Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Challenge Met

The Lady in the Sewing Crafts Store must have overheard the conversation between us. For, she could not resist interjecting herself into it. My questioning … and YES I confess, perhaps more than just a little bit of challenging … my wife, was more than the Owner of the shop could bear. “Well, Sir, if you think that creating a design (as opposed to the completion of the repetitious background to a pre-stitched design), and accomplishing the cross-stitching of that self-generated design, is something that your wife should be eager to attempt … perhaps you, Sir, would like to make that attempt yourself.”

Well! Here I was. On “foreign” turf … out of my “guy element” … and being challenged … even DARED … by this Lady, who was obviously rising to the defense of one of her faithful (and profitable) Customers. “I will make you this offer, Sir,” she continued, “If you will create your own original design for a cross-stitched panel … I will give you … cost-free … all of the materials necessary to complete the panel. And, further, if you manage to complete the piece … and return here with it … I will block and frame it for you … again, for free. “

There it was … in my face … my young wife (this was somewhere around 1971, and we had been married for less than 4 years) and this Lady, who I had never, prior to this encounter, met … staring at me with determined faces and mutually flinty glares. Was I to fold under the pressure … acknowledge my error in speaking from a stance of uninformed and uneducated ignorance … back down and surrender to this challenge of the ‘merits’ of my opinions as earlier, so strongly stated? Not no … but HELL NO!

So I looked about for some inspiration for an idea of a, yet undreamed of, ‘design.’ And my eyes fell on the little pin that I wore in the lapel of my jacket. A ‘
*Reddy Kilowatt.’ The iconic image that bespoke the industry that I worked in … The Electric Company.

So, I told the Lady that I would create a Reddy Kilowatt cross-stitched panel. She asked what colours I would require … and made good on her offer of a bag full of materials … the likes of which I had never before set hand (or mind … if I had a mind at all) to.

Making this potentially long story as short as possible … I drew out the design … cross-stitched the panel … returned, with it, to the Shop … held it, victoriously, before the shop’s Owner … and she made good on her offer. She did indeed, as you can see, block and frame it … for free!

(Notice … the “Peace Sign” that I substituted for the Icon’s pointing finger.
Yes! I was a bit of a Liberal, Free Spirit, even then!
And … again, Yes! It does still hang on my wall. [Silly grin])

All of this long-ago memory came to the fore as I enjoyed the beautiful works shown so generously on SAHARA's site. (I visited there because I like to know as much as I can about those who compliment me by following the meanderings of my funky mind.) So, Dear SAHARA , please know that my appreciation, and enjoyment, of your creative gifts is substantiated, and to a small degree, validated, by a very small taste of actual “hands on” experience with something, at least remotely, akin to what you, so marvelously, do. [Smile]

Reddy Kilowatt is a cartoon character that acted as corporate promoter/spokesman, for electricity generation and usage, in the United States, for some six decades.

Reddy Kilowatt is drawn as a stick figure whose body and limbs are made of “lightning bolt " symbols and whose bulbous head has a light bulb for a nose and sockets for ears. Reddy was created at the Alabama Power Company by Ashton B. Collins, Sr., and debuted March 11, 1926. He was subsequently licensed by some 300 electrical companies in the U.S. and abroad looking to sell homes on using the relatively new technology. He was featured in a 1947 comic book and movie produced by the studio of Walter Lantz. Reddy Kilowatt was a frequent presence in publicity material until energy conservation replaced energy production as a national goal with the growth of the environmental movement and the OPEC oil embargo. He is now rarely seen. In 1998, Reddy was bought by Northern States Power Company, which created an entire subsidiary, Reddy Kilowatt Corp., to manage the cartoon.
The Facilities Maintenance arm of Temple University, in Philadelphia, still applies Reddy's image to vehicles equipped to perform high voltage maintenance work within the university.

