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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Winter thoughts, warm coffee, and football.

Hello Hodgepodge and Facebook friends.
 
As usual we have a mix of subjects to touch on in this week's Hodgepodge questions.  Let's just get right to it. 
 
1. Share a winter memory from your childhood. 
 
I have never been a lover of cold and snow.  Even as a kid.  I have a memory of when I was probably in about 5th or 6th grade, living in our house on Thorne Road in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.  This Cleveland suburb was on the east side, the side that always got more snow accumulations than the west side,  due to the "lake effect."   I had a bed that was pushed up against an outside wall in my bedroom.  There was a window in the wall, down by my feet.  I remember feeling the cold air coming in through the closed window.    The window pane was freezing to touch.  The bottom of it didn't close tight.  I could feel cold air and sometimes the wind whistled through it a little.

2. What was on your blog this time last year? (Besides the Hodgepodge of course!) If you weren't blogging, what in the world were you doing with all that free time? 
 



I just looked back and I had blogged about my daughter's bachelorette party last January.  It was the first weekend of January, and it was held in Charleston.  My other daughter, the maid of honor, had arranged it all, but I got to help with decorating, making the goody bags, etc.

I didn't stay with the bride & all her bridemaids in the house they rented, but I stayed in a hotel near by and I got to be involved with some of the activities.  It was a fun weekend!  I loved seeing all the girls together.  Oh, what a difference a year makes!  Now, the April wedding is long behind us and the newlyweds are doing well, living in North Carolina. 




3. Ellen Goodman is quoted as saying, 'We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives...not looking for flaws, but for potential.' 

Do you see more flaws or more potential in your life at the start of a new year? Have you done anything specific this month to address either one? Does the new year truly begin for you on January 1, or is there some other month of the year that feels like a fresh start and new beginning?

Well. My my.  You want me to list my flaws?!?   lol   I'd rather not.  Believe me, I know them.   I always think of a new year as a clean slate - a new beginning.  The sermon just this past Sunday at church was about everyone having today... and how to use it (this day) to God's glory.   We can only live in the here and now.    Yesterday is gone and tomorrow has not come yet.   There definitely must be a country song in there somewhere!  ha 

I don't have a specific other date on the calendar that seems like the right time for a fresh start.  Every morning is is a new day, and every new day is a new beginning.


4. Who's an athlete you admire or respect and why?

I like this question because it seems we too often focus on the disappointing professional athletes: the ones that try to live "above the law," that can't handle success, that turn to drugs to stay on top of the game.

As I have been watching the football play-offs,  I have noted that during each game a player from each team is recognized/announced. It is someone who has done much for their community, for children, health issues, etc.   One player will get the top trophy, named for the wonderful Chicago Bear Walter Payton, on Super Bowl Sunday.    I admire those who have used their ability, and their star power, to give back.

Some athletes I admire?   Arthur Ashe,  Arnold Palmer,  Phil Mickelson, Peyton & Eli Manning, Russell Wilson, to name a few.
 
5. Do you like cream in your coffee? Whipped cream on your pumpkin pie? Cream cheese on a bagel? Sour cream on a baked potato? Cream of wheat for breakfast? Have you ever had a scone with clotted cream? Of all the creamy foods mentioned, which one sounds most appealing to you right this very minute?

Yes, cream in my coffee!  (Extra cream, no sugar)  No, on the whipped cream on pumpkin pie.  Definitely cream cheese slathered on a bagel.  And, yes, a dollop of sour cream on a baked potato.  No thanks to cream of wheat.   And, I have never tried clotted cream on a scone.

Right now I could go for a cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee, just the way I like it.  But for now,  I will settle for a cup of International Coffee's Cafe Francais here at home.

6. Where were you last kept waiting for 'hours on end'? Or for what felt like hours on end? How well did you cope?

Oh, this is certainly a pet peeve of mine!   I have recently waited - and it seems like I ALWAYS have to wait - too long in the exam room at the doctor's office before being seen.   For the life of me I can not figure out why the staff can not wait until the doctor is already in seeing the person right before me before bringing me back.   Yes, I know the assistant/nurse has to ask me a few questions and make me get on a scale.  They check my blood pressure.   But then....   wait...  wait...  wait.   What's worse is the exam room walls are always paper-thin and I can hear the doctor and patient talking next door.  I can hear EVERYTHING.  I am sitting on the exam table, staring around... waiting....  waiting... waiting.    I have certainly learned to bring in a book.  And, yes, there have been times after a half hour or so I have opened the door and looked around, like "Hello - I"m here!!"    Grrrrrr


It truly amazes me that we all have sit in small exam rooms where people have been feeling ill, etc. for so long.  My back aches sitting on the table waiting, and I don't LIKE IT!!!   Can you tell?


7. Believe it or not, when next week's Hodgepodge rolls around it will be February. Huh?!? Bid adieu here to January in seven words or less.

Quick go, come on Spring.

I did it in 5 words!  Ha!!


8.  Insert your own random thought here. 


So, anybody else watching "The Bachelor?"   It's my Monday night veg out time.  I like Ben... and I think he'd be good with Becca.     Got any opinions? 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Skating, age, accessories, cheese, eyes, and books. What do they have in common?


I'm back at the Hodgepodge although it seems like such a crazy time right now.  I thought January would be quiet.  Let's just say I was wrong.  I am happy to get to the Hodgepodge questions at this hour, a bit later in the day than usual.  Our leader Joyce starts off with a winter sports question.  Then, let's see where we go!   Shall we proceed?

1.  Skating...when did you last 'skate on thin ice', 'skate over the details', 'encounter a cheapskate', or just plain skate?

I used to really love to ice skate.  In my teens and early 20's I enjoyed it very much and went weekly in cold weather.  Actually, in middle school I belonged to an indoors ice rink.  During high school I skated outdoors at a rink in the parking lot of the old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore.   But, Joyce's question isn't about that kind of skating. 

Of the four skating phrases she listed, I last encountered skating on thin ice.  I won't say what went down on Facebook the other evening, but let's just say it wasn't pretty.  I love Facebook most of the time. I love how it connects people, old friends and new.  I love sharing pictures and funny stories.  Occasionally I love a good back and forth on a subject.  But, every once in awhile, when talking about someone's passion...be it religion, or politics, etc. there are some mean spirited things said (typed.) 

I skated on thin ice - and quickly fled the "discussion rink" because it was getting hurtful and people were not showing their best sides.


2. What would you say is the biggest problem of people your age?
 
Good question.  Hmmm.   Biggest problem?    I think a lot of people my age (I'm 59) are thinking of retirement in the near future, and are asking just how to spend out the rest of their lives.   So, a big problem is figuring out how much money it will take - and really how much stuff do you need!   


3. What's your favorite accessory? Is it something you wear every day, often, or only on special occasions?
 
Does jewelry count?  If so, then it would be my rings (wedding and a 20th anniversay) I wear every day. I also wear a necklace - one chain with 3 "charms" on it:  a cross, a heart, and a Palmetto tree (for South Carolina.) 
 
A non-jewelry accessory?  I have a soft multi-colored knitted scarf for cold weather. It goes with everything I wear. It helps yo keep me warm.


4. January 20th is National Cheese Lover's Day. Are you a lover of cheese? What's your favorite dish made with cheese? Last thing you ate that contained some kind of cheese? 
 
 I love, love, love cheese!  All kinds!   Favorite dish with it?  Homemade mac and cheese - Nannie's recipe.  I love that my daughter makes it now.  Last dish that I made with it?  Remember, I do not cook often... so I put cheese on recent salads I ate, and I also sprinkled parm cheese on my Stouffer's Spaghetti dish I had the other night. 

Sometimes I just eat cheese and crackers with some wine for an easy meal.   (Don't judge me. I don't cook.) 


