Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Wednesday December 28, 2005 Lost our focus

We focus way too much on ourselves.

We think about what WE want and where WE are going and how WE are going to get there and WE forget to focus on those around us. Once we look outside ourselves, our immediate problems seem to diminish. There are so many people on this earth worse off then we are. If we can focus on helping someone else our cares and woes will fade away. We get so wrapped up in the “poor me”s that we don't stop to look at our overall situation. No matter what situation we are in, we still have much to be thankful for.

Christmas time is a time to focus on doing for others and helping others and giving love and attention to others. But on Christmas day it seems we give up that focus and start getting the “gimmees”. Now it's more about what WE got and what WE didn't get and what WE are going to do next. We turn our focus inward and start to consider what WE are going to do in the upcoming new year. I guess we have done all we are going to do for the hopeless and helpless and we shove thoughts of them into the background of our immediate cares.

We'll think about them again next Christmas.
Right now we have more pressing matters to deal with.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Wednesday December 21, 2005 Memories of Christmas

It's Christmas time.
We get wrapped up in the events and the presents and all the holiday festivities.
It's also time to think about those who are not here with us to share the season.
We all have someone far away who won't be here this year to hug or shake hands. We can only send them a brief thought of how we would like to have shared this moment in time with them and hope that they indeed know that fact.

There are many friends and relatives from our past that we might think of at this time of the year. They helped make this time special way back then. Some are gone and some are far away and some have faded from memory. Even though they may not receive our thoughts, it is good to remember them and thank them for the memories they gave us. We can only hope that wherever they are, they will receive our kind thoughts as we tuck another Christmas into our memories.

I wish all of you who can't be with me a very Merry Christmas!
Know that you are in my thoughts.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Saturday December 17, 2005 Greed

It hurts when you see all the injustice and cruelty and know that you can't really solve the problem.

You know, deep down inside, that we should all be loving and caring people and should be looking out for each other and that there really isn't any need for our fellow companions to be starving or hurting. All we need to do is to reach out and help each other. You do your little part, but it's a drop in the ocean.

The ones that could really make a difference are the rich and powerful and they don't seem to be able to see the problems of the ordinary people. They are more concerned with keeping their wealth and expanding their power. Those born with wealth and power have no idea of how ordinary people live and what their concerns are. They dabble with charities but they are never immersed in the culture of the poor. You and I know that if we each help just one other person and that person helps another and the chain continues, it would be a better world. But when you are homeless and hungry and have nowhere to turn, there is little you can do. Those who can help don't know how and those who want to help don't have the assests and those who need help are left wanting.

We turn to our government to help us help ourselves, but more and more we find that our governement is being run by the rich and powerful who don't even understand what the problems are. Somehow, this earth that we all share has become a world of haves and have-nots. The wealth has shifted to a very few and the rest of us are left on the outside looking in.

I still believe that a person should get what he works for and that all people can't expect the same rewards if their efforts haven't been as effective, but inheritated wealth and power too quickly divides the world into artificial classes of people and improperly distributes the assests of this planet we all share. Earlier leaders understood this and redistributed the wealth by way of inheritance taxes and graduated income taxes. They knew that the strength of our country depended on the general financial health of all of our citizens. We have abandoned those ideas and now have a greater and growing division of wealth and power between those who have and those who have not.

It seems that greed wins out over love of fellow man.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Friday December 16, 2005 Please wake me up!

What a dream!
Well, really it's a nightmare!

I am dreaming that we elected this fellow as president, but he is only a stooge for the special interests. While he is trying to cut the taxes for his rich buddies, the nation comes under attack. At first he seems dumbfounded, but it gives him the excuse to invade some other countries that he doesn't like anyway. He lies to the people about what the real reason is for invading those countries and anybody that disagrees with him gets shouted down as being unpatriotic.

He believes that he has the power to spy on his own people and jail anybody he wants to and even to torture any prisoners he feels are a threat. While this is going on, he is trying his best to dismantle all the environmental acts that have been passed before. He is on his way toward dismantling social security and reforming medicare when the fallout from the war causes him to pull back for a bit. He goes ahead and makes many of the tax cuts permanent while increasing the national debt and cutting back on aid to the states for education and health.

He spins the truth to suit the situation and gives great sounding names to some of the programs he initiates, while all the time he is trying to give back the running of the country to the business executives and take it away from the ordinary people.

It has been a long nightmare and the memories will probably be with me the rest of my life. When you have nightmares like this, you just want to wake up to a sane and secure world and know that all is right with the world.

Please wake me up and tell me it's all been a bad dream!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Monday December 12, 2005 Why are we still there?

December 12, 2005 WASHINGTON (AP) -

Most Iraqis disapprove of the presence of U.S. forces in their country, yet they are optimistic about Iraq's future and their own personal lives, according to a new poll.
More than two-thirds of those surveyed oppose the presence of troops from the United States and its coalition partners and less than half, 44 percent, say their country is better off now than it was before the war, according to an ABC News poll conducted with Time magazine and other media partners.