(Edited) Source Article: Wikipedia

Friday, March 26, 2010

Scenic Overlook

There are, along the way, places set
aside… not destinations in and of
themselves, but places for pulling over;
taking a respite from the pace of the
journey; and reflecting, in the
momentary interlude, on the majesty,
grandeur, and all-encompassing scope
of where we have been ... are now ...
and are going.

These oases are dubbed
“Scenic Overlook” by the signposts
announcing their proximity and
availability. While taking advantage
of them the traveler is afforded the
opportunity to survey his place in
the scheme and 'landscape' of his world, as it is, at that moment.

I realize that I am a “Scenic Overlook”
in the life journey of many, whose
paths have been directed my way.

I am not registered on their itinerary
nor am I considered as one of those
places of note when they recount
their travels to others. But I, when
utilized, present, to them, a new
perspective on their pilgrimage ...
provide new appreciation for their
past ... make available a fresh awareness of their present ...
and project hitherto
unknown possibilities for their futures.

This is my ministry… my calling…
my gift to the world that I am allowed
to embrace.

IMAGES: Through the gracious courtesy of Ian Britton, FreeFoto.com

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Gulf and Shore

The Gulf of Mexico … the Florida shore

Two Dancers, well acquainted and Familiar

Choreographed by forces neither seen nor named

Repeating their to-and-fro’s in rhythmic perfection

Moving to Life’s pulse … that knows no hurry

My whole Being falls into step with their metronomic sway

Inhale, exhale … to their surge, retreat

The tiniest bubbles, of foam, form on the sands

And now flow, in intimate recognition, from my eyes

16 March 2010

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Transcendental Image

I hear the cry of that delicate Voice within

Its tender entreaty to allow just a fleeting Moment
A soft sigh of Desire wanting recognition

Over the mean growling of a worn body’s pains
In spite of insistent stiffness and stumbling lack of grace
A Presence of balletic freedom and gymnastic flight
Takes hold of my Awareness and transports my Being

I am beside that enchanting little Brook
Hearing the busy giggles and snickers issued by gurgling waters
Inhaling all that tells of Promise and Hope
In the delicious freshness of the air

Lounging in tender grasses that know only this Now
Though their seed understands all Yesterdays
Accompanied by the spontaneity of tiny creatures
Flying and flitting about in response to immediate inclination

And, looking upstream, I allow that the still Pond formed there
Will be a receptive and welcoming Hostess
Receiving me with gentlest caresses and caring comforts

So here am I … canopied by swaying, breathing, playful branches
Absent all that would hold me in discomfort or discouragement
Embracing and delighting in Life’s Gift
Of this Transcendental Image

IMAGE: With my grateful appreciation for the Skills, and Spirit, of Jon Sullivan, pdphoto.org

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Mystery Escape

I occasionally feel the need to “go away.” This I accomplish by visiting my Mind to distant Places. Thankfully, the Web offers many Photos of many lovely Places that combine my yearning for waterside locales, with my desire to be surrounded by natural serenity and solitude.

I want to share such an “Escape” with You, my Darling Friend.

To make it a bit more entertaining (for me [tee-hee]),
I will not tell you where this Place is.

I will tell You that this Place has been a sovereign Principality since the Late Middle Ages. It saw its independence formally recognized in 1878 then, from 1911, was part of various incarnations of a single State composed of several Republics. The last vestiges of that association ended on 3 June 2006 when it, once again, declared its independence.

Go ahead … guess.

And thank You for sharing a Moment with Me.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Hope For the Cell-Phoning Driver

French Church Criticizes 'Confession' Phone Line

PARIS (AFP) – A pay telephone line for French Roman Catholics to confess their sins drew criticism from bishops on Monday.

"For advice on confessing, press one. To confess, press two. To listen to some confessions, press three," says a soothing male voice, welcoming the caller to "Le Fil du Seigneur", or "The Line of the Lord" service.

"In case of serious or mortal sins -- that is, sins that have cut you off from Christ our Lord, it is indispensable to confide in a priest," warns the 0.34 euros a minute service.

The Conference of French Bishops, which groups the country's Catholic leaders, warned in a statement that the line had "no approval from the Catholic Church in France."

