret Chase Smith

Today's Meditation:

It's a shame that so many people have attached so much dogma and so many conditions to believing in God. We've turned one of the most important aspects of our lives into some sort of competition--you're not a true Christian unless you believe this; you're not a good Muslim unless you adopt this set of beliefs; a good Jew always will believe this.

But what of our own relationships with ourselves and with God? What of our own ability to believe in who we are and who God is? Is it any wonder that we find it hard to believe in ourselves when we're told so often that our most basic beliefs are wrong or misguided? How can it help us to adopt other people's beliefs just because other people believe those things?

For centuries, Christians believed that it was right to kill a person who committed blasphemy. Some cultures still do believe that. But for the most part, that belief has changed significantly. What once was considered a holy duty before God is now a crime in almost all countries of the world. But how many people adopted that belief in former times simply because other people told them it was true?

If we insist on adopting other people's beliefs, we will find that we are unable to get to know ourselves, and that we are unable to believe fully and deeply. Our first duty is to ourselves, for the person who has come to know him or her self can then reach out and help others effectively.

Questions to ponder:

1. Do you believe in yourself? How do your actions reflect that belief?

2. Do you believe in God, no matter what you conceive Him (or Her, or It) to be? How do your actions reflect that belief?

3. How many of your beliefs come from other people, and their insistence that you must believe certain things in certain ways?

For further thought:

Grant us a common faith that we shall know bread and peace--that
we shall know justice and righteousness, freedom and security,
an equal opportunity and an equal chance to do our best not only
in our own lands, but throughout the world. And in that faith let us
march toward the clean world our hands can make.

Stephen Vincent Benet

This was the amazing meditative article, from the Living Life Fully web site, that gave me great food for thought. Especially after I had spent the larger portion, of my young adult and adult life, joining churches and molding myself into their ideas of who and what is good. It has not been until the last 2 years that I have actually come into my own and really started to enjoy my life. As the "questions to ponder" ask about believing in yourself.... I never used to. I believed that I was only as good as "they" said that I was. As long as I behaved in ways that fit with their teachings, as long as I went to studies and volunteered I was a-okay in their minds.

It was not until I totally took myself out of their influences that I began to discover myself. The fact that I believed in something divine was something that I had to develop on my own and on my own terms. I finally feel like I own my own emotions and beliefs, that they do not belong to some church or organization. Granted, I do not have any ladies to have punch and cake with on Sunday afternoons, but I am secure and strong. I am totally me and do not have to rely on those places to be my social network.

It doesn't even have to always be with a church either. I realized how many of the people that I used to think were my friends, ended up I was just fused to their behaviors and thoughts.

From the time I was 12 I was always looking for the "thing" that would help me to fit in and be part of something. It has taken this long for me to find the way to just be happy with myself and be part of the human race.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Finding God, Troop Deaths and Blackwater Works On.

In what can only be described as a larger scale "Where's Waldo" it seems that physicists are working on finding something that they call the "God particle". Seems that this is something that may or may not prove that there is something divine. A very interesting article at Newsweek. The project is going to begin this summer in Europe. I am actually quite interested to see what happens.

On Easter Sunday the death toll to U.S. soldiers hit 4,000. Now, I have been hearing the talking heads proclaim that the numbers were MUCH higher in all other wars. That can not be denied, but why should we even compare and contrast? Why did there even have to be any deaths? Why did there ever have to be young men and women sent into harms way? This article at AlterNet also points out something even more troubling about the service people that are not being killed, the huge numbers that are coming back with sever brain trauma and the tolls that it is going to take on our medical and mental health systems. A very significant point made in the article, that really made me think, was how it points out the lack of American media coverage. I had started to notice this recently myself. With all the political crap going on we have lost our focus on this unnecessary war. The Pew Research Center has shown that the sharp fall in the media coverage has left the U.S. public less interested in and knowledgeable about the conflict. A scant 3% on the news stories in February were devoted to the conflict while last July the number was closer to 15%. The study reports that the public has not seen the war as a top news story since last October. This, to me, is quite sad.

And finally we will end with Blackwater and their antics. Seems that they are making their services available to other countries and hiring their operatives from other countries and so on. For a good article about their latest hijinks's Mother Jones News had an excellent article. Especially as they too have dropped off the evening news radar.

