Day 386 An alkaline life

Today is Thursday. Today, we had some major thunderstorms that rolled through bringing the sounds of a clashing medieval army. Spears on fire raced across the sky and the tears for the dying fell and fell. Sounds better than it just rained, eh? 🙂

Today, I have put together some information for my friends who are struggling with cancer or pre cancer issues. I have been drinking alkaline water for a number of years. I have Barrett’s Esophagus, a pre cancerous condition which can occur after years of acid reflux. A number of years ago, I was on the heaviest medication for ulcers and acid reflux and I never felt good.

A friend of mine, who lives in California and a survivor of breast cancer, turned me on to alkaline water. After much research, I discovered that the body should be in a slightly alkaline state because when it is not, then it is acidic. Acid leaves the cells open to disease especially cancer. Cancer thrives in an acidic and high sugar environment. If your body is alkaline, then it virtually starves out cancer cells.
I started drinking alkaline water with a ph of 9 or 10. Within 3 months all my ulcers disappeared and my acid reflux was gone. I started 7 years ago and I am still free of ulcers and acid reflux.

Today, I thought if I can take care of myself physically with alkaline water, what is the equivalent for inside the heart? Well, the only answer to that is love. As I watch with great sadness at what is going on out there in the world, I realize that hatred is the acid which is destroying life. Hatred caused by selfishness, greed, and fear.
Is love strong enough to conquer the hatred? Some days I truly wonder and I have my doubts.

But what is the alternative? I would never dream of giving up my water and going back to feeling so bad. Likewise, I don’t want to give up on love because I have seen the healing, the transformation, the peace that comes from drinking it in and pouring it out.

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
Lao Tzu

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses.
Ann Landers

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

I know where bitterness and anger lead: despair.  I won’t live like that when I know love is what will save me and give me hope for my future.  Matt DeHart

Learn to love a little more and a little deeper every day…..peace..:)

Day 385 Hugs

Today is Wednesday. Today was a day full of emotion. I have a number of friends who are going through some major health issues, financial issues and personal attacks. I just want to let all of you know how much I love you and at some point expect to receive a hug from me.

Hugs

When all the world seems callous to the pain and fear I feel inside
Give me a hug.
When my refrigerator is empty and they just shut off my electricity
Oh, I could use a hug.
When tomorrow I have surgery and there’s no more sick days for the year
Won’t somebody give me hug?
When scoundrels attack me, spread lies about me and drag my name through the mud
Hold me close in a warm hug.
When I can’t find one soul to help me right an injustice
Can I even get a hug?
When my freedom has been stolen and those I love slip away
Will you hug me?
Hugs. They may not be the answer to our suffering; but to feel the arms of another encircling us and the silent words that speak, “I hurt for you, I understand,” well, it says it all, eh?

Special hugs to Ronda, Ray, Marty, Matt, Amy-Beth, Tracey and others who have had some major suffering going on. I love you all.

peace……..

HUGS

Day 384 Freedom needs even more support

Today is Tuesday. Today, I am one day closer to seeing my son, Matt, out from prison. Today as I took my dog for a walk, or I should say she took me for a walk, I thought about my son taking walks with us.
It’s funny but I think about the day when Chelsea will be released in May and I can only imagine the things she will do and the foods she will eat. I am so excited for her.
Today, I thought about reintegration. I thought about how many in prison have developed friends and their own support group in a horrible situation. Today, I thought about how we must help and support those we know are being released. Chelsea is going to need her people more than ever as she readjusts to being on the “outside.”
My son, Matt, will have the same needs. It is a time when we can’t lighten up on encouragement, on connection, on support.
Today, I thought about people who don’t have anyone on the outside. What do they do when they get out? How do they cope in a world where there is no real safety net, no support, no one encouraging them?
I know, you probably think I sit up at night worrying about this. I don’t but I am cognizant of the fact that within the next few years many of the guys I write will be exiting prison. They have become special to me and I want them to have every chance to make a good life for themselves.

For Chelsea, for Matt, for Jeffrey and others….

Day 383 Just one small act of humanity.