5. What's something guaranteed to make you roll your eyes? 
 
You probably just rolled your eyes at my "no cooking" statement above.  lol
 
Oh my.  How to answer without hurting feelings?   I roll my eyes at too many things.  Believe me. I continue to work on it.      Here's one:    The people with road rage, darting in and out of traffic, in a hurry to get somewhere.  

6. Your favorite book series
 
I am not really a "book series" reader.  If I like an author I will read more than one of the books he/she wrote, but more for the reading/writing style than the continuing story.    I am not into sci-fi books and some of them are popular series now.   So, I guess I'll have to reach way back to Nancy Drew.  You know, I wouldn't mind reading a few of them now - for old times sake! 
7. Why did you choose your profession? 
 
Another good question!  I look forward to reading other Hodgepodge friends' answers.  
I didn't really choose my profession, as much as it chose me.  I was a Mass Communications major in college though, so I knew I wanted to do something in that field.  I can't remember just how but I got an internship in the fall of my senior year -  with a rather large radio station in Baltimore.  I took the internship very seriously, and I worked hard, but I also loved the people I worked for.  So, thankfully, I got hired after my internship finished.  I actually had one more semester of school to go, so for 4 months I worked and finished up my degree at the same time.  I was fortunate that I did not have to job hunt after graduation!  

I continued on in radio & TV - full-time, then to part-time, until my children became my priority - and my husband's career was moving us around the country.

8. Insert your own random thought here. 
 
We all have difficult periods in life, where it seems unexplained deaths happen to those we know and love - and where, even with great effort and high hopes, you can't stop bad things from happening.  It seems 2016 is starting out that way here.  I realize we all  have highs and lows. I know life just goes that way sometimes.  

So, we turn to each other, to God in prayer,  and look for ways to bring back harmony and some peace.  

That's what I'm doing right now.   I await Spring and nature's newness.  

Stay warm and safe friends.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Peace be with you.

Today we honor a man of our era who spoke words of love, peace, equality, and unity.

Martin Luther King Jr. was able to speak to the masses with such eloquence on topics many feared.  He was a pastor, a teacher, a civil rights leader - unwilling to let fear of violence stop the message.  Unwilling to USE violence to work towards equality.

I encourage you to watch the movie "Selma" today.  What a wonderful history lesson and look at Dr. King and his message. 

I understand honoring Martin Luther King Jr. with a national holiday, but I hope people don't just think of today as a day off from work.  In fact,  it saddens me to think students are not in school today to use this day for learning about the civil rights movement of the 60's - and to see where our country has come, and how much more we can do.   Perhaps teachers are using the days around the holiday to focus on it.  I hope so.

Sometimes I feel so sad about what people like Dr. King and others have tried to do, but yet we still see so much intolerance and meanness in our world.  But, we can't stop working towards his dream.  Read this amazing speech....

Transcript of speech by
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
August 28, 1963. Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.


I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.
Five score years ago a great American in whose symbolic shadow we stand today signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beckoning light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.
But one hundred years later the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination.
One hundred years later the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.
One hundred years later the Negro is still languishing in the comers of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land.
We all have come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to change racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice ring out for all of God's children.
There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted citizenship rights.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.
And the marvelous new militarism which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers have evidenced by their presence here today that they have come to realize that their destiny is part of our destiny.
So even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its Governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places plains, and the crooked places will be made straight, and before the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the mount with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the genuine discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, pray together; to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom forever, )mowing that we will be free one day.
And I say to you today my friends, let freedom ring. From the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire, let freedom ring. From the mighty mountains of New York, let freedom ring. From the mighty Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
Let freedom ring from the snow capped Rockies of Colorado!
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!
But not only there; let freedom ring from the Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain in Tennessee!
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill in Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty, we're free at last!"

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

It's short (and sweet) this week.

Hello Facebook and Hodgepodge friends.   Got a minute or two?   If so, read on



1.  Share one thing that really makes your day. 


I think it is when something unexpected happens - for the good.  It's usually a surprise from a person, be it a nice word or two said to me, or a small gesture done.   I think we all enjoy those moments. 

