Posts Tagged ‘Thoughts’

Think Good Thoughts

February 3, 2019

Have You Figured It Out Yet?

In my last blog posted at the end of 2018 I suggested that you might want to figure out your purpose in life, “What is the Meaning of Life”. Given that it’s already February, maybe it will give you a leg up if I reveal my “purpose”. If you need an inspiration for your own, go back and read my previous blog. In that post I also included a link to David Allan’s article in Reader’s Digest, some good ideas there.

Plant a Garden of Positive Thoughts

That’s it, that’s my purpose. Okay, I’m a goody two shoes (I should Google the origin of that label), but here are two reasons why I chose that as my purpose. First, it was something I read, another is that I’m looking forward to spring (do not like winter), and another reason (I guess that makes three) is that my significant other is a master gardener. I get involved in plenty of planting projects. If you think about it, the act of planting in itself is a positive thing, a cause of growth, either a vegetable from a seed or (metaphorically) growth that occurs when someone you helped reaps the benefits – kind of a “you too” benefit instead of a “me too” benefit.

Here’s a quick Bible quote: “No foul language should come from your mouth but only what is good for building up someone in need”. (Ephesians 4:29, paraphrased)

Huey Lewis and the News: The Power of Love

 

My Mission Statement

Several years ago I lost my job as a contract technical writer for the U.S. Forest Service. I’d been there over three years, but the federal government was cutting back on agency budgets. I think Obama was president. I don’t blame him, things happen.

Anyway, I went back into the job market. At some point I decided, given the lack of technical writer jobs being offered to me, I should try a career change. I went back to school and earned a certificate in non-profit development at a university in Portland. In one of the courses I learned the importance of a mission statement for any organization that was serious about achieving its goals. The following is my mission statement:

“My mission as a blogger is to educate and enlighten as many people as possible with a positive spin on the factual information that I provide for my readers.”

I know, given all the negative information that’s available in our world – fake news, incomplete news, inaccurate news, and politically biased news – it’s a challenge to ferret out the “real stuff” that is happening all around us.

Think Good Thoughts

I remember (from my hippie days in Houston) meeting a “gypsy” who lived in a very cool, highly-tricked out 1950s vintage Chevy pickup truck. I wish I had a picture of it. The body was bright red with a cab-over balcony big enough for one, an amazing living space with “rooms” partitioned with artsy curtains, including a small kitchen. He parked the truck in a vacant lot. If you walked up the steps at the rear of the truck, you could see a sign over the doorway that read “Think Good Thoughts”. Obviously that message stuck with me all these 40 plus years.

What’s Next?

I’ve been thinking about immigration issues a lot in the last year, and I want to present some things for you to think about. I’ll do that next time, now I must get my beauty rest so I can watch the “stupor bowl” tomorrow – actually I’m only interested in the beer commercials for a few laughs.

However, to whet your interest in my upcoming immigration topic, here’s a link to a piece written by Brett P. Reistad, National Commander of the American Legion.

 

 

 

 

 

Is it 2019 Yet?

December 31, 2018

Is Portland, Oregon weirder than Austin, Texas?

I watched a program on public TV the other day about Vortex I, a documentary about a 1970 event, really interesting and historic as it relates to the state of Oregon. I may have to do a follow-up blog about the Portland vs Austin question.

Thanks to Portland State University and the Oregon Historical Society for the Vortex I web write-up.

It Is Still 2018?

Yes, as I put pen to paper (actually fingers to keyboard) drafting this post, probably my last post for the year, there is only a full day left in 2018 before the big ball drops in Times Square. No, I won’t be there, but I have a runner friend who lives in Oregon but really likes New York.

The first and only time I was in New York occurred when I was a teenager. I was with my oldest sister and her husband, and it was Christmas time. We did a lot of “tourist stuff”, went to Rockefeller Center with the big tree and the ice skaters. We also went to a supper club in mid-town Manhattan where Joan Rivers was performing. She was pregnant, and I thought her jokes were pregnant. Anyway, for a boy who had grown up in small-town Texas, New York was an amazing experience – from a town of less than 8,000 to New York City, walking down 5th Avenue where people were packed in practically elbow to elbow. The subway and Greenwich Village were fun too.

Was 2018 a Good Year for You?

For me, now winding down 2018. I can say that it has been a good year, possibly a great year, but I’m ready to move on to new challenges. When you get “older and wiser”, you tend to get philosophical (and more forgetful) about life. Hopefully, no matter what your age, if you look back and reflect on 2018, you will smile and say that it has been a hoot or an adventure or whatever, and you will look forward to 2019. There are two quotes, a Nelson Demille quote at the top of that page and a Hunter S. Thompson quote at the bottom in my Favorite Quotes post. In my opinion, those two quotes say it all.

