Friday, July 26, 2013

The View Above My Desk

We all find inspiration from many different places, sometimes its from life, the people around us, or even things we see that move us. Those little snapshots we take of our life and the people in it help to shape us into the person we become. If we are lucky we have good people who surround us and help shape our views of the world.
Growing up wasn’t always easy, my life started out as a Jehovah’s Witness (which at 4 and 5 I did not understand at all). Other than the fact that we were not supposed to celebrate birthdays, Christmas, or Halloween. What I remember and hold on to was my grandfather showing up on Christmas Eve with presents.His gift helped me to value something that I would later understand ahd would become, important to me.
Not all of it was bad though, some of the things I hold dear as an adult lead back to those teachings of my youth. The willingness to look for answers, or to stand up for my beliefs, and my acceptance for other religious faiths, I can say came from that experience.Those days and that time may be long gone now, as  religiously I have taken a different path, but that isn't the point here.

Those people in my life, which consist of my family and friends keep me sane. They help keep an active mind busy always encouraging me to reach for my full potential. That particular gift I can thank my parents for, their strength and sense of family has always left me in awe of them both. Not unlike many families today we have some members we don’t stay in touch. To quote Dr. Phil, “Sometimes people just don't get it.” It's perhaps one of the truest statement’s I’ve ever heard. When that does happen, whether its a child, sibling, aunt, cousin or other relative you have to let go.
I know that can be easier said than done. Believe me I do know how hard it is to let someone you love walk away because they don’t get what family is.Or their view of life is so skewed they can't see the gifts they have. The view above my desk holds moments in time that make me smile, laugh, and remember those brief seconds of perfection in my life that have come and gone. Its filled with photo’s of my kids, parents, grandparents and some friend I made along the way.

In the world we live in today its so easy to get beaten down or beat up by all the bad things that happen in life. I think that is when you need to dig in the most, and hold on for all your worth. No matter what life may dish out, it is all “doable”. Sometimes its one step at a time, or one hour at a time but we can each get through those rough spots.

My summer is coming to a close, and in a few short weeks it will be back to school to finish up my degree. I am both nervous and happy that their is an end in sight. Looking at the view above my desk, I know that no matter where life may take me I will always get through to the end. I have been lucky enough to have been touched in life by people who were good a living and not just surviving. People who taught me that being bitter about disappointments, and imagined slights was no way to live. My outlook was shaped by Angels, if I may, who showed me it was more important to cherish the life you have and those in it. I still do............... do you?

On a side note, when I say letting go I do mean that. You cannot fight a losing battle. However should they eventually "get it," and want back in, it wouldn't be a bad idea to do so either. People do make mistakes, mess up and draw lines in the sand that they feel they can't take back. It is human nature. Family is about forgiveness at times and lots and lots of love.

Friday, July 19, 2013

What the Frack......

Fracking is a term that is being thrown around Washington as a clean alternative way of obtaining fuel. This process is being energetically pursued by our president Barack Obama, as a safe method of alternative fuel. What is fracking?  It is a process of hydraulic fracturing, using sand and water, as well as other chemical compounds, that are forced down into the ground to create cracks so the oil companies can obtain the gases.
The Shale fracking that is going on now has no protection for the residents living around these drilling sites. All of the protection is for the oil companies. People have no choice but to watch as these operations go up in their backyard. They are exempt from the EPA safe drinking water act put into effect by then president George W Bush Jr.

You would think that we would learn our lesson after movies like “Erin Brockovich” which is based on the waste from fracking being pumped deep underground. Water testing that has been done to many of the wells in nearby neighborhoods has shown high levels of chemicals such as methane, benzene, 2-Butoxyethanol, and other toxic substances.
How can they get away with this you might be asking, well here is the deal. They are only responsible for what is happening at the exact location they are drilling. So the Methane gas they release into the air, and other chemicals that are suddenly turning up in wells and potable water  supplies isn't their problem.

