Wednesday, December 29, 2010
I kid you not when I say that my IPOD is one of my BEST FRIENDS. I stuck it in my cleavage down my suit because I needed 2 hands to get the cover off because it was icy out there. I had headphones on and already started Wayne Dyer....I opened the cover, I blissfully settled in, then all of the sudden I remembered...and my IPOD was completely submerged...it worked for all of 2 seconds longer before I could get it yanked out and into my towel...but alas....2 days later after sitting in the IC Unit (bowl of rice) and I must officially give it a time of death. What kind of crazy person DOES this???? A VERY VERY SAD PERSON NOW. Just HOW LONG can I live without it??? Not one more day!!!!!!! Try running the uglies out of your soul without an IPOD...just TRY it!!!! People have to live with me. So dang expensive to replace...but then RELOADING it with all my books and CD's......I love that Walmart is open right now. Sweet comfort. I guess I love even more that I have the money in an account to cover my murder.
"Fill in the blank: NOTHING MATTERS MORE THAN __________." (Love)
"I devote the rest of my days to acts of loving kindness."
Gospel of John "Be as loving as you can, as often as you can, for as many people as you can, for as long as you live"
"Glass is transparent. The whole point of a window is that you look THROUGH it. Scripture is a window. Prayer is a window. The Bible is a window.......and even Jesus was a window. Jesus himself seems to confront that maddening human tendency to look at the glass, to worship the pane so to speak, instead of the view".
Marriage vows...."Not really promising to FEEL love, you are promising to DO love."
"Do you know why Japanese cups are made without handles?If the cup is too hot to hold, the tea will be too hot to drink." Lovely analogy:)
So EASY TO READ about it...so darn hard to BE it.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
I am just overwhelmed by how many AMAZING people are on the same planet living at the same time as me...and so many of them I want to KNOW personally and have in my life. Thank heavens some share WHO they are with their words and in their deeds. A new FAVORITE as of today...my was my Christmas Day read. I SLURPED it up it was SOOOOOO Great!!! Just a few quotes to get you to go read it and then WANT to call me and talk to me about it....
"If you are following Christ, completely and wholly in LOVE, then you are in heaven no matter where you are. If you are NOT in love, you are in hell, no matter where you are."
No matter WHAT has occurred-"If you want to know WHERE GOD IS in this or in anything, look for love".
"The heart of the problem with HEAVEN:What would a place of perfect and perpetual bliss be like? Wouldn't it be different for 17 year old boys and 88 year old women and different for each individual"?
I swear this was not a "Church book"...but the hard stories of death and accidents associated with the State of Maine's Game Warden Division for whom she served as Chaplain. PLEASE Read it and call me.
SOOOooo, we were missing Michael...and decided that for the first time EVER we would open presents Christmas Eve...Sam had a hard time trying to decide if he wanted to or not...didn't want to ruin that whole "wake up Christmas morning" thing.
But he decided it was JUST FINE . The sweetest moment of the night was when Spencer gave Sam a SPECIAL kind of 3 wood club (super expensive)....and then admitted that he SOLD HIS CLUBS so he could get it for him. We were all a bawling mess. Spencer said "I'll be gone for 2 years so it'll be okay"....
I LOVE THE WAY THEY LOVE EACH OTHER.
Friday, December 24, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
This is just ONE of the insights from this book that rocked my heart....(what I read TO and FROM BOISE)...
Each of us is a seed that was planted within our world's current vibration. When we raise our own frequencies through the growth produced by life challenges, we raise the world's frequency from within. Like a single drop of dye added to a glass of water, each person alters the entire hue As we create feelings of joy, even if we do so while living alone on a mountaintop, we emit a frequency that makes it easier for others to be joyful. As we create feelings of peace, we resonate an energy that helps to end wars. As we love we make it easier for others, both those whom we meet and those who will never know of us, to love. WHO we are is therefore far more meaningful than anything we may ever do. pg.26
I just want to be JOY and HAPPY and especially LOVE....and I want it all to rain down on North and South Korea, and Iraq , Iran and Israel....and all over MY home xxxoooxxx.
PS...saw Larry King interviewing the Bush's...I love those people....when they talk about their kids and family you KNOW they got SO MUCH MORE RIGHT than people can ever try to tag them for in the wrong category. Barbara is my Pseudo Grandmom and she doesn't even know. I wanna be a point of light. Actually, I'm NOT a wanna be....I am :) Are you?
We were all there except Michael who is the HAPPY European TOURIST with his friends and will be spending Christmas in Germany. My FAVORITE miracle was that I was able to read TO and FROM Boise IN THE CAR and I DID NOT GET sick!!! May the miracle last the REST of my life!!!!
