Anything is Possible!

With Love, Hope, and Perseverance


23 Comments

SoCS: Coexist

FA8B561A-59CA-4E63-8F22-815B036DD1A4

Welcome to Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Here’s the prompt:

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “co-” Find a word that uses “co” as a prefix and use it in your post. Have fun!

Okay. Here we go!

 

Coexist, dammit!

I’m talking to everyone. If I was yelling, I’d write, COEXIST DAMMIT! Yes. I’m feeling that. This goes out to North and South Korea. And America who needs to stay out of it. Mind your own damn business. We have enough to work on right here in the USA. Plenty to clean up in our own back yard. People with different beliefs, different religions, different races, be friends if you want. It’s possible and enriching. Listen to each other without trying to change someone’s mind. Learn something new, or at least try to understand. But if you don’t want to be friends, then mind your own business and leave each other alone.

I know it might not be that simple, but is it really that hard? I don’t think so.

A few days ago, I saw a lot of people on my neighborhood on-line thing? network? whatever, who were upset about a plan to cut down a group of very old live oak trees to put up another car wash in our county.  I jumped right in there, ready to do a tree sit, or at least bring my guitar and sing,  “They paved paradise, put up a parking lot,” which is really titled “Big Yellow Taxi.” It’s the one song I know by heart and don’t have to look at the chords to play.

 

I emailed all the county commissioners and left a phone message for the county planning department. I found a lot of comments on the county Facebook page from citizens opposed to cutting down the trees and added my 2 cents.

I’m gonna have to take a picture of them (the trees) for Thursday tree love. Live oaks are the ones whose branches get really low sometimes. They are beautifully reaching out, majestic. Here’s one I took a picture of at Brookgreen Gardens where my husband proposed.

Live Oak afternoon good

The trees that were on the chopping block for the car wash aren’t this big, but they’re beautiful and over 200 years old.

So a couple of hours after I left the message, I got a call back from the county planning office. One of the staff members said the director was meeting with the owner of the property and they are trying to find a way to save the trees. I thought that was pretty cool that I got a phone call back so soon. By the next day, there was an article in the paper that the property owner does not plan to cut down any trees. He sounded like he got the message loud and clear that a whole lotta people care about trees around here, and he wants to be a good steward. The lesson here is that a small group of committed people CAN make a difference as Margaret Mead said. And we are not such a small group.

Still, at least half of the county commissioners, how shall I say… lean heavily in favor of “developers,” and don’t really care much about trees. But the tree ordinance is going to be reviewed at the next meeting. Maybe I’ll go and wear green. Yeah, maybe I’m just an old hippie tree hugger, but there are plenty more of us, so watch out!

Getting back to, Is it really so hard to co-exist, the property owner is presenting a revised plan which will save the live oaks and still build the car wash. So, why didn’t he do that in the first place? It didn’t take long to figure out how to coexist with the trees.  Maybe people who want to build stuff will figure out before it’s too late that trees give us oxygen. We depend on them.

Trees keep the air on.

I paraphrased that from this interview with Matthew Sleeth, who wrote a book called, Reforesting Faith. 

I just realized I wasn’t minding my own business when I went to bat for the trees, except that protecting trees is my business.  Protecting.  Coexisting. Okay, it can get complicated. I didn’t say it was easy. But it’s not that hard. We can figure this out.

Well, I got a lot of words here so need to rap this up. Watch out for old hippie ladies with guitars and come sing along.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G. Hill. For more info, visit:

https://lindaghill.com/2019/08/16/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-august-17-19/

Here are the rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing (typos can be fixed), and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. I will post the prompt here on my blog every Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The,’” or will simply be a single word to get you started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours. Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top. NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read all of them! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later or go to the previous week by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!

 


30 Comments

Mini Vacations, Assertiveness, Forgiveness, and Catching Bugs

stream-of-consciousness-saturday-2018-19

Our instructions for Stream of Consciousness Saturday are as follows:

…”instructions.” Write instructions for anything you know how to do. As detailed or as rambling as you’d like. Enjoy!