What is the Meaning of Life?

If you are at all interested in the meaning of life or the purpose of life I’m suggesting that you read another Reader’s Digest article, to start you off on the right foot for 2019.

The excellent article, Maintain Your Purpose in Life, was written by David G. Allan.

If you’re old enough, you may remember that screensaver from many years ago, a weird red and green cartoon character, mouth open and tongue hanging out (captioned the “meaning of life”) that flitted around the computer screen daring you to click it with your mouse, and of course it always evaded you. Regardless of the implication suggested by the screensaver creator that it isn’t possible to figure it out, read Allan’s article and give it some thought, about your own purpose in life. For him it’s a yearly exercise, and he says that his answer changes over time. Don’t overthink it – the year he got engaged, Allan’s answer to the question was “Love”.

He also points out that this isn’t a theoretical exercise, you should turn your answer into action. If your answer is “love”, then you should love more.

Bottom line, there is no right answer, only what’s right for you at any given time. He talks about how studies have shown that people who have a specific purpose in life and can articulate it, live longer. He suggests that if you take the time to think about it and answer the question, it will in effect add meaning to your life.

Allan quotes some of the answers from famous people.

  • “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” (Albert Einstein)
  • “The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity.” (Leo Tolstoy)
  • “There is only the meaning we each give to our life, an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person.” (Anais Nin)

What’s Ahead – Foreshadowing my Blog for 2019

Stuff about good people and what they do. If you read my November blog, I included a link to Reader’s Digest stories. Every November Reader’s Digest publishes their America’s Nicest Places issue. A  couple of other interesting links for you:

Imprimis articles (of course)

Vietnam, my experiences and my observations about the war.

More about “Is Portland, Oregon weirder than Austin, Texas?”

Mindfulness, a continuation of my blog topic. A subject that keeps popping up in the media.

The Big Leap, a book by Gay Hendricks – I included the link in a November post, just boring “self-improvement” stuff. Kind of like meditation, it may require some effort on your part to realize the positive results.

Music and Pictures

Vivaldi, The Four Seasons (Winter)
Vivaldi, The Four Seasons (Spring)
Vivaldi, The Four Seasons (Summer)
Vivaldi, The Four Seasons (Autumn)

Some Parting Shots

I’ve mentioned my Daily Word readings – just a couple of recent ones to pass along that I thought were noteworthy.

December 29, 2018, “Love: It is my nature to extend love.”

“I recognize that forgiveness is easier than condemnation because forgiveness reflects the truth of who I am. God is perfect love and therefore so am I.”

A companion Bible verse, Ephesians 4:26: “Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.”

December 30, 2018: “Power: I am a spiritual being, bestowed with great power.”

“I align my thoughts with my highest good, envisioning health, abundance, love, and success.”

If you have been reading The Big Leap, the last sentence should remind you of Hendrick’s “universal success mantra” that he discusses in the book.

That’s it for 2018, see you next year.

 

 

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November 2018 Reflections

December 1, 2018

Quotations and Books

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”  Marcus Aurelius
Books:  The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks (not an easy read but a good “self-improvement” book if you’re willing to make the effort, link to audible.com).

I really like Marcus Aurelius quotes, so here’s another one that Hendricks includes in his book toward the end of it. Keep in mind that Marcus Aurelius was a soldier who lived in first century Rome.

“I am part of the whole, all of which is governed by nature. I am intimately related to all of the parts which are of the same kind as myself. If I remember these two things, I cannot be discontented with anything that arises out of the whole because I am connected to the whole.” Marcus Aurelius
“There are times in our lives when we realize that our past is precisely what it is, we cannot change it, but we can change the story we tell ourselves about it, and by doing that we can change the future.” Eleanor Brown (from a Criminal Minds episode)

With the Eleanor Brown quote in mind, let’s dive in to the rest of this November blog.

Other Thoughts – Boomer or Not, Imprimis

It’s fun to reflect to get a different perspective. Obviously, since I’m older, I suppose I’m a “baby boomer”, but I’m right on the cusp. Tom Brokaw called another pre-WWII group “the greatest generation” (he wrote a book by that title). For “millennials”, it would be a shorter time period to reflect on their lives. They also would not be able to remember a time when you didn’t have to lock things – house, car, bike, etc. I was talking to someone at the gym about that, growing up in a time when that was true, at least in a small town like the one where I grew up. You walk out the front door leaving it unlocked and spend the whole day out, no worries. Not drawing conclusions on society in general, but obviously things are different in the 21st century.