Burt Update: After a week of steroids and pain meds Burt is walking once again. We are still very careful and are carrying him up and down the stairs from the second floor. We lift him up on the couch, but he will sometimes jump down before we can do anything about it. He has a bad back. It is not anything that will ever heal. A $4,000 dollar surgery was suggested, but with his heart problems the chances of him dying on the table are great. So, eventually he will need to be put down. I am hoping that it is not while John is in Finland, which by the way, he is arriving there today for 2 months, maybe longer! It is -10 degrees there right now. I think he is going to lose his tan. Too bad. So, Burt is able to walk outside on his own although we still are watching him closely. Nice thing is he doesn't wander anymore and we don't have to put him on the runner. He does his thing and comes right back in the house. Now that he is on the "juice" I wonder if we might be brought before a congressional hearing? He is getting quite large biceps. Not sure how much longer I can continue to even pick him up!! We have nicknamed him the "Burtinator".

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Hot Topics & Dillemas with Dogs

Have not had much time to blog recently due to a serious medical condition with our oldest dog, Burt , the Beagle. I'll blog more about it later, but for now it is just too demanding and let's just say that it involves his inability to walk and us having to carry him outside to pee, or letting him go on the towels we have on the floor. Needless to say it has been exhausting and required trips to the veterinary emergency hospital and the like.

I did, however, have time to read these two very interesting and hot button topics courtesy of AlterNet's web site. Feel free to check them out, if like me, you are tired of hearing about so and so's pastor or who did what when they were in the White House, not to mention tape of G'Dubs dancing.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Economics 101

I do not know about you, but I have been more interested in the real "meat and potatoes" of the campaign between Obama & Clinton, than the television ads and the debates. The debates are just too short too cover and real material. They just hit the tip of many icebergs. One of the things that I am very concerned about, as I am sure most of us are right now with the prices of things continually going up and the entire health care mess, I wanted to know what their economic stances were. Also, maybe like you, I want all my information in one nice, neat package. I hate to go back and forth between web pages to read and compare and contrast. So, lucky for me that Mother Jones had an excellent tutorial. An economic policy primer with the stances of both candidates spelled out all nice and the like. It was a good way for me to get the key info, that I desired, with each candidate back to back.

If you have questions about the areas of subprime bailouts, health care and social security, to name a few, then you might want to check this out.

Friday, March 07, 2008

That Could Change Things or Better Living Through Chemistry

Seems that Benny Shannon, a professor of cognitive psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, published a study in the Time and Mind Journal. He is suggesting that Moses ,and others during biblical times, were using mind altering substances and that would explain the many scenes of burning bushes, voices from the heavens and the overall feeling of a religious experience. Raw Story and American Foreign Press both had articles about this recent publication. The publication suggests that it was common for the people of the time, especially the religious leaders and followers, to take mind altering substances that would come from the acacia tree which is mentioned often in the Bible.

It makes you wonder if they had music that went on for 17 minutes. How popular would the Grateful Dead or Pink Floyd have been? Maybe the Last Supper was really just a food fest because everyone had the munchies. Hmmmmmmmmm.........

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


Mixter had it right when she said that the "liberal ladies" that contribute to her mix are busy...and sick. I seem to have come up with a nice cold/upper respiratory mess. I am losing my voice and generally feel like crap. So, I have decided to warm us all up with a travelog of John's travels. You will find some shots of his apartment in Broadbeach which is on the famous Gold Coast of of Australia. It is quite famous for its surfing as you will notice by the size of the waves. He said that they were small that day, but that he has seen some really huge ones that just tossed him around like a toothpick in the water.

His apartment is the brightly colored building and the view behind it is the awesome one of the beachline. Yeah, I want that job!! I have also included a few of the cool native birds. Since we are both avid birdwatchers he likes to check out all the local ones and send me info on them. I have included two of the more colorful for your viewing pleasure.

The really cool looking wavy building is an office that has, of course, a Starbucks on the bottom level. He tries to hit them up in all the countries he visits and pick up a city mug for me and my boss.

He has basically been gone for the entire, coldest parts of our winter. This week makes 7 weeks that he has been abroad. No return date yet.