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1) Two video interpretations of Psalm 133, showing the diversity in the world wide Christian community:
 
From the cradle of civilization, Africa, we have:
 
From the Church of Harley-Davidson:
 

2) Psalm 133 (New International Version)

A song of ascents. Of David

1 How good and pleasant it is when bothers love together in unity!

2 It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robes.

3 It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion.  For there the Lord Bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.

3) How do these words guide you?
 
From a commentary by Adam Clark:
 
 

Verse 1. Behold, how good and how pleasant – Unity is, according to this scripture, a good thing and a pleasant; and especially among brethren-members of the same family, of the same Christian community, and of the same nation. And why not among the great family of mankind? On the other hand, disunion is bad and hateful. The former is from heaven; the latter, from hell.

Verse 2. Like the precious ointment – The composition of this holy anointing oil may be  seen,  sweet cinnamon, sweet calamus, cassia lignea, and olive oil (Exod. xxx. 23). The odour of this must have been very agreeable, and serves here as a metaphor to point out the exquisite excellence of brotherly love.

Ran down upon the beard – The oil was poured upon the head of Aaron so profusely as to run down upon his garments. It is customary in the east to pour out the oil on the head so profusely as to reach every limb.

Verse 3. As the dew of Hermon – and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion – This was not Mount Zion, wyx tsiyon, in Jerusalem, but Sion, ay which is a part of Hermon, see Deut. iv. x18: “Mount Sion, which is Hermon.” On this mountain the dew is very copious. Mr. Maundrell says that “with this dew, even in dry weather, their tents were as wet as if it had rained the whole night” This seems to show the strength of the comparison.

For there – Where this unity is. The Lord commanded the blessing. That is, an everlasting life. There he pours out his blessings, and gives a long and happy life.

4. Brotherhood and unity are precious words we need to immerse ourselves in it as completely as the oil running down Aaron’s beard.

We are blessed in every moment we live in peace with our brothers (and sisters).

The challenge is to extend our definition, in how we live, beyond what most define as their family.  This is the guidance in the Bible, and is also evidenced by science in the human genome.  We all are actually blood relatives.

The better we live in unity, not discord, the more moments of joy we will feel.

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Sometime Friday night, or over the weekend, I will do a Bible Study post about Psalms 133 – The Blessing of Brotherly Unity

1) Friday picture post

a. A man and a buffalo with some very colorful decorations celebrating culture and a good harvest.

A folk artist from Orissa state dressed as a tiger poses at the ‘Akhyan cultural fair ‘ at the Indira Gandhi National Center for Arts in New Delhi, India.

 

A buffalo is decorated for a parade during Chonburi’s annual buffalo races festival, 47 miles southeast of Bangkok. The event, which also celebrates the rice harvest, originates back to the buffalo trade in Chonburi, once the trade centre of Thailand’s east.

b. Another man decorated by the burden of his labor that creates wealth he will never get to celebrate.  

 

Nancheng, China: A labourer shoulders his load at a rare earth metals mine

2) This week’s theme has been mostly about creativity and imagination of children.  Here is a young boy whose efforts to help children in need should inspire us all.

“In the wake of a hurricane that devastated parts of Florida, Zach Bonner helped organize a relief effort to provide fresh drinking water and other necessities to families in the affected area. Afterward, he founded The Little Red Wagon Foundation to provide backpacks full of food, school supplies, and other items to children in underprivileged communities across the country.”

From Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zach_Bonner:

“Bonner has done a variety of volunteer work since he was six years old. In 2004, when Hurricane Charley hit neighborhoods, he collected 27 pickup trucks of water in his little red wagon He established the Little Red Wagon Foundation to “continue helping kids more efficiently”. Bonner teamed up with the Stand Up For Kids and collected 400 backpacks of supplies, nicknamed “Zachpacks”, for homeless children. The Zachpacks were filled with donated snacks, toys and toiletries.

Bonner organized Christmas parties for homeless children living in Baker, Louisana and he gave Christmas presents to Hurrican Katrina victims.

In April 2007, he organized 24 Hours, an event that simulated being homeless for 24 hours. During that period of time, students in high school stayed in their own separate boxes for 24 hours.”

Zach Bonner’s Little Red Wagon Foundation – http://littleredwagonfoundation.com/

1) Butlins, a company in the United Kingdom that operates holiday parks, runs an art competition for the young, the very young, ages 4 and below.  The following are examples the art created by these amazingly creative toddlers.
 
 
a. Overall Winner – William Green, age 4, The Beach, 2010
b. Milo Milton Lucas, age 17 months – Untitled, 2010
c. Felix Jones-Whale, age 16 months, The Whale, 2010
 
2) Some scientific research that probably doesn’t come as a surprise to many mothers – New mothers grow bigger brains within months of giving birth.
 
If you have raised children what did helping them grow up teach you.
 
From a press release from the American Psychological Association:
 
 

“Motherhood may actually cause the brain to grow, not turn it into mush, as some have claimed. Exploratory research published by the American Psychological Association found that the brains of new mothers bulked up in areas linked to motivation and behavior, and that mothers who gushed the most about their babies showed the greatest growth in key parts of the mid-brain. 

Led by neuroscientist Pilyoung Kim, PhD, now with the National Institute of Mental Health, the authors speculated that hormonal changes right after birth, including increases in estrogen, oxytocin and prolactin, may help make mothers’ brains susceptible to reshaping in response to the baby. Their findings were published in the October issue of Behavioral Neuroscience.

The motivation to take care of a baby, and the hallmark traits of motherhood, might be less of an instinctive response and more of a result of active brain building, neuroscientists Craig Kinsley, PhD, and Elizabeth Meyer, PhD, wrote in a special commentary in the same journal issue.

The researchers performed baseline and follow-up high-resolution magnetic-resonance imaging on the brains of 19 women who gave birth at Yale-New Haven Hospital, 10 to boys and nine to girls. A comparison of images taken two to four weeks and three to four months after the women gave birth showed that gray matter volume increased by a small but significant amount in various parts of the brain. In adults, gray matter volume doesn’t ordinarily change over a few months without significant learning, brain injury or illness, or major environmental change.

The areas affected support maternal motivation (hypothalamus), reward and emotion processing (substantia nigra and amygdala), sensory integration (parietal lobe), and reasoning and judgment (prefrontal cortex).

In particular, the mothers who most enthusiastically rated their babies as special, beautiful, ideal, perfect and so on were significantly more likely to develop bigger mid-brains than the less awestruck mothers in key areas linked to maternal motivation, rewards and the regulation of emotions

1) Safe is an important state of mind for all of us.  The following pictures represent two different worlds.  We can find both in every country.  

How safe do you feel?  Which picture better reflects the state of your mind?

A mother and child look at autumn leaves at The National Arboretum in Westonbirt, western England

 

Jammu, India: Homeless girls sit under an overpass near bags of recyclable materia

2) For eight decades Will Barnet, now 99, has been painting his vision of the world around him.  Hard of hearing but still tart of tongue, Mr. Barnet continues to paint every day.

Advancing age will impose limitations on our bodies.  I see no reason why age has to limit our creative process.  A healthy mind can find a way to overcome whatever limits our bodies try to place on us.

From a New York Times article:

http://tinyurl.com/2w6sch4

Propelled by a scholarship to the Art Students League, Will Barnet, an aspiring artist with a portfolio heavy on seascapes and family cat portraiture, left Boston for New York City in 1931 with $10 in his pocket. It was summer, it was hot, and besides the Depression-era garbage rotting in the streets, the air was ripe with raucous political protest. He rented a room for a $1 a night, gorged on cheap baked beans at the Automat and started sketching the forlorn and angry faces he saw on every corner. He was 19 and “radicalized” by possibility.

“I felt like Gary Cooper,” he recalled, “like a cowboy in a Western movie.” He roamed the city the way his idol, Honoré Daumier, had wandered through Paris; it was his muse. His style: stark, brooding social realism.

