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Connection

I would never advise someone to place others on too high of a pedestal. It’s a long way down. We are all human and we will never meet every expectation from others in life but we continue filling our trophy rooms with idols. We choose someone-maybe they have done something which seems extraordinary-maybe someone has hyped them up-maybe they are the center of media attention-but there will always be something that will cause us to think, wait, maybe they aren’t that great after all. Whomever we choose to idolize, we should be prepared that they aren’t what we expect.

 

Brené Brown is my idol but it’s not the person that I idolize. It’s what she has to say. The first time I heard anything about her was this TED talk from 2010:

 

 

She talked about shame and vulnerability and how it takes courage to overcome these things to find connection but it takes a sense of worthiness. I took identity with this – my crazy way to say that I identified with what she was saying. I was like-where has this person been all of my life? This is me!

 

She appears GENUINE. She talks about her personal vulnerabilities and how she wants to conquer them. What catches my eye is her imperfection rather than the perfection that much idol worship seems to be centered around. She references authenticity in her works (and a bit in this talk) of how we have to be authentic to ourselves and to others but that we are scared of being vulnerable. We don’t want to feel the pain of shame. On the flip side, if we aren’t willing to take risks to face our vulnerabilities we will not find connection. If you have not watched the video, I encourage you to do so.

 

As for her approach to raising kids, this is what she had to say, “You know what? You’re imperfect, and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.”

 

Just think what could happen if we were to change our attitudes. We are more interested in blaming others than working on what we can do to help us with our pain and shame. Life could change. We could work toward things-positive things. Our politics could change. We can’t grow if we don’t face our shame. We can’t conquer our vulnerabilities if we avoid and numb. And, when we accept that we are worthy, we are able to make connection.

 

 

Connection

Vulnerability       –          Shame

Courage

 

 

She has another TED talk from 2012:

 

 

But… my very VERY favorite of all things in video form is this little goody of how she describes empathy:

This is truly the best to me. I love it!

 

We need positive people in our lives. We need guiding forces. We need to understand that people are not perfect but that many have a message that is genuine. To me, life is growth. We must continue to identify our vulnerabilities and shame and then work to deal with them making us feel worthy and more connected.

 

Happy Gardening! 🙂

 

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Had Enough

Are you concerned about the state of affairs with the US and other countries? Do you think Donald Trump has everything under control? Do you think this is just a friendly game of cat and mouse?  Yeah, I would like to think that, too. I know how this man and the republican party like to drive the thought of fear so they have more control. I keep thinking that no one who can think rationally-knowing all about the cold war history-would attempt a first strike of nuclear weapons but that’s the thing. There is no one on this side of the Pacific who is thinking rationally that occupies the oval office. I thought the leaders of North Korea were slightly-more than slightly-off. They practically invented fear. That was until we elected Donald Trump who has access to nuclear launch codes.

 

By the way, this piece isn’t written out of fear nor is it an emotional response to the news. I like to keep tabs on things happening around the world to see if there is certain activity that would point us closer to a first strike or if Kim Jong-un would risk a strike to South Korea, Guam, or to the US or possibly another country—say, Japan. Some people I follow are not new to this type of game of chicken and I have to say, it worries me a bit when they express great concern because I know this is their specialty. The conversations turned dark the day the hydrogen bomb was released/tested in North Korea. It was the worst of conversations that I have seen yet but it seems like it continues to darken.

 

With previous administrations I could tell when something was about to happen. The military activity would pick up and certain signs would make themselves known but with this administration, it’s not so easy to read the tea leaves. I don’t have contacts at the base anymore so it’s a bit more difficult what’s really going on. I will say that I have reason for concern now, too.

 

I’ve changed my view on North Korea over the years like other things. I still think they are a threat to humankind but I know threatening them – goading them – is not the answer. Let me break a minute – let’s go back say 3 years ago. We had twitter and other social mediums. Can you for one second see Barack Obama tweet “rocket man” to the leader of North Korea on twitter? What would people in Congress do or think? From my view, both parties would be knocking on the door of the whitehouse at 2 AM demanding answers—both parties.