There are a lot of things I could write about. None of them are mechanical. I shy away from mechanical things. I will not write about technical things which I have forced myself to learn.

First vacations. Linda said she needs a vacation. While I’ve never taken a glamorous vacation or been on a cruise, I know how to take mini vacations, which in some ways are better because then you don’t need a vacation from your vacation.  If you can’t get a week off, take a weekend. Until you can get the long vacation, take a day, or even 4 hours. Three might work, but, nah. 4 is a minimum. That might not seem like a vacation, but when I was a single, working mom, four hours off to do something I loved was very important. I wish I’d taken more “mental health days” when I worked in the mental health field.

Anyway, the first step is to schedule it. Well maybe you need to make arrangements for child care or pet care first, then schedule it. Write it on the calendar and put it in your phone. Put stars around it. Don’t let anything get in the way of it. This time is sacred. Plan to do something you really love or enjoy. You could take a nap, but then you might miss your mini vacation. Read a book. Put on some of your favorite music. You deserve this! Pretend you are a tourist in your own town. I read this thing once that if you have three days, pick a direction. Drive the first day, spend the second day exploring and drive home the third day. I’d rather pick a place. Something with a body or water. Be mindful of all the things around you in a beautiful place. A garden maybe would work. Not a garden you have to tend, unless you really love that.

Okay, enough of that. You get the idea.

I know how to be assertive, though sometimes I forget. The steps to assertive communication I used to teach in my groups were:

1. State the facts.

2. State your feelings.

3. Say what you want or need.

Of course you can be assertive with yourself about why you / we deserve a vacation for example:

I’ve been working x number of hours per day for x number of days per week. I feel exhausted/tired/worn out/ (whatever the feeling) and I want/need you to watch (child’s name) for a couple two days.  Be specific. If you’re talking to someone who is not a friend or who may be difficult, you can skip the feelings part, maybe even just state #3.

I know it’s not always easy, but I’m open to questions.

I was going to write about forgiveness, because I know how to be in that process which, for me, might not ever be finished. I’ll cut it short and say first I had to pray for the willingness to forgive.  I focused on compassion, kindness, and gratitude for my ex husband and his spouse for about a month before I saw them at my son’s wedding. Then I went right up to my ex husband who I hadn’t seen for many years and shook his hand and introduced him to my husband. I wasn’t trying to be anything. I asked how he was and wished him and his spouse a safe trip home two days later in the parking lot….. I am convince that God was with me during these encounters, prompting me, nudging me, because I asked God to do that.

Lastly, here is how you catch a spider or other bug you don’t want to kill and take it outside.

  1. In advance get a clear or semi clear jar or cup with a mouth about the width of your hand.
  2. In advance get a stiff piece of thin, slick cardboard or thick piece of paper (I usually use junk mail) bigger than the jar or cup mouth.
  3. Put the jar/cup and paper/cardboard in a place you are likely to need it.
  4. When you see the bug you want to catch, try to make sure your back door is unlocked. Quickly place the cup/jar over the bug. (Flies are really hard.) Be careful if it’s on a window. Don’t hurt yourself. Try not to hurt the bug, but you have to be quick with some of them.
  5. Slowly and carefully slide the paper/thin cardboard under the cup and under the bug. Sometimes I move the jar/cup at the same time.
  6. Carefully carry everything to the door. I usually put the bottom of the jar on my stomach if I have to open the door.
  7. Once outside and at least a couple steps away from the door, let the bug go in an appropriate habitat.
  8. An alternative that sometimes works for small lizards is to throw and old towel or sheet on them and carefully gather it up and hope they’re in there when you carry it outside.

Good luck!

Here are some bugs I’ve caught and released:

better yellow moth

 

glass wing moth with tail (2)

Glass wing moth on a dusty lamp. The posterior end was moving back and forth like some kind of alien.

 

spotted moth in bathroom

Sweet visitor in my bathroom.

 

spider on the ceiling

Spider on bedroom the ceiling. That was a tough one.

 

big mosquito in bathroom

This was on my brand new bathroom wall. No way I was gonna squash it.

