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Showing posts from 2012

Season's Greetings, Felices fiestas

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. The Lord shall preserve thy soul, thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and forever more.
- Psalm 21 -
May this holiday season bring you much joy,  and the new year, many blessings.

Keeping Them Close to Our Heart

It can be hard to see the sun's beautiful light on a day darkened by tragedy and loss. It seems so utterly at odds with the pain and the shock. Yet it is at those times we most need to gaze into the light. I received this letter today from a local minister. I share it here because it says so much that I feel and  others feel today. I share it because, while it faces the darkness of tragedy, it also affirms the light that never leaves us---if we gaze upon it, into it, and share it. In that spirit, I share the letter below from Pastor Melanie Martínez to her congregation in a small city in North Texas. ________________________________________________________

It is with deep sadness that I am writing you today, having just learned that our nation's community has suffered a great tragedy this morning. I'm writing to ask you for your fervent prayer for the families of victims killed in an elementary school shooting. Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, school ho…

A Small Story

And a true one. In a conversation with a local Walmart employee, I learned that she must supply all of her own ink pens at the checkout counter for customers to sign their receipts, etc. She is required to buy them with her own money and is not reimbursed for her expense. One day her supervisor noticed that this employee's pens were in a bag from The Dollar Tree. The supervisor reprimanded her and "wrote her up" for not buying the pens at Walmart.

Where will you do your holiday shopping this year?

Finally: Sense and Sensibility in an Approach to Gun Control

My desk was drowning in paper, so today was a clean-up and catch-up day. In the montones de papeles I found an excellent article from August 12 of this year by award-winning AP Writer Marilynn Marchione, entitled: "Doctors target gun violence."

It is one of the most sensible, yet ground-breaking approach I have seen with regard to curbing violence committed by people who, we find out too late, should not have guns in their possession. It steers clear of politics and "attitude"--exactly what is needed. I invite you to read the article by clicking on this link.

Ysabel de la Rosa's Flickr Additions

Ysabel de la Rosa's photostream on Flickr. Stop by for some nature views. My favorite is my image of Phoenix, a one-year-old eagle at the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota.

The Rest of the Summer Story

The watering paid off! The tree that had turned a sick-yellow and lost numerous branches is now a vibrant green, with lots of new leaves reaching for the sky. I'll nurse it for a few more days until the Texas September cools down. In the meantime, I find looking at it through my front windows twice the joy that it used to be.

The dead tree across the street--as fate would have it--split in three pieces and fell on the house the day after I took the photo of it posted in the previous entry (detail). It missed the Lexus parked in the driveway by inches. The Lexus was moved to where it is in this photo, and then another large branch fell, just missing it again. The tree continued to split and crash until the landlord sent a crew to cut it down about a week after the first split occurred. To the left in the photo you can see what remains of a once-stunning red oak in the yard next door. About a quarter of it is still alive.

I'll never understand people's disregard for trees, …

2 Birds, a Cat and a Tree

Having grown up in Texas, I'm no stranger to long, hot summers. (I used to think about people summering in New England with some envy. They could wear shirts with sleeves and not suffer!) Our past two Texas summers, however, have been more than, other than long and hot. It makes my thoughts heavier to know that other states have endured the same conditions that Texans have. The worst of those summer conditions is drought.

A cloudy day--something I always appreciated for the way in which its light reveals deeper saturation of colors--is now a source of joy and gratitude for me. It's not rain, but it at least shields our struggling vegetation and dehydrated wildlife from the sun's relentless searing. This year, as last, I built "clouds" for some of my plants. The New Dawn rose has a wood and cardboard tent over its western side. 

Even the lantana, a plant that thrives in hot summers, is now covered. If I had something large enough to shield my mimosa tree, it would b…

A Mid-Summer Mid-Afternoon Visitor

This moth came to visit this afternoon and stayed on my door quite some time.  It was as still as the searing air outside--for a while--and then flew on. 

This Also

A few posts ago, I wrote that summer was coming in. It has now taken over. I pulled into a sizzling parking lot two days ago and found a baby bird stranded in an adjacent grassy area. It had stretched out its naked adolescent wings and stood stock still. I think he was willing himself to fly (It could have been a she. I know nothing about determining bird gender, but it looked like a he to me). I could hear the parents in the tree above. Their offspring was too large for them to carry up into the nest and was nowhere near ready to fly.

I knew it was a matter of time--and not much at that--before he would bake to death. I hurried to a nearby store, bought a hand towel and a cloth-covered box. To the sounds of his family's tweets and squawks, I scooped him up in the towel and nested him in the box. I apologized to his parents and explained that this was the best alternative, hopped in the car, and drove the fragile thing to our local Wild Bird Rescue Center.

While he was in the gr…

Metaphors that Lie in Wait

I just finished a driver's ed course to "make up" for a speeding ticket. I earned the ticket, fair and square. I was driving on one of those streets that, dog gone it, just feels like a 40 mph street instead of a 30 mph street. I'm not glad I got the ticket, but I am glad I took the course-- for reasons both practical and metaphorical.

In 1984, an 18-wheeler truck rear-ended my 2-door car while I was stopped at a red light. Despite wearing a seat belt, my body was thrown far-forward, and when it came flying back into the seat, my body's impact broke the car's seat. I was fortunate. The trucker was without his cargo that day. Otherwise, I might not have survived the accident. Even so, the injuries I did sustain changed my life forever. The tennis matches I planned to play with my son never happened, and I would never again leap gracefully in a ballet class. The experience taught me a lot about how quickly life can change, and how much change one traffic acciden…

And so, what's news?

No, it's not a typo in the title. It's a question I ask myself with greater frequency these days. What, exactly, is the news? I saw a headline today: Supreme Court upholds health care law 5 to 4.  That's news. Then I turned on the radio and heard that I was about to hear from experts, people on the street, people who liked it, and people who didn't like it, all letting the world know their opinion on the topic. That's not news. Newflash: Opinions are not news.

I have not turned on the television all day to avoid being exposed to yet more opinions. The moment the facts stop, the news stops. Is there room for good, insightful news analysis? Of course. But opinions do not analysis make. 

I believe we've reached a media mountaintop where most of what comes into our viewing range is opinion, not news; fast thinking, not thoughtful analysis. The continual airing of opinions feeds an emotional cloud that hangs over us and is ripe for storm-making. 

I'm working on a n…

Summer's Coming In

The heat is upon us, that heat that first slows, then depletes us, taking as much energy from our bodies as it gives heat to the earth. We are already on water restriction plans, a necessity. Yet, if I rise early enough, with the first wave of light and ahead of the first wave of heat, there are treasures to be found, some of which you'll see below. Enjoy...

And sometimes the last wave of light yields delights.....