Why You Should Give a Damn

“You can present the material, but you can’t make me care.”
― Bill Watterson

Some say the world will end with not with a bang but a whimper. I say ours may end with the dull and empty thud of indifference.

A blatant apathy lies thick like a hazy cloud over our populist culture. It’s cool not to care. Johnny doesn’t give a damn and the indifferent world doesn’t bat an eyelash.

 

observer tv baby

From the time we are children, society teaches us not to care too much or at least pretend we don’t. To act in such a manner is a  sign of childish insecurity, it’s not only foolhardy but too trusting and stupid. We are encouraged to develop a sense of skepticism and mistrust especially when it comes to people we don’t know.

The world is a scary place. I could write a thesis on how frightening it is. I think we shut off a little of ourselves bit by bit as the inevitable blows of life hit us. By the time we are grown adults we have lost so much of that beautiful trust, that loving nature and natural compassion children feel and openly express.  We are taught to see differences in each other and these differences are not good. This polarizes us.

no one is born racist people together

 

I think people tend to wrap themselves in a protective cloak of apathy. It’s not only easier not to care, it also hurts a lot less. When we care we are vulnerable. It makes perfect sense to want to close off a wee bit and tone down those emotions.

Distractions come easy and going along with the stampeding crowd is understandable given the alternatives.  It’s better to conform.  In many ways it’s essential if we want to live in a civilized society.

It is easier just to go along. Right?

Traumatized and shellshocked children in the village of Aitaroun. Photo by Michael Robinson Chavez.
Photo by Michael Robinson Chavez.

This world is sick and we all know it. My eyes glaze over when I watch the nightly news which I admittingly cannot watch much anymore. I see pics of starving children and burning forests and war. Our brains can only take in so much information. Our hearts can only take so much pain. We become desensitized, it’s a survival mechanism. I think that’s why on a collective whole we seemingly don’t care, or we care more about stupid meaningless distractions. I think we’ve reached a saturation point. It’s all too much and if I don’t notice maybe it doesn’t exist and I won’t have to do anything about it.

 

apathy i dont care
“The world doesn’t end in revolt and revolution…it ends in apathy.” ― Nick Shamhart

 

Why should I care? Why should you? Why should anyone?  We know life is not fair. It’s a hard lesson that still stings. We are savvy enough to realize that fairy tales typically don’t come true and that life is not only not fair it’s a bitch too.

I can see how people especially the ones who get the short stick may get a little angry with the world and society in general.  I can see how easy it could be not to care for someone who doesn’t care about you. I can see how one could get caught up in inevitable feelings of futility; why should we care about a world that doesn’t care about us?  I ask again why should I care?   I know that I am but one small voice in a sea of millions so I better shout it out:

I care because someone has to care, dammit!!

If there is to be any meaning in my insignificant scant-of-a-minute life it’s this: that I made a difference however small on the side of good and that I  took whatever sad, nasty or indifferent thing that came my way and turned it into something wonderful, however small.  I cannot  expect anything more or less. I want to leave this world a little better than how I found it.

I want to live in a world where people care about one another and I want my children…I want all the children and their children to grow up in such a world. There is too much ugliness, too much to tolerate. I suppose the way I cope with it is by not only ranting about it, but living up to the ideals I’m ranting about.

Kindness begets kindness and if more people gave a damn more people would give a damn. We all could use a little more kindness  And so there it is:  My spiel for the day. You can only do what you can do….

 

~NLM

 

 “The earth was overwhelmed with beauty and indifferent to it, and I went with a heart ready to crack for its unbearable loveliness.” ― Josephine Winslow Johnson

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An Open Letter to the Status Quo

 “Sit, be still, and listen,
because you’re drunk
and we’re at
the edge of the roof.”
Rumi
art odd weird strange godzilla monsters
This crazy puppet show is distracting me from what is important.

Dear Status Quo,

We both know this can’t go on, not they way it’s been going…so you’ve got to go. We can’t take you anymore. You have outstayed your welcome and you must leave immediately.

