To aim an arrow, pull back

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Rainbow

Rainbow

Arrow goes forward only after pulling it backward, bullet goes forward only after pressing the trigger backward, every human being will get happy only after facing the difficulties in their life path; so don’t be afraid to face your difficulties, they will push you forward.  — Author Unknown

Rainbow ©2011-2012 *ChrissieCool

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Beauty in humble places

The Harvest by Camille Pissarro

Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.– Camille Pissarro

Photographic Reproduction: Wikimedia Commons

Instant karma, the good kind

John Turner talks to reporter Eric Horng.

Doing good is its own reward — so I’ve been told and so I believe. Tonight my heart was really warmed by a story on what may be called instant karma, the good kind. Whatever you may call it, God smiled on John Turner Sunday.

Turner, 38, runs a water removal business in Chicago. He and his staff traveled to New Jersey to help cleanup houses flooded by Hurricane Sandy. He helped some people for free.

Last Sunday, after hours of hard work, Turner bought a few N.J. lottery tickets. One scratch-off ticket proved quite fortunate. In mere moments, Turner was $100,000 richer.

Rewards for goodness are not always so immediate, so generous, so palpable. I am grateful for the people in this world who lend a helping hand, never expecting anything in return. I imagine John Turner felt rich and blessed just to be able to help people caught up in a whirlwind of devastation. To the people Turner helped, he was already a winner.

Photo: WLS-TV, Chicago

‘Coming together is a beginning’

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Photo: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Fishermen in India work together to bring in the sea’s harvest.

Freedom to do what we ought

WWII Veteran Frank Tanabe, 93, always did what he ought, from volunteering for the U.S. Army in WWII — even after the federal government sent him and other Japanese-Americans to internment camps — to voting in the 2012 presidential election. Here he gets help filling out his absentee ballot in Honolulu, Hawaii, from his daughter Irene Tanabe on Oct. 17, 2012. In the foreground is his wife Setsuko Tanabe. Frank Tanabe died Wednesday, Oct. 24.

Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.

–Pope John Paul II

Photo courtesy of Irene Tanabe

A new day

Mr. and Mrs. Wallace A. Wolf eating breakfast before he leaves for his job as an automotive mechanic for the city.

This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; in its place is something that you have left behind … let it be something good.

—     Unknown

Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Bruce Bisping

Gone but not forgotten — celebrating El Día de Los Muertos

Altar prepared by the Casa de la Cultura, Toliman, Queretaro, Mexico, Nov. 1, 2002.

As a young person, I knew of the celebrations on November 2 for the Day of the Dead (El Día de Los Muertos) but it wasn’t until I moved to Phoenix that the celebrations came alive.

I view cemeteries as peaceful places — from a distance. For me, spending time in cemeteries is relegated to burials. I realize that people often go to leave flowers on the graves of loved ones on birthdays and other significant life events. I just could not envision many days of celebrations that included spending most of a day cleaning and decorating graves or spreading a blanket and having a picnic with headstones as a backdrop. I have to add, the skulls decorating altars in homes around Phoenix were more than just a little off-putting.

It was the altars, however, that fueled my curiosity. It wasn’t just the perfume of the marigolds, the distinctive fragrance of the incense, the traditional foods and religious items decorating the altars, it was how each family personalized them. Photos of their ancestors, loved ones and friends graced the altars — a tribute to the lives they led.  But it was more than tribute; it was connection.

This centuries-old Mexican celebration blending Aztec tradition and Catholic theology became a way of connection — bridging generations. This is a time when adult family members share stories of deceased loved ones with the young ones. It is a continuation of oral history thousands of years old. Through sharing serious and funny stories the “spirit” of the deceased remains alive in hearts. Humor is an important element of the celebration as portrayed in the colorfully decorated skull-like masks worn during the celebration. The ritual speaks death is not to be feared. This is a celebration of life, of transformation.

Communities throughout America and the world celebrate Day of the Dead. In Phoenix, many people take part in the celebration. In an article on azcentral.com, Carlos Miller of The Arizona Republic asked Mesa, Arizona, artist Zarco Guerrero about what has become a multicultural celebration. “Last year, we had Native Americans and African-Americans doing their own dances,” Guerrero said. “They all want the opportunity to honor their dead.”

How do you honor deceased loved ones? What story of a deceased love one would you like to share?

Photo: Wikimedia Commons by Steve Bridger.

View a celebration at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas.