Just Cuz They’re Beautiful

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How many times in one’s lifetime, over the many, many years have they flown overhead, navigating the skies in formations clear, kind and beautiful?  There seems no leader as the formation moves and realigns again, seamlessly and almost effortlessly.  Are they equal to each other?  Can anyone join a V?  Who is most important in navigating, the vertex or the wings?  Is their misson food, fun, safety, adventure, or just their nature?

Books do tell us about birds and their habits, true, yet random glimpses of this information in life never ceases to amaze.  Nature holds no total secrets.  All is there for the human to analyze, study, observe, photograph and most importantly to learn.

We don’t look up so often these days.  How did they decide on the number 7?  Some formations are greater, but having learned the rules that dominate the sky seems to offer a sublime existence and a type of freedom; enviable, yet enjoyable to observe.

Happy Birthday Mr. Lincoln!

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“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count.   It’s the life in your years.”

~ Abraham Lincoln

Seldom would I pass this date without thinking of President Lincoln.  Growing up in Michigan, in elementary school, we always colored a drawing of President Lincoln in a heart; he has his very own day back then.

It is often said that the victor rewrites history, and as time has passed, that is plausible if one peruses all the information available these days, which is plenty.  But, while that may be, in President Lincoln’s case, truth holds evidence too.

If his words at Gettysburg, the sorrow in his eyes in his photos and the visible love seen when he is with his family are indications, the man was honorable.  He had vision, caring, and strength; he was an example of what we grew up calling, ‘the American dream’ too.

Happy Birthday President Lincoln!  However history writes and rewrites a story, sometimes, we have to look with our own hearts and our own eyes and see who our heroes really are: he is one of mine.

“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

~ Abraham Lincoln

Appreciating a Master

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Appreciating a Master

Is a Vitamin for the Brain

Anthony Doerr did in fact win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2015.  I recently read, All the Light We Cannot See, the book which earned him this prestigious prize. This book, rich in vocabulary, was not only a page turner, it grabbed the recesses of the souls of the characters, and left them almost exquisitely bare for the reader to feel, know, and even see, in one’s mind; the settings, the intensity of worn torn Paris, the smells of Nazi Germany: all were there for the reader to experience.

What is the message here?  Only that when one has the opportunity to read, well, hallelujah!  Time at work, on the computer, doing errands deplete the day of its opportunities well worth taking and ever so needed.  In a society where an author may write what he feels, researches, and finds in his soul the effort and intensity to express for others, we are ever so lucky to be able to choose to read what he imparted.  European history swirls in threads throughout the world today; war never really goes away.  It heals to read, even historical fiction.  We know in our hearts, there are always tons of good people in bad situations.

To understand is to grow.  To grow to peace for the past is to give the present its due: a chance. This book has enough brilliance that this blogger could write many more paragraphs.  Leaving it here is enough though, point being, taking time to read stimulates thinking, and thinking about things means we find good and understanding and perhaps, even change a little.

If I were a college lit teacher, or history teacher: extra credit all around for reading this amazing book.

Memories

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A Perfect Swim

Cygnet 1: The water’s perfect!  Cygnet 2: Nearly so!  Cygnet 3: Love being outside today. Cygnet 4: Could be more sun. Cygnet 5: Why am I always in the middle? Cygnet 6: I feel snuggly. Cygnet 7: I am hungry.  Cygnet 8: What a glorious day!

 

Christmas Memories or Just Memories

Christmas!  It happens most years that we gather with our families, and begin to reminisce about times gone by.  It feels so good when we get together and remember our childhoods; even young people enjoy this experience.  It doesn’t matter if we say, “Last year…” or “About 30 years ago…” or “Remember in 1992 when we…” These sentence starters happen.  Our families have the generations and so we hear these beginnings.  We laugh.  We cry.  We think.  We yearn, especially for the ones who’ve gone on, moved or live in Heaven.  We need to remember, yet, it isn’t always easy for everyone to remember, in both senses of the word, ‘easy’.

The thing is that when one ages, it seems there are more memories.  What surprises the most is the reaction others have to one’s memories.  This past holiday, memories were met with a variety of reactions, all good, but it was something noticeably interesting that conversations brought shared memories of the ones who were ‘there’ to be a bit different from each other.  It’s not that it caused any uncomfortable situations, just that shared experiences are really never completely shared.

There is the conundrum.  It occurred to this blogger’s brain that there is no way we can have the same memories, identical conversations, or feelings; we just cannot go back and expect total accuracy at all.  It like a room full of quilts: they are all beautiful blankets, works of art, but the effort, emotion, number of stiches, and meanings vary almost to the measure that they are not the same at all and only share in the part that they cover a bed.

It seems worth mentioning the fact that conversations about memories may benefit from a watchful eye just as everyday conversations do.  As each day happens, we will all experience it differently, regardless that we are all humans or that we are all Americans, or all hungry for dinner.  We share a lot, but not quite exactly the same of anything, on any level.

What’s the point?  The point is that it well worth embracing one’s own memories, but to be aware that others may not share the joy, amusement, or pain felt, or even remember the events, in the same way.  When we seek peace and love in our familial relationships, we grow from caring about our words, which includes telling our own truth in what remember while realizing another may hold a tweaked version of the truth.  Just a thought.

Chess Does the Body Good

 

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Consider everyday life.  Making decisions is an all-day-long event, and quite often an all-day-long event that includes many simultaneous decisions.  Is it important? Of course, it is.  Buying a gift is important, and deciding what to eat is important.  Everything can be important for a host of reasons.  That is just the tip of the iceberg regarding what those wonderful computing brains are about – the question is: can we learn to be better at making decisions and if so, how?

My answer is wholeheartedly, “Yes!”

Yes, we can become better at anything, and the beauty is that being a thinker, and being able to make the best decisions that affect everyday life and subsequently tomorrow’s life as well, can be done even-handedly, logically, efficiently, and peacefully. There is a catch though: one must endeavor to believe that a bit of effort to learn is worth all that.

Having watched brains think for the better part of my life leaves me with many questions, and at this moment, the first and foremost question is: what might I do, as an individual to help children, who will become adults, be thinkers?  There is a ton of research, scads of articles and books on this very subject; some dull though, and others perhaps not resonating.  This is too important to let go, and even if redundant, worth repeating: take away technology on regularly intervaled occasions, and replace those hours with games and reading.  Fun games are worthwhile because fun is important and although one may feel he/she is having fun, we all learn a lot from playing games!  But, there is something much more important than having fun which precedes fun, and allows for fun: learning to strategize and think a plan through from many angels.  Chess!

In the ideal educational system from my perspective, chess would be a scheduled class, happening on a weekly basis, minimally.  Let it begin in kindergarten, and continue straight through to 12th grade.  This is the wonderful assistant to all teachers; students learning to think, consider, plan, strategize, follow rules, find camaraderie and win their intent; isn’t that what we hope for all the time when teaching them anything?

For adults, this is brain vitamins; teach yourself, teach your children, teach your mom and dad – chess is one way to begin winning from the very beginning because while you learn, you grow those all-important dendrites and keep them healthy.

Moral of the story: Chess does the body good.

 

Tee’s Gift

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http://amzn.to/2gk6p6m

A book is still a most wonderful gift for a child.  The warmth between a child being read to and an adult enjoying the story is magnificent!  Tee’s Gift is a Christmas story that reminds us of the joy of giving from the heart; we all know that, but it’s nice to read, especially at this time of year.  Merry Christmas to all.