Monday, April 22, 2019

EARTH DAY NEWS




Too bad the 1972 song by Three Dog Night didn't spur a big enough movement to slow down the damage being done to our world. "Joy to the fishes"? So many are shrinking in numbers along with their brothers of the deep. And in many places, that sea isn't "deep blue" anymore. Overfishing, warming waters, discarded trash, and the millions of molecules of leftover plastic is being swallowed by these marine animals, placing some on the verge of extinction.

By now you all know that this is Earth Day. Watching the news and the accompanying pictures and videos, leaves one wondering what this world will be like in a few very short years. One doesn't have to be a scientist to recognize the changing weather patterns. The increase in the number and severity of hurricanes, cyclones, tornadoes, and wildfires is evident throughout the year. We barely get over the pain of seeing the pitiful victims, the ruins of their homes and belongings, and thinking how fortunate we are to be spared such destruction -- at least this time -- when the next disaster hits planet earth. 

Unfortunately, the news of the destruction still outweighs the "good news" of people and organizations working to find solutions to undo or prevent the damage we have wrought. We witness daily the effects of pollution, natural disasters, and wars. The news show CBS This Morning now has a series titled "Earth Matters", which covers "climate change across the globe." This morning's segments were on deforestation of the Amazon rainforest and what is being done to help stop it Amazon Forest, the scientists studying the changes in the sea floor in Antarctica Sea Floor Expedition, the use of solar energy by the young generation in South Africa's Energy Revolution, as well as topics on air pollution and the challenges faced by our water sources.

The fact that a portion of the Rio Grande River has been bone dry in recent times (due to drought) was particularly frightening to me. As a Texas gal, I've always believed that river would be here forever. Watch just a few of the above videos and read the articles on efforts taken across the globe to help the environment, and join in or donate to the causes.

Image result for artificial reefs from oil rigs
(Rigs to Reefs - Mission Blue)
An article about oil rigs (I grind my teeth at them) and wind turbines mounted on the ocean beds surprised me. My younger son Matthew once was an avid scuba diver who brought back beautiful photographs of underwater coral reefs. The thought that some have already been "killed" is discouraging. Technology is contributing to the deaths of so much of our sea life. However: "researchers are urging governments to reconsider a law in which sea installations – such as oil rigs and wind turbines – have to be removed at the end of their lifespan, which can last for 20 or 30 years. The reason for this is that all the infrastructure needed to anchor the structures to the sea floor eventually becomes beneficial to plant and fish life.

Now that is creative! Researchers also state that they see many more porpoises around oil rigs than in the surrounding sea. If only oil companies would cease to drill in our oceans..and may we never have a disastrous oil spill like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico 9-years ago this month. One of the worst oil spills in our nation's history, the impact of the environmental damage to our Gulf Coast ecosystem is ongoing.
Image result for tubs gathering plastics in ocean
(plastic-pollution.org)
The plastics which plague our environment are gradually being replaced. Many are opting out of using plastic utensils, shopping bags, water bottles, and especially straws. Many cities are banning the use of plastic bags, and recycling has become such a problem that China has begun to refuse to accept materials from the U.S. to be recycled. 

The length of time required for plastic to disintegrate in our landfills as well as the danger to our sea wildlife makes replacing it a priority to many ecologists today. A nonrenewable resource, synthetic plastic production contributes not only to global warming, but the transport of the unlimited items made from it to factories at all corners of the globe also increases its carbon footprint. 
Image result for algae bioplastic
(John Cunningham, JONAA's Marine Science Editor)
"Algae bioplastics were discovered when many companies were exploring alternative sources of biofuels for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel consumption.

"Bioplastics or natural plastics are a variety of plastics based on renewable biomass resources which include vegetable oil, corn starch, pea starch as opposed to fossil-fuel plastic materials created from petroleum." Algae Bioplastics

Kudos to the Dutch designers, Eric Klarenbeek and Maartje Dros,  who spent three years creating their biopolymer, made of local raw materials. They subsequently used materials such as organic resources like mycelium, potato starch, cocoa bean shells, and, more importantly, algae.. Algae Plastic.

A couple more items that peaked my interest: 
1) We may soon be able to melt down plastic waste into fuel for hydrogen cars. (Ahem, who has a hydrogen car?) And 2) Ultra cheap printable solar panels are now available in Australia.
********************************************
More good advice from CBS This Morning. Three things you can do to help protect the environment.
1. Eat less meat. "Have meatless Mondays." Livestock are a major source of carbon emissions.
2. Cut your freeway usage. (Take a train or bus. Car pool.)
3. And of course, reduce your plastic use.

