HOPE Believes in YOU

Credit: SBI
Credit: SBI

“Life isn’t finding shelter in the storm.  It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” 
~Sherrilyn Kenyon

Hope awaits in the wings. It can be quiet and slow. Whatever unexpected thing that fate has in store for you will show itself in its own time. These things cannot be rushed. I know, I’ve tried. The trick is to be patient and keep busy and always, no matter how many time you fall flat on your face or how many times the cruel wind pushes you down, you must get up. Despite the taunts, the jeers, the doubts and the fears that may pop up in your mind, you must pull yourself up and face that cruel wind with a smirk, a smile, and a fight in your heart.

Sometimes life can be a vast ocean and we are only small vessels traversing through its choppy waters. You say to yourself: I am drowning and I can’t go on–I can’t take it anymore. The seas are too rough and too great and I am so small. You can see the stormy skies and you wonder how you can possibly hold on. You can hold on! Perseverance is holding on when you think you are about to let go…hold on for a minute more. Sometimes that’s all it takes, just a minute more and dawn will break. The ocean will be still and the sun will shine upon it and the world will be a glittering jewel once again.

Sometimes help comes in the most unexpected of places, in the strangest of forms. It is help nonetheless. Never give up, never stop trying. Hope can come in starts and fits. Hope can be a light at the end of a very long tunnel, a light so dim that you cannot see it but it is there. Keep moving, don’t stop dreaming. Keep going forward even if you have to crawl because the light is there, I promise you. I can see it and it burns as bright as the sun.

You are not alone in the dark. We are never truly alone. Reach out into the darkness and hope will be there lighting the way…You must believe in hope….because it believes in you.

Credit: Public Domain
Credit: Public Domain

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” 
~ Douglas Adams

BIG red heart

Share hope! (onenotalone.wordpress.com)

Hope’s Enemy – Adversity (hope4usnow.wordpress.com)

Hope Has Wings (hope4usnow.wordpress.com)

The Darkest Of Times (hope4usnow.wordpress.com)

Hope for Humanity (lovinggodinchaos.com)

Advertisements

I Speak for the Cats

beautiful-cat
Credit: Public Domain

What I am about to say may come as a surprise because it is quite amazing and hard to believe but true, so without much fanfare, I will just come out with it. I have an intense almost supernatural power over cats.  Yes, you heard it correctly; cats.

I know you are thinking; “Why didn’t she tell us before?” I know this is something to brag about but I am not one for self promotion.  I am a shy and reserved person in real life. I prefer to blend into the background but I do have my moments when I become quite feisty, and this is one of those moments.

I was having a deep philosophical discussion with Mario, my famous cat, as is our habit on rare idle afternoons.  He mentioned the bad press that he and his fellow felines have been getting lately; apparently a report has surfaced calling our friends the cats massive serial killers hellbent on killing every bird and mouse in their perspective neighborhoods. Mario was, of course, upset and justifiably so.  He asked me to say a few words on the behalf of the feline-kind due to my amazing ability to understand and speak cat.

I too am outraged. I have a natural affinity for cats and being quite cat-like myself, this is not only an insult on him, my beloved friend and business associate, it is an insult on me and I have taken it upon myself to speak for the cats…

Call me the cat whisperer if you will and I have something to say and this I will not whisper…I will shout it from yards, fence posts and the tops of trees: Cats are not killers!

Credit: Public Domain
Credit: Public Domain

As sophisticated and intelligent as they are, cats are animals with all the instincts for survival. They are carnivores and being as such, they like to chew on a bit of meat once in a while. For the most part our domesticated homebound pet cats are content with the food we humans provide, as you fellow cat owners I’m sure can attest to. My cats are not killers. Mario and Sunny prefer napping to killing. They are really just big babies and I will vouch for them on that…I repeat: they are no killers. Most of the culprits in these awful incidents involving birds and mice are feral cats. The poor homeless variety of cat that live on the margins of our society.  They did not ask to be there and I’m sure they would love to be provided a nice home with food and love, but these poor unfortunates have been dealt a hard hand by fate and humankind.  They have no choice but to hunt for their subsistence.

I don’t know the stats on this and I want to remain blissfully ignorant on the subject but I have to bring up the question: how many innocent animals are killed to provide subsidence to humankind?  I am a meat eater myself and I am not trying to guilt anyone into vegetarianism although I do have a great respect for our noble vegetarian and vegan friends. I am just pointing out a bit of what I think is pertinent here.