 

We live in a surreal world that has been normalized. The past leader of the free world – the one of the US – is purely and simply provoking a man who has hydrogen bomb capability. Let that sink in. HYDROGEN BOMB…sss. We have literally normalized nuclear weapons in casual conversation. I don’t know what has happened to this country. I really don’t.

 

Happy Gardening!

The Peddler

For the life of me, I don’t get how people can justify their exalting of Donald Trump. They firmly believe that he alone will “save” our country from evil. What evil you ask? Anything that goes against their personal beliefs never mind all of the things the president has done and continues to do that go against their beliefs too.

 

I just watched a clip of Rick Joyner telling how God will destroy anyone who stands in Trump’s way. He named out groups of people who have been unfaithful and who he says will perish because they have turned against God’s will of Trump as president. Oh please. Cue Jim Bakker and ‘mush in a bucket’ for the end times…

 

And you too can have mush in a bucket of 283 servings in a 6 gallon bucket, that’s 28 pounds for the AMAZING deal of $392. Please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery.

But wait…there’s more…

For the AMAZING low price of $10,976 you can receive 10,472 servings of food.

Sigh and eye roll.

 

What happened to our brains? Why aren’t we using them? We have lost the ability to see con’men’ for what and who they really are.

 

Not sure if I told this story before. It was after the Jim Jones incident at Jonestown in 1978. I tried to be aware of fly-by-night preachers and people in general who wanted to “sell” things (sometimes they were “free”). What they were saying just didn’t add up. I was in graduate school at the time and a friend of ours wanted us to go hear a guy at the local Holiday Inn conference room in Athens. Ok. I really didn’t want to go but we didn’t have anything planned so about 6 of us went. The preacher talked about how God’s will was for people to prosper in wealth…much wealth…cited Bible verses…showed off his wealth, rings, pictures of cars, houses, etc. I felt like I was at one of those realtor show places where they try to get people to buy into the market. The deal was too good to be true. He kept saying how everyone should be wealthy if they just had faith.

 

As he talked, I looked at the rest of the group and shook my head. They agreed. This wasn’t a good choice. Four of us wanted to leave but two wanted to wait until the end. I had a bad feeling but I said ok. As we approached the closing the preacher became more charismatic and said everyone must come to the front of the room – one at a time – and speak in tongues. Oh Lordy, here we go. I laughed because I had a feeling this was coming. We watched a few people obey. I was debating my choices. As he got closer to where we were sitting, I stood up and said – NOPE! and led the group out of the room. I wasn’t going to stay. It was a con job.

 

Too often we become so close to the problem that we lose all objectivity and can’t see from anyone else’s perspective. We get so entrenched that we lose ourselves and go with the flow of the crowd. If you have ever been in a huge crowd like a concert or such, you know that you have to move with the crowd to avoid being trampled. This is what has happened. The crowd is so huge and so close to the issue that there is no objectivity. Had I not stood up that evening and said we were leaving, many in the group would have gone through with the charade just to appease the preacher and I use that term very loosely.

 

I’m amazed at how firm a grip this charismatic movement of today has taken over much of the country. I used to blog about it. It’s like watching cattle go to slaughter but knowing their fate and still choosing it. The Jim Jones tale has always haunted me. A friend of mine lost someone there. It’s very painful for her to talk about even today and rightfully so. People spoke up about that cult. It was easy to see the group as separate but that isn’t the case today. People speak up about what’s going on but these views such as from Joyner, Bakker, Graham, Robertson, etc are so accepted that the voices aren’t being heard and they are attacked from people such as this group and their followers. It’s like the country is being held hostage. I’m still waiting for reality to reappear but I’m not confident that will happen in my lifetime.

