Thursday, August 28, 2008

Down, But Not Out

I fell on Tueday...and might have fractured my elbow...
Lucky for me I got my hair done on SATURDAY and this was the result! lol

I can't complain! I hope I didn't actually break anything, but time will tell.

I've also written poetry about not feeling "beautiful", and started a story about a Captain who ventures into dangerous territory for a short term gain- at the risk of losing a big investment.
Perhaps one day I'll post it when it't ready...

For now- I lay low.

Hugs everyone- BIG hugs. Have a safe and happy holiday weekend!

-me :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Faces of China

This is a nation where the "community" is more important than the individual- unless you are in a minority tribe. If you are part of a minority you may keep your traditions and customs, but those tribes live in little tucked away places with no support and no government assistance, but they are (mostly) free of government education and it's policing methods.

Places to shop for clothes and such in a villiage like this are miles and miles away. Hand-me-downs are the norm.
Washing machines are not.
Schooling is handled by the elder women in the village and the children roam around in packs during free time. I saw little individual attention given to the kids but they seemed to be happy and thriving in their little groups. I'm positive if one child was harmed, or cried out in real pain, 15 people would have stepped away from their tasks to check on the one who was hurt.
This is a vastly different way of life for kids who live in the city, dress daily in uniforms, and go to school from 7 or 8 in the morning until 7 or 8 in the evening. 10 to 12 hours of education, not including home work, is not unusual for many Chinese children.

The Muslim population in China is growing, as is the Christian population, however Communism frowns on both (that's putting it mildly).

I was allowed a rare glimpse into a Muslim Mosque, and an even rarer glimpse of a young boy who was there with his father.

Only the unmarried women in this village were allowed to wear colorful clothes. Once married, the ladies have to settle for something more plain, like brown, or black, or gray.

This was the only disabled person I saw during my trip in China, and while this young man suffers from Down Syndrome, he seemed well fed and cared for. He was in the mountains
and belonged to a minority tribe influenced by a Christan missionary at the turn of the century.
If he had been born in a major city, or perhaps born in a hospital, I don't know if he would have survived. Children who are born blind, or deaf, are considered a drain on the "community" and sent away to underfunded and inadequate schools. It's easy to understand (with that mindset) the sacrifice of mentally handicapped children for the greater good (this is NOT my opinion however).
The little girl who sang the National anthem for the Olympics was not "cute" enough to represent the one can imagine the disgrace and burden of having a child with disabilities.
I simply loved something about this little one...she was so joyful!

Tried to hold this little guy- but he wanted nothing to do with me, except he was interested in my camera :)

Chinese Muslim Grandfather and grandson- we had dinner inside their home.
The coming generation in China has a lot to face. The children stand on the shore of the enlightening electronic age as it rushes towards them- with a government of guns and brain washing techniques standing firmly behind them while trying to control the tide. 50 years ago the people of China could be subdued by their government with torture, threats, and the manipulation of the media, but I think it becomes less effective each year as computers and the internet become more widely available. Even so, I realize the Chinese government greatly limits the information coming into, and going out of, the country.
Liberty, freedom, and a realization that each human is special and unique are delicious ideas, but rarely served or encouraged in this Asian nation. However, the Chinese people I met were curious about the lives of those outside their borders, and were gracious, beautiful, and eager to learn English.
Basic human curiosity coupled with an understanding of freedom and the ability to forge one's own path may some day be enough to dissolve the Communist government that exists today, but perhaps not.
Until then, the faces you've seen here, and the people of China you see on TV are under a rule of law which only deems them valuable as part of a group. The individual is not important. Keep that in mind the next time you see the little girl who ACTUALLY sang at the opening ceremonies...ooops-
wait- you probably won't see her to often.
Her face was not the one the Chinese government wanted you to see, and you can be sure she's not the only thing being "edited" for the airwaves.

Special thanks to "Iamnot" for being my inspiration for this post.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Me, the river, and Lord Byron...

Where I was- and who I was with on Sunday...

Grateful for Peace and quiet... internally and externally.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Proactive vs Reactive

Did you ever have an encounter when your heart almost stopped from fear or panic? When you encountered a person or situation and you felt you had no power except to watch things unfold?

Having kids will grant you experiences like that-

Like the time my son had a collision with a telephone pole while riding his bike...his forhead split open and needed 57 stitches to close him back up. For a while, as I held him-bleeding- in my arms waiting for the ambulance- I had a few moments when I was unsure if he would live or die.
Those are moments that age you.

There was another time when my daughter was bitten by a Brown Recluse spider when she was 6 (and weighed only 40 lbs)- and it took me several hours to feel confident the blister on her hand was related to the fever and vomiting.

She was such a tiny little thing, limp and hot in my arms as we carried her into the emergency heart ached over every minute we had to wait for a Dr. to call her back. I watched the poisonous red line travel from her wrist towards her elbow while we waited...praying that an IV and antibiodics would be administered in time. Little did I know then she would require surgery and a 3 day stay at the hospital- but she was a trooper and recovered beautifully, except for a rational fear of spiders she has to this day.

Both of these events happened over Mother's Day weekends- 2 years apart, and in both cases I wasn't paralyzed by fear-- I was motivated by it- as to whether or not my heart stopped, that was irrelevant...I had to take care of my children.

In a crisis there is always something that can be done- even if all you are doing is praying your way through it. Taking a proactive stance is often better than simply reacting. Thinking is proactive. Asking for help is proactive. Listening to advice is proactive. Being STILL and quiet is proactive.

To this day I don't "spook" easily, but from time to time it does happen. Every now and then I am reminded that I am not made of steel, but of flesh and blood with a host of faults that make me vulnerable. I trust easily, love quickly, connect with compassion, and I'm often bewildered by the sometimes ugly nature of humans...but if these are my flaws- then my strenghts are defined by a strong backbone, and unwillingness to surrender without a fight, and a faith that good will prevail in my life.

And "good" does not mean "easy"- rather it's often the opposite. "Good" means work, it means thinking and asking for help when I face something difficult, it means listening, and it means being still and quiet.

I'm here, being quiet while I face a difficult issue (a few actually). Thinking about an action plan, asking for help, and being a good listener. I'm sorry that I had to "blip out" without much warning but I did what I thought I needed to do.

Thank you to those of you who were concerned and sent me a note...and for those of you who were just wishing me well and sending good vibes my way. I felt it :)