As you already know if you read my blog, I’m an Imprimis fan. You might want to check out their publications online or better yet, get on their mailing list for a free printed copy of each publication. For example, here’s a different take on how things used to be, the piece that Amy Wax did for the Imprimis January 2018 publication, “Are We Free to Discuss America’s Real of Problems”. Pay special attention to the first 10 or 12 paragraphs, where she contrasts contemporary American society with our society between the end of World War II and the mid-1960s. You can draw your own conclusions, but I strongly recommend reading the last three paragraphs, especially the one that starts with “Disliking, avoiding, and shunning people who don’t share our politics is not good for our country.”

Back to November 2018 – A Few Snippets

You’ll notice the details that I’m able to remember from the entire month of November – admittedly, I do a daily journal, so it’s not all from memory.

On November 1, I tested some Nike shoes (testing gives me Nike Employee Store privileges, which saves me money on running shoes). November 1 is also my beautiful daughter’s birthday. In my family it’s a tradition to take the birthday honoree out to eat at a restaurant of their choosing. We celebrated her birthday on November 3 at the Old Spaghetti Factory, a great place for adults and kids, with good food and reasonable prices.

The rest of that first week of November, was our normal routine – for my wife, volunteer work at a local senior center, Bible study, pitching in with the grandkids, and cooking for our Monday night family dinner at our house. For me, it was gym workouts, running, and my running club had a banquet to reward volunteers who participated in 2018 events. Actually, on November 6 we went to SoCal to visit relatives. You may have seen my “On the Road, SoCal, November 2018” entry. Just a brief diversion from my November snippets to share my reactions to the SoCal trip.

What Did I Learn in SoCal?

Did I learn anything, or was it just another vacation trip, five days in the sun (no complaints), hanging out with friends and relatives, and total relaxation in a very nice setting. About learning, the question is rhetorical, we always learn things. On this trip I learned on a higher level:

  • People are tough and resilient. While we were there, the mass shooting at Thousand Oaks happened, and the Woolsey fire in SoCal and the fire in northern California, all happened in that week.
  • Most people (not all) are friendly and approachable, willing to share things about themselves. There were many people in the hotel who had evacuated their homes.
  • Most people will help others who are in a bind, sometimes going out of their way to help. There were hundreds of fire-fighting professionals from Oregon and Washington who volunteered two weeks of their time to help fight the fires and to help people in need. Another example, an Oregon man loaded up his business truck with food and supplies and drove to California.
  • More examples of people helping people, check out these Readers Digest stories – I was especially impressed with “Life Moves Yoga in Killeen, Texas”.
  • Relationships with people close to you are worth preserving but may require extra effort.

Back to November 2018 – A Few Snippets (continued)

On November 10, we returned to Portland, unpacked and did our laundry. It was good to be back.

On November 11, Veterans Day, I went to a local event honoring Vietnam veterans. It was a large turnout with people from other wars too. There were speeches and socializing, vets meeting other vets, and we received pins honoring our service. Just remember, not everyone who served had a choice, but that doesn’t matter, they served.

Interesting side-note – my Daily Word affirmation for that Sunday was “I am free through the freedom of Spirit.” The Bible verse, 2 Corinthians 3:17, for that day was: “. . . where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

On November 15, one of our grandsons did a sleepover. We walked the dogs and hung out.

On November 17, I continued my annual battle of the leaves (we have lots of trees) for disposal. My daughter hosted an early Thanksgiving dinner at her house, which gave us all a chance to overeat. The food was delicious.

On November 20, we made a decision on which Medicare supplement insurance to go with, after weeks of researching and thinking about. More leaf accumulation, up to about 50 bags now. Met with my running club in the evening to run on the track at a local school, windy and cold but dry.

Thanksgiving Day, November 22, I ran a 5K race and won my age group, which felt really good. I ran my fastest 5K time of the year. We had already celebrated our Thanksgiving dinner.

On November 24, we got invited over to my brother-in-law’s house for another Thanksgiving dinner, very well prepared and delicious. I overate again.

On November 25, I hauled 54 bags of leaves over to a disposal site, multiple trips in my truck. Done for this year thank goodness.

The rest of the month, we played Top Golf a few times, and did the rest of our normal routine.

“Oscar Wilde: ‘Do you mind if I smoke?’ Sarah Bernhardt: ‘I don’t care if you burn.'” Sarah Bernhardt
Sarah Bernhardt quotes – You can pick one that YOU like.

Pictures and Music

 

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Randy Newman: Sigmund Freud’s Impersonation of Albert Einstein in America

Travel Blog: Texas, April 2018

April 18, 2018
DSC_002

I’m Back!