_Two-thirds express confidence in the Iraqi army and in police.
_Half now say the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was wrong, up from 39 percent in February 2004.
_More than six in 10 say they feel safe in their neighborhoods, up from 40 percent in June 2004.
_Six in 10 say local security is good, up from half in February 2004.

The leaders have asked us to leave as soon as possible. The people disapprove of our presence. WHAT ARE WE DOING THERE? WHY DO WE REMAIN?

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Sunday, December 11, 2005 A victim in the making

If we think of ourselves as victims, we become victims.

If we assume that we have reached the pinnacle of our lives and cannot achieve any better, we never will progress further. There are those in this country who see themselves as outcast and downtrodden and they will carry this with them throughout their lives. On the other hand, we have people come to this country with nothing but they see opportunity to improve their lives and they work to make it happen. It does help to have money and power behind you, but it isn't essential. If you truly believe in yourself and that you will succeed, you have taken the first step toward making your life better. Life is all about choices. Many people believe that the choices are thrust upon them and that they have no choice, but if they ignore the obvious and easy choices in front of them and choose the more difficult and time consuming choice that underlies their furture, they will take charge and change their own destiny.

With diligence and hard work, you can rid yourself of debt and take back control of your finances and your own future – you must choose to do so and work to make it happen. With effort, you can start at the bottom and climb higher – you must believe in yourself and work to make it happen. Nothing will be handed to you and there is no easy way to build yourself a solid foundation without this time and effort, but it is worth it and will help you throughout your days. You will gain experience and develop that self pride that others will recognize and appreciate.

You are not a victim! You have the choice right here and right now to improve the rest of your life and make you own future.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Saturday December 10, 2005 What, me worry?

I think we take ourselves too seriously most of the time.

We keep hoping that we will have some wonderful insight about how we came to be here and what our purpose in life is. Actually, if we live a good life and bring as much joy to those around us as we can, we will have done our best. Of all the billions of people who came before us, not too many get remembered beyond a century and certainly not beyond a millenium – just a very few. All these people were here, doing their best to make a life, and yet they were soon forgotten. I think the pool is too large for us to make much of a splash or leave a very big wave behind us. Be happy if you can leave things a bit better for those you leave behind and perhaps they will remember you for a while after you have gone.

If you reached for the golden ring and failed, at least you tried. If you kept your nose to the grindstone your whole life, you missed seeing a beautiful world. Don't take yourself too seriously – just look for the joy and appreciate it when you find it.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Friday December 9, 2005 No Degrees!

There are no degrees outside!
I have one of those digital thermometers and it shows zero degrees.

Where did the degrees go?

Every other day of the year there are some degrees out there, but not today.
Did they migrate to the south with the birds?

What really bothers me now is what if we go below zero?
Do we have to borrow degrees from somewhere else?
Who would be willing to lend us some of their degrees?
Would we have to pay interest?

I went outside to get the paper and sure enough, there were no degrees out there. It's breathtaking when there are no degrees. I think I had better stay inside until somebody finds some degrees for us to share.

Stay warm.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Thursday December 8, 2005 We got snow!

We got snow yesterday, lots and lots – for us.

It ended up being about 10” of light dry snow. Not the wet stuff that you can make into snowmen. It's the light stuff that blows back over the path that you just shoveled. It packs nicely between the treads of your tires and lets them slide when you try to go or try to stop. It's too cold to sprinkle salt, so the snow will stay until the temperature rises. One thing nice about this type of snow (powder) is that it doesn't break tree limbs. It just sits there quietly and looks pretty. If you feel like it, you can wade out into the snow and take lots and lots of pictures. All of the schools around here are out for snow day. I suspect that the kids are all bundled up and sledding or sliding to their heart's content. It's a great day to sit inside and drink a cup of hot cocoa and gaze out the frosted window. Traffic is light and there's kind of a hush all over the world.

Christmas can't be far away.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Tuesday December 6, 2005 Baby, it's cold outside.

Baby, it's cold outside.

Of course, there is always comfort in knowing that it's colder someplace else – like Nome, Alaska. That always makes me feel a lot warmer! If I tell somebody how cold it is, they always have to tell some story about when it was “really” cold. That always makes me feel a lot warmer, too! Even when I'm by myself, I will look up the weather in someplace where it is worse. It's funny how you never look up where it is “better”. Someday, I can tell little children how cold I got back in the early part of this century when it was “really” cold.

At least the sun is shining. The sounds of crunchy grass is refreshing when you go outside to get the newspaper. Have you ever noticed how it becomes more silent when it gets colder. Maybe it's just my imagination, but when the temperature gets lower, it seems that the whole world withdraws into itself and hibernates, just waiting for the warmth to return. That's what I plan on doing.

Let me know when it's spring.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Monday December 5, 2005 I hate to be critical, BUT:

I hate to be critical, BUT:

It's been over 4 years since Bin-Laden's attack on New York and he is still at large.

