Save the Planet, save the whales, all for the love of a green planet so we can save the future of humanity, but in the meantime, let’s kill babies.
Columbus Day No More ?
Yesterday, I happened to glance at the calendar in the kitchen and I saw it marked Indigenous Peoples Day. I was a bit confused for a moment, until I realized I had a woke calendar. Apparently, this is the right way to call it now because Columbus Day is offensive. It doesn’t matter anymore that the poor devil made the dangerous trip to America and put it in the map. Some say he was trying to find a new route; others say that he had other endeavors looking for riches, and lately, it is believed that he was a protector of the Jews living in the border between France and Spain, and might have been of the Jewish faith himself, which he hid, according to new letters revealing hidden symbolism. In Basque country, during that time, Basques, Jews, and Muslins lived in peace, until they were invaded by Spain. He was trying to find a safe place for his people, according to this new theory. No one will ever know for sure, I guess.
I also guess that we “old farts” should forget everything we learned at school long time ago and embrace the new ways of calling things (at the time of this writing, they are proposing to rename many military bases) because we might offend without intention a fragile soul, if we use an old concept/name. I always thought that the day celebrated or made a point of the discovery of the new world. I understand that with it, came genocide and slavery, a very sad and dark part of our history, and something we should never forget. Yesterday, we celebrated the indigenous peoples, which should have been celebrated long time ago, and not as a byproduct of wokeness.
I don’t like that in the name of being woke we are sweeping history under the rug, ignoring it, and practically erasing it. Erasing history is where the danger hides. A society that forgets where it has come from is doomed to end there one day. As for me, I will keep calling it Columbus Day, not because I like the old explorer, but because for me, it represented the day a new world was discovered, the one in which I live, and love.
One day, the world I grew up in will disappear, and things will not be called the same. Will I be deemed confused, disoriented or a candidate for senile dementia by some woke health practitioner? I can see an entire generation being misdiagnosed in their late years – “Patient does not know what day it is, makes up names for holidays, and becomes argumentative when questioned; might become combative at times, when corrected and reoriented.”
Assessing Your Strength and Building a Stronghold
I wrote this blogpost as a second part to the previous post.
After a devastating life event, how do you come back to living?
A devastating event will be different for every person, as well as its lasting effects, physically, emotionally and psychologically, as well as materially. When your life has been uprooted and turned upside down and around, how do you recover? During a life storm, everything is taken out of place, including your center, your sense of self and well-being, especially, your sense of self in relation to your Creator.
The recovery and healing process and timeline, assuming that you want it, will be different for everyone, but there are key steps that you can take to start and continue on your way up.
- First, acknowledge the situation, what has happened, how it happened, but don’t linger on the why looking for blame. Just acknowledge it for what it is at the moment. Know that stagnation or the present condition are not forever unless you decide so.
- Decide that you want your life back. You want to own your life again, and not be a victim of the circumstances.
- Acknowledge that you need help, and that help doesn’t equal weakness or handouts. Help can come in many forms: as faith in a higher power, help from above, from a friend or family, from community resources or private resources …
- Assess your strength. What is good right now? What do you have that is an asset to your healing and recovery? Whether it is in character, spirituality, people, or material resources, make a list of each blessing and look at it. You are not alone. You will feel better.
- Start visualizing your stronghold, your safe place; it is unique to you. See it in your mind, but also in your heart, no matter how impossible or far away it may seem right now.
- Start building your stronghold one brick at a time.
- Brick 1 – Faith, in God and yourself. You need to strengthen it because this block will be the foundation to build over it.
- Brick 2 – Velocity. Take it one step at a time. Learn to manage the little things first. When you are hurt and vulnerable, anything seems like a huge crisis, unsurmountable, and sometimes it is; however, when in pain, smaller issues are magnified.
- Brick 3 – Strive for balance. When the weight is out of place, it is easy to feel off balance. Know that a sense of balance will come back as you start managing smaller issues and details one by one. It will strengthen you to keep on going and feel equilibrium. During this time, talk to God; He listens.
