Sold or Sold Out

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I have a gripping memory. A moment that I don’t think that I will ever forget. When I was around 10 years old, a young man in our church was sick with leukemia. He’d already been down the road with several treatments and had been been in remission once, but the leukemia had returned. He’d started the treatments again, but his body was weak. His limbs were thin and he looked almost like a walking skeleton. Everything that could be done, was being done, it was as they say, in the hands of God. As we gathered on a Sunday morning for service, the pastor called for a prayer vigil and a day of fasting. For those not familiar, instead of your normal day of eating and napping, we’d take that time to pray for our friend and keep him in our thoughts. This was all voluntary. I wanted to help. I cared. But fasting. Food. Egads.

The drive home was somber. On the way home we stopped to check on some friends of my parents who hadn’t made it to church. And wouldn’t you know it, they had the biggest back yard grill and barbecue going. I could smell the hot dogs. That was the only thing I cared for at that moment. We’d eaten with them before and it had been heaven on earth. I think that I’d eaten 4 hot dogs and 1 burger if I remember right. Yeah, I was a growing girl. Like a girl with a butterfly net, I lost sight of the man with leukemia, the prayer vigil, the fasting, compassion and all the promises I’d had made in my heart and mind earlier that morning. I only saw hot dogs floating in the sky. Until I heard my dad say, ‘No we have to go. We’ve made other plans.’ No explanation. No talk about fasting. Nothing. But that’s my dad. Quiet. As few words as possible. Conagher like.

Sold

Dad was sold. All in. Now, I’m not saying that fasting is the answer, because, sadly it wasn’t. And I’m not saying that being all in, is the way, or the only way to go. Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t. It’s a memory I have that has been on my mind. There are times that I feel the need to throw all of my cards on the table. Hold nothing back. Give it all I’ve got. I’m proud of that moment that Dad said, No we have other plans. If he’d have done any other thing, it would seem cheap. Not that the outcome would have been any different maybe, but the heart of matter is showing you care for another human. It was the belief of my family. And in their belief it was the greatest show of caring.

Sold or Sold Out?

My opposing memory is being with those who can’t seem to stay with you for a meal. Or feel a client’s phone call is more important than family time, even it’s scheduled. I’ve had this happen. When I asked why, he said, The client pays the bills. How do you argue that? My thoughts were, if there’s no one here, then you won’t have any bills to pay, but I didn’t say it. I just stewed in anger instead. At the time I thought it was better to be silent than to start a fight. Now I’m not so sure. Sold or sold out? Maybe he was sold also, just to the client. Maybe he was as another had told me, married to the job, more so than me. I was the mistress, the job was the spouse. I think a lot of people these days are sold out and don’t realize it. It’s not that they intentionally go to the crossroads and make a deal with the devil. They just give away a piece of their self a bit at a time. Even I did that when I kept quiet. We do it every day.

This week, I want to be careful, but not in a fearful way. In a way that is awake. I want to carefully step every day on firm ground, one step in front of the other, making sure that it’s the direction I want to go. I’m going to set down the butterfly net, so I can give full attention to the people around me, to those I truly care about.

It’s the Most Charity Time of the Year

English: child enjoying clean and safe drinkin...

child enjoying clean and safe drinking water from a newly built well, funded by charity: water

It’s that time of the year again. Just like last year, I wanted to share with you a couple of my favorite charities. Here’s a link to last year’s, What Color Are Your Towels?

I hope that this has been a good year for you and that you are able to give. If not, then take care of yourself and your own. There’s nothing wrong with that. In the lean years, that’s how we do things. But in those other times, when we’ve planted our garden and have tomatoes “growing out our ears” we make big batches of salsa and give it away. I’ve donated so far this year to Charity:Water and Kiva.org, which is really a loan that is repaid, but I redistribute the funds.

I was fortunate to get involved with TheThinkingAtheists event which looks like it might still be open. I would love to see this fully funded.

Keurig has offered to match donations to Charity Water for the building of freshwater wells in third-world nations.  In the past, The Thinking Atheist community has funded two wells in Ethiopia, and we consider this a worthy endeavor.  Click here for info and to help reach the $20,000 goal. https://my.charitywater.org/compassion-for-clean-water

If you’d like to get someone a gift that also works as a charity donation, check out some of the stores for your favorite charities. Some of the items are so cute. I want these pins,

 

 

 

Below is a short piece by Seth Godin and he lists a few of his favorite charities at the bottom. Please feel free to add some of your own in the comments.

