Tuesday, April 20, 2021

The Heart Seen -spring season contributions:

from our recent visit to filoli



***

and via email, these treasures from squidmann & spike:

Sure, they make heart-shaped cookies all the time on Valentine’s Day. But this one was found in a package of our regular round chocolate chip cookies from Safeway. Was it a mistake or perhaps done on purpose by a bored baker? We may never know!


Found this unique stone on in a small cave on Cove Beach. It’s so odd that the round-y parts look like they were carved, like this broke off an ancient statue!


A shell heart left on a rock by the low tide!


****

my goodness, do i ever LOVE these new contributions
each one with its own way cool factor!
"thank you!"

...your blessings continue...






 

LUCKY (me!) ~tops


 

Monday, April 19, 2021

FiLoLi.org photos & collage by (me!) ~tops


  spectacular!  and remembering with gratitude my first visit there    -amen!

Friday, April 16, 2021

our growing homeless population by (me!) ~tops


 on a recent visit to see my mom & rick, in san leandro, california   -during a much longer conversation, rick said, "i'm going to do something to help the homeless..    i don't know what yet... i just know i want to help"

-this conversation has never taken place before...

the reason it is taking place now, early 2021, is because the homeless population is growing, and has been growing

exponentially.   across the entire bay area and beyond.

the picture above is from just one pocket of homeless in san jose, california.  this scene is repeated in hundreds of locations throughout the city

i wrote a letter of concern myself, when i started seeing homeless at our local perc ponds...

because i see how rapidly homeless encampments grow, spread..

because i know homeless people  -without access to restrooms, plumbing..   

because i know homeless people..   -do not have garbage cans and recycle cans, and green waste containers that they can fill and have picked up weekly

because i did not want to see our perc ponds polluted with human feces, waste and garbage..

i had to write

my motivation was to protect this gorgeous landscape, the water, the landscape, the wildlife, the current safe feeling families have as they walk through the area

   -there is a spiritual art to managing compassion for the homeless, with protecting the beauty, safety, cleanliness of areas i consider on the endangered list

      note:   we brought 7 sleeping bags to a designated location for the homeless.  said location would not accept the sleeping bags because they were not  -new.    -we cut out the middle men, and brought the sleeping bags directly to a group of homeless men who were residing in a local parking lot.   -they were very grateful, and did not mind that the sleeping bags were not new.   -they were in fact, clean and in very good condition.

    note:  prior experiences with homeless include, a man in a wheelchair, who popped up, and out, and started walking after i provided him some money.   and a young woman, who i provided some food to, and then who ended up in my backyard knocking on the back sliding glass door  -scaring our family.  i had to call the police to have her removed.

and so, 

whenever someone   -and there have been countless someones, 

whenever someone video tapes and shares a wealthy person, leaving a nice restaurant, and walking past a homeless person begging for food

and the intention is to demonstrate greed and indifference

i don't buy it.

it is actually very complicated; very layered; very difficult

it is, in my estimation, a problem which can only be solved by   -geniuses.

    -as stephen hawking was to...

   -as albert einstein was to...

[this person/these people] are to solving the homeless crisis.


i've written before...  i don't even like it when people use the word 'homeless' and group different problems together.   -there is not one group of homeless

there are those who have hit financial hard times.

there are those who have addictions; who have had their brains/minds high jacked by drugs, and who are incapable of holding down a job...

there are those who are mentally ill...

there are combinations, variables, and unknowns..


but i think about it often, because i am faced with it; directly; often...  every drive from here to there.. whether that drive is short  -5 miles, or long, 20+ miles

i look through the car window and see homeless encampments here, and new homeless encampments there..

and i've also said before,  -i know gavin newsom is not personally responsible for the growing population of homeless in san francisco   -but during his time of leadership, it grew exponentially...  and then he was promoted, and it is my opinion/observation, that now he is leaving the entire state of california in the same filthy, unaddressed, unsafe, highly toxic state he left san francisco

anyway, 

when i took the picture i've used for this post...   i was silently asking myself, "who is responsible?"

   who is responsible for mentally ill?   who is responsible for the addict?    who is responsible for the person living on the margins   -and who covid robbed/starved into homelessness?

and the vision of those videos   -wealthy person walking past the homeless, will play in my imagination..


     -nope.

that wealthy person is not directly responsible for that addict over there...  or mentally ill here... or poverty stricken homeless person over there..

and i will let my mind imagine different scenarios...      each person responsible for themselves?  accountable for their own actions? decisions? circumstances?

who has been exploited? manipulated?    -tricked into taking.. or selling drugs..

  -interesting to consider the population of people living   -as i have in the past

from cash advance to cash advance...  from pay check to pay check...    from loan to loan... etc., 

    -you can live in debt, in growing debt for an entire lifetime actually, but

COVID

covid took everyone on the margins, pulled back the curtain..   it was the big unveiling...

i think on these things...   capitalism, culture..    how can the most people thrive?..    and repeat here

   i don't think we've found the 'ism' yet where the most people thrive      -capitalism, marxism, fascism, communism, socialism...

"we need a new 'ism!'"

   -these paradigm shifts of the cultural, economic, political kind,   -a call to geniuses 

the world's best problem solvers!

and to tackle any problem  -first you must identify, describe, understand..

the knowledge, the facts, the unknowns, the variables, the numbers, the stats

    the hearts, the minds, "the services already available!!"

this brings me back to the letter i wrote when i started seeing homeless at the perc ponds

the upshot of what i learned is this:

in san jose california   -there is no shortage of services already available

the cdc, has recommended that no homeless be relocated at this time, because of covid

and so i closed my letter with the following statement

    1.    -you are already aware of the problem  (in fact they are bombarded with phone calls daily)

    2.   -the services already exist

   3.   -you are waiting for the cdc to give green lights to relocate homeless;   please let us know when you hear from the cdc

****

let's talk about "relocating" the homeless

    -to where?

prior to my living in this neighborhood, there was a suggestion

    -a very stupid suggestion, in my opinion, 

that a homeless camp be made available next to an elementary school.

     -PAUSE.   -talk to Jesus...


I can't believe ANYONE would even consider for half a second....   homeless; addicts; mentally ill next door to an elementary school

but that is when i learn...    

there are really  -for real-   people who suggested this.

and i cannot under any circumstance, using any of my greatest imagination, stretch...  and figure out who, why, anyone..

but, 

the good news is that it was successfully voted down.

THANK GOD HERE.

  -now, 

once you rule out having a homeless encampment next door to an elementary school, 

where can you rule in?


and i am sidetracked..        

i believe in  'human dignity'    -that is to say, i believe, every single human being, 

whether an addict, mentally ill, or forced, due to financial hardship, into homelessness

i believe every human being, male, female, young, old, non-binary, whatever,   -every human being

should have a safe, clean place to use the restroom; basic plumbing...

a place to wash hands, brush teeth...

food to eat,   -a place for their belongings; a place to put their trash

and hope for a better future.

***

if i were a social, humans in crisis genius...

we would differentiate:   addicts, ill, hardship...

different places/solutions, for different problems..

***

we would have hospitals for the ill...

we would have rehab for the addicts...

we would have bridge homes for the unemployed...

***

in addition to believing in human dignity, 

above that...   i believe in the safety & clean environment of hard working, tax paying, law abiding citizens

     i place their rights highest

to protect and preserve their rights

and 'sanctuary' is given to our residence, families, individuals who are working, paying, abiding..

they get a say, a vote, the final word on where homeless should be located

****

turns out, there is also a population of homeless, so far gone, either from drugs, or mental illness, 

that they will not be relocated without physical force.

  i support law and order, and the right for our officers to physically relocate resistant homeless

***

due to covid, we have large numbers of commercial real estate buildings vacant..

commercial real estate,  -warehouses,   industrial areas

AWAY from neighborhoods, with children, families, singles...  AWAY from schools...

AWAY from parks where children should be able to play and run free...

***

i believe we should relocate homeless to buildings with plumbing...   basic needs can be met...

intervention/social services can outreach..

***

i know some people would live out their entire lives, short or long, in these places..

and for some, 

it would be a temporary circumstance they ultimately overcome.

***

but to watch, freeway overpass, after freeway overpass, become homeless encampments..

to watch otherwise 'safe, clean, neighborhoods' become toxic with trash, human feces, threatening the safety of children...