Spiritual traditions often contain good ideas to encourage us to take care of our Mother Earth:
"To truly practice Zen therefore means not leaving lights burning when they are not needed, not allowing water to run unnecessarily from the faucet, not loading up your plate and leaving food uneaten." Philip Kapleau in 365 Zen by Jean Smith

To Practice This Thought:
"Find ways to be respectful of the things you use and encounter, bearing in mind that water, food, light, and other resources are gifts."

So many people are not blessed with even these necessities of life. May we teach our children better than we were taught.

Peace and love for out planet,
Marilyn

Friday, April 19, 2019

A MOMENT'S BREATH

There has been much excitement in the news lately -- some of it good and some of it not-so-good. I thought it best to post something uplifting instead of ruminating over items that promise to bring us down. As my regular readers are aware, I am particularly fond of reporting the good news emanating from my talented grandchildren. 

My daughter's son, Tanner, has been honored recently by eno Magazine. an arts and literature magazine published by the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. (Which, by the way, is where Tanner's sister Audrey received her master's degree.) He received notice from the Editor of the magazine: "I am happy to announce that your work has been selected for the 8th Edition of eno Magazine...your work completely blew us away and we are honored to publish your beautiful piece in this year's magazine." I was completely blown away myself when Carajean forwarded this to me. 

Blown away, but not surprised. Tanner has shown to be a gifted writer in the past. In 2017 I posted a poem from his Freshman English class. A Talent Exposed  Not only is he an accomplished writer, tennis player, and cellist, but he is now taking up playing the guitar. I'm thinking... Bob Dylan maybe?

Branch Tanner Archer, IV

See for yourself:


A MOMENT'S BREATH                                              

For life had not been fun, I must admit,
The past few months just pain. A broken vow:
“From loneliness shall I help you remit.” 


One night I left the library. Allow
Me to explain the strange sensation I
Soon felt, the one that changed my life. Just how?

You’ll see, with patience please progress. 
“Goodbye.” 
Said I, the house of books receding now. 
Aluminum I rode that night, a spry

Gray bike, for chains and gears cannot break vows.
This friend of mine was one of speed, the tick
Of clocks could not quite part. With time my brow

Grew wet with sweat. Oh no! A slick? A stick?
Not I nor you will know—the cause of my
Short fall is not what matters most. A thick

Abundant patch of grass, a strip nearby
On which my flying form could land devoid
Of pain. No blade of grass could hide the eye

Of strangers passing by. At first, annoyed,
My body-bike conjoined, I only sought
One thing, one goal: the stranger’s eye avoid!

Then something wonderful occurred. No thought
Had I like this before. My laugh and squawk,
No stop to come, my heartfelt laugh, onslaught

Of joy! How much I wished on my night walk
That I could see a sight like his, a sight
Hysterical--the gift of laughing stocks.

Once laughter dies a second phase alights--
The phase of mirth, of happiness content.
My eyes now drift and gazed at skies of night

A tranquil view ignites my heart’s ascent
To lights that soar and wink. No thought had I

Now up above a land and world so bent 

On keeping eyes down low. The stars nearby
From which I once were made held me with care.
A friend I found in life. No time had I,

To fret on this or that. One life to stare
To dream and feel among the Greatest Web
Through which we all connect and share.

This friend and I completed nature’s dance.
A cosmos filled my lungs in just one breath
That changed my life and loneliness remit. 




*******************************************
A note before closing.. there have been instances to remind us of the Crucifixion during this Holy Week. Notably, the burning of Notre Dame Cathedral. I have also been reminded of "resurrection". The millions of dollars already donated to repair the Cathedral is one example.. God bless the people who are willing to assist in its resurrection. We might even think of occurrences in our own lives that have raised us up from our despair. It is a season of overcoming.

Happy Easter,
Marilyn

Saturday, March 2, 2019

A BRIGHTER FUTURE IN STORE FOR US

It is so easy to get discouraged with the political climate in today's world. Then when we hear the latest disturbing facts regarding how fast the environmental climate is changing for the worst, we wonder how everything is possibly going to turn out okay. If we pay more attention to the young people of today (and less to negative news), and see the areas where so many of them are offering to give their gifts and talents, we might be encouraged. I know I am when I study the children in my own family. I dedicate the following quote to my two oldest grandchildren, and the ones who are coming up behind them - both mine and yours.

