L’Chaim

Posted by: – Date:

“L’Chaim” is Hebrew and is a common toast and greeting meaning “To Life”. That’s a subject I think about every day. Grateful for the gift of life. Trying hard to make mine worthwhile. To make a positive difference in this world that’ll survive me and get passed on to others and to future generations. Trying to glean what I can as to what G-d has in mind for me and what I must do to earn his respect. Trying to learn something new each day and to take notice of everything so I won’t forget. Trying hard not to trip over the hurdles in my life and to not let myself give in to anger or self-pity. Trying to find each day, something to delight in, and something to say “Thank You” for. It’s a full time job for me these days but it carries me through. And I wish for you all, L’Chaim!”. Don’t let it go to waste.

WHAT’S NEW ON ZAZZLE

L'Chaim Card
Advertisements

NO!

Posted by: • Date:

This little quickie post is a gift for my friend, “Dogkisses” – If you’d like to know why I’d consider “NO!” to be a suitable gift, check out the comments to my prior post entitled “Nope.”

Free Icons of the Day

The following images are either full or reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the image(s) of your choice to your desktop. (Unless otherwise noted, downloads are 512px X 512px in .png format). As always, usage of any of the images offered on this blog are free for your personal use while subject to the limitations of my Creative Commons Non-Commercial – Attribution – No Derivatives 3.0 license. (See sidebar for details)

NoNoNo

Absolutely-Not!

No!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

It’s Always Mother’s Day In Heaven

Posted by: • Date:

I used to dread Mother’s Day. Like way too many people, I had a difficult childhood growing up and as an adult, I had an inconsistent relationship with my mother. At times it was really wonderful but more often, it was tumultuous. My mother was an absolutely beautiful woman – she looked like a fashion model – she was bright, vivacious, had a great sense of humor, adored animals, volunteered as a Brownie and Girl Scout Counselor, volunteered at the local Veterans Hospital, wrote poetry, loved going to the movies, art museums, live theater, and reading trashy novels. Yet I don’t think that she ever was genuinely happy or comfortable inside her skin. There was always an undercurrent of fear and anger and estrangement. She was extremely critical of her children – on purpose. She believed parents are supposed to point out every single error their child may make or non-perfect trait their child may have. I never once doubted that her intent was good – she truly wanted to help us to be the best we could be – but her way of going about it could really hurt. Mom never learned how to simply observe and listen to her children (or her husbands for that matter) and so was incapable of providing guidance in a subtle, respectful way. Essentially, she never figured out how to differentiate between herself and her family. What I mean by that is, there is a huge difference between recognizing your child may have inherited this or that physical and non-physical traits from you and keeping in mind that you are responsible for keeping them healthy and safe and teaching them the skills and values needed to stand on their own as a kind, wise, loving adult and contributing member to society – versus – thinking your children are an actual extension of yourself. My Mom was unable to grasp this concept and I think she was aware that there was some great important “secret” she was missing and was deeply troubled as a result.

Even as a very young child, a part of me always understood, instinctively, that my mother was hurting and “broken” in some way and I knew that it wasn’t totally her fault. Although I loved her very much and felt great compassion for her, at the same time, I was always terrified around my mother, even as an adult, as I never knew when she would suddenly change from my gorgeous, fun “Momma” to the screaming, violent stranger that lived deep inside her. It got so bad that when I was 14, I was placed in a Foster Home for a year (with a very loving family whom I remain close to even to this day, forty years later.) At 17, I moved out on my own, 1500 miles away, as I feared for my life. Yet I never stopped loving my Mom. I kept in touch with her through occasional letters and phone calls every couple of weeks and we actually were able to grow closer that way from a safe distance. But even then, Mother’s Day was always the worst day of the year, regardless of where I lived. Perhaps it was because of her insecurities as a person and especially as a mother, that made Momma pin such intense importance to the day. Whatever, I knew that for the last few weeks of April, she would begin the harping, begging, then screaming and finally the “silent treatment” when she realized that I would not be coming down to Florida to see her. It was both heartbreaking and aggravating and got worse every year but I knew that it was for the best in the long run that I stay far away.

It’s been a dozen years now since my Mom tragically passed away at a relatively early age. Now, rather than dreading Mother’s Day and trembling inside with terror, I find myself with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes, and praying that she can see me and hear me and feel what’s inside my heart. Not a day has gone by in my entire life that I have not spent a significant amount of time thinking about my Mom. Time, distance, and having to face my own mortality has been kind when it comes to my memories and relationship with my Mother. I haven’t forgotten there were bad times, but 90% of the time, I’m thinking about the good times. Although my Mom thought she was a complete failure as a mother, the fact she indeed didn’t always have the best of parenting skills, and found it impossible to live by what she preached, I marvel at how much my mother really taught me and how much I’ve relied on her words of wisdom in my adult life and in raising my son. I talk to her all the time these days – inside my head and inside my heart – and I feel like she is with me – not as she was, but as she wanted to be: relaxed, happy, wise, content, and supportive.