Today is Monday. Today, Matt explained that he is not allowed to get my hand drawn cards anymore. I normally do these in graphite pencil or coloured pencils. He said that someone was caught with contraband so the entire population at the prison is being punished. Why my cards are not welcomed anymore, we don’t know.
I drew Matt a dragonfly, it’s wings spreading to the back of the card. I spent a few hours working on this one. This is the first time ever of his incarceration in jails and prisons that he is unable to get my art cards. I’m astounded. I feel like I’m being punished along with him.
What he got instead of my card; a photograph of my card and a photograph of the words inside. This makes me very sad. Whoever decided to take the picture, I am grateful to him for letting my son see what I made for him. One small act of humanity?
Today is Ross Ulbricht’s birthday. He is another young man who has been unjustly punished by a very abusive and vindictive system. I do not know him personally, but I have seen enough to know that he has some of the same sweet character traits as my son, Matt. He is virtually serving life in prison. I have not given up hope that he will be freed.
Today, I am reminded that another incarcerated young man, Marty Gottesfeld, just lost his father. He is in pretrial detention awaiting trial. This could go on for a long time. Matt was in pretrial for almost 4 years.
What this tells me is not to get so busy that I forget about those who are not free to be with loved ones who are sick and dying, not to be with grieving family members.
If you feel moved, please send a card to Ross for his birthday and a condolence card to Marty for the loss of his father.

Martin Gottesfeld #71225
PCCF
26 Long Pond Road
Plymouth, MA 02360

Ross Ulbricht 18870-111
MCC NY
150 Park Row
New York, NY 10007-1780

To have one’s freedom taken away is punishment enough; draconian sentences, mistreatment, and solitary is absolutely cruel and inhumane.

Peace my friends…let’s be that person who lifts another with one kind word, one kind act, one display of humanity.

Day 382 Money; a tool for good?

Today is Sunday. Today, I heard a lesson on money. Can’t get enough of it for most of us, eh? Seriously, though, money is just a tool to be used to live. For some, money is the means to buying status, for others it is a tool to manipulate. We live in a country that is based on consumerism, so money is the means to acquire stuff and lots of it.
Jesus said that you can’t love money and God at the same time. Let’s just take the love of money. Do your remember the song by Pink Floyd called Money. It starts off with the sound of a old cash register in the background.
If you listen to the words it talks about not messing with “my stash.” Love of money does that. It becomes so important that takes a priority over relationships, humanitarian causes, justice, and even God if you believe in Him.
I recently got a part time job. It helps me to help some less fortunate. I probably mentioned one of my guys I write regularly. He’s the autistic kid in prison. On the weekends, he doesn’t get 3 meals a day and he is hungry. I try to send him money so he can eat. Yeah, we live in the richest country in the world and this poor kid is thrown in prison and he can’t even get 3 meals a day or even good food for that matter.
That is what the love of money does. It says money is more important than feeding people. As a side note, my autistic kid buys food and shares it with the others in his pod. Kindness and mercy given, kindness and mercy shared. Makes my heart smile wide. Sounds like my son, Matt, eh? 🙂
Jesus talks about money more than any other subject and why. Well, we know why. We’ve seen what happens to people when their goal in life is to acquire great wealth. Are there generous people out there who share, undoubtedly, but what is the number of those people compared to those who don’t share? I think you and I both know the answer.
I will never be rich in dollars. I know that. I’m not business savvy nor did I come from a rich family. But, I know money is just a tool and the people that we can help along the way is not only a reward in itself but a testament to our character. We place people above dollars and those I have been fortunate to lend a hand have made me a richer person for knowing them.

When we die folks, we will go out the way we came in: with nothing. How will we be remembered?

Peace my dear dear friends…:)

Day 381 Take a break from the battle

Today is Saturday. Today, I went for a 2 mile walk with my little dog, or should I say she took me for a walk at a rather brisk pace.
Today, it was mentally healthy to give myself a break from seeing the tragedies and violence in this world.
Everyone needs to regroup. Everyone needs to fill his/her mind and soul with something beautiful, something peaceful, something that brings a smile to one’s face.
One of my dearest friends has been going through the fire as of late. He goes without sleep for hours. I asked him to step away fom the issues he was dealing with. I asked him to close his eyes and “go sailing.”
Let the sun warm your face and the cool salty breeze tug at your clothing. Breathe deep, feel the spray as it washes over your warm skin. Hear the music of the waves as they sing about the secrets beneath them.
Release any anger, any negative feelings. Like a piece of fabric in your fingers, open your hand and let the breeze take it from you carrying it toward the sky and far out to sea. Its a speck of colour and now its gone.
We need a distraction, a time out if you will from the fray. Everyone, I hope, has that one place, that one activity, that one person who will make the moment beautiful, peaceful, safe for when we have to jump back into the battle called life.
I wish all of my friends, especially those who sacrifice their own well being for the sake of others a moment or two of beauty and peace, of love and encouragement so when you step back into the fray, you will have the stamina and courage to be your best and to help others be their best, too.

