Posts Tagged ‘faith’

America! America! God mend thine every flaw

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

 

I am fearful that our beloved United States of America is going to follow a path (despite the rules laid down by our founders) that defies to protect us from the fate of Saudi Arabia, China and Russia.  All of those places have no tolerance for intellectual freedom much less freedom of religion or freedom to love. 

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I love America with all my heart…   her amber waves of grain are being destroyed by pipelinesHer purple mountain majesty is being blown to bits by coal magnates.

amber waves of grain

 

 

Her beautiful spacious skies will again be choked with soot and fear.  Her brotherhood of good From sea to shining sea will have to hide and whisper in corners and alleys.

texas

Confirm thy soul in self-control, Thy liberty in law.  Self-control is likened to weakness and liberty to peril. 

I weep, and seek the comfort of the like minded.  I cling to to the lovers of clean food and thought, pristine water and mind, clear air and soul.  Greed is the enemy of all those things. 

America please see what is happening.  Please embrace what our founders saw and tried to keep for everyone after them.  O beautiful for patriot dream that sees beyond the years

O beautiful for patriot dream that sees beyond the years   I repeat –> O beautiful for patriot dream that sees beyond the years.  Take that in.

patriot dreams

 

that sees

 

waterfall

 

maine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Till selfish gain no longer stain, the banner of the free!

 

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Theology vs Science

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

within one generationThis is a legitimate theory in my mind because no Buddhist has ever started a war.   TJ and the gang had written some stuff about God, religion, and spirituality that I’ve been collecting.  Here are a few…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear.”  (<– I love that line) and “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and State.”
-Thomas Jefferson 
I refer to him as “TJ”

 

We have already compared the benefits of theology and science.  When the theologian governed the world, it was covered with huts and hovels for the many, palaces and cathedrals for the few.  To nearly all the children of men, reading and writing were unknown arts.  The poor were clad in rags and skins — they devoured crusts, and gnawed bones.  The day of Science dawned, and the luxuries of a century ago are the necessities of today.  Men in the middle ranks of life have more of the conveniences and elegances than the princes and kings of the theological times.  Above and over all this, is the development of the mind.  There is more value in the brain of an average man of today — of a master-mechanic, of a chemist, of a naturalist, of an inventor, than there was in the brain of the world four hundred years ago.  These blessings did not fall from the skies.  These benefits did not drop from the outstretched hands of priests.  They were not found in cathedrals or behind altars —  neither were they searched for with holy candles.  They were not discovered by the closed eyes of prayer, nor did they come in answer to superstitious supplication.  They are the children of freedom, the gifts of reason, observation and experience — and for them all, man is indebted to man.

Robert Green Ingersoll, “God In The Constitution

Faith

Churches are becoming political organizations…     It probably will not be long until the churches will divide as sharply upon political, as upon theological questions; and when that day comes, if there are not liberals enough to hold the balance of power, this Government will be destroyed.  The liberty of man is not safe in the hands of any church. Wherever the Bible and sword are in partnership, man is a slave.  All laws for the purpose of making man worship God, are born of the same spirit that kindled the fires of the auto da fe, and lovingly built the dungeons of the inquisition.  All laws defining and punishing blasphemy — making it a crime to give your honest ideas about the Bible, or to laugh at the ignorance of the  ancient Jews, or to enjoy yourself on the Sabbath, or to give your opinion of Jehovah, were passed by impudent bigots, and should be at once repealed by honest men.  An infinite God ought to be able to protect himself, without going in partnership with State Legislatures.    Robert Green Ingersoll, Some Mistakes of Moses, Section III, “The Politicians,” in Works, Dresden Edition, Volume 2

Our civilization is not Christian.  It does not come from the skies.  It is not a result of “inspiration.”  it is the child of invention, of discovery, of applied knowledge — that is to say, of science.  When man becomes great and grand enough to admit that all have equal rights; when thought is untrammeled; when worship shall consist in doing useful things; when religion means the discharge of obligations to our fellow-men, then, and not until then, will the world be civilized.

