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CELEBRATE TREES

“If you would know strength and patience, welcome the company of trees.”   Hal Borland

“Trees are Earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heavens.”   Rabindranath Tagore

Have you hugged a tree today?  You really should.  It is National Arbor Day!  This holiday was initiated in Nebraska in 1872.  To commemorate that first holiday, one million trees were planted.  Incredible!  President Nixon made Arbor Day an official national holiday in 1972.

But even without the holiday, trees are wondrous and deserving of our praise and protection. Trees have been around for over 300 million years, and currently, there are over 60,000 known tree species.

The most practical benefit provided by trees is the production of oxygen.  An average size tree produces enough oxygen in one year to keep a family of four breathing.  If the world population would plant 20 million trees, we would be gifted with 260 million tons of oxygen as well as the removal of 10 million tons of carbon dioxide.  Trees are our survival!

I am also drawn to trees for their beauty and serenity.  There is a spirituality evident when visiting the trees that helps bring me peace and contentment.  I implore all of us to do our best to protect the trees, even planting more and more each year.  Happy Arbor Day!

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A FEW QUOTES ABOUT TREES

“In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect.  Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful.”   Alice Walker

“God wrote the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.”   Martin Luther

“God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods.  But he cannot save them from fools.”   John Muir   WE MUST

“It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from old trees that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.”   Robert Louis Stevenson

“Under trees, the urban dweller might restore his troubled soul and find the blessing of a creative pause.”   Walter Gropius

“A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit.”   D. Elton Trueblood

“Just touching that old tree was truly moving to me because when you touch these trees, you have such a sense of the passage of time, of history.  It’s like you’re touching the essence, the very substance of life.”   Kim Novak

“If you cut down a forest, it doesn’t matter how many sawmills you have if there are no more trees.”  Susan George

Here is one final demonstration of the miracle and wonder of trees.  This video is a time-lapsed showing of an acorn starting its growth into a mighty oak.

 

 

 

Finding Fall Colors in Kings Canyon

I first visited Kings Canyon National Park over 20 years ago with my dad.  I figured Dad was with me as I made a quick drive into Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park.  I was not optimistic about finding much fall color, but I knew the trees would be there—and they never disappoint.

Being out among the trees I always feel relaxed and connected.  There is a spirituality in the trees.  They have weathered many storms and still keep reaching upward.  They sink roots and stand strong. I agree with Robert Louis Stevenson about the power of the trees to rejuvenate a person’s spirit:

“It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from old trees that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.”  

It was a great afternoon.  Autumn colors were even mixed in with the wondrous trees.

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Some Quotes about Trees

“Trees are your best antiques.”   Alexander Smith

“For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver.”   Martin Luther

“There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it.”   Minnie Aumonier

“The tree is more than first a seed, then a stem, then a living trunk, and then dead timber.  The tree is a slow, enduring force straining to win the sky.”  Antoine de Saint Exupery

 “There is something about a forest that compels introspection.”  Eloise J. Roorbach

“Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven.”   Rabindranath Tagore

“Year on year, the lovely trees have grown more dear.”   V. O. Wallingford

“We can learn a lot from trees:  they’re always grounded but never stop reaching heavenward.”   Terri Guillemets

“The trees are whispering to me, reminding me of my roots, and my reach. . . shhhhh. . . can you hear them?  Selflessly sharing their subtle song.”   Jeb Dickerson

“If you would know strength and patience, welcome the company of trees.”   Hal Borland

“It seems natural to liken venerable trees to grand old men.  It is something to have lived through storms that try one so terribly, but only succeed in giving greater powers. Even the scars of a tree add dignity, and the loss here and there of a limb only makes for more character.”   Eloise J. Roorbach

“The groves were God’s first temples.”   William Cullen Bryant

“He who plants a tree plants hope.”   Lucy Larcom

“The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago.  The next best time is now.”   Chinese Proverb

“If I knew I should die tomorrow, I would plant a tree today.”   Stephen Girard

“Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish caught will we realize we cannot eat money.”   Cree Proverb

PERSPECTIVE: Life Depends on How You Look at Things!

Any dictionary would give two basic definitions for the noun, perspective:

1.  The representation in a drawing of parallel lines converging to give the illusion of depth and distance.

and

2.  The human capacity to view things in such a way as to see relationships and relative importance.

Those definitions are accurate but do little to explore the importance of perspective in day-to-day living.  They do share the idea of illusion, suggesting that what we see can change depending on lots of things:  our line of sight, expectations and assumptions, past experiences, other people’s views and input, ongoing events, and hundreds of other little things.

Perspective encourages us to look beyond ourselves, see things from other points of view and recognize the varying importance or significance of something.  Perspective says to throw assumptions and common expectations out the window, to look for something new and different. Perspective helps add meaning, depth, understanding to many activities and relationships of life.  Being able to acknowledge varying perspectives can help add meaning to life.

As a lesson on life, perspective reminds us to keep our minds open and to look for alternatives.  With enough perspective, we can better appreciate life and control how we feel and react to people and events.  One person’s trash is another’s treasure. Any defeat is the chance to start over.  Do you see the rain or the rainbow?  Curse the thorns or smell the rose?  Perspective gives us the ability to make choices while withholding judgment.

This little video offers a great reminder that nothing is ever really what it seems. 

