WHAT ANIMALS THINK ABOUT EPA CHIEF SCOTT PRUITT

WHAT ANIMALS THINK ABOUT EPA CHIEF SCOTT PRUITT

“Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, is under increased White House scrutiny over his housing and travel arrangements as some of his own senior staff are expressing growing frustration with the public criticism of their boss.” — New York Times, April 5, 2018

– – –

American White Pelican
(Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)
Galveston, Texas

“Scott Pruitt’s scandals at the EPA are pretty damaging, in my opinion,” said the pelican, who then resumed his attempts to extricate himself from a puddle of sludge spreading from an oil refinery that would suffer no consequences for its actions. “This is probably the worst thing he has ever done.”

Piping Plover
(Charadrius melodus)
Lake Huron, Michigan

“I find it pretty suspicious that an EPA administrator was renting an apartment for such a low price from the wife of an energy lobbyist,” noted one of the last piping plovers in the Great Lakes, hopping along the shore and searching fruitlessly for any location for a nest that wasn’t already destroyed by human activity or climate change. “And what makes me angry is that I know the real estate in D.C. is expensive. It’s just so unfair.”

Channel catfish
(Ictalurus punctatus)
Ohio River

“If you ask me, giving huge raises to your staffers without going through the normal administrative procedures is unacceptable,” said a catfish who prided herself on reading Politico every morning. “And he should have been more careful. Just look at all of the turnover there’s already been in Trump’s cabinet so far.” She then resumed her leisurely swim downstream, ingesting astronomical levels of arsenic, lead, and mercury that would be passed on to the fisherman who caught her later that day.

Polar Bear
(Ursus maritimis)
Northern Alaska

“But did he really do anything so bad?” asked a Republican-leaning polar bear on a patch of ice. “I mean, yes, he rented his apartment from the wife of an energy lobbyist. But I’m sure lots of lobbyists and government officials responsible for regulation are friends. It’s a revolving door.” At that moment, the bear heard about the EPA administrator’s travel expenses. “What the hell?” he exclaimed, as his ice broke away and started floating into the open ocean.

American Bison
(Bison bison)
Yellowstone National Park

“I personally have more issues with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. I just don’t like that guy,” opined the large land mammal before being shot by a poacher.

Wood Frog
(Lithobates sylvaticus)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

“I’m so confused,” confessed the amphibian, wallowing pensively in the metallic green water of a pond near the heart of American industry. “Who’s in the government anymore? Who’s out? Will we have any stability in policy? This is what worries me most of all.” The frog had seven eyes.

Monarch butterfly
(Danaus plexippus)
Raleigh, North Carolina

“Does anything even matter?” asked a monarch butterfly, raising its wings in exasperation as it was blown off course on its annual migration by the exhaust from a vehicle that was no longer subject to fuel efficiency standards. “I’m so tired even trying to argue about it at this point. If he leaves, someone else will take his place who will have exactly the same views. It’ll look new and different, but inside it’ll be the same gross hairy caterpillar.”

Canary
(Serinus canaria)
Coal Mine, West Virginia

The canary had no opinions on any scandals at the EPA. Because it was dead.

Today’s Rebels Are Model Children

Source: The Parkland Rebels Are Model Children – The Atlantic

Today’s Rebels Are Model Children

The young protesters now on the march are responsible and mature—and they’re asking adults to grow up.

Emma González speaks at the March For Our Lives.
Anyone used to worrying about coddled young people, their backbone eroded by oversolicitous elders and smartphone addiction, was in for a surprisingly mature show of spine at last weekend’s March for Our Lives. The Parkland, Florida, survivors-turned-prodigy-activists and their followers—along with Dreamers and other youthful protesters lately—couldn’t possibly be denounced as out-of-control “bums,” President Nixon’s epithet for (older) student protesters half a century ago.