Willy Nelson: On the Road Again

Going Back for a Visit – Day 1, April 18

Late start leaving the house (my fault), but got to the airport in time thanks to my wife’s skillful driving. Going back to visit relatives in Texas.

People along the Way

Met Micah, young man going back to Hawaii to resume college and visit his parents who live there. We had a long conversation as we waited to board our flights. We talked about occupations, photography, and family, that kind of stuff. He told me he was a business management major, but wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to do. I told him what I did and that I changed majors three times before I settled on what I liked. I suggested that he allow himself the time to choose what he really liked doing. His flight was announced, and we said our goodbyes.

Stream of Consciousness (my impressions)

Walking into the warm airport terminal from the chilly Portland morning air . . . noisy, people struggling with their cumbersome bags (I need a wheeled bag), checking departure status, people corralling their kids . . . going through security, empty my pockets, take off my shoes, raise my arms in the scanner, put it all back together . . . had lots of time and was hungry, ordered a big breakfast, ate only part of it, nice smells of coffee and food . . . walking to the gate, observing people, people with their devices, talking, almost got my camera out but left it in the bag . . . thirsty, refilled my water bottle, almost time to board, noticed a young couple with two kids, one very young, thinking to myself that group will be in the row behind me with their screaming kid (didn’t happen).

More later.

Antonio Vivaldi: The Four Seasons (Spring)

Going Back for a Visit – Day 2, April 19

Besides the wonderful sunshine, what else can I say about my Thursday in Texas? It was great! I did a long walk with my sister who lives in a small town near Austin. We walked along a creek near her house, exploring. After that, I did a nice run into town (also exploring) along the Brazos River, stopping along the way to talk to people, pet friendly dogs, and take pictures, which I included in my slide show. The town has many historic homes. To top off the day, my sister and her son and I had dinner and drinks in town at one of the popular eateries along the river and watched a beautiful sunset. It was a darn good day.

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Stevie  Wonder: You Are the Sunshine of My Life

Going Back for a Visit – Days 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7, April 20-24

The musical introduction for this post was selected mainly because the sun has been amazing on this trip, warm and sunny all day, almost every day.

Friday we went into Austin to spend some with my oldest sister. She was in the process of unpacking and settling in to her new abode, an apartment complex in northwest Austin. It’s a great place with nice stonework and a nature preserve right there, with deer roaming in the woods. I included some pictures.

Saturday was another busy day, another sister and I traveling to our old hometown, Liberty. We had Mexican food with some of our friends that we hadn’t seen in quite a while. It’s fun to go back and see people you grew up with. We drove around the town to see what had changed in our old stompin’ grounds, quite a bit, but also some things that looked familiar like the house we lived in, back in that other century, still standing. Then back on the road to travel to my other sister and her husband’s home in the countryside not terribly far from Austin – they call it Sky Farm.

Sunday was our “sibling gathering” there at Sky Farm. Lots of things going, moving bee hives, relatives arriving with their kids and with food, taking the tour of the property that has a lake, but the most fun was sorting through and talking about our family pictures going back to our great grandparents.

Monday and Tuesday back in Austin to stay over at my sister’s new place. I got in a great run in the nature preserve and nearby neighborhoods.

Back to Portland tomorrow, it has been a great trip. Enjoy the slide show.

The Monkees: Last Train to Clarksville

 

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The X-Files: 2018 (Part II)

April 17, 2018

 

Building All is Love: “Where the Wild Things Are” (movie soundtrack)
“The human voice can never reach the distance that is covered by the still, small voice of conscience.” Mahatma Gandhi

A Frame of Reference

Thinking about John 8:32 that I quoted in Part I – OK, admittedly I’ve taken a single verse from the Bible out of context, but I’m just trying to establish a frame of reference. The verse does make sense, right? Obviously, the misinformation, the subterfuge, the biased media reports, and, in my opinion, the indifference of the general public in wanting or caring about the truth have not served to establish an environment of trust in the good ole USA. When you go to the doctor, you want the truth, right – doc, what is the prognosis? I’ve had some very good doctors who were straight shooters and gave me good advice.

Does It Matter?

OK, you may ask, what’s the X-files connection? As Mr. They said in Part I, Does It Matter?” Hopefully, the issues I bring up and the points I try to make will help you connect the dots.

Imprimis Potpourri

Blogger’s Note: I give full editorial credit to the authors of the articles.

I’ll be including snippets from several Imprimis articles. Obviously, feel free to read each of the articles in their entirety, but as I said before, it’s thought-provoking but not light reading.