"This person before me may be instrumental in saving us from nuclear war. In this person are gifts for the healing of the planet. In this person are powers that can redound to the joy of all beings."..Joanna May, Peace is the Way


My oldest grandchild, Cameron, seen here in costume for singing Christmas carols in the DFW area with the Uptown Carolers. This is something they do every year during the holiday season. (And get paid handsomely for it, too!) 

Cameron is not only the current Director of Lifespan Religious Education at the Westside Unitarian Universalist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, but also attends Seminary at TCU..(Brite). Cameron has a new position with the national Unitarian Universalist organization part-time now, full-time in June, having beat out 30 other applicants. This will entail lots of travel consulting with churches on educational and youth programs. 

In January, Cameron attended a Borderlands Seminar in El Paso, Texas with students of the Brite Divinity School. This photo is taken of people seen at the border of Mexico behind a portion of the "fence" needed to keep them out of the U.S.. To me, it appears that small children (or really skinny adults) could easily squeeze through the bars. 

This group of Brite students was in El Paso "to study the ethical issues around migration/immigration and its effects on the people and communities." This is according to Brite's website at the link above. 

Cameron just sent me this short report on the El Paso trip;
January 9th:
"Donald Trump Jr. using dehumanizing rhetoric, wants to push the narrative that there are 'animals' on the other side of the border. We only met these sweet kids, and couldn't help but wonder what they must think of growing up at this wall. What must it feel like to grow up in harsh economic conditions while observing prosperity just feet away? What must it feel like to watch those border patrol agents drive by vigilantly as they arrest your family members who are merely trying to feed you? The implicit message: You don't belong."
January 10th:
"More reflections from The Borderlands. On day 1, We met with Fr. Arturo Banuelas. One of the most inspirational people of faith I've ever met. After mass and a visit at his home, he took us to The Annunciation House, a migrant shelter which takes overflow from the detention centers, particularly for families. The vast majority were Central American asylum seekers who recounted stories of violence and extreme poverty. The kids were precious. I talked to many of the families in my very limited Spanish, but when words failed, we sang together. Music knows no language barriers. Most of these families were filled with optimism; convinced they had found sanctuary. Unfortunately, I learned most of them would eventually be deported. The El Paso district has a 90% + rejection rate for asylum seekers. Folks literally fleeing for their lives; who earnestly want to work; and are anything but violent criminals. What happened to 'Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free'?"

Cameron has always been involved in politics one way or another. With the gifts of a beautiful voice, working with and influencing young people, and being spiritually and socially conscious, Cameron will certainly have a positive influence in the future of our country and others.
****************************************************
Audrey Archer and Erick Bohorquez Wedding Photo 6
Erick and Audrey
Audrey Archer and Erick Bohorquez Wedding Photo 4
Audrey, Erick, and Ishan
My second oldest grandchild (she is four months younger than Cameron!) is getting married June 1st. Not only will I gain a grandson-in-law, but I will finally become a great-grandmother - even if it's by proxy!

Audrey, with a Master's Degree of Environmental Management from Duke University, has taken on a new job in recent months. She now works at a utility-scale solar development company, Core Solar, based here in Austin. She is a "project coordinator and the lead strategist for integrating pollinator habitat with solar projects." Her work is too complicated for my aging brain, so the easiest explanation - but certainly not detailed - is that she now locates areas for the company to build solar "farms" where they do not threaten necessary pollinators such as Monarch butterflies, etc.. Her entire career, even summer employment while still in school, has been in one area of environmentalism or another, all contributing to her expertise in her current position.

I've written in the past about Audrey's ballet and musical talents. She currently plays violin in the Central Texas Medical Orchestra, which raises funds for local health-related nonprofit organizations.

Which brings me to her beloved, Erick. Not only is he a professional musician, but he romances Audrey with guitar and love songs..
Audrey Archer and Erick Bohorquez Wedding Photo 5
Erick plays guitar and sings with a band he and his friend Nico formed in 2016. Their debut album "Suelta", which means, "let go" "is an inspiring message in today's political climate where governments want to build walls instead of bridges. Nico elaborates, "the theme of 'letting go' pertains to xenophobia, racism, misogyny, homophobia, classism, all of which are driven and propagated by people's fear." He adds, "We are at a turning point politically, where the few in power are trying to maintain their grip on these outdated mindsets, but the overwhelming majority are no longer buying into the divisiveness of the previous generations and are ready for a change. Only by letting go of our fear can we break down these walls."..(excerpt from Broadway World).  You may hear this exciting Columbian funk music at the upcoming SXSW.


