Friday, March 29, 2013

We do not want to merely “see” beauty. We want to be united with it, to receive it into ourselves, to become part of it.

-C.S Lewis


Bake some bread. Write a note.  Introduce yourself to your neighbor. What a gloriously simple idea.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sculptor Marion Perkins

Sculptor Marion Perkins | Chicago Tonight | WTTW
For beauty.....You have to go see the exhibit They Seek a City. It's a show of more than 80 works by southern-and foreign-born artists.  There are so many incredible artisits I've never heard of. I loved Marion Perkins the most. What a story too! He was clearly brilliant.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Epidemic of the Invisible Children

I sometimes feel like I need out. I need to escape suburbia and the materialism and the television. I love Target. I love quiet in my house when my kids are watching a show. Life is short though. What am I doing? Is it just a fantasy to move to a farm and give this way of life up? I don't want to look back and regret. That's all. We are doing the best we can......or are we?
A friend sent me this letter. I don't know its origin. I'll give more info if I receive any. paz.
Here's to dreaming......
SUBJECT: Epidemic of the Invisible Children
When my kids were toddlers, we lived in a town home right in the city. Every day we would go for a walk on the trails. We just wanted to get outdoors.

One day it stunned me that there were no children playing outside. <---- Dropping the pendulum from far point
Inside the homes I saw the flickering of television through the windows.
You knew children lived there because their toys were outside.
But you never saw the children.
I would talk to my friends who were moms and they would complain that they would park their kids in front of the TV so they could get something done.
I had to confess I did that too. I would turn on PBS Kids. My oldest son Dylan was obsessed with Buzz Lightyear. He watched Toy Story about 14 times.
I started to notice that my boys would only play games that they had SEEN ON TV.

Then something very interesting happened.

My husband got a special assignment in South Africa. We went on an extended leave and lived in Pretoria for 2 months.

There, my boys had no TV. They began using their imaginations again. They started using natural materials to build forts and castles. Their play was completely self directed.

In just two months, the change in my boys was profound. <------ Pendulum swung all the way across to opposite side

Then I remembered… I used to play that way, I had a great life of imagination and wonder.

My friend Kim and I would build fairy castles at the bases of trees - complete with tables, chairs, homes, using everything we could find: acorns, bark, cotton, flower petals and pine straw.

When I was 22 I went around the world sailing and working as a chef on yachts with my husband. We hit 40 different countries in 8 years.

Only later did I realize that those afternoons building fairy castles with Kim and given me the imagination it took to sail around the world, instead of… I don't know, getting an MBA.

And I was depriving my boys of all those gifts.
One video game at a time.

Dear parent, I truly know how hard it is to spin 900 plates and raise kids and pay the mortgage and all that. I get it.
But it's damaging your kids.

You can't undo that damage.

You can't rewind the hands of time.

Your kids are only young once.

I wanted to find a way out - out of the mechanized, computerized, artificial world. I wanted to give something back.

So I decided to create an event. We hold it at our farm once a month. Parents from all over the metro drive their kids out into the country, and as soon as they cross the threshold of our property they are in a different world.

For 2+ hours parents play with their kids petting llamas and bunnies, feeding the cows and chickens, and kids scampering down a nature path through the forest.
And Donald takes the kids on a special fishing trip at the pond with the kids, while I talk to moms and dads about the challenges of growing up natural children in plastic suburbia.

Everyone goes home closer to nature and closer to their children.

Our next Farm Family Getaway is on _____. I'd love you to come. It's free, all you have to do is sign up here. We do have limited space - only ___ people per outing are permitted. Beyond that number, we put you on a waiting list.

I've love to re-introduce you to the world God made that kids were intended to play in and grow up in. I can't wait to shake your hand and meet your sons and daughters.


You keep kids quiet in the car by handing them an iphone.

You put them in a coma with Disney DVD's.

I began to heal the rift by showing kids where their food comes from.


What life are you programming your child to live?

What tracks will they be stuck on as an adult that you laid this week? This month?

Are they going to roll down pre-made industrialized tracks, or are they going to blaze their own trails?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Meredith Andrews - Not For A Moment (After All) - Live

Just returned with some wonderful women from a Conference. We heard this woman sing this incredible song there! Hope it touches your heart!! paz.

