Friday, April 29, 2011

Coffees of Hawaii Sale

A couple of years ago, I received a small bag of Coffees of Hawaii Malulani Estate coffee to review after this blog came to the attention of the Ironman owner of the company, Albert Boyce.  I loved it and have ordered the BIG bags of it for us and as a gift to others since. And no, I'm not being compensated to say this. I just really, really, really like their coffee.

I placed an order today and just wanted to pass along the information that they are having a sale for Mother's Day: 20% off and free shipping. Just use the code MOM11.

If you place an order, say aloha to Albert from me!

Words, Words, Words about Size

I worked in marketing for years. I know why Starbuck's calls a small coffee tall and a medium coffee grande.

I know, I know, I know.

And I refuse to go there. I refuse to use such manipulatively inaccurate language.

So when I first saw this photo, my response was an enthusiastic YES!

Photo Source: Pinterest

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Things on Thursday: Two for One

The patch:

The dog:

Update on Daisy: Her right knee has started dislocating as well. Yesterday was a pretty good day, but she's still occasionally limping or favoring one leg. I'm worried that we will have to have both her knees surgically repaired. In the meantime, we're keeping her activity as restrained as we can, and in moments like this one, it's quite easy. Don't pictures of sleeping animals make you yearn for your pillow?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What's in a Name?

Shakespeare may have asked this question in dulcet blank verse, but military aviators have taken the idea of a rose by any other name to extreme levels of humor—or cruelty, depending on how you look at it.

Perhaps you saw the movie Top Gun, which showcased call signs like Maverick, Ice Man, and Goose, which are Hollywood names that tell audiences a lot about the characters. Real-life call signs, however, are much more colorful and often have quite interesting stories behind them.

The first thing you should know about military call signs is that people generally do not pick their own. They are assigned a name by their squadron mates. If an aviator is so self-conscious as to protest a name, he or she will be branded that name for all eternity. When George first arrived at the 34th Bomb Squadron, or Thunderbirds, a bunch of drunken comrades wanted to change his call sign. He used the only weapon of self-defense he had: “YES! I love Noodle! Oh wow, you can call me Toe Jam anytime!” His friend John, call-sign Beemer, tried to blow George’s strategy by yelling loudly and repeatedly, “He’s using reverse psychology, people!” But everyone was too drunk to listen.

As a fledgling Thunderbird, George was finally assigned Chick. It didn’t stick because everyone already knew George as Spot. I’m convinced he kept the call sign Spot because of the term Spot Drunk, a George-inspired phrase that entered the B-1 community lexicon following a particularly amusing night in which George was kicked out of the McConnell Officers Club.

But that’s another story entirely.

On rare occasions, someone can buy his or her way out of a call sign. Our friend Levi had his name changed to Sonar because he pinged so easily. Obviously, such a name is unflattering, so eventually he petitioned to have it changed back to Levi, which is a simple play on his last name, and had to pay $200 toward a four-tap kegger for the Squadron bar for the privilege.

His wife was not amused.

George received the call sign Spot during his first B-1 assignment at McConnell AFB, and the reason was quite uninteresting. He has an albino patch on the back of his noggin. As Spot was the least offensive call sign suggested for him, he ran with it, quickly having name tags made up and introducing himself to people as Spot.

Spot falls into the most basic of call sign categories, those drawn from a person’s physical characteristics. In fact, one young aviator bore such a striking resemblance to George (not at all unfortunate) that his call sign became Spot’s B*tch (highly unfortunate). 

Another example in this category was Turnip. Turnip was prematurely balding, and the top of his head looked, well, like a turnip. Fortunately for me and several other wives, Turnip was quite short, so when the squadron hosted a flight-suit party, at which spouses were invited to wear flight suits with masking tape over the rank, many of us short wives borrowed flight suits from him. Lest anyone doubt the dedication of military aviators for call signs, please note that the officers ordered name tags for their spouses just for the occasion. My call sign was On the Spot.

This picture makes me deeply nostalgic for my dark brown locks.

Some call signs play on a person’s real name. A friend whose last name is Daley, for instance, became Planet. My favorite in the play-on-name category, however, was Freddie Kruegger. I thought his real name was Freddie for years because that’s what his wife called him. When she was annoyed with him, she called him Frederick. I addressed their Christmas cards to Captain and Mrs. Freddie Kruegger. In fact, his real name was Howard. Or Harold. Something with an H. I can’t remember. George says Ronald. Whatever. He’ll always be Freddie to me.

If a name offered any opportunity for vulgarity, it was seized upon with alacrity. A man whose last name was Wood became Morning, and Morehead became Cravin’.

Please tell me I don’t have to explain these.