Eight decades later, hard of hearing but still tart of tongue, Mr. Barnet continues to paint every day — abstract forms, oddly hued and, as ever, deeply felt. His evolution as a modern American painter is on display this month in “Will Barnet and the Art Students League” an exhibition that honors his centennial year and his influence on generations of artists, and includes works by renowned league students and colleagues like Lousie Bourgeois and James Rosenquist.

“I’ve seen it all but I want to see more,” said Mr. Barnet, who lost the use of his left leg two years ago after a fall. “I have no opinion on what it means to be 99 except that it’s different from being 19. I used to work 8, 9, 10 hours a day,” he said. Now he paints three or four hours despite his inability to stand. “I didn’t compromise, ever,” he added. “The old masters are still alive after 400 years, and that’s what I want to be.”

Mr. Barnet, whose art career began with his painting self-portraits in his parents’ basement in Beverly, Mass., “according to the way Rembrandt worked, with the light coming over my left shoulder,” is a symbol of 20th-century American inimitability. He’s the guy who abstained when the establishment went gaga over abstract expressionism (“Most of those paintings felt like accidents”). But his major works from the 1950s to ‘70s — abstract and figurative, Byzantine and Indian Space — now sell for up to $400,000. He has had 80 one-man shows, the most recent this spring at the Alexandre Gallery, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim and the Whitney all have his work — usually in storage. (“They don’t show artists of my nature; the Whitney hasn’t shown my work in 30 years,” he said.)

“He took a very independent route, often in contrast to what was the popular or easy direction, but it was the art world that was contrary, not Will,” said Robert Kane, an expressionist colorist painter and former student of Mr. Barnet’s whose work is included in the retrospective. “There’s a quote of Picasso’s that is, to me, the secret of Will: ‘Some people make a red dot and it’s the sun; other people make the sun and it’s just a red dot.’ ”

1) I have posted some pictures from the world of modern art in the last few weeks.  In Sunday’s Guardian was a slide show of  the beauty, and imagination, found in the world seen through a microscope.

http://tinyurl.com/2ubp5lr

 

Dr Hideo Otsuna, University of Utah Medical Center, Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. 5-day old zebrafish head, (20x).

 

Dr Paul D Andrews, University of Dundee, Dundee, Scotland, UK. Telophase HeLa (cancer) cells expressing Aurora B-EGFP (green), (100x).

 

Gerd Guenther, Düsseldorf, NRW, Germany. Soap film, (150x).

2) The following picture could have been taking at a rock concert in the US.  It comes instead from the Midi Music Festival in Zhenjiang City, China.  Tattooed college students sold antigovernment T-shirts and an unruly crowd of heavy metal fans came together at a festival in China sponsored by the local Communist Party.

 

A New York Times article about the Midi Music Festival – http://tinyurl.com/2uy2985

In 1950’s America Rock and Roll brought black and white kids together.  Music is one of the dynamics that is bring all the people of the world closer together. 

People around the world are connecting, person to person, over the Internet.  Researchers from every country collaborate on science projects.  With international trade companies from all over the world buy and sell products to each other.  This level of international exchange has never existed at any time in the past.

The world is becoming a smaller places.  The people of the world are coming together as never before, over the barriers of ethnicity, nationalism and religion.  There is still a long ways to go, as evidenced by the wars that still plague us.  It may take a 100 years, maybe a thousand, but the world envisioned by song writers like John Lennon and Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) will come to be.

Do you think I am too optimistic?  Do you think the world 100 years from today is likely to be a better place, or worse?

In her Friday post my blog buddy Mandy asked a question – Where are the miracles?  In my comment I went off on one of my rants and forgot to actually answer her question.

http://mandythompson.com/2010/10/22/where-are-the-miracles/

1) My perception is that I define the word miracle very differently than people of religious faith.  Since my faith is based in people, and the natural forces that shape my world, I see, or read about, miraculous events, created by people, and the natural forces, every day.  A cure for an illness that kills people is a miracle.  Someone overcoming enormous odds, or handicaps, to be a success in life is a miracle.  All of these miracles reinforce my faith in people.

