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    Parenthood Elevated to Transcendency

    [Teaching children] the fundamental principles of a moral life is important whether there is a god or not, but especially if not. If this is all there is, and if there is no one out there keeping score, then parenthood is elevated to transcendency.

    ~Michael Shermer, PhD


    I try to reassure my children - regardless of the existence of the unknown - what is most important in life is what they do NOW - while they're HERE, living in the present. And, if the unreal becomes real, there will be nothing to worry about when they've acted with love and compassion throughout their lives.


    I am okay with not knowing.


    I encourage my children to act and react with kindness and empathy to the people and animals around them; to love the earth and tread lightly on it. I try every day to be a bit better than I was the day before, to act always from love (and hope they follow my lead). I help them to have presence; to be present. I want them to feel comfortable with a goal in life of improving their surroundings, for themselves and others with whom they share the world so that when leave this life, they can feel confident in knowing they've left it better than they arrived in it.


    And I want them to do these things --- only because they are the right things to do. Not to please me or anyone else. Not because of promised or hoped for reward. But simply because acting from love - doing and being these things - empathetic, improving, kind - are the right things to do. And when you do right, it feels right, inside. I want them to trust that feeling of rightness that comes from acting out of love - it comes from inside, not out.


    Regardless of belief, shouldn't we all inspire our children to keep living and improving in their present moment? Because the rest - the past we can't change and the future we don't know - it is all beyond our control.


    We can only TRULY know what we can do NOW. And we can do so much.


    Unknowing - it isn't frightening; it's amazing. Because we can HAVE peace with presence. Heaven on earth.



    Earth Day: Outside-In

    I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in. 

    - John Muir, Preservationist (1838-1914)


    For indeed, when we walk into the forest, we open our hearts to nature, the rhythm of the earth. No longer outside observers of landscape - sheltered behind our screens, houses, cars, windows - but immersed IN it. Walking delicately on spongy earth, breathing heady aromas of pine needles, leaves, rich humus; we realize we are from the earth, of the earth. We all ARE the earth, the sky, the universe - all of us.


    Happy Earth Day, my friends.



    Posted: Apr 22 2013, 12:26 by kelly | Comments (1) RSS comment feed |
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    Hurricane Sandy and the Jersey Shore

    If you'd like to donate to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, click here (to jump right to the bottom of this post).

    Two weekends ago, we took the day to travel "down the shore" (that's how we say it here in New Jersey). We went to Long Beach Island because it's the closest to us - a little over an hour drive - or 35mi due West as the crow flies.

    (running along Spray Beach in LBI)

    (one of the street markers located at each opening in the dunes along LBI)

    I'd been meaning to share our trip with you here in pictures, because it was such an idyllic  weekend at the beach. But then... Hurricane Sandy (known pre-disaster by the moniker "Frankenstorm" for its proximity to Halloween) came through my state.

    For my family, the hurricane meant a bit of scrambling around in preparation - gathering supplies, the unique opportunity to witness a hurricane up-close, 24 hours of lost power, frantic working to keep our warehouse up and running, and a delayed Halloween. We were truly fortunate to have missed some of the worst weather and after effects.


    For other families, some I know personally and others I've only seen in the media reports, the hurricane brought power disruption, home destruction, and most devastatingly, loss of life. The pictures I see coming in from the shore (where we JUST. WERE.) and from the surrounding towns and cities are almost incomprehensible.

    (looking towards the ocean on LBI during the storm - source unknown)

    (car buried in sand on LBI after the storm- source unknown)

    (the dunes, no longer there - LBI after the storm - source unknown)

    (a beach marker, nearly covered in sand during post-storm cleanup efforts on LBI - source unknown)

    My heart goes out to those still struggling. It's COLD here in New Jersey right now; and there's a Nor'easter coming this week (that means a BIG snow storm for those of you not from the North East USA). Millions are still without power, thousands of homes were damaged, and there's a gas shortage in the Northern part of my state. It's hard to watch the news, to talk about it with my children, to understand what happened so close to home. But it helps to know so many people have have donated time and money to help those most in need. The generosity of the human spirit is alive and well in New Jersey; I am so thankful.

    If you'd like to donate to the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts in my state, and the surrounding areas hit hard by the storm, here are a few places you can do so. (Each of these charities are non-religiously/politically affiliated and have received a commendable rating at CharityNavigator.org)

    To donate directly to Hurricane Sandy child welfare efforts: Save the Children


    To donate directly to Hurricane Sandy hunger relief efforts at the Jersey shore: The Foodbank of Monmouth & Ocean Counties


    To donate directly to Hurricane Sandy medical supplies and equipment: Direct Relief International


    To donate directly to Hurricane Sandy companion animal rescue and care efforts: Best Friends Animal Society


    To donate directly to general Hurricane Sandy emergency relief efforts: American Red Cross


    To help find or to offer breastmilk storage to those without power: Human Milk for Human Babies - New Jersey


    Thank you for reading, for donating, for keeping those affected by Hurricane Sandy in your hearts and thoughts. Peace.

    Note: I am not affiliated with any of the above listed charities. When you click on the above links, you will leave my site, and go directly to the individual charity pages.
    Posted: Nov 03 2012, 17:10 by kelly | Comments (4) RSS comment feed |
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    Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream

    Eleven years ago, fear ruled the day in our country, and its echoes were felt around the world.

    Those echoes - manifest as war, violence, discrimination, hatred - continue to this day.

    And because the vividness of my memory of that day doesn't seem to fade with time, I carry a dream for my children: that one day they and their children will know only peace in this world.

    It may be a dream in the present, but it can become a reality in the future.

    It is with this reality in mind that I teach my children the value of peace, love, acceptance, tolerance, empathy.

    So that it is normal for them. So they know nothing else. And so that they will teach their children.

    War doesn't have to be the way of the world.

    What we believe… becomes what is and what will be.


    Last night I had the strangest dream

    I'd ever dreamed before

    I dreamed the world had all agreed

    To put an end to war

    I dreamed I saw a mighty room

    And the room was filled with men

    And the paper they were signing said

    They'd never fight again

    And when the paper was all signed

    And a million copies made

    They all joined hands and bowed their heads

    And grateful prayers were prayed

    And the people in the streets below

    Were dancing 'round and 'round

    And guns and swords and uniforms

    Were scattered on the ground

    Last night I had the strangest dream

    I'd ever dreamed before

    I dreamed the world had all agreed

    To put an end to war.

    {Words & Music by Ed McCurdy as performed by John Denver, 41 years ago, at a peace march in Washington DC}

    EDITED TO ADD: As I was just finishing up writing this post, my daughter came over to my shoulder. She asked what I was writing about, and we talked a bit about the events of 9-11. I let her know that they might talk about what happened at school, and she nodded - yes, they already had. At that point, I turned on the song above... and to my surprise, she started singing along. "You know this song already," I asked? "Yes," she said, "We learned it at school". My dream of peace for my children, it seems, isn't my dream alone. I ask you all to BELIEVE that we can change our course in this world, one song at a time, one child at a time, one action, one word. We CAN have peace.

    One Action. One Choice.

    A global change can begin with one person.

    One action.

    One choice.

    A global change can begin with envisioning the ideals that we strive towards and the things which are important to us and then LIVING those things. It may not be easy to bring healthy humane food with you, instead of stopping for take-out, but it's worth it. It may not be easy to save up your paper, bottles, and cans and bring them to a recycling center, but it's worth it. It may not be easy to respond with gentleness and understanding when your child is in the midst of a tantrum, but it's worth it.

    Think of something you'd like to change, or improve in your life or in the world and work towards it, one step at a time.

    Remember that:

    Our actions, however small, reverberate.

    Our kids mimic what they see – they do what we do.

    Imagine If:

    Children worldwide grew up not just hearing about recycling, buying locally grown food, eating healthy, treating animals with respect, but grew up actually LIVING IT, watching their parents do it, participating in it? Those things wouldn’t be a question or even some distant ideal or possibility – they would just BE REALITY. It’s how they would live because it’s what they KNOW. It’s how they will interact with their friends, their classmates, their teachers, their future children.

    Your action – or inaction – in all things important to you and the world – MATTERS.

    If you act with kindness, empathy, and concern for people and animals and the environment around you – your children will do the same.

    That’s all it takes. One action. One choice. Make a change. Pick a more challenging thing over the easy - every time you make that decision, it will become more effortless. And it WILL make a difference.