You Are Not Generation Z (Patrick L. Sajak, Host Wheel of Fortune)

Remember, this is an address to a graduating class in Texas in 2017.

“In short, I’m not sure there’s much need to inspire a group like this. So let me suggest  a pitfall to avoid going forward, a pitfall not only for this year’s graduating class, but for everyone in every corner of American society today. It has altered the way we talk to one another and perceive one another. It has perverted the notion of free speech and poisoned the academic environment. It has turned the American political system on its head, creating a situation where opposing views are not only unwelcome, they are deemed to be signs of evil intent. It has pitted friend against friend and has caused rifts within families. I’m talking about identity politics, the attempt to divide Americans and set us against each other. The attempt to classify and categorize us by all sorts of measurements and standards. To a great degree, those who are making these attempts are succeeding. And their efforts are changing our country in fundamental ways.” You really should read all of this one, especially on page 7, right column.

Next Up?

I’ve decided to continue the Imprimis material in a future blog.

I’ll be including:

  • Are We Free to Discuss America’s Problems by Amy L. Wax.
  • A More American Conservatism by Larry P. Arnn.
  • Immigration in the National Interest by Tom Cotton.
  • The 2016 Election and the Demise of Journalistic Standards by Michael Goodwin.

 

 

 

To Do or Not to Do: Birthday Blog, 2018

February 23, 2018

My birthday blog for last year is here. I have a new birthday today.

I’ll start with some music – it’s Winter – and some quotes to set the tone for this piece which could go anywhere, hang on . . .

Takako Nishizaki: Very Best of Vivaldi, “Four Seasons, Winter (Largo)”

This BrainyQuote’s page has a wealth of quotes that relate either directly or in some weird, tangential way to this birthday blog. I started reading some of the quotes after doing the search on Shakespeare’s famous quote, “To be or not to be, that is the question,” which is the hook for the rest of this creative dissertation. I’ll explain more in a minute. Check out Jean-Luc Godard’s quote, “To be or not to be. That’s not really a question.” All you ex-English majors, like me, and grammarians should get a chuckle out of it. And check out Chuck Palahniuk, wow, some powerful, some witty, some head-scratcher quotes. By the way, his birthday is February 21, two days before mine. I should find him on Facebook and wish him a belated Happy Birthday. I’m not sure I can compete with the wisdom in some of the quotes, but as I get back on track here, maybe some of it will make sense to you. Nobody has quoted me yet.

To Do or Not to Do

Many weeks ago I got the idea for this blog. I started a draft on paper – I do that a lot as do many famous writers. Not that I’m famous, but John Le Carre’ is famous and well-published. I was just listening to his latest novel today, A Legacy of Spies. I watched a 60 Minutes interview with him several weeks ago. He lives in England in a remote place called Land’s End and has a separate little house where he writes his books in longhand. His wife types and edits his manuscripts. I thought that his lifestyle was extremely cool. His real name, which he prefers, is David Cornwell. Here he is in Wikipedia if you’re interested.

Back on Track

If you look at the “intro” parts of this blog, Looking for a Rufous, you may have picked up on the whole Rufous thing. Looking for things in life that really, really provide meaning and fulfillment, rather than just “living.” Also, there’s a great quote in Me and My Blog, probably my favorite quote, that says it all in my opinion. Of course, like someone said, if you already know the answer, don’t ask the question. Maybe you’ve figured it out already. Power to you, go for it, I’m perfectly fine with not perpetuating the search for meaning.

Takako Nishizaki: Very Best of Vivaldi, “Four Seasons, Spring (Allegro)”

An Average Day

Early morning sun (unusual for us in our Oregon winter) coming through the living room window, the dogs horsing around, listening to a Chicago song, “Wake Up Sunshine”, feeling good, an upbeat start to my day. I hope your day started on an upbeat note. But not every day starts that way, some days are more of a struggle. More caffeine, doesn’t help. Does that sound familiar? Such is life, eh, ups and downs, it’s normal. But what about the “baseline” parts of your life, the ongoing efforts that help you transcend the temporary mood swings and dark days? Is your baseline OK?

Tom Robbins: “To be or not to be isn’t the question. The question is, how to prolong being.”

I look at the best-selling authors, the scientists who discover cures for diseases, the athletes who strive to do their best, the volunteers who stack sandbags to stop the flood waters, and the others who strive to do things beyond themselves – I look at them in awe, admiring what they do. I’m not saying that being average is bad or that winning second place is not something to be proud of. You were there, that’s what counts.

