Saturday, July 31, 2010

Isn't it curious, how "ah!" moments sometimes arrive in the most unlikely, unexpected form?   Some months ago, our officeplace fax began spitting out weekly issues of something called, Shabbat Shalom Weekly.    Electronic spam? .... or not?

I'm chagrined to admit it, but for years I assumed a somewhat bigoted, (ignorant) attitude regarding others' belief systems.   I barely gave these papers a second glance before discarding.   Then one day my curiosity won out.....  whada-ya know about that?     

I'd like to share an (abbreviated) excerpt today ....
___________________  

When your time on this earth is complete, what is it that you would like to leave to your children?

Most people think about transferring their wealth. However, my friend Marc Sheridan shared with me a study that unless parents transfer "5 Capitals" -Financial, Social, Human, Intellectual and Spiritual - to their children, 70% of their wealth will dissipate within 2 generations and 90% will disappear within 3 generations!

Part of the Spiritual Capital is what you have learned about life - what is truly valuable, insights into people, how to use your time. Would that be something that you would like to leave to your children? It's called an Ethical Will.

This week I share with you an Ethical Will from Joe Berman, a moving force in many organizations working to better the world. 

MR. BERMAN'S ETHICAL WILL

"All of you are familiar with a legal will, in which you dispose of all your property and designate the beneficiary of each asset. What the prime motivating values governing your life are - and how through the prism of your own experience, God's laws are enacted and validated.

"Make a commitment, and get thee a spouse - a lone person is nothing but lonely - but with a spouse, and with God's help, children can be a reality. A family is formed, and you are at the beginning of the future. A family leads to being part of a community, and within a community, you are a force and you have strength.

"Make your family home an oasis of faith, tranquillity, light and warmth so that it becomes an example worthy of emulation.

"Share - share your feelings, your joys, your sorrows, and your blessings. Everything you have is not only a result of your own efforts, but by and large, it is Providential. When trouble strikes, we all ask 'Why me?' Similarly, when you have abundance, you should ask 'Why me?' Share your earnings, your income, and your assets with your community and its institutions.

"Be alive. Learn to let yourself feel. Learn the language of emotion. Learn to savor each moment even if it does not last - in fact savor it because it does not last.

"Learn to thank God for creating emotions and feelings. Each day let one person feel comfort because of you. Each day let one person see hope because of you.

"Do not be indifferent. Indifference is a greater danger than evil, because it precedes evil and allows it to flourish.

"Learn and practice the absolute standards taught in our Torah in our relationships with others so that our society can continue to function smoothly. Do not associate with those who do not adhere to a high level of conduct.

"Communicate not only by speaking, but also by listening. Listen for silences and for pauses - for these express as much as words.

"Do it now - act now. Each day must be planned, and its results must be evaluated and measured each evening.

___________


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I Rescued a Human Today

I was so touched to receive the following piece  ....
and wanted to pay it forward - hoping you, too, might be touched!

I Rescued a Human Today

Her eyes met mine as she walked down the corridor peering apprehensively into the kennels. I felt her need instantly and knew I had to help her. I wagged my tail, not too
exuberantly, so she wouldn't be afraid.

As she stopped at my kennel I blocked her view from a little accident I had in the back of my cage. I didn't want her to know that I hadn't been walked today. Sometimes the shelter keepers get too busy and I didn't want her to think poorly of them. As she read my kennel card I hoped that she wouldn't feel sad about my past. I only have the future to look forward to and want to make a difference in someone's life.

She got down on her knees and made little kissy sounds at me. I shoved my shoulder and side of my head up against the bars to comfort her. Gentle fingertips caressed my neck; she was desperate for companionship.

A tear fell down her cheek and I raised my paw to assure her that all would be well.

Soon my kennel door opened and her smile was so bright that I instantly jumped into her arms. I would promise to keep her safe. I would promise to always be by her side. I would promise to do everything I could to see that radiant smile and sparkle in her eyes.

I was so fortunate that she came down my corridor.
So many more are out there who haven't walked the corridors.
So many more to be saved.

At least I could save one.
I rescued a human today.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Home again, home again....

.....Jiggidy, jig!