I have an intense intolerance for hypocrites. I am a very forgiving and understanding person.  I love sinners and I love reformed sinners even more but judgemental righteousness gets my dander up.

angry cat bigger
Credit: Public Domain

Sorry you had to see this side of me but I need to express my feelings on this. We as the dominant species on this planet have a duty to protect and care for those which cannot care for themselves, our beloved pets among them. So if you are considering getting a pet please do so with all the seriousness it merits. Make sure you have the room, time and resources to devote to a tiny life that will grow to love and depend on you. If you have not already done so, spay or neuter your animal. This is a crucial step in preventing any more unwanted ones, there are already too many. Another way to help is to donate to some fine organizations out there such as The Feral Cat Coalition  that is helping to protect our furry friends. And one more thing; as a favor for me, Mario, and all the other cats out there. If you hear anyone bad mouthing our feline friends; put in a good word…cats are wonderful animals and do not deserve the reputation they have.  I know they’d stick up for you.

Thanks for listening and have a purrfectly wonderful day!

Strawberryindigo. 

cropped-cat-eyes.jpg

 

Advice to new parents: You can never love your child too much

baby-pixie bay
Credit: Pixabay

I’ve been asked to provide some advice to a young couple expecting their first child, a girl, in a few months. I am honored to receive such a request and I thought I’d share my reply with you.

The light of your life

Parenthood changes you in ways you’d never imagine. You are one person one minute, probably sure of yourself and your place in the world with your own wants and desires. This is all you’ve had to worry about before: yourself.  Then suddenly, it is not just you anymore and in that flash of an instant your whole world and the way you view things is altered. From the first moment you hold that tiny fragile body in your arms and look into those big trusting eyes you will never be the same.

When I was a new parent, I scoured endless parenting books and I received tons of solicited and unsolicited advice. I couldn’t get enough. I was never so unsure of myself and never so scared and so careful. This tiny life was depending on me and I swore I’d never this child down.

Nobody can give you wiser advice than yourself.”
~Marcus Tullius Cicero~

The very first thing I learned and I think it was the most important: this resonates to this day. Trust yourself. You know more than you think. You have instincts and you will know your child more than anyone. This will trump anything and whatever anyone will tell you.

As a mom to two teens, one who recently entered adulthood and is about to graduate from high school, I feel a certain pride of accomplishment that both of them still talk to me after all this. They trust me and I trust them. I suppose that is because I never lost sight of the fact that they are human beings with feelings just as valid as anyone else. I think some parents lose sight of this obvious fact.

baby mother hands pixabay

No one is perfect

Never forget how you felt when you were a child. Bring this to the table when you deal with yours. She is her own person and will never quite be what you will expect. The only thing that you can expect is to be surprised…and you will be surprised. No one is perfect, your child not be and don’t expect it..no one is perfect.

As your child ages and her understanding increases share yourself. She will be curious and will want to know about you. Don’t set up your past life as one of perfection. She will feel that she’ll never quite live up to your legend and this will carry over.  She will feel inadequate in some way and will never think she measures up in your eyes or hers..

Your child will value your opinion of them more than anyone else’s. Her self-esteem will be intricately tied up with that. Remember this. You as her parent will be the most important person in her life, especially in the first years when you will be her whole world.

Listen

Another piece of advice I have is to listen. Parents are full of opinions and talk and discipline, all this is vitally important but if your child doesn’t think you will listen and give her a fair shake, she will stop talking to you and once that trust is gone, it is almost impossible to get back.

Say what you mean and mean what you say.

Always follow up on any consequences you may give. Make no exceptions on this. Your child will always be testing you and pushing the limits. This is inevitable, don’t hold this against her. It is not personal, it is only human nature because she is only human….allow her to see your humanity as well. Your child will learn love and compassion from you. Lead by example not just by words. Kids notice more than you think they will and they have excellent memories.

BIG red heart

LOVE

I’d say the most important thing is love. You can never love your child too much. Time passes so quickly, spend time together…you will never get this time back. Savor every moment.

