Sunday, February 27, 2011

Find Some Peace Tonight ...

So much of real life is like this world of blogging; isn't it?... Flashy images and pretty, simple, easy to read words.  Image hit, image hit, hit image ... hit?  Are we all really that tired?  Have we lost touch with substance, deep meanings and beauty that goes beyond surface deep?  I just wonder sometimes ... just wonder ... shake my tired head and wonder ...

In the arms of the angel may you find some company ... find some peace tonight ...




@Copyrighted Photograph, 2011: Isabelle Black Smith.
All Rights Reserved.



God Bless all the people in the Middle East.  They are people just like you and me for the most part, but people who have lived in fear ... lived without freedoms that we in the West too often take for granted.  May Peace enter their lives, touch their hearts and way of thinking ...living.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Levity ...The Little Children will show you the Way

With all of the serious events unfolding in our world today, I find myself wondering:  How do we manage to momentarily just let it all go? To escape and renew? How do we find moments free of concern where we can attempt to focus on acknowledging and processing ... experiencing happiness, even joy, in our lives?

Well, where happiness in the moment is concerned: I always look to the little ones, the children to see what are they doing.  Most of them can be found running barefoot through the streets, chasing after a stray ball, skipping through the grass, building monuments in the sand ... scaling a formidable tree .... laughing with a friend, completely blind to categorical divisions and limitations.

In essence, children in their untainted 'innocence' haven't forgotten how to simply pause, in the moment, in order to look UP ...



Photo by ME:  What I see when I look up : )

Note: Feel free to use this image, but please link back here to my blog and give me
credit as the photographer.  Thank you!



... To look up and appreciate the wonder of the world around.  To take a deep breath and breathe in the hope of infinite possibilities. With this in mind, why not take some time for you today ... clear your mind , open your heart, take a deep breath and just BE ... And maybe lie in the cool grass and look UP ... God writes His messages in the clouds, I think.

While you're looking up remember that we all share the same sky on this amazing, rapidly spinning Blue Planet.


Joyful day to you! 
Peace & LOVE ...


~M



P.S.  We have unexpected snow here today, so if I do happen to lay on the ground: it will be in the snow ... so I'll make snow angels while looking up : )

Sunday, February 20, 2011

When the Angels Fall ....

Back on February 2nd, I wrote a piece about the protests for an end to the Mubarak oppressive regime in Egypt.  I posted a song at that time, by the artist Sting:  "When the Angels Fall".  I had said that I would later write what that song meant to me ... So I guess, it's now "later" and here is what this song means to me ... Maybe why it seemed a good fit for the protests in Egypt and what the people of that country, and now other parts of the middle east, are trying to express.


Song: "When the Angels Fall", By Sting  (music video from youtube.com at the end of this post)



"The Guardian", By Baron Arild Rozenkrantz
(Image Courtesy of ArtMagick.com)



"When the Angels Fall" ... A soul stirring and intriguing song. What first drew me to this song was the title. Angels aren't supposed to fall, are they? This notion intrigued me. Angels are supposed to be glowing white guardians of truth and righteousness, right? The notion that any angel, other than Lucifer, had ever fallen flew in the face of all of the Catholic doctrine ... dogma ... that I had crammed down my throat throughout my childhood.


At first, I just listened to this song, "When the Angels Fall", as a song .... but then I found myself drawn further into the song, captivated by the soulfulness of its lyrics.  As I listened to this song, I began to ponder what Sting's powerfully moving, lyrical ballad truly meant.  I discovered that the song could have many different meanings depending upon your perspective. Over the years, as I've listened to this song again and again, this song has taken on many different meanings for me depending on where I was at in my life. But standing here today, I see this song as song of liberation; it's about embracing one's freedom to control one's own destiny.

The Angels are the established Truths of our world, Guardians of Right and Wrong (though, in truth, 'right' and 'wrong' depend upon your perspective), watching over all who labor (and sleep) in this land.