Quite the contrary. These young people do grit and gumption with star-pupil poise and politeness. “Sorry for the inconvenience,” read one teenager’s sign at the Washington, D.C., rally. “We’re trying to change the world.” Nearby, a kid proudly waved a neon-orange poster that proclaimed, in big letters, “GPA > NRA.” The call-and-response chant that carried the day, under the direction of Martin Luther King Jr.’s 9-year-old granddaughter, conveyed the same overachiever zeal: “Spread the word all across the nation, we are going to be a great generation.” The Parkland student Emma González’s feat of silence at the podium, as the writer Nathan Heller tweeted, defied category: “the fact that it was conceived—and dared—by a high-schooler is breathtaking.” The adults on hand didn’t presume to boss off-the-charts performers like these around.  “If you don’t listen to them now,” read one woman’s poster, ”they won’t listen to you later.”

Last weekend’s march was not the first evidence of super-upstarts, aggrieved youths totally on top of their game in a way that few grown-ups in political life are these days. Two months ago, more than 100 sports-prodigies-turned-public-survivors made national headlines as they delivered their stunning version of the same call—protect us, and listen to us. At the sentencing hearing of Dr. Larry Nassar, convicted of serially abusing athletes under his care, his victims powerfully yoked personal trauma to a systemic indictment. “Adult after adult, many in positions of authority, protected you,” said the former captain of the phenomenal U.S. Olympic gymnastics team, Aly Raisman, staring straight at Nassar. “How do you sleep at night?… You are the person [the USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee] had ‘take the lead on athlete care.’… I cringe to think your influence remains in the policies that are supposed to keep athletes safe.”

The reverse side of the “Sorry for the inconvenience” sign at the march aptly summed up the unexpected generational dynamic on public display: “When our children act like leaders and our leaders act like children you know change is coming.” Today’s young protesters—the Dreamers have been at this for a while—aren’t extremist misfits, or out-of-control tweeters, or squabbling grandstanders. Their trademark is breaking the mold by being the ultimate model children. They win gold medals at the Olympics, write 50-page term papers on the U.S. gun-control debate, excel at the piano (as the girl who first inspired Senator Dick Durbin’s DACA mission did). They strive not just to fit in but to soar in America.

As disciplined achievers, they aren’t just a stark contrast to their shaggy 1960s forebears—viewed by their elders as “vagabond dropouts in a vaguely academic orbit,” Renata Adler wrote in a New Yorker piece about student organizers back in 1965. More relevant, they subvert stereotypes of Millennials and Gen Z kids as needy snowflakes. Young people, the refrain goes, have been hovered over at home and cosseted by “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces” at school. Immersion in social media has corroded their attention spans, mental health, interpersonal relations, and agency in the real world.

Yet the recent upsurge of youthful activism doesn’t look much like a symptom of arrested development or fragility. The triggers that these kids are worried about are physical, not just psychological (guns are a leading cause of death among 15-24 year olds). No critic could construe their demand for safe spaces as a request for fainting couches; they’re talking about classrooms and doctors’ examining tables. Being traumatized hasn’t inspired this cohort to retreat. The Parkland kids were ready for more than quiet, private mourning,  and student leaders wasted no time in getting busy. Savvy about social media, they have been insistent about the need for real—not just virtual—contact and action. Rallying their peers hasn’t been hard.

Especially against the backdrop of current anti-establishment fervor, what stands out are the conventional priorities that seem to unite these student activists today—and the fact that those priorities represent an endorsement of mature responsibility. Kids demand that their voices be heard, but they aren’t pushing back against adult vigilance. They want more of it, not less. They’re campaigning for higher age limits for gun ownership. They want tough and consistent oversight, in the form of universal  background checks for gun sales, rigorous “athlete care,” coherent immigration laws.

Youth is impatient, of course. “We don’t like to wait for things,” a speaker at the march warned. How, Raisman demanded, could adults have blithely dismissed athletes’ complaints, year after year? Yet at the rallies, as in the courtroom, the more striking message was that adults shouldn’t assume kids are counting on instant gratification. They’re not stupid. They know first-hand how grownups stall, how distractions intervene. “Never again” is meaningless, Raisman insisted, until everyone implicated in the Nassar scandal is held accountable, however long it takes. “Vote them out” is a rousing chant, but “this will be hard,” a teenager at the D.C. podium emphasized. “Do you have the will?” Or as another put it, “This isn’t Coachella, this isn’t the Oscars. This is real life. This is reality.”