Babies and bathwater – Seth Godin

I got a call yesterday from a charity.

Actually, I got an unsolicited spam pitch from one of the worst charities in America. They give less than 1% of what they raise to the cause in question.

Therefore, some might say, it makes no sense to give to anyone, ever.

Which would be a shame, because it’s a mistake to fail to do the hard work of discerning the good from the deceptive.

The thing is, everything worth doing is done to excess, poorly, immorally, inefficiently, by someone. But that doesn’t change the fact that the very same thing done right is worth doing…….The right charity changes the world, just as it changes us when we engage with it.

[Charities I’m donating to today: Acumen, Room to Read, charity: water, DoSomething, Possible Health, Afya, Build On and Pencils of Promise.]

 

Women are alway fixing things

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Have you taken it to heart? I just read the story of Margaret Rudkin, the mother of Pepperidge Farms. It started with an allergy. Actually her son’s allergy to certain bread products. As most mothers do, she took the doctor’s advice initially and put him on a restricted diet of vegetables, fruits, and meats. Later she decided to experiment. She wasn’t a baker, a chef, or any type of fancy cook, just a mother who cared about her child. She was on a mission. She finally found a way to make breads that her son could tolerate. She went on to other items and decided to market her baked goods. It took time. Lots of it. Years. You can read her story here, Pepperidge Farm History

Have we forgotten about women? We’ve encouraged women to study math and science. We’ve encouraged them in sports. We’ve encouraged them in higher education. Are we training them to be only automatons? Did we forget to challenge them to take risks? Not according to Linda Rottenberg. She says we just haven’t talked about the things women have done. I believe we to keep encouraging.

“Entrepreneurship isn’t just for guys who wear hoodies and work in technology,” said Linda Rottenberg. Entrepreneurship is solving problems that can make significant change in people’s lives, then scaling the solution. She should know: She’s co-founder and CEO of Endeavor, the world’s leading supporter of fast-growing entrepreneurs. Rottenberg is also the author of recently published Crazy Is a Complement: The Power of Zigging When Everyone Else Zags.

In fact, by focusing on stories only about Marc Zuckerberg and Elon Musk, we may be discouraging many entrepreneurs who don’t fit their model rather than encouraging entrepreneurs. Let’s make sure to tell stories about all fast-growing entrepreneurs including those led by women. – Forbes Women Entrepreneurs

Here are some current female entrepreneurs who are listed in the article. I’ve snipped it a bit for space. You can click the link above to read the entire article.

  • Two women, Leila Velez and Zica Assis, raised in the slums of Brazil created a line of hair care products, Beleza Natural for Afro-Brazilian women so their hair would look beautiful. They employ 3,000 people and generate $100 million revenue.
  • Lateefa Alwaalan created Yatooq, which developed a coffee brewer that reduced the time it takes to make Arabic coffee by 75%. Yatooq also developed an Arabic coffee blend. Her company is projected to earn $8 million this year and $11 million next year.
  • Nada Debs has built a furniture and accessories design brand under her name. The products are  manufactured by a network of 150 artisans in Lebanon. She employs more than 40 people…Products can be purchased from New York to Dubai.
  • Bedriye Hülya, created B-fit, Turkey’s first national chain of women-only gyms…also enabled hundreds of women to own b-fit franchises and thus become entrepreneurs in their own right.

If you see a need for something different, fill it, make it, create it, design it. Sarah Blakely did. That’s why we now have Spanx. Whether you think they’re a good thing or a bad thing, every product you use, from a toothbrush to a can opener, someone had a need, then had the courage to do something about it. But before they had the courage, there was a mother or father, sister, brother or friend, who told them they were talented enough to do it. If you don’t feel ready to jump into the fray yourself, then lend a hand to someone else. Patronage is still alive today.

Please be Kind, I’m Trying

The "surprise kiss" scene required m...