So as you two embark on this journey.  Hold on for the ride of your lives…no matter what difficulties you may encounter; because I won’t sugar coat this, honestly; parenthood is tough. It will be the hardest thing you’ll ever do and it will test you and try you…but nothing will ever be as rewarding…or as worthwhile.

My prayers and best wishes to the both of you,

Love, Nancy

“Love begins at home”
~Mother Teresa~

Doing the Environmental Drag

I don't want to set the world on fire...I just want to put a flame in your heart...
Credit: Public Domain

Lately I have been doing a fair amount of research for a few articles with environmental themes. And there is something that bothers me about the whole thing. As I was wading through all this technical minutiae, it struck me on how depressing the whole thing is.  There are reams upon reams of information on the environment out there; books, websites and blogs from our fellow bloggers and what has struck me like a wicked slap in the face is all this doom and gloom that permeates it all.

I am someone who cares about our world an awful lot. I know there are many of us who do.  I am quite passionate about the state of our planet and how we treat it.  I seldom can watch the news anymore. It gets me all riled up. I find myself yelling at the screen.  Environmental disasters such as oil spills and the like can set me on high simmer. So probably like many others; I have tuned out, I have admittedly buried my head in the sand. A person can only take so much bad news before they shut down.

I recently did a piece on saving the trees. It was mostly hopeful and upbeat. I included some ways on how we all can help our friends the trees. I did a lot of research on the subject and I must admit; it made me depressed.

black dog howling
Credit: Public Domain

I like to put a hopeful spin on my writing and in my life in general but at times I have to fight bouts of depression. I suppose many of us creative types do. I have borrowed a page from Winston Churchill; calling it the black dog. This dog is never welcome but from time to time it sits on my front porch and howls a bit.  This clouds up my skies with gray and I try to distract myself, writing helps, working in the garden helps…helping others and trying to spread a little cheer around really helps.

Let me tell you, reading through endless reports on the state of our environment does not help. To be fair to my fellow writers out there. I know they work very hard, probably much harder than I. They are learned individuals where I am a self-taught layperson. From what I’ve been reading it is easy to see why your average person who probably cares a lot for the planet is turned off by all this stuff.

I think some writers like to show off their vocabulary and knowledge and perhaps like to play a bit on the sensationalism factor.  It is difficult at times to be a reader soaking this up.  There are gifted writers of non-fiction out there who makes learning a pleasure; conveying information seamlessly and seemingly effortlessly but those writers are not as common as I like them to be.

I find myself wading through this information just to get to the pertinent information. Like a bowl of oatmeal; it is good for me, but it’s bland. It just sits there like a tasteless lump and it difficult to digest.

I guess that is one of the reasons that I try to write like I do. I could use bigger words. I could try to impress you with my 20 plus years of acquired knowledge but how boring is that?   This brings me back to the environmental thing. I was reading some blogs by who I’m sure are very smart well-meaning people but…and I ‘m half joking when I say this….but it made me want to jump off the nearest bridge.

 positive-attitude happy face
Credit: Public Domain

If we are going to save this planet we should know what’s going on. I realize just how important and serious it all is and I am no Pollyanna, although at times I may seem like one. I am a former pessimist turned optimistic realist, emphasis on the optimism.

I talked to MM about my troubles.  He is practical where I am not and he usually gives very sound advice.  He said: “You do it.”  “Do what’? I asked. “You should concentrate your writings on the environment, put a positive spin on it, but be real and get people to listen.” He replied calmly like it was the most simple thing in the world.

Wind turbines
Credit: public domain
newfreedompark-garden
Credit: Public Domain

I think what is needed is to face our problems head on and acknowledge them no matter how ugly and then move on to positive ways to deal with them…always looking at the bright side because there is always a bright side. We need to focus on what is good and what others are doing that is making a difference…but the key here is action.

So in the future look for more environmental pieces from me focusing on the bright side and what we as average citizens can do to help.

On the Sunny side of the street but walking with purpose,

Strawberryindigo.

day-of-1000-trees in public domain
Credit: Public Domain

 5 pieces of good news from planet Earth (motherjones.com)

Positive Environment News   (greatnewsnetwork.org)

Good Environmental News (huffingtonpost.co.uk)

Save The Trees (strawberryindigo.wordpress.com)

Opinions on Environmental Justice Forum (frsm1000dra.wordpress.com)

Observing, Understanding and Respecting Nature is Imperative of Deep Faith (seriouslyplanning.wordpress.com)

Us and Them

screaming mabels-strange-predicament-1914-us-public-domain-expired-copyright-published-before-1923-commons-wikimedia-org

The world is a runaway train about to jump the tracks and head straight into a deep dark abyss.  There are over six billion souls on board. People from all walks of life; men, women, children. The good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. People who have it all and those who have nothing. We are all on this runaway train together; whether we asked to be here or not, here we are. And you my friend are at the controls. You didn’t ask for this…you shout to no one in particular:  “I don’t want this, what did I do to deserve this?  Your desperate shouting falls on deaf ears but all eyes are on you…what do you do? Just what do YOU do?

screaming woman in public domain

This is a nightmare scenario my imagination just cooked up.  Of course you are not at the controls and I’m sorry that I put you on the spot like that.

.

You are probably in the comfort of your cozy home reading this on your computer or electronic device as I am while writing this.  The world, although disjointed is still relatively intact. Odds are we are alright.  It is those other people that are in trouble.  We have nice families and friends, a warm house and full stomach.

Odds are tomorrow we will go off to work or school or somewhere; perhaps to meet someone for coffee or to walk the dog or go shopping or to a show. The world will still be here when we get home back to our nice warm beds. The world has always been here as long as we’ve been alive and for the most part, for most of us, life has been pretty good….

…and so I get back to the runaway train part….haha lulled you into a false sense of security. I bet you thought I might have forgotten about the train and that scary abyss…

runaway train in public domain

Well here we are and it’s like we are on the train and there is no one at the controls at all. We are all passengers; our fates dangling precariously.  Most of us just want to get along and make it through to our destination, even enjoy the ride a bit, but there is a disturbance…a fight has broken out…

We are a world divided. As polarized as ever. Each side is 100% convinced they are 100% in the right. Pick an issue; any issue, no matter how multi-layered and complex it is and you will get the two sides and each will explain in vivid detail how incredibly wrong the other side is.

I don’t have to tell you, my esteemed and learned friends, how both sides can be wrong: no one can be 100% right on anything. We all know the world is made up of a myriad of colors, shades and hues.  Nothing is all black or all white.

I myself have been guilty of this thinking in the past, actually not so long ago. As many of you have surmised; I come in on the left side politically, to call myself a liberal is not far off the mark and I see nothing wrong with being one. However I am a person who tries to see outside of the neat little boxes that society tends to shove us into.

That being said, there have been times upon hearing a remark coming from “the other side” that I became a wee bit incredulous even to the point of anger. I am not proud of this, but this I do freely admit. I have somewhat of a temper about what I feel passionate about, but there is one thing I try not to be and that is a hypocrite, so I admit here to you and everyone else that in the past I have been angered by some of the things, the other side has put forth. I don’t have to go into what nor do I want to. Most of you have heard some of this stuff and can fill in the blanks. What I am writing here is not to promote my cause or beliefs when it comes to these very hot button issues that we liberals and conservatives are fighting tooth and nail over. This is not at all what I am addressing today.

couple-in-fight-with-child1 in public domain

The point I am attempting to address is the polarization: the fight-fight-fight till you drop attitude and how it’s not getting anyone anywhere.

Taking governments, corporations and special interest groups out of it, while we are at it lets take the media out too–The “liberal media”, Fox news and what have you.  Lets just address people here. Your average citizen. I am mostly talking about Americans here because being one, I feel I can speak for Americans…but on second thought…maybe I am speaking for us all, because I am a citizen of the world as well as you are…

We are in a state of decay. I think most of us can agree with that and I think most of us can agree that we are divided and that most of us care….care about our communities, our fellow citizens, for the world at large and most importantly I’d say that most of us care deeply about our families and ourselves.

The world is a confusing and scary place; hey….another thing we can agree on.  Again this is overwhelming and most would agree on that too.

This proves my point and here is my point in a nutshell: we can agree on something. We can find common ground and this is where we can start. Next comes the listening. As I’ve mentioned no one can be 100% right about everything, at the very least we can agree to disagree and then move to what we agree on.  There is too much at stake to just shut our eyes and ears to everything that the other side has to say….and while I’m at it….this Us vs. Them thing…this sets us up for failure.