Is there such a thing as Heaven after we die? Logistically, I have a very hard time trying to figure out how that would work and where it may be and even why it would even exist. But spiritually, I like to think that Heaven is all around and within us and that Momma is finally at peace and enjoying Mother’s Day – with me right beside her – every single day.

Happy Mother’s Day, my friends.

Free Icons of the Day

The following images are either full or reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the image(s) of your choice to your desktop. (Unless otherwise noted, downloads are 512px X 512px in .png format). As always, usage of any of the images offered on this blog are free for your personal use while subject to the limitations of my Creative Commons Non-Commercial – Attribution – No Derivatives 3.0 license. (See sidebar for details)

FantasyPansies

HappyMother'sDay

Katie-Geranium

HappyMother'sDay2

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

On Being Real (I FELT your pain)

Posted by: • Date:

So many things are on my mind that I’d like to talk about. My brain is not cooperating though. It is as if there is a Ticker Tape Parade going on in my head with shredded gray matter instead of paper. (Oh, Yuck!) Hopefully in the next day or two my brain fog shall lift and my tongue become untied and I shall have all kinds of intellectual crap (er, wonderful things) to share with y’all. In the meantime, I’m going to let some other folks talk for me, as they seem to know what’s in my heart and mind. And then it’s off to some brand new FELTED Freebies I’ve made for you. Enjoy!

“Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

– Margery Williams (Bianco) Author, (1881-1944), from “The Velveteen Rabbit”

• • •

“Three passions have governed my life: 
The longings for love, the search for knowledge, 
And unbearable pity for the suffering of [humankind].
Love brings ecstasy and relieves loneliness. 
In the union of love I have seen 
In a mystic miniature the prefiguring vision 
Of the heavens that saints and poets have imagined.
With equal passion I have sought knowledge. 
I have wished to understand the hearts of [people]. 
I have wished to know why the stars shine.
Love and knowledge led upwards to the heavens, 
But always pity brought me back to earth; 
Cries of pain reverberated in my heart 
Of children in famine, of victims tortured 
And of old people left helpless. 
I long to alleviate the evil, but I cannot, 
And I too suffer.
This has been my life; I found it worth living.”

Bertrand Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM FRS, (1872-1970,) Nobel Prize Winner (1950), philosopher, Mathematician, Historian, Socialist, Pacifist, Social Critic”

Free Icons of the Day

The following images are either full or reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the image(s) of your choice to your desktop. (Unless otherwise noted, downloads are 512px X 512px in .png format). As always, usage of any of the images offered on this blog are free for your personal use while subject to the limitations of my Creative Commons Non-Commercial – Attribution – No Derivatives – Share Alike- 3.0 license. (See sidebar for details))

Felted-Linux

Felted-Apple-2 Felted-Windoz

Felted-Developer

Felted-Mail Felted-Gmail

Felted-Finder

Felted-Package Felted-Document

Felted-Home

Felted-Desktop Felted-Alias

Felted-App

Felted-Cliip-Pix Felted-Clip-Snd

Felted-Clip-Text Felted-Clips-Generic

Reaching Justice

Posted by: • Date:

The USA’s Founding Fathers were neither the mythically pure characters symbolized by the old cherry tree legend nor the evil black-hearts epitomized by more recent revelations concerning siring children with slaves. Instead, they were each fiercely independent, intelligent, and complex people who, together, did the seemingly impossible: negotiated a settlement on wording for a national Constitution that began with two dichotomous assumptions, (1) that all people have the ability to choose to live objectively honorable lives; and (2) recognizing that not everyone will make honorable choices. Just as it is with wise parents, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, et al knew that setting oppressive policies for ALL citizens would guarantee that NO citizen could ever become a victim to many of the most common types of harm that occur in less restrictive societies. At the same time, they also realized the negative factors of subjecting a country’s citizens to such tight control far outweighed the benefits. For this reason, they sought an alternative solution by taking a cue from God and defined a system that (1) protects every citizen’s right to individually exercise their natural free will; (2) encourages good decisions by awarding citizens in a variety of ways for their good choices; (3) discourages bad decisions by imposing negative consequences on the person(s) whose choices cause harm to others; and (4) provides means for victims to recover in some way and to some extent, that which they’d been deprived of by the wrongdoer.