What are these established Truths? ... Well the truths differ from country to country, culture to culture, society to society, family to family, individual to individual ... They can be as profound as the assumption and belief that "the color of one's skin or one's gender decides how successful one will be in life" ... or as simple as the belief that "if I protest or speak out against my government, I will lose my life and endanger the lives of my family and those that I love." ... They can be as complex and distorted as "All Catholics are going to hell" ... "The only way to heaven is through Jesus." ... "Believe the way our religious system dictates or die...."  I, personally, hold NONE of the latter to be truths, but so many in this world, perhaps even you, do hold the latter as truths.  Sadly, until we cast these "Angels" ... established Truths ... from our sight, we as a common people on this rapidly spinning blue planet will never be free ...

When these Angels fall, the established Truths of our societies fall ...the unthinkable happens and the whole world (relative to the given truth) is shaken to its core.  When the world is shaken by such profound, life changing events some individuals are awakened from their slumber ... they finally realize that they were lost in a world of slumber and that the dream of the established Truths was dreaming them, using them, limiting them.

Eyes now wide open, arisen from their slumber, these awakened individuals now step forth with their own feet and hands, their own ambitions ("my children"), they are ready to assume ownership and responsibility for shaping their own lives, controlling their own destinies. Free at last from the dream of established Truths, they are ready to dream their own dreams. The "Angels" can't control them anymore..."You can't control us ... You can't control us anymore."

"These are my feet ... These are my hands ... These are my children. This is my demand: bring down the angels. Cast them from my sight! Never want to see a million sons at midnight. Your hands are empty. Your Streets are empty ... You can't control us ... You can't control us, anymore."


"When the angels fall ... Peace on Earth ... When the angels fall. Joy to all mankind.... When the angels fall.... When the angels fall... When the angels fall."


And standing here today, Sting's soulful ballad is still captivatingly beautfiul song to me, regardless of the angle one happens to be gazing upon it from. "Peace on Earth and Joy to all mankind" ... Wow, what a world that would be to live in.

I wonder:  Are you still lost in slumber, dreaming the dream of  established Truths?



Here is a music video with Sting singing, "When the Angels Fall"  in concert ...




A word of caution:  be careful that you do not free yourself from one established Truth only to become the pawn of yet another.  There will always be those living in this world who are consumed with power, worldliness, materialism ... They are blind, insecure and they have not the vision see beyond the here and now.  They would use you as a means to their ends and sadly, you are expendable to them.

But fear of becoming used by yet another established Truth should not stop you from seeking liberation.  Change often comes at a price and the balance of power will shift ... Let us pray then, and act to ensure that it is a shift for the better.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Assault in Egypt on the Eve of Democracy ...

I have just now heard about the female reporter from the U.S., Lara Logan, who was attacked by a group of male protesters during the protests on the streets of Egypt, violently beaten and then repeatedly sexually assaulted. My heart truly goes out to Lara Logan. There is NO EXCUSE for this horrific behavior ... None whatsoever, not under any circumstances. I hope that those responsible are brought to some form of justice, but in truth no amount of "justice" is ever really able to heal the hurt that comes from this type of assault ... violence.


Lara Logan in Tahir Square prior to the attack. Source: CBS news, AP



How absurdly tragic and ironic that those protesting for freedom from oppression and tyranny could turn around, moments after tasting victory (when Mubarak successor had just announced that Mubarak had in fact stepped down) for their cause, and then wreak violence and oppression on another in their midst? The assault of Lara Logan is truly unfathomable ... mind boggling ... and now the image that I will always hold in my mind when I look back on this day in history ... a day of supposed victory for democracy? I just pray that those who will come to power in Egypt will not be those that would continue to suppress women, subjecting them to violence and unjust laws under the guise of religion.

What scares me the most is the way that individual thought, reason and accountability are set to naught in a mob mentality ... Group-think ... Group dynamics suddenly make the unthinkable possible. In this present day world of upheaval and change, economic hardships, and widespread civil unrest we are sure to see many more opportunities for mob violence to rear its ugly head. I would challenge each of you ... especially those currently out on the streets protesting ... to look deep within yourselves and assess what you believe in: What defines you? Would you stand up in a crowd gone mad and be the lone voice of reason? Would you summon the courage to lead when others would merely blindly follow? In the end, you and you alone ARE accountable for your actions ... For your immortal soul. May God's grace and wisdom be with you and guide you during trying times.

