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.
- Casey Anthony – can we give her the not guilty verdict, finally? (andreadreamin.com)
- Casey Anthony – try-casey-anthony-in-federal-court??? (andreadreamin.com)
…. so grateful for the gift of love (to and from) friends, and family (thanks to WordPress too!).
Happy Thanksgiving, all…
The Dream Act is no longer just a dream in California!!!
California Governor Jerry Brown (D), signed into law The Dream Act, a bill that will allow students, who live legally in the United States but lack legal documentation, to qualify for Federal and State Financial Aid!
This is a wonderful opportunity for California to invest in its best and brightest students, ensuring they receive equal opportunity to Financial Aid funding for Higher Education.
I work at a University in Florida and I am absolutely thrilled for California, happy that Gov. Jerry Brown stood up to the opposition and did what is right for the people of California – for the FUTURE of California.
Florida had an opportunity to pass the Dream Act a couple of years ago. It failed. The Republicans opposed the bill.
Florida was wrong to deny its residents access to higher education. It is just plain wrong.
The Dream Act is a win-win for the students, the state, and the university the student attends. Let me explain why. Here is a scenario about the opportunities of the Dream Act:
Student John Doe was brought to the USA by his parents when he was just an infant. His parents are poor, uneducated, but able to see the importance of elementary and high school for their children. Like his parents, John is not an “official” American citizen, though he regularly attends public school. He has always maintained an A Plus GPA. He is a natural leader and was named Valedictorian of his graduating class. John is a very talented student in every sense and he dreams of becoming either science teacher, or scientist. He is passionate about teaching and understands the schools today need good teachers.
All of Johns teachers; his Principal and Guidance Counselor, encourage him, but for naught. John would never be able to attend college, and he knows it. The cost of college is way beyond the reach of his parents.
What will his future be after High School? Minimum wage? Fast food? Retail? Waiter?
There is no way John can dream of a career as a science teacher, or a scientist. What will happen to him? After High School, he will be a number – a poverty statistic. He’ll be one of the shadow people who live at or below the poverty level.
The fact that talent like John’s will go to waste is a crime; it’s also a crime for the US to NOT have the benefit of John’s intelligence and his future contributions. John would have made a difference, but antiquated laws kept him handcuffed and in the shadows of poverty.
Thanks to Governor Jerry Brown, it is a new day for John Doe.
Today, John can have the education he deserves. He has worked hard for it. Tomorrow, we will be the benefactors of what John will contribute to society.
The Dream Act for Higher Education will have a ripple effect. One drop in the pond will send waves that reach out-and-out-and-out, like the reach of good Karma. Just as good begets good, John will touch the lives of countless students when he becomes a teacher,
This dream has been a long time coming; thank Heaven for visionary leaders like Jerry Brown.
Scott Jaschik, writing for Inside Higher Ed, a popular source for higher education, has this to say in today’s edition:
Giving undocumented students access to state student aid is seen as particularly important, by advocates for such students, for a number of reasons. Many have very low-income levels (because they cannot legally hold jobs), and they are ineligible for federal aid. So state aid, combined with access to in-state tuition rates, can make a big difference in their ability to enroll. The bill would cover only those who graduated from a California high school and who affirm that they are taking all possible steps to legalize their immigration status.
So, Alabama, with your Stalinist immigration policies! ….Take that!
- California gov Jerry Brown OKs Dream Act for illegal immigrant student aid – Chicago Sun-Times (news.google.com)
- California Governor Signs Dream Act (online.wsj.com)
- California Governor Signs Second Half of Dream Act (theroot.com)
- Dream Act Becomes Law in California (thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Gov. Jerry Brown Signs California Dream Act (sfist.com)
It was nearly six weeks ago that I attended a YMCA Board Member Recruitment luncheon. It was a neat experience, too.
A good friend of mine, a YMCA Board member, invited me to the recruitment luncheon because he knew I was looking for a program to make a difference in kids lives – to promote change, and give back to my community.
After the verdict in the Casey Anthony trial, I felt disappointed, frustrated, and defeated. That soon changed, though, when I heard what former Orlando Assistant State Attorney Jeff Ashton had to say.
Jeff Ashton, the passionate Prosecutor in the Casey Anthony v. State trial, appeared on a few television programs to talk about the aftermath of the verdict.
Mr. Ashton talked about taking the anger you feel – a palpable anger was rising in the community – and turn it into action to support children in your community.
It was a perfect idea. Doing something like this would be a healing and healthy way to diffuse the sense of defeat – turn it into positive energy and action for kids.
I decided right then that I was going to become a force for change for kids.
I emailed and called the “Big Brothers, Big Sisters” program in my area but, sadly,I learned they have more “bigs” than kids. It is going to take a while to be matched with a kid.