The theory behind this system of justice was absolutely brilliant and admirable. Unfortunately, just like the adduced advantages of God-given free will failed to enable mankind (as a whole) to learn from the poor decisions of others and evolve to the point where we no longer make bad decisions, the US Constitution and justice system have failed to eliminate crime and have likewise been unable to guarantee that every victim will even be recognized as such, much less fairly compensated for the harm they’ve suffered. Not being privy to God’s intentions, we can only surmise whether free will has worked as He originally intended or whether the “Groundhog’s Day-effect” of every human-being starting from scratch upon their own birth was an unintended consequence of the fact our intellectual and emotional experiences are only saved to a single-lifetime Virtual RAM disk rather than to a shared public “ROM” that’s large enough to accumulate every conscious and unconscious memory from each and every previous generation.

Despite this short-coming, we have nevertheless learned to accept those limitations without feeling overtly frustrated or disillusioned. In contrast, frustration, disillusionment, or even harsher emotions are all too often the reaction of many Americans who have experienced the realities of our judicial system in practice. I suspect this is not only because victims who’ve turned to that system looking for protection and justice often end up suffering even greater harm despite the built-in safeguards because those with the authority to enforce the rules failed to do so for one reason or another. Worse yet, is how often victims find themselves forced to bear a grossly disproportionate share of the negative consequences brought on by the wrong-doers’ bad acts while the real law-breaker gets to walk away relatively unscathed.

So does this means our Founding Fathers screwed-up or that our judicial system is inherently and irrevocably unjust? Personally, I don’t believe those conclusions are supportable. Accepting that no human-designed system (be it a system of justice or of anything else) can ever be expected to always work perfectly, I believe that the core presumptions, goals, and theories underlying the system of the US Constitution, laws, rules, adjudication, enforcement and remedies offers the best opportunity to make sure there is an absence of complete chaos and an absence of total oppression, all while still affording the greatest amount of individual freedom possible for all those who choose to live in any society where they are not the sole member. But Ideals and theories aside, I certainly know first hand how wretchedly our system can fail when victims are ignorant of the possible pitfalls or are otherwise powerless to avoid those pitfalls when the “The Powers That Be” (i.e. police, lawyers, judges, etc.) make poor decisions of their own which, intentionally or unintentionally and end up failing to protect the innocent and award the guilty instead.

The good news is that there IS a solution. The bad news is that the degree of success it can achieve is solely dependent upon the proportion of individuals from both sectors of our society (meaning those who are members of “the powers that be” and those who are not) that make a solemn commitment to simply and at all times, in all circumstances, live by The Golden Rule. All that is required to make our system of justice functional is to have a greater percentage of our population with the will to make such a promise and the guts and integrity to ensure that rule serves as the final, inner governor of every decision they make. What’s required to improve our system is merely a matter of changing the existing ratio to increase the number of those who are committed to giving more than lip-service to The Golden Rule. Sounds too simplistic to you? It’s simple, yes, but that doesn’t mean it’s not do-able. But don’t just take my word for it. Test my theory out by committing yourself to…

Always

Do Unto Others

As You Would Have Them

Do Unto You

and by holding others accountable with your voice and your votes. To borrow and append a political campaign phrase (coined by the party not of my choice),

One person and one step at a time,

Together, We Can Do It!

Free Icons of the Day

The following images are either full or reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the image(s) of your choice to your desktop. (Unless otherwise noted, downloads are 512px X 512px in .png format). Create Commons license applies (see sidebar for details)

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Situational Truth? Humbug! (+ Law-Related Icons)

Posted by: • Date:

I was once told (by a lawyer, no less) that there is no such thing as the truth but rather that “truth” is always “situational”. That attorney was by no means alone in that opinion and perhaps may even be in the majority with that view but I have to respectfully and vehemently disagree. I personally believe that those who advocate “situational truth” and “situational ethics” are confusing truth and ethics with what are merely artificially narrow points of view stubbornly clung to as self-justification for thoughts, beliefs, and/or actions which they realize, consciously or unconsciously, would fail under objective scrutiny. To such proponents, truth is a collection of facts and pseudo-facts arranged in a manner to produce that which conveniently relieves them of moral and/or actual liability for the consequences of their choices.

