Found Objects, and a Holiday Greeting

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Recently I began a new home renovation project, my biggest thus far…I’m moving my kitchen and raising the ceiling from 8ft to 12 feet. Doing this myself, this will without doubt take at least six months. At any rate, I’m off to a good start. My humble abode is about 150 years old; American Civil War era. I know to my friends in the EU and many other places a building that is 150 years old is not really that old, but on this side of the pond, a wooden structure of this age is pretty old (I’ve spoken of the history of my house and one of its first inhabitants before–who was also one of our area original bicycle advocates–to read that post, click here). Anyhow, this isn’t my first renovation project, but it is my first in a couple years. I always find it interesting as I’m gutting a room to see the craftsmanship that went into building it before power tools. And I am fully aware that I am destructing someone’s earlier construction. Often–when I remember–I’ll say a small prayer to the earlier inhabitants of this house and thank them but also let them know that I am simply upgrading the house to keep it standing. But is often the case, I am getting slightly off topic. I also find it very interesting when I find things in walls, ceilings, etc. This is what I found in the walls over the past week…a loose ring of pipe, two keys (which don’t look that old, but I wonder why they were hidden in a wall), a small glass bottle, and a Star of David ornament (this also, I wonder why it was in the wall). Some people find cash hidden in their walls, this is what I found. Anyhow, Happy Rosh Hashanah to my Jewish friend, both those I know personally and those that I’ve never met. Peace, Shalom, Salaam.

Urban Simplicity.

Photos from the Peace Rally

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Niagara Square, Buffalo, New York, September 1, 2013

Urban Simplicity.

Wise Words…

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That’s Howard pictured above (or is it Harold…sorry I am not that great with remembering names). He is one of a number of silent peaceful protesters that I see standing at the intersection of Elmwood and Bidwell each and every Saturday…rain or shine, snow or cold. They’ve been doing this for years. The women not pictured, who are standing to his left, are part of the Women in Black movement. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ridden past them. So today as I did so I decided to stop and say hi and thank you. I really believe that peaceful measures are our only hope if we, as a species, choose to survive (yes, it is our choice). We really need to give peace a chance. Anyhow, this post is to them…the peaceniks on the corner who are stand up for what the believe…

Urban Simplicity.

A Fresh Start…Take What You Need (but give what you can)

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Photo Found Here.

2013. It always feels a little odd to write the date of the new year for the first time. Just another day, or is it? Any day can be–and is–the opportunity for a fresh start, but today is especially pertinent being the beginning of a new calendar year. You may have seen the above image (or variations of it) floating around the Internet. I hadn’t until this morning when someone posted a link to this excellent article on Facebook. After Googling the phrase (of the above image) I was surprised to see how popular it is; maybe I’m the only one who hasn’t seen it. Anyhow, I thought it is a great message for the start of the new year (and so is the article that I previously mentioned), but my only problem with it is rather than simply taking…we should also give in return. I’m just sayin’…

This said, I just want to say thank you for visiting, following, and commenting…readership has nearly doubled this past year. This little blog is a hobby of mine that would surly run out of steam if I thought I was typing to an empty theater. So again, thank you. I wish us all a healthy and prosperous year ahead, but mostly I pray for peace…for my country, for our planet, and for each one of us.

And on the lighter side, I came across the below image a while ago and thought it would be fun to share…Woody Guthrie’s New Years resolutions 1942 (click it for a larger view).

Woody's resolutions

Urban Simplicity.

Non-Violence Overcoming Hatred; Love in Action

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Firstly, I have to apologize for so many Beatles-centric videos…three in a row. I do really like them, but that’s not the reason; I posted the one yesterday and happened to come across the above one today (and then had to post the below one as well). Anyhow, this is awesome. If you only watch one of these watch the one above (but I do hope you view both). The above video was filmed in Times Square just yesterday by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady. It begins by showing Terry Jones spewing his hatred in Times Square. For those who have not heard of him, Terry Jones is the so-called pastor who threatened to burn the Holy Koran at his Florida church last year. Anyhow, the camera pans the stunned crowd and then one guy–who it looks like he Googled the lyrics on his phone–begins to sing. Within a short time the crowd is singing All You Need is Love loud enough that the pretend pastor is no longer heard. This is such an excellent short film.

I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…

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This blog began as a sort of online diary (which it never really became) and sometimes I still treat it as such…hoping, I suppose, that someone reads it and it somehow effects them in a positive way. Even in the smallest way. Or that they respond and it inversely effects me (which it/you have…thank you).

This said, I have to mention that things are weighing heavy on my heart these days. I feel like we are in dark days; as a society, country, and planet as a whole. Maybe it’s the long darkness of this time of year that’s effecting me–dark early and light late–but it’s really the recent events. I just cannot stop thinking about the shooting this past week. Those innocent children and adults…

I have been a person of deep faith my entire life, but I’d not be telling the truth if I said this didn’t shake my faith at its very core. It brings tears to my eyes for so many reasons. For the obvious reasons of course, but also less overt. We, as a nation–as a world–have to change. We need a new paradigm. I worry for us. I worry for my son’s generation.

Violence and greed are not only the norm today, they are glorified. We as a people have become desensitized. Rather than trusting and befriending each other we fear each other. And in turn keep guns as an illusion of safety. But what we need, I think, is to look at each other and realize that we are not so different from one another.

What I can do on a personal level–what I have to do–is to stand up for what is right…for what I know is right from my deepest most inner being. To do what was written on my heart–on all of our hearts–before we were born. Treat people and our planet with respect. To help my neighbor and sow peace wherever I can.

We (America) as a nation are really good at waging war and inflicting violence. What we need now is to wage peace and show compassion.

It is a known fact that light overcomes darkness. If you bring light into a darkened room it becomes light, but a lighted room cannot be made dark by bringing in darkness. Love overcomes evil. In the end it always does. And this being true, then peace will overcome violence. It has to.

In this sacred time of year, and as we approach the winter solstice (which of course is the darkest day of the year), I pray. I pray for peace. I pray for those little innocent angels whose lives were cut so incredibly short. I pray for their families and for their unfathomable loss. But mostly I pray for peace. And that each of our hearts and minds is open to healing and forgiveness.

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…”
–John Lennon

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

You, you may say
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world

You, you may say
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

If just for one day…


Photo found here.

The 21st of September is International Day of Peace, with the lofty goal of international cease-fire for a day. It would be amazing, wouldn’t it? Whatever it is you do–whether you pray, meditate, sing, dance, chant, or contemplate…or just sit and think–I hope all of us will send our positive vibrations into the global sphere for hopes of world peace. We, as a species, certainly know how to wage war on each other–and on an incredibly massive scale–but what we need to do is to learn how to wage peace. It may be our only hope for survival. We could be heroes, if just for one day…

Urban Simplicity.

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