Other call signs are merely insulting, such as Wedge, who was the simplest of tools; Splinter, who was small yet annoying; PITA, who was a pain in the ass; and Glitter, who primped like a woman. One silly aviator showed up at the Thunderbirds whining that he was so good in the plane he shouldn’t have to go through Mission Qualifying Training, after which it was decided that he couldn’t even be a Chick…he was an Egg. That, at least, was better than Sperm.

By far, the best call signs are awarded to memorialize something a person did. I particularly like Harpo, who appeared on Oprah as one of America’s most eligible bachelors (you can just imagine the ribbing he took for that). He is now the Commandant of Cadets at the Air Force Academy and a bachelor no more. He and his lovely wife throw the best parties ever.

But like Spot Drunk, that’s another essay entirely.

Beemer, whom I mentioned above, throttled up his B-1s engines so hard on the taxiway that he blew out the windshield of a Very Important Person’s BMW. Hurlin’ once vomited, of course, on a Colonel’s wife in the Officers Club. Poacher was so-called because of the rumor—which he would neither confirm nor deny—that he strafed camels in Desert Storm.

I do not condone the strafing of camels, mind you. But the fact he will neither confirm nor deny the rumor shows admirable presence of mind in relation to preserving a call sign that is rather innocuous. Poacher is certainly better than, say, Camel Spit.

On the Spot certainly worked as my call sign for a party, but I'd like a call sign to call my own. George found one that he feels is more appropriate. Tuesday, he clicked into a website that lists call signs and the stories behind them. George’s favorite was Tulsa: Total and Utter Lack of Situational Awareness. I immediately took this one personally because he’s accused me any number of times over the years as lacking situational awareness (rarely without good cause, mind you).

Or perhaps my nickname at Troy State University might do. I was known as the Mussolini of the English Department when I taught at the Ft. Benning campus. George was stationed at Ft. Benning as an Air Liaison Officer for the Army Rangers and some of the enlisted Rangers were TSU students. One day, a couple of Rangers walked into George's office and told him they were angry at me.

"Why?" he asked.

"Because, sir, she isn't teaching English 102 next term and we need to take it."

"But I thought you called her the Mussolini of the English Department," George protested.

"Yes, sir. We do. But we consider that a compliment."

Being named after a Fascist dictator seems a tad harsh, though, so I won't order any name tags with Mussolini on them. No, I have the perfect call sign for myself. If I were to order name tags, they would say Bookworm B*itch, or BB for short. That’s what some young punk yelled at me from a moving vehicle as George and I entered the Barnes and Noble in Wichita years ago. It’s edgy and descriptive and frankly true.

I embrace BB.

I own it.

And no matter what, BB is better than Tulsa.

Put your self-deprecating thinking caps on and tell us what your call sign would be!

Weekly Giggle #29: A Postmodern Play in Two Acts

Act 1

The scene: Tucking the boys into bed last night. Susan is lying beside Jack, and George is beside Nick. The room is dark. 

George: Nick, we're going to institute a new rule in this house. Nothing but G-rated movies.

Nick: Noooooooo!!!!!

George: Yep. There's a good one coming out soon. It's called Fluffy Puppy Finds a Rainbow.

Nick: Noooooooo!!!

George: Yep. Don't you want to see Fluffy Puppy Finds a Rainbow?

Nick: Noooooo!!!!

Jack [to Susan]: Mommy, rainbows are sooooo beautiful.

Act 2

The scene: Five minutes after Act 1, following a particularly deep discussion between Susan, George, and Nick on what happens to us after we die. Susan and George are exiting the room.

Jack: "Are we going to die?"

George: "Everybody dies eventually."

Jack: "Not us! We're Raihalas!"

The End

Monday, April 25, 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

Words, Words, Words about Easter

"Take with you the joy of Easter to the home, and make that home bright with more unselfish love, more hearty service; take it into your work, and do all in the name of the Lord Jesus; take it to your heart, and let that heart rise anew on Easter wings to a higher, a gladder, a fuller life; take it to the dear grave-side and say there the two words "Jesus lives!" and find in them the secret of calm expectation, the hope of eternal reunion." John Ellerton

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Not Listening to Our Bodies

Yesterday, I had an interesting conversation with Daisy's veterinarian, Dr. Dave. A few weeks ago, Daisy injured her knee so that her knee cap repeatedly--and painfully--dislocated. After we did our best to keep her from running and jumping for a week, she was doing much better and hadn't dislocated her knee cap in more than two days. I called Dr. Dave and left a message saying she was doing fine.

The next day, I let her out in the yard, and when I looked out, she was racing at warp speed, a picture of golden enthusiasm and energy. She changed directions suddenly and continued her sprint, ears flapping and fur rippling from the speed in her four furry paws. After staring for a moment in sheer awe of her unrestrained dog joy, I remembered that she should NOT be running. I called her in, and later that evening, she dislocated her knee again.


