Tuesday, June 30, 2020
June 30 2020
Although I’ve always had a tight relationship with my forest in South Charlotte, North Carolina, it hasn’t always been giving peace and love a chance. I was horribly lost during those early years from 1992 to 97. Nature was struggling with the opportunity to catch up. Acid rain and other atmospheric materials were weakening the limbs and roots. A once vibrant collection of trees was thinning too quickly. That caused erosion. The soil wasn’t protected by the tall stick figures. I would sit for hours in this forest daily writing. Literally listening for the wind share something in the way of protecting its tree history. Like most, I did the Lowes and Home Depot thing of trying to replenish the missing trees with what I call candy coated magazine soil fixtures. They weren’t surviving. November 1997. Seventeen hundred naturally grown North Carolina tree seedlings began a journey that has invited peace and love back into the poetry. Learning to love all living things. During those bleak moments of possibly facing cleared land, I was able to take incredible notes of how everything was reacting. From the tall grasses to the tiny creek to the turtles, snakes and other living things. I wrote about everything. I studied how the land was reaching outward and it was my goal and mission to read every book that would help me save this little piece of daily sharing. Learning to love all living things taught me to include even the tiniest pebbles used to slow erosion. To hold water for the base of the trees to giving a lizard a place of warmth on a sunny day. Learning to love all living things. While writing in the forest on June 13, 2020 I was given a different thought. All of these beautiful animals have come to this one place to help complete the circle. The seasons so incredibly peace filled. But something was still missing. The message that’s been growing for years. Replenishing a forest doesn’t happen overnight. It involves a lot of communication. The one thing missing from this forest? People. Learning to love all living things. In a day and age of life’s everyday forest constantly getting hit by the atmosphere and all it brings. People are no different than a tree. It’s time to study the soil. It’s time to get to know the flow of energy. It’s time to take notes about preserving what we already have by introducing peace and love through communication. Learning to love all living things. Not just what you like. All living things. Knowing about your community not just driving through it. Planting new ideas that are natural and not from a candy coated magazine page. Equally loving creates peace.
Monday, June 29, 2020
Pod-Crashing Episode 62
Every day new podcasters leap onto the platform seeking out better ways to share their journeys. Being educational to just having fun, you don’t need a concrete building with a huge tower behind it to be heard.
When we first started out with Pod-Crashing the goal was to help open imaginations by way of showcasing tips of the trade. Rather than assuming that you could hold you head above water, it was my goal to help bring people into the open sea with a vision of always reaching for quality over just banging it out.
Part of that process is introducing you to other Podcasters. Unlike radio and television the people doing this vocal thing are the most down to earth creative minds you’ll meet. Learning new tricks and talking about it with you is just part of what we do. It makes our community that much stronger.
Casper Ter Kuile carries a lot of creative tools with him every place he travels. He’s a researcher at Harvard Divinity School and the co-founder of Sacred Design Lab. Plus he’s one half of the team that created the extremely popular podcast “Harry Potter and the Sacred Text” You’ve gotta love their motto: Reading fiction doesn’t help us escape the world, it helps us live in it.
Professor of Law David A. Harris has been writing, teaching and conducting research about the law and police at the intersection of race and criminal justice for thirty years. He holds the Sally Ann Semenko Chair at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and conducts seminars and training for lawyers, judges, police officers and community activists across the U.S. He works frequently with the national media as a legal analyst on criminal justice and police issues, and hosts the Criminal Injustice podcast. A City Divided is his fourth book about criminal justice and police. Harris has authored: Failed Evidence: Why Law Enforcement Resists Science (2012), Good Cops: The Case for Preventive Policing (2005), and Profiles in Injustice: Why Racial Profiling Cannot Work (2002).
The tragic death of a young black man, Ahmaud Arbery, out for a run at the hands of two white men (one a former police officer) in Georgia, with no arrests for two months. The two white men see a black man running, and assume he must be a criminal, per the research discussed in the book.
