Posted in Relationships, Writing

Humanity, Our Common Threads-Shame Upon Us

Shirley Roper-Phelps, a prominent member of th...
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What we share is stronger than that which divides ~ We Are One!

My whole life I have felt a great passion for the underdog…those who are easily misunderstood, taken advantage of, or dismissed because of their appearance, color, status, faith, or circumstance.  I have heard firsthand the reports of a holocaust survivor when she addressed a group of patient listeners.  At the age of 76 she is touring the globe to share her story so that others may help join the attitude and practice of tolerance.  Greg Mortenson is another example of someone who spreads the message of encouragement in his book Three Cups of Tea.

I am enthused and my spirit joins in celebration for those in the Middle East who fight for freedoms and basic human rights.  Just like in the animated movie Bugs Life, there’s a growing awareness among people all over that if they unite, no monstrous dictator can keep them oppressed.  There’s great power in numbers of a people united.

In this great country, on this forgiving planet, we have too much to lose, and everything to gain in finding unity between and freedom for all peoples.  Let us not allow differences of ideas, feelings, interests, location, stature, wealth, circumstance or the color of our skin, to turn us into creatures of destruction!  We all, if given opportunity and encouragement, are creators.  My wish for all who read this is courage to take risks, and determination to overcome obstacles.

Just yesterday I heard  an upsetting story on NPR about hate speech laws and how they differ between countries.  I believe it is possible to protect our rights of freedom of expression without verbally abusing another human being to degrade another human life.  It saddens me deeply to see images of protestors carrying signs “expressing their views” at the expense of others. Some of you may have seen the cover story on CNN’s website yesterday with pictures of the Westboro Baptist Church protestors.

Criticize ideas, ask questions about the motivation of others…but carrying a sign on national television asking for people to “pray for more dead soldiers” is a cowardly insidious evil that we currently allow.   The person carrying that sign would feel quite differently if they were a citizen of another country under the rule of a dictator.  If your freedom of expression causes deep shame within others to be part of your race–perhaps, just maybe…the world would be a better place if you had patience for yourself and chose to shelve your expression.  When you meet the people you scorn and criticize, take the time to get to know them from the single hat we all wear (humanity), you’ll find that there’s little difference between us.

Posted in Relationships, SocialMedia, Uncategorized, Writing

Love of Clubs ~ The Social Cure

Colored Bullseye
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Power to the people!  A review of Wikipedia and Meriam-Webster on  the definition of a “club” boils down to this:  An association of people with common interests and purpose.  Members generally make some form of commitment to the group in the way of participation at meetings and also contribute their time, ideas and resources.

Clubs are basically a womb for people with similar passions to give life to activities, products, and ideas.  Being a member of a club provides affirmation that you are a writer, a fisherman, a reader, a farmer, a skater or gymnast, a ham radio operator, a hot air balloonist…the list goes on!

While driving down the road today I realized that there are few clubs/groups where members come together with the intention of becoming more depressed, mad, frustrated, unhappy or despised.  What a revelation! Granted, after thinking about it a while, its obvious, but maybe so obvious that we may not realize the significance of this fact.  The protests that are sweeping through dictatorships across the Middle East are an example, just as a members of a book club, Christmas in April, Girl Scouts, Knitting & Quilting Guilds are examples of people uniting for a purpose and affirmation of their desires, hopes, and beliefs to satisfy their need to belong and be identified as “one of them.”

With all the positivity generated by those within clubs, perhaps some of the answers to our social failures and political ambitions are to be found in increased recruitment or the creation of more clubs? Is it possible to influence and reinvigorate an economy, a political party, improve environmental conditions, revamp a social benefits program or an education system through the activities and participation in a club?  My hunch is yes, people united in purpose can change the world.  A quick review of history and current events proves  it!

The key to transformation by your group or club is transparency, social exposure of the charter or intent of your group, followed by active recruitment and participation by all members.  Social media is one of the fastest ways to promote your club.  I found a very interesting link to Social Media Clubs with a full index (by city) for the United States as well as other countries.  For all who are searching for a place to start or regain momentum with a hobby or passion, I say jump on the bandwagon and find a group or club near you.  We only live once, and time waits for nobody!

Cheers!

Posted in Relationships, Uncategorized, Writing

Rumblings in the Midnight Hour

Photo of a double lightning, taken from a balc...
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Lying in bed reading one of the three books I’m currently absorbing, “Chicken Soup for the Writer’s Soul”…my wife lays her book down and says good night.  The three children are in bed, our youngest, Joshua, hasn’t felt well today–sore throat and stuffy nose.  As I delve into another encouraging story of a struggling writer determined to make his mark on the world, I hear a faint “Mom”…’mom”…. Quickly, I spring out of bed to prevent my wife from waking up.  Joshua states he feels like he’s going to throw up and asks if I’ll stay with him until he does.  Thinking fast, I run downstairs for a bucket, a wash cloth, and the thermometer and return.  He doesn’t have a fever but he’s unable to sleep; I also retrieved a folding chair so I could keep watch and sit in his room while I continue reading…waiting for the inevitable.  His tummy is rumbling and he’s a T minus 10 and counting.  I told him to try closing his eyes and maybe sleep will come and the event will pass him by.

I continue reading and hear the rumble of an early Spring storm, and the rain begins gently spitting at the windows.  I read the awesome story of a young cook in the Coast Guard who was determined to become a writer.  He spent much of his time writing letters for fellow servicemen who needed beautiful letters and poems written to their sweethearts; later he hung out at bars hoping to run into publishers and developed a writing interview style still used by Playboy today.  This incredible soul, Alex Haley would later publish works which sold copies in the millions and was adapted for the big screen and television….this was the author of “Roots!”  A cough and a sputter arrests my attention from the book as I lunge for the bucket.  His prediction now a reality and his supper successfully transferred to the bucket, I dab his mouth with the moistened wash cloth and help him get settled once again. Pfit, pfet, drip, drip, the rumble of tummy and thunder now decrescendo into the night and resolve into a rhythmic snoring and a tick tock of the train clock hanging on his bedroom wall.

Returning to the Soup of My Soul…I finish up the story of Alex Haley and another rumble begins.  A rumbling thought–am I a writer?  I’ve journaled the last 20 years of my life.  I love and appreciate the power of words.  I remember my 3rd grade teacher encouraging me in my attempts at poetry, my junior high English teachers praises, and some great books on writing.  One book in particular is Mary Pipher’s “Writing to Change the World” ~ awesome book and a woman after my own heart.  I am always inspired to write when I view events like the people in the Middle East who desire freedoms and the ability to consume and share information, to express themselves without censorship.  When I hear of people who rise from obscurity to heights of accomplishment like President Barak Obama, and J.K. Rowling, I have renewed hope for humanity–the common, everyday person.  I also feel my journalistic side  desire to be the voice of those who live in third world impoverished and underprivileged conditions.  There are many blessed with so much, but there are also so many with too little in this world.

The snoring, the tick tocking, and now my longing to write join together in a rumble symphony with hope for the future that my son will awaken feeling better, and that this long winter will soon be over, and that I may someday I may use my gift of passion for words to help those in great need; to be a voice for the speechless or unheard.  May all who read be mindful and aware that life, while short, offers in each day an opportunity to observe, record, contribute, and give.  Blessings and health to you all!