And then, the next day, my buddy Ken invited me to the YMCA Luncheon, and…..
Today, I learned that they chose me for the Board!
I’m the newest member of the Board!
I am going to put my heart and soul into this opportunity. I want to make a difference for the kids – for the future, for my niece’s generation.
I will be an Advisory Board member of the Broward County Children’s Advocacy YMCA Family Center. My first official Board meeting is September 22!
If you click on the YMCA Logo (above), it will take you to the website for the Broward County YMCA.
This will be a great activity to blog about, too!
Speaking of blogging….I broke down Wednesday and purchased a new PC. And what a difference it makes! It’s much easier to write when the PC doesn’t crash or freeze on me.
My old computer was loaded with VISTA. I think I am one of the few people on the planet who liked VISTA! I really did, but it was buggy, too.
This new PC is unbelievable! It has Windows 7, and Office 2010.
It has a real good graphics card, 8 GB of memory, and one TB of space. TB refers to Terabyte, that’s bigger than Gigabyte or GB.
I tell ya what, this PC is blazing fast!
Office 2010 is awesome! And, I especially LOVE Windows Live, with SkyDrive.
The university I work for is launching Windows Live with SkyDrive – known as Live@EDU, on Monday to the student population. And, that’s part of the reason my week was so stressful – I had an incredibly short timeline to put together the training materials for the project, which I delivered today in two classroom sessions. The trainings went very well, so all the stress paid off.
So, today was the end of a fabulous week!
Thank you, Jeff Ashton!
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.
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.
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
- 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
- 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
I could keep this list going.
I am so grateful for the little things.
It was a hot day. A very green day, too.
It’s the weekend – a terrific Saturday evening – and I have waited until now to sit down and write my daily post. Now, I’m too tired to even begin to write… words just are not coming easily to me right now.
I’ve been organizing today: Under the bathroom sink, kitchen sink, drawers, gathering goodies to give away to the Vietnam Vets group, who kindly come right to the door to take donations.
I was organizing one of the drawers in my coffee table, where I keep all my cards and stationary (thank you notes, and cards for every holiday under the sun), when I came across a hand-made note a friend created for me.
It was a Christmas gift of DVD’s that she’d burned for me and on the outside was her handmade wrapping paper, which also served as a Christmas card.
She’s a poet and an artist and I really like what she’s written, so it’s going to be my post for the day.
This is by my friend Michelle:
No dress rehearsals, this is the show; with rhyme and reason; secrets; and many scenes to go.
and so very clean; with God, science, and profound beauty all in between.
Thanks once more, Michelle.
This is a short, but powerful, video featuring one of the most famous speeches by Harvey Milk, given in 1978.
Listen to Harvey Milk. Listen to his message of hope, peace, equality and justice for all.
We are all one people in this wide world. Let us stop bullying each other.
Our classrooms are filled with children who, because of ignorance on the part of their parents, condone Gay hatred and thus we have young people committing suicide. Young people who were born Homosexual but are too young to understand what it means to be Gay. They are too young to know that being Gay is RIGHT for them. Children who are too young to appreciate that no one should care about an individuals sexuality because it belongs to the individual.
There is no right or wrong in being Gay or Straight. One is not better or worse than the other. Believe this. Live this for the sake of our children. For the sake of children who will grow up to be lovely human beings, not necessarily because of their homosexuality, but because they will have grown up with a sensitivity that will become a lovely sensibility.
Believe this. Stop the hatred. Stop the bullying. Condone kindness, empathy, and appreciate the different colors and the different sexuality that others own.
Live your own life without fear or judgment.
Say no to fear.
Somewhere in Des Moines or San Antonio there is a young gay person who all the sudden realizes that he or she is gay; knows that if their parents find out they will be tossed out of the house, their classmates will taunt the child, and the Anita Bryant’s and John Briggs’ are doing their part on TV. And that child has several options: staying in the closet, and suicide. And then one day that child might open the paper that says “Homosexual elected in San Francisco” and there are two new options: the option is to go to California, or stay in San Antonio and fight. Two days after I was elected I got a phone call and the voice was quite young. It was from Altoona, Pennsylvania. And the person said “Thanks”. And you’ve got to elect gay people, so that thousand upon thousands like that child know that there is hope for a better world; there is hope for a better tomorrow. Without hope, not only gays, but those who are blacks, the Asians, the disabled, the seniors, the us’s: without hope the us’s give up. I know that you can’t live on hope alone, but without it, life is not worth living. And you, and you, and you, and you have got to give them hope. -Harvey Milk, 1978
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
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
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.
1917-2006, Spiritual Teacher and Author
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.