No arrests for two months, until a viral video and outside media begin to expose this? Only race explains this. The state's Stand Your Ground and "citizen's arrest" laws make for greater violence, not less, and allow privileged people to put themselves in positions where law will support their use of deadly force. The law, and the culture of law enforcement, of Glynn County, GA, are emblematic of U.S. law enforcement's "protect each other at all costs" culture. https://www.nytimes.com/
article/ahmaud-arbery- shooting-georgia.html OTHER TOPICS TO DISCUSS:
**With social distancing rules in effect, and many areas still under heavy restrictions, racially disparate enforcement of social distancing guidelines, in NYC and across the country.
Crowds of African Americans warrant summonses and even arrests; crowds of whites do not get this response from the police. A strong reflection of what we saw before the pandemic: for example, under stop and frisk in NY and elsewhere, we saw a police focus on black and brown people, even when whites behaved the same way at the same rates or even at higher rates.
Even as black and brown people are more heavily policed, white people (in small numbers, but in deliberate and illegal fashion) appear in public places like state capitols, violating social distancing rules, heavily armed, screaming in police officers' faces, calling public health officials and governors Nazis. No real enforcement actions follow.
Filmed at both schools in 2019, CuriosityStream’s first original docu-series 4th and Forever: Muck City documents the emotional roller coaster behind this ongoing rivalry – from the hopeful days of training camp to the high stakes of the annual “Muck Bowl,” one of the most intense match-ups in high school sports. The eight-part series takes viewers beyond the gridiron, presenting an inspiring portrait of an American community united in its goal to help their youth succeed despite daunting challenges.
Inspired by faith, family and football, DJ Boldin, a Pahokee alumnus and brother of NFL star Anquan Boldin, uses his life experiences and personal beliefs to coach his beloved Blue Devils of Pahokee. Before returning to Pahokee, Boldin was an Offensive Assistant in the NFL for the San Francisco 49ers and played for the Detroit Lions and in the Canadian Football League. Coach Boldin can discuss the new series, why this region has become famous for creating NFL stars, and his community’s commitment to help young people achieve a better life.
June 29, 2020
Rebalancing the focus. A crazy discipline never experienced until Covid-19 elected to make itself present every day. The buildings that have being used as churches have become the new empty warehouse. That has played hard on a lot of people’s focus. We drive by these beautiful places of peace and there are no banners to warmly welcome. There are no police officers guiding cars in. The windows are dark in the way of resembling a giant silent cloud hanging over what used to be energetic. God going digital isn’t new to me. I actually started that journey in 2015 because I needed a better way to grow as a sharper student. I learned very quickly how important pause and rewind are. If I’m questioning or tuning out its one simple reach to play it back. But digital God wasn’t an easy pair of shoes to grow into. Taking in that Sunday morning service at home meant I couldn’t let simple objects guide my attention away from what we had become used to sitting in that building. It was extremely difficult to watch the message via YouTube while the forest outside my window was playfully dancing in the breeze. Sitting on the sofa with food nearby was another game changer. My dog barking at something outside the door. Getting God at home was proving to be more of a challenge then a gift. I had to rebalance my focus. Which I’m sure millions of people are still trying to do since the introduction of social distancing. If I can get the message from the digital platform at any time then why am I not sleeping in on Sunday mornings? Why aren’t we hitting Lowes or Home Depot before the huge crowds get there? My wife and I have actually restructured our time by getting up on Sundays at 6am so that we can be on a nature trail by 6:30. Taking in the artwork provided by the maker of the message. See how all things living around us have not stopped, they aren’t complaining, don’t seem worried and have a way of getting along. Spring happened so fast and many of us missed it. Our focus was on something we thought we needed. News and social media. Rebalancing our focus during this mental crisis has required a shift in our discipline. The daily goal is to put ourselves in positions of discovery not recovery. Digital God has made it possible because the word is heard each time we hit play. Whereas before so many many many people put the Great Creator in play only on Sunday. I’ve talked with many people struggling with the digital process and growth of how the word is presently arriving. Preachers are speaking in huge rooms with barely a soul inside. Rather than talking to a thunderous collection of supporters. They hear their voices bouncing off every wall. What I’ve noticed and man I’m loving it. While watching and taking big time notes. Those bringing the word are looking into the camera. Before Covid-19 I felt like an intruder overtaken by guilt because on the digital platform more attention was being shared with those present in the building then those leaving a seat open for someone new to join in. Rebalancing your focus, Allow time to be your guide. It’s a journey to get used to Digital God. When everything opens again the question will be, how we gonna get people back in the seats? I got Digital God right here with me!