Fast-track kids are in a hurry, eager for glory—but they’ve also learned from experience (just ask Raisman) how much grueling work is entailed to get there. And the Parkland standouts need no reminders of how lucky they are to have the chance to keep slogging away, day after day. It’s the rest of us who do.

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Mental Health and Gun Regulations

Statistically the USA cannot have MORE mental illness than other countries. New Hampshire certainly cannot have less mental illness then other states. What the USA does have is the most guns and giving the lack of gun regulation in New Hampshire we probably have more than many states. Given those basic facts New Hampshire easily could be the next state in the news for a mass shooting.

If, as the politicians say, that this is not a gun issue it is a mental health issue, why are no other countries faced with mass shooting to the level of the USA? If indeed it is a mental health issue, why are we cutting funding to programs?

It seems that New Hampshire may be facing a perfect storm. We are in the midst of an opioid epidemic, mental health programs are largely under funded and we have little to no gun regulations.

Why are our legislatures doing NOTHING? They are actually doing LESS THAN NOTHING. It was just a year ago that President Trump signed into law a bill allowing people with mental illness to purchase guns.

Like our neighbors (Vermont and Maine), New Hampshire has very liberal gun control laws. What makes New Hampshire law on gun unique however, is the level to which these laws exhibit such looseness.

Even with such loose laws towards firearms, New Hampshire consistently ranks as one of the safest places in the United States. I want it to stay that way. Adopting more progressive gun laws will keep us safe. Keep our students safe and curb gun trafficking.

I am tired of “Thoughts and Prayers” being offered followed by “it’s too soon to talk about this” and “lets have time to grieve and not politicize this”.
If it is to soon to talk about gun regulations after the school shooting in Florida, is it too soon to talk about gun regulations after Las Vegas? Virginia Tech? Sandy Hook? Columbine?

I believe that many politicians feel their NRA rating is more important than the safety of citizens. The vast majority of people in the country want some kind of gun regulations.

New Hampshire has two large gun manufacturers and it seems like their money is more important than our safety.
I urge our representatives in our state and in Washington to take a stand before it is too late.

WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR?!

When I was growing up there were two places where I always felt safe. HOME and SCHOOL.

The USA faces another school shooting today. 16+ more people dead.

50 – The number of mass murders or attempted mass murders at a school since Columbine. (FBI records)

141 – The number of people killed in a mass murder or attempted mass murder at a school since Columbine. (FBI records)

68 – The percentage of school shooters who got their guns from relatives or at home. (US Secret Service, US Department of Education)

270 – The number of shootings of any kind at a school since Columbine. (ABC News review of reported cases)

1 – The number of shootings per week, on average, on a school or college campus in 2015. (ABC News review of reported cases)

I don’t want to hear a politician send their THOUGHTS and PRAYERS. I want politicians to DO THEIR JOB! Let’s have gun laws that will make shootings like today harder.

To every politician who sends their thoughts and prayers then cozies up to the NRA or avoids the issue altogether because they are afraid of the NRA money- FUCK YOU!

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Most Americans support stronger gun laws — laws that would reduce deaths. But Republicans in Congress stand in the way. They fear alienating their primary voters and the National Rifle Association.

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Below are the top 10 career recipients of N.R.A. funding – through donations or spending to benefit the candidate – among both current House and Senate members, along with their statements about the October Las Vegas massacre. These representatives have a lot to say about it. All the while, they refuse to do anything to avoid the next massacre.

