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Posts tagged ‘Daily Inspirational’

21
Jul

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

As usual, I’m busier than a bee.  But, I do want to post a picture of this week’s photo challenge.  The word is “Inside.”

Hope and Honey Bee, by Andrea O'Connell

1
Mar

the path of happiness is measured by human kindness

So the Academy Awards are decided.  I enjoyed the show and agree with the outcomes.  I don’t care about the fashion or the best or worst dressed – everyone was beautiful as far as I’m concerned.

But, I’m so sorry that a wonderful, wonderful film was not on the award list. The wonderful movie, Happy, (thehappymovie.com), may not be Academy Award material, but it’s material that says a great deal about the meaning of life.

Happy is a documentary about the meaning and the search for happiness. When I saw the film recently, it reaffirmed for me that the path toward happiness is measured in human kindness.

To be happy, to find happiness is what we all want as human beings.  The filmmakers – psychologists and other professionals, tell us that the pursuit of happiness requires us to live a life in which performing acts of kindness is so ingrained in us it comes naturally and happens often.

When artists create, or writers write, they enter what’s best described as “the zone.”  That zone is where happiness happens and is measurable.

Depression, as we know, is an illness that is talked about, and talked about, and talked about. Depression is measured, diagnosed and medicated.  Acts of human kindness result in elevating the brain chemicals and systems that produce “happy endorphins and serotonin messages.”  When the brain is stressed-out and the happy chemicals in our brains go haywire on us, leaving us low, sad – depressed, medicine can turn it around.

Scientists and psychiatrists measure the level of depression and attempt to cure it with medicine that stimulates happy brain chemicals once again.   Granted, there’s much, much more to mental health – it’s serious and important and I don’t mean to make light of the topic… Instead, I wish to illustrate what the filmmakers of Happy tell us about how to create happiness, and that it can be measured and improved, too.

The main message of this film (for me) revealed a truth that simple human kindness, being grateful, sharing and giving to others, is a critical reality for living a life of happiness.  It’s all wrapped up in empathy, compassion for others; giving of ourselves, serving others, being passionate givers and knowing the return on that investment is our happiness.

In our daily lives we hear and read about hate and ugliness constantly.   Sadly we don’t hear about happy things such as examples of giving and compassion often enough. Rather, we hear and read news reports filled with politicians and criminals spewing hate.  They seem to embrace negativity and hate with a real passion.

Nearly every day this blog is used for people to talk about the Casey Anthony case.  Remember the Casey Anthony trial?  It was about determining who senselessly murdered a beautiful little child – Caylee Anthony.

In this Orlando, Florida case about the death of little Caylee Anthony, it was pretty clear that the toddler’s mother, Casey Anthony, single-highhandedly murdered her own daughter.

But, Casey Anthony was found not guilty by a jury of twelve people.  Granted, that was not a verdict anyone expected, least of all me, the reality of the trial’s outcome is something I’ve completely accepted.

Casey Anthony is not guilty of murder in the eyes of the law.

No one can punish or try her with this crime ever again.  No one…. That includes Federal entities, too, for those who are petitioning the government to try Casey Anthony in Federal Court.  It will not happen. And we need to thank our lucky stars that our justice system gives Casey Anthony that protection.

There are too many cases of truly innocent people punished by our system, and that is wrong, too, clearly.  The facts are these: The application of our state laws and our constitutional rights are often abused by over=zealous lawmakers.  There are prosecutors and law enforcement agencies out there who don’t always care about the innocent, they want to solve cases by any means possible.  It is up to us to VOTE for lawmakers who RESPECT the HUMAN Rights of all people, who apply the LAW evenly to ALL people.  That includes immigrants AND all ARAB human beings, by the way.

