Thursday, April 14, 2016

Today I Lost My Mother

On Saturday, April 9, 2016, my mother passed away. She had been recovering from breast cancer for nearly a year and laid down for a nap to die in her sleep.

The days that followed were a whirlwind of chaos and tasks. The funeral had to be arranged. Family had to be gathered. Finances had to be looked into. There was no time to rest, no true time to stop.

Now the funeral is over. Family is leaving. Finances still need work, but nothing can truly be done until the Death Certificate comes in a few weeks.

Now I have time to be alone, time to realize that she is gone. In this life I shall not hear her voice again, I shall not see her smile, feel her hugs. Saturday my mother died, today I lost her.

Monday, July 6, 2015

I made a book

I've been wanting to try book binding for a while, and this last week (July 1-2, 2015) I finally tried it.
I started simple and went for a sketchbook.

I used some manila drawing paper I had for the pages. I halved the 8x10 pages. I then folded the resultant 5x8 pages in half and sorted them into signatures of four sheets. I punched holes along the fold every 1/2 inch leaving 1.5 inch on each end. I sewed the signatures together forming a text block. I glued the spine.  Then added some dark brown card stock cover pages on front and back, and glued a paper support strip along the spine. I used a craft knife to trim the edges. I cut some picture matting to size for a cover, glued on some fabric, and then glued the cover sheets to the inside of the cover.

I know, I know, you didn't need the details.

Anyway, I think it was a decent first effort. I can see see where I could do better next time. It was a quick fun project; one I'm proud of. Next I'm going to try binding some printed text and see how that turns out.

Here's two photos. I know it's hard to tell anything about the book, still bragging rights. Thanks. :-)

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

I Choose to Believe or Faith is a Matter of Choice

Central to my and many others belief systems is the idea that we have free agency. Free agency means that while we may be influenced one way or the other we are free to choose our path. Most often people refer to this in context of visible life choices: what to wear, where to go, what to do. And this is true, they are choices we can make. Within our domains, we are surrounded by choices daily. The vast majority are insignificant: apple or orange, this or that. Some are more profound: take the job or refuse, say yes or no. Then comes the conundrums: moral or not, right or wrong.

Still these are the obvious choices. These are the ones we think about; the ones that consume our lives. But there are other choices to be made, the invisible ones. I say they are invisible because we really don't think about them as a choice. Most often we think they just are. It could be we are naturally inclined to make some choices and so act on them. Sometimes the choices we make are justified by existence, other times not.

Take, for example, the Speed of Light. Science tells us that it is about 300,000 kilometers per second. It's a fact. There is seemingly no disputing this. So we believe it. For one microsecond, one split moment of infinity, we had to choose whether we believed it or not. We chose to believe it because people we respect tell us it is so, the math shows it, we can observe it; in short evidence abounds.

But what if I told you that the Speed of Light is in flux and not constant? What if I showed you that it was infinitely faster the closer we were to the Big Bang or Big Crunch? What if I said that the closer light was to a Super Dense Cosmic String the faster it would be? Would you reconsider your choice? Probably not. You chose. You chose what you observed and those you trusted.

Another example and one dearer to many people is that of religious belief. I speak not only of which religion we follow, but of the very idea of an external system or force directing the universe. At some point we choose to look at the universe and see a guiding hand or a series of coincidences governed by a few physical laws. That choice will support the following choices. If we choose the coincidence, your choices become more worldly. If we choose the guiding hand, we must choose if we will follow it or not. We must choose where we think it is. We must choose how we think it should be followed. We must choose. And keep choosing. In either we will see evidences to support our thoughts, we will have choices to support our choices.

A famous quote from the Book of Joshua talks a little about this choice:
"And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua 24:15)

The Jews had an actual choice. They could choose to follow other gods. They would not be forced to follow the God of Abraham. Joshua recognized this and chose.

Psychology tells us that we can learn to trust by choosing to trust. We can choose to share, to confide, to open ourselves up to others. It also says that we can learn to love and increase the love we feel by choosing to love. The same is true for faith. We can choose to trust God. Choose to love Him. Choose to follow and love Him. This choice will be shored up by the evidences we then see and the following choices we make.

I myself made this choice. I chose to believe in the Judeo-Christian God. I chose to trust Him. I chose to believe what I learned of Him and follow those teachings. As such I have seen evidences in my life. These support my choice, and help me to continue to choose as I have. I believe it is our choice as to what we believe, as to how we act, and how we live. As such I hope we all choose wisely.