- Brick 4 – Live with intention. By now, you feel a new sense of purpose and desire, even if that is only to come back to the living. Make your days count for you and your loved ones. Live intentionally each day. After all, each brand-new day is a gift the second you open your eyes. Do the best you can with what you have.
- Brick 5 – Use any resources available to you wisely and carefully. Plan the application of these resources in your life. Don’t waste or overuse these. Develop a sense of responsibility in their inception.
- Brick 6 – Become selective. Choose carefully the things and people you will give your full attention. This might seem common sense, however, how many times have we placed our attention on things and issues that will not benefit us, whether it relates to time management, frivolous pursuits, unfruitful projects, toxic people, toxic behavior or habits, unhealthy thoughts … Actively choose what enters your space, your sanctuary, your new stronghold. But also, what you will go after from now on, your pursuits.
- Brick 7 – Build your financial security. This starts with an honest appreciation of your everyday blessings, whether material or immaterial. Be grateful for what you have now and learn to manage it well. Not until that will you be able to define financial health (or any other type of security) for you. However, during that time, you should be working on a few simple skills.
- Keeping your expenses as low as you can so you can do as much as you can with what you have.
- Managing your money/resources better. Budgeting.
- Being intentional with every purchase and on/or below budget.
- Eliminating your debt one step at a time. It will take time. Stay away from new debt.
- Building savings slowly. Set an amount, even if low, to start. Savings never stop.
- Defining your standard of living according to the needs of the stronghold you set out to build. That is why your definition of financial health is important. It will help you discard anything that does not fit in your safe stronghold, whether expensive habits, behavior, or unnecessary purchases. You cannot build a new stronghold while living in an old one that crumbled.
- Brick 8 – Don’t focus on other people’s strongholds, mind your own. Their blessing is their blessing, yours is yours. It is easy to become distracted by other people’s wants and achievements. It is good to celebrate those and admire, even having someone successful as a mentor. However, when you take your eyes off your stronghold for too long, you will end up neglecting it and even devaluating it. Focus on continuing to build your safe place. Admire others, dream, but don’t neglect your own. This ties back to gratitude.
- Brick 9 – Realize that stuff and money do not make you rich or more valuable, and it certainly does not make you secure. You do and are with the help of God. When you realize where your true sense of security comes from, that is when you will have built your stronghold. You might have started building it from the outside, in the material, little by little, one small step at a time, one small achievement at a time, however, you will continue to build and improve it on the inside, inside of you, and that is a lifetime’s endeavor.
You are your stronghold and in it reside God’s strength, love, and blessings, because you placed Brick 1 as the foundation.
Disclaimer: I know because I’ve been there.
Falling Up While Looking Down
The title of this blogpost may seem a contradiction, however, it is not. This blogpost is about when one experiences a life changing event, a sort of “life crash” that changes not only your life, but everything around it. A life crash might be different for every person. It is that event that touches your core, your inner being, and it can make you or destroy you. It usually comes in the form of a loss, whether of health, possessions, relationships, finances … It turns your world upside down.
In the midst of mourning your loss, and while you are still falling, it is then when you will make the most important decision. On that defining moment, when you feel that you have reached rock bottom, you will decide whether you will continue to fall up while looking down or you will stay down and never look up. If you decide to mourn your loss on your way up, you will still feel the fall and hurt, but you will be on your way to regain your balance, and later on your strong footing. With every small and unrushed decision that you make, your stance will become stronger, even when you are still hurting from that fall.
During that time of healing and recovery, faith will surely provide a foothold and a stronghold; however, still looking down on your way up is not easy but requires trust in other than yourself because you are broken down and vulnerable. Faith in a higher power and force will be the bridge that will make a big difference in recovery. Recovery of what, when your world is broken and upside down? Recovery of your self-esteem, your “feeling again,” your courage, your values, your determination, your self-knowledge, your humanity, and ultimately, your heart and soul.