***

i have no delusions, that i can stop, reverse, minimize, reduce...   -i have no delusions that i can personally solve this exponentially growing human crisis

but i do believe the mind power is out there...

not just to relocate...

but, 

always the goal with a crisis of any kind

PREVENT.   PREVENTION.

***

perhaps i will cc: this to ivy league schools...

and anywhere else i might find the brightest minds, and selfless hearts..

or just someone(s) who feel inspired/challenged by the nature of such a complicated problem with incalculable rewards for solving....


In Jesus name, I pray...     i write, and i pray, i pray, and i write...

"Thank You Jesus! Hallelujah & Amen" photo collages by (me!) ~tops

 



 









 

Saturday, March 27, 2021

5 star hike in livermore (del valle!)






 

Thursday, March 25, 2021

I speak mosaic. (me!) ~tops


 and so i said to my sexy, i said with a smile   "thank you for letting me have my way with your bricks!"

***

and, it is all love; all love:

i love the brick fireplace as an empty canvas to decorate.

i love paper

i loved selecting, tearing, xyroning, and so specifically placing....

and i love the result

and, i love how my sexy, after i was all done   -he helped me mod podge to seal it.

     wonderful...   i am his assistant in the kitchen; he is my assistant in art endeavors

and i can see how he has evolved creatively over the past three years..  and Lord knows you can see how i have evolved when it comes to cooking

            over and over, silently to Jesus..   "is this MY life?   i love my life now Jesus!  "Thank You!"

amen.

EASTER FOTS BLISS april yard art by (sexy! & tops!)







every now and again, when we are in our front yard,  -sun shinin', music pumpin' and we are just decorating..   designing...

essentially playing in the front yard together

visiting with neighbor passersby

i'm like, silently to Jesus...   "is this MY life?   i love my life now    --  thank you very much!"

***

now, i don't know whether you can see it from the picture above, but we have written/typed out a different Fruit Of The Spirit on each of 9 different eggs



and instead of a poem this month, i simply posted the above pre-made flyer
-love the design/font styles and layout

and as i've already written plenty about FOTS, i will only briefly repeat here

FOTS pretty much encompass my entire spiritual walk.
i love them for many reasons, but way up there, is the fact
that FOTS belong to ALL of HUMANITY

-no faith system, religion,   -no one has the monopoly on fruits of the spirit
they are both infinite and universal


  


 


now, let me speak briefly about the fruit of the spirit... one of the hardest ones to manifest and master:

SELF CONTROL.

           two things to consider:   1.   -which part of you is your 'self'     2.  the concept of control

and we can see people controlled by addictions, by approval, by obsessions, by vanity, by mass media..   by anger, by hate, by their emotions and feelings...  

and then we can see people who use their 'self' to control counterproductive appetites, emotions, moods, unhealthy desires, destructive tantrums...

and i like that it does not read  "God control"  

it reads, 'self control'

    I AM in control of my attitude, my thoughts, my emotions, my moods, my responses  

 alcohol is not in control of...    mass media in not in control of....   addition is not in control of...

I AM IN CONTROL of these things.  

and well, 

i have a breakthrough to report!    -because, as far as i'm concerned, pinwheels are the greatest store bought cookies on the shelf anywhere in the world 

and, i treat myself occasionally...

and usually, when i treat myself to pinwheels, i eat, say...   2 or 3 or 5 in one day.

but, 

i did a kind of self-imposed self-control fruit of the spirit exercise recently

and restricted myself to just 1

ONLY ONE

1 pinwheel a day.

and guess what?!?

i succeeded!      i am enormously proud of myself.     

and, so

for a few minutes i thought i might just celebrate my accomplishment by eating 3 in a row, but..

i didn't.

so, 

'self control'  report card remains    Amen+


***

also, inspired to share:     during one of our neighborhood passersby conversations, -we received a compliment for posting Fruits of the Spirit.   -and then we talked more about being Christians, and then,  -he shared that while living in Arizona, he attended church only on Sundays, which is a pretty common practice, 

but when he moved to California, at his new church, he learned to start each day with God.. not just Sundays, and he shared that making that change generated much better results in his life, and now he is in that practice every day for the rest of his life.

    -us too.

we keep God first every. single. day.    "God first forever!"   -that's our mantra.

and the blessings, favor, anointing we are currently enjoying...

  -all the evidence we need.


hallelujah & amen!