When I first heard about this practice I looked into it extensively reading articles, and watching movies like “Gasland” a documentary by Josh Fox. I was blown away to see people able to light their pond feeds for their livestock on fire because of the methane gas that was coming out with the water. Sadly this initiative to obtain every last drop of gas from the earth is not just limited to the United States. It is also part of Barack Obama’s global agenda that he has prompted other countries to pursue.
For some their only option is to leave their homes and move their children to safer locations. As I watched gasland, I could not help but feel compelled by their stories. These are average people like you and me. Yet for some their silence is being bought one family at a time. Do we really want to live in a world where we surrender that much power to corporations without any real accountability?
One has to wonder if our president would want his daughters or wife drinking this water. It isn’t hard to push your wants and views down someone else's throat when your family is not the one left to pay the price. For anyone who doesn't understand that releasing massive quantities of methane gas out into the atmosphere isn't a bad thing, look at how quickly the rate of global warming has increased.
Its all about the Benjamins
The last time I checked our constitution was still about it’s citizens yet that isn't the type of government we have anymore. Corporate entities control politics and we the people pay the ultimate price for their greed. Its sad when even the politician's are admitting it on film. Is there really anyone out there fighting for the average American family anymore?

Monday, July 15, 2013

What if Nothing Matters.............What if Everything Matters?

Someone once told me “What if nothing matters”, he then took it further and said, “What if everything matters all the time?” He was in fact quoting an album from John Mellencamp.  For many of us life is overcoming one obstacle after another. We don't glide through life we live it, struggling each day to survive and take care of our families.
Life is about what happens during it and the things that matter. Maybe not in the big picture of the world but in our circle ,our family, it all matters. When our son or daughter struggles as a teenager, it is important. When a loved one grows old and we have to struggle to decide if we are able to take care of them at home, or whether to put them in a nursing home for care, it can be an anguishing decision.
When people say that their life is perfect one has to look closer. It isn’t that they are being dishonest but perhaps that the things they must overcome each day are just different than our own. No worse or better, just that their perspective and ability to see what they have is more clear. There will always be people who see life as a horrible mess. That is just human nature, the glass is half full or half empty idea.
What is important to remember here is that life is to be lived. In my 46 years on this earth, the one consistent I have learned is that there is nothing we cannot overcome except death. The everyday struggles that make us angry, cry, laugh, or say I hate life. Each part is what shapes us into who we are. As I watch all of these young people coming up, starting out in life struggling, focusing on wants versus needs, I can't help but feel for them.

There are few exceptions, those who actually hit the ground running due to circumstance, but in general their attitude is so very different. Most are so far from ready to stand on their own two feet, it is a little frightening. It will be interesting to see how they come to cope with the world. Will they take the root of self medication, to numb them to the realities of the world? Or perhaps ignore the realities of living by tuning it out through all of their electronic devices.
In my own little corner of the world I will continue to choose living life to the fullest. Taking pleasure in the magical moments that shine through our struggles. For me it is those moments that make it worthwhile. It can be something as simple as a hug or a brief moment of quiet enjoying looking at your hard work in the yard. Or watching your 2 year old grandson laugh uproariously after you spin him around and around. They are all important, and show us that life is to be lived, and not bottled up on a shelf.
In the end “What if nothing matters?” Does it really make a difference in how we should view the world? After all the here and now could very well be what is could be all there really is.

I can only admire people who can take joy in the silliness of life. Those who steal our hearts with their innate ability to make us laugh because they dare to live and are not tied down by hang ups. Thank you Markie D....

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What Goes Around Comes Around

Have you ever done something mean or petty to someone else? Think about it for a moment here, has it ever come back on you? When you cheat on a spouse, lie to someone close to you or even not give an employee a promotion you know they deserve but instead give to someone you may like better. According to karma each one of these actions has a price, so think twice before doing something you know is wrong.
The belief in Karma seems to span many religions, buddhism, Taoism,Hinduism, as well as many other faiths that are tribal. We often say, “It’s Karma” or “Karmic justice.” The simplest explanation is  that your actions cause an equal reaction either negative or positive depending on you. Depending on your beliefs it can either affect you in this lifetime or the next. For myself I have often seen Karma at work currently, when someone behaves in a negative way towards others or does something extremely good.
What I am referring to is how someone may treat one person badly taking an action that is hurtful and mean such as stealing, deliberately causing harm. In my experience it always comes back on them down the road. It may be 5 years 10 or even 20 but it always comes back to return the favor from someone else they encounter.
If you don't  happen to believe in Karma then that leaves  random chance or blind fate. For myself finding “Karmic Justice” being visited back on someone made more sense than random chance.Since it always seems to come back on people much worse than what they have ever done to others.
Sure you can blame it on fate, bad timing or just bad luck. If you take a moment and look more closely especially when you have been the one on the receiving end of the negative behavior. There are patterns to everything in life, the seasons we enjoy year round, bird migrations. The cycle of life and death, its all frankly repetitive. It has nothing to do with whatever religious faith you may hold as your own. As a society I believe we are long past our middle age religious hang ups of our past. We know more about the world we live in and don't blindly believe everything we are told. So why is it so hard to believe that karma does play a role in our life?

Like Domino's falling.
The younger generations coming up don’t hold to the more restrictive beliefs we were raised with, in some ways that's a good thing.In other ways it leaves them not understanding consequence.
Many of us in our 40’s grew up with some form of early religious instruction on good and bad. Today fewer and fewer  young people are getting those influence. So what then happens when they don't get those lessons? We wind up with a society that feels entitled, above responsibility, and all too often lost spiritually. A society that wants what it wants and doesn't care about hurting anyone else.
Karma is that quite flow in life that levels the playing field. It serves no purpose to be bitter or angry when someone does something wrong towards you. In fact why would you want your anger to poison your life while they go on their merry way. I always say “Wait for it! They will eventually get theirs.” Karma can be a real game changer when it comes back at them, and it always does. I’ve seen it over and over, and I would be lying if I didn’t admit that at times it does make me smile when it does.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

The Jersey Shore A Day Away

A Day At The Beach
Island Beach State Park. 

Living at the Jersey Shore we are afforded the chance to see first hand the effects Hurricane Sandy has had on our economy. We recently took the kids to the beach for the day and I have to say I was very surprised by how empty the beach was for a weekend day. Some of it I am sure can be contributed to schools getting out later because of the storm. New Jersey is strong and resilient. No matter what may happen we always buckle down and find a way to overcome.
As I enjoyed the day with my family I found myself impressed with just how beautiful the beach was. It also struck me how un-devastated the beach was at this point.(Due in part to the work that has already been done) Sure there are area’s that workers are still diligently working to get back to where we were before. Not unlike anyone who has gone through some form of tragedy we are well on our way to being back to normal.
For my family we went to Island Beach State Park and then over to Seaside to walk the boardwalk and grab a bite to eat. The boardwalks are sporting new planking. Many of the businesses are open, and almost all of the eating establishments are open as well.  Yes the amusement rides are still being repaired and replaced. Workers are testing them out and rebuilding a part of our Jersey Shore Heritage.

Building it better than before.
One of the nicer aspects of the work being done is that if you want to get away, and spend a day at the beach with your kids. Now really is the time to do it. As a New Jerseyan I do realize the importance of the ocean side activities, that have been around since the late 1800’s when “going to the shore”,became popular. Right now, we as residents need to support these places with our patronage. The water park in Seaside is Open, the beaches are open. “Jersey Strong” is a part of who we are and how we have faced the massive destruction that was done to our beaches.

Things will need to be rebuilt. 
True some things cannot be replaced or renewed, and our Governor is correct in pushing us to rebuild better than before so that if a storm should hit us again we will come through and be better prepared to overcome it.

So if you want to get away even if it is only for a day, come down to the shore. It will be worth the trip, and the natives don’t bite. By supporting these businesses and enjoying the beach you're giving back to the people who live here. The same people who have been here for years, providing things to do and places to go, to the many visitors who have come to the beach to get away from their hectic lives for a while.

There is no place like the Jersey Shore.
When you think about where we were less than a year ago to where we are today. It is truly amazing the dedication and spirit of our fellow New Jerseyans.

Its More then Just a Dream

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