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Archive for August, 2014


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Esther de Waal on finding the true self in God, from Living With Contradiction:

    The journey by which we discover God is also the journey by which we discover, or uncover, our true self . . .

    It is so easy to play the world’s game which is the power game, the game which depends on setting myself apart from others, distinguishing myself, seeking the limelight and looking for applause . . .

    My whole attitude towards myself becomes determined by the way other see me. I compare myself with others, and try to emphasize what is different about me.

    Those three temptations which Christ faced in the wilderness are equally my own temptations:

    — to be relevant

    — to be spectacular

    — to be powerful.

    Am I able, like Christ, to put them down?

    Am I prepared to shed all these outer shells of false ambition, of pride?

    Am I ready to admit that the mask is a disguise put on to cover up the insecure self? and the armor a shield to protect the vulnerable self?

"Temptation of Christ", by Ary Scheffer, 1854 Jesus resisted the temptation of worldly power, but we find the craving for power very tempting indeed.

“Temptation of Christ”, by Ary Scheffer, 1854
Jesus resisted the temptation of worldly power, but we find the craving for power very tempting indeed.

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Since I’m hobbled with the broken ankle, I can’t go snorkeling.

But this video is the next best thing.

All in all I'd rather be way out there, snorkeling off the shores of Caye Caulker.

All in all I’d rather be way out there, snorkeling off the shores of Caye Caulker.

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Victoria Fedden, who sometimes writes some funny stuff, has some really funny stuff at her blog, “Wide Lawns and Narrow Minds,” about going back to school in the seventies as opposed to 2014.

A sampling follows:

Back-to-School Fashion by Sears

Back-to-School Fashion by Sears

Back to School in the 70s

1. Take the kids downtown to go shopping at Sears for back to school clothes the last week of August. Get everyone a new pair of corduroys and a striped tee shirt. Buy the boys a pair of dungarees and the girls a pair of culottes. No, Jennifer, you can’t have that orange and red poncho. Promise you will crochet her a better one with much more fringe. Get the girls a package of that rainbow, fuzzy yarn they like in their hair. You are done. You have spent a total of $43.00. Now take everyone to the Woolworth’s lunch counter for grilled cheeses and chocolate milk.

2. On the night before the first day of school (that would be the Sunday night after Labor Day, of course, you know, mid-September) throw the kids in the way back of the station wagon and drag them downtown to Eckerds, K-Mart, Ames, Dollar General, Drug Fair or the like and hurry them over to the back-to-school area to pick out a lunchbox. Make sure to tell them get a move on because you don’t have all night for them to make a damn decision. They need to get in bed by eight and yes, they’re going to miss the Wonderful World of Disney if they can’t decide between The Fonz and Dukes of Hazzard. Good Lord, why is it so hard for them to pick? Tell Kimberly if she can’t make up her mind between Holly Hobbie and The Bionic Woman then you’re going to pick Pigs in Space and you don’t want to hear another word about it until June. Grab a composition book for each of them and a pack of pencils too. That’s all they need. Remember to save some grocery bags so they can cover their textbooks with them after the first day of school.

3. Buy yourself a pack of Virginia Slims on the way out and smoke three of them on the way home.

4. Get up in the morning and make yourself a cup of Sanka with Sweet ‘n’ Low. Line up all the lunchboxes on the formica counter top in your kitchen. Open up a bag of Wonder Bread and do this assembly line style.

Back-to-School with monogrammed backpacks--a must for the 2014  school year.

Back-to-School with monogrammed backpacks–a must for the 2014 school year.


Back to School 2014

1. Take five deep breaths and say a positive affirmation. School begins in two weeks. It is the middle of July. Don’t worry, you still have time to order BPA-free bento boxes and authentic Indian tiffins made with special stainless steel that did not involve any child-labor, sweat shops or animal cruelty. Remember, you have Amazon Prime. You can get the free two day shipping and you will have plenty of time to read reviews and make this very important decision because your kids are in summer “camp” which is actually just another word for school in the summer because OH MY GOD you were so tired that day you had to have them home all day with you and you couldn’t go to your restorative flow class at yoga. And that was also the day something went terribly wrong with the homemade glitter cloud dough recipe that was supposed to go in their sensory bin and the very same day that they were out of soy milk at Starbucks and you had to immediately email corporate to let them know that duh, they should actually be selling almond milk and/ or coconut milk. Get with it Starbucks. Soy is so 90s. Ugh, but you digress. The tiffin. The bento boxes…

2. One Week Later: The bento boxes and tiffins have arrived. So has your childrens’ school’s annual list of school supplies that you must purchase and deliver. It is three and a half pages long. It includes a ten pound bag of flour and several cleaning products and also requests a Costco-sized package of toilet paper.

3. Begin frantic online search for backpacks and school bags made from all natural materials yet still “cool.” Have them monogrammed.

Click here for the whole funny enchilada.

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I’ve often pointed out that while I moved to Belize largely because I like to beach bum, I was also attracted to so much of the other stuff Belize offers with its rain forests, mountains, rivers and waterfalls here on the mainland. It’s why I live close to Mountain Pine Ridge where one can have so many thrills in finding unique ways to break a bone or two.

Great swimming at Mountain Pine Ridge

Great swimming at Mountain Pine Ridge

It’s been two weeks and a few days since I hurt myself at Big Rock Waterfalls, where I fell down on the rocks. (Which explains why its nickname is “Falling Rock.” I’m not the first who ever took a tumble down there.)

Two weeks and three days after my spill, I got a new cast, and six to eight more weeks of no jitterbug dancing Next time I wanna  get out I'll go to the beach where the ground is level.

Two weeks and three days after my spill, I got a new cast, and six to eight more weeks of no jitterbug dancing Next time I wanna get out I’ll go to the beach where the ground is level.

At least I fell at what has been ranked No. 1 among “the most amazing waterfalls” at Mountain Pine Ridge:

click here for the list.

I strive to be Number 1 in all things.

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Here are two of what might be the loveliest paintings–both of which bespeak the spiritual richness of simple living–that you’ll see all day, all week, all month, lest you spend some time looking for some of the lovelier things in life to dwell on.

More on the artist Jeffrey T. Larson here.

And more thoughts on simple living as it pertains to spiritual poverty below.

"Yellow and Blue" by American artist, Jeffrey T. Larson (born 1962)

“Yellow and Blue” by American artist, Jeffrey T. Larson (born 1962)

"Give Us This Day": Oil by Jeffrey T. Larson

“Give Us This Day”: Oil by Jeffrey T. Larson

Artist Larson's "Autumn Apples"

Artist Larson’s “Autumn Apples”

Spiritual poverty does not necessary require living in destitution or neglecting to provide for our future. It means simply that our resources are not amassed in order to establish an arrogant self-sufficiency, but are aligned in a planned manner to enhance our relationship with God and others.”

— Wilkie Au, author of By Way of the Heart: Toward a Holistic Christian Spirituality and Enduring Heart: Spirituality for the Long Haul.

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Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton

Today’s “Big Amen of the Day to That!” . . . is from my main man the mystic Mr. Merton, whose social criticism needs to be considered today as much as it needed to be heard when he wrote this in his journal on July 3, 1968:

    “One has to remain pretty critical and independent about all ideas. Come to one’s own conclusions on a basis of one’s own frank experience. Both the conservatives and the progressives seem to me to be full of the same kind of intolerance, arrogance, empty-headedness, and to be dominated by different guides of conformism: in either case the dread of being left out of their reference group.”

"Do not forget that the value and interest of life is not so much to do conspicuous things...as to do ordinary things with the perception of their enormous value.”  ― Pierre Teilhard de Chardin  (HAT TIP: Peggy at Ecumenicus.org)

“Do not forget that the value and interest of life is not so much to do conspicuous things…as to do ordinary things with the perception of their enormous value.” ― Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (HAT TIP: Peggy at Ecumenicus.org)

What we need most in order to make progress is to be silent before this great God with our appetite and with our tongue, for the language he best hears is silent love.   (St John of the Cross)

What we need most in order to make progress is to be silent before this great God with our appetite and with our tongue, for the language he best hears is silent love.
(St John of the Cross)

 “The glory of God is the human person fully alive.”   -- St Irenaeus

“The glory of God is the human person fully alive.”
— St Irenaeus

Your scripture for the day, especially for those who think they’ve done too much evil in life to be forgiven by the God of endless love, endless grace and tender mercies:

    “If you, O Lord, kept a record of our sins,

    “Who, O Lord, could stand?”

    — Psalm 130: 3

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