I love this quote by the late, great Erma Bomback --
"Myths that need clarification: 'No matter how many times you see the Grand Canyon, you are still emotionally moved to tears.' 
False. It depends on how many children the out-of-towners brought with them who kicked the back of your seat from Phoenix to Flagstaff and got their gum caught in your hair."

...Just kidding! My grands have outgrown that stage -- tho' I can still identify with the unrest sheer boredom that accompanies a road trip far, far away from any teenager's Real Life.

Did we have fun?   Ooooh, yes! ... from time to time, I even forgot about being The. Adult.Who.Must.Set.An.Example!

My favorite mental snapshots --

...The Grand Canyon isn't just a place you go down a few steps and stare at a big hole in the ground. (Chloe, age 12.)

...Sooooooo gorgeous!!!  (Oh, not the Canyon - rather, a young desk clerk at our hotel; or! the shirtless Frenchman sunning himself on the overlook -- certain "eye candy" to a certain 16-year old - who shall, of course, remain nameless!)

I learned....

...How it feels to be woefully out-of-shape :(

...That a Blackberry device isn't really all that mysteriously difficult (are you listening, Santa Claus?)

...What a Kardashian is (are?) .. and why I should care?

...I really need to learn more about my adopted State's rich history. (No, I'm NOT smarter than a 5th Grader!)

...I've finally reached the age where I just don't care if anyone stares when I throw a quarter in the box and jump on a mechanical pony.

...and finally:  How wonderful it feels to simply sit and stare at these incredible creatures who allow me to share their lives.  I feel so blessed!!!
Is this the fun part yet?

Boo, grandma!  (We weren't actually moving - if so, I'd probably have bit my tongue in two!)

This was actually taken for magazine's photo contest - cross your fingers!!!

Fearsome Foursome at Jerome!

I may have met this gal at a Red Hat event before?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Have I Told You Lately?

Yes, I'm often inclined to look for prayer sources apart from the traditional. 
While I realize (gulp!) that not everyone shares my passion for Rod Stewart .... when I heard his rendition of Van Morrison's ballad, I was struck --  this isn't a love song to a woman; the writer is expressing his love for God!


Have I told you lately that I love you;

Have I told you there's no one above you;

You fill my heart with gladness,

Take away my sadness,

Ease my troubles, that's what you do!


Oh, the morning sun in all its glory

Greets the day with hope and comfort too.

And you fill my life with laughter,

You can make it better

Ease my troubles that's what you do.





There's a love that's divine
and it's yours and it's mine -- like the sun.
And at the end of the day, we should give thanks and pray........



Wishing everyone and safe and joy-filled new week!

  

Saturday, July 10, 2010

W.W.J.D.

So, there are many people who have a fascination with professional wrestling.  
Personally, I don't get it -- but on the other hand, it's so great to have that clear display of black and white: 

Here's the Good Guy who must be loved at all costs, cheered for at all costs.  (Never mind that 3 months ago he was the Bad Guy. Now he's shaved.)   There are no compromises, no exceptions, no wondering, "What's the truth behind that?"   There's no "behind that."  There's just the Good Guy.

And by the same token, it is nice to have such a clear-cut Bad Guy.  We can "boo" him no matter what, anytime he comes out and salivates and points his finger and makes amazing threats.  We can "boo" him without any sense of fear that we're doing the right thing.  Because he is the Bad Guy.

I'm reminded of a story our pastor shared years ago: 

He had been talking about how silly wrestling is, so many federations and acronyms ..... and how that's a symbol of everything that is wrong with everything.    One gentleman -- one you might call a "bull-dog believer" -- was right there on the front row.   And there, on his wrist he wore a bracelet from one of those wrestling federations -- the W.W.J.D.
Pastor was infuriated .....he didn't know what it really stood for!  (It's important to know the whole story before we act, isn't it?) 

What Would Jesus Do?  It's a wonderful thing to have heroes like that!  It is a powerful thing.  When we get into a spot and don't know what to do ..... when we have a lot of paths but we're sure that only one of them is going to lead us where we want to go ... it's a good thing to ask, "What would Jesus do right now?"

