27 November 2008
When I first discovered the title quote for this entry, its brutal truth felt like a punch to the gut. We often believe that as long as we, ourselves, don't act wrongly, we are exemplary citizens. There is a misconception among some that in order to avoid acting immorally, we must remove ourselves from all wrongdoing and crime. Perhaps though, the key is not that we should distance ourselves from the cruel injustice experienced in the world, but that we should intercept it.
When we do not act against injustice, when we do not stand up against crime, when we do not offer aide to the helpless, we allow evil to continue to prevail. This is not to say we must or should feel the guilt of every crime in existence, no human can be expected to prevent all evil, however we can all exercise what capabilities we have to seek justice for others.
Martin Luther King Jr. wisely said, "True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice." Complete world peace is unlikely, and God is the only who can truly serve justice to all, but justice and peace in a family, a community, peace between two countries, and additional accomplishments of justice, are not impossible to achieve.
Recently I was handed a folded pamphlet, the front flap reading, "Speak justice, the language that can change the world." Justice is indeed like learning a language, practice is necessary in order to achieve fluency. One would expect frustrations and challenges upon learning a new language, and justice is no different. You must first dare to struggle, before you can dare to win...
Are there any inciendents of injustice that you have experienced first hand? Do you witness much injustice in your community? When, if ever, have you worked to prevent injustice? Other thoughs on justice?
Title Quote: Edmond Burke
Photo Credits: www.glynisselinaarban.com
23 November 2008
As the holidays near, there's nothing like the warm gestures we give and receive that make us feel as if we were bathed in sunlight despite the bitter winter air. What we give doesn't always have to be something that can be packaged and tied up with string, but rather we can give gifts like love, cheer, hope, and laughter.
Perhaps the greatest gift we can give is love, however love requires something else we often consider precious: time. Saying, "I love you", never says as much as showing you love someone. Nothing speaks louder than your actions.
If anything, we become far more busy, in the holiday season, than throughout the rest of the year, but instead of creating a traffic jam on your calender by attending every possible party, and dashing around department stores for gifts, consider giving those you love more of your time this season.
Give the gift of a listening ear to someone you love, or go the extra mile, and take time to listen to those who are rarely given a voice, such as the homeless, the disabled, the elderly, and so forth. Give the gift of family: invite someone who is unable to be with their family this holiday season, to join your family for the holidays. Give the gift of song and cheer: go caroling around your neighborhood. Mirroring the topic of the previous entry: give the gift of forgiveness, and of acceptance.
Feed a hungry baby for a week, teach a child to read and write, rescue a child from bondage and abuse, transform the life of a disabled child, help fight epidemic diseases, provide clothing for those in need, or give something as simple as milk to boys and girls, who live in poverty, to help them overcome malnutrition. Trusted and established organizations like Samaritan's Purse allow you to give these and many other charitable gifts this holiday season.
While we must realize and remember the greatest gifts don't come with dollar value, most of us still wrap some gifts to place under the tree, and even material gifts can be given having thought and time put behind them. Don't settle for an obvious, easy buy, narrow down what your family and friends might really like to receive this year. Below are some (affordable, because I don't know about you, but I'm not made out of money) gift ideas, that I have found over time to be little gems, and for those who seek visual appeal, like myself, well-made and well-designed too.
1. Books To Check Out: A Journal (best suited for those who like reading, organization, and journaling); 2. Magnetic Poetry (best suited for those who like poetry, songwriting, writing, and words); 3. Blank Coffee Table Sketchbook (best suited for those who like sketching, doodling, and who frequently host friends and parties); 4. Wanderlust Travel Journal (best suited for those who like traveling, journaling, photography, and design - also see other Wanderlust products); 5. Paperchase Mag Bags (for U.S. citizens these are sold only in-store at Borders; best for those who like magazines, reading, bags, and fashion).
