Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Varieties of Crowing

Today is still "Tuesday what's in the News Day" at my blog.

"You aren't supposed to blow your own horn."

"Don't let your left hand see what your right hand is doing."

"If you do good works to be seen by men and receive praise from them, don't expect God to reward you, for you have already received your reward."(*4)

Yeah, okay. But you know, I can tell the difference between people who, looking for hero-worship, are constantly talking about the good that they do, versus those who describe the charitable projects they're involved with so that others will be inspired to volunteer or support these works financially.

What I am about to do feels very uncomfortable for me. It seems immodest. Here goes.

Here are the things I do to help.  REDACTED.

There. I said it.(*1)

Why did I publish this? (*2) I can tell you that giving part of yourself to the world makes you feel more connected to it, improves your mental and physical health. Yes, by all means, find a few of the many volunteering opportunities that exist, and start reaping those benefits for yourself.

(*1) Aw. No I didn't.
(*2) Ditto.
(*3) What does this have to do with Tuesday What's in the News Day?  Do you know that every time you  share the Kroger page on Facebook, this grocery chain will give $5 to relief efforts in Houston, Texas which is experiencing catastrophic flooding post Hurricane Harvey.(*4) 

(*4) How many stars in my heavenly crown will this footnote get me, I wonder....DOH!

Refuge: Rethinking Refugee Policy in a Changing World

Today is Tuesday What's In the News Day at my blog.(*1)
I recently read a book review (*2)  of Refuge: Rethinking Refugee Policy in a Changing World. The book has really good ideas, and I'm grateful for Noah Berlatsky for bringing it to my attention, even though his book review errs in a couple of places. 

The review claims that at the  root of today's global crisis are Western beliefs about refugees.   The root cause is actually the Empire-building foreign policies that create refugees in the first place by destabilizing entire regions. The book review also sweeps aside as “unfounded” the concerns of Europeans and Americans about taking in large numbers of difficult-to-assimilate groups. Yet, whether or not the book itself directly alludes to things like the Rotherham child abuse scandal or terrorist acts committed by a radicalized first generation,  the recommendations of Paul Collier and Alexander Betts adequately  address  those fears as well as the refugees’ desperate conditions.

Here are some quotes from the authors,  Paul Collier and Alexander Betts.  My remarks are in brackets. 

.....“People need the chance to provide for themselves and their children, and to live meaningful lives…[Jordan and Uganda have been ] experimenting with new approaches to economic opportunity for refugees…. Initial prospects for the program look good…European governments and the US need to set up trade concessions and business incentives to encourage investment and help make the venture profitable…Countries next to poor, conflict-ridden countries are often poor and conflict-ridden themselves, which means that the burden of dealing with humanitarian catastrophe falls on those least able to shoulder it. Richer countries have an ethical duty to help. [I'll say!!! especially since the West was largely responsible for the destabilization of refugees' original homes!].…If refugees have more opportunities, more autonomy, and better lives in neighboring countries, they are unlikely to feel the need to travel further abroad. When refugees stay closer to home, they are also more likely to return when conflict is over, which can help war-torn nations recover more quickly, reducing instability and terrorism worldwide.“
I hope the projects described in  Refuge get the outside support they need to continue being successful.  

(*1) There has also been disastrous flooding in Houston, Texas after  Hurricane Harvey made landfall over the weekend.  The scope of the damage has not yet been fully assessed, and as of this writing, flooding continues.

(*2) Retrieved from Quartz magazine, August 29, 2017.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Day Off, Face Off, FACE ON

Today is Day Off Thursday at my blog.  I've had a months-worth of consecutive days off at my blog, it would appear. Yep. Last entry July 11.

I have some burdens, probably not any heavier than most of your burdens. It wouldn't do me or the world any good for me to talk a about them here and now. Sometimes it's helpful for someone to read about a burden he has in common with a blogger.  When I get some perspective on the current situations, it may be time to write. (*1)

But I'm OK. I'm trying to eat right (mostly), and to get exercise and sleep, and to spend time with God and also the people I'm closest to, and with those who count on me.  There just isn't enough overflow of energy to spend online. 