Robert Green Ingersoll, “Reply To The Indianapolis Clergy” The Iconoclast, Indianapolis, Indiana (1882)

human experience

“Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You’ll learn from them—if you want to. Just as some day, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry.”
J. D. Salinger 

A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave.  A soul mates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master…”
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)

not a bad life

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I’m not thinking I’m going to meet my spiritual master until I leave this life.  I listen to the theories and observe the actions of others while I’m here.  The power of a strong faith or good karma seem to be as useful and real and tangent as scientific theories.   Jo

your beliefs

 

 
 



What makes an American good?

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Can a Muslim be a good American

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A conversation with a co-worker led to this inquiry.  This response from a regular American who happens to be Muslim explained plenty.  I apologize that I don’t have her name.

A Muslim can be a good American, as are most Muslims that I know and interact with.  Let me give you a general overview…
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon Him) began preaching Islam in Makkah — there, he and his followers lived in Makkah, where most of the people where idol worshippers. later, he was pushed out of Makkah and went to Madinah, where he and his followers lived, in peace, amidst huge amounts of Jewish tribes.  Moreover, when he finally was able to go back to Makkah, it was a bloodless conquest… despite the fact that he and his followers were tortured and thrown out of Makkah by the people therein, and despite the fact that now, years later, the Prophet had power and people and could take revenge and killed the people who tortured them in Makkah, the opening of Makkah was a bloodless conquest. any Islamic history book will document this fact, and that alone proves that a Muslims can coexist with non muslims and be a good citizen of those respective countries. now… on to your points.
Theologically, Muslim allegiance is to Allah (as Christian allegiance is to Jesus) — but that doesn’t stop me from being a good citizen. I obey Allah, and worship Him and adhere to His words in the same exact way that a devout Christian or Jew would adhere to their books and beliefs. This doesn’t make the Christian or Jew unable to be a good American, and likewise with the Muslim — our allegiance is to Allah, which means we obey His rules — we pray, we fast, we help the needy and poor, we don’t commit adultery, we don’t drink alcohol, we don’t steal, and we don’t kill innocent people and so on — none of these things go against being a good American.
Religiously – even if Islam is the only accepted religion in the eyes of Allah, that doesn’t mean that we as Muslims have the right to judge others. ask a devout Christian about Christianity — he’ll tell you that Jesus Christ’s way is the only way. likewise, Muslims will tell you that Islam is the only way — that doesn’t mean that we’re going to judge non Muslims as going to Hell, because no one knows the future and no one knows, even a great enemy to Islam might become a Muslim and we have to embrace him as our brother the next day. Judging is left to God, so its not for us to judge; thus, this doesn’t affect us being good Muslims.
Scriptually – I can follow the 5 Pillers of Islam (belief in God, praying my 5 prayers, fasting Ramadan, paying my charity (zakah), doing Hajj once in a lifetime), along with following the rules in the Quran (not stealing, not killing innocent people, doing good things, etc) without affecting me being a good American.  A Muslim who adheres to God’s rules IS a good American because he treats others with kindness even when treated poorly by others.

Socially – the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to interact normally with the non Muslims of Makkah and Madinah — there’s nothing that prevents a Muslim from interacting and being nice to people around them – in fact, if a Muslim doesn’t do that, how is he going to spread his religion? The spreading of religion comes by others seeing the way we act in accordance to our religion, thus they see the beauty of it and accept it.

Politically – Muslim allegiance is to God.  America is not Satan, neither is Israel — there are people in America and Israel (especially in the government) who want the destruction and demise of Islam and Muslims, but that doesn’t mean the general populace of these countries also want that, that any people should be destroyed.  Our job as Muslims is to follow the teachings of the true Islam, after which people will see the beauty of our religion. When people see the beauty of Islam, many people will accept it. the problem today is that there are some extremists (terrorists exist in all religions) who do things in the name of Islam, and people have come to associate their actions with the actions of every Muslim. Over 20% of the world’s population is Muslim, and those terrorists do not even make up 1% of the number of Muslims — it is ridiculous to generalize about 1.3+ billion people based on what 200 terrorists do or say.