A card in the mail, or a cup of DD coffee....   a text about something funny.   It doesn't take money really.  It's more the thought and time given.

2. Lots of these kinds of lists out there, but one found here says the fifteen most colorful places on earth are:

Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy~Burano, Italy~Havana, Cuba~Rio de Janiero, Brazil~Chefchaouen, Morocco~Balat, Istanbul, Turkey~Menton, France~Jodhpur, India~La Baca, Buenos Aires, Argentina~Guanajuato, Mexico~Capetown, South Africa~Valparaiso, Chile~Wroclaw, Poland~San Francisco, California~and Pelourhino, Salvador, Brazil.  

Of those listed which would you most like to see up close and in person? Of all the places you've seen or traveled in your own life, what would you say was one of the most colorful?

 



From this list, I have only been to San Francisco.  Sad?  Not sure.  What's interesting is that most of the other locations are spots I never craved to see.  Colorful? Why?   Because of natural beauty - or the people - or the attitude? 


Can I say, this just seems like a strange list to me. 


3."Everything you want is on the other side of fear." Jack Canfield  In general, would you agree or disagree with that statement? Why?

I think I have to disagree with the word 'everything' in this statement.  Even though fear can certainly hold us back, I don't think overcoming all fear means we then get everything we want.   There is more required than overcoming fear.  Often we need to put in hard work, or deal with circumstances, or just some things happen beyond our control.   So, I disagree with Mr. Canfield's statement. 

4. Imagine you're stranded on a desert island and dessert appears...what do you hope it is? Do you ever struggle to remember which spelling is desert and which is dessert?

Ha!  I never struggle with the spelling of those two words.  And, I think if I was stranded on a desert island my dessert of choice would have to be a warm brownie, with chocolate syrup on top - and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  

If it just "appears" out of thin air I think I might have other more serious issues to worry about on the island!  Maybe I'd had a little too much time in the sun!  lol 

5. What song almost always makes you cry?

Well, there is a hymn with the word 'cry' in the title that does just that!  This hymn some of you might be familiar with too.   It's called "I was there to hear your borning cry"...  and it goes on "I'll be there when you are old.  I was there the day you were babtized, to see your life unfold...."


It is a wonderful lyric, to a beautiful song.   I think of my daughters when I hear it.   Of course, it's really about God being there from the beginning, and always. It's quite touching. 



6. January is National Soup Month.  Everything from soup to nuts, in the soup, thick as pea soup, souped up...which saying most recently applies to your life in some way? Explain.

Toughie.  None of the sayings strike me immediately.   I try to be 'souped up' about life in general.   Excited.  Optimistic.     So, I guess I will go with that. 

7. Write a two word note to your younger self. What does it say?


Well, you know I immediately thought of the song by Brad Paisley.  You know it?  If not, google it and listen. I think it's called "If I Could Write a Letter to me."

But only two words??      Enjoy today.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

SometimesI can write paragraphs when I see the Hodgepodge questions. But this week they left me with little to say.  (Some may count that as a blessing! lol) 

My random thought is that winter nights are all about TV viewing.   When its cold out, and dark, I spend more hours in front of the television.  Last night I stayed up late to watch the exciting College Championship Football game.  Did you watch?  It was anybody's game down to the last minute!!!  Both teams were tough and had some amazing plays.  It's what you want a final game to be like.

Tonight the president gives his last "State of the Union" address and I look forward to watching it too.  Supposedly it's to be "different" and I hope it is.  You know, they can be long and dull...  with too much applause from Congress after being difficult to him all along.  It's so fake!  So, I hope there is something new and different to this speech.  I can see President Obama trying it.  I have liked him all along and I have supported most of his issues, and attempts to change this country for the better.

Then tomorrow... it's more of the final season for "American Idol."  I have watched it every year since Season one.  So many young, talented singers have come from the show!  It's been light, and fun, and emotional.... and I will miss it once it goes off air. 