I know you’ve been here a long time and some people are counting on you to stay but nothing is forever and frankly there are so many more of us who want you gone. We are quite adamant about it…in fact we demand it!

king kong -vs godzilla-image-8
Lets root for the lesser of two evils.

The way you carry on is unsustainable.

You said you’d change and we believed you only to be let down again.

The truth is we can no longer afford your frivolous ways and outlandish and wasteful behavior. You’ve damn near wrecked our home and now it’s our future selves and our children who’ll be cleaning up the mess that you’ll leave behind.

Put down that drink and wake up! Do you ever listen?

Hey YOU!!! Do we need to yell?

LEAVE!!   

Get out now! Never come back….

godzilla monster moivie
To the victor go the spoils. RAWR!

 

As a witness to 45 years of history I am thinking thoughts I never would have imagined years ago when at first I began to pay conscious attention to what’s was going on around me.

It’s funny how history can rewrite itself before one’s very eyes and yes indeed the victors do write and rewrite history over and over again….

It’s so easy to ignore it all…It’s hard to take. But as time goes on and events play out I am forced to concede that everything is not what it pretends to be and no matter how crazy I tell myself THAT is…I can’t help but begin to believe it.

It’s not that I don’t have hope. I am loaded with it and it is not just blind faith. I go on evidence. I see people waking up and realizing that if we don’t open our eyes and have the courage to say what we really think and how we really feel about what is going on, one day it will be too late. No one will come and save us. We have to save ourselves.

~NLM

variations-on-an-audience.038 fear vintage

 

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”

~Carl Sagan

monkey evil see no

 

 

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An Angry Letter to Mr. Obama from a fed-up American

Obama speaks to record numbers in Portland, Oregon during first campaign
Obama speaks to record numbers in Portland, Oregon during first campaign

Hope — Hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope! In the end, that is God’s greatest gift to us…A belief in things not seen. A belief that there are better days ahead.”  ― Barack Obama

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BEWARE: I’m feisty again, this is not for the faint of heart…

It is 3 a.m. and I cannot sleep. Images of people fill my mind. I should have known better than to watch the nightly news.  Never before have I seen so many dead people. I cannot shake these images.  These carefully selected images, this horrific display and this obvious attempt at manipulation.

In a desperate appeal to our collective humanity, yes, it is horrible what is happening to the Syrians. But there are atrocities happening all over the globe, even in places that do not sit smack dab in the middle of oil rich countries. Why are we not “helping” these other poor suffering people in Somalia, Sudan or The Democratic Republic of the Congo? What about people in Haiti or even here at home?

We voted you in to stop our American war mongering not to increase it. I voted for you twice. I admit I turned a blind eye to the obvious favoritism shown by the mainstream media to you in the last election. I reasoned we were on the same side you and I. I thought this hope and change you promised was for the common good. I know you inherited much from former administrations.  Afghanistan, Iraq, the economic collapse, even the spying and the drones. But this, Mr President, this Syrian mess, this is all yours.

Can’t you see we Americans are tired of war. We are tired of sticking our noses into other countries business. We cannot save the world. We cannot even save ourselves.

What happened to you? What happened to the wide-eyed optimistic young idealist who spoke at the 2004 Democratic National convention , the one America fell for hook, line and sinker? Are you this same man? What I see now is a tired graying husk with dark hostile eyes.  It is these eyes that frighten me, Are you even the same person? What happened to you Mr President?

What happened to your message? The message that preached hope. What happened to the man who said:

NN_27obama2

“And to all those who have wondered if Americas beacon still burns as bright – tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.
For that is the true genius of America – that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.” 
― Barack Obama

 

Why do you call for war? You know I don’t believe you. I cannot and will not believe anything you say…not anymore. Perhaps I’m coming into my enlightenment late in the game. If I am to believe whispers from others, ideas I would have dismissed offhand to be the rantings and ravings of crazy and delusional lunatics. After all this, these rantings don’t all seem so implausible.

obama r-ASSAD-huge

I scour the internet for news;  for some truth. In this wilderness of everything crazy,  these stories run rampant.  Stories that call you everything from disillusioned and misguided to an alien shapeshifter with lizard eyes, a Hitler, and yes, even the Antichrist. I know there is a nugget of truth out there somewhere mixed in with all this craziness. I do know that I cannot believe the propaganda the mainstream media spins.