Senate
1. John McCain
Ariz.
“Cindy & I are praying for the victims of the terrible #LasVegasShooting & their families.”
$7,740,521
FROM THE N.R.A.
2. Richard Burr
N.C.
“My heart is with the people of Las Vegas and their first responders today. This morning’s tragic violence has absolutely no place here in America.”
$6,986,620
FROM THE N.R.A.
3. Roy Blunt
Mo.
“Saddened by the tragic loss of life in #LasVegas. My thoughts are with all of the families affected by this horrific attack.”
$4,551,146
FROM THE N.R.A.
4. Thom Tillis
N.C.
“Susan and I send our deepest condolences and prayers to the families of the victims of this horrific and senseless tragedy in Las Vegas.”
$4,418,012
FROM THE N.R.A.
5. Cory Gardner
Co.
“My family and I are praying for the families of those injured and killed in Las Vegas last night.”
$3,879,064
FROM THE N.R.A.
6. Marco Rubio
Fla.
“I’m praying for all the victims, their families, and our first responders in the #LasVegas #MandalayBay shooting.”
$3,303,355
FROM THE N.R.A.
7. Joni Ernst
Iowa
“My prayers are with all of the victims in Las Vegas, and their loved ones affected by this senseless act of violence.”
$3,124,273
FROM THE N.R.A.
8. Rob Portman
Ohio
“Jane & I mourn the loss of innocent lives in this horrific attack in Las Vegas last night. We are praying for those taken from us, their families & all those injured in this attack.”
$3,061,941
FROM THE N.R.A.
9. Todd Young
Ind.
“We must offer our full support to the victims and their families as our nation mourns.”
$2,896,732
FROM THE N.R.A.
10. Bill Cassidy
La.
“Following closely the horrendous act of violence in Las Vegas. Our prayers are with those who were injured, killed and their families.”
$2,861,047
FROM THE N.R.A.
House
1. French Hill
Ark.
“Martha and I are praying for the families and victims of this senseless act of evil. […] We must continue to work together to stop this kind of terror.”
$1,089,477
FROM THE N.R.A.
2. Ken Buck
Co.
“I’m praying for all of those impacted by the evil events in Las Vegas last night. Our country must stand together in support of the families of the victims and the community.”
$800,544
FROM THE N.R.A.
3. David Young
Iowa
“My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families and friends of the horrific and evil tragedy in Las Vegas.”
$707,662
FROM THE N.R.A.
4. Mike Simpson
Idaho
“Though no words can heal our hurt, and no explanation will ever feel sufficient, I pray that all involved may find comfort as we process this devastating tragedy.”
$385,731
FROM THE N.R.A.
5. Greg Gianforte
Mont.
No statement released.
$344,630
FROM THE N.R.A.
6. Don Young
Alaska
“Anne and I are praying for all those involved or impacted by this heinous act of violence.”
$245,720
FROM THE N.R.A.
7. Lloyd Smucker
Pa.
“Horrific act of violence in Las Vegas. Cindy and I pray for the victims, their families, and the first responders.”
$221,736
FROM THE N.R.A.
8. Bruce Poliquin
Maine
“My thoughts are with all those effected in the horrifying attacks in Las Vegas. The nation is with you.”
$201,398
FROM THE N.R.A.
9. Pete Sessions
Tex.
“My deepest sympathies are with all who were harmed by this horrific tragedy.”
$158,111
FROM THE N.R.A.
10. Barbara Comstock
Va.
“I am heartbroken by the mass murder that took place last night in Las Vegas and I am praying for the victims, families, and first responders.”
$137,232
FROM THE N.R.A.

All of these representatives are Republican. The highest rankedDemocrat in the House is Sanford Bishop, who ranks 41st in career donations from the N.R.A. Among the top 100 House recipients, 95 are Republican. In the Senate, the top two Democrats are Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Patrick Leahy of Vermont, who rank 52nd and 53rd — behind every Republican but Dan Sullivan of Alaska.

Finally, why are our numbers different from those in Bret Stephens’s column on the Second Amendment? Because ours include money the N.R.A. spends on behalf of candidates, in addition to money it gives directly to candidates.

A Season of Hope. We can have better days.

fullsizeoutput_3ea1The days are getting longer. Each minute brings us closer to summer here in the Northern Hemisphere.

Time does not have a rearview mirror or reverse. It can only move in one direction. We have HOPE for better days.