Domestically – Do you know why it was allowed for men to marry 4 women?  How many people do you know have married four women? You may hear of “Muslims with 4 wives” – and you change it to “he is instructed to marry 4 women” — that’s not the case (wait, i am coming to the beating part, patience) — a man *can* marry 4 women under very strict situations and circumstances which basically are very hard to fulfill these days.  Most men do not marry more than one woman. It is not an instruction or an order in any way.  When you look into the reason behind it, maybe you’ll understand why it is allowed.

Regarding the beating part – the problem is, you are taking an English translation out of context (the same thing with the bible).  I advise you to look at the verse’s translation in an Arabic Tafseer book where it will be explained. suffice it to say that the Prophet, who is the example for all mankind, never hit his wives, and whenever he did, he hit them with a straw. yes, a straw. its not meant as beating.  (perhaps we need to let the terrorists know this.  Spare the rod spoil the child types and stoning folks for misdoings)

I would also like to point out that Islam is the first religion to give rights to women. (this might be a stretch)  the Prophet implemented this in his time – he opened the first Islamic hospital and put a woman in charge of it to cure both men and women – some of the greatest teachers of Islam were women. the Prophet even took advice in crucial matters from his wives. Don’t be afraid to learn the teachings of Islam rather than take things that you hear without looking them through.

Intellectually – the Bible is the book of God. We believe it has been altered, but nothing in the constitution goes against my day to day religious practices or beliefs. notice it says “in God we trust” – “one nation under God” – these statements don’t go against Islam in any way. if it had said “in Jesus we trust” or “one nation under Jesus,” then maybe you’d be right, but it doesn’t.

 Philosophically – Islam is the first democracy.  (really?!) As a matter of fact, to the extent of the fact that if one person complained about a person the Prophet or one of the caliph’s put in charge, even if that person was a liar, they had the person replaced with someone that everyone consented and agreed with. Islam brought democracy, long before the idea ever was brought by western civilization. The prophet took the opinion and expression of his companions, even women.

Christians and Muslims worship the same God.  Christians believe that Jesus is part of that God and the Holy Spirit is part of that God. We believe that God is 1, not in a trinity.  Allah not referred to as loving and kind? as a matter of fact, the first verse of the Quran says “in the name of God, the Beneficient, the Merciful” — the very FIRST verse. in every chapter, God talks about His mercy and kindness.

My views are not liberal; they are the views of any mainstream Muslim. I’ve lived in this country, I’ve helped this country (by contributing my knowledge, ideas, time and effort to its schools, universities, corporate environments, and volunteer environments) – as have the majority of other Muslims.

 

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HealthReform.gov

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices.

Voltaire

Senate Republicans pledge that their first crack at repealing The Affordable Care Act (ACA) won’t be their last.  Some refer to it as Obama’s Health Care Law or Obamacare.  The ACA is about Freedom.  Some factions are adamantly drilling in the idea that the ACA is taking away our freedom to not have insurance.  They push the idea that the government is trying to control your body and kill your grandma. When our presidents wife suggests we grow our own food and get more exercise she is compared to Stalin.  It is OK for a child to grow up and die in a war to protect our freedom to not have health insurance?  Please read the truth…

Financial Relief Employer

Today, employers can begin submitting applications for the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program. Created by the Affordable Care Act, this program provides $5 billion in financial assistance to employers, unions and state and local governments to help them maintain coverage for early retirees age 55 and older who are not yet eligible for Medicare.

President Obama announces new regulations. Photo by Chris Smith.

For too long insurance company bureaucrats have stood between Americans and their doctors. On Tuesday, President Obama announced new regulations that will crack down on unfair practices by insurers and change the balance of power back in favor of consumers – putting consumers back in charge of their health coverage and care.

