Welcome friends...thanks for coming by. We're seeking beauty in all of creation... in our faith and our families; our art and our music; our crafts and kitchens, and even in our own backyard. We'll share a poem or a recipe, a picture or a memory; maybe a dream of how we wish our life could be. And though we acknowledge that the world can be harsh, we're keeping it pleasant in our little corner; endeavoring to keep the words from the Book of all Books: ...Whatsoever things are lovely; think on these things.

I so enjoy hearing from you...so leave me a comment; it'll make my day!

Photo: Bee and thistle: Taken high in the Cascade Mountains where there is a bee buzzing on every thistle. by Debora Rorvig

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My Thoughts on Facebook and Friends

Imagine with me for a moment...

I invite a friend we'll call Rita over for coffee. We haven't seen one another for awhile so I am looking forward to hearing from her. My friend, by the way, doesn't share my political views, but we are old school chums and our history predates our politics. Besides, we like the same movies, clothing styles, and our kids are friends in school.

Rita arrives at my house and we greet one another warmly. I can't wait to hear about her trip to Florida, and how her husband is doing on his new job. And I want to tell her all about the new consignment shop I found last week. We sit down at my kitchen table and I see Rita fumbling through her purse. She pulls a newspaper clipping...a cartoon from her wallet and hands it to me.

"I just wanted to share this with you; it's so hysterically funny," she giggles.

I look at the picture. It's a grotesque caracature drawing of a well-known political figure (one whom I happen to admire) doing something really stupid. The caption reads, "Idiots...all ______ are stupid morons!" Huh! I wonder why she thinks I would find this even remotely funny! I say nothing. My silence takes her back a minute and she says..."Oh, well I didn't mean YOU were stupid!" I just really hate this OTHER politician.

We change the subject but I can't really get this incident out of my mind. I thought we were FRIENDS.

Isn't that the button we chose when we agreed to be FRIENDS on Facebook? Yet I see this scenario played out on Facebook every day.

So what is a Facebook friend? To many, I fear, it is just a name added to a list. One of those faceless heads that gets added to your account when you don't upload your photo.

Herein lies the problem with social media. It's not social at all. It's people hiding behind a keyboard... saying things they don't mean to people they don't really care about. It's taking cheap shots at people of differing opinions, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, or political persuasion without even once having to look into their eyes and see the hurt from their callous remarks.

 My goodness how we 'adults' shake our heads at the cyber-bullying that is so prevalent among today's teenagers. We shed a dry little tear when we read of another young person who committed suicide because of the mean-ness of her peers. Then we look for a great joke to post on F/B...one that'll get everybody's attention you know...because it really IS all about the number of 'likes' and comments you get, right? I mean, who really cares about how my readers, my FRIENDS feel when I post it? It's all about ME...this is my bully-pulpit, dammit! Perhaps we're not so different from our teenagers.

Not so many years ago, at least in my parent's household, discriminatory jokes were pretty common. As a child I remember hearing  my folks tell stories about Jews, Native Americans, African Americans, Polish people, Asians, Mexicans, gays and lesbians, and let's not forget, women. Truly, they meant no harm. But unintended harm is still harmful. The civil rights movement taught us that these are REAL PEOPLE with names and faces and ears that hear and hearts that hurt from our words. So we stopped. Well, I stopped.

So what's left? What is left for us to belittle and demean...there must be SOMETHING that we can criticize and say hurtful things about... well how about Republicans, or Democrats, or Libertarians, or Tea Partiers...THEY DON'T COUNT DO THEY?

Yes...they do.

So do we just do as our grandparents did and forbid the subjects of religion and politics at the dinner table?

No. We forbid attacking other people for the beliefs that they hold. We encourage open and honest and RESPECTFUL discussions and debates that center around issues; always remembering that the person on the other side of the table is our FRIEND. Instead of resorting to posting mean-spirited jokes on Facebook, we man-up (or woman-up) and educate ourselves about real issues so that we can communicate intelligently and sincerely rather than hiding behind sarcasm. That's what we do.

And in regards to Facebook friendships, I'd like to add that Facebook has done us all a dis-service by using the term FRIENDING. They have cheapened the meaning of friends. I wonder, does anyone really have 600+ friends? I can count my true friends on both hands. I've become a little wary about accepting Facebook 'friendships.' Am I really this person's friend...really? Am I genuinely interested in them and they in me? Or am I just another name to be added to their growing list?

Some final thoughts about FRIENDS...

  • A friend to all is a friend to none.    Aristotle

  • Be true to your work, your word, and your friend.  Thoreau

  • Let there be no purpose in friendship other than the deepening of the spirit.   Khalil Gibran

  • Never contract friendship with a man that is not better than thyself.   Confucious


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

More than a pretty face...


Says Keats...

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing... 

Perhaps the advancing years have caused me to ponder beauty in 'older' women; but I prefer to think that it is wisdom, not the progression of years that has taught me that beauty is more than than prettiness of face and body. Beauty is far more potent an elixir than prettiness.    True beauty happens when the essence of one's spirit is illuminated on their face, in their heart, and in their mind. It can happen at age 10, at 30, or at 90. My own mother became more beautiful as she aged, and I think she was the loveliest in her eighties. 

So I've been collecting photographs of beautiful older women on Pinterest. Most of them are celebrities; only because so few women seem to feel comfortable having their pictures taken, much less displaying them on the internet for the whole world to see. What a pity! 