October is finally here, and with it, a few cooler days. We will have our first frost by Sunday, according to the local meteorologist. Those little birds were right once more. Nature knows best. If we would listen to it, we would know best too. I will be collecting what’s left on the veggie garden before Sunday, green or not. The Halloween vibes are louder this year in the stores. There are a few monstrosities on the shelves as well as on the food isles, pricing continues to go up. This weekend we will be cleaning up tons of leaves and branches left by the remnants of Ian. Thank God that is the only thing we have to clean up, because my heart truly goes out after the victims of its devastation in Florida.
Once October arrives, one tends to think of frightful things and pumpkins; it has been engrained in our culture for long. One of my favorite movies, if not my favorite, is Silver Bullet (Stephen King). When we bought this farmhouse, I found an old wooden baseball bat amongst the tall weeds. I cleaned it up and kept it, but I immediately thought of “the peacemaker” in that movie and named it so.
We got another dose of October fright when we went to pick up the pellet fuel. The increase in pricing will translate to $100 more per month ($2 more per bag) on a ton (50 bags/2,000 lbs.). We use about a ton per month. Is this type of heating worth it anymore at that increase? The electric companies are saying that the average customer will see the electric bill go up by $40-$60 a month, depending on who you listen to in the news. Will pellet stove fans revert to electric heating as a primary source? I think a wood stove or fireplace is the best choice, that is, if you chop your own wood. A cord of wood used to be around $250 on the cheap side of things, not anymore.
There are lovely monstrosities as well. A week or so ago, I found the biggest mushroom I have ever seen. It was bigger than my hand, so I had to take a picture and send it to my sister.
All this accelerated increase on the cost of living, a monstrosity, has me thinking and evaluating the way we do things around here, and looking for better alternatives. It looks like the whole nation is about to wake up and reevaluate its path, its core values, and at the home level, the paths we have taken so far, and the need to ponder and redirect our lifestyle.
We hope for fairness and constancy in life, but many times during our journey, we find ourselves on the opposite side of it, and most likely, not knowing up from down, and feeling that life has handed us the worst card, feeling sort of a spatial disorientation that numbs our senses and leaves us without a sense of direction, and many other feelings and emotions we rather not experience.
“It is not fair,” accompanies the anger and disillusion. During that time, how can we look up when we don’t even know where up is? Our compass, our radar, is not working properly. Everything might seem out of place in life, foggy, distant … It is hard to make sense of it all or make intelligent decisions. However, there is always a constant, one thing that remains the same when we don’t know our up from down, and that is the knowledge that help comes from above, wherever that might be. In an upside-down situation, help is a prayer away, and we don’t need to know our orientation because it is a matter of faith, and faith has no limits, no boundaries; spatial rules don’t apply here. When you feel that you have been handed your worst card in life, start by looking up, no matter if you don’t know your up from your down. All you need is a little bit of faith as your compass, and let God, the pilot, take you out of the storm and bring you to a safe place.
I will turn the darkness into light before them.Isaiah 42:16
One of the joys of living is not being able to tell the future. In that sense, today is the most important day of one’s life. People live and die, and whatever they live in between, that “life road” is different for everyone, even for the most dedicated and perfectionist planner. Life doesn’t give you guarantees but it may give you surprises, good and bad. How we interpret and respond to those surprises will determine the road we will take when in a crossroad. Some people go through more challenging times than other people, but no matter who you are, at least one time in your life you will be standing at a crossroad. Sometimes, the options are more generous and better than other times; however, there are times when none of the perceived options feel right.
When going left or right doesn’t seem to make sense, there is always a third road. It is the one you make when you don’t like the options. It is like leaving the paved highway and cutting through the tall grass to get to the other side. It might be rough, full of weeds and stones, and you might even encounter a few snakes here and there; however, it will be the right road taken, that is, for you, because you will pave that road with every step you take and with every lesson along the way. In the end, the solution was part of the journey. “You have arrived.”