I don’t know who to believe.  But I do know that I do not believe you Mr. Obama…not anymore.

I expected this out of George W Bush and his father. I even expected this out of Reagan back when I was but a child but not from you.

You promised us change. I expected you meant that we would change; that this country would change. That we would become great again and win the hearts of the world who would see us as they had before as a source of good. You promised us change but it is you who changed.

obama sad and old

“To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West – know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.” ― Barack Obama

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You are a parent. What do you daughters think of this?   I am a parent too. My son is 18 and I we have received a letter from the selective service. Did you know I have hidden this in my drawer among bills to be paid? I will assure you this is one bill I will not pay! Would you send your daughters to fight in a war, do you believe in war that much?  I ask you Mr. Obama, can you sleep tonight? I hope not. I sure can’t!

 

Heart-Water-and-Fire-HD

“I’m inspired by the people I meet in my travels–hearing their stories, seeing the hardships they overcome, their fundamental optimism and decency. I’m inspired by the love people have for their children. And I’m inspired by my own children, how full they make my heart. They make me want to work to make the world a little bit better. And they make me want to be a better man.” 
― Barack Obama

**On a side note to my regular readers. Sorry, I had to get this out. Next time, I promise something lighter. Some sort of happy distraction. It’s just that I care too much.**

~SBI

Barack Obama "Hope" poster, original...
Barack Obama “Hope” poster, originally by Shepard Fairey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The speech that made President Obama (YouTube)


An Open Letter to Barack Obama from a Vietnam Veteran (grumpyelder.com)
Don’t Bomb Syria, Mr. President! (interfaithreflections.com)
Letter to President Obama (billp47.wordpress.com)
Obama Attempts to Preserve His Ego by Proposing War With Syria (armyvetchicrants.com)
POTUS Is Not The World’s Police Chief (johnhaydeninmd.com)
An Open Letter To President Obama (yourfaceispolitics.wordpress.com)

An Indigo Rant

screaming woman in public domain

I’m angry…damned angry. Boiling mad angry. This is a rant my friends and if you don’t wish to see the darker side of SBI please look away. Come back again on another day. That is a warning and this is a rant!

I feel someone should speak up here. I suppose I lead a sheltered existence, safe in my little blog world where I am surrounded by enlightened and caring people.  I do however venture out to the virtual world at large, and oh yes, we all know this world can be ugly, unbearably ugly.

I try to stay  away from all this but I am concerned.  I do care and I am curious.  I recently visited the Huffington Post. It is a place I go. I have an account there and I am called theindigoside. As the name suggests it is the indigo side. I can get somewhat political but I am me, and all the me I can be.

I ran into a story:

Timothy Alsip, Oregon Homeless Man, Robs Bank For $1, Asks To Go To Jail To Access Healthcare

TIM-ALSIP

This is all very sad.  Many of us in The United States have no health care. I was chatting with a British friend of mine on Facebook and had a difficult time explaining how our system “works”. I personally have recently lost my benefits and those for my two children. It is a scary thing to be at risk like that but  I am grateful and I feel blessed to have all that I do…but I digress.  This rant is not about me.

This poor man in the story is a homeless and obviously desperate man. He could be mentally ill. He could have a myriad of problems.  This is not my point….it is obvious again that he could be doing better but he is not. THAT is a fact.  We could go over who and what the problem is. We could blame the government, the Democrats or the Republicans. We could blame the one percent or the 99. We could blame his parents, society or corporations..we could even blame the man himself.

The world is f**ked my friends, oh yes, we all know this…

This is all valid but this is not why I am so upset, at least not at this time. Right now,  I am upset about the type of comments this story received.  I am appalled really.

