You.  Just use the gifts God gave you.

mead

Speak while you have a voice. Speak for those who have been silenced.

malala2

axel-antas-bergkvist-18363

Just wondering. Ladies, why did we decide painting our fingernails would be a thing? Why not our kneecaps? And why do we pluck our eyebrows, yet embellish our eyelashes with mascara? Why the eyelash favoritism? What, do eyelashes have a louder lobbying group? Payola going on in some back room? Hmmm?

We spend most of our youth wanting to be older. Boys can’t wait to shave. Girls can’t wait to put on make-up. Once we’re adults, we’re perpetually trying to look younger. What’s wrong with this picture?

When did we un-learn wonder? That feeling we had as children, looking with awe and astonishment at each petal on every flower.

One day my ex-husband’s daughter came to visit and saw a sponge on the counter. Just a toddler, she found this sponge to be the most amazing thing to behold. “This!” she exclaimed, surrounding it with her hands, leaning in to examine it. Eyes huge, she looked at me as if to say, are you seeing this too?!?

The adult in me was thinking, of all the mundane things to be amazed by, but the child in me understood. It’s an interesting texture, this sponge. It’s wet, but not really. It’s bouncy but it isn’t a ball. It holds water, until you press it, and then it spurts liquid into the sink. Really kind of a marvel, if you think about it.

Tapping into the wonder of childhood is something of a virtual fountain of youth.

I still feel wonder when I read a great line from a poem, like this one by Rudyard Kipling: “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you…”

Also, when I hear beautiful harmonies in this song from Alison Krauss and Union Station.

But I think it’s just as important to indulge in goofy fun to add quality of life to the day, like this video of NFL Bad Lip Reading on YouTube.

Maybe Your Second Childhood will become a thing, too. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be the next internet sensation. It’s a Wonder-ful Life!

eisenhower

I think we can all agree, stress is a huge part of our day to day lives right now. Whether you’re on Facebook or Twitter or wherever else, all anyone is talking about is politics.  And they aren’t just talking. They’re arguing and name call and bickering.  It’s a lot like being a gibbon near the chimpanzees that Lori wrote about in her post. You’re just hoping that you aren’t the one they decide to tear apart.  It is exhausting.

Or it can be.

This week a friend commented that I don’t seem quite as strung out as everyone else. “What are you doing?” she asked.

Honestly, it is a very legitimate question.  I am, to put it kindly, a wee bit high strung.  Being around people who are stressed out really puts me on edge. Even a calm crowd gets on my nerves. What’s my secret?

I’m disconnecting. I’m not going to go so far as to shut down my Facebook account or go off Twitter.  But I only check Twitter once each morning and again around noon.  That’s it.  It means I don’t see every tweet but that’s okay. I’m surebookshelf I’m missing some great knitting and book news but I can only take so much of the angst.
I’m nesting.  Not in the “I’m about to deliver sense” but that’s what my husband calls it when I clean out, reorganize and redecorate.  No redecorating yet but I’ve dug out a set of shelves in the basement and now I’m cleaning them off. I’m also sorting and recycling here in my office.  One entire shelf was cleaned off and I now have a place for my Star Wars chest (yes, I’m that geeky) and my library books (again, geeky but all is good).

norwichWith this extra time in this renewed space, I’m praying.  Granted I’m not praying as much as I should – 24/7 seems pretty reasonable all things considered – but I am praying.  In part, I’m doing that by focusing on a particular prayer.  This week my focus was a prayer from Julian of Norwich.

“All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.”

When I pray this or any of my other favorites, it orients me toward God.  When I’m facing God, I’m not obsessing about what whoever said, what is and isn’t truth, and who may or may not be about to do what.  I’m focusing on God.

“All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.”

Disconnect. “All shall be well…”

Nest. “. . . and all shall be well . . .”

Pray. “… and all manner of things shall be well.”

It may not be the right combination for everyone but it is the combination that’s working for me.

–SueBE

anderson

I’m learning a lot from PBS natural specials. Last night, I watched a troop of chimpanzees launch a concerted attack on a group of gibbons — surround them, roust them, attack them, tear them apart and eat them. It was very disturbing. I mean, isn’t that a little like cannibalizing a cousin?

And did you know that a full 20% of squirrels — that’s one in five — doesn’t collect food for the winter? No. He (or she) steals them from other squirrels. In fact, lives a life of crime. How does that happen? Are some squirrels born bad? Is it nature or nurture?

I guess what upsets me so much about these acts is that they are so very human. And aren’t animals supposed to be better than that? I realize how backwards that sounds. So often, humans are lauded as the highest of God’s creatures — the only ones who think, who have the ability to plan, who are moral, who are civilized. Except maybe we aren’t. Maybe we’re just less-furry mammals. Because we steal. We kill. Even human flesh isn’t off the menu (so to speak) for a depraved few. So what distinguishes us from so-called lower forms of life? Maybe less than we think.

Yet animals are also capable of extraordinary acts of goodness. A dog will nurse kittens; a cat will nurse a puppy or a rabbit. Strange animal friendships abound: a dog and a cheetah, a gorilla and a kitten, a bear and a tiger. In many ways, animals seem more capable than humans of reaching across lines of perceived differences and striking an accord. Yet we’re the ones with free will. And, at least according to some faith practices, the only ones with souls.

Maybe it’s time to take a good long look in the mirror. In what ways are we no better than animals? In what ways are we perhaps worse? In what ways might we learn from animals how to treat one another and the planet we live on?

I think God gave us a wide range of examples to follow — or to eschew. That’s why our world is so vibrantly alive with so many species of living things. Our job is to observe. Not to judge — we have no real moral authority for that — but to look, examine, and see how we want our lives to differ or mirror theirs. And to protect them, because we aren’t any better than they are. We’re just different. And we all have something to give.

Except for mosquitoes. Those little monsters are pure menace. Am I right?

goldberg

berleUse the tools God gives you to create opportunity!

norwich

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