And you ask me what I want this year
And I try to make this kind and clear
Just a chance that maybe we’ll find better days
Cause I don’t need boxes wrapped in strings
And designer love and empty things
Just a chance that maybe we’ll find better days

So take these words
And sing out loud
Cause everyone is forgiven now
Cause tonight’s the night the world begins again

I need someplace simple where we could live
And something only you can give
And thats faith and trust and peace while we’re alive
And the one poor child who saved this world
And there’s 10 million more who probably could
If we all just stopped and said a prayer for them

So take these words
And sing out loud
Cause everyone is forgiven now
Cause tonight’s the night the world begins again

I wish everyone was loved tonight
And somehow stop this endless fight
Just a chance that maybe we’ll find better days

So take these words
And sing out loud
Cause everyone is forgiven now
Cause tonight’s the night the world begins again

From Gene Cernan, 82, the last astronaut to walk on the moon who returned to Earth with a message of “peace and hope for all mankind,”  to Chuck Berry and  Tom Petty 2017 took it’s toll. We could mourn these people or realize what they added to our lives and look forward to 2018. Those we have lost  

Happy New Year.

Peace,

Tony

GOOD RIDDANCE DAY

Thursday 12/28 was Good Riddance Day in NYC. It was sponsored by SHRED IT. A recycling company. With New Years approaching it is time to look around your house, apartment, room AND life and lighten your load.

Dig through your wallet or purse and find that relic receipt from August and recycle it.

In your life there are things that you must also get rid of. Bad thoughts or unhappy feelings need to be left behind.

Start 2018 FRESH and with a good positive outlook.

A Season of Hope. Keith Richards

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WESTON – In a startling development for the Rock n Roll community, world famous Rolling Stones guitarist and songwriter Keith Richards was found alive on Wednesday. Crew members said they found his animated body sitting beside an amp, picking at a guitar and murmuring some incomprehensible melody. Shocked but elated, the roadies took Richards back to the dressing rooms and covered his old broken body with designer scarves and skull rings.

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“It’s astounding” said longtime Rolling Stones roadie Steve Kruger, “to find him in this state is…well, it’s unexpected to say the least.” Richards, the grizzly-faced guitarist long thought to be the most likely person on the planet to next kick the bucket, was noodling on a 5-string fender when he was found miraculously still conscious. “At first I thought it was some 200-year old giant turtle that crawled in here, or a wrinkly sack of potatoes with somebody inside,” recalled Kruger. “But no! There he was, strumming away on a few opening chords to ‘Start Me Up.’ What I was seeing looked awful, but unmistakable. When I realized it was Keith, I thought it might be one of those holograms like they created for Michael Jackson and 2Pac at Bonnaroo music fest a few years back. But then I touched him and he screamed ‘what the hell do you want!?’, and I knew.”

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Figuring that they might as well use him, the Stones management has decided to continue taking him on the road. “People still want to see him perform,” said Kruger. “And they’ll pay good money to see their favorite corpse up onstage, especially if he’s moving around and kind of sort of acting like it’s all still fresh and sexy. So now it’s kind of like we’re touring with some old museum piece, or your grandma’s music box, handed down from generation to generation, still spitting out a tune,” said Kruger. “And I’ll tell ya, Keith still makes a good noise.”

A Season of Hope. There is Beauty Out There- if you look.

The world is filled with beautiful and amazing things. You need to slow down to see slowdown and notice. It may be a flower growing in a trash filled vacant lot. It may be the white helmet volunteers in Syria. It may be a young girl with autism in Northern Ireland with the voice of an angel.

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Girl With Autism Sings A Stunning Rendition Of ‘Hallelujah’

It’s not just good because she’s dealing with autism … It’s good because it’s good — really good.

This 10-year-old’s rendition of “Hallelujah” would have given Leonard Cohen himself chills. Turn the volume up and give it a listen.

 

Kaylee Rodgers, a student who has autism and ADHD, sang the solo part for the famous tune during her school choir concert at Killard House School in Donaghadee, Northern Ireland, and the performance went viral.