(*1)That was fast!!! Changed my mind about not writing.  I'm burdened because ....nevermind why... I'm writing, though these calamities be not yet overpast...


(1)There is a God in Heaven who sits serenely over it all.  DEEP BREATH!

(2)He's juggling the fractals and the Deep Physics and weaving his omniscience and omnipotence in and out of everyone else's free will. HE'S SO WISE! TRANSCENDENT!

(3) MY HEART IS FIXED: The status of the world changes second to second, so it's important to stay in touch with the Almighty God frequently to get one's marching orders, which are sometimes, due to rapidly changing circumstances, no more specific than:

(4) "Put Your Game Face On."  Not a game face  that scares away the enemies, but a calm game face that shows  you aren't afraid of them and that you may actually be fixin' to help calm them the heck down, too.  Not calm as in "assuming room temperature" calm, but the calm that allows people to work on problems together, instead of working at cross purposes. MY HEART IS FIXED. I WILL SING AND GIVE PRAISE. MY HEART IS FIXED! And my face will surely show it.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Life Imitates Art

Today is Tuesday What's In the News Day at my blog.

Good news: Wonderful long weekend with my cousins, first-cousins-once-and-twice-removed and sole surviving uncle and his wife in Louisville, Kentucky.

Bad news: The flight home was cancelled.

Good news: The Delta employee at the ticket desk worked out an alternative route home.

Bad news: We had to fly from Louisville to Atlanta to Salt Lake City to Boise.

Good news: That's a heck of a lot of Delta sky miles.


Good news: New kind of puzzle for me (Kenken) in the Delta Sky magazine provided pleasant distraction from turbulence nausea.

Bad news: Got very frustrated with the more difficult of the two Kenken puzzles and erased it twice, while nauseated from turbulence.

Good news: Choice of free in-flight movie offered.  I chose "Hidden Figures," the true story of three women who overcame racial and gender hurdles in the early sixties to make their marks in the NASA program that put John Glenn in orbit.


Good news: The example of female math whizzes Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson persevering against all odds INSPIRES me to finish difficult Kenken puzzle before the movie is over.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

No More Saturnine Saturdays EVAH!

Today is Saturnine Saturday at my blog.

It's actually not saturnine (gloomy, morose, unsmiling) at all.

But if it were a saturnine Saturday, and I was hanging around not doing much else besides eating Cheetos and doing Kenken puzzles without putting makeup on or even non-lounge-wear clothes....

....I would want someone to come up alongside, put some Paul Eugene on the computer...

...and get me dancing.

O my gosh. This guy is all about fun and joy. He doesn't "guilt" you into exercising, but once you start poking around his website, you start running out of excuses for not getting up and moving. The man has everything from Z fitness routines, to Gospel aerobic exercise, chair aerobic exercise, WHEELCHAIR aerobic exercise... For free, you can dance along to a lot of the routines on his site and on Youtube. I paid a small fee to download one and hope to do so again because I LOVE DANCIN' WITH PAUL EUGENE!

Exercise changes my brain. It really does.  Right down in there at the reptilian, just-stop-thinking-and-do-what-feels-natural level.  I can get inside my head too much, feeling uber-responsible, carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders (or foolishly thinking I can.) Meanwhile, there's a snake sunning herself on a rock somewhere, saying, "Yeah, just had a great workout, and then I ate my young. Life is good."

Thursday, July 6, 2017

How much sleep should you get each night.

It is still Wisdom Wednesday at my blog, even though it is actually 2 am Thursday, and I must be at work at 9 am tomorrow morning.

Q: How much sleep do you need each night.
A: Preferably 7. Any less than 6 and you might as well show up at work drunk.

Ergo, end of Wisdom Wednesday blog posts for this week.

It's 100 and frickin 5 degrees out.

It's still Wisdom Wednesday at my blog, even though it's actually Thursday morning.

What do you do when your car has been left in the sun. If it's 105 F outside, your car is what, 110, 120F I don't know.... 

Props for not leaving dogs or babies alone in there!

Shame about those chocolate bars you left on the seat, though.