SoCS is hosted by Linda G. Hill who will soon or now be on vacation. For more streams of consciousness and related rules, visit Linda at:

https://lindaghill.com/2019/07/12/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-july-13-19/


13 Comments

Good News Tuesday: A Bag of Money, Good News Graphs, Violence Intervention, & a Surprising Friendship

Sunflower w address

Homeless Man Gives Bag of $17,000 to Food Bank

Kevin found the bag of money at the Sumner Food Bank near Seattle. He thought about what to do. It wasn’t easy, but he feels good about his decision to give the money to the first staff person who arrived at the food bank. They turned it into the police, but since no one claimed it, the food bank got to keep it. Kevin got a certificate from the town and gift cards to his favorite store. He’s still proud of his decision and loves being famous as you’ll see in this sweet video from ABC news. 

(There might be a commercial, but it’s worth watching for the good news story.)

Some Things are Getting Better!

When you take a look at overall trends, you can see that some things are getting better. According to the graphs in this article, child mortality, extreme poverty, and the cost of renewable energy are going down. We’re also getting better at preventing diseases like malaria.

Group Violence Intervention (GVI) makes a difference.

“So far this year, shots fired in New Haven are down by almost 80% from 2011. Chicago experienced a 32% reduction in victims among the gangs represented at call-ins, New Orleans a 32% decrease in gang homicides and Stockton a 55% reduction in homicides.”

The Guardian reports on the success and spread of “Boston’s Miracle.” Read more here.

Democrats and Republicans can be Good Friends

I love seeing the positive energy and good humor between former first lady Michelle Obama and former president George Bush. They are regularly assigned seats next to each other at official events.  Former President Bush was caught on camera giving Ms. Obama a cough drop at Senator McCain’s funeral, and the video went viral. Recently when greeting her at his father’s funeral, Mr. Bush gave her a cough drop showing  his sense of humor even in his grief. The friendship between the Obamas and the Bush family gives me hope that we can learn to get along regardless of our differences. Maybe there’s something about sitting side by side that encourages friendship.

 

 

Got good news? Please share!


5 Comments

Good News Tuesday: Support for The Tree of Life Synagogue, Signing Students, and a 94 Year Old Wise Guy

Tree of Life We are all one

Muslim groups raise over $125,000 to help Pittsburgh synagogue victims

People of many faiths are helping the victims and families of The Tree of Life synagogue where a shooting took the lives of 11 people in Pittsburgh Saturday. It gives me hope to know that among the helpers are two Muslim-American non-profits who have exceeded their fundraising  goal in the campaign, “Muslims Unite For Pittsburgh Synagogue.”
Below are two links for the story. The first is from nbcnews.com and the second is an earlier story from The Times of Israel.

 

https://www.timesofisrael.com/us-muslims-raise-over-100000-for-synagogue-victims/

Kindergarten Class Signs Happy Birthday to Custodian Who is Deaf:

Watch how this beloved custodian reacts to kindergarten students signing the Happy Birthday lyrics especially for him.  Happy Birthday, Mr. James!

 

94 Year Old Veteran Greets Students with Wisdom and Fist Bumps

Wally Richardson meets middle school students every morning with positive wisdom and encouragement. I love his motivational call/response technique. Take a look!

Good News Tuesday seeks to bring some balance to media, one Tuesday at a time.

Sunflower w address

 Feel free to share, YOUR good news in the comments!


24 Comments

#WATWB: Building Bridges with Respect

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

Abraham Lincoln

Better Angels is a “bipartisan citizen’s movement to unify (a) divided nation.” The organization builds alliances between people with very different beliefs. The goal is to reconnect through respectful communication. With the growing polarization in the US  (and perhaps other countries) we desperately need to listen with respect, listen to understand, and look for common ground. In the following video, we see people who are very different politically, yet they build bridges by listening with courage, respect, and patience.

(Note: There are some brief, unpleasant scenes starting 1 minute and 8 seconds into the video with ABC news showing the problem of polarization, so if you want to skip over that part, go to 1:48 to get back to the solution.)

It’s interesting that in a longer video I watched, the closing media commentary included the report that both sides blame the media for polarization of “hyper-partisanship.”