Rodgers’ voice is stunningly beautiful ― and she exudes confidence while she sings with her classmates. Tracy Rodgers, Kaylee’s mother, told the BBC that Kaylee’s music teacher, Lloyd Scates, played a huge part in nurturing her special talent.

“She always loved singing, but it wasn’t until she started at Killard House School that she really came into her own,” she told BBC. “[Mr. Scates is] like her safety blanket ― he’s amazing.”

Killard House principal Colin Millar told ITV that Kaylee was very shy when she started at the school. She “wouldn’t really read out in class,” he said. So “to stand and perform in front of an audience is amazing … It takes a lot of effort on Kaylee’s part.”

Go and find beauty in the world today.

Peace.

A Season of Hope. Christmas Truce

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This time of year we really need to put aside our differences.

When we say “PEACE ON EARTH” remember that peace doesn’t see race, color, or religion. I truly believe that 99.9% of all people on earth want the same thing.

A roof over our head

A better life for our children

A world of peace and prosperity.

To Love and be Loved.

Lets focus on our similarities not our differences.

100 years ago- PEACE BROKE OUT.

During World War I, on and around Christmas Day 1914, the sounds of rifles firing and shells exploding faded in a number of places along the Western Front in favor of holiday celebrations in the trenches and gestures of goodwill between enemies.

On December 7, 1914, Pope Benedict XV suggested a temporary hiatus of the war for the celebration of Christmas. The warring countries refused to create any official cease-fire, but on Christmas the soldiers in the trenches declared their own unofficial truce.

On Christmas Eve, many German soldiers put up Christmas trees, decorated with candles, on the parapets of their trenches. Hundreds of Christmas trees lighted the German trenches and although British soldiers could see the lights, it took them a few minutes to figure out what they were from. Could this be a trick? British soldiers were ordered not to fire but to watch them closely. Instead of trickery, the British soldiers heard many of the Germans celebrating.

Time and again during the course of that day, the Eve of Christmas, there were wafted towards us from the trenches opposite the sounds of singing and merry-making, and occasionally the guttural tones of a German were to be heard shouting out lustily, ‘A happy Christmas to you Englishmen!’ Only too glad to show that the sentiments were reciprocated, back would go the response from a thick-set Clydesider, ‘Same to you, Fritz, but dinna o’er eat yourself wi’ they sausages!’

In other areas, the two sides exchanged Christmas carols.

They finished their carol and we thought that we ought to retaliate in some way, so we sang ‘The first Noël’, and when we finished that they all began clapping; and then they struck up another favourite of theirs, ‘ O Tannenbaum’. And so it went on. First the Germans would sing one of their carols and then we would sing one of ours, until when we started up ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ the Germans immediately joined in singing the same hymn to the Latin words ‘ Adeste Fidéles’. And I thought, well, this was really a most extraordinary thing – two nations both singing the same carol in the middle of a war.

British and German troops meet in no man’s land. Boxing Day, 1914. Photographed by 2nd Lt Cyril Drummand, RFA.
British and German troops meet in no man’s land. Boxing Day, 1914. Photographed by 2nd Lt Cyril Drummand, RFA.

At the first light of dawn on Christmas Day, some German soldiers emerged from their trenches and approached the Allied lines across no-man’s-land, calling out “Merry Christmas” in their enemies’ native tongues. At first, the Allied soldiers feared it was a trick, but seeing the Germans unarmed they climbed out of their trenches and shook hands with the enemy soldiers. The men exchanged presents of cigarettes and plum puddings and sang carols and songs. There was even a documented case of soldiers from opposing sides playing a good-natured game of soccer.

Some soldiers used this short-lived ceasefire for a more somber task: the retrieval of the bodies of fellow combatants who had fallen within the no-man’s land between the lines.

The so-called Christmas Truce of 1914 came only five months after the outbreak of war in Europe and was one of the last examples of the outdated notion of chivalry between enemies in warfare. It was never repeated—future attempts at holiday ceasefires were quashed by officers’ threats of disciplinary action—but it served as heartening proof, however brief, that beneath the brutal clash of weapons, the soldiers’ essential humanity endured.