❤❤❤

Day 380 We all can make a difference

Today is Friday. Today, I heard from a couple of people who received mail from Matt. He makes me chuckle. My son offers his support and encouragement. Yet basically what can he do from prison. In the minds of the people who receive the letters or cards, Matt has given them something to hang on to.
I guess it doesn’t really matter where we are and who we are. We all can make a difference in others lives. And, the beauty is that we don’t have to be rich, or wear a title, or look a certain way.
My son is indigent in a prison and the monies he does get, he buys stamps, cards and paper to write letters with the express purpose of connecting and encouraging people.
If some of us would just get it, giving of ourselves no matter how small in our own minds can be a big deal in others minds.
We live in a world where you will find me say again and again, no one gets too much encouragement.
When I substituted in New York, I told a story to my middle schoolers.
One day a boy, who was walking home from school, had his back pack yanked from him and his books tossed. The perpetrators, a group of boys who like to bully others, laughed as they left the victim of their unkindness scrambling to retrieve his books.
Another young man, who wasn’t particularly friendly, came along and decided to help the other boy gather up the books. He shrugged and flashed a quick smile when the boy with the backpack thanked him.
Many years later the two boys now successful men happened to meet up at a reunion. The one man, who was bullied, told the other that a life was saved that day. Apparently, the bullied boy was on his way home to end his own life until another boy stopped to help and give him a smile. One act of kindness made all the difference in the world for a lonely and bullied kid.
We all carry burdens no matter what walk of life. My son can encourage others who in turn share with and encourage me and I can share and encourage you…:)
What can you do to spread a little joy in someone else’s life? You maybe even save a life.

“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.”

Princess Diana

❤❤❤❤❤Peace my friends..❤

Day 379 What is Love?

Today is Thursday. Today, I went to see an older woman who ended up in the hospital with heart problems. I brought her a bunny and I think I made her day. I told her that when she looked at it, remember that some bunny loves her..:)

What is love? When I look at what the world considers love; it seems a bit shallow to me and based on one’s performance. It’s so easy to say the words, “I love you,” but it’s another thing to act out love.

One of my favorite and most profound descriptions of love is found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. If there is another description that can identify love as beautiful as this, then I have yet to find it.

“4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.”

Don’t we all want to be loved like that? We are not perfect and so we will not love as beautifully as this passage shows but that should not stop us from trying.

I have friends who have held grudges against other friends for a long time. My sincere prayer is that they will let it go. Love keeps records of no wrongs. There is a greater evil out there that delights in destroying relationships because there is power in solidarity and that is a real threat.

Today, I saw some acts of love; honouring a friend who had been attacked and smeared by others. I told my friend that having people who love you and protect you can not be bought with anything in this world. We are rich beyond measure when we are truly loved.

I have a young man who writes me regularly and he always ends his letters:  Love your friend and please give Matt my love, too.  He knows that I love him and he says that he hopes he can come see us one when he is out.

I saw some words written on the back of a jeep today:  Love is louder.  Amen.  That will be my favorite new saying..:)

My love to all my friends. I hold you dear and close to my heart.

Day 378 You are not pretty…

Today is Wednesday. Today, I had lunch with a retired teacher and it was so encouraging to meet some of her students for whom she had positive influence. In honour of the few good teachers who invest in their students and help make a difference in young lives, I have written a piece. I am remembering my English teacher as I write this.

“I didn’t see you at the school dance,” I sat down on the bench.

“I’m not pretty.” Her eyes never left the ground.
“It’s hard to find clothes for my size that look nice.”
Her thick brows bunched as she tugged at the billowy dress.