Answering Questions Online

Secretary Sebelius marks the three month anniversary of the Affordable Care Act with a live webchat where she will answer your questions.

Doctor and patient.

Today, HHS announced new investments under the Affordable Care Act to support prevention activities and develop the nation’s public health infrastructure which will improve health and enhance health care quality.

To read more facts go to…

HealthReform.gov

Most Americans without insurance don’t have insurance because they can’t afford it not because they don’t want it.  The gentleman who owns the small restaurant had to let his family plan go to keep the business afloat and ignored his chest pains.  The waitress let her private plan go after rates increased due to her kidney stones in order to pay for her condo she paid too much for in 2005.  Most emergency rooms are full of “self-pays”  because self-pays use ER’s as their only source of health care.  Preventative care does not exist for the average self-pay American.
Most restaurants and small businesses can’t afford to offer insurance plans and private plans are expensive, with high deductibles.  There are a those not yet experiencing problems with their health, but they have rent and weddings and cell phone plans to pay for and insurance premiums just don’t fit in to the budget.

The ACA will enhance our freedom — freedom from worry about accidents and sickness, freedom from worrying that if you use your insurance the rates will go up or worse yet you’ll no longer be covered, free from discrimination, free to provide insurance for our adult children, and free preventive care for seniors.

My favorite freedom is the freedom to have your own business because you are no longer forced to work in the corporate world to provide insurance for your family.  Many corporations don’t want us to have that kind of freedom and are backing politicians who convince us to keep things just as they are.

Just be careful what you wish for.


“…The health care law is little different from Social Security. The court unanimously recognized  in 1982 that it would be “difficult, if not impossible” to maintain the financial soundness of a Social Security system from which people could opt out. The same analysis holds here: by restricting certain economic choices of individuals, we ensure the vitality of a regulatory regime clearly within Congress’s power to establish. The justices aren’t likely to be misled by the reasoning that prompted two of the four federal courts that have ruled on this legislation to invalidate it on the theory that Congress is entitled to regulate only economic “activity,” not “inactivity,” like the decision not to purchase insurance. This distinction is illusory. Individuals who don’t purchase insurance they can afford have made a choice to take a free ride on the health care system. They know that if they need emergency-room care that they can’t pay for, the public will pick up the tab. This conscious choice carries serious economic consequences for the national health care market, which makes it a proper subject for federal regulation.

By LAURENCE H. TRIBE

I feel that an individual whose actions are motivated by the wish to bring others happiness necessarily meets with less misfortune that one who does not. Sickness, old age, mishaps of one sort or another are the same for us all. But the sufferings which undermine our internal peace – anxiety, doubt, disappointment – these are definitely less.

Dalai Lama

Water

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010
Good Morning!
water_coffee

While drinking my hot beverage made from the beans of a tree and paying my water bill I started thinking more about water.  Coffee bean trees grow because of water and my coffee is brewed in water.

Water keeps our exquisite Earth alive.  It saves us and our earth from being like other lifeless planets.  Of course, we nor the earth would be alive long if all the earths water was contaminated. 

 

water in you

   Water plus carbon and a few other minerals make us.

This critter is savoring that little orb of clean water the way I am savoring my coffee right now.  I am a lifeless mineral glob without my Java.

To give anything life, to keep anything alive it must have water.

Water is so life giving that I think maybe God is water and we are drilling for –> well,  you get my point?


“High Hopes”

Sunday, May 16th, 2010
pure joy
We deserve to escape stress and acting dumb sometimes works.  I remember one particularly stressful afternoon in an ICU a nurse started singing “High Hopes”.  You know the song ->- “Just what makes that little ole ant think he’ll move that rubber tree plant?” A brilliant nurse stopped and became silly; it made us all chuckle and carry on with a smile and lifted our moods.

