For Those Who Died By Violence

Life is what you make it. I can't even remember the first time I heard that phrase, but in the past it always carried a negative connotation with it. It was handed out like a justification for any unhappiness in life, without any compassion.

If only life was that simple.

I've come to realize the truth in that phrase. I know the choices we make in life, and how we view our choices in life, is what makes our life better or worse. But we are always confronted with the reality of others' choices who, obviously, may choose differently than us. That is where the real challenge comes. How do we maintain a good life when the choices of others directly or indirectly causes us pain?

It seems to me that most people are able to build a "shell", an outer wall, around themselves so that the pain and suffering of the world doesn't overwhelm them. They are able to recognize it, and sometimes do things to help others, but they don't become traumatized by every news report. Other people will dedicate their lives to helping others to cope. Yet others will become recluses, cutting off as much contact with the rest of humanity as possible.

Even at 42 years old, I still haven't found out how to effectively cope with the pain and suffering I see in the world. I work very hard at focusing on the blessings in my life, of which I know there are MANY. I am truly grateful. I do what I feel I can to make the world a better place. But not a day goes by when I am reminded that not everyone is as lucky as me. Not a day goes by without seeing the choices of others to be cold, cruel, unthinking, and worse, to their fellow humans. That is what I have a hard time reconciling.

"I think to myself, what a beautiful world," and then someone beeps their car horn and flips me off. I really do think it is such a beautiful world. There is so much beauty and joy to be had, and I wonder all the time, why can't they see it? Why are they choosing not to see it? Is that what happens when you close your eyes to the pain, you miss the beauty too?

I'm a Thinker, You're a Thinker, He's a Thinker, She's a Thinker, Wouldn't You Like to Be a Thinker TOO?

Diana nominated her whole huge list of blogs for this Thinking Blog meme. I thought I read alot of blogs every day, but apparently, I'm not alone! :) Lucky for me, there were five left on my list that she didn't already have, so I could nominate some fellow thinkers, and expand our lists, and thinking, some more. Here they are:

Cocking a Snook
Farm Dreams
Heather's Moving Castle
This is How We Shine


Being Heard Without Being Loud

This "tank dress" was made by piecing together thousands of knitted and crochet squtares sent in by people from Denmark, the UK, and the US, who opposed Denmark's involvement in the Iraq War. The artist, Marianne Joergensen said, "The possibility of “knitting your opinions” gives the project an aspect that I think is important. The common element in the project gives importance beyond words. [snip] Unsimilar to a war, knitting signals home, care, closeness and time for reflection. Ever since Denmark became invol ved in the war in Iraq I have made different variations of pink tanks, and I intend to keep doing that, until the war ends. For me, the tank is a symbol of stepping over other people’s borders. When it is covered in pink, it becomes completely unarmed and it loses it’s authority." You can see more pictures and a short documentary about the making of this pink tank here.

This is how I imagine the "Children should be seen and not heard," mandate of yesteryear could be re-interpreted as an adult who grew up with that message. You might not want to "hear" me, but you'll get the message anyway!!! I also think that speaks volumes (pun intended) about the ability of person to get their point across without being loud.

I, personally, have been accused of "letting others walk all over me," because I didn't immediately react with a verbal response that seemed appropriate to observers. While it may appear that way at times, I try to be selective about the words I use, about the message I want to convey, because I KNOW how much trouble words can cause. You know the saying, right? We have only one mouth and two ears so we can listen more and talk less. Well, I really work at that. I work at understanding where that other person is coming from. I take time to process their comments, then I formulate a response and wait for the appropriate moment to address the issue. IF there is something that needs to be addressed, I address it. Sometimes, it really is worth letting it go.

Sometimes, there really is nothing to say. No response at all helps some people to work through their issue on their own, just by letting them continue speaking without being interrupted or confronted. Sometimes silences say alot more than words ever can. They let the person know that you are not going to engage them in their "war", no matter how much they try. The visual image of your calm in the midst of their "storm" can really help.

Anyway, those are just my few thoughts about quiet protest. I have found success personally in living quietly, and I just felt compelled to say that not all activists are loud. :)


Here's Some Fun from My Son.....

Just in time for April Fool's Day! Enjoy! :)

Reality Check

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You're Welcome, Florida!

Apparently, some people think by home/unschooling our own children we are helping to improve education for all children in Florida. They helped draft this proclamation. The governor of our sunny state declared this week, "Home Education Week", and commended parents and home education "students" for their efforts. He even mentioned some well known homeschoolers, such as Thomas Edison and Sandra Day O'Conner, as examples of how homeschoolers have been able to excel.

Not a bad public endorsement, but am I being too cynical in wondering where this is leading?