Monday, February 27, 2012

Velveteen Rabbi: On meditation

Velveteen Rabbi: On meditation:

'via Blog this'

Admittedly, I love ALL things Velveteen Rabbi does, but this one really resonated today. I have offered meditation classes on so many occasions, because people get this mistaken idea that in order to "do it right" you have to think of nothing for hours at a time.

There are so many ways to accomplish a great meditation! VR's method is the perfect one for beginners, and I urge everyone (new or not) to read her description. I also love that it's such an interfaith tool... Meditation is a means of communicating with the All, in whatever way you see It/Him/Her/Them. It doesn't matter what religion (if any!) you practice because meditation is possible within all of them.

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Muslim Scouter reflects on Scouting's interfaith strengths - Scouting magazine

A Muslim Scouter reflects on Scouting's interfaith strengths - Scouting magazine:

'via Blog this'

I like what Abdul-Rashid Abdullah has to say about interfaith interactions at Scouting events. He talks about education and cooperation, and how the children have an opportunity to put into practice the things they learn in their religious school. It's an interesting take!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

BBC News - MIT launches free online 'fully automated' course

BBC News - MIT launches free online 'fully automated' course:

'via Blog this'

This is wonderful! I highly suggest everyone take advantage of this wonderful series of course materials. Wow... :)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Anatomy of an unsafe abortion « Dr. Jen Gunter

Anatomy of an unsafe abortion « Dr. Jen Gunter:

'via Blog this'

I invite you each to read it. Please be warned, there is serious squick factor, even though there are no images and the verbal picture painted is not as bright as it would be if you were present. If you've ever thought of abortion, been through one, or been with someone undergoing one, this will bring back possibly unpleasant memories. So... be warned. But please read.

I feel the need to post my personal opinion (note, this does not mean that others of my gender, religion, age group, ethnicity, or anything else also feel the same way). I have had an abortion. I am not proud of it, and for a very long time I told no one, partially because of that shame involved. In recent years, though, I've felt a need to say that yes, I have been through this. I know what it's like. I know just how little information is actually out there (or at least WAS out there, 22 years ago).

I am pro-choice. By that, I mean that I believe that every person (male AND female) should have the choice of what happens to their body. I am pro-life, by which I mean that I believe life begins at conception, and that abortion does end a life, even if it is a "potential life." I am pro-abortion, meaning that I believe it is important to keep abortion legal and safe in this country.

I have worked with people who are pregnant and trying to figure out what to do. I've done my absolute best to give enough information for each person to make an informed decision. The choice to end a pregnancy is not an easy one, and it lives with you for the rest of your life. I personally consider abortion to be a last-ditch choice, one made only when no other can possibly fit. I would never play God though, and tell a woman yes she should, or no she shouldn't.

And unpopular as this opinion is likely to be, I also believe that it is important for the father to be a part of that decision, if he is around. I don't think his choice should trump hers, unless we find a way for males to carry children to conception, in which case trump on! Pregnancy is not a disease, but it's often treated that way in our society, and no woman should be forced to go through with it if she really cannot bear the idea of it.

Again, these are my opinions. If you choose to debate in the comments, that's fine, but keep it polite and friendly or I'll just delete it.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Fighting For Gwen ::

Fighting For Gwen ::

'via Blog this'

This is one of those stories that is close to my heart. Little Gwen happens to be a wee bit older than our twins but her story could be (and almost was) our own. Our boy twin is high functioning autistic, and like Gwen he is very sharp and memorizes many things, is reading well above his grade level, and is generally a very thoughtful young six year old. Also like Gwen, he needs a bit of extra support (though perhaps not as much as Gwen) in order to make it through the day at school. He gets frustrated easily, and has a hard time of it when schedules change (as they frequently do).

The school our boy started kindergarten in was much like the one Gwen landed in. The teachers were trying to help, but the administration was considerably less helpful. Luckily we were moving anyhow, and ended up in a fantastic district. If we had stayed in Hinsdale, NH, we would have had a massive fight on our hands, and it's a battle we would have felt was a necessity. Our children are our lives, and their education is very important.

So... read about Gwen and if nothing else, perhaps pass the story and the link along. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Seedling

It's February. I've already done all my searching through the seed catalogs. I know what plants are going in the ground. I've made my garden plans. Everything is now in that horrid holding pattern that is Winter. It's too early to start my seedlings inside, because they'll quickly become too leggy and won't last until it's warm enough to put them out. I have to wait until mid-March in my area (!!) and it's really tough. I want to get my hands dirty NOW, and feel the living soil on my hands. I want to smell that scent that tells me spring is right around the corner. But that is not what February is about.

This is a time of hibernation. It's a time for quiet introspection. It's a time for getting a bit extra sleep, when possible, and doing quieter activities. I find myself wanting to pull out my cross stitch, but I also find I'm never getting around to it.

I admit, as February begins, I am feeling like I am the tippy top of a roller coaster. The rest of the year stretches out in a long, steep decline and I want to be over the hump already! I want my plants in the dirt. I want my raised beds built. I want the yard cleaned up and the kids' swingset built. I want my herbs flourishing in the herb bed so that I don't have to use the dried stuff anymore. I want to ditch the long johns and sweaters, the mess of hauling wood into the house and ash out of it, and store bought vegetables. I long for the taste of a REAL tomato!

It does feel like this year is going to be both a fast one and a fun one. There is a lot of work to do, and I hope that I have the ability to get myself up and moving to get it done. I want to throw the windows open here, and I am hoping for a warmish day so I can do just that. The air in a house gets stale over the winter, and nothing beats the way a house smells after opening the windows the first time in the spring. It's as if seedlings spring up inside your heart and soul.

I did allow myself a tiny consolation for hurrying spring along. In my kitchen window, atop the lower window of a split frame, there are four jars with eight trios of seeds in them. These are my test seeds, to see if germination will occur. So far, my cucumbers, peas, lettuce, and a few others have sent out shoots and roots, questing for the dirt which they (unfortunately) won't find. I'm still waiting on the beans, delicata squash, and green peppers, but my hopes are high. If they all germinate, I'll be thrilled! Still, there's something joyous about peeking up at the jars and seeing my pretty peas looking rather like the picture to the right.

I need to let my soul have the quiet time it needs, to regenerate and to regain energy. When I rest my spiritual side, allow it to dream a bit and stop working so hard, I give myself energy for the long summer ahead. Everyone needs down time, after all, and nature provides a natural time for it each year. We need to respect that demand from our bodies, souls, and minds. The rest is like the dark, enveloping soil that holds the seed prior to it becoming a seedling. We need to let winter grip us in a firm grasp, keep us safe and warm and cuddled tight, until it's warm enough for us to spring out of our blankets and sweaters into the sunny, bright spring air.