6. Flea Market Style by Emily Chalmers (best for those who like reading, flea markets, interior design, and vintage/second-hand); 7. Fingerprint (best for those who like reading, graphic design, hand-made design/elements, print work, and packaging design); 8. Cinematic Storytelling by Jennifer Van Sijill (best for those who like films, reading, cinematography, film method and technique); 9. Much Love Jewelry (best for those who like jewelry, hand-made craftsmanship, costume-like jewelry).
Feel like I've come close to hitting the mark of what your friends or family might like, but haven't quite found what you're looking for? Check out these sites for similar and related products to the ones I've listed above: Chronicle Books, Wanderlust, Michael Wiese Books, Paperchase, Etsy, and HOW Books. And stay tuned, as I'm considering doing a part two to include more products and gifts I adore...
What is the best (or one of the best) holiday gifts you can remember receiving, whether an actual product, or something non-material? What is the best (or one of the best) holiday gifts you've given? Do you get your holiday shopping done early, or at the last minute? Other thoughts? Feel free to share and exchange your own gift ideas when you comment.
P.S. While I've provided links to locations where all the products listed can be ordered, please note that other resources may be available in which you may buy some of the products, as well as, many of these products can be bought in-stores instead of online, or at more affordable prices. Feel free to do some Google-searching to find the best location and price to buy any of these products at. I also own nearly all of these products, and/or know who makes/owns them, so you're welcome to ask me any questions you might have about them.
Title Quote: Winston Churchill
Photo Credits: http://kes-ke.livejournal.com & http://styliste.livejournal.com & www.flickr.com/people/10330100@N06 & Christopher at www.thefashionspot.com.
19 November 2008
We've all been angry at someone, or some group of people. Perhaps you're angry at someone now. You might believe your anger is fair, and well directed, but there is a difference between momentary anger, and clutching tight to grudges and refusing to forgive.
We often have the misconception that when we put up a wall of anger, our behavior reflects on our strength, our toughness. However, a grudge only mirrors bitterness, and weakness, as it requires strength, and dedication of your heart to heal and forgive.
You want to reduce hate, and crimes against society? Then practice forgiveness. Wrongdoing occurs, there is no hiding the harsh reality, but we solve nothing when we participate in revenge. When we act in an hateful, avenging manner, we not only wrongfully hurt others, but we hurt ourselves, as well.
Grudges that we store in our hearts, steals room from where we should instead keep love and forgiveness. We become burdened by thoughts of revenge, instead of freeing our captive soul through forgiveness.
This is not to say all anger is negative, we should hate what is wrong but we should never hate the individual, even if they committed wrongdoing. You want to be angry? Be angry about injustice, be angry about racism, be angry about poverty, be angry about the evil of the world, but only if that anger leads you to positive action to prevent (not avenge) the crimes you witness.
If someone provokes your anger, and you hold tight to your anger and keep a grudge against them, they have already defeated you. Forgiveness is a process, a road less traveled, but one that is worth whatever internal struggle required to remove the burden of a grudge. No matter what one does against you, no grudge is impossible to let go of, never underestimate the power of a forgiving spirit, in a relationship, in a family, in a friendship, in a community... in the world.
Do you anger easily? Are you angry at anyone now? Do you often hold grudges? Do you frequently seek revenge against those who have hurt you? Have you ever forgiven someone who has wronged you? Other thoughts?
Title Quote: Lewis B. Smedes
Photo Credits: www.flickr.com/photos/jgual & www.flickr.com/photos/amaliachimera & www.monoscope.com.
16 November 2008
There are a wealth of things that make me happy. Some are monumental, some come and go quietly. Perhaps some of the greatest moments, though, are the moments which we often refer to as "the little moments". These are the moments in which, if only for a moment, everything feels just right. Moments in which we are overwhelmed with the sensation of peace and of believing that everything truly is going to be alright.
These are not moments that at a distant seem critically important in any way, but as Thornton Wilder stated, "We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures." I believe that same concept, the idea of being aware of all we have to be thankful for, is what brings forth the occurrence of these moments in which everything feels perfect. Many grateful thanks to Jane for the "happy" tag, which asks bloggers to list 6 unimportant things that make them happy, and from my view point 6 things that create "little moments".