Friday, June 26, 2020
June 26 2020
“There are no meds available to heal from a virus more invisible than you our Lord.” A thought from my morning prayer. I could post it but the majority of those on the internet would and have verbally beaten me up for bringing such subjects up. I’m not saying God is invisible, Covid-19 is invisible. It’s not picky with its friendships and relationships. 37,000 new cases reported in the U.S. yesterday. 37,000! God’s not invisible because I really enjoyed the light fog that rose from the ground while the sun was reaching upward to brighten our day. The owls were very vocal and the cool summer breeze was quite the experience. I will admit that in my heart I know the creator of all things is also the energy behind Coronavirus. What I don’t know is why we’re being tested so harshly. I’d ask the preachers and scholars but they’re just as human as I am and we’ve all had too much of other people’s opinions. 37,000 new cases in one day. And I’m blasted for a post based on putting the mask on. I had a conversation yesterday with Casper Ter Kule who openly admitted that the new church is how we gather on the internet to exercise as one and or share stories and books. The physical act of gathering on the internet is the new church. The numbers of non-believers in the big ole book has been rising and God is OK. The Dude is perfectly fine with whatever way you’re choosing to lead your life. That open space came from him. That reason to not believe is called exploration of one’s self. A brilliant gift. He digs that you’re activating it. God’s cool with how so many have challenged his word. Totally fine with the idea of being prepared not for a debate but for how you still use the energy gifted by him to bring it up in conversation. Loves it. The jolly happy spiritual figure isn’t invisible. But Coronavirus is. “There are no meds available to heal from a virus more invisible than you our Lord.” Maybe the medicine required is realizing if we are equal with love. There will be peace. Equal? Unless you live it. It’s invisible. Like a virus.
Thursday, June 25, 2020
We often define life by the things we have.
Boxcar Junkies lead vocalist and principle songwriter Brandon Reid Allen defines his by the things he’s survived.
He was born in Indiana but his nomadic ways often led him astray. With extreme hearing loss as a child and subject to a tougher start than most, Allen wasn’t exactly someone you’d expect to catapult to a career as a singer-songwriter.
But one thing his parents gave him before leaving this world was his first start in music through their family band. Allen started playing drums and bass until receiving his first acoustic guitar at age 12. That’s when the writing started. That’s when he first found his voice.
Allen launched a successful career as a singer-songwriter. He won Best Rock Vocalist at the Los Angeles Music Awards as well as Songwriter of the Year. Not long after, he added Breakout Artist of the Year at the American Christian Music Awards, as well as Song of the Year at the Paramount Music Awards. He signed a label deal with distribution and publishing through EMI, creating quite a buzz as an independent musician.
Allen soon would catch the ear of famed rock drummer Troy Luccketta of the multi-platinum selling band Tesla. “Troy has been instrumental in my career. He opened a lot of doors. He believed in me and gave me opportunities recording great music and sharing the stage with legends. The Eagles, Alice Cooper, Aaron Lewis. The list goes on.”
Things looked promising on multiple fronts, but personal tragedy would come calling.
“I made some stupid choices that led to my exodus. Drifting from town to town. Living on the streets, in the mountains, even the desert. Lost myself for sure. It wasn’t the first time. Hell, I ran away with the carnival when I was just a kid. I’ve surely lived a hundred lifetimes.”
He’d lose a lot of things along the way before truly finding himself. One thing after another unraveled until he found himself living on the streets.
“It’s not that I got addicted to drugs and booze and then lost everything. It was actually the exact opposite. I’m no stranger to life and its struggles, but the harder I would fight off the attack, the stronger it became. It was too much this time. I had lost. I finally said ‘I’m dead already, just waiting for my body to catch up.’” He scraped by busking and sleeping on rooftops in cities like Vegas, Phoenix, and San Diego.
Eventually he found himself. Cleaned up and clawed out. Dedicating his life and his art to being someone who tells the stories of the forgotten people he’d met along the way. He traveled, playing gigs and being free. New York to Florida to Texas (where he cut the EP for his new Americana/Alt-Country project Boxcar Junkies), and finally back to Nashville.