N. Tonchev, Montana Chamber Orchestra: “Four Seasons, Summer (Presto)”

Parting Words on Starting this New Year (for me)

  • For this year, my plan is to try to stay healthy. If you’re active doing stuff, that’s a great place to start.
  • Do new things like meditation, early in the day. Even if it’s only 5 minutes, just relax, clear your thoughts, and focus on your breathing.
  • Journal, listen to music, watch the birds, cook dinner, talk to your kids or your friends or your dog (you’d be surprised how good a listener a dog can be).
  • Get involved, open up your mind and figure things out by relying on good, solid information. Segue to the Imprimis site, check it out, pick an area that interests you. I love the latest one, Are We Free to Discuss America’s Real Problems?.

More to come in the next blog.

N. Tonchev, Montana Chamber Orchestra: “Four Seasons, Autumn (Adagio-molto)”

Always Pictures

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Blog of the Week: December 24, 2017

December 25, 2017

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A Christmas Eve Blog

What can I say, on this Christmas Eve, 2017, to edify and perhaps entertain you. First, I’ll update you on my week in wintry Oregon, then move on to the “edifying” part.

The Recap for the Week

Did I say “wintry”? Which reminds me, I hate it when she’s right all the time (well, most of the time). My spouse called it (before the weatherman) at least two weeks ago, “The conditions are right, and we’ll have snow by Christmas.” And we did, on Christmas Eve.

And the rest of the week . . . Christmas preparations, some indoor golf on Tuesday, a couple of short runs for me in the cold, visits from the grandkids, and the wife came down with a cold. So, some plusses and some minuses for this past week.

The Edifying Part

It’s late, so I’ll wrap it up with some thoughts and affirmations from my Daily Word readings (see my note below). It’s good to slow down, to stop, and to reflect. I’ll include the accompanying Bible reference in parentheses for each of these daily affirmations. Look them up if you like.

Note: You can go to dailyword.com to get a copy if you’re interested.
Coldplay: God Put a Smile on Your Face
  • Joy: I expand my joy as I share my blessings with others. (Isaiah 55:12)
  • Healing: I am an ever-renewing expression of Infinite Life. (Luke 9:2)
  • Giving: I freely express my giving heart. (2 Corinthians 9:7)
  • Receiving: I prepare to receive as I give without an expectation of return. (Luke 8:15)
  • Strength: In stillness, I renew my strength. (1 Chronicles 16:11)
  • Celebrate: I celebrate the glory of God with all that I am and in everything that I do! (1 Corinthians 10:31)
  • Silent Night: I find peace and love in the Silence. (Isaiah 30:15)
  • Christmas Eve: I am ready to give birth to new expressions of Spirit as I release limitations. (Luke 2:14)
  • Christmas: I welcome the rebirth of Christmas spirit into my heart today. (Luke 1:14)

Blog of the Week: December 17, 2017

December 18, 2017
dadson_at-the-beach-2

Dad & Son

What’s the Hook?

For the answer, go back to my Crystal City, Part I blog to refresh your memory about journalism. Basically, rather than start out with some of the more routine things that happened this past week, I wanted to start with my morning meditation thoughts from this morning, which I thought were well-worth passing along, although the thoughts didn’t actually happen last week. Doesn’t matter really, try to be flexible. :}

As part of my morning routine, as I mentioned last week, I try to spend some time reading – I read different things, always the Bible, and some other things, just to get my day started on the right foot (or the left). Often, I’ll just open my Bible at a random location. This morning was in the book of Psalms, Psalm 15 to be exact. I recommend reading the Bible even if you aren’t “religious” (whatever that means), partly because of the way it was written, especially the Psalms, which are poems, songs of praise, or thankfulness verses, and they show a wide variety of emotions and feelings. My Bible is the New International Version. I quote part of Psalm 15, just a bit to get you started, then you can read all of it, it’s only five verses long.

Psalm 15 (part of it)

Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy hill?

He whose life is blameless and who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from his heart
and has no slander on his tongue,
who does his neighbor no wrong
and casts no slur on his fellowman,
who despises a vile man
but honors those who fear the Lord,
who keeps his oath
even when it hurts,
who lends his money
without usury
and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.

He who does these things
will never be shaken.

Actually, I got carried away, that’s all of Psalm 5.

Journal Recap

Just a few high points from my journal for the past week, that’s all.

My son-in-law came over to help install a new kitchen faucet after the other one stopped working. Actually, I don’t claim to have mechanical abilities sufficient for such a task, so I watched, and he installed the faucet. It would have taken me three times as long. Water is an amazing commodity in our daily lives, try washing your dishes in the shower.