The “surprise kiss” scene required much trial and error from the actors

I started a new medicine this last week. Ugh. The brakes screeched. The emergency brake slammed on also. I went from running to walking to nothing. I felt like death. I’ve had migraines my entire life but, they’ve been worse lately. I thought I’d take a bit of action, and so, I researched. It’s what I do best.

Most medications have trial periods. One week isn’t enough time to know if they are helping, and then there’s a whole soup of chemicals in a human body already that a medication is mixing with. Each person is different. So, I’m giving it time. These last few weeks may have not been the best weeks. I may have picked a better time, maybe. Holidays, appliance deliveries, and work backlogs. I don’t know. But is there ever a good week? I’m not complaining. I’m thankful to have medication to take and time to try and try again. If it doesn’t work, I’ll move on to something else.

How do you handle new experiences? Trial and error? Try once? Never try?

Just remember kindness this week to those around you. They may be like me, trying something new. Putting a strange concoction in their body, thinking it will cure them or at least help. Maybe you can put a smile on their face today for me. Share something nice with them. Also, be kind to yourself for the same reason.

But no one is asking you to be original. We’re asking you to be generous and brave and to matter. – Seth Godin Of Course it’s been done before

 

The Odd One

Luna Lovegood

My favorite characters are usually the odd ones. Just a bit off beat. They’re likely not the girl to be invited to the party, but not because they’re hated, or ugly, more likely because they were wandering in the forest, gathering mushrooms or rare moth larvae. Let me introduce you to Auri, from Patrick Rothfuss’s series – The Kingkiller Chronicles and Luna Lovegood, from J.K. Rowling’s, Harry Potter series.

Auri – The Kingkiller Chronicles

Auri was a young genius whose spark burned too brightly to function in what most of us call reality. Instead, she created her own reality in the tunnels under the university. Her days are spent making order of the abandoned areas in that hidden world. Her one friend is a current student, Kvothe.

Auri hopped down from the chimney and skipped over to where I stood, her hair streaming behind her. “Hello Kvothe.” She took a half-step back. “You reek.”

I smiled my best smile of the day. “Hello Auri,” I said. “You smell like a pretty young girl.”

“I do,” she agreed happily.

She stepped sideways a little, then forward again, moving lightly on the balls of her bare feet. “What did you bring me?” she asked.

“What did you bring me?” I countered.

She grinned. “I have an apple that thinks it is a pear,” she said, holding it up. “And a bun that thinks it is a cat. And a lettuce that thinks it is a lettuce.”

“It’s a clever lettuce then.”

“Hardly,” she said with a delicate snort. “Why would anything clever think it was a lettuce?”

“Even if it is a lettuce?” I asked.

“Especially then,” she said. “Bad enough to be a lettuce. How awful to think you are a lettuce too.” She shook her head sadly, her hair following the motion as if she were underwater.

Luna Lovegood – Harry Potter series

At first, you dismiss Luna, especially when she’s talking about mysterious things that go bump in the night that steal shoes. But, she also knows things that no one else seems to know. Besides, just listening to her talk is enchanting enough for me, whether she speaks by book or by movie.

The girl gave off an aura of distinct dottiness. Perhaps it was the fact that she had stuck her wand behind her left ear for safekeeping, or that she had chosen to wear a necklace of Butterbeer caps, or that she was reading a magazine upside down. – From Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

“Mistletoe,” said Luna dreamily, pointing at a large clump of white berries placed almost over Harry’s head. He jumped out from under it. “Good thinking,” said Luna very seriously. “It’s often infested with nargles.”

Harry Potter: [sees that Luna is barefoot] Aren’t your feet cold?

Luna Lovegood: A bit. But all my shoes have mysteriously disappeared. I suspect the Nargles are behind it. – from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)

Rainbows and Taxes

bright-rainbow

The trick to having a happy life is knowing who you are and what you need at this stage of life.

I often get caught playing against two sides. The wall that is solid brick and constant. The unchanging realities. The weather. Death. Life. Taxes. It’s true to its word and never changes. You always know where you stand, but it is unforgiving if you slam against it.

The other is not a wall at all. Plasma. Morphing. Changing. Moving. It’s much like sinking sand. The wants, needs, and desires we all have. We want a house. College. We dream of success. It’s all intangible. The end of the rainbow. The stars of the sky. It can seem scary when the desires overwhelm us.

“Don’t seek to be happy; let everyone else chase after that rainbow.
Seek to be kind, and you’ll find the rainbow follows you.”
Richelle E. Goodrich

No one wants to live in an iron cage. To be contained without forgiveness will make your heart sink with defeat. You lose all motivation and wish only for death to come. We dream of running free or flying high in the air. If your life is constantly paying dues, living your life meeting the needs of others, being responsible, then your life is an iron cage. You are a bird in a cage.

It’s not all or nothing….

But, we all need a little support. We need fences and borders to help us along the way. Highways have markings for a reason. Road signs and access lanes keep us traveling freely. When we are developing our skills either as children or adults we need guidance. How do I travel overseas? Do I need a passport? Will I be searched at the airport? So you ask for guidance, consult the experts, get recommendations from friends and even strangers who look like they might know something about traveling abroad. If you have been a regular nomad your entire life, you don’t need these things anymore. You could write your own guidebook. Heck you probably already have.

Where are you?

The important thing to know is, what level are you in this life? Are you starting fresh or starting over? You’ll know because you’ll be asking questions and looking everywhere for answers. That bewildered look on your face really gives you away. That’s okay. It’s just one step at a time and then you’re on your way. Maybe you started over and have been on this journey awhile but you’re not sure if this is where you want to be. Maybe it’s an okay place, but it may be a bit boring. That’s when you start flexing some muscles. Add some play into your routine. You can push the boundaries a bit just to start a spark. It will be like your teenage years all over again, but without the braces.

Who are you?

Not many people will admit to being an old pro at life. I mean really, as they say, no one gets out alive. Some are more sturdy and knowledgeable though and to yell at them for getting off the safe path would just be silly. They might laugh at you. These are the ones who stare at the top of Mount Everest with a twinkle in their eye. “Yep,” they say, “I’m gonna climb that someday.” And maybe they will. If not that mountain then it might be another. You’ll find these people often helping out the Red Cross or United Way after a disaster. They’ll be reading to small children while their parents are stocking up on survival supplies. You might see them but you probably won’t because they are busy just living their lives.

“the image of those midwestern storms that rip up the world as you know it, and leave, like a sacrifice, a rainbow to make you forget what has come before.”
Jodi Picoult, Picture Perfect

There are the travelers and the nomads. Trailblazers and renegades. The gardener and the road builder. The scientist and the preacher. What do all of these have in common? You guessed it. They all started with one step in front of the other. No one is born fully whole.

Where are you? Have you recently started over? Do you even know where you want to go or what you want to see? Just know where you are now. Write it down and don’t be ashamed. If you were wanting to travel you would start with brochures. You would read up on the places that sound interesting then learn what you need for the journey.

Some books that inspired me:

El Camino road by Shirley Maclaine
The ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning
Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Holidays 2014

life-quote

It’s that time of the year here in the states when the frenetic energy starts stirring. Just not with me. I usually try to hide as much as possible. I live a short distance from my parents and it seems everyone is traveling here this year. I’m going to keep this short and easy for all of us. So here is my motto at this moment, as always taken from someone else:

The Metta Suttra, translated, reads:

May all beings
be happy and safe,
and may their hearts
be filled with joy.
May all beings live
in security and peace,
whether weak or strong,
large or small,
near or far away,
visible or invisible,
already born
or yet to be born,
May all of them dwell
in perfect tranquility.

- A Smaller Life on my tiptoes 07/2012

 

All the Way to the Top, Baby!

rock climbing

If the team doesn’t make it to the top, who do we blame? The guy who gave up at the beginning? Not usually. The human link in the chain that just didn’t try? Boys will be boys. Play on player. You certainly can’t fault the one who lasted the longest, claws dug in deep into the dirt of the mountainside. If one person would’ve saved the team, she would have, but that’s just the problem. It takes more than one. It takes everyone to make a marriage. It takes everyone to build a family. It takes more than one to win a game and more than one to strike up a tune. So if you’re going to play with the big girls, if you want to wear the big pants, play your heart out and play for keeps. Because girls that make it to the top of the mountain, break a few nails, but they are strong.

