I and my family have been privileged to join my dear brother and sister in law at Miramar Beach, near Destin, Florida, for the past six years. The first year that I was there I enjoyed the beauty of the silica white sand beach from the comfort of my green beach chair under a large green umbrella. This was the epitome of beach enjoyment that my closeted non-beach mind could conceive!
In 2013 I haltingly ventured into the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and was immediately taken back to my childhood swimming days with my mother at Pounds Hollow…our nearby “swimming Hole.” This experience added an extraordinary facet to my appreciation of my visit to the beach!
This year, my sixth year visiting the beautiful white sands of Miramar beach, I struck out on beach walks! I had watched my brother in law, who I think of as my brother, do this every year that I had been with him. I noticed that he seemed to throughly enjoy the experience. I marveled at his stamina and dedication! Now, after some serious contemplation…over several years…I was enthralled with the pleasure of walking the beach!
I have returned home and one of my Facebook friends welcomed me back to reality. As I thought about her statement…she is correct. There is a specialness to a vacation and there is a beautiful snapshot of joy and contentment in being with wonderful family and friends to enjoy the shared experience with!
My sister in law has the most wonderful sons and families! We all blended seamlessly and I truly was sorry when our time together ended.
The ocean has a mesmerizing effect on me. When I am around it…or watching it…I am transfixed and empowered and energized!
I wonder if when we leave this life and look back on it …that it will finally dawn on us that what we experienced was indeed a magical moment!
Here is a great blog by my friend Margo Lestz!
Two Buildings – Two Georges
Recently we were in Barcelona, and, as I do each time I’m there, I went to visit some of Gaudi’s amazing architecture. His buildings are like no others: they move in waves with nary a straight line in sight. No stodgy soldier-like edifices for him.
Antoni Gaudi was one of the leaders of the Catalan Modernism movement which took hold at the end of the 1800s. Barcelona was at the center of this movement and several wonderful examples of this architectural style can still be found there.
Today, we’ll be looking at two of Gaudi’s buildings and their relationship with two very different Georges: George, the dragon-slayer, and George, the filmmaker – otherwise known as Saint George and George Lucas.
Casa Batllo and Saint George
Casa Batllo started life as a “normal” building, but morphed into something extraordinary under Gaudi’s renovation which started in 1904. This incredible house…
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This is a great blog by ISVI RAMOS!
One of my favorite songs is “What a Wonderful World” sang by Louis Armstrong.
” I see trees of green, red roses too. I see them bloom for me and you. And I say to myself. What a wonderful world.”
Indeed the beauty of our world is breathtaking! Mr. Armstrong goes on to exclaim, “The colors of the rainbow are so pretty in the skies. And also on the faces of people walking by. I see friends shaking hands saying How do your do? They’re really saying I love you.”
I have recently viewed the over nine hour documentary by Director Claude Lanzmann entitled Shoah. The documentary regarding the Holocaust is truly a religious, cultural, philosophical experience…and not one that you walk away from unchanged.
Mr. Lanzmann covers, “survivors, perpetrators, and bystanders.” The chilling banality of the perpetrators and workmanlike dedication to the systematic destruction of their fellow human beings is like nothing that I have ever seen. Their insistence that they were not only following orders but often their small piece of the much larger job of the annihilation of the Jewish people kept them from realizing the horrible scope of their task.
Bystanders when interviewed for the film insisted that there was nothing that they could have done for the Jews and an overall disregard for their former neighbors and friends. Many of them were living in the homes of former Jewish neighbors who had been first taken to the ghetto and then to the gas chamber.
The juxtaposition of the beauty of the natural surroundings with the horrible desecration of human life was appalling and extremely disconcerting… in the ordinary, non-caring, “As long as it is not me or mine suffering” attitude that is all to present in the film and in today’s society.
The aquiesence to power is a very human characteristic. So often social problems are laid at the feet of a group of people who are demonized by those in leadership positions. De-humanization occurs in religion, in politics, and social structures.
The Stanford Prison Experiment which occurred in 1971 illustrated the psychological effects of becoming a prisoner or a prison guard and the profound changes that occur quickly in this closed environment. This was an experiment conducted by professor Philip Zimbardo that was supposed to last two weeks but instead was ended by the professor in six days. The college students who participated as guards became increasingly abusive of the college students who were participating as prisoners. The prisoners were by and large passive to the psychological abuse heaped upon them by the authority figures.
Newscasters are saying on a regular basis that what ever contradictions are shown in presumptive Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump’s statements… seemingly do not matter to his followers. The latest of these many inconsistencies being his denial that he was falsifying his identity and acting as if he was a spokesperson for himself during a telephone conversation twenty-five years ago. Although Mr. Trump later admitted that he at times adopted false names in his phone interactions…he denied that the above mentioned instance was him.
Many former political folks who during the primary season expressed serious concerns regarding the presumptive nominees’ judgment and character and maturity to be president…now are saying that they and all republicans must rally around his candidacy. Is blatant misogyny, xenophobia, and open bigotry now acceptable in the name of political expediency?
I have spent my adult life working in and being an admirer of Higher Education. The greatest bedrock precept of education is to develop the ability to critically analyze what someone is saying to you…and to be willing to “speak truth to power.”
If select human life is not of extreme value to their fellow humans…then what is the purpose of the family of man?
“Be wary of any belief or ideology that promotes division between you and your fellow human beings.”-unknown
” Jesus said to him, ‘Get up, take up your bed, and walk.’ And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.” John 5:8-9
Today our church celebrated the fifteen year anniversary of our Pastor, Janice West, being with us. I was struck with the passion and purpose that she preached her sermon centering on the above scripture and it’s timeliness for todays’ situation.
The fifth chapter of John focuses on the healing at the pool of Bethesda. A great number of disabled people were around the pool including a man who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.
The crux of Pastor Janice’s message was the question of are we willing to take up our bed and walk…and be well?
The unparalleled suffering of our world cries out for someone to help! When we pass the homeless…do we avert our eyes and say thank God that is not me?
When the Syrian refugee knocks at our door…do we say…no Muslims allowed?
When we set next to people in our church…who we know are hurting and in need…do we solace our conscience that there are social service agencies that will take care of them?
It is so easy and comfortable to feel justified in the assumption that, ” I have worked hard for what I have and those who have not just need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and become successful.”
The Prosperity Doctrine is very popular in many christian circles. I have been a christian for over forty-seven years and have heard this doctrine preached many times. Yet, I have personally known some of the most precious, dedicated, consecrated saints of God, as the old time holiness churches referred to them, that have been poor from the beginning of their lives to the conclusion of them. Mother Theresa was not wealthy. Pope Francis eschews the wealth and ornate trappings of his high office. The apostle Peter requested to be crucified upside down as he exclaimed that he was not worthy to be crucified as his Lord!
” And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they who have riches enter into the kingdom of God! And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answerth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them who trusteth in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to go into the kingdom of God. Luke 18:24 -25
The question for me is am I willing to take up my bed and walk…and be well? Are we willing to not only see the suffering surrounding us…but to do something about it?