There are people in this country who believe in an eye-for-an-eye justice, like in Biblical times.  There are lawmakers who feel this way, too.  In fact, there are people with political power in this country who are so twisted, they’d like to give angry mobs the ability to hold be-headings, or hangings.  There is one GOP lawmaker in North Carolina who’d very much like that to happen. Republican Representative Larry Pittman says, “Let’s round up the (so-called), abortionists, rapists, kidnappers and murders and hang-em high.”  More specifically, Pittman said:

We need to make the death penalty a real deterrent again by actually carrying it out. Every appeal that can be made should have to be made at one time, not in a serial manner,” Pittman wrote in the email. “If murderers (and I would include abortionists, rapists, and kidnappers, as well) are actually executed, it will at least have the deterrent effect upon them. For my money, we should go back to public hangings, which would be more of a deterrent to others, as well.  via North Carolina GOP Lawmaker Calls For Bringing Back Public Hangings, Starting With Abortion Providers.

As America gets dumber it’s reflected in the people WE VOTE into office.

There are Americans who feel just as Representative Pittman does about forms of punishment.  There are people who want Casey Anthony dead. These angry and sick people would like nothing better than to see Casey Anthony face the ultimate punishment, and no doubt they’d like it to happen publicly.

God help them.

God help us all if haters, in the name of religion, seek justice their way.

3
Dec

What is marriage and what is hate?

Marriage is a symbol of love between two human beings, usually.  Well, unless those two human beings are the same gender.   If two human beings are the same gender, such a symbol is not available for them to own – well, only in a few states.

But, in the US, marriage is the union of two persons.  Simple, right?  Not for the Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual and Transgender (GLBT) people.  Such a union is mostly outlawed, like in the wild-wild-west.

It’s difficult for me to understand what is the problem with same-sex marriage?

If Tom and Teresa can own the symbol, why can’t Tom and Terry?   Ahhhh, it’s how we perceive Tom and Terry or Sue and Karen – they are not like us therefore they are beneath us therefore they are not deserving of the basic human rights you and I enjoy.

To deny persons who are part of a GLBT community the right to marry, or to deny them anything at all based on sexual identity, is so obviously absurdly wrong! Well, to me it is.  Well, to most of us it is.

The people in power, those with religious power especially, cannot allow people who are hated as a group, any benefit that might encourage them to be happy.   Marriage would make people in the GLBT community happy.  That’s not good.  No no no no no.

If the GLBTs were happy the religious leaders would hate the political leaders for allowing that to happen.  That would be bad for the political leaders – they’d not get re-elected.   Then the religious leaders would put someone with more hate into power and everyone would be worse off.   If society got anymore hateful, a fertilized egg after a one-night-stand would have rights.   In fact, if the really hateful religious leaders had their way, a fertilized egg would have more rights than the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgendered person.

It’s bully-ism on a large-scale.  (Not sure bully-ism is a word, but you know what I mean, right?!)  I think hate is synonymous with Bullying.   GLBT (and too many others, namely immigrants), are the prime targets of school bullying.

We sit aghast at the stories coming from elementary and high schools about bullying and the resulting suicides.  But, do we realize that children, when they terrorize other children, are mirroring what they know adults and flaky pastors hate?

By the way, I don’t hate religion – I don’t hate anything, other than inequality.  I hate only hate.

I hate the hate of a Religious Right kind of hate because I see it becoming systemic in America.

What am I talking about?

I’m referring to the Religious Right who are not really religious but who thump the Christian bible because they think it will translate into political power.  I’m talking about the “Christians” who think God tells them to hate and to deny the rights of people they don’t even know.  I’m talking about the people who claim they take the bible literally but when push comes to shove they can’t but are loath to admit it.  I’m talking about the hate that is, religiously speaking, ironic because it promotes separation and racism.   I’m talking about the hate that denies equality to large  segments of society who are as deserving as you and I.

When two consenting adults wish to symbolize or honor their partnership, just as heterosexuals do, it should be a non issue.  It goes without saying that divorce trumps the statistics of those who stay married, that’s a non-starter though.  The issue is really not about that – that’s adding a negative to a the positiveness of love between the partnership of two people of the same-sex.

