Five Riddles to Test Your Intelligence

After being around certain people, who will remain nameless, who seem to think that they know everything, I got to thinking. With the “I’m ok, you’re ok” mentality that seems to permeate society nowadays, it is entirely possible that they really don’t understand just how intellectually challenged they really are. So, I’ve decided to put […]

On the Rez: Aspen’s Heart

We’ve all heard the saying “it’s better to give than to receive,” and most people would say that they agree with that. But is it really better to give than to receive? Do you really believe that? Or maybe the better question would be do you act that out?

 What if you came from a culture that had a true heart of giving, a people whose giving nature had abounded until it was overcome by a culture of takers? What if you were a Native American? Would you still think it is better to give than to receive?  

 Many people on some of the poorer reservations have spent their whole lives with so little that they rely on the assistance of others just to make do. Even those who are able to take care of themselves most likely live more by the mantra “waste not, want not” than any other. In such a situation, giving to others can be very rare. That’s what makes the actions of one little girl really stand out.

 The little girl is Aspen, a second grader at Windswept Academy. She was at school one day when she overheard a teacher talking to a little boy in the first grade. He had very badly chapped lips, and it must have been uncomfortable for him. The teacher told the boy to ask his grandmother to get him some ChapStick to bring to school with him the next day, so he could use it throughout the day as he needed it.  However, even simple needs like that don’t always get met. And, sure enough, the next day, he came to school without it. But Aspen had noticed the need and had guessed that it would go unmet, so she came to the rescue. Walking over to the little boy, she handed him a brand new tube of ChapStick and told him “this is your very own.”  

 Yes, it was just a tube of ChapStick, but for someone who has lived a life devoid of such kindness, it was an incredible ray of sunshine. The little boy told her, “You are my first friend.” Aspen did make a friend that day. Now, he follows her around everywhere wanting to be near the one who showed him kindness in the form of a simple gift of ChapStick.

 So, even with all of the troubles we may encounter or the financial problems we may face, is it better to give than to receive? I think so. We never know when we might be the first friend someone has ever had.

Thank you Aspen for teaching us that even when we don’t have much ourselves, it’s still important to help others.

 

Nature’s Own Miracle Sound

The most powerful sound in the world is one that increases brain activity, reduces stress and can relax you after a long day at work. What is that miracle sound? To a receptive mind, it is the sound of silence.

As a single girl whose only child is of the feline persuasion, my home environment doesn’t have much naturally occurring noise. However, since I’m a product of the later 20th century, I have the short attention span that is common to my generation. As a result, my tendency leans towards turning on the television when I get home. Even if it’s only for the purpose of background noise, I feel more comfortable with the extra stimulation it offers. Unless, I go out, that’s usually how most of my days end.

In addition, I awake in the morning to a radio alarm; the car radio comes on when I start the car, and I have Pandora on my computer at work. As you can see, my life is a series of jumps from one system of input to another. This arrangement has served me well for many years with only the occasional deviation until recently.

Lately, I’ve begun to become more and more dissatisfied, and my input has begun to sound more and more like bothersome noise. Perhaps this is due to the rapidly decreasing quality of audio and video input that’s available or to my ever aging interests. Whatever the cause, lately, I have begun to find all of the input more wearying than stimulating.

As a result of this new dissatisfaction, I decided to make some drastic changes in my home. Since I don’t have the self-discipline needed to simply turn off the television, I cancelled my cable and internet connection. (The internet had to go also because I often streamed shows from Netflix.) The outcome wasn’t the boredom I expected; instead, it was a blessed silence. I took the time to just think. I read; I watched the sunset; I listened to the birds; I noticed things that I had been passing over for so many years. Time slowed down, and not in a bad way. I actually began to understand why some older people often enjoy sitting on their front porches in rocking chairs. I could relate more to people’s awe-inspired comments about sunsets and the sounds of crickets, their fishing and hiking hobbies, and the joy they had from just being out in nature. I never realized before exactly how much I was missing. All of the manufactured input I continually bombarded myself with deafened me to the wonders of the more natural, more peaceful, and more interesting input that abounded all around me.

Don’t get me wrong, I still watch the occasional television show or movie that I either buy or get in the mail from Netflix; however, I find that I don’t want to turn the television on most days. This is so different from the times in the past when I didn’t want to turn the television off. Sometimes the DVD will sit there for days before I get up enough interest to watch it. I much prefer the more intricate and longer stories in books that promote deep thought and/or the sights of nature, along with the wonderful sound of simple silence.

 If you think you can, I strongly recommend that you give it a try. Depending on how deeply you are currently entrenched into the abyss of noisy input, the time that it will take you to truly appreciate this valuable gift may vary. Just stick with it. If you can break your addiction, you, too, can truly feel the wonderful eye-opening peace that comes with the sound of silence.

Find Your “Me”

I’m not me. But I am. What I mean is that even when I’m not me, I still am me. Does that clear it up? 🙂 Maybe you can relate. Sometimes, I don’t feel like me at all. Me is still there deep down inside, but it’s covered by layer upon layer of “sort of me.” Just the other day, for example, I found myself in a situation that’s a little different from my norm. The normal “me,” when I’m alone at least, is rather subdued and quiet. The other day, my “me” was positively bubbly. I smiled and laughed and was an absolute joy to be around if I do say so myself. As soon as the people I was talking to left, my smile diminished, and I had to stretch my mouth to work out the soreness left from the unusual overexertion. During those moments, I wasn’t me. But I was.

Now some people would just frown and shake their heads and call me a fake. But was that being fake? It was still me. Just a less-often-seen version of me.

That got me to thinking. Many people try hard to change various aspects of themselves every day and are greatly applauded for it. We are even encouraged to do so every time we turn on the television, radio, Facebook, or even news. You are overweight and unhealthy. Change yourself by trying this diet. You have a problem. Buy our “self-help” book to make yourself better. Etc. But if someone tries to make even the smallest changes to their personality, they are often called “fake.”

What about when we adapt ourselves to different situations in other areas of life? You know what I mean. If you’re a blue-jeans and T-shirt kind of person, and you have to go to a dressy event, you’ll dress appropriately. You know how to adapt to various places that you find yourself in. If you also adapt your personality to fit the situation, is that not the same thing? Can that still be considered your “me,” or are you trying to be someone else? Are you being fake?

Can I only be one “me”? I don’t think so. I think well-rounded individuals know how to handle their different “me’s.” Someone with true wisdom and experience knows when to be “me” and when to not be “me” but still be “me.”

Decide which “me” you want to be today and embrace it. Even if it is a “not me” “me.”

  

Disclaimer: This blog post is not talking about multiple personalities. That’s a whole other discussion. 🙂

Who Am I? Who Are You?

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about culture and what exactly it means. As a generic who-knows-how-many-generations American, my culture isn’t quite as defined and obvious as that of many first or second generation Americans’. For example, what is it precisely that makes culture cultural?

Is it how others see you? As a southerner, I certainly hope not. We usually get a bad rap in the media.

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What about traditional clothing. Is that what makes a culture? Maybe in some cases, but I don’t think that really applies to us. The only traditional clothing that’s easily recognizable as “southern” isn’t something that we wear at celebrations or formal events as it is with Native American cultures or cultures from other countries.

We can’t really even say that our language is part of our culture since it’s spoken in so many other countries that have distinct cultures of their own.

So what is it that defines those of us that live here in the south? What is our culture? I’ve put together a little list. Even though we may not all do all of these every day. They are, I believe, what describe “the south.” What do you think?

A southerner has…

  1. A love of sweet tea, friend chicken, watermelon, Goober shakes and biscuits and gravy.
  2. Colorful local colloquial expressions such as: fixin’ to, bless your heart, over yonder, be back directly, y’all (you all – plural, not singular), etc.
  3. No fear of dirt or hard work.
  4. A true appreciation of pickup trucks and football.
  5. True hospitality and an understanding of when it’s appropriate to say “yes, sir, yes, ma’am, and sweetie.”
  6. A good time sittin’ on the front porch chatting with friends.  (on a porch swing or in a rocking chair of course)
  7. A good imagination when it comes to fixin’ things. (gotta love that duct tape)
  8. At one time eaten a moon pie with an R.C. cola.
  9. A love of country music.
  10. An understanding of firearms.
  11. A rule not to leave the house without “looking how you would want to look if you were to meet the man of your dreams.”
  12. And last but not least a deep love of God and country.

All of these make up our culture. It’s a part of who we are, and even though it may not be as noticeable as some other cultures, it’s enough for me. So, who are you?

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