During World War I, the soldiers on the Western Front did not expect to celebrate on the battlefield, but even a world war could not destory the Christmas spirit.

Right now I feel many times we find a reason to have a fight and to fight a war. I think it is time we have a reason to wage peace.

Peace to All of you. Pass it on.

 

Even the SADDEST Christmas song can give you hope. Here is one of my personal favorites.

It is a song I tried to sing to my kids when they were little.

 

 

Peace.

A Season of Hope. Winter Solstice

The winter solstice has been celebrated in cultures the world over for thousands of years. As the shortest day/longest night of the year, this start of the solar year is a celebration of light and the rebirth of the Sun. We have all completed one more official journey around the Sun.

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As the Winter Solstice has arrived, it is a time to consider yin and yang, darkness and light – and the exquisite balance that exists between all things. After weeks of shortening days, we have been affected in a number of ways by the scarcity of light and the growing darkness. Though we may have experienced sadness or slowness as a result of this winter season, we must also remember that the darkness is necessary in order to experience light.

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Many of us gather with our friends, family and loved ones, and no matter what tradition we observe for this holiday season, we begin to create our own light – the light of the love we feel for those we care the most about. It’s also a time for remembering those we love that are not with us- those who are separated from us by miles or death or simply the loss of relationship.

Many of the customs, lore, symbols, and rituals associated with the Solstice have survived into the 21st century so let’s see how we can join in this ancient celebration to bring love, light, joy and meaning to this season.

ENLIVEN YOUR SURROUNDINGS with the color red. The color of the sun is energizing, and symbolic of love, courage, warmth, fire. Wear red sweaters, scarves and hats, light red candles, bring in red flowering plants (the red poinsettia is a great one). The color red has a powerful effect in the darkest days of the year to lighten your mood and create a festive, heartening atmosphere.

ADORN YOUR HOME with sacred herbs and colors. Decorate your home in holiday colors red, green, and white. Place holly, ivy, evergreen boughs, and pine cones around your home, especially in areas where socializing takes place. Hang a sprig of mistletoe above a major threshold, an evergreen wreath on the front door to symbolize the continuity of life and the wheel of the year. Bring in a Christmas tree with colored lights.

CONVEY LOVE to family, friends, and associates. At the heart of the Solstice was the custom of family and friends feasting together and exchanging presents. Continue this custom by visiting, entertaining, giving gifts, and sending greetings by mail and/or phone. Play games, enjoy children, roast chestnuts over an open fire (what fun). Consider those who are and/or have been important in your life and share appreciation.

HONOR THE NEW SOLAR YEAR WITH LIGHT. If you have an indoor fireplace or an outdoor fire circle, burn an oak log as a Yule log. Decorate the inside and/or outside of your home with electric colored lights.

PARTY HEARTY on New Years’s Eve, not just to welcome the calendar year but also to welcome the new solar year. Celebrate and remember how much the sun means to our planet earth, bringing heat, and light.

CONTRIBUTE TO THE MANIFESTATION OF MORE WELLNESS ON OUR PLANET Donate food and clothing to the poor in your area. Volunteer time at a social service agency. Put up bird feeders and keep them filled throughout the winter to supplement the diets of wild birds. Donate funds and items to non-profit groups, such as churches and environmental organizations. Meditate for world peace. Work magic for a healthier planet. Make a pledge to do some form of good works in the new solar year.

CELEBRATE As you think about setting goals for next year, take some time to write down and celebrate everything you have accomplished this year. Keep your focus on your successes. Be careful of negative self-critical thoughts coming in when you remember the goals you did not achieve. Put those on your list for next year.

CELEBRATING keeps our focus on the positive and attracts more for us to celebrate. Take this energy of celebration with you into the new year and keep it with you throughout the whole year.

However big or small the occasion, look for excuses to be in a state of celebration. You can celebrate failures too. They open doorways for something new to come in. Your positive attitude will make sure you attract more positivity and goodness.