My mother was told, because of her heart condition, that she could never survive childbirth.  Both me and my sister owe our lives to a miracle.

I attempted to end my life, but survived.  That I am here to write this blog is a miracle.

2) On the Christian Answers site I found a good definition of what I perceive the word miracle means to people of religious faith:

http://www.christiananswers.net/dictionary/miracle.html 

“A true miracle is an event in the external world brought about by the immediate agency or the simple volition of God, operating without the use of means capable of being discerned by the senses, and designed to authenticate the divine commission of a religious teacher and the truth of his message.”

The Bible has many accounts of the miracles performed by Jesus to prove to his followers that he was divine, the Son of God.

From Bibletruths.net – http://www.bibletruths.net/Archives/BTARO46.htm

“The nature of Jesus’ miracles. Not only does an understanding of Jesus’ miracles produce the belief that Jesus is the Son of God but such understanding also helps us detect and avoid pseudo miracles.

 Jesus had power over nature. Jesus exhibited power over nature when he turned water into wine, calmed the tempest, and walked on the sea (Jn. 2: 1-11; Mk. 4: 35-41; 6: 47-50).

Jesus displayed miraculous power over the material realm. Jesus manifestly displayed miraculous ability over the material in the feeding of the five thousand (Mk. 6: 37-44).

Jesus promised his apostles that they would be able to perform miracles. “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils…,” Jesus said (Matt. 10: 8). Compared to Jesus’ miraculous ability, however, their powers were limited (Jesus had unlimited ability, the apostles had the baptismal measure, Jn. 3: 34, Acts 1: 5-8, ch. 2). 

 Jesus demonstrated his power over death. Jesus raised Jairus’ daughter, the widow’s son, and Lazarus from the dead (Mk. 5: 22-24; 35-43; Lk. 7: 11-17; Jn. 11: 34-46).

Questions –

What is your definition of a miracle?

How important are miracles to reinforcing your faith? 

Have you ever witnessed a miracle? 

What is the most recent miracle you know about?

1) Pictures from the Net, Thusday, Oct. 21,2010
 

A boy walks in a city park amidst fallen leaves on a sunny autumn day in Stavropol, Russia

 

A family looks out to the sea shortly after sunset in Kovalam, Kerala state, India. Kovalam, a popular tourist beach town on the Arabian Sea.

 

Isabela, Philippines: Typhoon victims stay in a makeshift shelter after Typhoon Megi destroyed their house in Tumauini town

2) The quiet revolution to make the world better – Do-It-Yourself Foreign Aid.  These individuals represent our future, not the terriost who dominate the headlines.  They will succed someday in making our world a better place that it has been in the past, or is in the present.

What is your guess – in 100 years will there be more, or less, wars and poverty.  From reading the above paragraph you know my answer.

From an article in the New York Times by Nicholas D. Kristof:

http://tinyurl.com/29qgtof

“Like so many highly trained young women these days, Elizabeth Scharpf has choices. She could be working in a Manhattan office tower with her Harvard Business School classmates, soaring through the ranks as a banker or business executive and aspiring to become a senator or a C.E.O. someday.

That’s Scharpf’s choice. Now 33, Scharpf was interning in the summer of 2005 for the World Bank in Mozambique, helping local entrepreneurs, when she encountered a business impediment that she had never heard of. It was unmentionable, and thus unmentioned. It was menstruation.

A female boss griped to Scharpf about absenteeism caused by women reluctant to come to work during their menstrual periods. “It was because pads were too expensive,” Scharpf recalls. “I was trying to figure out why I had never heard of this before. This was causing productivity rates to go down.”

Scharpf began asking around, and everybody told her — in whispers — that, yes, of course menstruation was keeping women and girls from jobs. Back at Harvard, where she was pursuing joint degrees at the business school and the John F. Kennedy School of Government, she began asking friends from Bangladesh, Nicaragua and other countries if they were aware of this problem. Of course, they said. “This spoke to me,” Scharpf recalled. “Hasn’t every girl or woman experienced the inconvenience, the disadvantage and the embarrassment in her life, when her period strikes at the ‘wrong’ time? I think half the world can relate to that. What really struck me was that this was a global issue that seemingly had significant costs. From back-of-the-envelope calculations, it had huge costs. And it could have a simple solution.” She paused and smiled tightly. “I was a little naïve there.”

“And so Scharpf joined a revolution, so far unnamed because it is just beginning. It’s all about what might be called Do-It-Yourself Foreign Aid, because it starts with the proposition that it’s not only presidents and United Nations officials who chip away at global challenges. Passionate individuals with great ideas can do the same, especially in the age of the Internet and social media.”

As a college sophomore, Jennifer Staple founded Unite for Sight, which has now provided eye care to more than one million people around the world. Kyle Zimmer, a corporate lawyer who tutored inner-city school children on the side, went on to create First Book, which over nearly 20 years has delivered more than 70 million books to book-deprived children in the United States and Canada.

One of the world’s largest grass-roots organizations is India’s Self-Employed Women’s Association, or SEWA. It was founded in 1972 by a lawyer named Ela Bhatt, who helped people living on the margins — textile workers and later peasants and small vendors, among others — by organizing them so that they could improve their health, start businesses and even bank among themselves.”

Scharpf’s organization, Sustainable Health Enterprises (or SHE), will begin manufacturing pads early next year in a tiny factory in Rwanda. It will be a pilot project, producing some 1,200 pads per hour, but once the kinks are worked out she hopes to have women in other countries franchise the system so that it spreads around the world. SHE has also taken on advocacy, calling on the Rwandan government to lift an 18 percent sales tax on feminine hygiene products so that they become more affordable. Awakened to the issue, the Rwandan Parliament recently appropriated $35,000 to pay for sanitary pads for impoverished girls who otherwise might miss school — a small sum, but an acknowledgment that the problem is important and real. Some Rwandan women Scharpf has interviewed say that the attention has made a difference in their homes: their husbands are now more willing to allow them to spend money on pads.”

Fortunately, one factor buttressing D.I.Y. foreign aid is that altruism is contagious. In 2005, Lisa Shannon and her live-in boyfriend ran a stock photography business in Portland, Ore. But she was feeling a nagging emptiness, and then she happened to watch an “Oprah” show about women suffering from war and rape in eastern Congo. The episode featured Zainab Salbi, an Iraqi-American who started an organization called Women for Women International to help such survivors in places like Congo. Shannon was dazzled by Salbi and decided to pitch in herself by cajoling friends to sponsor her for a 30-mile run to raise money for women in Congo.

That first run was exhilarating, and left Shannon with the warm, fuzzy and novel feeling that she was really doing some good in the world. After sponsoring several Congolese women and reading their letters, she founded an organization called Run for Congo Women that held fund-raising runs across America and around the world. Eventually, she made a trip to Congo and had a joyous meeting with her new “family.” She was bowled over when one of the women she sponsored introduced her baby girl: the mother named the baby “Lisa,” after Shannon. She poured her soul into the cause, but her fiancé grumbled as their business floundered. Finally he told her she had to choose: him or the Congolese women.

So in the end Shannon lost her business and her fiancé. She is struggling with no income, because she pays herself no salary and passes on all the money she raises to Women for Women International. Devoting yourself to helping others may seem wonderfully glamorous — until you’re single, jobless and alone on a Saturday night. Shannon has taken in five roommates to share her house, and she saves pennies everywhere she can, but at some point she will become a pauper unless she finds a way of supporting herself.

I caught up with Shannon earlier this year in Congo. She took me to see the Congolese Lisa, and also to visit the hut of the Congolese woman she’s closest to, Generose Namburho, a 40-year-old former nurse. Namburho is a stocky, self-assured woman who led us down a mud path, using a crutch to replace her missing right leg. An extremist Hutu militia invaded Namburho’s home a few years ago, killed her husband, raped her and then hacked off her leg with a knife. Then the soldiers cooked the flesh from her leg and forced her children at gunpoint to eat it. When her beloved oldest son refused, they shot him in front of her.

Shannon paid $1,500 to buy this home for Namburho so she would have somewhere to live after she returned from a stay in the hospital. “I believe God sent Lisa to rescue me from my misery,” Namburho told me, as Shannon squirmed in embarrassment.”

“In the end, Shannon’s work — along with that of many, many other activists — seemed to make a difference. Some electronics companies became more aggressive about scrubbing supply chains of tainted minerals. Most important, Congress addressed the issue in this year’s financial-reform law, which requires companies to disclose whether they use minerals from Congo or an adjoining country, and if they do use them, to reveal how the minerals were acquired. It’s a step forward, and Shannon hopes that the result will be fewer Congolese enduring rapes and massacres.”

“It’s striking that the most innovative activists aren’t necessarily the ones with the most resources, or the best tools. If that were true, a team at the World Bank would have addressed the menstruation problem long ago, and G20 countries would be leading the effort to prevent Congolese warlords from monetizing their minerals. Rather, what often happens is that those best positioned to take action look the other way, and then the initiative is taken by the Scharpfs and Shannons of the world, who are fueled by some combustible mix of indignation and vision.

Maggie Doyne epitomizes this truth, for she began her philanthropic work as an 19-year-old financed by her baby-sitting savings. Yet she has somehow figured out how to run a sophisticated aid project in a remote area of Nepal.

“Doyne returned to New Jersey and began to take odd jobs and proselytize for her shelter. People in her hometown thought that she was nuts, but in a benign way — and they wrote checks. After a few months, when Doyne had raised $25,000, she moved back to Nepal to oversee construction of the shelter, called the Kopila Valley Children’s Home.

“The children’s home was soon overflowing with orphans, and Doyne was desperate for money to expand it. At that moment she received a call from CosmoGirl magazine. Now, Doyne never wears so much as lipstick in Nepal. If there’s enough water, she showers — and if there isn’t, she splashes­ water on her face, brushes her teeth, puts her hair in a ponytail and is ready for another day. Sometimes she misses dating, but she has no boyfriend and has put her romantic life completely aside. “My main concern beauty-wise,” she says, “is trying to keep the lice out of my hair.”

But now CosmoGirl was on the phone, telling her that she had won a $20,000 prize for her work, financed by Maybelline. Doyne could now pay to add second and third floors to her shelter and bring in more homeless orphans. “It gets even better!” the woman on the phone went on excitedly. “We’re going to whisk you away to New York for a Maybelline makeover!”

Once Doyne expanded the children’s home (and had her makeover, gaining false eyelashes and blond highlights— all very briefly), she began to focus on education. Last year, she won a $100,000 grand prize in a contest run by www.DoSomething.org, and that money provided the wherewithal to start a new school that she had long dreamed of.”

The school opened with 220 students and will soon expand to 300. The plan is to offer health care and dental care as well, starting with deworming the children — because their load of intestinal worms leaves them anemic. A $300 donation covers a child’s educational costs for a year at the school, including health and dental care. Doyne is also working on a vocational element, training kids to raise livestock for a living, to repair bicycles or to develop other skills that will give them steady incomes. The school is coed, but the girls who attend are particularly important to Doyne, for two reasons. One is that uneducated girls are particularly at risk of exploitation. The other is that there’s considerable evidence that educating girls is one of the best investments available in the developing world, because it leads to lower birth rates and a more skilled and productive labor force.

As for her own needs, Doyne is blasé. When she had an infected tooth in a remote village far from any doctor, and her face swelled up so that she couldn’t even see, a local man obligingly took a chisel and pliers and pulled the tooth — without any painkiller. Regarding education, Doyne is thinking about earning a college degree by correspondence someday (my hunch is that she’ll have an honorary doctorate before she has a B.A.). Listening to her chatter about her shelter and school, describing her hopes to replicate her model in other countries, it’s easy to forget something quite extraordinary: she’s still only 23.”

“The challenge is to cultivate an ideology of altruism, to spread a culture of social engagement — and then to figure out what people can do at a practical level. Peter Singer, a Princeton Universoty professor, is the philosopher of this effort, and it has a thousand foot soldiers. In Seattle, for example, a couple named Eugene and Minhee Cho are encouraging middle-class Americans to think of themselves as philanthropists, every bit as much as Bill Gates is. Eugene is a minister and Minhee a stay-at-home mom who looks after their three children but recently returned to grad school. They were moved by the suffering they’d seen around the world, but they weren’t well off and didn’t know what they could do to make a difference. Then Eugene happened to take a trip to Burma, visited a school and saw how tiny sums could keep children in class. “That kind of wrecked my life,” Eugene says, laughing.

After the trip, they resolved that for one year they would donate all their earnings — Eugene’s salary of $68,000 — to Burmese education and other charities to show that you don’t have to be a zillionaire to be generous. Later, they founded One Day’s Wages, which asks people to donate a single day’s pay — 0.4 percent of annual income — to various causes and organizations that they have vetted and put on their Web site. Forsaking a year’s salary was a romantic idea when the Chos conceived it, but life without paychecks turned out to be brutal, even humiliating. They exhausted their life’s savings, and Eugene sold his beloved car. With several months to go, they had to sublet their home and become homeless — taking their children and moving onto friends’ couches. “That was the most painful decision I’ve had to make as a father,” Eugene says.

The One Day’s Wages campaign has proved more practicable. In the past year, the Chos have raised more than $400,000, all of which will be forwarded to the organizations they work with. About 60 percent of the donors have been women or girls, they think, the youngest being a 6-year-old who gave up her birthday presents and started a birthday campaign on the onedayswages.org Web site. “The aim is to inspire the everyday person,” Eugene says, summing up the rise of do-it-yourself foreign aid. “We’re trying to communicate that you don’t have to be a rock star or a millionaire to make a difference.”

Kopila Valley Home and School:

http://blinknow.org/

Sustainable Health Enterprises:

http://www.sheinnovates.com/

One Day’s Wages

http://www.onedayswages.org/

1) I haven’t posted a music video in a while.  This is a great song, “Tonight”, from Sugarland’s new Album , “‘The Incredible Machine”, featuring the amazing voice of Jennifer Nettle:

2) I love the world of modern art because it can be so whimsical.  Whether we laugh or cry probably doesn’t make any difference to many artist, as long as we react.

What is your reaction to the following?

Marcus Coates’s Shamanic Costume, for Consultation in Elephant and Castle.

Darren Lago’s Happy Shopper, an intriguing marriage of vintage bike and alien lifeform

3) Getting to Not Know You

A study conducted by two University of Basel psychologists, Benjamin Scheibehenne and Jutta Mata, working with psychologist Peter Todd of Indiana University, soon to be published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, finds that couples married for an average of 40 years know less about one another’s food, movie and kitchen-design preferences than do partners who have been married or in committed relationships for a year or two.

It was a relatively small study involving 38 young couples aged 19 to 32, and 20 older couples aged 62 to 78.

Do you agree with the findings of this study?

The expiration date on all my relationships is six months, so there isn’t an issue I would know less about, except rasing children. 🙂

From an article in Science News:

http://tinyurl.com/239zwds

“That wasn’t what we expected to find, but this evidence lends support to a hypothesis that accuracy in predicting each other’s preferences decreases over the course of a relationship despite greater time and opportunity to learn about each other’s likes and dislikes,” Todd said October 13 during a visit to the University of Basel.

Older couples’ knowledge decline partly reflects a tendency by partners to pay increasingly less attention to one another, because they view their relationship as firmly committed or assume that they have little left to learn about each other, the researchers propose. Consistent with that hypothesis, long-term partners in the new study expressed more overconfidence in their knowledge about each others’ preferences than people in short relationships did.

In long relationships, partners may also come to perceive an unduly large amount of similarity between themselves, the scientists add. Members of long-term relationships often attributed their own food, movie and design preferences to partners who had different opinions.”

1) Weekend pictures from the Net.

a) People

Beauty and the Beast – Berlin, Germany: A visitor stands behind the reflection of a bust of Adolf Hitler on the opening day of a new exhibition about the German leader

 

Hong Kong: A little girl and her mother light candles and incense at the memorial niche for a relative during the Chung Yeung grave-sweeping festival

 

b) Nature

Today’s forest landscape – A deer forages for food in the early morning sun at the National Trust’s Dunham Massey property in Cheshire, England. Shortening daylight hours and cooler weather signals the start of the rutting season for red and fallow deer

 

Tomorrow’s ? – Land cleared for a palm oil plantation in Indonesia. A video camera trap installed by the World Wildlife Fund captures a bulldozer clearing the trees in a crucial tiger forest for what WWF says is an illegal plantation.

3) Personality – were we go what we have.

Where do you think you got your core personality from?

I think we get our emotional make-up primarily from two sources.  We start with what we inherit from our parents, and these are shape mostly by our childhood experience.

The person in my family I am most like is my mother.  She was very strong willed, and stubborn.  As a result of a childhood illness she developed an enlarged heart.  Her doctors did not expect her to live past her teens.  She made it to 36.  She was also told she could never have children.  Thankfully for myself, and my late sister, she did not listen.

My father one the other hand was very easy going.  He would avoid facing a problem.  I suspect that’s one reason he never spent time with me,  he just didn’t know how to deal with the angry young boy I was.

I spent much of my childhood alone, especially after my grandmother died, she was the only one who made me feel wanted.  My mother spent half her life in Hospitals.  When she was there I lived with my fathers Irish Catholic family.  My sister was sent to live in Maine with my mothers German Protestant father. 

After my grandmother died, when I was nine, I moved between various aunts and uncles.  From my perspective I think I was taken out of a sense of family responsibility.  I don’t remember feeling much love, but then the angry boy I was made that hard.

After my mother died, when I was 13, I lived at home with my sister and father.  While I we shared living quarters, I doubt you could call it a home. My father was a hard worker, often seven days a week.  I suspect partly to avoid me.  He spent much of his none worker time at his family’s house.

I have my mothers strong will to endure through pain.  I also share her stubborn nature, which makes it hard for me to give up any degree of control over my life to anyone else.  My preference for living alone is a product of having spent so much of my childhood that way.

The greatest gift my mother give me, besides life itself, was her passion for living.  I’ll take that even when it comes with the “gift” of being more than just a tad stubborn.  🙂

I usually post an article about faith every Friday.  Apologies but the creative part of my brain seems to be dead today.  I did find some great pictures in today’s Christian Science Monitor of kids in Halloween costumes.  

 

1) Faith is about having hope for a better future, and its for our children, and future generations, that we strive to build that better future.

For my friends of religious faith what is some guidance from your Holy Book about how to guide children to a better future?

If you were a child again what would your Halloween costume be?

http://www.csmonitor.com/CSM-Photo-Galleries/In-Pictures/Kiddie-costumes

 

Children wear tiger-like makeup and costumes during a performance to celebrate the Chinese New Year in Bozhou, China.

 

Dominick Meritt wins the boys’ costume category for his Jack-in-the-Box outfit at the Millville Baby Show in Millville, N.J., on Oct. 13

 

A little girl dressed as a baby chicken walks in the Halloween Parade in Tokyo, Japan’s Roppongi Hills

2) A couple of pictures of children posted online in news stories Friday.

 

A child runs to meet his mother during a promotion ceremony at the police academy in Sibate, south of Bogota, on Thursday.

 

An ethnic Karen boy from Myanmar stands in front of a board at the school in the Mae La refugee camp outside Mae Sot near the Thai-Myanmar border. Karen refugees continue to pour into Thailand, fleeing decades-long fighting between Karen rebels and Myanmar government troops and its allies. Some 140,000 refugees live in official camps along the border. According to the UN refugee agency, there are concerns that hostilities in the hills of Eastern Myanmar could intensify due to a pending boycott of elections next month.

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