We don’t deserve it…

My wife and I traveled via car for the the thanksgiving holiday. We drove through the Atlanta GA area to get to our destination and through the Atlanta GA area to get home. The traffic on the way to the festivities was not as bad as the traffic on the way home. On the way home we sat in traffic for quite some time! Finally with a need for some gas in the car and just feed up with the traffic we pull off the main highway and take some back roads. The back roads take us through the suburbs of the city of Atlanta GA. What I notice immediately is that, the suburbs of Atlanta GA are developing what seems to be all of the land. I see coolie cutter houses an businesses for sale and in the process of being developed. Being the nerd that I am, when we get home I do some research and discover that, the city of Atlanta GA is among cities in the United States with the highest amount of abandoned homes. The fact that Atlanta GA has many abandoned homes makes the development of the area around the city of Atlanta GA for homes that much more a slap in the face. The word that immediately comes to mind is sprawl.

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Urban sprawl is a destructive force that has and seems to continue to destroy the natural world we humans have inherited. Sprawl has also deteriorated our families and communities. The urban sprawl has stressed communities. Kids no longer walk to school, no one knows who their neighbors are and don’t seem to care.

Besides sprawl I imagine the song Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell. A great song whose lyrics are more true today than ever before. The hills in the suburb had been destroyed to make way for apartments homes and businesses.

Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone?
They paved paradise to put up a parking lot
Hey, now, they paved paradise to put up a parking lot

Joni Mitchell

The earth is a paradise with everything we need but unneeded urban sprawl and greed has taken slivers of paradise and turned them to hell. I think it is not dramatic at all to describe the American suburbs as a modern day hell. Dante couldn’t have created a better place to torment souls.

“The earth has everything for all human needs, but nothing for his greed.”

Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhi

We may not be able to move out of the hell that is suburbia I totally understand that so, what can we do to help take care of the earth? Here are some simple ways we can make a difference?

  • Recycle
  • Buy local food
  • no bottled water
  • Volunteer
  • grow plants and gardens
  • manage electricity better (lights off thermostats at 78 degrees f)

They are small things but can make huge differences.

Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.

Vincent van Gogh

Right now with humanities’ greed and consumption we do not deserve paradise however with change and care and stewardship we can become a group that deserves paradise.

Well well Parkinson

If you have five days to get something done that task will take you five days. Now, lets say you have two weeks, how long will it take you? Yep you guessed it two weeks. Parkinsons law states that work expands to fill the period of time available for its completion.

Tomorrow is thanksgiving, then we will be right into the Christmas holiday, after that the year ends and we will be in 2023. Now a lot of people avoid making resolutions but I love them! A resolution is a very good thing even if it is not realized and why is that? Resolutions are good because you have a full year to do something.

You will be working and living all year long in 2023 and you might as well fill it with some goals! Setting goals helps trigger new behaviors, give us direction, and motivate us. Why not set some goals? One reason I am always given for avoiding goals or resolutions is that they are not kept. This reason is bad.

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I know its cliched but failure, when used properly is nothing more than a stepping stone to success.

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”

Robert F Kennedy

So this year lets all make resolutions or goals and do the best we can to accomplish them. I mean we have a whole year.

Green What now?

Did you know that many of the oranges at the grocery store are not orange when they are picked? Most oranges are actually green when ripe. That’s because most oranges are grown at or near the equator and it is colder temps that turn the orange orange.

So why are all the oranges in the supermarket orange and not green? Well because the supermarkets expose the oranges to ethylene gas while they are stored. Thats right all the oranges we buy are gassed before they get to the shelf so that they will not be green.

I knew about this for a little over a year but I didn’t really think hard about it until last night as I was preparing a meal. I went to a grocery store to buy all the ingredients and the store had some ingredients sold out/ I was a little annoyed but was able to head to another store to pick up what was needed.

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I grew up in the fifth largest city in the United States and almost every corner had a convince store on it. 24 hrs a day seven days a week I could walk in and buy an orange from one of these stores. How does that make any sense? Food and seasons don’t work that way do they?

Convince is nice, but at what cost? Sometimes I think I live a little disconnected from the natural world and maybe suffer from that disconnect.

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There is something called nature deficit disorder. Nature deficit disorder can cause mental and physical ailments. A good way to fight this is through spending more time outdoors connecting with nature and through education. Learning as much as we can about the natural world that we are part of and how we should interact with it.

I will try to take more time today to do this. The natural world is not always convent, clean or orange but it is true and good for us.

Happy Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice, Kwanza, Los Posadas, Soyal.. Happy Holidays!!

It is the end of the calendar year for me and my family. We live in the United States of America and use the Georgian calendar to keep track of days, weeks, months years. If you have read my previous blogs or heard me speak I have always taken an issue with time. I am not a fan of the idea of time or trying to measure it.

People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.

Albert Einstein

Digressions aside (we will certainly discuss time on this blog at anther juncture), we are all on Earth and the earth is turning and orbiting the sun. the earth moves and soon the earth will move into what is called the winter solstice. The winter solstice is the time of the year when the paths of the northern hemisphere of the earth are farthest from the sun. Many cultures in the Northern hemisphere call this time of the year near the winter solstice the birth and rebirth of the sun. They have different names for it like; Christmas, Yule, Hanukkah, Los Posadas, Soyal… the list is long.

The holiday season is upon us and even in the southern hemisphere there will be a celebration, a little warmer and much more outdoor fun though than the one in the northern hemisphere. Almost all the communities of the world will somehow gather together and find a way to meet.

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This holiday got me to thinking about community. What is it? Why is it? Do we need it? How does it happen? I chased the rabbits a little yesterday and today and came up with some insight.

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Best I can tell from limited ,”research” (using research is generous I did very little digging into this) is that a community is an emergent group of life forms that have some commonalities and help each other. The commonalities can be and often are, geography, interest, experience, intent and identity.

Think about your commuities that you are involved in. Family would be one of identity, work would be experiences (8 hours a day), religion (intent, live a moral live (your communities morals)), finally your neighbourhood would be geography (HOA, city councils …).

Why do these communities matter? Well because there is power in numbers. When humanity works together amazing things can and do happen. Imagine the northern hemisphere ok done. Now imagine the Northern hemisphere prior to 1882. Wait why then? Well 1882 was when electricity was beginning to be more widely used. Basically prior to 1882 lights out meant lights out unless you were burning a candle or fire in your home. Even without electricity humans built and came together to do amazing things, ; the piano, fire extinguisher, steam engine thermometer. Ok so you are back in the 1700 and it is winter solstice what do you do. You get together with your community and sing songs drink warm drinks talk about how much food you have that isn’t spoiled see who doesnt have food and care for each other because you need each other.

Communities are emergent they come about out of need. A global pandemic has or should have reminded us that we are all humans, identity. We all live on earth, geography. We all want to live intent, and that we are all living, experiences. I know that typing we are all living is kind of foolish of course we are living but with so much loss from this pandemic it is important to realize that you being alive is a big deal.

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.

Muhammad Ali

Lets all use this holiday season to come together as a community and help each other. At the end of the day all we really have is each other.

Seasons greetings to all

Systems and Relationships

Sometimes there will be a special no tve that goes over catastrophes and disasters. The shows usually feature well researched disasters and come away with answers to the big questions. What happened? Who was affected? How did it happen? And why did it have as large an effect as it did?

The last answer is very interesting to me because, every system no matter how good it is will experience failure. Fault tolerance is the ability of a system to operate when one component of the system experiences failure or breaks down. A good system will acknowledge limitations and build fault tolerances through things like redundancy, back ups and fail overs.

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Major disasters are often see in systems that lack high fault tolerance levels. When a system does not have failovers, backup and redundancy one misstep can cause huge cascading problems. One system that was bent but not broken during the global pandemic was the worlds supply chain. There were and still are some economic hardships because of the supply chain but the stores were not empty.

Sorry for the boring lessons about Systems and relationships I have just been thinking about failure more than usual and specifically failure on a personal level. We will try a lot of things in our lives and we will probably fail at many of them what kind of fault tolerances do we have in our lives? What does our support structure look like? Chances are high that you are part of someone’s fault tolerance plan and don’t even know it.,

A friend or family member maybe in the middle of a catastrophe right now and their reaching out to you is part of the disaster plan. So what do we do? I am not sure? First I think it is important to treat that person with kindness and love? Second see how you can help? (you can always help, even if it is just listening or pointing them to someone with resources you and the friend do not have). Thirdly and most importantly you have to listen and give them time? Do not be dismissive when they reach out to you they matter.

What if you are in the catastrophe? Help yourself as much as you can and never stop looking for help. Here in the United States 988 is the number for the suicide prevention hotline and there is only shame in not reaching out if you are feeling suicidal. Another place for help is 1 800 662 4357. There are people out there that want top help and are only a free phone call away.


Hidden Gems

There is so much talent in this world. WordPress is a great platform used to showcase this talent too. I just reposted a blog with an amazing short story that was a blast to read!

The march of technology has given us so many tools that can be used to showcase talent. Did you know that people have shot entire movies on iphones? These 12 movies were all shot on iphones.

When it comes to creation talent will only get you so far.

Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard,”

Tim Notke

Everyone dreams of retiring. Dropping out of the rat race and “enjoying” life. “I want to fish all day.” “I would love to work in my garden.” “My community and church need me.” “My golf game needs work.”

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Everyone’s plan for retirement is different and there is still one thing that is the same. Everyone works even the retired folks. Work is something we will never get away from. Work only changes shape and form.

Since we are going to be working for the rest of our lives we should take pride and joy in our work right?

“Work hard and be kind and amazing things will happen.”

-Conan O’Brien

Lets all lean into work today and create something special where we are for the world.

A Break in the Routine

Wake up, shower, burn coffee, listen to the news drive to work. We all have morning, afternoon and evening routines. We also all experience breaks in that routine. Maybe a vacation or getting sick there can be many reasons for breaks in our routines.

Routines are powerful. Routines help with mental health, overall health and even give life meaning. It can be tempting and sometimes unavoidable to break from our routines but should we? Why do we have routines? Besides the health and meaning benefits routines give us the best route to accomplish goals. When we are tempted to break from our routine perhaps it would be best to remember our goals. Fitness goals can are not easy to meet and the routines to reach these goals are easy to break. For example I will work out every weekday for a half hour but I am on vacation… Remember the goal I want to feel good and focus and that half hour gives me that. Maybe change the routine. I will work out in paradise instead of my home gym. Now we are still reaching to our goals and enjoying ourselves.

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Now what if our routine isn’t working? A change might be in order. The best routine we can participate in is self evaluation. Am I being the best me I can be yes? Continue on. No. Switch up the routine and continue on. The answer is never to just stop.

 “Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious … and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

Walt Disney

“We Are What We Repeatedly Do”

Aristotle

“If You Have Good Habits, Time Becomes Your Ally. All You Need Is Patience”

James Clear

Artistry — Grace of the Sun

Another amazing post from an incredible WordPress contributor! Wen poetry is done right you get this!!

Escape the noise,lock it outside.Embrace true joy,creative ride. Art screams inside,begs to fly free.Chooses to stride,glides with pure glee. Palette of oils,brushes at hand.Release recoil,floor serves as stand. A sacred zone,passionate flow.Prolific tones,make visions grow. Foresee a scene,hands swiftly paint.Feed the machine,without restraint. Observe the brush,move with great ease.Inwardly gush,fine masterpiece. – Grace Y. Estevez […]

Artistry — Grace of the Sun

Just keep swimming

It is November aka Native American History month, the start of the holiday season in North America, and (drumroll) the National Write a Novel in a Month month. I am participating in this National month and I am way behind. The average novel is 50000 words long and that’s the goal for the writers. It averages about 2000 words a day and I am off by about 10000 words. Today I plan on doing some serious writing and here is to hoping that I will get back on track today or tomorrow.

It is easy to get behind a lead goal. A lead goal tells you that you are on track to meet a future goal. A lead goal for me in writing a novel is 2000 words a day, if I were losing weight with a goal of 25 lbs in 3 months a lead goal maybe a three mile jog five times a week.

Understanding leading and lag goals is important because life is full of them. Most of us work towards the the goal of retiring. To retire we need savings. and there is a rate at which we should be accumulating these savings.

What can we do if we are off track of our lead goals? First look at lag goals. A lag goal is a goal you have already accomplished. You have saved enough money to buy a car and or a house. How did you save that much money? You have lost weight in the past what exercise and diets worked. If you have done this before you can do this again. Second thing and it’s more important than the first when you are missing lead targets or goals is to just keep swimming.

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Just keep swimming was the mantra spoke by the protagonist in a Disney movie called Finding Nemo. Two fish set out on a task that took them across the Pacific ocean. The task was to find one of the two protagonists son named Nemo. One of the two fish was discouraged and wanted to quit but the other fish encouraged the fish with the mantra of Just keep swimming.

You can still accomplish you overall goal even if you are behind on leading goals, targets and or indicators (the terms are all used interchangeably). There will be days this month when I type 5,000 or 10000 words then there will be days when I type 500 words I am thinking days like thanksgiving. However in the end if I just keep swimming I can make it and no matter what you are trying to accomplish you can make it too. Just keep swimming!