My criticism of “Situational Truth” does not mean that I fail to recognize that everyone views events from their personal frame of reference and that more than one view can often and even simultaneously be valid. Nor does it mean that I see life in terms of black and white without any shades of gray. The problem, as I see it, arises when someone places validation of their internal emotional needs as the final arbiter of what is “true” regardless of any objective analysis of irrefutable – but external – hard facts and evidence. To me, truth is truth whether we like it or not. Shades of gray only apply to and only exist when we have competing interests to consider when deciding how we want to think and act in response to the truth. While there are times when there is no one “right” answer and times when there isn’t even any “good” answer, denying the existence of the truth is never a valid option.

Seems like I’m in pretty good company on this issue, as the following quotes attest to. What are your thoughts?

“The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is.”
Winston Churchill (British Orator, Author and Prime Minister during World War II. 1874-1965).

“Fraud and falsehood only dread examination. Truth invites it.”
Samuel Johnson (English Poet, Critic and Writer. 1709-1784).

“It is not the oath that makes us believe the man, but the man the oath”
Aeschylus (Ancient Greek Dramatist and Playwright known as the founder of Greek tragedy, 525 BC-456 BC).

“Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t goin’ away.”
Elvis Presley (American Singer and Actor widely known as the “King of Rock and Roll”, 1935-1977).

“If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.”
C.S. Lewis (British Scholar and Novelist. 1898-1963).

“It’s no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense.”
Mark Twain (American Humorist, Writer and Lecturer. 1835-1910).

“Remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall — think of it, ALWAYS.”
Mahatma Gandhi (Indian Philosopher, internationally esteemed for his doctrine of nonviolent protest, 1869-1948).

And now, for tonight’s freebie clip-art and icons, a few more to serve the legal community’s needs. Enjoy!

Free Icons of the Day

The following images are either full or reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the full-sized image file to your desktop. Each image is 512px X 512px in .png format unless otherwise indicated in caption below image.

Justice

Justice (download size is 600 x396 px - useful for banners & headers)

Oath-color Oath

Contract-signed-in-blood

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

False Pride, Foolish Lies & Mermaids Cries

Posted by: • Date:

The endurance of the legend of mermaids (one of the earliest known reference to mermaids was recorded around 800 B.C. in Homer’s epic, the Odyssey) is perhaps the most apt analogy to human’s capacity to stubbornly maintain beliefs and claims that suit their fancy and purposes despite the overwhelming facts and evidence against them. While many of us may have thought of mermaids as merely a fanciful fairy tale to lull a child to sleep, history records a long-held belief of the actual existence of these beautiful, voluptuous maidens with their luminescent scales and tails like fish that frolic in the ocean depths and lure many an unwary sailor to his doom.

“The day before, when the Admiral was going to the Rio del Oro, he said he saw three mermaids who came quite high out of the water but were not as pretty as they are depicted, for somehow in the face they look like men. He said that he saw some in Guinea on the coast of Manegueta.”
– From Diary of Christopher Columbus, Jan. 9, 1493

Had Homer and Columbus been aware of the scientific truths which eliminate even the slightest chance of the possibility of an actual mermaid species, would that have altered their fears or observations? As I am not familiar enough with the personalities and character of these men, I cannot say for certain, yet based upon an abundance of sociological and psychological research by others more knowledgeable than I (such as this, that & this one) it is quite likely that one of those men would have clung to their claims for dear life.

I am not talking here about religious faith or about optimistic beliefs in the face of all odds, as those I believe are an entirely different animal altogether and as such, topics for separate discussion. No, what I am getting at here is my being confounded by those who take such extreme positions that are not merely in conflict with every known fact and scrap of evidence, but which are often about events or details that would otherwise have little consequence in the vast tapestry of their lives. What kind of ego consciously chooses to insist, with a poker face, on the veracity of their statements even after they’ve been laid bare before all as vicious twists and lies? Whom do such people expect to believe them and on what basis do they portend others should accept their precarious views as truth? I am completely befuddled by such people, as I can see no purpose to their madness. To me, it is like a drowning man who insists he stands on dry land and thus refuses to take the hand of one who would raise him from the ocean to relative safety. While G-d himself warned against the evil of false-pride over five-thousands years ago and while self-preservation may be considered the most basic instinct of all living creatures going at least as far back as the dinosaurs, the fact is that dinosaurs are extinct. Apparently, this is still a lesson some people never learn.

Me? I prefer to keep life simple. Thus, the tale of beautiful, graceful ladies of the sea keeping our lonely sailors company remains a delightful prelude to sleep.

Free Desktop Picture of the Day

The following image is a reduced size preview. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the full-sized image file to your desktop.

Desktop Aquarium with Mermaid -1920x1200

Desktop Aquarium with Mermaid -1920x1200

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine