Monthly Archives: January 2010

Made in China…Pass!

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Watched Kundun last night, which is the story of the 14th Dalai Lama from just before he was discovered as a very young child until his exile from Tibet in 1959. Though I was already quite familiar with this version of events, it was quite an experience seeing it dramatized on film.  Not counting any items I already own, I’ve decided that I won’t be purchasing anymore products that are made in China. I’m ashamed that I haven’t done this sooner. I just believe that dollars are akin to a vote. They say, “I support you” or “I need you” to a degree. As such, I neither support, nor wish to rely upon any government that forcefully commandeered a peaceful country, forced children to pull gun triggers on their own parents, forced priests and nuns to fornicate in the streets and who have gone to such great lengths to suppress an entire culture.

Nope. Can’t do it.

Hopefully, my silent protest will add weight to the millions of others whose hearts became convicted long before my own.

When Tibet is free and when the Dalai Lama is able to return to the place of his birth, I may resume purchasing items made in China. Until then…

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Please Pray!

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Yesterday, I posted about Haiti adoption authorities slowing down the adoption applications currently in play in order to assure that children weren’t being exported too quickly. The concern is that surviving parents and other family members may have survived, but amidst the chaos, have not been located. Another very real concern is that child sex traffickers may attempt to adopt children for their own evil purposes. Unfortunately, this article shows how real that concern was and is, as it appears that some children may already have been stolen by these very people. Read this story and then, PLEASE, pray for the babies that have already been kidnapped.

Good News: Haiti Adoption Process Slows

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Some may be surprised to hear me say that this is good news. Especially at a time such as this when the images of children, injured and orphaned, are all that we can think about. To know that there are good people ready to open their hearts and their homes to them makes it particularly tough to swallow. But it’s true. I’m very happy that the Haiti adoption process is being deliberately delayed.

Why?

The simple answer is because, if given a choice, I’d rather a child be orphaned on the streets of an earthquake shattered island than be handed over to a pedophile or human traffickers who will sell the child to one.

Human Trafficking is a Real Threat to Haiti Adoption Decisions

Lest you think that I’m being paranoid, let me remind you of little Shaniya Davis who, just months ago, was allegedly sold to traffickers by her own mother. If an American mother will do this to her own child, we cannot afford to doubt the UNNICEF Ireland warning about traffickers who prey on disasters, such as the recent Haiti earthquake, to obtain victims.

Besides this, as reported in this NPR article about Haiti adoption plans being delayed, as authorities search for surviving parents and other relatives, it is simply the right thing to do. It is far too soon to know for sure if these children are actually orphans or even if there are surviving family members able to care for them.

Haiti Adoption Authorities Face Tough Decisions

As much as I want to see  these children comforted and cared for, I want to also know that they are safe and that their best interest is being served. I’m sure this isn’t an easy choice for authorities to make, but I applaud them for it’s the right thing to do.

What do you think? If it were your child, what would you want authorities to do?

5 Blogs That Will Help You Be Better

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I promise that every single one of these will stir something inside of you. They will inspire you, challenge you and entertain you all while inviting you to reach deep and aim high. Enjoy!

Dr. Wayne Dyer’s blog is one that offers timeless wisdom in a simple, easy to read and easy to understand discourse.

Zen Habits will help you simplify your life, ease your stress and encourage you to discover the little joys in life, which are far too often overlooked.

The Daily Mind is one of the more thought provoking personal development blogs on the web. While you’re there, be sure to check out and respond to the ethical dilemma posts. What you learn about yourself in these, just may surprise you.

Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life. If you need a further explanation of what this blog is about, then you need to click and check it out like yesterday. Really, some of the greatest nuggets of wisdom and suggestions on personal growth are contained in this blog.

Simple Marriage attempts to take a lot of the guesswork out of marriage and offers serious advice on creating the love life of your dreams.

A Beautiful Life

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My husband’s grandmother passed away nearly 2 weeks ago. In her passing, we’ve all embraced the opportunity to come together in celebrating her life. Though she will be missed and the hurt resulting from the loss of her presence is real, she lived a significant life, so it’s very hard to be sad at this time. Here are just a few of her very simple, but awe-inspiring accomplishments:

  • She lived to be 95 years old, was coherent and remained socially and physically active for 94 of those years.
  • She enjoyed 77 years of marriage to a man she’d known for 88 years. Had she survived another two months, they would have celebrated 78 years as husband and wife.
  • Of her 5 children, each one is alive, healthy, able-bodied and living a productive life according to the values she instilled in them.
  • Her 97 year old husband, 3 of her children and 1 of her grandchildren were at her side when she made her transition, peacefully and at home.
  • In both of her memorial services (yes, I said “both”…she was THAT popular), the church was packed with family and friends who shared nothing but fond and funny memories about the things that she taught them about life, marriage and motherhood in her quiet, but effective way.

Though she was a simple woman, she exemplified strength and integrity. As a very religious Christian, she lived her personal truth in every day life, which brought her peace and kindness at every turn. It couldn’t have been easy for her to marry so young and raise 5 children during the 1930s and 1940s as a Black woman in America. Together, they lived in at least 3 different states as her husband was busy pastoring and building churches. Because of his work, he traveled a lot. Many of those trips she took with him, but many of them left her alone with the children. My husband’s grandfather, though, says she was always easy going, never complained, always supported him and that she had a knack for making a way out of no way even during the darkest times.