Happiness from LifeEdited

The Difference Between Pleasure and Happiness

We at LifeEdited talk a lot about happiness. It’s in our tagline: Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy. We see the word splattered across bestseller lists: “The Happiness Project,” “Stumbling on Happiness,” “Delivering Happiness” and so forth. People cannot seem to get enough happy. But what the heck is it? And what is the difference between pleasure and happiness? And why should we care?
To answer these questions, we looked to an expert: Buddhist monk, author of ’The Happiest Person In The World’ and former molecular biologist, Matthieu Ricard. In a Huffington Post article entitled “Why Happiness is Not Pleasure“, he said this of happiness:
Happiness is a state of inner fulfillment, not the gratification of inexhaustible desires for outward things…genuine happiness may be influenced by circumstance, but it isn’t dependent on it. It actually gives us the inner resources to deal better with those circumstances.
Of the difference between pleasure and happiness, he says this:
Happiness is often equated with a maximization of pleasure, and some imagine that true happiness would consist of an interrupted succession of pleasurable experiences….There is no reason to deprive ourselves of the enjoyment of a magnificent landscape, of swimming in the sea or of the scent of a rose, but we must understand that the experience of pleasure is dependent upon circumstance, on a specific location or moment in time. It is unstable by nature, and the sensation it evokes can soon become neutral or even unpleasant.
In other words, pleasure is externally motivated and fleeting, while happiness is internally generated and constant.
Most of us know pleasure. It’s the sensation that drives us to eat a bag of chips even when we know it’s bad for our health; it’s the euphoric feeling of anticipation when waiting overnight to buy the new iPhone even though we know our current phone is perfectly adequate. Our pleasurable sensations are inextricable with the thing–the chips or the phone in this case. The things make us happy.
The trouble with equating pleasure with happiness is when the thing is gone, so too does our happiness. No chips, no happiness. Having last year’s phone can send us into a depression. Check out the movie “The Queen of Versailles” if you want to see the pleasure hunt play itself out to surreal proportions.
Conversely, happiness allows you to enjoy the chips, but not require them; use the phone, but realize it’s just a phone and a new one with slightly more power won’t make you happier in any meaningful way. Focusing on happiness is not better per se, but it’s more reliable.
One litmus test to distinguish pleasure from happiness is something a teacher once told me, “If something is a source of happiness, the more you do of it, the happier you will become.” Do more chips, phones, square feet or bacon (my personal fave) make us happier? Of course not. Sure, these things might be pleasurable, but after a while and in excess they lose their appeal and become “neutral or even unpleasant” as Ricard explains (any buffet-goer can testify to this).
If pleasure doesn’t make us happy, what does? One idea is that it’s experiences, not stuff that makes us happy–in other words internal states rather than objects. One theory promoted by Dr Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of “The How of Happiness“ asserts there are three main factors that comprise our happiness:
  1. Set-point. This is essentially our biological level of happiness–it’s our happiness default setting. Some people might be literally hardwired to be less happy than others–or vice versa. This is thought to comprise up to 50% of our overall sense of happiness.
  2. Circumstances. Our physical circumstances do affect our happiness, but to a much smaller extent than most think (10% or so). Circumstances that can thwart happiness are things like no access to clean water, unsafe homes, etc. Circumstances that probably don’t thwart your happiness are having too large a tablet computer and too wide lapels on your blazer.
  3. Voluntary Variables. This is our behavior and thoughts. This makes up 40% of our overall happiness and can actually offset the set-point and circumstances.
The voluntary variables are what my teacher would say are the things that, when increased, promote happiness. These are behaviors and actions like generosity, kindness, love, gratitude, etc. The more we live in these states, the more we act in line with them, the happier we become.
How can LifeEdited be so bold as to say that we can help design your life to include more happiness? Full disclosure: We can’t make you happy. Sorry. But our mission to “edit” the things that don’t promote our happiness–the extraneous stuff and space–might help. No, the best designed apartment, most awesome stacking bowl or greatest towel will never, ever make you happy, but this “less, but better” stuff might give you less to think about, affording you more mental space for the stuff–those experiences and voluntary variables–that do.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013



Check out Odyssey Networks blog....there are countless interesting stories.

None of the Above: Religious Implications

None of the Above: Religious Implications

So many goodies from Religion and Ethics News Weekly!! Enjoy. paz.

