Rebirth of Hope

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I am writing this on Wednesday afternoon after watching Joe Biden’s inauguration. My eyes teared up through his speech, and Amanda Gordon’s poem, and Reverend Sylvester Beaman’s benediction. I feel relieved and hopeful after the nightmare of the last four years and the attack on the Capitol earlier this month. I thank God for this day. I am thankful that Biden is our new president, and I especially welcome his message of healing and unity. As I listened, my heart raised two prayers: Yes, God, make it so! and Show me what I must change in myself to help make the United States the country You want it to be.

To be a united country, and especially a united democracy, does not mean that we all share the same beliefs. How could it? Our beliefs are formed by our faiths, our races and heritages, our upbringings, our educations, our economic statuses, our occupations, and our experiences. We are all different, and each of us brings something unique to the table. So, how do we come together? How can we arrive at consensus?

We need to respectfully listen to one another. Ask people what they mean by what they say. Ask them why they feel as they do. Listen to their stories. Not so that we can change their feelings to match ours, but so that we can understand. And not that we necessarily have to accept their values as our own, but to see what we can learn, to fill in the gaps of our own knowledge.

I believe there are absolute truths, absolute rights and wrongs. But when we hold to our views rigidly and make decisions based on absolutes, our choices may have unanticipated consequences. That’s why we need to consider what people different from ourselves have to say. We need to see the whole picture.

We are going to disagree with each other. But that doesn’t mean we can’t work together to rebuild our country. If we understand each other, we can find ways to support each other. It’s going to take work and change on the part of every individual (yes, I just said you have to change—but I admit I do, too) to heal the division and inequity in our country, and it won’t be fixed in four years. But we can make progress before we hand the work off to the next generations.

Please, God, bless America. Bless our new president. Guide us as we work toward a more perfect union. Amen.

Creative Juice #226

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Creative Juice #226

It’s the beginning of a new era. Hallelujah!

In the Meme Time: Before You Shift into High Gear. . .

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Flower of the Day: Yellow Mystery Flowers

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I don’t know what these are. Any guesses?

More FOTD.

Kammie’s Oddball Challenge: The Wind Chime Tree

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More Oddballs.

Video of the Week #289: Faces of Santa Ana

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“My job is not to fix them; my job is to love them.” ~Brian Peterson

Thank you to Donna, who shared Peterson’s story on her blog.

Wordless Wednesday: Agave

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Back to South Mountain Park

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I’m horribly out of shape. I blame the pandemic. I’m just not one of those people who said, “Gee, since I can’t go to the movies or go out to dinner, I think I’ll concentrate on doing pilates. . .”

It’s been almost a year since I’ve gone hiking. I miss it. I used to go once or twice a month. A few weeks ago I headed over to South Mountain Park and couldn’t find a parking spot. It was a Sunday. Duh.

Last Friday morning the temperature here was 60 degrees–in my opinion, the perfect hiking temperature. I drove out to the Pima Canyon trailhead at South Mountain to hike down the main trail, which is fairly level. I needed an easy hike. I took my camera with me and put on my larger lens, so that I concentrated on a medium distance instead of what’s close by. I’ve taken millions of shots in the park, and I wanted to try to make these a little different.

They all pretty much show how rugged the desert is. See that cyclist near the right edge of the frame below?

I got another shot of him a few minutes later.

Oops. The little circle in the sky below is not a balloon or a UFO. Probably just a speck of dust on my lens.

I walked as far as the intersection with the Beverly Canyon trail, then turned around and headed back to the parking lot. The next shot is toward Tempe, where my home is. It also shows the cloud of particulates effectively sealed in by the surrounding mountains.

I’m not sure what this group of people was up to, but I think maybe they have sketchpads? Or maybe they’re all just checking their phones.

I feel sorry for the people who have left items on the trails, especially for the poor soul who lost his keys.

When I got back to my car, the temperature was 68 degrees. Can’t complain.

Monday Morning Wisdom #293

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From the Creator’s Heart #290

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