Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Lemonade Stand: Please Stand By We Got This!!!

Making lemonade has gotten to be very expensive in the last few decades. The government got involved to make sure every one has lemonade as lemonade is a right that everyone should have.

Of course the government has their own lemonade grove where the lemons are all perfect and just the right level of sweet and tart, they even boast extra Vitamin C. This grove is paid for with the taxes and of course is not available to the taxpayer.

Most of the taxpayers were once able to go down to the local lemonade stand and get their lemons but not all people had access to the stand. The government has fixed this by tearing down all the lemonade stands, taxing the lemons, taxing the water and making people who pay taxes pay a fine if they don't buy the lemonade.

Those who can't afford the lemonade will be provided glasses of lemonade and the taxpayers will need to help pay for that as the government doesn't make its own profit.

Lemons have become outrageous in price, the people that used to be able to afford lemonade can't afford it now but the ones who couldn't afford it before now have minimal amount of lemons available from the spoiled lemons the government discards but they insist on keeping what spoiled lemons they have.

Now we wait for the government to get back to work to figure out how they can make lemons available to everyone. They will be on break for the summer in the lemon grove, unfortunately taxes will need to be raised as they will be dining on only the best lemons.

I know they'll get it right in the winter, long after no one even cares or thinks about lemonade and no lemonades last through the first frost.


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Feeding the Soul: Why Not Just Submit to a Vice

I have a theory about vices. Everyone has at least one and most of them can be quite harmless. The problem, in my opinion, that a vice can easily become an obsession.

A vice is a diversion from what is the norm. We all at different times, feel empty and we seek some form of satisfaction. The kind of vices I'm talking about is probably more like an overindulgence with food, smoking, alcohol. shopping, gambling or vanity, just to name a few.

I've noticed from my own experience of seeking pleasure in certain extravagant foods or one night of gambling, you usually come up short in the pleasure department. Earthly things do not feed the soul and never will, that emptiness we feel can only be filled with something that feeds the soul.

When we seek out that which does not nourish us inside we will only end up being unsatisfied. I've noticed that when you seek an obsession there is never a point where you are content, there's always the desire for more.

So what will feed the soul?

Kindness to Others: 

You watch people that help others and you can see a contentment in them. Kindness to others brings so many amazing aspects to our lives and to our souls. It is a dimensional gift to ourselves that has many levels of pleasure and fulfillment.

Connecting with Nature:

There is nothing more simple and fulfilling than to truly enjoy nature. Many of us breeze through landscapes, take a brisk walk through the woods but watch people who take a deep breath to enjoy a view. You will see contentment and the souls nourishment in real time.

Prayer and Your Higher Power:

I have experienced anxiety and depression fade with prayer. When you take  yourself away from yourself and concentrate on our higher power suddenly earthly things become small. Faith is the nourishment that soothes the anxious and feeds the spiritually starved.

Silence:

Quiet allows us to experience our world outside of our bodies. The world is noisy, we are constantly bombarded by earthly things. Silence is the minds way to recharge and for the soul to find its perspective.

Achievement:

To achieve on our own terms allows us the pride to realize ourselves. We are given a glimpse of what truly fills us, I am not talking about success in monetary ways alone, instead I am talking about growing, learning and succeeding in whatever we choose is worthwhile.

What else feeds your soul? What have you found that can cure the feeling of being overwhelmed or the need to obsess over worldly things. What restores your soul?

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Beauty and Mystery of Faith: From Personal Experience






The First Misconception

Faith is not a wishing well. Believing and praying does not make a painless life. If you live on this earth, there will be pain; it is the cost of living. We live in a broken world full of free will and
worldly things.

I think it is a detriment to faith, the idea that if you pray you will succeed or your loved one will survive. I have learned that our path has many diversions. We have a plan but God has his own and believing doesn't make an easy path, there is unexplainable joy that eases some of the pain we experience.

My Story

Faith is an easy thing to profess when everything is going well. It's when things go wrong, when we lose loved ones, when we are frightened; that's when it is a powerful thing that we can actually feel working in us.

My dad died when I was only ten years old. Faith is what brought me and my family through. Our paths intersected with people in the church, my mom sang in the choir, we met two great friends that were there when we needed them. Through that sad time, we survived and we felt a joy you can only explain if you experience it.




Coincidence or Divine Intervention

Like most people, I have always had a fear of cancer, a fear of losing loved ones to an illness. I think my fears are more intense being an artist and having lost my dad so young.

Early in our relationship, my fiancé experienced a lump in her breast and at the time I had no tools to handle the situation in fact I made it worse. It was more about my fear and anxiety than hers. It all turned out well but I was soon to learn how to deal with my fears and lack of faith.

A divine intervention started with a kidney stone. It was a series of hospital visits and a procedure that brought me to a point of depression and anxiety. After a sleepless night and a day of missed work, I realized it was time to get help.

I have suffered from depression and anxiety from a very young age but have never missed a day of work or school since I was ten years old. It was time to talk to someone.

After several weeks of therapy, my counselor shared with me a story about a family member of hers who had cancer. She read me a letter and it was like someone else in the room was insisting I needed to hear it. She told me she didn't read it to everyone but felt she needed to read it to me.

The next day my wife had a cyst explode on her ovary. For the next twelve hours we spent in the emergency room I overheard words like biopsy and malignant but because of my recent divine intervention I stayed strong, I was faithful. Instead of it all being about my fears I was strong for my soon-to-be wife.




A Blessed Event

Soon after that frightening time and because of the cyst being removed, we had a child. A blessed event and an amazing time in both of our lives, a new house, new cars and we were living the American dream.

When our son was just two years old he had an intestinal interception. My wife and I watched as my very young child suffered through tubes up the nose, scary medical procedures and finally a surgery. It was a week we spent in the hospital with him where we all held our breaths and prayed.

He got through the procedure but in the next few months he would be back in the hospital for a blood infection which would turn out to be even more frightening than the previous stay. I remember holding this precious little guy in my arms, he was scared and I knew the nurses were on their way with a papoose, a medieval torture device, okay that's how it seemed to me.

I literally felt a lifting of both of us, as if we were momentarily brought out of that dark and scary place. We got through all the procedures and in that time I went to church and felt it like nourishment as I had never felt it before.

When my wife and I went through the darkest parts of our marriage, I knew God was with me, I wasn't happy in fact I was terrified most of the time but I got through with a peace I can barely explain. I was never alone through the whole process and as horrible as it was, I wouldn't trade it all for nothing as it made me who I am today.

The Body is Always Vulnerable: Faith Protects the Soul

I don't believe faith will bring exactly what you want but I do think it will equip you with what you truly need. In recent times I have felt great fear financially and it always seems the money and means comes, not when I think I need it but in his time. Faith isn't being always happy and okay, Faith is found in the darkest moments when instead of terror we feel peace, instead of anger or frustration we feel calm, instead of indifference we feel joy.

Flesh is always at the mercy of the elements, of ourselves, of time. The soul is the eternal and everlasting gift we have, take care of it and you will find miracles in the darkest times and than you will realize what faith is all about.








Wednesday, December 21, 2016

News and Drinking Kool-Aid...Who's right? Who's wrong? Facts? Half-truths? Hard to keep up.

I have been accused of drinking the Kool-Aid and the assumption leads where ever my political bent leans. What can you say when I don’t believe either side, only a portion of what I see and little of what I read.

This is the era we live in: an excess of information, half-truths, political bias and a desperate need for ratings, gaining followers, getting shared. Fake headlines; once restricted to a media with bias now has been commandeered by national and international private entities seeking hype.

It used to be the outlandish headlines sold rag papers; Aliens have kidnapped Elvis, a woman has a monkey baby. These headlines were assumed for entertainments’ sake and no one reasonable would take them as fact. It now seems like rag and true journalism have become often indiscernable.

The mainstream media, takes initiative to bring you the story before it is even a story with a  goal to be first at any cost. Truth becomes assumed, placeholders to fill the 24 hour news cycle until the details of the story become available.

Giving up it’s old standard of getting all of the facts straight, the media developed it’s own latitude of not only filling in the blanks for you but explaining only what you need to know. When you show old pictures of a person for emotional fodder or only use words for the impact of your viewers, the story has become propaganda instead of truth.

Our news has become much like the prosecution and the defense on either side making their point by only showing a piece of the whole story.  On either side the rabid viewer digests what they insist are facts while calling the other side fools and misguided, drinking the Kool-Aid.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Offense of Winning: Can We Just be Kind?

I am all for winning! I support those that celebrate at the end of a game. I am all for keeping score, competing to your best ability, this highlights the best in the human spirit. Ive watched a youth from the losing team celebrate after a touchdown. He was kicked out of the game in an attempt to make sure no one was offended, political correctness misses the point again.

We are desperate not to offend these days and yet we are more nasty to each other than ever, just read the social media posts. Instead of honest dialogue that can be addressed and corrected, it is kept under wraps, it seeps to the surface, and it's more vicious than ever.

When kids are very young, that's when they need to be taught, not only not to say hurtful things but why they shouldn't. Instead of political correctness, we need to teach humility, empathy and compassion.

An expectation of nice and an intolerance to the unkind is not working. The bully is a bully because of something that is not being addressed. We need to open dialogue, we need to pull the bully out of the shadows and address the unkind instead of ignoring and suppressing them.

Even those being bullied are suppressed because defending yourself has become somehow just as unacceptable as bullying. Instead of ignorance of the fact, punishment and intolerance, maybe knowledge, compassion and common sense would be more effective to address the issue of a society that seems it's becoming less kind.




Monday, November 14, 2016

Who can we trust? Too many news options and each with their own agenda!

Where do you get your news? Some insist the mainstream media is left bias while others are sure Fox News is a right wing propaganda machine. Both sides are sure they are being duped.

What I’ve learned while trying to find out the actual popular vote; you can find whatever answer you need to support your theory. There are fact checker sites that debunk false stories, but who’s debunking them?

It’s frightening to me that with all of the news options we have, it’s hard to find one undisputable truth. Everyone has an opinion and if you listen to the same people assuming they are the truth tellers-you will always be at the mercy of innate bias.

I don’t consider myself very trusting, I don’t trust any news or media outlet because these days it’s about opinion and proving a point. The media finds it their responsibility to educate the foolish masses, so the end justifies the means.

You only get a snapshot of a conversation, a specific photo that proves a point. Much like our system of law, prosecution and defense are based on a theory and you show a jury only that which supports that theory.

We can show the state of affairs in any way we see fit. If we want society to seem hateful and bias, only show the rioting and hide any sense of harmony. Just like the defendant is dressed up in court to show an appearance of innocence, suddenly that rough exterior is changed to a clean-cut persona.

Unless we are there, we really can’t take anything as truth or fact and yet each side talks down to the other as if the other is uninformed. The blur between pure journalism and propaganda has become indiscernible even though, or maybe because, we have so many options to get news.

No one calls their news propaganda, only the people that receive the news and question it’s authenticity use this term and it’s usually after the fact. In 1939, Germany could not justify war for its true intention of expansion but if you stage incidents and call it self defense than the people are behind you. It’s all language, showing just what you want the public to see, if there is no violence and you need it to be violent, you bus people in to show there is violence-the end justifying the means.

I believe that doubt is actually a great thing. It keeps us discussing politics and world events with question versus bias and certainty. I only wish we could have a bit more civility between us as it is supposed to be a country of many ideas and just because someone doesn’t agree with yours, it doesn’t mean they are stupid or uninformed.

So where do you get your news and how do you know it’s true? Let’s start a conversation and maybe in the end we will find a glimmer of truth.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sunday Morning: So many stories so much commentary, so little time

I watch Sunday Morning every Sunday. It is a special show to me because it doesn't concentrate on just the good or only the bad, it doesn’t linger on theatrics, fears or politics. It speaks of truths and it connects us to the human condition and leaves us inspired.

I love to see stories about people who do incredible things from the simplest backgrounds and beginnings. To me, it speaks not only of the human condition but often the American ideal.

You get to make your own decision and most often the person I didn’t think I liked shows me something beautiful about their spirit, about who they truly are behind the headlines and bias.

I enjoy the collectors, writers and dreamers. I’m inspired by those that build planes, building and businesses because they thought they could. It shows the immigrant, both sides and from different perspectives.

It peals away the outside of people, places and things and describes them without judgment. It is a news show that tells the story the way it should be, allowing the viewer the privilege to share just a glimpse into another’s life and see from another perspective.




I’ve never watched the late show with John Stewart but I think I’m going to start watching Trevor Noah, his replacement. He talks about true racism, Apartheid rule, where you can be arrested for marrying the wrong race and even worse for daring to have a child.

He’s from a black mother and Swiss father and his humor has the depth and truth of his experience. He speaks about being pitied for his past and what he’s come from, instead he sees it as triumphant. His mother is shot twice, once in the head and her humor allows a young child to get through a terrible situation.

His mother offers him two things that she can make sure he had, knowledge and food and she delivered against all odds. They are heroes in my book and instead of complaining and fretting about fair and unfair, they have lived extraordinary lives.

I have spoken with people who have lived in Africa and the one common thing they’ve said is that America takes a lot of what they have for granted. Instead of realizing how lucky we are, many look for lawyers to get us what we deserve, demand the government give us what we need and cry about fair and unfair.

The life of a victim is not a great life and if the people in other countries who have lived through the trials and tribulations of true racism and oppression can see themselves as fortunate and triumphant maybe Americans can find a positive place to live in this great, not perfect but still great country.

The People that Make America Great

Two other stories I was impressed with was a man that cleans the tombstone for veterans and a group that resurrected a B29 aircraft. It’s people in this country doing small things that bigger and more important than what makes the news.


You see into people’s lives and you realize there is good in this country. Regardless of religion, race, creed, there is more that connects us than divides us. There is great in this country, there are great people who love this country and love each other and do great things. We just don’t often hear about them because they are not sensational, they don’t know the Kardashians and they aren’t tabloid fodder.