“What did you do today,” I asked.
Shrugging, she said, “Nothing. I just hung out at the Center on Dyer.”
The Center is a not for profit that provides after school care, meals for seniors, shelter for the homeless, job training, counseling and support for those struggling with substance abuse.

“So, you just hung out?”
“Mostly. I fed this old lady who has this disease that twists her hands up.”
“Some kind of debilitating arthritis, I suspect.”
“Yeah,” she answered pushing some strands of hair away from her face.
“She was hungry. For a skinny old lady she ate like my dad. Jordan came today.”

“Ahh, he’s the kid with depression.”
“Yeah. I talked with him for a couple of hours. He hasn’t cut himself in two months.”
I smiled. “That’s because he has someone he can talk to.”
“I guess,” she said unconsciously rubbing an old scar on her arm.
“How are the twins?” I watched her lips as they curved slightly.

“Brats,” she replied glancing up at me quickly. “I told them if they didn’t do their homework, they couldn’t have any ice cream. They wanted me to help. It’s not that they aren’t smart.”
I laughed. “Let me guess. You helped them and they got ice cream, too.”
Her brown eyes smiled before her lips did. “They think I’m their big sister or something. They don’t want to go home when their mom picks them up. She’s always yelling at them.”

“It’s got to be tough being a single mom, don’t you think?”
She nodded. “I asked her if she wanted me to babysit. I mean I can do it for free if she doesn’t have the money to pay me. Those kids need..”
“A big sister,” I finished. The bus was coming and we both stood up from the bench.

I reached out and grabbed her hand and she gave me a puzzled look.
“You are right,” I said. “You are not pretty. No, not at all.”
Her eyes grew big and she bit her lip.
“You are the most beautiful girl I have ever known. Thank you for sitting next to me.”
As she climbed the stairs of the bus, she turned to look back at me. I threw her a kiss.

What is beauty if it is not the tender and compassionate heart of a young person, of any person?

To all of you who give up your time in service of other people, you are beautiful; so very beautiful.  That goes for my son who might frown if I called him beautiful..:)

peace.

Day 377 Our “in”justice system and being forced to lie

Today is Tuesday. Today, I learned the outcomes of two dear friends and committed supporters of Matt who both had to go to court today. One lives in the UK and the other in the States. Vastly different outcomes based on how the law is respected or not respected.

My friend in the UK is able to speak to the judge directly. This is valuable because if you have a pathetic lawyer, you would be able to bring to the judge’s attention what your lawyer failed to do. In the case of my friend, she was able to inform the judge in detail and the court proceedings went quite favorably.

Now my friend from the States was not so lucky. Not only does one have to have a lawyer present, most judges are not open to a defendant representing herself nor will they encourage self expression. Because we have this flawed system and little respect for the law, my friend was pressured to plea as is the usual outcome 93 to 97% of the time.

I asked her if I could post her message to me about her proceedings today and she graciously agreed. She wanted me to know that she understood how Matt felt and that she admires him…:)

I was in court today and pleaded guilty to something I wasn’t guilty of. So when the judge asked if I was guilty I said yes then he asked what it was that caused me to be guilty and I forgot what the prosecutor told me to say so I said whatever like it was a question not a statement. It felt good to catch a break in court but lying saying I did something I didn’t do was a hard pill to swallow because I pride myself on being truthful. So I could only imagine how Matt felt. My pride might have gotten me a full sentence if I was in Matt’s shoes before I had my daughter. What? You say you will kill my mother? Ya promise? lol I can only imagine having to go against every fiber of his being to take that plea and handles it with the utmost dignity and grace. I would be a bitter bitch until the day I died. That kid of yours amazes me. He really does.”

What kind of system do we have that makes people have to lie so that they will not be charged with something even more heinous? When the local and federal gov’ts don’t want to go to trial because they have to produce evidence that is flawed or not just there (they are not above manufacturing it if you push the issue) and many lawyers are complicit because they don’t want to spend the money you paid them on court costs then I think you would have to agree that we definitely have an “IN”JUSTICE SYSTEM.

This is for all those out there who keep asking me why my son took a plea. My advice: read up people. It happens all the time. Same unethical game plan, same threats to family members, same plea facilitators. Why do you think we have the most incarcerated people in the world? Yes. that includes China and Russia.

Peace people..:) Knowledge is necessary.