Public "Thank You!" to our neighborhood friend (carl! and his good friend, mike!) -Predators Archery



 this goes in our way awesome pleasant surprise files...     getting archery lessons from our neighborhood friend, and his good friend,   -who both compete at the world championship level in archery in countries all around the globe

"thank you!" both so, so much!!   we loved every minute of the experience.

my sexy.. he was a natural of course.   -he just has so much natural athletic ability, and it doesnt seem to matter what the sport is...

i was a little slower on the take, but!   -having never held a bow, or shot an arrow, like, ever  -in my 55+ years..    

well,  they told me i ended up doing 'pretty darn good' for a first timer

and on a personal level... "i loved it!"    -there are new things i try, and i kind of have this internal knowing, that even with 50 classes and the best teachers, i'm just not going to improve or reach any level worth devoting my time and energy toward

but with archery...   my internal knowing was "i could get better at this with practice..  and!  how utterly gratifying it is to shoot and get anywhere near a target!"

so, we are in the very early stages of discussing the purchase of some recreational bow/arrows, and including archery as a new activity...

what a great community of people!

amen.


i spy my lucky #!


 if i could and did take a picture every time i saw my lucky #, or every time i saw a heart shape made without human intention...    i would not have blog enough to contain them...     but very fun to capture and share a few here, and a few there.     amen.

"Hand feeding the hummingbirds!" (maria!)


only days before my last day at alden lane, i noticed in the garden gift store, these 'dots' i think they were called.   little individual circle flowers that allow you to hand-feed hummingbirds.   i never did make the purchase, but just read a little..

from memory:  you first stand near your current hummingbird feeders holding the circle up, and allow the hummingbirds to get used to you being there..

short cut:  over time, once comfortable, they will come straight to your hand!

and now, my beautiful artist friend maria  "SHE DID IT!"

pretty awesome experience

***

"moment of nature"   -this is how cbs sunday morning show closes each program weekly, with a 'moment in nature'    i love these segments!   but we tease as of late, because it is hardly a whole moment...  more like 15 seconds

anyway, whenever we are watching the hummingbirds on our two feeders, or the birds dining on our seed bells, or the squirrels..     during all of our walks and hikes..  we have so many of our own, live and write now, moments of nature to enjoy

and my favorite as of late..   "cutest couple award goes to..."    our neighborhood ducks.  and they honor us with a visit now and then..  and we feed them the duck food from an-jans

and next thing you know.. they are watching us from our rooftop..

hanging out in our backyard..

they came write up to our garage and let us just about hand feed them..

so beautiful and charming..   i delight in all of it!

***

and you know how the Bible has that passage; that scripture about
loving God with your whole heart, your whole mind, your whole soul

/something like that..

well, when i am loving nature and wild life, the plants, flowers, trees
animals..  the way i do

i consider it the exact same thing as loving God

hallelujah & amen

 

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

"Happy Saint Patrick's Day!" from (sexy! & tops!)




"Happy Saint Patricks Day!"

extra "thank you!" here to carole for the tea bag holder heart seen pix   -awesome!
and, 
residence unknown, but had to take a picture of the house with circle celebration entryway
they change it, like we do our yard art, with every season/occasion

write on! to that spirit

***
and "thank you!" to my squidmann & spike for these way cool heart seen contributions
  -and, even the man-made one..     brings big smiles


love is all around us

irish luck and blessings to one and all

amen






 

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Feast of Saint Patrick w/(sexy! tops! & friends)




our hearts were in the write place
but, 
we may have over done the whole hospitality thing just a we bit

starting with pretzels, three different mustards, cheese sauce
jameson jello shots
jameson shots
irish buck cocktails
four different beers for tasting...
cabbage w/cheese sauce, corned beef, mick's amazing irish soda bread n' butter
long live the irish green salad, garlic/butter mash potatoes
irish coffees
delicious cake for dessert...

and so, 
at the end of the evening
well, 

we had a few requests for tums

and, the next morning my sexy wrote this humorous poem


 and, we have already decided that next year

we will skip the appetizers, reduce the spirits, decrease portions, so we can all actually and thoroughly enjoy the main course

... a toast...   "to saint patrick,    next year, more friends eat less   -we learned from our indulgence, yes"

"slainte!"

amen