Floating in Water

Balance is more than being able to keep up with what your life is throwing at you.

It’s about being able to do what you feel is right.

It’s about wanting to do what you feel is right.

It’s about finding out who you are.

It’s about deciding what is important.

It’s about acting on those decisions.

It’s about being aware that everything can change in an instant.

Balance is hard to fight for, even if you are living alone, because you are never truly alone.

You will have met people throughout your life and parts of them, their ideas, will always be with you.

You will have read things that stay with you.

You will have seen things that are etched imperfectly into your mind.

You will hear things that warp in your mind, but retain some semblance of what was spoken.

You will learn things that are changeable yet solid in your mind.

You will change your mind and then change it back again.

Balance can never truly be achieved.

If it is, it’s because for one second everything was still, because you are existing in only that moment.

Written for: http://theseekersdungeon.com/2013/09/26/dungeon-prompts-week-7-balance-and-the-art-of-succeeding-in-an-all-or-nothing-world/

Advertisements

Kindness

I was reading through various news websites looking for something to spark my interest today when I came across several stories of people, or animals, doing acts of kindness. I thought I would share a few. I’m not able to share them all, but looking up so many videos and articles about kindness can do nothing but help to bolster my faith in humanity.

The first to catch my attention was about a young woman trying to raise awareness of a chronic illness. When a person with this specific illness stands up, their heart rate goes way up while their blood pressure drops dangerously. It isn’t an illness that shows much, if any, physical signs until they’re on the ground. It’s called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, or POTS. It is incurable. The young woman in question was doing a photo shoot of a re-enactment from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and was invited inside by the store owner of Tiffany & Co. at the City Creek Mall in Salt Lake City, Utah. She has the illness in question, but her family didn’t now until about 4 years ago. She and her family are also donating a tree to the Annual Festival of Trees where people can buy an already furnished tree, sometimes done up in themes, and the proceeds will be donated to charity.

The people donating the trees are getting nothing from it. The young woman and her family are decorating their tree in the theme of the old movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

Another article that caught my eye was about a retired military dog meeting his very first kitten and how fascinated he is with the white fur-ball. The clip included in the the quick blurb was heartwarming but it also led to several other videos.

One of a cat who had lost her litter of kittens pretty much taking over for a new litter of cocker spaniels whose mother wasn’t the maternal type (at all.)

There were other videos that touched my heart, mostly one that had snapshots with some explanations of people who had performed random acts of kindness during different heard times for people. There was also a video about a young man buying different things for the homeless and then giving them away to people he found living on the street while dressed up as Iron Man. I think the words he added at the end of his clip touched me the most.

“Even though we are human,

There is a superhero inside all of us.

All you need is a helping hand.

So if you have a chance to be a hero,

Take it.

It can only make the world a happier place.

And please…

Always remember to smile.”

I’ve had someone help my family randomly at the grocery store when we were just a few dollars short on paying for our groceries and having a neighbor several years later that always plowed our rather long driveway every time it snowed that year. And it snowed so much that you couldn’t see anything a yard away from the windows. The world is full of many things, but one of them is kindness in our fellow man and the animals that help bring us peace.

It only takes a moment to change someone’s life for the better, even, no especially, if it’s only in a small way.

Video and news article links:

Tiffany’s: http://www.ksl.com/index.php?nid=148&sid=27054744&title=teen-re-enacts-quotbreakfast-at-tiffanysquot-for-a-good-cause-&fm=home_page&s_cid=featured-5

Military dog: http://now.msn.com/retired-military-dog-chef-meets-first-kitten-in-viral-video

cat with puppies: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6BmU49XG7w

Snapshots of kindness: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uge8sMTrzx0

Iron Man: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JruGsJLLdwI

Rejection

I’m told that you’re not a real writer until you’ve received your first rejection letter. In this day and age it’s more likely to be a rejection email, but I’m pretty sure the same sentiments still apply. There’s always posting on the internet or just sticking to writing fanfiction, but writing your own work and sending it in to someone is very nerve wracking.

You may never sell anything, but at least you took the chance and sent something in and maybe you will get published for having the guts to send off a piece of your soul for someone else to look at and judge its worthiness.

I actually feel better now that I’ve received an answer rather than just waiting for any kind of response. Hopefully future endeavors will go better.

Homework

You know what I don’t miss? Language Arts homework. You know, that thing that elementary schools give kids before they get to middle and/or high school and they start calling it English class? I hated Language Arts homework from elementary school more than I hated any other type of homework. (Including graphing even though I spent three years of math not learning it due to outside forces conspiring against me and then having to take a big test on graphing with a concussion and the inability to move my neck. At all.)

Anyways, I hated that class. Not the writing part or the reading part or the comprehension parts, just the language arts part. The part where they take a perfectly good sentence and then make you dissect like you’re in some kind of literary biology class. (Although actually dissecting frogs and stuff? Awesome.) Is there ever really a time during adulthood where I’m going to need to know what the difference between an imperative sentence and interrogative sentence are? outside of another English class that may or may not include that homework just for the sake of it? No. I haven’t run into needing to know that one single time since graduating high school and I have been through college.

Several of my siblings have been through enough college that they even get to have a couple fancy initials after their names and they didn’t need to know that either. I know this because I was one of the few that was really good at essay reading and writing and so got conned into double checking all of their homework to make sure it was correct. One of those siblings got a Bachelor’s in Accounting (she liked numbers a lot more than they liked her, but whatever.)

I’m going into this rant because my eldest nephew just spent 20 minutes going over some homework that demanded he know the difference between the two aforementioned sentences as well as a couple other things. I can get the spelling and the grammar (heaven’s knows that several of his aunts and/or uncles could REALLY use some help in that area), but I’m just not seeing the point in the other part.

If anyone else knows of a point besides giving the kids something else to work on (I swear, I’m seeing Algebra appear a lot sooner in their homework than it ever did in mine) then I am willing to listen because I’ve always wondered if there even was a point.

Side note: I am also incredibly grateful for all the effort that teachers put into these lesson plans. I take one look at it all in its entirety and am just in awe. I don’t think I could ever do that and then grade all of the work as well. My rant is in no way meant as being negative towards teachers. I’m aware that it is not really teachers that put together what is and isn’t required for a student to learn. I just wondered at learning the dissection of sentences as a kid and still do as an adult.

YouTube Ads

I didn’t think I’d ever like the ads that can pop up before a YouTube video starts or at the end of a clip. You can skip some of them, but not all. I thought they would be pointless and annoying, but I’ve found several that I don’t mind all that much.

The first ad that didn’t bother me was done by 5-hour energy drink. I don’t drink them, but my younger brother sometimes does in order to get through a long day after working a night shift. (He can be far more adventurous than I.) The ad opened with a screen mentioning that there are often everyday heroes that are overlooked. These heroes aren’t rescue workers or doctors or policemen or firemen. They aren’t heroes in the fact that they have a job that not many people can or would do. They are heroes because of something else, something that they’re doing that isn’t part of their lively-hood.

The ad is actually referred to as a webisode that is only a few minutes long that gives a quick sketch of what the person does and, sometimes, why they are doing it before giving them a gift at the end. The gift is always the same, but is usually used by the receiver to further whatever their cause is. The cause that I remember the most is an elderly gentleman who, ever since retirement has been purchasing bread from Costcos and Sam’s Clubs and then donating it to soup kitchens, retirement homes and homeless shelters. It’s a 100 mile trip to everywhere that he donates. He pays for it all himself and though he has strained his back doing all of the lifting continues to do it and is quoted in the show that he ‘will hire help when he can’t physically do it anymore.’ He’s called ‘The Bread Man.’

There are other ads that catch my attention, but I look forward to this little webisode series every week. They only post a new one each week and not always on the same day.

I didn’t know if I wanted YouTube to start putting ads on their clips like the old ad commercials I hated as a child, but if this is the kind of ad that is going to go up, then I say bring it on.

Charity

I’ve seen a lot of things, or remembered, that I wanted to talk about today, but I didn’t want to do multiple posts. (Those multiple posts on Sept. 11th were kind of an accident.) Finally I had it! They all had a common theme running through them.

Dictionary.com defines charity as generous actions or donations to the poor, ill or helpless; something given to a person or persons in need; a charitable fund, foundation or institution; a benevolent feeling, especially toward those in need or in disfavor.

The Bible Dictionary defines it as the highest, noblest, strongest kind of love, not merely affection; the pure love of Christ.

This last week, two storms hit Mexico and search and rescue teams were out Saturday to dig through the mudslides that had covered the village of La Pintada. They spent hours digging through the mud in the rain looking for any survivors, even when it became apparent that they weren’t going to find them. They were a 16-soldier team with five rescue dogs to aid them. Their commander, Lt. Carlos Alberto Mendoza told The Associated Press that “They are doing unbelievable work, hours and hours for just one body. No matter how hard the day is, they never get tired of working.”

They are digging and digging with little hope of finding survivors, but still taking the time even though it can take up to 14 hours just to uncover one body so that they may identify them and give them a proper burial and closure for their families.

“And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh not evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” (Moroni 7: 45)

In another case, closer to home for me, my Alma mater Riverton High School chose their new Homecoming King and Queen yesterday. The two who were chosen were special needs students who didn’t even know they were in the running. It was not a concerted effort at the school, it was something that just happened because Riverton High School is the kind of place that makes room for you and welcomes you with arms wide open.

Riverton High School also has what they call ‘Silver Rush’ where the student body officers spend weeks leading up to the school fundraiser or drive carefully choosing a charity in which the school will then spend all of December up until the last day before Christmas Vacation not only raising money to donate, but also educating the student populace on the charity and what it does. Each year they raise more money than the year before and the entire student body takes part in the fundraiser. I know this because the year after I graduated, they were outside of my grocery store caroling for donations. They also offer to clean houses and do yard work for people around all of Riverton and donate all of the earnings to the charity of that year.

“Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just– But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interst in the kingdom of God. For behold, are we not all beggars: Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold and silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?…And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.” (Mosiah 4: 17-19, 21)

The last thing I wanted to talk about is a rather large family during Christmas a little under twenty years ago. this family had been hard up for anything during that winter and weren’t sure that they would be able to do much for Christmas. Starting exactly 1 2 days before Christmas they received a knock on their front door. There was a small stampede to open the door as a good half of the children were under the age of 11 and wanted to reach the door first just because. They were surprised to see a small box on their doorstep and no one in sight. It was dark out and being winter already snowing gently. Inside the box were enough Advent necklaces for everyone in the house to where with a piece of candy for everyday until Christmas Day.

The following night there was another knock on the door. Upon opening the door, they found another gift. I don’t recall what it was, but it mentioned that there were now only 11 days left until Christmas in  note with it. This followed for the rest of the time until Christmas Eve. Each night a knock was heard at the door and no matter how fast any of the children ran, no one was ever caught placing the gift of the day on the doorstep and no car was seen peeling down the street. The gifts were useful things as well as fun things such as the Advent candy necklaces; oranges and other food, toiletries that were getting scarce in the home, hats and scarves and mittens for hands that had been using mismatched socks instead. Smiles were brought to the family’s faces and they never knew who was to thank only that someone was thinking of them when it had looked like the world was turning against them.

“Let all your things be done with charity.” (1 Corinthians 16: 14)

Whatever you may call charity, I know that it is a driving force in our world that exists no matter where you go and I am most grateful for that.

News article on storms in Mexico: http://www.ksl.com/index.php?nid=235&sid=25186682&title=rescuers-dig-in-mud-rain-for-dead-in-mexico-slide

News article on RHS Homecoming Royalty: http://fox13now.com/2013/09/21/high-school-sets-popularity-aside-for-homecoming-royalty-picks/

Love

According to the Student’s Dictionary that my eldest nephew gave to me, love is defined as 1)a very strong warm feeling or deep concern for someone, commitment; 2) darling, sweetheart; 3) to feel passion, or a strong affection for someone or something.

We hear about what people are and aren’t willing to do for love, but do we ever really stop and think about it? Really, think about it?

I’m not going to go into all of the details and answers to my questions, I’m just going to tell a little story.

Once upon a time, there was a man and a woman who met and fell in love. They married and wanted to have children as many people who marry or love each other do. That was when things turned away from the normal narrative, or maybe they didn’t? After all, there is always a trial of some sort in every story.

They discovered that the lovely wife would more than likely be unable to have any children. The reason? She was only born with one kidney.

Kidneys do several things for each of our bodies that is very important. They help with the urinary system, blood pressure, electrolytes in the body and acid-base balance in the body. They are also a natural filter for our blood. All of these things are important when it comes to pregnancy as pregnancy is hard on the female body even though we’re also designed for it.

She went on to have three children anyway and everyone was happy and healthy. This first trial passed with flying colors and riding off into the sunset. Other trials come and go and they overcome them as in all modern fairy tales.

Except the real sunset wasn’t for several decades.

All children grown, the happy couple now face another trial, this one larger than others.

You see, the lovely wife’s only kidney is failing and none of her family are a match for transplant. She is on dialysis and they don’t know how long she will last while waiting for a compatible transplant. They didn’t know what to do.

One night, as the couple were sleeping, the husband had an idea. The next morning, he slipped out of the bed he’d shared with his wife without waking her up. He bought a sign and wrote on it “NEED KIDNEY 4 WIFE.” He then took to the streets.

With torn cartilage in his knee and in 97 degree weather, he walked 15 miles. People would stop and offer him money. He would reply, “I don’t want your money; I want your kidney.”

Local news station in South Carolina picked up on his story and 2,000 people called offering to help. These kind souls were referred to the hospital where the wife underwent dialysis, but were also not compatible. Many of them donated anyway, other people were still helped.

The husband took up his sign and went back to the streets. He walked another 54 miles and still no compatible donor was found. Other news stations and websites took interest and wrote about this story as well and finally, a compatible donor was found. 41-year-old heroine from Virginia Beach read such an article and offered. She was a match.

This story isn’t over, but it looks like it’s going to be a happily ever after.

One man loved his wife and wasn’t going to wait around when he could do something about it. Other people recognized this love and offered to help, and even when they couldn’t, they still wanted to help others who weren’t even in the story. A stranger from a different state wanted to help and was able to.

There are many types of love in this world. We are so privileged to be given these examples.

For more info on this story, here is the article that caught my attention: http://www.ksl.com/index.php?sid=26909792&nid=1010&title=man-surprises-wife-by-walking-miles-to-find-her-a-kidney-donor