1) A fire in the fire place on a wintry evening, especially when such an occasion also invites books, hot chocolate, board games, and warm company.
2) Swimming deep under the sea, in a cocoon of tranquil blue calm.
3) The sound of my kitty purring, and the touch of her downy-like fur against my bare skin.
4) When a song I love comes on the radio, and spins any sour mood I may have been in around to elated blissfulness.
5) Flying, whether by airplane or other method. The feeling of air rising up underneath me and rushing past me, of adrenaline pumping through my veins in reply to being airborne.
6) Dusk and dawn, the warm blanket of sunlight filtering through darkness to reach you.
Now to recent blog awards, a hearty thanks to you all for being generous and honoring my blog with such awards, you make me blush so very much, and such sweet gestures, such as these blog awards, are like treasures to me.
First award I'll do is the "You Rock" award, thanks to impeccably stylish and sweet Marta for giving me this award, and I would like to pass it on to: The Stylish Wanderer, Daisy Chain Dreams, Much Love, Kaleidoscope Dreams and The Valentine Journals.
The second recent award given to me, was the "E for Excellence" award, which was graciously given to me by the charming miss Anna and her equally endearing blog Much Love. I'd like to pass on this honor to: Rice & Peace, Spider, Spin Me A Story, City Of Petra, Sugar & Blush and A Beautiful Life.
The third and fourth recent awards I've recieved are the "Premio Dardos" and the "Kreativ Blogger"award, a dozen enthusiastic thanks to my dear Betsey and Saorise for honoring me with these awards. However I am sad to say I am nearly out of time, and have yet to ponder who to pass these awards on to yet, but for now I wanted to include my sincerce thanks for them.
What are six (or any number) of "unimportant" things that make you happy? Do you remember any "little moments" when everything felt peaceful and perfect? Other thoughts?
P.S. Just realized, I never tagged any blogging friends for the "happy" tag! No time to change it now, so in this case, I will say, anyone who would like to do the tag, by all means, please do!
Title Quote: Charlie Sheen
Photo Credits: www.ellenkooi.nl & www.linascheynius.com & www.flickr.com/people/depressiverealism & www.flickr.com/photos/futurowoman & www.flickr.com/photos/ptobin & www.flickr.com/photos/22658121@N00 & www.flickr.com/photos/rosewater & www.flickr.com/photos/synesthetikdesign.
13 November 2008
Most of us take an active part in the various areas of our life, but perhaps few of us take active part in creating ourselves. We often let forces like our peers, our family, and our circumstances, condition us, instead of taking advantage of the control we have over who we are, and shaping ourselves into the kind of person we want to be.
There is nothing specifically wrong with being a reflection of our friends, or our family, unless they are not who we want to be, and unless we have lost our individualism to their influence over us.
Many say they are still finding themselves, though no one knows how exactly this process of finding one's self operates, and it seems to result most often in great frustrations and despair. Not to mention that the idea of finding something is generally unappealing, knowing that what we find may not be what it is we want to find at all.
Perhaps we should not let life happen to us, as much as we should make life happen for us. Acknowledging that there is much beyond our control, we still have more control over who we are, and who we will become, than we often believe.
Why wait an unforeseen amount of time, in attempt and hope of discovering ourselves, when instead we could begin the process of character development at any given time?
It is all good and well to know others, but take the time to reflect, to know yourself, as well. Are you who you want to be?
Most of us like to create, and I find there is something so promising, so stirring, about the prospect of creating ourselves. This is not to say the process will be easy, there will surely be difficulties in molding ourselves, but imagine the possibilities of active participation in building your character versus simply letting your surroundings sculpt you.
Leo Tolstoy said, "Everyone thinks of changing the world, no one thinks of changing himself." Perhaps it is true that we often fuss over the flaws of the world, what we believe the world should be like, instead of first knowing our own shortcomings, and following that, most importantly improving our own character. And while we need not obsessively worry about what we do, or who we are, a healthy dose of self reflection can be quite beneficial.