Have a good night - and a pleasant tomorrow.  (Who signed off that way?  Extra credit if you know!)

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Hello Hodgepodge 2016, post 1.

The first Hodgepodge of 2016.  Let's get started!


1. Are you ready for new? Is 2016 likely to be very different than 2015? Do you want it to be?

I am ready for new in the sense that I have put away all the Christmas decorations and the house is back to a "clean slate."  I am ready for new because we have some changes going on in my neighborhood (a friend has left,  and some new neighbors just moved in), and at my church (we are inbetween pastors right now.)    And, I am ready for new because nobody really knows what each new day brings.

Will this year be different from last year?   Yes - and no.   And that is fine.  I had a very good year last year so I don't expect big changes for the better.  But, again, as I said before, we just never know what each new day will bring.

2. January 6th is National Technology Day. 

Currently, what is your single biggest struggle or frustration when it comes to technology?






I would not call it a struggle but I did just get a Fitbit so I am learning the ins and outs of it.  I like the idea of tracking my exercise each day. I like competing with myself in hopes of becoming more in tune with the activity I do each day (or don't do!)

My biggest frustration right now is my email accounts.  I have two and they are both tied into the icloud that I share with my hubby.  I have not been able to get the settings right, and to have all my technology synced properly.  I have an Iphone, and Ipad, and a MacAir.  I get my mail fine but can't always send replies back on the device I am on.  And, sometimes people hit "reply" to me and it ends up in my hubby's email account. 



3. It's that time again...time for Lake Superior University to present a list of words (or phrases) they'd like to see banished (for over-use, mis-use, and general uselessness) in 2016. You can read more about the decision making process here, but this year's top vote getters are-

So (at the start of every single sentence), conversation (as in hotly debated topics where we're invited to 'join the conversation'), problematic, stakeholder, price point, secret sauce, break the Internet, walk it back, presser, manspreading (common in larger cities where some men take up the entire bus or train seat by sitting wide), vape, giving me life (refers to anything that may excite a person or make them laugh), and physicality

Which of these words/phrases would you most like to see banished from everyday speech and why? Is there a word not on the list you'd like to add?


Well, I don't recognize all those that are listed, so I guess that means they are not used, and certainly  over-used, in my circles!   Really, none of the words and phrases above offend me or make me a bit nutty from hearing it often.  


4. Share one of your current health related goals.

As I mentioned above, I just started wearing a Fitbit, so I plan on moving more,  and staying active.  I think by keeping track with the Fitbit I can increase my movement and my energy level.

I also hope to drink more water everyday. I need to make a conscious effort to do it because I usually go from coffee to wine!  lol   

5. Let's talk fifty shades of gray. As in the color. Gray is currently a popular color in home decor, paint, wardrobes, hair, wedding party attire, and more. Are you a fan? Do you have the color in some variation in your home or wardrobe?  Gray hair, the old gray mare, gray matter, gray area...which gray idiom can you most relate to right now?

In general I am not a fan of the color gray (especially in my hair!)  In home decorating I have always considered gray as a "cool" color - one used in modern and contemporary designs.  But, I have seen gray used in ways I like recently. In fact, my daughter just redid her kitchen and she used gray, along with white (subway tile).  She added in a muted light green paint color.  It's very pretty.  I suppose it's trendy.  But, I like it.

 Of the idioms above, I relate to gray hair unfortunately.  I know I have it - but I do my best not to see it.  I have been coloring my hair for years now and I feel that if I didn't use color my gray hair would make me look much older.  I'm vain. I don't want that.  I don't feel old.  So, I'm trying hard not to look old. 

6. Certain foods are considered 'lucky' if eaten on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day. Cooked greens to bring economic fortune, black-eyed peas or lentils also symbolize money, pork which symbolizes progress, fish for good luck, and if you're in Spain 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight. Did you eat any lucky foods on the first day of the year? Is that a tradition in your home? Of the foods listed, which most appeals to you?

Growing up in Ohio I had never heard of the "lucky" foods to eat for new year's.  It wasn't until I married my southern hubby and spent holidays with his family did I learn of the dish called Hoppin' John, which is prepared and eaten on January 1st to bring good luck.

I have eaten Hoppin' John most New Year's Days since, but I did not this one last week.  Hubby and I drove home on the 1st after visiting our daughters and son-in-law.  Once home we watched football and chilled. There was no special meal.

Of the foods above, I love black-eyed peas and I love pork.  I know collard greens are a big part of a southern New Year's Day meal, but I am not a fan of it.

7. What's the single biggest time waster in your life and what, if anything, will you do about it this year?

Hmmm.   Going to the food store every week?  Picking up the same items week after week after week??  Boring!    I don't think I can do anything about it.  We need food!  Often I have to go to buy all the dog and cat food too - and I love our pets.  So, there is no way to change this time-consuming chore.   I should buy more in bulk when I am out. That might help me cut down on trips. 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I was talking to someone this morning about the happiness that comes with returning to a routine life after the holiday hoopla.  We both agreed that the Christmas season has gotten way too long, and way too crazed, and too glitzy...with high expectations and often disappointments.    Do you feel this way also?   I have to admit I was happy to hear this from my friend this morning because it validated my ups and downs during this time of the year.

Stay warm everyone.  We just got our first cold snap here and I don't like it!   I know I have it easy compared to many of you in other parts of the country.... some of you are dealing with horrible flooding too.   So, be dry, and safe too!  See you here next week.  


Monday, January 4, 2016

Heavy thoughts

Do you ever have days when you think change is just beyond doing?  That trying to make a better way or help those who need it just seems impossible? 

I ask because I sit here, at the beginning of another new year, and I feel like being hopeful is hard work.  It seems there is so much in this world that is a mess, and that little ole me really can't make a difference.  I know I am not alone feeling this way.  Actually, I think so many people feel helpless that we shake our heads, and we stay frozen in any activity. 

Or, we go on with our own little lives just trying to survive and find happiness - knowing that the "big picture"is just way too big to handle, to work on, to change.

People make new year's resolutions about themselves.  They look to improve a personal issue...often it's about weight. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with that because we need to take care of our own bodies, and to try our best to stay healthy.  But, new year's resolutions are rarely about making the world a better place.

I sit here in early January, and listen to the news on TV, and feel over-whelmed.  I drive my neighborhood streets and feel helpless to those I see living in poverty conditions. A few days ago I traveled the state and felt so depressed by the abuse of our earth. God's creation so littered. 

But, I know - in general I am a pretty "up" person and I realize it takes a village to make change - and everyone doing just a little bit is certainly better than giving up and doing nothing.   So, I sit here and think what I can do.

I went online yesterday to order a trash tool - it's like a cane with a point on the end - so I can take at least one hour a week to stop somewhere and pick up trash.   That is pretty simple to do.  Not all issues are.   I want to do more.  My efforts won't change the SC landscape.

I want to stay hopeful... and I want to continue to push towards betterment with issues I really feel impassioned about.   But, have you noticed?  There seems to be a fine line between feeling that way and going too far.  At some point it's hard to be happy,  to live without some shame or disappointment.  To not judge others.  To feel down about it all.  I mean - if we ALL just worked together so much more could be accomplished!   So, why don't we???

Our political system is a mess.  Our divisions seem so much bigger than our unity.  Our schools are over challenged.   Our churches struggle as they try.   

Yep - this is how I am feeling this morning.  I don't want to end this post on a downer.  But, man, it's such a "dog eat dog" world out there.   Changing that philosophy seems impossible.  

So, how to end today's post without throwing my hands up?   

Anybody got some words of wisdom? 

I know a nice walk does my head good.  So, I will bundle up and head outdoors. I know reading scripture gives me some hope.  It isn't about just here and now.   I know music lifts me...so I can turn on some upbeat country music.      Yes, those are all things I do to lift my soul.  

But, what about the world out there?