The site was set up this month at the beginning of the Christian fasting period of Lent by a group of Catholics working for AABAS, a small Paris company that provides telephone messaging services, its creator told AFP.

It does not offer absolution for sins, which only a priest can provide, said the creator, Camille, who asked for her second name not be cited because she had received threats about the service.

"The idea is to confess sins which are not capital sins, but minor sins, directly to God," she said, adding that the line received about 300 calls in its first week.

Callers do not talk to a person but are offered an "atmosphere of piety and reflection," where they can listen to prayers, music and other people's confessions and can opt to record their own.

The bishops said telephone services had a role to play in lending an ear to the aged, isolated or those with disabilities, but "it is unacceptable to allow confusion over the notion of confession," they added.

"For the Catholic faithful, confession has a sacramental meaning and requires the real presence of a priest."

Camille said part of the money received for the calls goes to charity. The service costs 0.34 euros (0.46 dollars) a minute plus a connection charge for mobile phones, though a cheaper non-charity line costs 0.12 euros.

The line says on its website that it aims to encourage youngsters to confess at a time when church attendance is "in free-fall."

(Ahhhh! I feel so much better having shared 'Hope.') [silly grin]

Thursday, March 04, 2010

"Your Song" ... Elton John ft. Alessandro Safina

I pass along, to You, Darling Friend, all of the Love and Goodness that accompanied it when I received it from my Darling Brother, Steven.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

An Afternoon With DaVinci

I didn’t get to enjoy seeing Dav and Heather in Florence, whilst they visited there in ’08 … so I will just ‘pretend’ to do so at the “DaVinci Shop and Café” at the end of the marvelous DaVinci Exhibition, presented at our Museum Of Science and Industry, Wednesday. They are so very cool! [smile]

Can you imagine my delight when Samantha (one of the MOSI Staff Members) asked me to share some philosophies beyond the “If, for the short while that we are in this Place, we don’t leave it better for our having been here … we will have wasted our time. And you, Dear One, have wasted nothing.” That I wrote on the back of one of my calling cards, and left for her on the table where she was demonstrating and explaining some of the wonders of optical innovations experienced by DaVinci.

So, I happily explained that I live in accordance with the personal imperative that states “Never leave any person or circumstance offered by Life, with the potential for a “Wish-I’d-A.” That is … the inner thought that says “I Wish-I’d-A expressed to that stranger how they touched my Heart as we passed.” or “I wish-I’d-a demonstrated the feelings of my heart to that individual whose presence moved me just now.” “So,” I explained to Samantha, “I clumsily, awkwardly, and sometimes haltingly (for I have had no teacher, guide, or mentor to demonstrate or instruct me in examples of practicing this business of reaching out to passing strangers in my world) verbalize my emotions … or demonstrate my convictions … thereby avoiding the possibility of ever having to reflect on the regretful awareness that comes with belated ‘wish-I’d-a’s”

She had to wonder “Just what kind of strange Person is this man who invites me to visit his Blog … and invites me to inform him of my progress in following my life’s dream?”

She doesn’t know that I spared her the added discomfort of having to deal with the “I love you Samantha” that was living just beneath the surface of my Being. That, I knew, would have been too much for her to process at our first encounter. [smile]

So, my Dear Reader, there you have a quick glimpse into an afternoon in the life of your John-Michael. (Who, because he knows that you know him well enough to accept and embrace this Truth from him, feels no hesitation to remind you …
“I love You!”) [tender smile]

(Thank You Dav, for the wonderful Photos!)

Monday, March 01, 2010

Bon Appétit!

Gas! Heartburn, indigestion, abdominal disquietude, intestinal distress … describe it as you will, there is no delicate nor pleasant way of considering the miserable experience of living with the aftermath of the introduction of something that establishes itself as disagreeable to One’s system. Altogether an often-painful and always-uncomfortable siege on One’s Internals. So why, we are compelled to ask, do we return to Life’s table of available Offerings and yet-again choose to dish a dollop of that known-to-harm choice onto our Plate of experiential opportunities?

If I had the answer to that one at the ready, I would instantly render countless thousands of Counselors, Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Physicians, and even vendors of pharmaceuticals and herbal remedies, obsolete. No, my Dearest of ever-so-kind Readers, it just isn’t going to be that easy! All that I can, and will, do is reflect, with You, on what I hope will be a useful and helpful Imagery to serve us in our daily encounters with those tempting and perhaps even habitual inclinations to forget to be kind to our Selves.

So, here ‘tis … my take on how we are affected by our life-encounters. I think of it all as a natural taking in of nourishment. We have appetites. We have needs. We are created with certain basic requirements for fundamental sustenance. These are all true and clear enough. But then enter all of those influences that tailor, steer, distract, mandate, demand, coerce, and perpetually suggest their way into our choices of ways to address simple requisites. (Or, maybe not so simple!)

What I have learned about Temperament Types and Personality Styles has taught me that we are all created with differing core, innate Yearnings (Appetites, if you will.) These are then impacted by home/family environments. And the evolving and developing result of those inner Yearnings is, in turn, shaped and altered by social and cultural influences.

Then … we find ourselves out in “The World” … where we seek some comfortable and enjoyable satisfaction of our now-individualized Yearnings. And we have neither a personal understanding of what is driving and perplexing us, nor any ability to find safe and constructive help in addressing a viable path to follow in our quest. For, don’t you see, everyone else in our world is either doing their dead-level best to survive their own obstacle course, or experiencing life in a balanced way that does not allow them to comprehend the vexations of Others who are struggling. Not a whole lot of fun for One seeking comfort!

Nonetheless, most of us ‘taste’ all sorts of experiences. We ingest (into our life-system) all manner of selections that seem (at the moment of consideration) to offer some variation on the satisfaction theme. Some go down quite well. Some are a bit challenging to the yet-unacquired taste. Others are bitter and completely offsetting. All manner and scope of samplings can be found and known. And we learn. Sometimes, we rest well and pleasantly grow and develop with combined tried-and-true people and experiences … combined with some measure of spicy new adventures. Other times, we find ourselves in the throes of painful and frightening spells that have “Why, oh why, did I do that … go there …?!” as the accompanying theme. And we suffer all that must be suffered as our life-system ‘digests’ and deals with what we have introduced to it.

Then … blessed relief! Our life rids itself of the waste result of the unpleasant experience. It passes! And, though weakened and drained by all that has been taken from us by the encounter, we slowly regain our strength and vitality. Even our appetite for living!

Even though we know (at some quiet and distant level) that we have learned some valuable lesson from our combined indiscretion/ignorance/irresponsibility/weakness/vulnerability, we don’t want to hear it! Later will be soon enough! For right now even the mention or recollection of the offending detour from safety and sanity is enough to reignite the still-fresh pains and agonies of the yet-raw happening. For the moment, we must focus on whatever Life, in all of Her loving kindness and omnipotent wisdom, has prepared for our Future.

So, My Darling Friend, when I see that Table of tempting treats and delicacies served up in your Tomorrow, I have made it my personal mission to step in the path of anyone or anything that would wish to remind you of your past miseries and lessen the awaiting joys of the feast, that Life has served up for you. I will fight any fight to lift you above the grasp of all influences that want you to walk in the muck of well-forgotten waste and experiential-effluent. You have dealt with … and are rising above all that has served its purpose.

I bid you an unfettered "Welcome!" to Life's Grand Buffet. Take your time. Dwell a while. And remember ... not everything is to the taste of everyone. Listen to Life's gentle, caring, and loving guidance of your own lovely Inner You. It is what makes You the Blessing that you are to me. [smile]

Bon Appétit!

(PS As I promised when I offered Last Saturday's Post, these are some of those thoughts that swirled about in my funky mind as I offered the 3 sets of Images there. I hope and trust that Life directs this bit to that special Someone who has a ready 'appetite' for it. [smile])

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