When a person like this passes away, what is there really to be sad about? How many people live to be her age and, for the most part, in good health? How many are blessed to see all of their children grow into being positive, productive individuals and for none of them to precede her in death? How many people can actually say that they’ve survived 77 years of a strong marriage?

She lived a good, happy, long, admirable, blessed life. When she left, it was simply because it was her time. A few people are taken aback when I say that we are rejoicing at this time, but with a life so well lived what else can we do?

Rejoice With Them That Rejoice

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Lately I’ve discovered the most joyful meditation where I spend time thanking the Most High for other people’s blessings. Though I have many of my own that I am thankful for, in these quiet moments, I take my mind completely off of myself and take pleasure in expressing joy in how He has blessed others.

I tell you, this is pure joy!

Rejoice with them that rejoice. ~Romans 12:15

Transforming

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Today, on Twitter, someone asked for a word that describes 2009. I chose ‘transforming’. Although I could say the same about 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005 and beyond — and hopefully will say the same about 2010 — it’s nevertheless true for 2009.

We should constantly seek to change and grow; To become better than we were and be renewed as our minds are stretched. Whether experiences are good or bad, there is always wisdom to be gained. And, if it is allowed, these experiences should always be used to aid in our transformations.

A Few Personal Transformations in 2009

Personally, 2009 was a time to become more aware of myself, my beliefs, my motivations and, most of all, my ego. Learning to recognize these things have actually brought me closer to my Creator (a relationship, which, btw, brings about constant renewal in and of itself).

I struggled a lot with some of the things that I discovered about myself — things that I didn’t ever think were a part of my makeup. But in going through a miserable period at the beginning of 2009, I discovered that my own insecurities were the cause as they had actually taken root in my psyche and were becoming a driving force in my thought life and in my attitudes.

It Started With Acceptance

So, I turned inward and asked my Father to show me what I needed to deal with in order to be who I was created to be versus who I thought I was or even who I, personally, wanted to be. One of the first lessons that I learned was to accept these uncomfortable truths about myself and just hang out with them for a while. I did and it wasn’t fun. But in doing so, I learned to accept myself as I am (not just my strengths, but also my weaknesses WITHOUT denying their existence or trying to change them). I also learned to have compassion for my own shortcomings.

An Authentic Approach

In 2009, I also began to communicate a little more authentically. I’m still not 100% there, as I’m often still quite hesitant about lowering my walls and discussing my true feelings, but being in the process has been quite eye-opening. I’m learning to be more honest about my feelings and to accept the honesty of others. I’m learning to speak my mind with peace, even when other’s disagree.

And I’m even learning to hold my peace, as being authentic doesn’t mean that my ego deserves to get on the mic. Of course, when things are important to me or when I can speak for the benefit of others, I don’t intend to hold back. But I noticed about myself that I had a tendency to be a ‘know it all’, which was quite unbecoming and even offputting. For some, particularly in some of the books I’ve read on the subject, being authentic means saying what you mean and meaning what you say while leaving whatever’s left for the listener to cope with…as long as it’s true. However, I much prefer the Buddha’s approach:

“Before you speak, ask yourself: ‘Is what I’m about to say kind? True? Necessary?'”

While I don’t ordinarily struggle with the kind and true parts, some things just don’t need to be said…they just aren’t necessary. And, in filtering myself in this way, I’ve found that my ego is far less audible. In actually taking the Buddha’s advice, I’ve discovered that I can speak even more authentically when my ego is closely monitored. It frees me to speak only out of kindness, truth and necessity, and NOT out of a need to be right, have my opinions heard (or validated), or to convince anyone of anything they don’t want to be convinced of.

My Beliefs

In 2009, I also released the notion that I had to attach a label to my beliefs. After nearly 20 years as a Christian, I’m no longer married to that label. I’m more concerned with truth and loving others than anything else. While I don’t mind being called a Christian, it’s not something you’re likely to hear me apply to myself. For one, my actions should speak louder than anything else and if my integrity doesn’t give light to my beliefs, a word that creates a notion in someone else’s mind of who I am really isn’t worth much. And you’ll also notice that I quote Buddha as easily as I quote Yahushua (oh, and BTW, I call Him Yahushua, though most Christians call Him Jesus).

What I’m trying to say is that my faith is influenced by a lot of very wise teachings and is not easy to define in a word. On top of this, some Christians will say that I’m not a ‘real Christian’ if I read the Tao Te Ching or if I freely and lovingly fratenize with people of other faiths.  So, as to not feel like I’m duping anyone, my transformation also includes the shedding of a religious label in favor of just being who I am and believing what I do. Period.

In a Nutshell

These tiny transformations have made me a lot more aware of my relationships while, at the same time, making me even more compassionate towards others and myself. They have also naturally transformed me without a whole lot of conscious effort. Of course, there has been some effort on my part, but the openness that this has created within me is not something that I was capable of doing on my own.

As I said at the beginning of this post, transforming is nothing new for me…it’s been a long process, so far, and one that I expect to continue. But for a single-worded description, I think that about sums it up.

So, what about you? In a word, how would you describe 2009?