 

Happy Gardening and let’s be good to each other! 🙂

Calculated Risk

When humanity fails we all suffer. It seems there are more tragedies each day. Maybe it is because we are more connected but we are more connected. What used to take 6-24 hours to report is almost instantaneous today. It’s why I like following twitter for news—not big news sources but people in the field. I was about to go to sleep the other night when scenes from the Grenfell Tower fire came across my twitter feed. Horrible images and video with people saying they could see residents still trapped as the inferno grew. Images from the twin towers on 9/11 came flooding in from my memory banks—those awful feelings of despair for the individuals and their families.

 

I stayed up hoping to hear some news, hoping those people would make it out, but knowing what I witnessed in the video would not prove this true. I kept asking what about sprinkler systems. The more I watched, the more fuel seemed to be added to the conflagration. Come to find out—there were no sprinklers. WHAT? I’m used to living in the US I guess but that doesn’t always prove to be a safe issue.

 

Building codes are so important to have but some see it as unneeded regulations. I dare them to put their loved ones (or even themselves) in a building that hasn’t been deemed fire safe. To drive this point home, I live in a place where we pride ourselves on certain living conditions that seem to be above the norm but a few years ago, a retirement home (not nursing home) was built. It was for people who could still take care of themselves, could drive as they offered garages, and the like. I think it was two-story if I recall correctly—garage on the bottom with living area above.

 

A fire broke out one night. Even with a fire department down the street there was loss of life due to the building not being up to code. For one, there were no firewalls built in the complex. Yeah—I don’t know. Supposedly the fire inspector signed off on the building plans and then as it was being built and then again at completion. That was all a big mess because he later said it wasn’t his signature. And, this is here in the US where we do require sprinklers in certain situations along with a host of other things.

 

So I read an article about the Grenfell fire that keeps nagging at me (link). It equates sprinkler installments of established buildings as calculated risk compared to that of driving cars here in the US at a slower speeds so as not to die. DO WHAT? Yes, we know there is less of a risk of death at slower speeds but it’s not the same. Now to an actuary, this may seem to be equal—in reality it isn’t. People aren’t numbers. Accepted casualty rates aren’t acceptable and so on. Sprinklers and air bags might qualify for this type of discussion but we in the US have already had all of these discussions.

 

People don’t have to drive cars but they do need a place to sleep and that place needs to be made safe. I keep seeing people in the UK saying this isn’t the time to have this discussion. Sounds a bit like our gun debates that some people refuse to have. I understand our governments are different but it seems we have the same type of mindset about poor people…since there were poor people living in this building, they should be glad they at least had shelter — as in be happy for what they had. Roll eyes – yes I have read that several times and that they shouldn’t be expecting the government to take care of them not to mention the ones who blame the poor for being poor. Errrrrrr.

 

I could go on and on but sprinklers save lives. That’s a given fact. It isn’t debatable. It isn’t an opinion. It should never be up for discussion. Oh, by the way, they were adding cladding to the building to make it more aesthetically appealing. Even that was a bad choice since the material they chose can’t be used in the US but under certain conditions – high rises aren’t one of them because of flammability.

 

I’m so sorry for the loss of life from the fire. There are lessons to be learned. I hope everyone learns that this is not one of those accepted risks.

 

Happy Gardening! 🙂

This week I watched a video clip of Jim Bakker talking about the president—condemning anyone saying things against him and calling it hate speech. Where was Bakker when so many conservatives for 8 years called our president the anti-Christ and said all manner of evil against him and his family? Hmmm. Bakker believes President Trump was placed in power by God and yet, I guess he doesn’t believe that God placed President Obama in power. See the hypocrisy? Hmmm.

 

Bakker also calls for nothing to be done to Trump because this is God’s will. That it will cause all out civil war with Christians. Wait just a minute.

That if Trump is impeached, America will be punished. Eye roll.

He further goes on to say that anyone against Trump is the spirit of the anit-christ. Oh dear.

 

Bakker is trying to drive fear into the hearts of the believers. You may ask what’s wrong with what he is saying but I ask would he be saying this if he wasn’t peddling his long-term survival porridge in such a manner?

 

The man is a charlatan. He uses his charisma to draw in those who are willing to be led down such a road. I have to point out that this Trump worship is the same thing that is warned against in the bible but Bakker won’t be telling you this.