Some young man is losing his life in a war, and some dolphin is gasping in a sea full of oil, and some evilness is being plotted for financial advantage.   Other evils are plotted and I don’t understand the advantage, maybe just some kind of revenge, like the stolen Nigerian girls.  What is the advantage of stealing the dreams of young women to make their lives horrifying?

Soldiers going off to wars to die for some cause.  What a strange world we have created.  We get feelings of pride and gratification or at least a feeling of safety from their sacrifices.  I wish we had a world where, no one ever has to endure the impending doom soldiers in war face everyday. I hate the idea of someone dying for my safety.  I wish extremists of every form would just bring it down a notch.  Go hug a baby or something.  Back off the medication or take more — or something.

Being good is insurance for when you’re dumb — Alexis Ohanian

“Don’t be Evil” — Google

Life's simple joys

Life’s simple joys

Stop!

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

 

 

 

Do you think otherworldly influences try to message us?   Earthquakes, Tsunami’s, Hurricanes and volcanoes.  Remember the Iceland Volcano that caused flights all over the world to stop.    Religious extremists said that bad things were happening because of our heathen ways. 

Scientists disagree about the causes of these anomalies according to what corporation is paying them to say what. 

George Carlin said the earth is going to shake us off like a bad case of fleas. 

I look at this photo of the Iceland Volcano that disrupted air traffic for weeks and think maybe the message is  —   we need to stop —  for awhile and hang out on cots and talk about stuff with strangers in large rooms.

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 While millions lamented their misfortune a few military families were able to keep Dad home a few more days because of the volcanic ash and flight cancellations.

 

 

 

 

 

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   It can be a wonderfully mysterious world eh?

Faith

Monday, October 19th, 2009

dinosaur extinction finally explained

The thoughts of this person are worth sharing.  There is a book called The Case for God by Karen Armstrong.  Ms Armstrong spent seven years as a nun in a Roman Catholic order.  The italicized commentary is from a person known as “Johannes”.

Johannes says:

October 6, 2009

There’s a tendency to disparage people who believe in God as weak, groveling sheep. Kindness is often equated to weakness. It’s easy to debunk evangelical Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Quakers, Gnostic tradition or Episcopalians. But let us not forget that Western mathematicians Goedel, Newton, Gauss or scholars like Emerson, Kierkegaard, and more had their own particular way of discovering what God meant to them. Kierkegaard was an affluent depressed Danish philosopher who wrote some very interesting papers on faith. He loved his woman so much that he didn’t marry her.  He didn’t want her to have to deal with his depression.  He wrote that faith can only exist where there is doubt. You don’t have to have faith in a table because you can see it and feel it and put stuff on it.

Ralph Waldo Emerson lost his memory in later years and it embarrassed him.  I once read that fish have no memory and that is why it is OK for them to live in a bowl.  Every time they swim to the other side of the bowl there is a whole fascinating and undiscovered world.  I had a betta fish in a bowl on my desk here. I was so sad when he died.  I used to put a mirror next to his bowl sometimes and he would try to fight his reflection.  No one taught him to fight it was just innately in him to do so.  I think some people are like that.

I’m getting off track.

 Christianity is more complex and God was often viewed as aphotic (dark, nebulous, somber)  than  as a paternal deliverer of goodness to your prayers.   One of her main points indeed is that both logic and myth have their place in thought, just as reason and emotion have their place in humanity. otherwise we’d be conformist robots.  We’d run around killing and pillaging those who don’t think like us. I think they call that religious wars.

If you ever studied advanced mathematics (beyond the standard calculus or linear algebra), there are places where “logic” becomes less insightful — Russell’s paradox is an example or invoking Zorn’s lemma just to create something as basic as counting (natural) numbers. What does it mean to the mind that there are different sizes of “infinity”? Yet Cantor, who formalized set theoretic foundations of all modern mathematics, proved that indeed we do have different orders of infinity. when you look up Bertrand Russell, Max Zorn, and Georg Cantor you read some pretty heady stuff.  Brilliance and depression seemed to hang out together.   Most of us can be glad we’re not that brilliant.