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SOME QUOTES ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF PERSPECTIVE

“Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.”   Anonymous

“You have your way.  I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”   Friedrich Nietzsche

“Humor is perhaps a sense of intellectual perspective: an awareness that some things are really important, others not, and that the two kinds are most oddly jumbled in everyday affairs.”   Christopher Morley

“If you do not raise your eyes you will think that you are the highest point.”  Antonio Porchia translated by W. S. Merwin

“The world is round, and the place which may seem like the end may also be only the beginning.”  Ivy Baker Priest

“The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.”   Henry Miller

“If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.”   Abraham Maslow

“When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute.  But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute—and it’s longer than any hour.  That’s relativity.”   Albert Einstein

“There will be a time when you believe everything is finished.  That will be the beginning.”   Louis L’Amour

“Just because a man lacks the use of his eyes doesn’t mean he lacks vision.”   Stevie Wonder

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”  Abraham Lincoln

“Some people see the glass half full. Others see it half empty.  I see a glass that’s twice as big as it needs to be.”  George Carlin

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.”   Frances Hodgson Burnett

“In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.”  Bertrand Russell

“It is the obvious which is so difficult to see most of the time.  People say ‘It’s as plain as the nose on your face.’ But how much of the hose on your face can you see, unless someone holds a mirror up to you?”  Isaac Asimov

“’Fairy Tales always have a happy ending.’ That depends. . .on whether you are Rumpelstiltskin or the Queen.”  Jane Yolen

“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth.  I didn’t feel like a giant.  I felt very, very small.”   Neil Armstrong

“It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar, and seemingly secure, to embrace the new.”  Alan Cohen

“Sometimes a change of perspective is all it takes to see the light.”   Dan Brown

“It’s not what you look at that matters—it’s what you see.”  Henry David Thoreau

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”  Dr. Seuss

“With only a change in one’s perspective, the most ordinary thing takes on inexpressible beauty.”   Karen Maeza Miller

HOW DO YOU CHOOSE TO SEE THE WORLD?  THORNS OR ROSES? EMPTY OR FULL?  EXCITING, FRIGHTENING, OR CHALLENGING?  

IT IS UP TO YOU!

GET OUT THE VOTE 2014

Dad in UniformPatriotic.  I have always considered myself to be patriotic.  I’m sure part of that feeling comes from Dad always flying the flag on special holidays and his service during World War II.

But it’s more than that:

Another Day with R & R 022*  I love to see the flag flying against a blue sky—and am not thrilled when the flag being displayed is worn and tattered.

*  I choke up when I hear someone singing “The National Anthem” or even “America, the Beautiful.”

*  JKF has been a hero of mine since I was a kid—probably because his death was the first news event that struck me, hard. Plus his idealism and courage.

*  I won my first writing contest in the 8th grade by defining patriotism—the contest was sponsored by the American Legion.

*  When I got the chance to vote for the first time, it was a big deal!

Of course, being patriotic does not mean that I agree with everything America does or even that I value the politicians who are supposed to be working for the people, but seem to just worry about winning the next election.  But I do value that as Americans we get to vote, to try and get some good people elected to make things better.  Besides, if you do not vote—from my view—you give up your right to complain.  And complaining, that’s another American ideal I value!  Even though it is only a midterm election, this year’s results will set the stage for the ongoing concerns for women’s rights.

So, I voted today by dropping my mail-in ballot off at the post office.  My views will get counted eventually.  Please, take the time to vote yourself.  To get you in the spirit of voting, I suggest you view this great video called A Bevy of Beauties Sing Along to This 50 Year Old Classic—WOW, This Song Is Magic!  The song is “You Don’t Own Me” made famous 50 years ago, but used to underscore the need to protect women’s right.   Lesley Gore even introduces the video!

Enjoy!  And get out the vote!

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QUOTES ON PATRIOTISM

“True patriotism hates injustice in its own land more than anywhere else.”    Clarence Darrow

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal’.”    Martin Luther King Jr.

“We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”    Abraham Lincoln

“And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”    John F. Kennedy

“We identify the flag with almost everything we hold dear on earth, peace, security, liberty, our family, our friends, our home. . .But when we look at our flag and behold it emblazoned with all our rights we must remember that it is equally a symbol of our duties. Every glory that we associate with it is the result of duty done.”    Calvin Coolidge

“What we need are critical lovers of America – patriots who express their faith in their country by working to improve it.”    Hubert Humphrey

“This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in.”    Theodore Roosevelt

“True patriotism springs from a belief in the dignity of the individual, freedom and equality not only for Americans but for all people on earth, universal brotherhood and good will, and a constant and earnest striving toward the principles and ideals on which this country was founded.”    Eleanor Roosevelt

“Freedom is never granted. It is earned by each generation… in the face of tyranny, cruelty, oppression, extremism, sometimes there is only one choice. When the world looks to America, America looks to you, and you never let her down.”    Hillary Clinton

“Patriotism in the female sex is the most disinterested of all virtues. Excluded from honors and from offices, we cannot attach ourselves to the State or Government from having held a place of eminence. . . . Yet all history and every age exhibit instances of patriotic virtue in the female sex; which considering our situation equals the most heroic of yours.”    Abigail Adams

“The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful, and virtuous.”    Frederick Douglass

“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.”    Harry Truman

“We, the people, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what’s in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.”  Barack Obama

“Real patriotism is a willingness to challenge the government when it’s wrong.”    Ron Paul

HAVE YOU VOTED YET?

Escape to Nature

Today is Labor Day, a day to honor all the men and women who work hard across the country.

Like many others, I am enjoying the day off from work.

Of course, in our current economy, as bills and obligations pile up, people tend to work more and more.  At times, it is important to take a break and recharge your batteries.  As important as our accomplishments are and as rewarding as a job well done can be, take time to slow down and enjoy life as well.  Family. Friends. Spirituality. These things are all important!  That message seems especially worth remembering on this special day honoring the country’s many, many workers.

I hope this PowerPoint Slideshow can help you experience a virtual escape to Nature, until you can plan a real visit, sometime soon!


 

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