OK, so that you don't melt like those chocolate bars, here's what you can do to cool the car down quickly (*1) if you need to leave in a hurry and don't have time  to open all four doors and wait for the hot air to escape before you get in the car.

1) Turn on the air conditioning.
2) Roll down all the windows.
3) Turn the air conditioning vent to the Floor setting.
This process will push the hot air from the floor right out the window. 

The car might actually get so cool  that you can turn off the A/C after a few minutes and leave the windows rolled down while you drive, like maybe your grandparents did when they took your parents on road trips during  summers of the twentieth century.  (*2)

You'll save on fuel that way, you know, and you may not have to repair your A/C as frequently as you would if you drove with the A/C on all summer long.

 (*1) I learned this trick from this month's issue of First for Women magazine.

(*2)  Before they had fancy things like A/C in cars.  But of course they didn't have global warming either.

Old Macdonald Bought the Farm

It is Wisdom Wednesday at my blog.

It's actually Thursday 1:30 am and I have to be at work at 9am Thursday,  tomorrow morning. If I were wise I wouldn't be online this time of night.

But this is important.  To maybe ONE person out there. This is all in code. You'll know if I'm talking to you. No, I don't know who you are.  Don't be paranoid. You've been asking,  "why, why WHY did this happen?  How did it happen?!!!"

And now you may be getting your answer, or part of it.

I'm thinking of the movie Wizard of Oz right now, for no particular reason, except for the reason  this post is written in code. O E O. Ohhh YA. O E O. Ohhh YA. O E O. Ohhh YA.

You've been asking that question, and you've been startled by some of the "coincidences" that have come your way, landing on your lap. Weird, isn't it?  You  know what? This secret you are carrying is a very common secret. Few people know how common, because it's so secret.

And maybe that fact that I just stated is all you need to find the peace you want.

But if it's not?

You might do worse than reading:

 Father Melancholy's Daughter  by Gail Godwin.  Read the sequel, Evensong, as well.

Weep. Remember. Grieve the way you never had a chance to.

Pass it on, when you've healed enough and are ready to pass it on. Might be decades from now.

It's OK.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

And here's a petition to sign

Regarding my last post:


Honorable Member of the House Intelligence/Foreign Affairs Committee:
I, as a concerned citizen of the United States, endorse and support the bipartisan legislation, “STOP ARMING TERRORISTS ACT” (H.R. 608), submitted by Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii).

This legislation, based on Congressional action from the 1980s, is an important contribution to peace.

I urge the Committee to promptly affirm and submit this Bill to the full Congress.

Click here to access petition-signature page.

Liberals and Conservatives Oppose war in Syria together!!!

The following bracketed comment is one I made on Facebook Share where liberals were bashing conservatives because Trump is about to bomb Syria again. I've been editing it.

[LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES NEED TO JOIN TOGETHER AND PROTEST THE ESCALATION in SYRIA that started during OBAMA's term and is escalating further under TRUMP, despite Trump's campaign promises to reduce military engagements. Conservative and liberal citizens will never be able to stop these wars unless they stop sniping at each other and fight the real enemy: the Deep State that put pressure on Obama to switch the goal in Syria from fighting terrorism to ousting Assad, pressure Obama was not able to withstand, starting in 2012...

WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT?? URGE YOUR REPRESENTATIVE IN WASHINGTON TO COSPONSOR HR 608 (sponsored by Tulsi Gabbard D-HI,  the "Stop Arming Terrorists" act) that will  put a stop to  hamper the US's misguided war against Assad in Syria.)]

 I wrote to my Representative, who is a Republican, about the possibility of his co-sponsoring HR-608, the "Stop Arming Terrorists" act.  As of this writing, the bill has only 14 co-sponsors.

Here  is an article with more details if you'd like to write to your  House representative in Washington encouraging him or her to co-sponsor the "Stop Arming Terrorists" bill.  The article is written by a conservative praising Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat Congresswomen, for her efforts. The author asks the question: If Congress is really serious about "The War on Terror" why have we switched directions from fighting terrorism to funding it?

....and here is the article Congresswoman Gabbard wrote about the act, which she wrote and sponsored. 