Man I have BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN!!!
Dad called me this morning to see if I was Okay because I hadn't posted on the BLOG in a week....that man loves me!!! AND HE READS MY BLOG!!!!!! Thank you Dad. I feel loved. To Dad and all...now that Josh is home I don't feel as impelled to keep "anyone away from home" up on things....but Spencer will leave soon--and that will make me regular again. I saw this pic of Dad with mom and couldn't help posting it not only because it was at Christmas Time, but because I wish I could CALL HER and say hey...you haven't posted for awhile....you OK????
My SWEET and amazing brother sent me the link to this this morning and I was ROLLING on the floor. Enjoy. I AM a Believer, I still enjoy hearing how others are processing their life journey...and this guy...he's got a hysterical take on what he SEES...Preston love you Bud. I wish I had the communication skills this guy has and could do a follow up article with the same humor helping him to SEE my experience. We live in an AMAZING world that we ALL get to have our own view. On that note...you should have seen the view from my hot tub this morning with the snow falling....
By Ricky GervaisWHY I AM AN ATHEIST
Why don’t you believe in God? I get that question all the time. I always try to give a sensitive, reasoned answer. This is usually awkward, time consuming and pointless. People who believe in God don’t need proof of his existence, and they certainly don’t want evidence to the contrary. They are happy with their belief. They even say things like “it’s true to me” and “it’s faith.” I still give my logical answer because I feel that not being honest would be patronizing and impolite. It is ironic therefore that “I don’t believe in God because there is absolutely no scientific evidence for his existence and from what I’ve heard the very definition is a logical impossibility in this known universe,” comes across as both patronizing and impolite.
Arrogance is another accusation. Which seems particularly unfair. Science seeks the truth. And it does not discriminate. For better or worse it finds things out. Science is humble. It knows what it knows and it knows what it doesn’t know. It bases its conclusions and beliefs on hard evidence -- evidence that is constantly updated and upgraded. It doesn’t get offended when new facts come along. It embraces the body of knowledge. It doesn’t hold on to medieval practices because they are tradition. If it did, you wouldn’t get a shot of penicillin, you’d pop a leach down your trousers and pray. Whatever you “believe,” this is not as effective as medicine. Again you can say, “It works for me,” but so do placebos. My point being, I’m saying God doesn’t exist. I’m not saying faith doesn’t exist. I know faith exists. I see it all the time. But believing in something doesn’t make it true. Hoping that something is true doesn’t make it true. The existence of God is not subjective. He either exists or he doesn’t. It’s not a matter of opinion. You can have your own opinions. But you can’t have your own facts.
Why don’t I believe in God? No, no no, why do YOU believe in God? Surely the burden of proof is on the believer. You started all this. If I came up to you and said, “Why don’t you believe I can fly?” You’d say, “Why would I?” I’d reply, “Because it’s a matter of faith.” If I then said, “Prove I can’t fly. Prove I can’t fly see, see, you can’t prove it can you?” You’d probably either walk away, call security or throw me out of the window and shout, ‘’F—ing fly then you lunatic.”
This, is of course a spirituality issue, religion is a different matter. As an atheist, I see nothing “wrong” in believing in a god. I don’t think there is a god, but belief in him does no harm. If it helps you in any way, then that’s fine with me. It’s when belief starts infringing on other people’s rights when it worries me. I would never deny your right to believe in a god. I would just rather you didn’t kill people who believe in a different god, say. Or stone someone to death because your rulebook says their sexuality is immoral. It’s strange that anyone who believes that an all-powerful all-knowing, omniscient power responsible for everything that happens, would also want to judge and punish people for what they are. From what I can gather, pretty much the worst type of person you can be is an atheist. The first four commandments hammer this point home. There is a god, I’m him, no one else is, you’re not as good and don’t forget it. (Don’t murder anyone, doesn’t get a mention till number 6.)
When confronted with anyone who holds my lack of religious faith in such contempt, I say, “It’s the way God made me.”
But what are atheists really being accused of?
The dictionary definition of God is “a supernatural creator and overseer of the universe.” Included in this definition are all deities, goddesses and supernatural beings. Since the beginning of recorded history, which is defined by the invention of writing by the Sumerians around 6,000 years ago, historians have cataloged over 3700 supernatural beings, of which 2870 can be considered deities.