Here is a short follow up to: The Passion of Hate and Love

Gears, cogs, pistons, they each have their job. If one malfunctions, you don’t blame the other for the whole machine’s malfunction. When a marriage crumbles, it’s never one person’s fault. I’ve carried around a feeling of failure for years that I realize is wrong. I’m pretty pissed about it now. I know I didn’t fail. I was the unfortunate owner of the hot potato and my ex was the absent person and the only other player in the game to toss the potato to. I hope you feel the helplessness in that. I felt his absence for years. I felt I was the muted voice yelling at the top of my lungs to a deaf man who seemed not to care or didn’t want to carry any responsibility. And I did the hardest thing I could possibly do. I left. There was no more pretty in my pretty please. I couldn’t try harder. I couldn’t try anymore. I was empty inside. I loved that man with all that I had, and it was gone. Somehow, we didn’t match. All of my young years, I had been told, marry a Christian. Marry the man God sends to you. Marry a man your parents approve of. Check. Check. Check. And I was madly in love. What could go wrong? We did the right things. We waited to get married. We had the church wedding. God was surely smiling on us. Delirium. Delusion. Once Upon A Time, Oh wait, wrong bedtime story. I woke up. And I am alive and well.

Massive-Success-Frank-Sinatra-Best-Revenge-Picture-Quotes

The tiny cost of failure

…is dwarfed by the huge cost of not trying.

This is news, a state of affairs due to the significant value of connection, to the power of ideas that spread and to the low cost of production.

Delighting a few with an idea worth spreading is more valuable than ever before. – Seth Goddin

To truly fail, is to not get up. And if you fall, get up again. Laugh again. Or cry. Turn on some Phil Collins or some other good music and enjoy the day. I’m taking song suggestions by the way. I’d like to have yours. Comment at the top of the blog. I have Phil’s song stuck in my head, “I can feel it coming in the air tonight…” and now so do you.

 

The Thing You Didn’t Say

supergirl

I have a proneness towards being involved. I’ll just state that up front, so you’ll know exactly where I stand when you read the second paragraph. It comes from being raised in a small town, in a small community church. Everyone helps. Everyone brings a covered dish for the meal and everyone helps clean the kitchen. With that knowledge in mind, I can ask a few questions.

When you’re sitting quietly beside someone and they’re talking about a topic you’re familiar with, when do you feel comfortable jumping in? When the topic is spoken to you directly? When you’re well informed? When you know the person who is talking? Never? Always? What you know and what is appropriate to talk about has always been difficult to me. I was raised to find the answers. If I have questions, I search in the library, in books,  ask teachers, read magazines, ask experts, or wherever I thought I could get knowledge. And since I grew up in a small church, I was put in leadership at a young age, so this put me in a mindset of being a know it all. Not with young children so much, but with my peers. I didn’t want that, so I was always bounding between giving an answer or staying quiet. This is the thing many women never talk about, having to stay quiet for fear of being ridiculed. By my own natural inclination, I want to help. I want to expose the truth. I want to tell all the information that might be helpful. Usually leaving people stunned and overwhelmed. Overexposed.

It’s difficult to carry on a conversation about topics that are mentally stimulating with people in everyday life. My brother and I have discussed this before. It takes an effort to find your own kind. And this is probably for everybody. There are sports bars for people who like sports, but most of society is a mixture weirdness and snobbery, myself included. What if you like beer and the opera?

Men are trying balance their Alpha maleness with their supportive softer side. Have you heard about The Red Pill controversy? Anti-feminism? It’s tough. It’s even tougher because women aren’t completely sure what they want. We have groups who are altogether sex goddesses. They believe women are pure estrogen and need to do nothing more than to wag their, whatever, to get their way. Fine. And maybe that’s all true. But some of us have a brain and are curious. I like to explore and think. We have geeks supporting brain juice. Pop culture promoting a sex-pumped Barbie image. Then there are the Vegans.

