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Archive for March 14th, 2011

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by bathnbody @ webshots

I went on a semi-retreat this past weekend. I felt obligated since we had already made plans to go. I missed the funeral, but I have needed this for so long. That sounds selfish but it really isn’t because I need to get back to where I was before last June-or more like last FEB. I am (or was) a very giving person, but what happened to me knocked me completely off my axis. Until someone goes through this (something that I will not disclose here), one will not completely understand. Often we may go through bad times, but coming out of it gives us the insight and experience to take and use later in life to help others.

This retreat was a ladies event that was less structured than usual (I liked it!) that offered so much. It was impossible to participate in everything but we could take part in most things. There was a session on women’s health; there was a time for reflection and quiet meditation; a hand therapy session with lotion ideas and such (more about this later); a Bible study; a time for greeting card making and greeting card writing for service people overseas; and a redo book (more later, too) and such. In the short time we were there we got to take part in most of these things, play some games, sing some songs, worship, eat lunch, and visit with those we don’t get to see much. Not bad for a 4.5 hours, huh? It was very rejuvenating to the body, mind, and spirit! It is so important that all of these things be refreshed.

I think it is essential to give to others-we receive only because someone else gives. If no one is willing to give, no one will receive. A friend told this story in Sunday school this past weekend… She was in a store the other day with her adult daughter getting some things when a lady walked up asking if she knew where the Saran wrap was located. Someone working there had to help the lady and she was off to pay for her purchase. The friend and daughter finished with their shopping and were right behind her when the lady turned around and said that she was going to pay for their cart full of items and to put the checkbook away. They didn’t think she was serious, but they put everything up on the counter and the lady pulled out the money and paid about $75! She said that she was a cancer survivor and did this for people off and on because she wanted to give back to others.

I gave the challenge for everyone in our class to find people during the week that we do not know and do something for them and then suggested that we could continue through the rest of Lent. I usually have a project ready to take on but didn’t this year. Doing something for a complete stranger is not a new concept, but during times of financial crisis we tend to draw back into our shells trying to protect what we have. This idea doesn’t have to be money related-it can be the smallest thing, a service for instance. Doing for others is so important desiring nothing in return-the meaning of a true gift. Any attachment means it wasn’t a gift.

Happy Gardening and may we all do a better job of caring for the needs of others!

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Tragedy abroad

Earth from USGS Hazard Program

All weekend we have been trying to keep up with the latest news out of Japan. It is tragic! Everyone on the internet should be aware that there was an 8.8-9.0 earthquake (anything rated this high is catastrophic and numbers are practically irrelevant) to hit just off the coast of Japan this past Friday. The worst thing was the tsunami it triggered. Devastation is everywhere and the further threat of more nuclear power plant meltdowns is on everyone’s mind-not that the possible loss of life tally could be over 10,000 individuals is any less important. It is all unbelievable! All is surreal-and not in a good way!

I have long been interested in earthquakes, volcanoes, and the powers of nature. It’s good to be aware of your surroundings no matter the situation, but plate tectonics is so interesting to me. Our earth is alive underneath our feet, just waiting to burst forth. While there is no sure fire way to forecast earthquakes, there are clues to look for. For instance, Friday’s quake was not the beginning. Look back to earlier in the week when the rumbling really began. An animation is shown here-  http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsanim/world/  

The signs were there leading up to the quake (hard to tell when and to what they are leading to at the time), and seeing the bigger picture, this is an enormous seismic event that is still continuing with the “aftershocks” off the eastern coast of Japan. Add the volcano activity, and the pot is complete. The “Ring of Fire” or the large Pacific Plate is the most active in the world. Let’s just say volatile. Why? One, for its size; two, that it lies under so much water; three…I could go on and on, but the region just off the northeastern coast of Japan is where 2 plates come together like a mini-cooper and a quarry dump truck-may not be the best analogy. Look at it like pudding in the refrigerator that has a semi-hardened crust on top. Sometimes it has cracks and when you tip it over, the underlying pudding comes out-I know that’s a simple explanation, but these analogies help to paint a picture of what it is like to live along the edges of the Pacific realm.

Here are some things to check out to learn more and maybe peak your interest or – even better – the interest of children and young minds. Getting children to take an interest in the earth many times sparks an interest to go into a science field of study later on (that can be a great thing). Check out the hazard programs for EARTHQUAKES and VOLCANOES. You can also look at satellite images in Google maps. There, you can see evidence of where the plates have shifted if you take a look around the Pacific Ocean (satellite view). Space weather is another website that gives daily information that is important to us.

Well, I could go on and on about all of this because of my extreme interest, but it doesn’t change the fact that so many people have lost their lives and many survivors will not see anything considered normal for quite a while. ‘Mother Nature’ has not been all peaceful like we are used to. Our earth was very violent back in the early Jurassic period and think of the various ice ages. The earth continues to evolve-change-over time. We must adapt and change with it. My thoughts and prayers will continue for the people of Japan and the devasting disasters they are facing.

Happy Gardening and may you have a good week in your garden of life!

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