With young folks like these, who are so dynamic in their beliefs, talents, and aspirations, how can we not have faith in our future?

Love, Peace, and Hope for the future,
Marilyn

Thursday, February 21, 2019

THE ORPHAN EGG

As many of you are aware, I also have another blog that I keep for my high school classmates. I was going through some old files yesterday and I ran across a printed copy of this post, which I placed on that blog in 2008. I no longer have the back yard in which this occurred, and I really miss my birds. I tried feeding them here, but the squirrels found a way every time to get to any feeder! 

Unfortunately, war and famine still exist in too many places. Yemen is currently one of the most heartbreaking examples. Please donate to your favorite charity. Although help may not be getting through all of the time, as is happening in Venezuela, we cannot give up on the starving -- especially the children. You may go to this site Charity Navigator to check on the ones that are currently helping these areas.

LOVE BY ANY OTHER NAME

The following occurred in "my back yard" in the summer of 2006... Marilyn
THE ORPHAN EGG
    I continue to see my back yard as a microcosm of the world. I have a difficult time understanding physics, but I once read a book on chaos theory and as a result, I see patterns repeating themselves over and over, down to the minutest particles I’m able to see. A world within a world within a world. As I watch the events unfolding in my back yard, I find myself relating them to what’s going on in the world at large.
    I have a couple of feeders and some water dishes for the birds in my back yard. I love watching my feathered friends, even though I don’t know very much about birds. I often turn to my bird books and field guides to seek information about the birds I am seeing.
   One morning I watched a single small blackbird on the grass behaving strangely. A brilliant red Cardinal would frequently fly down to this little bird. As he did so, the blackbird would ruffle its feathers and flap its wings. I know Cardinals are very territorial and I thought he might be trying to chase the blackbird away. I silently applauded the little bird’s efforts to resist this aggression.
   As I continued to look out my window, I noticed a different behavior between the two birds. The Cardinal seemed to be “nuzzling” the beak of the blackbird. “Hmmm”, I thought, “could all that fluttering and ruffling of feathers be some kind of courting ritual? Between two different species of birds?” Someone must be confused – and it was probably me! I longed for a pair of binoculars to see the pair up close. After watching for several minutes, I realized that the Cardinal was going to the feeder, then coming back to the little blackbird and feeding it!
cardinal at bird bath
(Woodstream Corp.)
    All day that day, I could not stay away from the window. I even put out more birdseed than usual, hoping to keep them around longer. I watched the Cardinal get into the water dish and take a bath, shortly followed by the blackbird. The Cardinal was parenting the little bird and teaching it how to care for itself. I have read stories about some birds that lay their eggs in another bird’s nest and then abandon them. I can’t remember if crows or starlings do that. Perhaps that is how these two came together.
   It has warmed my heart to observe this little miracle in my back yard. I thought of many analogies as I watched this odd couple the next few days, but my first thought was of the wonderful people who are adopting orphaned children from all over the world as well as in our own country. Most of them have so much love to give a child that they never give a thought to the color of its skin.
   I was also reminded of the terrible tragedy going on in the Sudan (Note: The Congo has lost 5.4 million people due to the conflict going on there as well.) and all the hungry, often orphaned little children. We should take lessons from the beautiful proud Cardinal and help feed the people of that beleaguered country as well as help them in their efforts to become independent and care for themselves. With peaceful means, of course. As it goes in my back yard. .. Marilyn Moragne July '06

(July '08) Recently, I was amazed to have the following video forwarded to me. Thank you, Ann Burton, for this touching little vignette. As I watched it, I began to tell myself that this just might be the little Crow I watched being mothered by a Cardinal in my back yard! What do you think?

May you witness miracles in your life today.
Love and Peace,
Marilyn

Thursday, January 31, 2019

To Take or Not to Take

Kevin & Michael 
In the past I followed the blog "The Admitted Liberal", written by the son of a good friend of mine from my high school days. His blog dealt with many of today's issues - political and otherwise. He became frustrated or like so many of us, felt like it was a futile effort to continue his commentary as the appalling state of the current administration continued to spiral out of control. He comments on this blog from time to time, and I email him in return. I did not know this last time that he had moved out of the country. His mother informed me, and shortly thereafter Kevin answered my email containing my request. He has already published one book, and is working on another. The following details his most recent move with his husband, Michael to Mazatlan, Mexico. If any of you ever consider moving south of the border, you must read this!

"Northern end of Playa Gaviotas...two blocks from our apartment."
"Marilyn recently asked me three questions.:
1. If I’d finished my book (the same book for which I cited the discontinuance of my blog last spring). 
2. If I was bored, and 
3. If I’d like to submit a piece for her blog.

I hope the following addresses all three. 

"Since last April I have come up with a myriad of reasons not to write in my home in Portland, Oregon; Beer-fest, urban hikes, beer-a-palooza, out-of-town visitors and beer-o-rama, just to name a few. But in addition to self-doubts about the project, the most pressing (and genuine) excuse for ignoring the next great American novel is the decision my husband and I made to move to Mexico. 

"Though the move was not accomplished until this month (January), we had hatched the plan last May. Michael had a full-time job to worry about until just before our departure, leaving me with most of the responsibility for research and planning. The bulk of my efforts involved hours pouring over the Mexican government’s immigration website and scouring blog entries of past and present U.S. ex-patriots, many of which contained conflicting or completely contradictory information. A common detail was, however, that Mexican apartments are typically rented furnished, a fact we validated during a house-hunting trip to Mazatlan in mid-December. 

"So we sold our condominium in Portland and ended up donating almost all of our possessions (a gesture of 'free-cycling' after a moving sale held a week after Christmas failed to produce any buyers), though we didn’t have a lot. Our one-bedroom unit was sparsely furnished primarily with IKEA products and a minimum of other chattel. Once all of the donations had been removed, we were left with five small suitcases and five small moving boxes.
Image result for Mexican Customs Officers suitcases
Sometimes people smuggle the darnedest things! 
"The suitcases contained our newly pared-down wardrobe (as FedEx had listed 'used clothing' at the top of their list of things Mexico would not allow to be shipped in), our laptop, all of our important paper documents and a few small keepsakes. Among other things, the contents of the moving boxes included a couple of framed art pieces, some favorite kitchen accessories and containers, some bed and bathroom linens (including an at least 75-year-old quilt from my grandmother and hand-crocheted throw from my mother), a gallon-sized plastic bag of over-the-counter drugs that every household collects over time, a computer printer, two well-seasoned Le Creuset pans, four Baccarat wine flutes and a nearly new Vitamix.

"Michael had suggested several times that we were retaining too many things. He expressed his belief that to be geographically (and emotionally) nimble, we needed to divest ourselves of almost all physical possessions. It wasn’t that I disagreed, but even the Saharan nomads moved various trinkets and accessories required to equip their tents and I had already relinquished three pairs of Cole Haans, so I had insisted on the final inventory. As is often the case, however, the Universe sided with Michael.
Image result for fedex
"The five moving boxes had been hauled to FedEx the day before we left for Mexico. The boxes each contained a meticulous packing list that included a description of every item (in English and Spanish), their declared value and a declared 'box total' value.  A copy of each list was provided to the FedEx staff members assisting us, who verified the acceptability of the items being shipped before charging us an exorbitant fee for each parcel and indicating that they should be delivered in five days. 
Image result for Mexican Customs Officers
"We boarded a plane to Mexico the next morning and spent much of the next eleven days hostage to erroneous delivery windows offered by FedEx. Three of the boxes had come straight to Mazatlan, but for various reasons the local office could not get them to our new apartment. Two boxes were held for a week in Mexico City by Mexican Customs to determine that 'bed and bathroom linens' were considered 'used clothing', OTC drugs were considered illicit, and the wood in framed art 'had to be tested'. They threatened to refuse entry for the boxes entirely, but we persuaded FedEx employees to remove the 'offending' items so that the remainder could be cleared. When they finally arrived, the residual items had not been properly repacked and consequently many were either damaged or destroyed.

"There was much gnashing of teeth and cursing of both FedEx and the Mexican Customs Office during that period. But I awoke on the twelfth day to find that the sun had still risen, our loved ones were still alive, and that we at least had our laptop (which contained what there is so far of my new book), so I calmed down and committed to resume writing ASAP.  The only hitches so far have been Cerveza-fest, beach outings, Cerveza-palooza, out-of-town visitors and Cerveza-o-rama. Oh Dios mio!"