We humans have this tribal mentality, it’s hardwired into us genetically.  This need to belong to a group, but somewhere along the line, a long time ago, we humans decided that in order to belong to a group this group must exclude others.  We have trained ourselves to search for differences instead of looking for commonalities.This has led to  much heartache, death and destruction. I don’t have to tell you this.  I don’t know if we can ever get over it, honestly…but I do know that we should try because there is a lot at stake, in fact there is everything at stake.   This tribal tendency goes far beyond our local politics, this enters into every fight, skirmish and war we have ever been involved in…..perhaps this is irrevocable human nature and what I am suggesting here borders on the impossible…

peace conflict resolution evolution in Public domain

For the most part there has always been war. Some would say this built-in aggression has been essential to our survival as a species and I would tend to agree. Out of the many humanoids who lived on the planet, only Homo sapiens have endured and that is probably no accident.  We are a product of evolution and humans are capable of great change and growth and we as a species can learn.  I believe we can learn to, at the very least, try to find common ground and listen to each other.  We share this beautifully wonderful and diverse planet. We are neighbors and we are on board this runaway train together.  We have a vested interest in getting along….

So maybe next time you hear someone; a co-worker, an acquaintance who lives down the hall, the man at the bus stop, the woman at the grocery store, even your “cranky” Uncle Pete or anyone for that matter who disagrees with your beliefs.  No matter how vocal that person is, or angry or whatever…even if what they say sounds 100% insane to you.  Remember that no one is 100% correct on anything and we can all learn something from everyone…so open your mind and your heart.  Show some compassion (even if they have none themselves) and listen….please.

peace two-lawyers-the-handshake in public domain

The world needs leaders, the world needs compassion, the world needs you and I… and even cranky Uncle Pete.

Thanks for listening,

Strawberryindigo.

“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” ~Albert Einstein~

peace_sign_5_christmas_xmas_peace_on_earth_scalable_vector_graphics_svg-1332px

Us and Them by Pink Floyd (youtube.com)

bloggers forpeace6
Click here for details

Join us!  Bloggers For Peace

.

Related PEACEFUL Articles

Monthly Peace Challenge: Mad Men (everydaygurus.com)

Peace, Kindness and Attention (motherwifestudentworker.wordpress.com)

Peace, Chickens and Eggs (leavingshitbehind.wordpress.com)

Peace Begins with You and Me (dadirridreaming.wordpress.com)

PEACE is Possible (strawberryindigo.wordpress.com)

Fresh Quotes: FEBRUARY SMILES

Credit: Public Domain
Credit: Public Domain

A smile is universal. It conveys happiness, warmth  and acceptance. A smile says I like you!   It is something we all can do and it’s easy to share. It is the gift that keeps giving and it’s free! Share it with a friend or neighbor, a spouse, co-worker or even a stranger. Smiling can improve your mood and it makes everyone look great.

Read the following quotes and just try not to crack even the tiniest of smiles….

I dare you!

Credit: Public Domain

“Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.” ~Mother Teresa~

Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

“I WANT TO TOUCH THE WORLD AND MAKE IT SMILE.”
~Charles de Lint~

Marilyn Monroe's smile in public domain
Credit: Public Domain

“Keep smiling, because life is a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about.”

~Marilyn Monroe~

smile 2 women in public domain friends
Credit: Public Domain

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”

~Thich Nhat Hanh~

Smiling Cat in public domain
Credit: Public Domain

“If you smile when no one else is around, you really mean it.”

~Andy Rooney~

Happiness Under His Feet in public domain
Credit: Public Domain

“I was smiling yesterday, I am smiling today and I will smile tomorrow. Simply because life is too short to cry for anything.”
~Santosh Kalwar~

classic kiss credit pingnews under creative commons
Credit: Pingnews

“Life is short, Break the Rules.
Forgive quickly, Kiss SLOWLY.
Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably
And never regret ANYTHING
That makes you smile.”

~Mark Twain

Nancy Smiling
“When Irish Eyes are Smiling”

“Smiling is infectious, You can catch it like the flu. Someone smiled at me today, And I started smiling too.”

~Anonymous

😀

HAPPY February!

So put on your best smile and start a chain reaction of happiness and good cheer!

Strawberryindigo.

RELATED ARTICLE

Something I wrote last summer

The Smile Factor (strawberryindigo.wordpress.com)