 

Franklin Graham also was and is shoving this to his followers but he’s not selling bomb-shelter food worse than MREs. They must have received secret information that all liberals are of the anti-Christ and that people need to listen to God and hate liberals—ok, loathe them. Don’t tell them about Jesus’ liberal tendencies and the first church’s socialistic policies. I mean…don’t dare mention the death of Ananias and Sapphira. These people identify anything coming from people of a liberal sense is evil and hatred but in honesty, I see it as these people are the ones yelling the hate. Bakker talked against words from the “left” while inciting people to use hate speech and thought. More hypocrisy.

 

Alice, can we go back to our normal world now? This upside down world is too much.

 

If you are a Christian, you might want to ask what Jesus would do. Did he condemn those all around him or was it the leaders of the church so to say—the ones who regulated the laws of the church—as in Jewish leaders? He had harsh words for those who were supposed to know scripture but yet didn’t follow them…those who professed to be God’s chosen but made horrible interpretations.

 

I don’t know who sold these people this belief that Trump came for and from God. I’m pretty sure someone can also make a case that he, Trump himself, could be the/an anti-Christ. I personally think it’s a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy–you believe it will happen and you make it happen. No real prophecy. People want to believe so badly in something but is not true. The truly faithful to this cause will not waver even when presented with facts. It’s become a cult like thing. Remember Jim Jones? I have a friend who lost someone in that massacre. The lady wanted to believe so much that what Jones said was real but inside she had doubts but not the courage to walk away nor the resources. From what I understand, she was caught up in it and it had gone too far. So sad to think how people get caught up in something like that, isn’t it?

 

Never worship a person. Admire them from afar and don’t take people’s words for something because they say they know what God wants. We have brains. We should use them. I’ve always wondered about the Heaven’s Gate cult—how did they go so far? They—to my knowledge—were not forced to do what they did unlike the Jim Jones last act.

 

Deceivers. Most do it for money but more than that—they want power. It’s a narcissistic trait but also sociopaths live for this type of allegiance. From my past experience, if a person truly comes from God or from true goodness, their message will be love and humility with no buts for excuses. And if someone feels as if another is taking something away from them, perhaps one needs to examine what is within. Peace is quite comforting.

 

Happy Gardening! 🙂

 

Festival

My children studied the events that led up to the various wars of the last century specifically Nazi Germany. Today, they keep up with the news and not just face time on TV which I think is a grand accomplishment in itself. Often they will ask, “What was it like… (fill in the blank)…back when (such and such) happened. I’ll give them my perspective even telling them how it impacted my life and shaped my beliefs. Not until recently have they experienced much of this for themselves.

 

They are shocked to hear how the leader of the American government treats the citizens and friends and allies. I frequently hear these words, “But Mom, this is what happened while Hitler was in power. Why don’t people see this?” I just smile and whence deep inside elated that they see it but deeply troubled that it is happening during their lifetime in the year 2017. I keep telling myself it’s 2017 but my brain doesn’t seem to believe it. We have had countless conversations of what it means to be politically correct and why treating others with respect is not a bad thing and we talk about the daily happenings and how it will impact future generations.

 

As much as I would love for this next topic to go away, it’s not. White supremacy is not a thing in my eyes. I don’t recognize it no matter how many people pledge allegiance to such a grotesque way of thinking. You may think white power type of thing has to be labeled in order to see it as such but it doesn’t. These things start subtly and become more of the norm just like you watch today certain people such as the alt-right/Nazi guy who visited Auburn University recently (I’m not writing his name anymore). He can call it what he wants but it is still about white superiority (in his mind). Watch any or all of his videos. In other countries, he would be in jail but we have what we call freedom of speech—however, that does NOT mean that we have to give him a platform on which to speak such as story after story in the media. Yes, people need to know what he says but he’s in the news as a regular guy (eye roll).