My wife and I played golf at Killarney Golf Course. It was chilly, but dry, and the greens were as hard as a rock from the cold weather we’ve had. She won (again). We’ve recently started playing golf at a place called Top Golf, which is undercover and has food and drink, not a regular golf course, but still a lot of fun and at least it’s dry and warm.

Lots of soup and salads this week, fortunately I’m married to a creative cook, who creates wonderful soups that are especially good during the cold months. Otherwise, I did my usual routine going to the gym and running, but less distance this time of year. On Saturday we did a sleepover at my daughter’s house so she and her hubby could have a weekend night at the beach while we stayed with the kids. Lots of walks in their new neighborhood, with and without the dogs, just exploring to find the best places to go.

Closing in on Christmas, so maybe my next BOTW will be about Christmas. Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas in advance.

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Mt. Hood, Oregon

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Sunriver, Oregon

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Estacada, Oregon

Blog of the Week: December 10, 2017

December 11, 2017
Pink Floyd: On the Run

What’s the Scoop?

Regarding this particular literary exercise . . . you’re reading a rehash of my week, hopefully interesting in that you may able to relate. We live lives of “quiet desperation” someone once said. Did I learn anything last week and am I now wiser for having learned new things, always a good question. I do a daily journal, bits and pieces of which may appear in this series of blogs – I’ll leave out the really mundane stuff, grocery lists, etc. Of course, sometimes the mundane stuff provides its own drama in our daily lives such as signing up for medical insurance after going through the myriad of available options and trying to make the right decision. Thank heavens for my own stress relief in the form of gym workouts and running, which for me is meditation. For example, in my Daily Word booklet that I read, last Monday’s word was “Meditation: I experience oneness through the art of meditation.” The accompanying Bible verse was from Psalm 49:3, “My mouth will speak words of wisdom; the utterance of my heart will give understanding.” Tuesday’s reading was about “world peace”, Wednesday was about “letting go – to open the way to new and bountiful good.” Not easy for some of us to accomplish. Thursday was “Pray for Others” in a vision of wholeness for people you may not know. Friday was “Forgive: I appreciate my innate capacity to forgive.” Obviously, another challenge for many of us. Saturday was “Prosperity: My life is filled with an overflowing measure of God’s goodness.” For me, starting the day with a positive affirmation is a real boost.

Saturday’s Run

What a nice run, it was chilly and hilly, but dry. The Portland area has been enjoying a dry spell. I bundled up and took off on one of my familiar routes, a paved trail near where I live. I wanted to run about seven miles. I didn’t run fast, party because of the hills, but the run felt good, no major aches or pains. I had a few “dog encounters.” There were many people out with their animals. I always try to stop and pet the friendly ones. Two big German Shepherds were out enjoying the sun. The owner told me their names were Nola and Harley. Toward the end of the run, the sun was going down, the wind was kicking up, and the temperature was dropping. I was at the top of a big hill looking down at the valley. I noticed a little kid in a green jacket. As I ran down the hill I rounded a turn and he and his mom, pushing a stroller, and their dog were coming up the hill. I said hi and headed for home.

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Journalism 201: Part II

June 29, 2017

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See the note about the picture at the bottom.

Looking Back: What Happened at Crystal City? (Part I)

If you’re a reader of my blog, you may remember this Journalism 101 post from last year, a four-part series about Crystal City. If you missed it, you should check it out. A lot has happened in our world in the last year, and this blog has been stewing and simmering in the pot.

As a Journalism major in college I learned a few things about that whole process of gathering information. However, now I’m more concerned about how we as individuals interpret and react to information and the apparent trends that I see. I’ll try to focus on what’s been on my mind.

What’s the Point?

Without getting into a discussion about “fake news” and “real news” and all the different varieties of “media”, I’ll just throw some ideas and questions your way.

Would you say that social issues should be examined on a purely emotional basis or should rational and logical thought be involved?

It’s always good to vet your sources. As you know, because of the Internet, finding information is surprisingly easy.

Definition of “vet” (quoted from Merriam-Webster)
  1. To subject to usually expert appraisal or correction, e.g. vet a manuscript.
  2. To evaluate for possible approval or acceptance, e.g. vet the candidates for a position.

Randy Newman: Sigmund Freud’s Impersonation of Albert Einstein in America

Back on Track: Alternate Sources of Information

I’m throwing this blog installment out there as food for thought. Just a note about a web site that I found that (in my opinion) is a very good one, Hillsdale College. I receive and read the free monthly Imprimis digest. You also can sign up for the digest (and contribute to the college as I do). I included the Hillsdale College web site because the articles will give you a different perspective on some of the major issues – the questions about Syrian refugees, what is conservatism, the left’s war on free speech, etc.