How in the world can people hate who they don’t know?  Why would anyone deny persons they don’t know the chance to experience happiness?  Who gives Sam – who has never left the state of Texas – the right to tell Joe, in Florida – a stranger to him, that he cannot have this or that piece of happiness?

So, what is marriage to the haters?  What is marriage to the GBLTs?   It’s the same thing – or will be when the GLBTs have the right to it.  The real difference between the GLBT marriage and the Hetero marriage is that one is more often made up of a love that is lasting.

This video explains it so much better than I ever could.

Two Lesbians Raised A Baby And This Is What They Got.

3
Sep

wendy and the lost boys

I want to share information about this wonderful book I am reading about the Playwright Wendy Wasserstein.

I can’t write about the book just yet – I’m not nearly finished with it.  But, it’s the kind of book that refuses to let you go.

Wendy and the Lost Boys: The Uncommon Life of Wendy Wasserstein is the title of the book; written by the remarkable Julie Salamon.

Wendy passed away from cancer at age 55.   She is the author of the Heidi Chronicles, The Sisters Rosensweig, Isn’t it Romantic, Uncommon Women and Others, and more.

For the Heidi Chronicles, she won the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award.   You don’t have to be a lover of the theatre to love this book.

I’ve never really been able to accept that she’s gone.  She would have had more Pulitzer Prizes’ and Tony’s if her light still burned.

Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. ~ Shakespeare

27
Jul

dearly departed one?

I’m going to tell you a story that you’re likely to not forget!

The story, written by Nastasya Tay, and published by the Associated Press, tells an eerie tale about a South African man who was thought to be as dead as dead can be, but was, in fact, very much alive!

The man, believed to be deceased, was carted off to the morgue, placed in a freezer only to wake up 21 hours later.  (It’s a wonder he didn’t die again from the smell.)

The story goes like this…. The “man” (he is not named in the article), after having suffered an asthma attack, for all intents and purposes, had died.

The family hired a morgue who came to take the poor man away.  The family set about to, sadly, prepare for all the things one most do when a loved one departs.  You see, the family had every reason to believe the man had died.

So, the morgue “driver” aka body-checker (slash) picker-up-of-bodies, came to the home to cart the newly departed one to his temporary resting place, in the morgue fridge.  But before the man could take that final ride to the morgue, the body-checker (slash) picker-up-of-bodies, checked to be sure the man was indeed no longer among the living.

Yes.  Dead he was, thought the body-checker (slash) picker-up-of-bodies.

Satisfied that his charge met the qualifications of being dead, the man was brought from his home to the morgue.

Fast forward 21 hours.

It was the next day when, at the home of the dearly departed, the loving family was making the sad funeral arrangements.  At the same time, however, at the morgue, the dearly departed was waking up and yelling up a storm.

Imagine how those morgue employees reacted?!

The morgue workers, wishing they had Ghostbusters on speed-dial, notified morgue owner, Ayanda Maqolo, of the situation.

Maqola, sensitive about saving face, put up a brave front for the morgue employees, snapped into action.

Later, Moqolo admitted, “I was also scared. But they are my employees and I had to show them I wasn’t scared, so I called the police.”

The brave police were not deterred, but Moqolo was grateful the police drew their guns.

And then, with the morgue workers and Moqolo in tow, the police entered the morgue with guns drawn, ready to face the ghost.

Moqolo said, “I was glad they had their firearms, in case something wanted to fight with us.”

Now, this accidental, less than merry, band of Ghostbusters threw caution to the wind, and faced the cries of “help me” from behind the freezer door of the morgue.   (Surely, it was the bravest of officers who opened the freezer door that night.)

Then, when at last the freezer door was opened, the man, looking as pale as a ghost, understandably asked, “How did I get here?”

It’s unknown what was said to the man in reply to the “How did I get here” question.  Perhaps they said, in unison, “Uh.  You. Were. Dead.”

Probably they were at a loss for words.

Later, Moqolo said, “I couldn’t sleep last night, I had nightmares.  But today I’m much better.”

Read the original article here.

25
Jul

faith hope and love

I’m feeling a little under the weather tonight – exhausted mostly.  And, I just lost all the data in my iPhone as I was trying to update the software.  I figured out how to restore it, I think.  The phone seems to be righting itself.  It’s taking a long time, though.   I’d be lost without my iphone…. I have faith it will straighten itself out….

Anyway, I don’t have the energy to write tonight.   So, I’m leaving you with a passage from Corinthians, that I have loved since I was a child.

One of the bloggers here, Faith, shared this passage today.  And, I remembered how much I loved it, and how it made me feel to read it.

I am not one to read the bible, or go to church, or pray very much.  But I do have faith – in love especially.

In truth, I have only read pieces here and there from the bible, never the whole thing.

My bible is Shakespeare, poetry, and good fiction.  My personal God lives in everything and everyone, and of course, in Nature.

The interesting thing about this passage – no two versions of it are alike.  There is a vast differences from one version to the next.   I kind of like this version:

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.  For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.   ~ 1 Corinthians 13 (NIV)

I have a great story for tomorrow, by the way…. you’ll love it!

17
Jul

freedom

The clock in an Orlando jail struck midnight and the bars opened and out she walked with her freedom fighter, Jose Baez.

She is free. Casey Anthony, according to the laws of this wonderful country, can now walk into freedom unburdened by the fear of retribution or hate or those who would do her harm.

It is beneath us as citizens to spew hate at a free American citizen.  We are better than this.

It was a few minutes after midnight, exactly three years from her initial arrest, and Casey Anthony took long and quick strides behind Jose and into an awaiting car and toward freedom.

I watched how she walked as she left the jail.  As I watched the replay of her release from jail, I thought to myself, this is the first time Casey Anthony has been able to walk without chains and handcuffs!

Seeing her dart out of jail behind Jose, I noticed that her arms were not keeping time with her strides as she walked.  It was if her arms were stuck to her sides.  And then, I realized, she has not been able to walk like that in three years!  No wonder she seemed awkward.

Leaving the Jail Behind. Photo Credit: Red Huber, Orlando Sentinel

You can see in this picture just how odd her posture is as she walks.

It’s as if she’s not sure how to walk, and is placing her arms behind her body to be handcuffed.

This is not the same nimble girl we saw in so many trial-pictures.

Besides that, look at the guy in the uniform with the big gun!

Who did he think he might have to shoot with that gun?

Casey was found not guilty – how bizarre it is that her first taste of freedom happened with guns all around, helicopters in the air, law enforcement on horseback, the general public screaming, “MURDERER,” and the paparazzi click, click, clicking away, dressing the dark, hot night with continuous bursts of light.

Freedom is something I take for granted. I hardly think about it.  Tonight I am thinking about it and realize how grateful I am for my freedom.

How do we define freedom when we are already free?  I guess, the only way for me to define freedom, really, is to define what it is not.

Not being free is to not have keys to the bars on your door.

Esoterically speaking you could say that freedom means being alive.  Aside from that, three years in jail is the absence of freedom.

If my windows and walls were made of bars, I would not be…:

  • going to Target
  • taking a bike ride
  • getting a new car
  • eating toast with guava jelly
  • having a beer
  • wearing a hat
  • eating ice cream with chocolate sauce that becomes like a hard chocolate shell, then heaping whip cream on top of that
  • kissing my dog making loud smooch-smooch sounds
  • tasting warm chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven
  • falling asleep on the couch
  • chatting with neighbors and their kids
  • laughing when my dog yelps and moves his feet in the air during a bad dream
  • eating eggs with grits for dinner
  • eating chocolate for breakfast
  • playing dominoes
  • eating blueberries one by one
  • taking pictures of butterflies
  • playing solitaire on the computer
  • extra pickles on a hot pastrami & cheese sandwich
  • seeing a ballet
  • getting a tweet
  • meeting friends for lunch
  • going thrift-shopping
  • eating Filet Mignon medium rare
  • wearing a new outfit
  • eating a baked potato – loaded
  • loving the smell of fresh bed sheets
  • yawning because someone else did
  • hearing children laugh
  • blogging
  • painting my toenails black
  • paying bills and having money left over
  • getting a goody-bag from mom
  • reading Shakespeare
  • going to the theatre with friends
  • Googling
  • looking at old pictures
  • wearing pearl earrings with matching pearl necklace
  • having seven pairs of flip-flops
  • putting a banana, with strawberries, and blueberries and ice in a blender and then drinking it
  • watching a movie in the middle of the day and not worrying about things I should be doing or need to be doing
  • listening to James Taylor
  • watching my dog eat a treat
  • going to “Butterfly World”
  • enjoying a cold diet Dr. Pepper when it really quenches my thirst
  • finding a lost earring
  • having thai food
  • Seeing Degas paintings up close
  • getting a new Netflix movie in the mail
  • seeing a rainbow
  • falling asleep outdoors
  • brushing my teeth when ever I want to
  • voting

I could keep this list going.

I am so grateful for the little things.

13
Jul

this is my symphony

It’s Wednesday, which means there are only two more days until the weekend….and sleeping in.

I live for weekends!

It’s not that I don’t like to work, because I do, but it’s not my favorite thing to do – it’s not my symphony, it’s not my passion, but it’s okay.

I like working at a university – it’s both a lovely and fun environment.  The campus is beautiful, too: www.nova.edu

The work I do is called Instructional Design.  I write training for employees of the university, not for students, though students are the ultimate benefactors of trained employees.

My work entails analyzing what learners should learn, and how they will learn it.  So, I design and develop curriculum that I break down into relevant chunks, i.e., small sections of learning activities.

Most times, I deliver the material in the classroom, too.  I call on my acting skills to get me through that, as I’d rather be writing and creating curriculum than teaching it. It’s because I’m an introvert, but can easily go into “showtime” mode and turn into an extrovert when I have to, though it’s exhausting at the end of the day.

I have read that it’s fairly easy to tell if you’re an extrovert or an introvert by determining if you feel energized as a result of working or being with a large group of people.  If other people energize and make you happy, chances are you’re an extrovert.  If, on the other hand, it’s exhausting to work with groups of people, chances are you’re an introvert.

What got me started on this?  LOL!  Oh! (I had to look back), I was talking about the kind of work I do and then began to ramble.

I’m tired tonight.  And I don’t really want to talk about the Casey Anthony case because there’s nothing new!

Well, that’s not entirely true…. I read a couple of things.  The law firm handling the Zanny the Nanny case, Morgan and Morgan, concerned that Casey Anthony will skip town as soon as she’s released from jail, want her to be deposed at the jail, before she’s released.  There will be a hearing to determine if this can occur, maybe as early as tomorrow.  I believe they want to depose her on Friday.  It’s an emergency motion that will be heard in front of the Judge in the Civil trial –  Judge Jose Rodriquez.

So, that’s it for tonight, though I did want to leave you with this lovely thought:

To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not, rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common — this is my symphony.  –-William Henry Channing, clergyman, reformer (1810-1884)

Don’t you just love the line, “This is my symphony?”  I do.

Days are always better when I hear a symphony – real or imagined.

24
Nov

What I am thankful for…

Oh, my Thanksgiving eyes see thankfulness and joy in everything.  I have so much to be thankful for; so many people to be thankful for….

I have a blessed life and want for nothing.

I work at a great University.  I have a close-knit family (I say a prayer of thanks for my mom everyday). There is unspeakable joy in that.

I have a brother, Sister-in-Law, and niece who live in close proximity to me.  I live for the joy my five year old niece brings me.