When I called Dr. Dave yesterday, he told me that dogs...goldens in not have the cognitive ability to understand that they have to take it easy. As soon as they start feeling better, they go full speed. We humans have to do the thinking for them. He was saying, nicely, that I have to be smarter than my dog, which, clearly, I was not when I let her out unsupervised.

So now Daisy must spend two more weeks on rest and anti-inflammatory medications.

As I was contemplating her stupidity and its consequences, it occurred to me that George, my crazy endurance-athlete husband, understands Daisy's impulse to run perfectly. You see, he has, for many years, repeatedly injured himself, rested for too short a period of time, reinjured himself, and suffered the consequences. In short, he has displayed the same cognitive limitations in this area that Daisy has.

This past weekend, however, he demonstrated a remarkable restraint heretofore unseen in the annals of his triathlon career: he went out for a short run and returned almost immediately because his knee hurt. He had run over 9 miles the day before, and he realized he needed to rest. He limited his activity in response to the thought that pain was trying to tell him something and he ought to listen to it.

He's learning. Daisy, on the other hand, can not.

Since George is, in all other ways, cognitively blessed with a well-developed frontal lobe, I have to assume that his slow learning curve on the matter of injury recovery is a glitch in our evolution. After contemplating George's challenge in this area, I reminded myself of the principle that if you point a finger at someone else there are three fingers pointing back at you. Oh, yes. I'm guilty of this stupidity, too.

I've been living with some pain for a while and have not done anything about it, mainly because I don't want a repeat of six years ago.

You may be asking, "What happened six years ago that would make you stupid, Susan?" Let me tell you.

Six years ago, I had pain and went to the doctor. What followed was a year of medical testing hell, multiple misdiagnoses, and enough test radiation that I had to carry a card explaining that I wasn't making dirty bombs but had been tortured by doctors, in case Homeland Security scanned me with a geiger counter. Good times, man. Good times.

In the end, only two tests proved positive. As a result, I had surgery to remove my gall bladder and started taking prilosec for gastritis. The gastritis was caused by my taking too much ibuprofen for joint pain, which was caused by my insomnia.

Life-long insomniacs, it turns out, have a high incidence of joint pain because the human body repairs daily wear-and-tear in our joints only when we are deeply asleep. We insomniacs don't get enough deep sleep, so our joints don't repair themselves, and we have pain.

I've barely been back to the general practitioner since, though of course I've kept up my annual visits to the stirrups and boob squisher. You know, just for the fun of it. And I've done my level best to get at least six hours of sleep a night, with mixed results.

Lately, I've dismissed some new joint aches and pains as the natural consequence of being a middle-aged insomniac, and when a list of perimenopausal symptoms included joint pain, that seemed like enough reason for my joints to hurt. But the truth is, I don't know. I am not a doctor. And even though doctors practice medicine (wouldn't it be nicer if they did medicine?), they know more about how my body works--and how to fix it--than I do.

I made an appointment yesterday to see my primary care doctor about the pain. Hopefully, she'll simply order me to start doing yoga, which, I've read, is helpful for joint pain and doesn't involve medications that damage your gut or your heart. Because without a doctor ordering me to do yoga, I simply won't do it.

I'm stupid that way.

In what ways are you stupid? How do you ignore what your body tells you it needs? What, if anything, makes you listen?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Gratitude Journal #86

Today, I am grateful for the Arts...for teachers who inspire kids to create; for elementary school art shows with clay food and swirly hearts and cardboard box sculptures and cityscapes showing perspective; and for 5th grade pirate musicals. (My boy's in the green shirt on the right. He was a prisoner and had a speaking part. I'm so proud!)

Today, I am grateful for people who want to help other people.

Today, I am grateful for hot-pink toenails. And sandals. And warm weather.

Today, I am grateful for palms and hosannas.

What are you grateful for today?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Words, Words, Words about Weirdness

This week's quotation comes from Johnny Depp. As soon as I saw it on Pinterest, I knew I had to repin it, and share it here.

My friend Karen D. gave me a refrigerator magnet of a beauty queen with a variety of sashes to describe my mood for the refigerator-reading world.

Of course, sometimes I'm Miss Queen of the World, and occasionally perimenopause forces me to wear the Miss B*tch to You sash, but more often than not, I'm Miss Weirdo. What makes me weird? I think my obsession with all things medieval is pretty weird, and my having an entire room dedicated to papercrafting seems more than a little unusual. I also can't stop reading a book in the middle of a paragragh: I must reach a stopping point...ends of chapters are best. My gray hair--or rather my refusal to dye it--feels weird a lot of the time, too.