Drawing from influences like Mellencamp, Springsteen, Tom Petty, Rob Thomas, and Wilco, Allen’s Boxcar Junkies put their own spin on a style of music deeply embedded in the American experience.
A punchy rhythm section forms the backdrop for deep textured guitars, rootsy Hammond organ, all set against organic overlays of steel guitar and harmonica.
The record was produced and performed on by producer Derek Hames and engineer John Shelton of Houston’s Edgewater Music Group.
Isaias Gil (Black Flag, Macy Gray, David Lee Roth, Jaci Velasquez) played drums alongside bassist Mark Riddell (Mike Stinson, Charlie and The Regrets, Leon III, Grand Old Grizzly). International guitar legend Gary Hoey guested on the record, while Texas steel extraordinaire Will Van Horn (Lyle Lovett, Robert Ellis) and Houston harmonica great Sonny Boy Terry added their unique flavors as well.
Hames provided Hammond, mandolin, guitars, percussion, and background vocals while Shelton played most of the leads.
Sony Music Entertainment’s group – The Orchard has picked up the band for distribution of the EP, titled “EST. 1973.”
Ultimately, though, the record is focused in on the incisive, plaintive songwriting and smoky baritone vocals Allen himself provides the project. The tapestries of the backing tracks are pleasing, but the music itself is what drives the ship.
“I’m trying to make right with my past and help some people along the way that have been pinned down by their circumstances. My hope is that I become invisible and that people focus on the message.”
Shining a light into dark places. Music is the medium. Hope is the message.
Martha McSally is a fighter, a survivor, a leader, and a champion of never giving up. In DARE TO FLY, McSally shares inspiring life stories and timeless principles on how to overcome obstacles and adversity. She believes that none of us is born either courageous or afraid, but rather we all possess the ability to see opportunity in obstacles, cultivate inner resilience, and to succeed when others expect us to fail.
At age twelve, McSally was devastated by the sudden death of her father. His dying words, "make me proud,"became her motto, and she turned to them to inspire her to break barriers and overcome fear. She went on to excel at the Air Force Academy, and, despite initially being rejected for pilot training because she was too short, McSally become America's first female fighter pilot to fly a jet in combat and the first woman to command a combat fighter squadron. She flew 325 combat hours and rose to the rank of Colonel. And she did it while having to face friendly fire: sexism, harassment, and worse by her peers and even her commanders.
She fought for others too, in and out of the cockpit. As a young officer, McSally sued the Pentagon-and won-to free American servicewomen stationed in Saudi Arabia from archaic restrictions requiring them to travel fully veiled in traditional, black Muslim abayas, ride in the backseats of cars, and be treated more like property than valued service members. Determined to serve her country and to defy her detractors, McSally excelled in the Air Force andwas deployed six times to the to combat zones, earning the Bronze Star and six Air Medals.
After her retirement from active duty, McSally has continued to serve America, first in the House of Representatives, and now as a U.S. Senator from Arizona.
In DARE TO FLY, McSally shares deeply personal stories and gems of advice, such as: 'Do Things Afraid,' in which she recalls a white-knuckle, manual combat run in an Afghanistan canyon to rescue American troops unde fire after her plane's entire electronic targeting system failed. In 'Don't Hesitate to Call a Knock It Off,' she discusses mental health, suicide, and the devastating losses of friends and colleagues. In 'Thrive Through the Darkness' McSally shares deeply personal episodes of grief, abuse and assault, and how she found her own way through the darkness. In 'Thanksgiving in Botswana,' she shares uplifting stories of other pioneers and boundary-breakers. Throughout the book she delves into the importance of faith, family, perseverance, learning how to get yourself to the first water station, and more.
DARE TO FLY takes you into the cockpit and across the world with Martha McSally as your guide to discover your personal courage. Filled with candor and insight, readers will be inspired to break barriers, endure turbulence, thrive through darkness, and soar.
"Like the A-10 aircraft she flew in combat, retired colonel and fighter pilot Martha McSally is a gritty individual who loves our Air Force and personified its core values of excellence, integrity, and service before self,while standing up to make it a better institution for everyone who serves. How to be resolute, do the right thing, persevere, find gratitude, and learn compassion are just some of the lessons in her inspirational life story." -Ron FOGLEMAN, General (ret.), U.S. Air Force; former Air Force Chief of Staff
"I was honored to be in the very first group of US women military pilots as a World War II WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots). I have known Martha McSally for decades, and am proud of how she has preserved and carried on our legacy. She is a fighter and leader who still serves our country. A woman who is as good as her word and gets things done. Congratulations Martha on your book and your life." -Nell Bright, WWII veteran, U.S. Airforce Service Pilot (WASP)
"Martha McSally paved the way for others, endured hardship, and exuded courage. The lessons she learned and the stories she shares are inspiring for anyone - in and out of the cockpit."-Heather Wilson, Captain (ret) U.S. Air Force, former U.S. Secretary of the Air Force
Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Ralph Nader is best-known for his social critiques and his efforts to increase government and corporate accountability, but what some might not know about him is his lifelong commitment to healthy eating. Born in Connecticut to Lebanese parents, Nader's appreciation of food began at an early age, when his parents, Rose and Nathra, owned an eatery, bakery, and delicatessen called the Highland Arms Restaurant. The family eschewed processed foods and ate only a moderate amount of lean red meat. Nowadays, the Mediterranean diet is considered one of the healthiest on the planet, but in the 1930s and '40s of Nader's youth it was considered by many Americans as simply strange. Luckily for Nader and his siblings, this didn't prevent their mother, Rose, from serving the family homemade, healthy meals-dishes from her homeland of Lebanon. Rose didn't simply encourage her children to eat well, she took time to discuss and explain her approach to food; she used the family meals to connect all of her children to the traditions of their ancestors.
The Ralph Nader and Family Cookbook shares the cuisine of Nader's upbringing, presenting Lebanese dishes inspired by Rose's recipes that will be both known to many, including hummus and baba ghanoush, as well as others that may be lesser known, such as kibbe, the extremely versatile national dish of Lebanon, and sheikh al-mahshi-"the 'king' of stuffed foods." The cookbook includes an introduction by Nader and anecdotes throughout.
The Ralph Nader and Family Cookbook will entice one's taste buds, while sharing a side of Ralph Nader that may not be commonly known, though will not surprise anyone familiar with his decades of activism and involvement in consumer protection advocacy.
“Big Wild Love comes out at the perfect time: when women are rising up and realizing their own worth. Jill’s book is a how to of self-reflection and self-love and lessons in how to move to a point of freedom, action, and empowerment. Anyone who has been in a bad relationship or trying to figure out if theirs is fixable should read this book.” ―Anita Busch, journalist and victim’s rights advocate
June 24 2020
Do you physically know anyone that hasn’t being wondering, “What if and when if?” How much will we change when it does? I can stop asking. A Covid-19 case has made an appearance in places we had hoped it wouldn’t. Hearing the news about someone we love brought on the natural reactions. Not shock! But personal worry and a heaping heart full of compassion. You play games in your head based on where was I? Did I get too close? Was I anywhere near? Which is kind of funny because this past Friday I posted about how proud I was of how our community is truly sticking to the rules of social distancing. There’s absolutely no reason for rage. Only love and support. Love thy neighbor as they self. We aren’t newcomers to this. We know the signs. Now we must be even more aware. What else can a Daily Writer put on paper except that it’s here so let there be more affirmations of inspiration and motivation? To be present with the mind body and soul. I’m no professional with any of this. The only experience most of us have is through the way we share. We can’t turn this into a moment of guilt tripping people to wear their mask or to stay away from large groups of people. We know the rules. Being held accountable for not agreeing with what’s been everything but a mandate. Their issues and not mine. Yet that could all change in North Carolina in the next couple of days. Will it really matter? Who gets the job of telling people they can’t come in? So much productive time being something you’re not. Such as the lone person at grocery stores spending an entire shift spraying down the carts. It reminds me of the people that hold the stop and slow signs at a road construction site. That’s the only thing you have to do today? It killed me to play 16 to 20 songs an hour on the radio but I could only talk over three song intros. The rest of the time was spent watching the computer mix the music. While preparing this morning story today I stopped for a moment to take a sneak peek at Facebook. I need to change the opening sentence. Do you physically know anyone that hasn’t been wondering? Yeah that one. The news just picked up has to ask an even tougher question. How many of us can count on two hands the number of people we know who has had someone close to them taken away because of Covid-19? I can stop asking…