Mark Burnett and Roma Downey on “The Bible”

Mark Burnett and Roma Downey on “The Bible”

J. Daryl Byler: Bound by Hospitality

J. Daryl Byler: Bound by Hospitality

Same-Sex Marriage and the Supreme Court

Same-Sex Marriage and the Supreme Court

None of the Above: Political Implications

None of the Above: Political Implications
Free at Last

Joshua 5:9

The Lord said to Joshua, "Today, I have rolled away from you the disgrace of Egypt."

Kenneth L. Samuel

How long does it take for a victim of rape to recover from that single act of violence and violation? How long does it take for a neglected child to garner a healthy sense of self-worth? How long does it take those who commit crimes in the recklessness of their youth that carry mandatory sentencing to become fully reinstated into society? How long does it take a woman, who has been treated for most of her life as a man's co-dependent to step into her place as a man's co-equal?

It's one thing to be released from an abuse or an imprisonment; it's quite another thing to be free from it.

In her seminal work, Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, Dr. Joy DeGruy argues that every African American person needs to be in therapy because we have never recovered (psychologically, economically or socially) from the multi-generational oppression and the institutionalized racism associated with chattel slavery in America.

Some forty years after the Israelites made their triumphant exodus out of bondage in Egypt, they come to a place in east Palestine where God confirms God's covenant with them through the rite of circumcision. After marking the children of Israel as God's own, God says to Joshua: Today - forty years after your liberation from Egyptian bondage; Today - a generation after Moses led you out of captivity with signs and wonders; Today – after decades of wandering in the wilderness and countless days of anxiety regarding your identity and your destiny; Today – I am redeeming you from the profound damage of your oppression and bringing you out from under the chronic pains of your past.

We know from Old Testament history that Israel's healing did not end with this event. Israel's history, like our own histories, is a continuing saga of recovery.

The bad news is that our healing is still in process. And the good news is that our healing is still in process.


Gracious God, give us the wisdom to recognize and participate in the processes of our own recovery. And give us sufficient care and regard for the healing processes of others. Amen.


Check out the Teaching Tolerance blog at the Southern Poverty Law Center....

It's a great site for teachers, pastors, Christian educators, mothers, fathers......We can all play a part in reducing hatred in our communities. It's how we can move closer to God's Kingdom.
This is a sample of the information you can find there:

My Way Is Not the Only Way


Students will:
  • Learn about different belief systems.
  • Appreciate the benefits of living in a country with many different religious beliefs.
  • Identify similarities and differences of different belief systems.

Essential Questions:

  • What do religious traditions and beliefs say about people? What can I learn from the religious traditions and beliefs of others?
  • How would our nation be different if there was only one religion?
  • What connections can we make between different religions? What can we learn from the uniqueness of different belief systems?
My yoga instructor at Focus Yoga in Brookfield read this to us as we rested in some peaceful postures. I was so moved.  It applies to so many other areas of our lives. Let us choose life and optimism, strength, and courage! paz.
I'm sorry I don't know the author.....let me know if you do.

Yoga is not about being bendy….

It’s about showing up to your mat consistently not knowing what is going to happen and being ok with that. 

It’s about rehabilitating yourself and not believing the “experts” when they say you are too injured or too old. 

It’s about believing that you can do anything even if it’s the most scariest impossible thing you could ever dream of. 

It’s about uncovering who you really are. 

It’s about being kind to yourself so that you can then be kind to others. 

Yoga is about discovering that most of the crazy thoughts in your head are not true. 

It’s about being healthy without pushing yourself to your limit. 

It’s about slowing down to get strong. 

It’s about breathing and moving and smiling on the inside. 

It’s the hardest thing I have ever done, but also the best.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

WRETCHED NO MORE: THE BLOG IS HERE!By demand, Dr. Cooper-Lewter has established the Wretched No More blog to keep everyone updated about the status of his upcoming book and related events.

His first post, What is a Recovering Ugly Duckling?, features a 22 minute video of his keynote speech for the Black History Month reception hosted by the University of South Carolina's Athletic Department. We encourage you to share it!

Upcoming posts include that of other Recovering Ugly Ducklings. So stay tuned!

You can go to the blog by clicking here or pasting this link into your browser:

*I heard this gentleman speak at a conference I recently attended and it was life-changing. I hope you are moved as well.