I couldn't help but laugh at Kevin. I can certainly relate to the disposal of worldly goods. There is no way I could ever part with all my "treasures" to move anywhere. (Except maybe to Heaven?) I suggested that they might have got a lot of help if they had followed the Marie Kondo method of de-cluttering that is so popular on Netflix today. Marie Kondo  However, I told Kevin that although I am able to "thank" all of my treasures and possessions as Marie suggests, I could never throw them away afterwards! 

He replied: "Michael was VERY familiar with Marie. Of course, in my most recent experience, I didn't get to say "thank you" to all my stuff before it was gone." 

Thank you, Kevin, for such an informative essay on such an important move. I hope you continue to think it was worth everything you two went through, and that you enjoy your life in Mexico to the fullest! You must give me an update from time to time. Especially the progress on the new book.

Peace, sunshine, and lots of the best cervesa,
Marilyn

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Two for One..

Kelly and her dad Matthew
First, I would like to give a "shout out" to my youngest grandchild, Kelly,
who turned 13 this past November. Kelly is a very unique young lady. She's a straight A student and has been throughout her school years, while also participating in various academic tournaments, such as a national mathematics pentathlon in 2015. She takes dance and cheer leading, loves to draw, and even shows a great interest in music, begging her dad for a flute when she was only nine years old. She valiantly tried to learn to play it from YouTube videos. When she became frustrated with the flute, she decided she needed to learn to play the ukulele! She got a ukulele that Christmas. A couple of months later, she was playing fairly well - again from watching YouTube. She then asked her dad for a special case for the ukulele, which was rather expensive. Dad proposed a challenge. Learn to play a particular song, and he would buy it for her. When Miss Kelly made her debut her cousin Cameron was there and decided to join in on her rendition of "Stairway to Heaven". This was only a couple of months after she received her ukulele for Christmas.




I think they did a good job! Now I hear a rumor that Kelly may next be asking for a guitar.

This is the young lady who told me that she wanted to be a mechanical engineer when she grows up! Early last year she attended "Girls Day" at the University of Texas. I haven't heard yet if she will attend the next one in February.
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)

(Kelly at Science Fair 2018 - W/Astronaut)

She's always on hand to help when her Dad, Matthew, is doing something for Grandmommy that requires a little mechanical skill. My birthday gift this past November was a new blind for the front door. Here's Kelly helping with the installation: (Note the electric screwdriver.)
And last, but certainly not least, we have discovered Kelly has another talent. Kelly was in her middle school UIL One Act Play, "And a Child Shall Lead Them", on December 1st. She won an Honorable Mention award for Solo All Star Cast member. Aunt Carajean went to see her perform. The play was about the Holocaust. Part of her performance was playing a "fake" violin, which she "air-bowed" to violin music. My heart swelled with pride when I heard about this. 
"And a Child Shall Lead Them"
Congratulations, dear granddaughter. I cannot wait to hear what you accomplish next! I see success in your future no matter which direction you choose to go.
*******************************
On another note...
Recently a good friend of mine told me the following true story. I was enthralled with it, and asked him if he would write about it just as he told it to me. He did, and gave me permission to post it here. The one condition was that he remain anonymous.

"About two weeks ago on a very cold day, I came across a shabbily dressed man, one clearly living on the streets, sitting outside my supermarket having lunch consisting of a bag of potato chips, a can of Goya beans being eaten with a spoon, and a bottle of Gatorade. It was emotionally disturbing to see such despair in a human being's attempt to survive. Considering how I might give money to someone in need without offending his dignity, I was in a bit of a quandary. So after passing his table, I returned to his table holding out a $10 bill (all I had with me) saying to him that I had seen this money under his chair and thought it had perhaps fallen out of his pocket. His response was that he had not seen any money under his chair when sitting down. Well, I told him the money was his if he wanted it. He graciously accepted, with heartfelt thanks.

"Fast forward another week, I was standing in line at the supermarket, and there was what appeared to be a poorly dressed young woman of color checking out using store coupons for various items being purchased. By all appearances as well as her accent she may have been of Haitian descent, and I had to curiously wonder at what was an anomaly in a rather upscale supermarket. Only a short moment after stepping away with her purchases, and while I was being checked out, she turned and coming up to me, handed me a $10 bill. I was puzzled about why she was doing this, and she said she wanted to give me $10 toward the purchase of my groceries. I cannot remember when I have ever been so humbled, while thinking it should have been the other way around. 