The war in Syria will continue unless there is a joint effort by liberals and conservatives, starting work at the grass roots level, to oppose it.    The "Stop Arming Terrorists" Act (HR 608). Praised by conservatives (the good kind, not the neocons), written by a Democrat,  its cosponsors are bipartisan (but their numbers need to grow!),  endorsed by Progressive Democrats of America and Veterans for Peace.

WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT TO OPPOSE THE WAR IN SYRIA?? URGE YOUR REPRESENTATIVE IN WASHINGTON TO COSPONSOR HR 608 (sponsored by Tulsi Gabardi D-HI,  the "Stop Arming Terrorists" act) that will put a stop to the US's misguided war against Assad in Syria.)

How do I go about contacting my representative?  Start here. 

The Writing-your-Congressmen Option

Today is Tuesday What's in the News Day at my blog.

I try to stay positive in my blog.  I write here when I've been thinking about something that might be useful to a reader. If it's  not useful (or even read) by someone in the immediate future, then perhaps it will be later on when a reader might stumble upon it, via a label, perhaps.

Late last night, instead of writing a blog post about the problems with both the Affordable Care Act of 2009 and the new "Republican Senator" version, I wrote to Senate Majority Leader  Mitch McConnell.

Instead of writing a blog post about why the "if you wage war on one of us, you wage war on all of us" principle of NATO is outdated, I wrote to both of the senators from my state. (A resolution to re-affirm this outdated principle was on the Senate agenda for this week.)

Instead of writing a blog post about the scant evidence used in April to bomb Syria for "Assad's use of chemical weapons" and similar baseless accusations and threats made again by Trump yesterday,  I linked to an article in Consortium news and shared it with FaceBook friends. Maybe they will be able to do something constructive with that information.

Instead of  getting depressed about the inability of so many US citizens  to discuss issues rationally, without ad hominem and demonizing stereotypes, I'm taking the discussion to people who at least have that ability as part of their job descriptions. That'd be our representatives and senators.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Thank God It's Sunday: Sirius Shepherd

Today is Thank God it's Sunday at my blog.

I'm going to describe as concisely as I can (*1) an experience I had this month with poetry and meditation, a blog and a coincidence.

Looking for something to use as a focal point for meditation one morning, I reviewed some old notes on Methodist preacher Adam Hamilton's discussion of three of Jesus' "I am" statements.

I am the Good Shepherd.
I am the True Vine.
I am the Bread of life.

Now for the blogs and coincidences part. Saint Marty-Marty very faithfully posts poems worth reading. So many poems in this world, so little time! How to even decide what to read? Thank you, Saint Marty-Marty.

Imagine my delight, when, after a couple of days of meditating about Jesus as the  Shepherd, the Vine, the Bread, I landed upon this blog post, featuring the poem "Dear J" by Kazim Ali.

I don't know who the "J" in  "Dear J"  is.  The poet was raised in India by Muslim parents. Maybe "J" stands for Jehovah. Or maybe there is a Jan or a Jimmy whom he admires greatly, seeks to emulate. Maybe "J" is a lover's initial.(*2)

Whoever "J" is,  Kazim Ali's poem to him or her, and Saint Marty-Marty's bringing that poem out into the open  have added more brush strokes to the emerging mental image I have of God.  Far, far above and away, but willing to connect with us, to guide, to nourish.

Jesus : Shepherd  :: J : Sirius

Jesus : Vine :: J : "black strip in a flower's throat,"  "silver thread of sound," " sky to navel"

Jesus : Bread :: J : Sirius

Sirius : Cereus  :: Jesus : Seeker Thirsty and Hungry for God

I say, "Thank God it's Sunday!" when people with differing or even opposing political or religious views help each other see their way clear for a step or two along the journey.  As right as we may think we are, compared to the Almighty and His wise, inscrutable ways,  we're all just stumbling around in the dark.


(*1) I will use the pattern
A : B :: C : D
meaning,   A corresponds to B in the same way that C corresponds to  D.

Man : Boy :: Woman : Girl
Green : Lime :: Yellow : Lemon

(*2) Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky.  Cereus is a blooming cactus.