family?

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The caption for this photo is

“Amanda Palmer will be playing gigs at Edinburgh at Queen’s Hall on the 9th and 10th of August and the 17th and 18th. There are still tickets for the first two shows, if you are in Edinburgh this month.”

This is Neil Gaiman, Amanda Palmer, and their son, Ash.

Many people commented on their son, saying things like “Why does Ash look likes he wants to eat my soul? What gifts do I need to bring appease my Overlord?”

and “Is it just me… or does your child have THAT look on their face… you know the one… like they’re heavily considering eating the whole Universe?”

and one commented –

“A family that sticks together … so rare and lovely. Peace and best wishes.”

—–

Except this is Neil’s second family.  He was married to his first wife, Mary, for decades.  They had three children together.  He left her for Amanda.  He doesn’t talk about his previous children at all now.  So what part is a “family that sticks together”?

 

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Butterflies of 2018

First sightings of butterflies for the year.  All in Old Hickory, TN.  I am an amateur butterfly spotter, so the IDs are as accurate as I can make them for now.

July 5, 2018

Zebra Swallowtail

709b

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

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July 9

Silver spotted skipper

709

July 11

Cloudless Sulphur

711b

Cabbage (?)  – very active, hard to photograph and ID

711

Skipper (of some sort – there are a lot…)

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July 18

Gulf Fritilary

718

July 19

Pipevine Swallowtail

719

July 24

Hummingbird moth (Snowberry Clearwing) – not a butterfly, but still cool

724b

July 25

Variegated Fritilary

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Spicebush swallowtail – probably a male

July 25

July 26

Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

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Male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (first sighting was July 5, but this is a better photograph)

724

July 31

Horace’s Duskywing Skipper

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Dark morph Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

8-1-18

Monarch

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8-2-18

Hackberry Emperor

Cloudless sulphur (a better picture)

cloudless sulphur

August 11

Common Buckeye

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Mental health and the pothole

How mental health works –

I saw this pothole.

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It was on my route every day to work. I decided to fill it with rocks from my walk. I can only carry a few at a time (in a plastic grocery bag). So I will gather rocks and fill it little by little every time I go for a walk.

It took a week to get to the point from where I saw the problem, figured out the solution, and started to commit to it. It is a slow process, but that is how it works.

A little later –

It has been days since I have last worked on this. I have left myself a note on the dining room table and a large rock at the end of my driveway to remind me that I need to keep working on this task.

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It doesn’t matter that I haven’t done any more work in several days. It only matters that I continue the work. While this may look mostly complete, it is not. It is shallow. I need to add more to it. I have found a place at the end of the road where they have recently repaved so I am not taking rocks from anybody’s driveway. But to get these rocks requires that I walk all the way to the bottom of the hill and then carry the rocks, small bag by small bag, up to the top of the hill.

This too is mental health.

Do what you can with what you have, even if it is small. Something is better than nothing.  Keep going.

Also, rains will come and wash some of this away. Cars will drive over it and knock some of the rocks out. I will need to check it every now and then to make sure that it is whole and add more to it.

That too is part of mental health.

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Days later….I found a small (palm-sized) box to scoop the rocks into.

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It can’t be a big box because I have to carry it. So I walked down to the bottom of the hill to gather the rocks and then I looked up. Here’s the view looking up the hill.

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I can’t see the top from here. But I know it’s there. The trick is to just keep on walking towards the goal even if you can’t see it.

When I get to the top I see that cars have driven over my filled-in pothole, kicking out some of the rocks.

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So some of my work has gone away. This is not a “do it and walk away” project. This requires diligence.
People may try to take away from your happiness intentionally or otherwise. But all that you have done doesn’t go away. That was a lot of exercise just putting those rocks there. That is not erased. And I got a lot of encouragement from starting a project and persisting in it.

But then sometimes you have to admit that the task is bigger than you are equipped or trained to handle.  The rocks I put there were now scattered on the road.  The road isn’t a smooth surface for walking anymore.

So yesterday (7/26/18) I contacted a professional (the city government) – to fill in the pothole.

This too is mental health.

They fixed it on Friday, 7/27/18

hole

A different take on the immigration issue.

shirt

(Image credit – Lupito’s Photography)

A friend posted this image on social media recently, and while some of his friends understood the message, some decided to take it another direction.

Ed S. said “It wasn’t stolen they fought among themselves until a third player beat everyone…has happened before…pick up a book.”

My friend replied “A third party that steals is still stealing.”

Grant A. replied “Who can claim domain first? Different tribes utterly destroyed each other from the beginning of time, well into early American history. Should Mexicans give Mexico back to the Mayans, Aztecs, Toatecs and Omatecs? They are after all in all essence Spanish by decent for the most part. This is a question deeper than we will ever know. Who was here first originally and has the original claim?”   and added “correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t early settlers/government call westward expansion imminent domain? I haven’t studied history concerning this since college.”

To which my friend replied “The thing about history is that it is written by the victors”

And here is my reply –

“I’ve heard this line of reasoning before. Is it a script? Because it doesn’t justify how we took their land and forced them onto reservations. Maybe deep down the fear of immigrants is rooted in karma – that they will do to whites what our predecessors did to the people who were living here. Maybe it is time to break the habit of history repeating itself. Maybe there is something in the message of Jesus feeding the masses, that if we give thanks to God for what we have, and share it with those in need, there will be more than enough. Maybe I’m an idealist, but so was Jesus. And he is worth following.”

 

 

Morning prayer 6-21-18

Dear God, I bring forward to you in prayer all who are searching for a better way of life. Those who are struggling because they don’t like their jobs, or they need more money at their current jobs or they don’t have a job at all. Help them to find Your will in this matter. Help them to get a job that honors You and bring forth Your mission in this world to serve all people as if they are You. Or help them to understand that You have placed them where they are for a reason and to accept your will make do with less, remembering that things don’t make us happy – You do. In Your holy name I pray,  amen.

mental / emotional / spiritual health

We talk about having a “go-bag” for natural disasters. How about having a plan in place for mental / emotional / spiritual problems? Do you have a daily practice that keeps you grounded and stable? What can you share of that to help others? Many of you know that I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder for nearly 20 years. I have committed myself twice, and am in recovery. That being said – I have also been married for 14 years, held the same job for 17 years, and have excellent credit and health. All of that happened after my diagnosis. There is a LOT that I do to keep myself sober – mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually. Mental/emotional/spiritual health is an inside job and requires as much work as physical health – if not more so, because our society doesn’t value it. Perhaps it is time to. We have lost too many people to suicide, to substance abuse, to mass murder. We have a mental-health epidemic going on. Sanity starts with each person, making tiny daily steps on a consistent basis, towards getting stronger. It isn’t easy, but it is essential.

Things I do –
No substance abuse – this includes the usual suspects but also I severely limit caffeine and sugar of all sorts.
Daily exercise.
Reading the Bible.
Making art.
Doing worksheets for my emotional health.
Doing family of origin work.