Children are walking wonders – miracles.

Last Saturday, as I do many weekends, I babysat for my five year old niece, Elizabeth, and I asked her the same question she asked me.  “What was your “high” today, Elizabeth?’  She answered, “You, Andrea!”   To which I silently gasped with joy.  And my Sister-in-Law said, “Andrea, when she knows you are coming to babysit, she starts talking about it in the morning and asks us over and over, “When is Andrea coming, is it soon?”

I cried inside when I heard that.  I cry now to recall it.  Oh, the greatest gift of all is the love of a child.

I am blessed and blessed and blessed some more!

I am blessed to have you, my dear friends who are reading this.

I am blessed and thankful to have been given an ability to write, and a love of writing.

I am blessed and thankful to have been given the gift of creativity.  The art of creating is akin to touching God.

God is perfection – there is joy in creating that perfect and lovely sentence, or that perfect photo, or that perfect story.

On this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for so much.  I am honored to be alive and honored to have so much joy in my life.

Thank you to God and to each and every Higher Power in this rich universe for putting me right here. Right now. Right where I should be.

Thank YOU dear reader.

If the only prayer you say in your life is “thank you, ” that will suffice.  ~ Meister Eckhart

18
Nov

mantra….

Life changes every minute of every day. You lose friends. You gain friends. You realize your friend wasn’t ever really your friend. And that person you used to hate can make a really good friend. You look for love. You find love. You lose love. You realize that all along you’ve been loved. You laugh. You cry. You laugh so hard that you cry. You do this. You do that. You really wish you hadn’t done that. You learn from that and are glad that you did. You have your ups. You have your downs. You see good movies. You see bad movies. You look at others and wish you were them. You then realize who they are and are glad that you’re you. You love life. You hate life. In the end, you just find yourself to be living life no matter what’s thrown at you.
~ Source: x3bbycakes


17
Nov

a daily dose of inspiration, and then some….

I know very little of Eileen Caddy, the person to whom this quote is ascribed, but am very appreciative of the message.  The photo was one I took on a rainy September day in Fern Forest, in Pompano Beach, Florida.

Dwell not on the past. Use it to illustrate a point, then leave it behind. Nothing really matters except what you do now in this instant of time. From this moment onwards you can be an entirely different person, filled with love and understanding, ready with an outstretched hand, uplifted and positive in every thought… and deed.

Eileen Caddy
1917-2006, Spiritual Teacher and Author

13
Nov

mirror images

You were the mirror image of me when we were kind enough to have patience.

Without patience is life barren?  Oh, that’s contradictory, isn’t it?  Without patience, life becomes overgrown with gray spiny weeds, trees that break and bristle to the touch, and sand spurs that draw blood.  Mirror images in tranquil repose look toward each other for peace and solace and perhaps live like these two butterflies do.  In a separate but equal space, in peace.  And though the wind, should it roar, these two could be swallowed up in a millisecond, it is patience that holds them steady through the rowdy wind.  Mirror images find strength in the other.

3
Oct

hello blog!

Remember, in the vast infinity of life, all is perfect, whole, and complete….and so are you.

~ Louise L. Hay

Oh blog, I have certainly ignored you of late.  I’ll be back, though, really soon.  For now, here are some pictures to conjure up words.

Little Hummer

 

 

oh such colors!

 

6
Sep

words barely do justice

I was reading Viktor Frankl today and serendipitously came across this dramatic and searing image by Journey Photographic, (one of my favorite photo blogs).  I am pleased to have permission to share this image with you.

I would also like to share this from Viktor Frankl:

We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. –Viktor Frankl, author, neurologist and psychiatrist, Holocaust Survivor (1905-1997)

Appreciation to Journey Photographic

6
Sep

have a colorful (Labor) day!

Sometimes it’s important to work for that pot of gold. But other times it’s essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing which color to slide down on the rainbow.  (Douglas Pagels)

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