God bless you and heal you inside and out, Lara  ... you will be in my special ongoing prayers.


Sent from my iPod

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/02/15/60minutes/main20032070.shtml

Thursday, February 17, 2011

No news is good news?

Well, I still have not heard from my Iranian friend.  But I did some searching on the net and found the name of the student who was killed in the riots on the streets of Terhan earlier in the week.  The name that I found is not a match for my friend, nor is the university.  So for now, I can breathe a sigh of relief that my Iranian friend is alright.  I will still continue to pray for his safety though.  I can only assume that he is focused on events currently transpiring in his homeland and that he will write to me again when things settle down a bit for him.  So for now, I will take the stand that no news is good news.


Here is a photo and accompanying news article ... blog post? ... related to what is going on in Iran at the moment.





Events such as these really make you stop and think about what is truly important in life, don't they?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Godspeed on your journey ...

"Eloe", By Witold Pruzowski
Image Courtesy of Artmagick.com



I just received some sad news in the mail ... Apparently, it was postmarked back on January 27th, but I just received the envelope yesterday?  Must have gotten lost in the mail somehow ...  Anyway, it was an envelope from my high school friend, Cassie.  I opened the envelope to find the leaflet missal for her father's memorial service.  Her father's pancreatic cancer finally answered the call for Mr. Wilson to come home.  There was no note ... were no words ... only the solitary leaflet was contained within the envelope. 

My heart goes out to Cassie ... I can feel the depth of her sorrow as I hold the funeral mass program.  She doesn't need mere words to convery what she must be going through.  I know how close she was to her father.  He was a great man, with a huge heart.  I know that his presence here in this world will be sorely missed.

God bless you and your beautiful family, Cassie.  I will keep you all in my special prayers.  Godspeed on your journey home, Mr. Wilson.  It was a honor to have known you in this life.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Protesters Take to the Streets of Terhan

As anticipated by many, protests for freedom from authoritarian governments has begun to spread to other middle eastern countries.  Today, I heard on the news that protesters are now demonstrating in the streets Terhan, Iran.  Apparently one demonstrator has been killed in these protests ... although the details surrounding this death are unclear.

I have just recently ... in the last few weeks ... made a new friend and penpal who is a university student in  Iran.  When I heard the story on the news about protests in Iran, my first thought was to wonder if my new friend is out on the streets with these protesters and if he is safe.  Well, hopefully I will hear from him again soon and know that he is safe and well.  In the meantime, I can continue to pray as always.

The world around us is changing indeed ... Hopefully for the better, but change often comes at a price.


4/14/2011  I did finally hear back from my penpal.  He wrote at the beginning of April that he had been injured in the protests.  Apparently, he had sustained a head injury (not sure what type or extent) and had been hospitalized these past few weeks.  I have been praying for him these past several weeks and for his family ... I felt that he was alive, but was not sure what was going on with him.  It is good to know that he is, in fact alive, and that he is well enough to write to me in his English.  I will, of course, continue to pray that he makes a full recovery from his injuries.  God Bless, my friend Fxxxxx.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Victory for Democracy ...

"No matter what happens in the future of Egypt  ....  Future leaders will know the greatness of the Egyptian people."


This was a quote I heard on one of the many newscasts I have been watching and it is a fitting tribute to the Egyptian people and what they have accomplished with their protests these past 18 days.





"... And the little children shall show them the way."



The government will now be in the hands of the Egyptian military until elections are held to determine the future governing power in the country.   If the past and this photo are any indication of what we might expect during this time of transition, I think that we can be hopeful that the Egyptian people are in good hands. 


God bless the people of Egypt as they celebrate a victory for democracy this day.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Take my hand and walk with me awhile ...

If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it fall ... does it in reality fall? 




@Copyrighted Photo, 2010. All Rights Reserved: Isabelle Black Smith.

"Angel Descending the steps of Heaven"






"Take My Hand and Walk With Me Awhile"


I stand here before you, empty of hand.
Alas, I have nothing tangible to offer.
No past that I can rightly cling to as being my own.
No future to hold onto, nor reason for my being,
Save this here ... this now ... this thought
And a simple wish:
That peace of body, mind and spirit be intertwined
In the momentary making of this knowing that is me.