Be forewarned that the Imprimis installments are well written but are not light reading and require some mental effort to absorb what the writer is saying. I’ll touch on and summarize some of their past topics.

Note that I don’t expect you to read all of these web articles, although you may find them very interesting, and even the sidebar articles are interesting if not controversial, e.g. the soapboxie site.

Another source: soapboxie.com

What Has Happened to Truth in Journalism?

A Real Need for the Real News

Before I get to some summaries of the Imprimis articles, I’ll throw in my “two cents worth”.

My Two Cents Worth – Some Things to Think About

Side note: In defining “media”, think of how we get our information, broadcast news, newspapers, social media (Facebook, etc.), TV shows, radio, and the Internet.
Don Henley: Dirty Laundry

Here are a few questions (rhetorical) to ask about using the media and becoming responsible users of the media.

  • Should we avoid all media sources?
  • Use mainstream media (Fox, CNN, and CBS) or try to find alternate sources of information?
  • Isn’t it more responsible to react to news by thinking rationally and logically rather than emotionally?
  • Should we be accountable for our own actions/reactions to the media?
  • Should we expect the media to be totally unbiased in their news reporting?

Imprimis Digest

As I said before the Imprimis Digest installments are not light reading, but I’ve made some notes, and I’ll try to give you the high points. Obviously, feel free to make your own interpretations and form your own opinions. I’m quoting the Imprimis summary statement next to the title on the web page for each Imprimis piece. Note the number of installments, all the way back to 1972.

Restoring America’s Economic Mobility (September 2016)

“Today the story of American politics is the story of class struggles. It wasn’t supposed to be that way.”

In Frank Buckley’s opening paragraph he talks about Marx and puts a historical frame around his subject. If you are a person interested in economics and like numbers and details, you’ll find this piece very interesting.

The author dives right into the meat of his article, discussing “economic mobility” in paragraph 4. There is a graph of the mobility rankings on page 2. Note that the U.S. and U.K. are rated low in mobility. He talks about education on page 3 and how we compare with Canada.

He touches on immigration briefly in one paragraph on page 3, “What abut immigration? Canada doesn’t have a problem with illegal aliens – it deports them”.

Who We Are as a People – The Syrian Refuge Question (October 2016)

“It is not beyond reason that a sovereign nation would be allowed to inquire whether the religious beliefs of an asylum seeker are compatible with the American constitutional order.”

A brief aside:
OK, take a break, inhale, deep breath, and ask yourself, “Why is the Rufous blog all of a sudden after all this time getting political, especially when I was so enjoying his pictures and music and his insights (nonpolitical) about life? Why am I now being asked to be accountable, to think about normal, every-day things in a different light and possibly make better decisions about issues that affect my life and the lives of others?”

More Imprimis

As I said above I’d try to give you the high points of the Imprimis pieces, and I do read them and use my highlighter and make notes sometimes, but to summarize all of that is very time consuming, so I’m leaving it up to you (isn’t there a song with those lyrics?). I.e. I won’t do the grunt work for you — if you’re interested in reading it, then the rest is up to you.

Thanksgiving and America (November 2016)

“The best expression of this aspect of Thanksgiving comes from Benjamin Franklin, who called it a day “of public Felicity,” a time to express gratitude to God for the “full Enjoyment of Liberty, civil and religious.”

A More American Conservatism (December 2016)

“If American conservatism means anything, then, it means the things found at the beginning of America, when it became a nation.”

I found this one very interesting because I know how we like our labels, “conservative”, “liberal”, etc., and this piece does a good job of explaining conservatism in its true sense.

The Left’s War on Free Speech (April 2017)

“In the weeks following the Citizens United ruling, the Left settled on a new strategy. If it could no longer use speech laws against its opponents, it would do the next best thing—it would threaten, harass, and intimidate its opponents out of participation.”

And last but not least and probably the most relevant piece to this blog . . . I love this one!

The 2016 Election and the Demise of Journalistic Standards (May/June 2017)

“Last year’s election gave us the gobsmacking revelation that most of the mainstream media puts both thumbs on the scale—that most of what you read, watch, and listen to is distorted by intentional bias and hostility.”

That’s it guys, for the Imprimis Digest, just a sampling. There may be a Part III for this topic (haven’t decided yet). I hope you found this information to be informative and enlightening.

BTO: Takin Care of Business
Picture credit: Schroders is a British multinational asset management company, founded in 1804. The inscription means “Evolve your investor nature.” Beyond that I don’t know the picture artist, but note that those are his hands in the picture. Very cool!

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