On Home and Country, One Day at a Time
When I feel that my life is lacking balance in a certain area, I feel out of control; I think most people do. When a bad or out of the ordinary situation happens, people find themselves off-balance, in fear, and experiencing many other emotions. Most of us deal with the situation as best as we can, everyone in their own way. The repercussions throughout the many areas of life, sometimes leave you numb or in shock for a while, paralyzed, fearful … But there is a time after, when it feels as if a bit of sunshine is coming through the cracks. It is then when we can take control and keep living. The current state of affairs worldwide might leave people feeling afraid and hopeless. Unfortunately, no one is going to take care of our “house,” and no one is going to fix it for us. One has to find and create balance, whether one finds it through faith or not. It is up to me to keep on living and tend to my “house.”
Every person is dealt different cards, some people have to deal with very bad situations, many from infancy. For those people, balance might sound different, and they must fight for it, many times, throughout their whole lives. It can only be done one day at a time, but it can be done. Many times, we are sent an angel here on Earth, a person that makes a significant difference in our moment of need.
I hear about inflation every day, and how bad the economy is, and I see so many local businesses shutting down. I see the almost empty shopping carts at the supermarket, the stress in people’s faces. At the same time, I see the kind, and the giving, and the good existing alongside the bad. There is nothing I can do about many of these things except the things that are in my immediate control – adjust my budget, grow food, shop less or tweak a grocery list, clean up my pantry and freezer by using what I have instead of letting it go bad, donate to my local food pantry, pray, help someone I might be able to help … and so much more. We all can do something tangible (and spiritual) one day at a time, and that is how we take back control, how we tend to our house and country, how we find our balance points, and how we keep our spirits up. Do your own Declaration of Days. One day at a time.
Love and Light.
When Your World Crumbles and Your Truth Vanishes
I didn’t plan to write this blogpost, but deeply felt that I needed to write it. Life is just life; it is not perfect, and it is not guaranteed; it just is. Life can be all that when we decide that we want to receive all the gifts that God has readied for us. Life can be a real mess, or it can be sweet. This world is far from perfect and expecting others to be perfect is expecting something I cannot deliver myself; I am far from perfect. I can only love because God loves me first, otherwise, I wouldn’t even know where to start. I am an imperfect decent person that once thought she had it all together but did not. I am happy that I found that out. When your perfect world crumbles, when your beliefs, habits, everything you knew as truth, or everything you knew as “you” comes toppling down, the only thing left is the real you, sometimes, the real scared you. That is a good thing; believe me, I have been there. Now, you can sweep away the pieces (don’t even bother to pick them up) and continue your journey (don’t even have to start a new journey, there is no such thing, just your journey).
This world is loud and fast; don’t pace yourself to it. This world is unfair; don’t expect fairness or righteousness from it. Instead, be for others what you were expecting for yourself. Don’t let the noise be louder than your faith. Faith in what anymore? In the only one that lived through it all, the unfairness, the rejection, the let-downs, the hate, the noise of the times … Jesus lived through it all. When in doubt, ask Him directly in a real imperfect but sincere prayer; He will answer you. I know. If you want to know Him a bit better, find him in the chronicles of His life (in the pages of the bible.) Don’t take anybody’s word for it; you find Him yourself! If you really want to know Him, you ask Him for help, and it will be given to you. He will reveal who He truly is to you. You’ll get your answer.
So don’t let this imperfect but beautiful and lovely world rob you of your peace, light, and love, instead, live like you have never lived before – connect through Him. It makes all the difference.
Love and light.
Home Sweet Home?
When we started to fix this old farmhouse, we decided to frame part of an original wall as a picture, a reminder of where we had been. I placed a flower box under it, and I was very happy with it until a few weeks ago. Every time I passed by it, I felt a bit annoyed and definitely not at ease but had no idea why. Suddenly, I disliked the flower box. It puzzled me. It wasn’t until I looked at it and asked myself what about it bothered me that I made the connection. The flowers that I added to the box reminded me of an image I had seen over and over everywhere I looked during the past two years – the coronavirus spiked ball shape. I knew I had to replace them right away, so I discarded the ill-looking flowers and placed a different greenery with a happier vibe.
This was a good example of how media can influence one’s perception and emotional response to people, concepts, things; even the same things one liked before. As writers, we are in the quest of using words and imagery to create a story that translate into emotions and perception for the reader. The words we select, not only tell the story, but live beyond it.