Ever changing, never fixed, I wonder as I wander
Through this journey, we call "life",
Waiting to be woven into the transitory purpose at hand.
Clear of mind, free of spirit, pure of heart,
I strive only to see the beauty that abounds.
I am an empty vessel waiting to be filled.
Take my hand and walk with me awhile ...


@Copyrighted Poem, 2010. All Rights Reserved:  Isabelle Black Smith.





... And I finally understand now, almost a full year later, why this statue has only one hand ....

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Peace Blows Across the Land ...



"Peace Blows Across the Land"

@Copyrighted Photograph 2010.  All Rights Reserved.
Michelle C. of whatplanetareyoulivingon.blogspot.com



May PEACE blow across our rapidly spinning Blue Planet and find its way, with God our Creator's Grace, to prevail ....





That's what I am praying for ... Peace that will blow across the land and renew many a weary man.

Joyful Sunday to you and yours!


God Bless  one and all  : )


PJP 
~M

Thursday, February 03, 2011

The Google ART Project

Google has apparently launched a new ART Project ... "The Google Art Project".  This project supposedly launched February 1, 2011 ...  and I did see a promo and link for it on the Google.com main page on February 1st.  Then it was gone for a good part of the day on the 2nd, reappearing around lunchtime WST ... and now today (the 3rd) it is gone again? 

I even tried doing a Google search for this new project:  I found images for the project and articles come up about the project, but no link to the actual projects materializes or works?  I wonder what's up?  Are they having problems with their debut?



"Stary Night", By Vincent Van Gogh

Image used on Google's ART Project Intro Page ... One of my favorite Van Gogh paintings : )



I think that Google's goal is a noble one: to provide access to some of the greatest art museums and treasures in the world via the internet. They give "streetview" tours of the featured museums, as well copyrighted, high resolution images presented by the museums themselves. You can zoom in on the most minute detail, save your favorite pieces to your own collections, start conversations about pieces of art, view behind the scene videos and other information about the art that you are viewing and more (I've only spent about 20 minutes on the site thus far).

I personally think that Google has created a very powerful tool in this ART Project that could potentially unite the world through art. You never know ... stranger things have happened. I mean, in a world where there is so much focus on our differences and what divides us ... ART is universal ... uniting ... sharing bits and pieces of who we all are and where we've been ... and perhaps a vision for our future.


This past Spring, in another post, I said the following about photogrpahy (my newfound passion), and I think that perhaps it applies to ART in a broader perspective ... after all photography is just a subset of ART, is it not?

"It always amazes me how photography [ART] can bridge the language barrier.  An image [work of ART]speaks in a universal language to people of all dialects. It forms a bridge ... opens a dialogue for further communication ... discussion ... Then, you find a way to muddle through the rest of it.  I JUST LOVE IT ... on SO MANY different levels!!  I have honestly made friends from all over the world because of photography [ART] ... What other medium, I wonder, is capable of providing these sorts of opportunities for friendship, collaboration ... understanding ... between people of different cultures from all over the globe?


When was the last time you took a moment to stop and see the world through the eyes of another?"



Well, hopefully the Google Art Project will be back on-line again soon.  I can't wait to see more! Especially, now that this flu-like fog is slowly lifting for me : )


PJP

P.S.  Okay, I found a link to the Google ART Project and it appears to still work ... Check it out:  http://www.googleartproject.com

~M

Repeal Healthcare Reform Law Petition Update News

Repeal Petition Update Email - www.repealitnow.org


"February 3, 2011


Dear Petition Signer,

In normally balmy Florida, this year's frigid arctic blast didn't stop Federal District Judge Roger Vinson from ruling ObamaCare unconstitutional.

That now makes two federal courts that have ruled this legislation a gross overreach of federal power. In all, 26 state Attorneys General have filed lawsuits to erase the destructive HealthCare Act.

But that didn't stop every Senate Democrat from voting against Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's repeal bill yesterday. In a straight party vote, 51 Democratic Senators offered a colder shoulder to the American people than this winter itself. It is government arrogance on full display and without apology.

It's not over. In fact, we're just getting started. Even deaf Senators will hear us when, together, we produce a full throated roar that this law WILL be repealed.