But there is a challenge.   When we think about a hero that is so big, doing things that are so awesome,  it becomes difficult to imagine, what would Jesus do in my situation? 

In Scripture, there's a story about Jesus and the money changers, there is a story about Jesus and the woman at the well. 
There's no story about Jesus and the emergency room, Jesus and the bad stock tip, Jesus and the office.

So, if those kinds of things are in my life, how do I apply what I find in Scripture to my situation?  I have to think about it... pray about it:  What is my adversary?  What is the "bad guy" in the wresting match I'm experiencing?

And I remember how many presences and powers there are in the Universe -- there is but one God.  Knowing that, if I have this Bad Guy out there who is stopping me from whatever it is, then I begin to realize something important about that Bad Guy - it's not real.   There is no more room for whatever that Bad Guy is. 

God gives his children life...  It is time to live.   God gives his children strength...  It's time to get past it.  God gives his children love...  It is time to get done with fear.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Perspective

Look through any window, yeah ….
                                                         What do you see?


Isn’t it odd, what we sometimes take for granted … our everyday vistas?

Ever since my Brownie troop toured the local Fire Department’s “private quarters,” I’ve harbored a fascination for behind-the-scenes activity ….others’ points of view. For example ….

Would you like to see where the pilot flies the plane?”
Magical words --posed not to me, but to my little boy …..a long, long time ago. Ah, the once “friendly skies"!  We were but a handful of souls aboard a “red-eye” flight, somewhere over West Texas.
I don’t recall his being overly excited …. but that unexpected invite to the cockpit had me over the moon! (To think, this is their every-day!)

My personal favorite?   An UNofficial tour of our cruise ship’s underbelly and boiler room. Never mind that a brand-new pair of high heels lay ruined …. I was totally agog. (At their everyday view!)

Undeservedly perhaps, my curiosity has never landed me in real trouble.

And these days my curiosity’s waned.    I’m resigned to never having an opportunity to hang out in an Air Traffic Control Tower …. or to tag along with the crew of my favorite TV reality show.

Still, there’s one perspective I’d love to see – that of an commercial trucker: Waaaay up high, ‘round the block …. King of the Road!

Crazy, yes.   Still, I’m updating the Bucket List ….
One never knows!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

God Bless America

May we never forget ......

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A "Bama" 4th

"Oh, I wish I were in the land of cotton.  Old times there are not forgotten ...."

It wasn't love at first sight, my early memories of being in Alabama:  A not-so-willing participant in my folks' latest cross-country adventure, I'd already developed an attitude.  Late night, my dad became lost 'midst Selma's civil unrest ...  in our ancient yellow Caddy boasting "Goldwater for President" stickers.  

Fast-forward several decades:  So excited to spend time with my son and his family, who've called Alabama "home" for years.   Say what you will about the South, but I'm smitten by their manner of speech, their genuine regard for ladies and senior citizens.

While DH and I'd planned to head home a day before, we were persuaded to linger and enjoy Montgomery's Independence Day festivities along the Alabama riverfront.

Honestly, I didn't know what to expect ... certainly not the magical evening of good great live orchestration, surround-sound recordings and (bar-none) the best fireworks display I've ever witnessed.   Did I mention the music?   Obviously Patriotic, 'twas sweet mix of  C/W, Broadway, Soul, Gershwin, etc.  

'Couldn't help but steal glances at our friend's MIL -- newly immigrated from Russia, unable to speak more than a few words in English -- her sweet face lit up like that of a child.

As is often the case - subtle changes in audio and fireworks signaled an approaching finale.   As parents began gathering quilts and hampers, the music's intensity grew:  Battle Hymn of the Republic segues to God Bless America, into our National Anthem.   By this time, every able-bodied soul had risen, unbidden, hands over hearts. 

"Oer' the landdddd of the freeeeee....and the hommmme of the brave!""
I'm readying to grab a child's hand, race to the exit.   But no, wait just a minute.

Without missing a beat, here come those unmistakable first notes -- "Sweet Home Alabama."

I'm pretty sure no disrespect was intended, but even 5 years later, that memory tickles me to pieces:   Star Spangled Banner's been trumped by Leonard Skynard!!   Know your audience!