Blanket rejection of faith in such a smug, strident attitude is rather sad and unappreciative of the beauty of a free mind engaging in something fully outside the limited realms of “self.” I think Johannes is trying to tell us to “step outside our own box”;  But, do we then step into the box of someone else?

Yes, there is doubt, but faith without doubt is mere credulity as Kierkegaard posits. Faith is not to simply overcome doubt, but it, like love, transcends rationality. Religion ought to be more than just a set of logical beliefs, as music is more than just notes on a page and dry theory or mere vibrations or life is more than books, theories, and philosophers. The theory came after the experience, to explain and justify and to share. I love what Johannes says here. Love is something you can’t see or prove, the color yellow is something you can’t describe to a blind person, yet they exist.

Religion is embodied in practice, in action, in process with something greater than yourself. The existence of God is not so much a falsifiable hypothesis, and the semantics of language obfuscate much communication. Religious zealots, the oil industry and the GMO industry hire lobbyists who do an incredible job of obfuscation. Show me where “love” exists. Show me where “music” exists. Show me where “beauty” is. There are many things outside the faculty of logic and language. Be humble and grateful that there is more. I am

 


I’m glad there are scientists and philosophers busy trying to find out why a pear smells like a pear or why the beautiful colors represented in this photograph happen.  I guess it all fits in the periodic table somewhere.

My point is Faith should not be mocked because it is based on doubt.  Faith is the driver for scientists and activists and incredible discoveries that people have made through all the recorded eras.  Faith and prayer saved my son.  I believe in the incredible power of faith.

http://knopfdoubleday.com/2009/09/22/the-case-for-god-by-karen-armstrong/

I tend to say so

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Some people have been in the Ozarks so long I guess they don’t see its beauty and they leave junk and trash and it makes me mad and I tend to say so.  I don’t like the chicken factories and all the crap they spread on the fields that ends up in the rivers and lakes and I tend to say so.  I don’t like that so much of the population here doesn’t have healthcare and I tend to say so.   I don’t like the coal fired power plant industry actively trying to squash energy innovations and I tend to say so.

Loretta asked me why I complain so much about where we live.  An apology was wholeheartedly given and then a mental inventory was done of the times I’ve been derogatory–>pretty often. Loretta and I live here. This has always been her home. Loretta’s stories of life growing up in the Ozarks make me laugh; what a wonderful time she has had.

I grew up on military bases.  As a teen I worked in a restaurant where we wore nametags stating our name and where we were from.  Mine said,  I was from Don and Barbara. (my parents).  Growing up on military bases was fun.  Like small towns except no one is actually from there.

I asked one of the doctors Loretta and I work with why people around here whoot so much. They don’t whoot on airbases, although they salute often.  In return, he asked me if I’d ever been so happy that I just wanted to holler out my joy.  I decided to try whooting and now I find myself enjoying a good whoot now and then.

I actually love it here and Loretta is one of the reasons why.  We have conversations about dreams, pasts, kids, parents, our fold.  Loretta  doesn’t easily allow anyone in to her fold and I am privileged to be in it.  Her wit cracks me up and she lives her faith.  Many people around here talk faith talk, she exemplifies her faith and doesn’t have to talk it.

We are inquisitive and have had engaging conversations about our different pasts.  Her children and her family are her center. Family picnics and summers at the creek or the lake.  I love that.   She inspires me to see what is in front of me and never complains or says a bad thing about another person or place.  I’m embarrassed that I have dissed her home.

Being accepting is the best way to heal this sore world.  Accepting various religions and ethnicities.  Deserts, mountains, beaches,  cold vs hot climates.  It is a good thing we don’t all like the same things or we’d all be piled up in Lorettas town.

who wouldn't want to grow up here

but why would someone come to a beautiful place like this and leave trash.  It makes me mad and I tend to say so.

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