We're not going to wait two years for the U.S. Supreme Court, which may rule to repeal. We're not going to watch the federal budget (and our healthcare and pocketbooks) further damaged as China buys up more and more of our debt. We must do what needs to be done -- force Senate Democrats to vote for repeal.

Can it be done? Yes.

We faithfully delivered more than half a million of your petitions to an already willing House of Representatives  ...."


To read the rest of this news update, please visit the: "Repeal Healthcare Reform Law: New and Email Updates" page on this blog.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Praying for the People of Egypt ...

Image Source: sealforsuccess.com



God bless the people of Egypt.  Have not written much about this, but I have been praying.  Hopefully, peace will return shortly and essentials, such as food, will no longer be in shortage.  Keep hope and peace will follow ... That's what works in my own life.

God Bless one and all!


M


P.S.  For some reason this song comes to mind when pondering the situation in Egypt. I'll share with you later what this song means to me ... my interpretation. I made a friend once because of this song ... We had a rather interesting discussion about what this song meant to us ...

Song: "When the Angels Fall", By Sting



And it's official: I have the flu .... Ugh, going back to bed ...



2/4/2011  I wonder how many would stand up for what they believe in?  Perhaps a better question is how many actually know, or can truly state, what it is that they believe in?  Have you thought about why you believe what you believe?  Are you merely being led?  And if so, by whom?


Here's a music video with Sting singing the above in concert ...





10/10/2011 Update. .. Mubarak was ousted just weeks ago.  The people of Egypt now have their freedom and what are they doing with this newfound freedom???  The whole world is watching ...

I must say, the reports that I am hearing on the news about things going on in Egypt these days brings an enormous sorrow to my heart.  It boggles my mind that those who strove so desperately for freedom from oppression just weeks ago would then turn around and use their newfound freedom to desecrate churches, destroy businesses and homes, and physically attack those of a different faith ... faiths other than Islam.  Intolerance, hatred, cruelty and oppression:  is this your newfound "freedom"?  How can you, the people of Egypt, in anyway think that a Creator, God, would embrace your agenda of destruction and oppression?     

For those of you of the Islamic faith that are choosing to engage in this mob violence, keep in mind this is not a battle to defend yourself from attack:  this is mindless mob rule acting without forethought in the name of a warped idealology of intolerance.   You are attacking people who were created by the same God as you ... people made of the same flesh and blood as you  [but what you are is in truth so much more for your body is merely a temporary housing for the true essence that is you:  the body will cease to exist but the soul lives on forever].  You are attacking people who worship the very same God as you, but they merely choose to worship Him in a different way.  Bear in mind when you stand before God at the end of your days: you alone will have to answer for your actions.  I challenge each one of you to still your mind, block out the noise, listen to your inner light and search for what is right.  Then find the courage to resist the mob gone mad  ... Be the lone voice of reason, speak out for what is right, and help put an end to this violence.  The whole world is watching you, but more importantly God our Father, the Creator, is watching you. 

I will continue my prayers for your country and all people of Egypt and the Middle East.

U.S. Senate to Vote on Repeal of Healthcare Reform Law Today!

The U.S. Senate will vote today on a Senate resolution to repeal the Healthcare Reform law.  The resolution was introduced by Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.  A total of 67 votes are needed in order to override a presidential veto. 

So if you haven't written to your U.S. Senator yet, do so immediately!  Here is the link:
write to your U.S. Senator on-line


2/3/2011  ... Well the Senate did not pass the resolution to repeal the Healthcare Reform law.  It was a longshot, but you know me ... always hopeful?   I live in a predominately Democratic state now ... a big change from the Texas that I am used to, but you can be certain that I will be out in force campainging against the two senators in this state when they are up for re-election.  Unfortunately, Pat Murray just won re-election here somehow?  So she will be sitting comfortably in her Senate seat for awhile ... but I will keep writing to her in the meantime, as the need arises.

I am now hopeful that this case will be fast-tracked to the Supreme Court ... I have heard via the news and reading on the internet that several state Governers are already planning to declare this law void in their repsective states based on the Pensecola, Florida ruling of Judge Roger Vinson a few days ago.