No one saw the sadness, no one had any empathy for this man. Some blamed the “freeloaders” of society. Many had someone or something to blame.  Some made fun of his appearance and all the comments I read blamed him in some way. Not one of them had any sympathy for this poor fellow human.

It was a competition on who could be more clever and witty than the person before them.  I probably put myself up for ridicule with these people but I had to speak up…I had to…

This was my response:

However someone looks at it. Whoever someone blames for the ills of society. Whatever someone says trying to be clever and witty all the while sitting at home with a full stomach and a nice warm comfortable bed to retire to. In this someone’s opinion it is a sad and sorry state that has befallen us when no one has any sympathy, empathy or any sort of feelings for a fellow human being.
NO one is immune to adversity. However and whatever some may think. One’s fate can turn on a dime, just like that. This story is just sad. Damn sad all around.”

And it is not just here. It is everywhere. I see smug self-satisfied people judging others. It is so easy to do so. It is easy for some to tell themselves that their luck or success or whatever is due to the deserving of it.   It also is easy to save one’s compassion for the attractive while condemning those who are not so much; old people, ill people ,the homeless, the wretched, the insane, and the troubled. It is easy for some to blame and condemn, to point the finger to all except themselves.

Many rich people have worked very hard and so have many poor people. Good fortune plays a huge role and that fortune can and does change.  As we all know the rain falls on us one and all.

I know for a fact that you are not like this. You are compassionate and wise and wonderful.

Surrounded by people like you all the time one could think everyone is like you, but this is not the case.  I know I am preaching to the choir here.  I guess what I’m trying to say….

…next time you hear some of this garbage being spewed by your fellow human please stand up for us. Set the record straight, help us all and preach understanding and compassion. Let those who hold these sorts of negative and unproductive opinions know that that sort of thing will not be tolerated. Speak up for the voiceless, the misunderstood and the ugly. Stand up for the ill and the homeless and the poor people who have done nothing wrong but be poor.    We all deserve kindness.

speak-the-truth-300x287

Because…

quotes suess EarthDay

Thanks for listening,

~SBI

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” ― Plato

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Never Underestimate the Value of Cash–Election 2012

But, shucks, we got the best politicians in this country that money can buy.”

Will Rogers

It is election day and after a long fight both sides should be exhausted after working feverishly around the clock, mostly in swing states, trying to reach those undecided voters. Meanwhile, the same politicos with the toothy white grins and the perfect spins are haunting the TV and Internets with images of big glossy maps of the United States decked out in blue and red with a touch of gray.  Always coming to the same conclusion, we are a nation divided. This is of no surprise and how this can be news is beyond me.

We in Oregon are often overlooked. We are quiet and quaint. Most people are distracted by the bright lights of California or Seattle. Politicians usually ignore us. At most we are a photo-op stop as Obama showed in 2008, we are a blue state and I live in a very blue county inside this blue state.

Romney hasn’t a chance here and he should know it but his constant barrage of commercials suggest otherwise. I’m relived that this whole mess is finally almost over.

(See the opinion of a future voter in the following You Tube video that’s making the rounds.)

Tired of Bronco Bamma and Mitt Romney

I think I may speak for all Americans when I say that I am sick to death of all these commercials and ads from both sides. To me it’s a waste. It shows how absolutely money crazy we are. If we have any national religion it is the worship of that–Money.  It’s holier than thou and it’s burning a hole in your pocket right now…

In our mixed up national psyche we are convinced that the candidate who raises the most money is the automatic winner.  Nothing else matters and it’s not as if anyone is holding bake sales to raise this money–they are getting it from the rich who have their own agenda and ideas which may not jive with most of us.

And why do they need the money…what do they spend it on? A great deal on those damn ads and flyers…

My mail has been inundated for weeks with thick glossy and expensive flyers proclaiming this and that. I have been bombarded with countess TV commercials–all with smiling politicians proclaiming this and that–supporting this message and that message.  Each proclaiming the other guy is wrong, very wrong even scary wrong.

Since my city of Portland is right on the border with Washington State we get their commercials too–this can get confusing and annoying.

 

The whole system is like that. It’s not just the presidential candidates or the Democrats or Republicans, it’s all of them.  Honestly, I am happy the people in the flyer factory have jobs and the media people do too and really kudos to the postal service.  I know all this money must be stimulating someone somewhere….Right?

I can’t help but wonder in my simplistic way that perhaps all this money spent on this mania could be spent on something more worthy… 

For instance: feeding hungry children or repairing crumbling bridges. How about training programs for the unemployed? How about jobs…not just lip-service trickle down jobs that live solely in campaign speeches but real jobs…perhaps via public works programs? How about it?

How about money for schools? or for disaster relief? I can think of a million worthy causes…

If I saw a politician spending “hard-earned” PAC money to feed the hungry and damn the consequences, I would have respect for that person–I’d be downright impressed and I’d listen to what that person had to say–regardless of party. I think a lot of people would as well. I also think that people are more independently minded than others may give them credit for.

This kind of do-gooding could create a buzz that would bring in the media with free advertising; a win-win situation for almost everyone…except for the ones with the deep pockets…the donors..the movers and the shakers…the ones attached to all that cold hard cash.  I ran across a list of them, it is HERE

I’ve read that between the two major candidates six billion dollars will be spent on this election, a new record. I can’t help but wonder what good that kind of money could do.

I did a little research…and six billion dollars goes a long way…

In The United States:  All that money could buy 200,000 average-priced cars…22,059 average-priced houses or…with six billion dollars 69,940 students could attend college for four years.

6 billion could buy one month’s worth of food for over 9 million families of four.

2 billion children could buy a warm coat with that amount of money and 6 billion dollars could definitely buy the world a coke…I could go on and on but you get the picture.

HAPPY ELECTION DAY!

Strawberryindigo.

References:

2012  Presidential Campaign Finance Explorer (Washingtonpost.com)

Does big money spell big trouble in campaigns? ( CNN.com)

Cost of Average Home (www.census.gov)

What’s the price tag for a college education? (Collegedata.com)

Average cost of a 4 year University (USATODAY.com)

USDA cost of food Sept. 2012 ( USDA.gov)

Cost of food at home (USDA.gov)

The Writer’s Lament

Hey you writers out there, are you like me? Do you long for days of uninterrupted silence? Do you fantasize about having hours upon hours of free time devoted to your only real love: Writing?

I may be the only one who’s so obsessed…and I am obsessed. I can think of nothing better than to tap tap tap my life away if only I had the time and the silence.  Oh blessed silence…can I be the only one who craves this silence?

I don’t have to tell anyone how noisy our modern world is already and the distractions…there are so many distractions. I get started with my tapping and before you know it, life rears its inevitable head and drags me back to reality for in which there is limited room for anything remotely resembling tapping.

Here I am in a rare moment, I have all afternoon and I’m set to write about one of my favorite subjects; Being Different in -The Daily Post’s Weekly Writing Challenge and then a million things happen and there is no time.

I am a mom and I have all the responsibilities just like everyone else. I probably don’t have to tell you this; we are all busy with our lives.  Most of us don’t have much free time and there is always some minor crisis to keep me more than occupied.

I admit that at times I can be hard to live with.  I tend to be lost in thought about something or another and there tends to be a lot of something or another’s swimming around in my half-crazed brain.  l admit I get pent-up and rather testy when I can’t get the opportunity to write…and like a junkie who needs a fix, once I get what I crave, I’m happy again. I do admit it’s an affordable addiction and who knows, perhaps all this craziness will pay off in the end?

I’m sure most writers and artists in general are a little on the obsessive side.  I mean I could name names but why bother. We all know this is true…and really when I get to think about it….even you; if you are any kind of writer at all, I bet you are a bit crazy too just like the rest of us…and that you know that I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I guess I should be grateful. If I had it my way, I’d probably tap tap tap my way to oblivion…..I would be going a mile a minute..faster and faster and then suddenly I would just explode: KA-BOOM!

I could see the scene now…my spent carcass slumped over a burned-out laptop, dirty coffee cups and piles and piles of printed word surrounding me….What a mess…

Perhaps that will do…

MUCH HAPPINESS,

Strawberryindigo.

NOTE:

I have been off “adventuring”and have been limited on time, that is why I haven’t been posting much. I am not AWOL.  This is only temporary and I will be up and running at full speed in a couple of weeks.

I look forward to catching up with our visits after all this is over. I will be back full of wonderous tales about my “exotic” adventures.

Success

THE SKY’S THE LIMIT

Mention the word success and certain images come to mind. Images of good-looking people with high paying jobs in powerful positions with big houses, big bank accounts and big lives.

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We are taught by our Western culture that one’s whole self-worth is dependent on what we have, not on what we are. You are special and you are better than most others. One can tell this by the stuff you own, the things that you do and the places you go.

We are constantly bombarded with messages, especially by the media such as this from day one and it isn’t surprising when we develop impossibly high expectations that most of us cannot live up to. When this happens people lose confidence. They feel that they don’t measure up. Even people whom society deems as successful surprisingly also have this problem; this fear of not measuring up; of not being all that you can be.

This can cause depression. It can cause people to try to escape reality via denial and self-destructive behavior. Sometimes this dissatisfaction turns outward in anger toward the very society that sets the bar so very high.

The American dream is yours for the taking and all that. What happens if this dream doesn’t pan out or even becomes a nightmare; not all of us can win this rat race we have set up. This sort of set up requires losers and an awful lot of losers to support the winners.  No one wants to be on the bottom and will avoid even the appearance of THAT at all costs. We are taught that it means we are defective. We are worthless. Worth less than someone else.  We seek approval from each other and from ourselves on a constant basis. It’s human nature. Our society views those on the bottom of the economic ladder in a bad light.

Poverty is seen as some sort of disease that one catches by the act of laziness. It is such an anathema that people have this urge to keep assuring themselves, their peers and society that they themselves are not infected by this awful disease.  Many will go into debt to prove this point.  It takes a wad of cash to keep up with the Joneses. Little do we realise that in our quest to keep up with the Joneses, the Joneses are struggling to keep up with us.

We are a shopping culture and in all honesty if we all decided to stop buying if only for a day it would send our global economy into a tailspin.  It’s quite a sticky situation we have gotten ourselves into.  All this wanton greed and fervid consumerism. It’s taking its toll on the environment.  It has a mind of its own…it’s a monster of our own creation and it could spell our undoing.

We in the West are starting to see the errors of the past creep back up and bite us. We still continue on with our ways like there is no tomorrow and we criticize other countries, especially third world countries who are just trying to catch up to us…who doesn’t want a big middle class, who doesn’t want prosperity for all?  In the past other countries have looked to The United States as an example of what to strive for. It is we who have set the bar so damn high and it is we who complain when somebody can play our game better than us…and they are….and as time goes by more and more of us will be on the bottom.

There is only so much land, water, natural resources and there are more and more people everyday. This strikes me as dangerously unsustainable. Something’s got to give and it is starting to.

A Successful person

I think many of us may need to rethink some of these notions that have been sold to us…maybe reconsider just what being successful really means. Does a measure of a man or woman depend on the content of one’s pocketbook or the content of one’s character?

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I also believe we should reconsider our idea of happiness…Is happiness mean having stuff? Or is happiness a certain satisfaction with life and oneself. Knowing that life has its ups and downs and riding those with grace, compassion and hopefully a bit of humor. Happiness does not have to be exclusive.  True happiness is inclusive. It is something to be shared. Happiness is an attitude. We decide to be happy and having more stuff than everyone else around you doesn’t do it in the end.

In the end it is those intangibles as love, friendship and respect that really matter. It is fulfilling a dream. It is striving to be better, not better than anyone else but better than your previous self. It is the satisfaction of doing the right thing and the giving of yourself to others. That is success.

I am reminded of a quote:

“Having given all he has to others, he is richer still.”

Lao Tzu

Wishing you all the success in the world,

Strawberryindigo.