So next time someone tells me they believe in God, I’ll say “Oh which one? Zeus? Hades? Jupiter? Mars? Odin? Thor? Krishna? Vishnu? Ra?…” If they say “Just God. I only believe in the one God,” I’ll point out that they are nearly as atheistic as me. I don’t believe in 2,870 gods, and they don’t believe in 2,869.
I used to believe in God. The Christian one that is.
I loved Jesus. He was my hero. More than pop stars. More than footballers. More than God. God was by definition omnipotent and perfect. Jesus was a man. He had to work at it. He had temptation but defeated sin. He had integrity and courage. But He was my hero because He was kind. And He was kind to everyone. He didn’t bow to peer pressure or tyranny or cruelty. He didn’t care who you were. He loved you. What a guy. I wanted to be just like Him.
One day when I was about 8 years old, I was drawing the crucifixion as part of my Bible studies homework. I loved art too. And nature. I loved how God made all the animals. They were also perfect. Unconditionally beautiful. It was an amazing world.
I lived in a very poor, working-class estate in an urban sprawl called Reading, about 40 miles west of London. My father was a laborer and my mother was a housewife. I was never ashamed of poverty. It was almost noble. Also, everyone I knew was in the same situation, and I had everything I needed. School was free. My clothes were cheap and always clean and ironed. And mum was always cooking. She was cooking the day I was drawing on the cross.
I was sitting at the kitchen table when my brother came home. He was 11 years older than me, so he would have been 19. He was as smart as anyone I knew, but he was too cheeky. He would answer back and get into trouble. I was a good boy. I went to church and believed in God -– what a relief for a working-class mother. You see, growing up where I did, mums didn’t hope as high as their kids growing up to be doctors; they just hoped their kids didn’t go to jail. So bring them up believing in God and they’ll be good and law abiding. It’s a perfect system. Well, nearly. 75 percent of Americans are God-‐fearing Christians; 75 percent of prisoners are God-‐fearing Christians. 10 percent of Americans are atheists; 0.2 percent of prisoners are atheists.
But anyway, there I was happily drawing my hero when my big brother Bob asked, “Why do you believe in God?” Just a simple question. But my mum panicked. “Bob,” she said in a tone that I knew meant, “Shut up.” Why was that a bad thing to ask? If there was a God and my faith was strong it didn’t matter what people said.
Oh…hang on. There is no God. He knows it, and she knows it deep down. It was as simple as that. I started thinking about it and asking more questions, and within an hour, I was an atheist.
Wow. No God. If mum had lied to me about God, had she also lied to me about Santa? Yes, of course, but who cares? The gifts kept coming. And so did the gifts of my new found atheism. The gifts of truth, science, nature. The real beauty of this world. I learned of evolution -– a theory so simple that only England’s greatest genius could have come up with it. Evolution of plants, animals and us –- with imagination, free will, love, humor. I no longer needed a reason for my existence, just a reason to live. And imagination, free will, love, humor, fun, music, sports, beer and pizza are all good enough reasons for living.
But living an honest life -– for that you need the truth. That’s the other thing I learned that day, that the truth, however shocking or uncomfortable, in the end leads to liberation and dignity.
So what does the question “Why don’t you believe in God?” really mean. I think when someone asks that they are really questioning their own belief. In a way they are asking “what makes you so special? “How come you weren’t brainwashed with the rest of us?” “How dare you say I’m a fool and I’m not going to heaven, f— you!” Let’s be honest, if one person believed in God he would be considered pretty strange. But because it’s a very popular view it’s accepted. And why is it such a popular view? That’s obvious. It’s an attractive proposition. Believe in me and live forever. Again if it was just a case of spirituality this would be fine.
“Do unto others…” is a good rule of thumb. I live by that. Forgiveness is probably the greatest virtue there is. But that’s exactly what it is -‐ a virtue. Not just a Christian virtue. No one owns being good. I’m good. I just don’t believe I’ll be rewarded for it in heaven. My reward is here and now. It’s knowing that I try to do the right thing. That I lived a good life. And that’s where spirituality really lost its way. When it became a stick to beat people with. “Do this or you’ll burn in hell.”
You won’t burn in hell. But be nice anyway.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
I have spent much time the last few years seeking for truth and weighing out what I have been taught all my life to be truth. Every now and again I come across words that just envelope me and help me to see things more clearly-- giving spiritual practices and principles more or sometimes less, LIGHT. A dear friend of mine shared these words I hadn't heard, from a woman I have long loved. Her name is Chieko Okazaki. These words shifted things inside me and helped me feel a deep sweetness about Baptism. Obviously we take the name of many things upon ourselves throughout our lifetime...but the thought of wrapping ourselves in shear goodness like this....well, just filled my heart with gratitude.