Happily, I've just added a beauty to my Pinterest board who is not a Hollywood glam. She's my cousin's  wife, Esmeralda. Her hubby posted this picture of her as they celebrated their wedding anniversary in Hawaii. Honestly, I really don't know how old Esmeralda is. And isn't that just my point? This I do know, she is a mother, a grandmother, and a lovely woman. Proof that beauty has no age!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

A is for Angels

This idea came to me in the wee hours this morning. I was stewing about a problem (a really small problem in the grand scheme of things). It was like a noisy crow, sitting atop a branch in my brain, cawing, taunting, swooping in and snatching my peace and sleep. I decided to try distracting myself with gratitude.

"Let's see, what am I grateful for that begins with the letter A?"

The exercise worked. My problem took wings and flew away! So begins my alphabetical list of things for which I am grateful...

 Alphabet A Clip Art is for Angels.

My first conscious encounter with angels happened when I was about 20 years old. I say 'conscious' because I have learned that angels work quietly among us everyday--and in ways that we often miss. They are everywhere. And for every bad thing that comes our way, for every horrible, misfortunate, tragic event that happens in this world; angels have prevented 10,000 more.

I was about 20 years old at the time. Johnny, my oldest child was a toddler, and Sammy was just a baby. We only had one car back in those days, and my husband needed it for work; so I was pretty much stuck at home every day. Mr. Hinton, a kindly old gentleman from the church offered to drive me to and from Tuesday morning Bible studies. I accepted, grateful for a chance to get out, in spite of the fact that the old fellow was an awful driver.

Seating arrangements in cars were a lot different in those days. Mothers commonly drove with their babies lying in little cheaply molded 'infant carriers' next to them on the front seat. Older cars often didn't even have seatbelts, and if you did have them, you usually didn't use them. I tell you this so you won't think me horrible when I say that when we pulled into the driveway after Bible study tht day I was in the front seat holding baby Sam, and Johnny was in the back seat behind Mr. Hinton.

I had just slid out of the front seat of the car and was headed toward the back to get Johnny when I saw that he had somehow gotten out by himself and was standing directly behind the car...and Mr. Hinton must have forgotten all about Johnny, because he was backing up! My sweet little boy was about to be crushed. I had absolutely no chance of getting to him in time! I started to yell. Then, at that same instant, that exact same instant...without a millisecond of time passage...Johnny was standing on the front porch--some twenty feet from the driveway!

Mr. Hinton stopped suddenly, rolled down his window and hollered, "An angel just put Johnny on the porch!"
Then he drove away. (I think that was our last ride with Mr. H.!)

Angels are not limited by time, space, or distance. Johnny was behind the car, then he was on the porch. No time passed between these two 'events.'

Many years later I was going through a rocky time with my teenage daughter. Her dad and I had divorced, and she decided to go and live with him. I was heartsick and worried. Her dad was at the time, living in a travel trailer at a beach resort nearby. I knew he loved her and would take good care of her, but it was painful to let go. And I was concerned about the trailer. Was it safe?

A few nights before she moved out I had a dream. There was a travel trailer in a mobile park with two men walking around it. The men were very tall...over 7 feet, I'd say. One was Asian looking. The other was very fair and blonde. Their faces were glowing. They seemed to be inspecting the trailer. They were opening all of the compartments...looking at hoses, pilot lights, the roof, etc. Around and around it they walked. It was clear to me that these were not men, but angels. My daughter's angels. And they were making sure she'd be safe. (When I later visited the place, it was exactly as I'd seen in the dream.)

Later that week I was standing in my living room when I heard something on the stairway. I turned, and there they were! The same two angels were standing on the stairs. Their faces were radiating light. They were tall, strong, and athletically built, and they were dressed in white. No wings that I could see. Then they were gone. (And for those of you struggling with teenager problems, take heart; I am happy to report that my daughter and I safely negotiated our troubled waters and are now the very best of friends! She is absolutely amazing!) 

Another time I was wakened in the middle of the night by a swooshing sound coming from the upstairs of our split-level home.
"Lord, what is it?" I asked in alarm.
Instantly I was standing in the middle of my living room. It was filled with angels. Large, small, winged, non-winged. Some had swords. They seemed oblivious to me and they were all moving about with great agitation. (The sound I'd heard was the flapping of wings.)
"What are they doing?" I asked.
"What are they battling?" 
"Everything you are battling." 
Then I was back in bed.

So... experientially speaking, here's what I know about angels. Everybody has some assigned to them. (I say 'some' because I know my daughter has at least two.) They are actively participating in our behalf but on a spiritual plane. Sometimes however, they do manifest in our natural, time-restricted realm. (Personally, I don't think there is anything magical or airy-fairy about this. From a physics perspective, I believe that they are simply operating beyond the speed of light. This would explain why we usually cannot see them.) Some look like people; beautiful, beautiful people. Some are winged. Some do not appear to be. They can be as small as a toddler, or very, very large. 

Biblically speaking, we learn that angels are created beings...not human. They are highly powerful have many functions; including helping people, delivering messages, carrying out God's decrees, worshipping, and doing spiritual battle. They are not supposed to be objects of worship and adoration. It was not at all uncommon for people in Bible times to see angels, and we are told that often people entertain angels 'unawares.' 

I am ever-so-grateful for these very real, very wonderful, very powerful,  and somewhat mysterious beings called angels, and the work they do here on earth. 

So tell me...what are YOU grateful for that begins with the letter "A"? (And I'd love to hear your 'angel story'!)



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