 

To many, he is a novelty, something different so he is of interest. To me, he speaks nothing but hate inciting hate in other people. Imagine doing such against other races of human beings just because they have a different pigment or different religion, etc. I’m rolling my eyes even more because it’s 2017. I grew up amid the civil rights fight and the push back against the government integrating the schools. I live and lived in the south at the time. It was awful. I digress.

 

May 1 was designated loyalty day long ago. It’s nothing new. I don’t agree with it. I’m fine with patriotism. I’m even great with it but we have a tinderbox full of hot coals ready to blow up into the biggest wildfire that has ever swept this country. This type of call to allegiance reminds me of the time leading up to Nazi Germany. Plenty have dismissed this but there are so many similarities. I have lived my entire life saying it couldn’t happen here but just like my kids are witnessing the happenings of today, I have to change my way of thinking. It IS happening here. Further evidence can be seen at our fearful leader’s campaign rallies even three months after inauguration. Same thing happened in Germany. It’s like they are following along the Nazi playbook.

 

What happens to people if they don’t pledge their allegiance or they don’t do it in a manner others think you should? Look at those who protested the national anthem or rather look at the ones who criticized those who protested. Do I get jailed or deported because I don’t subscribe to the same level of allegiance on loyalty day? Look at those who criticize the saying of “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas.” This is not saying let’s encourage better morale but saying dam* to anyone who isn’t like them.

 

It took a while for Germany to change over to Nazi control. It didn’t happen overnight but they had a reason for enacting each rule they came up with in order to go against another group of people. Similar to what is happening here. This is fascism pure and simple. We are not at the eve of a fascist government – we are in a full-fledged fascist regime.

 

Silencing the media is one of the crucial parts of this. When free press is wiped out, freedom of speech is next to go. And, one of the most difficult things to watch lately is the abuse of power over the justice system. Our democratic republic (giving that name is wishful thinking—I know) was established so that there are balances of power – to keep any single branch from having autocratic power. That is being abolished by strong-armed tactics (bully ways). More eye-rolling on my part.

 

I could go on and on but loyalty day to me symbolizes the cementing of this fascist type of government. Clearly seen by many and by his own words this past week, the man was not prepared for this position as president. Most of us know the job is difficult. He spent eight years criticizing President Obama because he thought the job was so easy. He’s a madman who wants to laud himself with great honors probably because of some family issue when he was growing up. He will always surround himself with things that tell him he is great because he cannot accept mistakes he makes – failure. He will always blame someone else. This is not different from other politicians but this is not characteristics of a president.

Martyn Pattison – Wikimedia Commons

As for me, I am choosing to celebrate the Gaelic customs of Bealtaine (Beltane) – the ancient fire festival ushering in the summer season. I tend to honor Mother Earth – she is what is important to me. If we don’t take care of her, there is no reason for anything else.

 

Happy Gardening and Happy Bealtaine! 🙂

Winners and Losers

Art is said to imitate life. Such examples exist of present, past, and future. We also use it to give a more accurate representation of past events using exaggerated means.

 

In the movie, Tora, Tora, Tora, Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto was credited as saying,

 

I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.

 

No record was ever found that he actually said this but given the totality of what Pearl Harbor led to, it’s not out of the question that this sentiment was at the least considered by some. To me, it serves as a reminder of what we should contemplate as in the ramifications of war before we engage. Diplomacy goes a lot farther than slaughtering others.

 

No one wins at war. No. Our president and many others are wrong. Many want war because they have invested heavily in weapons of war. We have learned nothing from the past 50 years it seems. I want to be very clear in my views of war on terror. There is no winning. There is no end. It becomes a circle and in the end we stoop to their level and become nothing more than the extremist.

 

I have been horrified of how low we are willing to go in the world. Was I horrified at the chemical weapons used on the Syrian people? Of course I am just as I have been. I have also been enraged at all of the civilian causalities we have caused with our presence on foreign soils…all of the drone strikes…and depleted uranium ordinance – which by the way is a war crime.

 

I needed to write this. I want my view out there but my apologies for my mistakes. I am not doing well but with any luck, I hope to improve.

 

Happy Gardening! No matter how bad it is, there is sunshine somewhere. 🙂

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