This is just to show how far away we are not from solving the role of women or even of men,

Kim Kardashian doesn’t realize she’s the butt of an old racial joke

On the flip side – those of you saying that Kim Kardashian needs to put on some clothes simply because she is a mother also need to sip a big champagne glass of “Girl, Bye!” Because this antiquated idea that mothers are not allowed to celebrate their sexuality is ridiculous and naive. How exactly do you think women become mothers? Immaculate conception? I’ve never been a fan of policing other women’s bodies, and I’m not about to start now. Ya’ll can have that. – The Grio

Somewhere in all of these types, we forgot to just be who we are. We have brains. We have bodies. Some of us like to drive and some like to coast. Pick your flavor and enjoy. It all works together my friend and you can’t ignore any of it or you have dysfunctions. I think the over sized derriere is a symptom of the dysfunction trying to find balance, but it’s just my guess. And truthfully, even if I had a backside curved like Kim’s, it would probably still be sitting on the couch on Saturday night.

I can’t miss mentioning this, Rosetta Scientist, Matt Taylor, wore sexist shirt – Business Insider,

All of humanity made history today by landing a spacecraft on a comet.

Unfortunately, many of the women following that development — and a few men, too — were made to feel pretty unwelcome in the space exploration sphere when one of the people leading the mission decided to show up to talk about it wearing a shirt covered in dozens of half-naked women.

There’s never a lack of stuff to talk about. I think the wisdom is knowing when to speak and when to not speak. What to wear and when to not wear it. And maybe even how much to show and at what times? I don’t always know. I try to err on the side of not speaking to compensate for my overzealous mouth.

Being Chosen, Blessing or a Curse?

Painting by Jean-Léon Gérôme of a veiled Circa...

Painting by Jean-Léon Gérôme of a veiled Circassian (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you like it when you get special attention from your boss? Do you want to be the favored son or daughter? Or is it better to fly under the radar? The sad fact of being special or chosen is that it’s difficult to be known for anything other than your trademark. You’re special. You’re chosen.

I was watching the show Reign, on Netflix this past week and although it’s not true to history, I was enjoying it. It showed King Henry’s two sons, Francis and the bastard, Sebastian. Francis had privilege and status and the future betrothal to Mary,  but the bastard was freedom to take chances and explore. Which made me think of other “chosen” types in history. One big one I think of is the people know to be the most beautiful in history.

The Georgian women, from the North Caucasus mountain region in European Russia, are known for their great beauty. So much so, that families were known for selling their own children for the same price as a horse. They sold as their children as sex slaves, as circus beauties, as sultan harems, or whatever else.

An advertisement from 1782 titled “Bloom of Circassia” makes clear that it was by then well established “that the Circassians are the most beautiful Women in the World”, but goes on to reveal that they “derive not all their Charms from Nature”. They used a concoction supposedly extracted from a vegetable native to Circassia. Knowledge of this “Liquid Bloom” had been brought back by a “well-regarded gentleman” who had traveled and lived in the region. It “instantly gives a Rosy Hue to the Cheeks”, a “lively and animated Bloom of Rural Beauty” that would not disappear in perspiration or handkerchiefs. – Wikipedia Circassian beauties

And then there is this blog, which I’ll only show you the first paragraph, but I’m a geek, so I find these things fascinating. I hope you don’t mind.

A Freakish Whiteness: The Circassian Lady and the Caucasian Fantasy

by Gre­gory Fried
Published March 15, 2013

When I first stum­bled across the photograph repro­duced below, over 15 years ago at an antique show, it struck me as ludi­crous, inex­plic­a­ble, and yet also some­how haunt­ing. Per­haps it was the jux­ta­po­si­tion of the young woman’s abstracted gaze with the absurdly wild mass of hair flam­ing around her head. I found a name, inscribed by pen­cil more than 130 years ago on the back of the pho­to­graph, “Zublia Aggolia,” and a title, “Cir­cass­ian Lady.” Even today, I still know noth­ing about Zublia her­self apart from her name, and even that is not what it seems. Despite that, her por­trait has taken me down a path of dis­cov­ery whose con­nec­tions I would have never guessed.

http://mirrorofrace.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/zubliamedium4.jpg

Mirror of race

I don’t want want to be chosen. I don’t want to be special. This is good as it is. Ordinary. Regular. Gotta get up on Monday morning and go to work and all of that kinda of stuff. Right. I’ll let someone else enjoy the limelight. That’s why I will win survive the zombie apocalypse.

And if you are really interested in the subject, I’ve included a YouTube video of a black professor speaking about why white people are called Caucasian.