There is tremendous power in knowing yourself, and even more power in daring to chisel away faults to unearth your own potential. May it seem an overwhelming task, it should not and does not happen in a day. Do not be afraid to start simple, after all, every accomplishment, and every journey, first begins with a single step.
Do you more so look to find yourself, or create yourself? Are you already who you want to be? If not, do you know what kind of person you want to be? How often, if ever, do you simply reflect on your life, and who you are, who you want to be? Other thoughts?
Title Quote: George Bernard Shaw
Photo Credits: Editorial "Niagara" from Elle Magazine Italia, photographed by Stefania Paparelli, and scanned by allicantaste @ www.livejournal.com.
12 November 2008
I'm not a fan of filler posts, but oh, here we go again. That's two in one week, however, a new entry will be arriving in this space tomorrow. I'm writing now though because I found this sweet and generous bit written about Girl Meets NYC, at the Web Fashion Awards. I don't know what the Web Fashion Awards are all about, per se, because the site's "About" page seems to be currently nonexistent, however I thought I would also direct you all to this link, because many of you, my fellow fashion bloggers, are featured there as well, and just as I was visiting tonight, more were being added.
(Comments have been disabled for this post only, continue to the posts below for commenting, though in this case, you can leave a comment in regards to this topic where the topic is at here as well as rate my blog if you feel so inclined, no registering, or anything of the sort, required.).
Photo Credits: Sandra Freij via www.lundlund.com.
10 November 2008
I have long had a fascination with abandoned houses, especially those houses in which nothing has been taken, everything inside sitting still as if the owners are expected to return any moment now. More so, abandoned houses, especially if they are still burdened with belongings, beg a story. What powerful force caused a person to just up and abandon their house and all inside it?
While I have never abandoned as much as a house and all that I own, I have found that in particular situations, I am prone to abandon something else much more precious: my heart.
Some might experience it more often than others, depending on the society in which you live, but we have all witnessed people in desperate need, and I think I might be correct in saying that we have all at some point, looked away.
We look away to avoid being a witness, to cut the emotional cord, keep ourselves from being moved, and perhaps, feeling something deeply. We quickly scramble to shift our thoughts elsewhere. We don't want to feel the guilt or the burden of any responsibility to be a "Good Samaritan" and aide whomever we have seen in need.
What are we so afraid of? Are we afraid that should we not look away, that our hearts might be moved, and that we just might interrupt our schedule, our pattern of life, and help?
Then there are excuses of, "I don't have time", "I don't have any money to spare", and so on. Perhaps we even wonder if the person we see in need is in such a position because of accident or because of choice. If we help them, whether our help will be appreciated, or our donated change used appropriately.
If we say we don't have time, could we not make a little time? While we cannot control the rate at which time runs, we can control how we spend our spare time. If we say we don't have money, could we not give our time instead?
There is a story I have been fond of ever since I was a child. About a time of offering, in which a rich man gave a great sum of money to the needy, though the amount he gave was only a mere fraction of his wealth. Then came forward a woman who had next to nothing, and yet, out of faith, she gave all she had. Though she had far less, the act of the woman is an act far more commendable than that of the wealthy man.
In my life, I have often have been guilty of looking away, abandoning my heart when I do not want to feel sympathy or guilt. And yet, who am I to stand in the face of need and not give? I know now that I will never be satisfied or proud of a life spent protecting what things I have, and helping only myself.
We all can aide those in need, in different ways, in whatever ways we are able of. No amount of time, no amount of money is too small to give. Do not abandon the emotion, the power of your heart, and always know that even small acts can cause great effects. Give a smile, give a hug, give a listening ear, give faith, give a warm meal, give peace, give love, and give hope for the good of humanity.
When you see others in need, such as homeless on the streets, do you tend to look away? Have you ever stopped and reached out to someone in need? If not, what do you think stops you from helping? In what ways do you give to others? Would you like to give more, or do you think whatever you may do or give already is enough? Other thoughts?
Title Quote: George Weinberg
Photo Credits: www.flickr.com/photos/kbauman & www.flickr.com/photos/13899979@N00 & www.flickr.com/photos/10330100@N06.