"Afterwards, I approached her with thanks, and putting my hand on her shoulder, I asked why she had shown such kindness towards me. Much of what she said was indiscernible, when in broken English she explained that her mother and her grandmother, had always taught her to do kind things for others...and I was the one she had chosen. 

"This paranormal moment reminded me as something worthy of Rod Serling's 'The Twilight Zone.'"

My friend happens to be a very kind, cultured and well-educated man. I feel that there could not have been anything in his appearance or manner to indicate to anyone that he was in need. When he first told me this, he seemed completely unaware of the connection between the two events. The ten dollar bill seemed to be the only common denominator. He said his first instinct was to refuse the money from the woman. "Oh no, you would deny her a blessing by doing that," I cautioned, "this was your blessing in return for helping out your fellow man."

Related image
"The (spiritual) Law of Reciprocity, also known as the Law of Sowing and Reaping, allows us to receive as a result of what we give or do. Scripture makes it clear we might receive the same thing we give, such as mercy (Mt 5:7)...Typically, we receive to the same degree we give." (Larry Fox) "Genuine giving feeds joyfulness. The more generosity, the greater joy. And we can be more generous than we ever thought possible."— Geri Larkin in The Chocolate Cake Sutra

The law of reciprocity is also used in business and psychology.. and there is even a law of physics in the same vein. I prefer to think it all started with the "spiritual" law.

Knowing what a kind and generous man my friend is, I think he will be seeing more of the Law of Reciprocity popping up in his life.  Next time he won't be so puzzled when it happens.

Sowing love and peace,
Marilyn

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

BLESSINGS ABOUND

Image result for gratitude imagesHaving been dealing with personal financial "issues" with the government for over a year now, and being mortally depressed by the state of said government under the current administration, I've had to rely on love, understanding, and more than a little support from others. Not wishing to sink to the level of leaving this formidable mess, I've been using many affirmations, pep talks, prayers, and spiritual websites and books to keep me at some level of sanity. After speaking with four different friends in the past week on several different topics and hearing from others via email, I reminded myself this morning to recognize the richness of having so much love in my life. It reminded me of a poem I've had bookmarked in a volume of Leaves of Gold, which was given to me by one of my best friends (now deceased) when I was going through a divorce at the tender age of 20.  

Old Friendship
by Eunice Tietjens

Image result for light shining through window imagesBeautiful and rich is an old friendship,                 
Grateful to the touch as ancient ivory,
Smooth as aged wine, or sheen of tapestry
Where light has lingered, intimate and long.
Full of tears and warm is an old friendship
That asks no longer deeds of gallantry
Or any deed at all -- save that the friend shall be
Alive and breathing somewhere, like a song.

I am blessed with friends not only from my high school years (still breathing like a song), but also newer ones. I treasure the high school friends that I have reconnected with, and friends I made so many years ago -- some as long as 50 years ago, that still correspond with me. When I begin to feel a sadness overtake me, I shake myself, and thank God and the Universe for such an abundance of riches! Even though we may not see each other in person, there is joy in the communications we share.

Image result for friendship images and quotesAhh, then I am delighted to have a new friend show up in my life from time to time. As I rarely go out anymore except for medical or dental appointments (this will change soon, as my daughter's new residence is less than 5-minutes away), the Universe has taken to moving someone in next door to rattle my thoughts and become a new friend. The latest happens to be a lovely woman around the age of my children. She's from the mid-west, and until recently
she worked from home for the U.S. government. Our latest talks revealed the concerns she has on the government shutdown. She is one of the ones
placed on furlough. Luckily, she is a smart, savvy woman who has a savings account to keep her afloat if the shutdown doesn't go on forever. Not married, and having no children to come to her rescue (as I do) if things got really tough, my own fears seem minuscule in comparison. I am determined to put a damper on my complaints when talking to others


Just a few friends..I need new photos, please!
This self-absorbed reflection on my personal life is something I guess I really needed to do to get out of my blue funk, and to express my gratitude for all the friends and loved ones in my life. Now that it is out of the way, I am going to share the good news that abounds in the lives of my loving family. My grandchildren in particular have had lots of interesting events going on. Many of us got together Christmas for good food, music, fun and laughter. Lots of news since my last posting. It will have to wait until next time.

Love and Peace,
Marilyn