Natural Living Beauty

Some of my husband’s photos have been published on this wonderful site called Broken Light. Hope you’ll pay a visit!

Broken Light: A Photography Collective

Please welcome first-time contributor John G. Evans, a man who has been suffering since 1972 from what is now known to be a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from a trauma faced during military service time. He has discovered that photography and poetry have allowed him a second chance at life, and have released him of his depressive states and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. He recently relocated to Boise, Idaho, to photograph the mountain ranges, rivers, canals, nature, wildlife, landscapes and weather.

About these photos: “This photo series was taken in San Antonio, Texas, at the zoo early in the morning during the peak of the “golden hours” between 7:00 am – 9:00 am. The mood was quite beautiful and serene that one has the potential of losing yourself within the crisp cool morning air of twilight and the natural living beauty that surrounds you within this natural & metaphorical landscape of exotic birds &…

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Love in Action

Insight into the words of Thomas Paine and more!

Vehemence!

“An army of principles may penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot.” Such a powerful statement by Thomas Paine, very powerful! Should this power of the written word be taken out of context for political, social, or economic gain? Absolutely not! And those of who refrain from coming to embrace this power as a personal verbal inflection for a personal, selfish gain should truly have their motives and gains highly questioned.

Quite obviously, Paine’s motives for the “rights of man,” were to free two young countries from the tyrannies of their respective periods of time; thus being the French and the American Colonial Revolutions. As well, it should be clearly noted Paine died penniless and homeless, so there was no political, social, nor economical gain to be made. He simply spoke truth. And this was to no gain with the exceptions for these two countries to have the right to…

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Taking Part in the #WomensLives Campaign!

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You may have been noticing a lot of social media posts from me with the hashtag #womenslives. I am pleased to be taking part in the #WomensLives media initiative by Public Radio International (PRI) and SheKnows media, the parent company of BlogHer. For years, I have enjoyed listening to The World and other programs produced by PRI, and I have found a great blogging community at BlogHer.

Beginning this month, the #womenslives campaign will highlight issues that affect women, including health, education, domestic violence and climate change. This initiative resonates with me in a personal way: about ten years ago, my mother and I lived in — and eventually worked at — a shelter for women and children. I found the closest friendships of my life at this shelter, and experienced the value of listening to women’s stories. I saw and experienced the economic, social and personal toll of poverty, inequality and domestic violence — but I also witnessed over and over again the strength and courage of women.

You can participate in this media initiative in several ways. You can share stories from PRI with the #womenslives hashtag on social media, for example. Why not write a blog post of your own and add your voice? It’s a wonderful opportunity to share your story in a powerful international media campaign. Bloggers who are participating in the campaign have added this badge to their blog:

#womenslives

 

Stay tuned for more posts from this blog, and keep an eye out for posts and discussions on Twitter, Facebook and other social media. See you there!

A Bunker Hill Commemoration

I hope you’l read this poem and its reflections on history from John Evans.

Vehemence!

Ah, but the fragrance of love in the night

A gentle sweeping curve of ardor

A love gently returned, softly, sweetly

The thrill so joyous as to savor each moment

Your eyes of grateful expression, light up

As your sensitivity embedded upon my palate

Leaves me no choice but to love you so much more!

Reminiscing of the night before

A journey we embarked upon decades ago

Together, in the spirit of the great American Revolution

Boston lives because of courage, we know this!

And out from the cover of darkness, we rise

This city, all that the spirit of freedom desires, is

To be free.

To others, we marvel, and to the questions of “why?”

Have we forgotten this siege?

And Bunker Hill just fades into our oblique memories

No! I shall not let her go!

For the fear, the courage, the bravery

The victories, and loss…

Shall not…

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Climate Change: Add Your Voice

 

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The facts about climate change can seem overwhelming and even discouraging. We see severe storms, droughts and record temperatures on the news more frequently. 2014 was the warmest year on record for the earth and its oceans, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Since the 1800’s, scientists have warned of the “greenhouse effect” caused by excess levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. Before the Industrial Revolution, the concentration of CO2 was 150 parts per million (ppm); today it is 400 ppm.

But there is good news! A grassroots organization called Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) gives individuals a voice as advocates for addressing climate change. I recently signed up with CCL and am impressed with the in-depth knowledge they provide to citizens who are concerned about climate change. After listening to an introductory phone call, I was able to connect with local members and learn about opportunities for advocacy.

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CCL advocates a carbon fee and dividend plan, which is a market-based approach to dealing with CO2 emissions from fossil fuels. The fee would help provide a truer picture of the costs of carbon-based fuels, and encourage the use of solar power and other non-carbon energy sources. Simply put, companies would pay a fee on the amount of carbon in fossil fuels, and the fees would be given back to households.  Countries that do not have a carbon fee plan would face import fees, and American industries that export to these countries would receive rebates.

According to a study by Regional Economic Models, Inc.,  the carbon fee and dividend could reduce CO2 emissions to 50 percent below 1990 levels in 20 years. Air quality improvements could prevent over 200,000 premature deaths in 20 years. The study also found that the dividend would stimulate the US economy and help produce 2.8 million jobs in 20 years.

Yes, there is cause for concern, and yes, the forecasts are dire. But once again, the voices of ordinary citizens add up to a force for meaningful, positive change. If you are looking for a way to connect with like-minded people and add your voice to finding real solutions to climate change, CCL is a great place to start.

My Word for 2015: Mercy

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At first I resisted the idea of choosing a focus word for this year. I was tired of resolutions, tired of words, tired of thinking, just plain tired. But one word kept showing up, whether I was listening to the radio, knitting, meditating, or watching the news. It ran through my fingers as I washed dishes and got under my nails as I repotted our new poinsettia. There it stayed, just below the surface of my thoughts.

So that is how the word MERCY insisted on becoming my word for 2015.

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:36

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16

The word mercy is kind and gentle, but it is not passive or easily overrun. It searches out the most difficult situations and places on earth. It teaches us to step out of our comfort zone without the need for recognition or applause.

If you have the spiritual gift of mercy, you may be drawn toward helping people who are suffering. You may enjoy volunteering with a ministry to the homeless, or you may be the person others turn to when they are troubled.

For centuries, people have pondered the word mercy:

The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works. Psalms 145:9

For you, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy to all them that call on you. Psalm 86:5

Where mercy, love, and pity dwell, there God is dwelling too. William Blake

I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice. Abraham Lincoln

I hope that in 2015, this word will keep returning my focus to my relationship with God. I pray that it reminds me that my sensitivity to others is not a weakness. Let it encourage me to encourage others, whether I am cooking for my family, listening to a friend, or writing articles about wellness or sustainability.

As a writer, I know that words choose me as often as I choose the words. I am grateful that mercy got my attention these past few weeks, and can’t wait to see what it teaches me!

 

Just a Thought

Some thoughts on the high price of remaining silent:

Vehemence!

According to the Declaration of Independence, “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness,” regardless of the color of their skin, status, gender, or disability. (www.archives.gov)

As the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. states, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” My premise being should I choose to remain quiet about our brothers and sisters of color, I feel I am indeed presenting myself as an enemy to not only the African-American populous but, to family, friends, and all people who are indifferent to me in every subtle and conceivable manner, even yourself perhaps. Therefore, this would not be wisdom in its purest form. This great American prophet of the 20th century spoke for all…

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