For me, great strength comes every week as I partake of the sacrament and remind myself that I bear the name of Christ, that I have taken it upon myself like something tangible. Sometimes, when I am feeling lonely and tired, I take the name of the Savior upon me like a warm blanket. I wrap myself in it the way my two-year-old grandson wraps himself in his cherished "blankey," and I feel warmed and comforted. If I am feeling vulnerable, sometimes I take the name of Christ upon me like armor, feeling it solid and bright and impregnable, so that no opposition can puncture it and so that no wound can devastate me. Sometimes I take the name of Christ upon me like Joseph's coat of many colors, a beautiful garment in which to dance and rejoice and praise the Lord. -- Chieko Okazaki
The sweetest part to me...you DON'T have to be PERFECT to take the name of Christ upon you. Just the opposite. You can wrap yourself in it when you are who you are right now and where you are right now. Thank you Chieko XXOOXX
Monday, December 13, 2010
WAITING so patiently for our early Chirstmas Eve Dinner with Michael since he leaves for Germany with friends for ALL the Christmas holiday. He is SO thrilled! I couldn't stand the thought of him not having Christmas with us so we had dinner and he opened his presents and stocking. The boy is loved...he got great loot:) Women, the recipe for the cream gravy for the Chicken Fried Steak in the Pioneer Woman cookbook...TO DIE FOR (no pun intended) . My ego is out, I look so fetching in these pictures. Just remember it was at the end of a long Sunday!
NO, we DON'T have snow right now...its in the low 50's, (totally bizarre and like 100 year highs) but we did 2 weeks ago and it was WEIRD to have the pool all covered. And I never thought about the little bit of torment it is to see it not usable and covered everyday while I hot tub soak. But I still sigh with gratitude that it AIN'T going NOWHERE and will be ready and waiting in Spring.
Spencer received the Melchizedek Priesthood on Sunday and a few of his "brethren" were there..and some of the favorite "sistern" as well. Sam dressed up for the occasion. Truly, having him dressed up for 3 hours of church alone is a miracle. And such an appropriate shirt.
Saturday night Josh, Mike (currently living with us and making us LAUGH EVERY DAY) and Chad went DISCO skating at Classic...yes you have seen peices of their attire in other photos on other sons for the same event. Time for a trip to Savers or DI for an extended wardrobe. Maybe MEN's clothing this time?
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Saturday I caught up on cleaning the house and made a killer version of Olive Garden's Zuppa Tuscano soup...those copy cat recipes on the net are amazing! Sunday Michelle and boys came for her birthday dinner. We played Settler's a few rounds and FINALLY the world felt like it should with everyone home. Josh STILL WINS every time. That boys needs to get a job in STRATEGY of some sort. Michael only pops in for little bits of time---Men have things to do, money to make, places to be and women to hunt.
Last night we had our annual Study Group Dinner here with the Clarke's, Johnson's and the Beans. Crazy when you think we have been friends with them for longer than we have been married. (28 + years).
It's tax time again. I had the day circled for yesterday to just do taxes...somehow Real Estate and many other convenient things got in the way. And so far this morning I suddenly found it urgent that I catch up on this blog. I don't know why I make it such a big deal...but I do and there are just SO MANY OTHER THINGS I"D RATHER BE DOING!!!
Michael passed his EMT practicals....a BIG deal and I am proud. He's happy and counting down to his Europe adventure. I am so going to miss him being gone for Christmas...but how could a Mom begrudge such a GREAT experience? Megan's FFA kids have amazed me again...I am SO LOVING the poinsettias they grew and are selling. Megan is rocking her MBA program AND has 4 real estate deals AND still loves teaching High School. Spencer is working on getting his papers in and wishing his work gave him more hours. I am just trying not to be too clingy knowing he is on his way soon. Sam wants baseball to start...the in between times in the ball seasons can be rough on a boy. He is filling it with basketball with whoever can get keys to their church. JOSH is playing a lot of game boy and catching up on "THE OFFICE" and feeling like life is without a purpose until January. He hasn't shaved for a few days and the MAN can so grow a beard! He swears that it is my fault that we all have CHUNK in the TRUNK because of my cooking...I know he's right...he keeps TRYING to have a protein shake instead of my dinners :) Portion control portion control portion control....He has MORE than a few pounds to GAIN back so I don't know why HE is complaining. Besides...TIS THE SEASON!!!
Everyone is HOME. All is Merrry and Bright :) :) :) :) :) :) :)
Thursday, December 2, 2010
I wanna be like her on my way to "growing up".