Since May 1, 2003, when President Bush declared that major combat operations in Iraq had ended, 1,988 U.S. military members have died. Saddam is being defended by a former attorney general of the United States.

We have spent approximately 300 Billion dollars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Much more expense to come.

There were no weapons of mass destruction. There were no ties between Saddam and Al-Qaeda.

Since our invasion of Iraq the number of active terrorists in the mideast have increased.
Remember when George was first elected and we laughed when he didn't know the name of foreign leaders and he had some difficulty twisting words around and we knew that he wouldn't really be good with foreign policy, but might be all right with domestic situations. He assured us that we could reduce the taxes and still balance the budget. We keep setting deficit records. We have no hope of balancing the budget.

His track record hasn't been great – has it? Where will it end?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Sunday December 4, 2005 How can you hate people you don't even know?

I don't know you. How can I hate you? I've never met you. I probably never will meet you in my life. The people in my life that I have dealt with personally can only number in the thousands – that leaves millions and millions of you that I will never come to know. Most of you don't have any idea of who I am and how I feel, but some of you hate me just because of where I was born. Some of you hate me because of my color or race or age. How did this come to be?

Since you have never met me, it must be a learned thing. Someone in your life has taught you how to hate me, even though they or you have never met me. If we met, we could very likely learn from each other and even come to like or at least respect each other. Instead, we learn from our teachers or our leaders to hate anyone who is not like us. Anyone who doesn't think like us is evil. Only people like us are good. We know the answers and everyone else is wrong.

I think we've proved this to each other over the centuries. In the name of religion or commerce or peace, we have killed millions of each other. Here in America, we “discovered” a new world and eliminated millions of the previous inhabitants. We have fought the French, the English, the Canadians, the Mexicans, the Spanish, the Germans, the Japanese, the North Koreans, the Vietnamese, the Iraqis. Those who once we considered our enemies have since become our friends or allies and some who were once friends are now considered enemies. We have wasted the resources and lives of generations of young men for some long forgotten reasons that seemed so important then. We learned over and over to hate and fight and kill. We are taught that this is human nature.

I don't believe this!
I don't hate you – I don't even know you. You have friends and family and are concerned with providing yourself and your family the best life that you can – just like me. I don't want to take from you what is yours. I want us to share whatever we can to give us all as much comfort in this life as possible. I don't want you to take from me – but I don't mind sharing. There must be a way we can all get along and help each other. We spend so much time hating and fighting and protecting and building walls that we have little left to share. We spend our future on the machines of war when we could be helping each other and tearing down the walls.

What's wrong with us? Why can't we learn from past mistakes?

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Saturday December 3, 2005 A speck of stardust

We are all companions traveling through a huge almost infinite universe on one little speck of coagulated stardust. All we have is right here on our little planet. All we can hope to ever have is right here before us.

In our efforts to make ourselves more comfortable, we have tried to reshape our earth. We have been somewhat successful and somewhat unsuccessful. Some of us are more comfortable and some of our reshaping has damaged our fragile environment. We seem bent on arguing with each other and spending more and more of our precious resources on destroying each other than helping each other. If we occupied ourselves with as much energy and effort helping our fellow companions and protecting our little planet, we might find that we indeed could have a paradise.

Someday our sun, in its throws of death, will become a red giant and its atmosphere will encompass our earth destroying whatever is left. We, in all our glory, cannot stop this from happening. Mankind will probably not survive until that time. Whatever we leave behind, whether wonderful or ugly, will be consumed by the sun. All we can hope for is to leave a better home for those that follow us so they can have some degree of comfort. We aren't doing well so far, but it isn't too late yet.

We seem to have a distorted view of our importance in this universe. We really don't matter much in the overall history of all things. We may turn out to be a very short lived species on a backwater planet out in the suburbs of a small galaxy. We may feel like the king of the hill, but we haven't seen much more than our own backyard and we are leaving a real mess there.
I hope that each of us will try to give some degree of comfort to some of our fellow companions.

Maybe we can help each other find some peace and love.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Friday December 2, 2005 Christmas is coming

Christmas is coming in just a few weeks. I remember the eager anticipation of that glorious day when I was a child. We've gotten away from the religious significance of the season and have concentrated on the commercial side of the “Holiday Season”. It has always had some of the commercial involved with the gifts, but the gifts used to be much simpler. We were more involved in the caroling and plays and decorating the Christmas tree and family get-togethers than just the amount or size of the gifts. Christmas was a time to celebrate peace and love and joy. It was a midwinter celebration of family and church and life. The season started right after Thanksgiving. Now it starts after Halloween. Now it seems to be about shopping and gifts and partying. It's not the same.

I still enjoy the season and I'm sure that young children are awed by the festivities. I would think that the children would become more jaded as they grow up and figure out that it is now a commercial venture. We just use the Holiday as an excuse to over indulge our senses with very little thought of why we are doing so.

Even so, I do wish everyone a Merry and Peaceful Christmas filled with love and family and maybe even a gift or two. Hopefully the peace and love will carry over into the new year that follows.