I appreciate this program because it shows we can do better. We can learn to communicate and listen with respect even when we strongly disagree.

 

To learn more about Better Angels, visit: https://www.better-angels.org/

#WATWB brings positive stories on the last Friday of every month.

Thank you to our hosts,  Simon Falk, Andrea Michaels, Shilpa Garg, Sylvia Stein, Belinda Witzenhausen.

For more information on #WATWB, click here

and visit the Facebook page!

We Are The World Blogfest in white


14 Comments

A Conversation with Worry

faith-that-things-will-work-out

“This worrying is not helping anything!”

“We’re not worrying, we’re planning. We have to be prepared!”

“Speak for yourself. You want to prepare for the worst. You seem to like to imagine the worst. What a waste of time! How many times have I prepared for the worst, got all stressed about it, and the worst didn’t happen. I’d rather prepare for the best! The best has happened, you know: a good husband, retirement, financial stability…. Good things do happen!”

“But what if  something bad happens? What about natural disasters? What about evil aliens? Zombies? Go ahead and roll your eyes. You took First Aid and CPR classes didn’t you?’

“Yes. It was required for my job.”

“You took those classes so you’d be prepared in case of an emergency. That’s just being smart.”

“Oh, Worry. That’s different. You’re trying to get me to imagine all sorts of bad things happening. I don’t even want to go there. Just stop it!”

“The truth is, I’m scared. Imagining how to handle a crisis makes me feel….stronger. Prepared!”

“I’m sorry you’re scared. But imagining the worst is bad for my nerves. And my heart. Stress is not good for the body you know, unless you can run it out – release it somehow. Hey! How about we go for a walk?”

“I don’t know. It might rain. And there are crazy people out there in the world…”

“Well, let’s just go out in the backyard and do some yoga.”

“Okay, but watch out for the dog poop.”

“A little dog poop never hurt anybody. But I will watch out for it.”

“You could pick it up, too.”

“Right. Maybe after the yoga.”

“If you pick it up first —”

“INHALE…………… EXHALE into forward bend.”

“Don’t throw your back out.”

“I’m being careful.”

“Thank you.”

This stream-of-consciousness conversation with my old friend, Worry, was inspired by Harlon at “A Patient Voice” and his post about worry.


15 Comments

Not My Circus, Not My Door

SOC winner 2017

Today’s Stream of Consciousness prompt is the word, “door,” with the added direction to “Write about a door you walked through this week that wasn’t your own. Enjoy!

So many times, I’ve walked through figurative doors that were not my own. I’m talking about co-dependency. Getting into other people’s business when I have no business doing so. My intentions have always been good of course. I’m just trying to help, but codependent helping hurts me in the long run. It distracts me from taking care of my own business.

One of my tendencies has been triggered by people being negative and me countering with a positive alternative. This usually comes from people I care about. I’m not as likely to go up to a stranger who’s being negative and offer an alternative. That is definitely not my door. I can’t right off the bat think of a negative door I walked through recently, but I do remember that I did NOT walk through it the other night. I was sitting right next to someone who was making negative statements in a meeting. I’m learning, finally, I don’t have to try to fix someone else’s negativity. What I did do was got up and walked out of the room a couple times. I felt overwhelmed by the tension. But later that evening, I realized that the negativity was coming from a place of fear. That gave me a little bit of compassion. But I still don’t need to walk through that doorway to a potential argument. I don’t have to join the circus.

I will probably continue to present positive perspectives to people who I think might be receptive, and that includes my own self. Because I can get negative inside my own head. And it’s good to know that if I do walk into a door (ouch), or through a door, that’s not mine, I can always walk back out again and pick another door. But the doors I really want to walk through are the doors to new adventures!

For whatever reason, my stream of consciousness has brought me to these doors from the movie, Labyrinth. I’m not going to try to figure out or analyze why. Like most of the movie, it’s a wee bit scary in parts, but I admire Sarah’s perseverance and courage.

Here are the rules for the Saturday Stream of Consciousness:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The’,” or simply a single word to get your started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours. Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top. NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!