Most annoying to the people around me is that if my brain is concentrating on something (and it's always concentrating), I don't respond to questions or much of anything very quickly. Oh, and the face I wear--quite unconsciously--when I'm thinking sometimes looks very angry. I have no idea why because I'm rarely angry about much other than having my thinking interrupted.

Weird, eh?

What makes you feel like Miss Weirdo 2011? Is your weirdness something you should embrace and celebrate (as with my medieval fetish and papercrafting and gray hair), or is it something you should work on (such as my unintentional angry face)? Please share your thoughts with the rest of us!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Things on Thursday: A Beaded Leash

My wonderful friend Claire sent me a beautiful beaded leash for my reading glasses. I knew she was a talented stamper and scrapper, but I had no idea she was beady, too.

The black, gray, and silver beads match my hair perfectly. Now, the glasses are not just a life-changing necessity for a voracious reader like myself; they are a totally fab fashion accessory!

Thank you, Claire. You are the best!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Thinking Good

While reading The Happiness Project blog this week, I stumbled across a quotation from Shakespeare that I’ve always loved: “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

Like all clever and pithy sayings, this doesn’t always hold true. For instance, just thinking about the earthquake and tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan right now cannot possibly make it “good.” Sure, we can focus on all the good that’s being done to help the victims, the unity of support, and so forth, but thousands of people are dead, thousands more are missing, and the reactors are hot. That's definitely bad, and no amount of thinking will make it good.

When we focus on our personal happiness, however, the way we think about things can make an enormous difference. Consider the weather. The long, cold, gray Ohio winter can sap the cheer right out of the perkiest person. Four winters ago, I whined and complained and moped along with most people, and I didn’t like myself for it. I can’t change the weather, and whining about it certainly didn’t help make it easier to accept. In fact, I suspected that dwelling on the gloomy chill probably made it worse than it really was.

Three winters ago, I decided to pretend that the weather was beautiful, even when all evidence pointed to the contrary. When the skies were gray, I smiled and pretended they were clear bright blue. Instead of complaining, I smiled at people and said, in as cheerful a voice as possible, “Beautiful day, isn’t it?”

Yes, I received a few odd looks from people as they shivered under their umbrellas, but my “thinking the weather good” actually helped me get through that winter with a much more positive outlook than I’d had the previous year. It took a lot of energy on my part to keep thinking good, but it was absolutely worth it.

Now, I’m trying to apply the idea of thinking good to spring cleaning. In the past, I’ve not had to motivate myself to dive into spring cleaning; I used to look forward to it. This year, unfortunately, I feel reluctant. Let’s just say I’m less than thrilled with the idea of cleaning my whole house, including the fridge and (ohmygoshyou’vegottobekiddingme!!!) the basement. The task seems so overwhelming and pointless: I'll have to do it all again in six months, after all. It would be so much more fun to stamp.

Big tasks are easier if you break them down into parts, and so I thought good thoughts: “Deep cleaning half the kitchen isn’t such a big deal; I can do that in a couple of hours!” I dove in and cleaned...I emptied all the cabinets and drawers on the sink side of the kitchen, vacuumed them out, wiped everything down (including canisters and coffee makers!), put everything back in tidy fashion, cleaned and organized the Lazy Susan, and wiped the walls. I even wiped the dust off the pipes under the sink.

Like I said, spring cleaning is a big task. And if you call me obsessive, I’ll show you how gorgeously clean half my kitchen is and you’ll ask if you can have some of my mental illness for yourself. 

I feel AWESOME about my half-clean kitchen. So awesome, in fact, that I also dropped a bunch of stuff at the Salvation Army , cleaned the outdoor toy box in preparation for warmer weather, and laundered the living room throws…none of which I’d planned on doing today. But that’s just the natural motivating effect of thinking how nice half my kitchen looked. Tomorrow, the other half will get tackled just as thoroughly, and if that leads to even more spring cleaning tasks ticked off my list, I'll feel even happier.

Now it is your turn. What areas in your life could benefit from thinking good? What bad task or fact of life might benefit from reframing as good? Please share!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Gratitude Journal #85

Today, I am grateful for new patio furniture. This summer, we will actually use our totally awesome, east-facing deck because we don't have to worry about an old, decrepit table collapsing on our laps.

Today, I am grateful for paper.

Today, I am grateful for report cards and IEP progress reports.

Today, I am grateful the government didn't shut down. Stupid politics.

Today, I am grateful that Daisy's knee appears to be healing.

What are you grateful for today?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Opportunity to Support Japan

I know some of you cycle or have cyclists/triathletes in your life. Here's a chance for them to support Japan's recovery while buying a really cool cycling jersey.

De Soto Sport: Tri 4 Japan Bike Jersey

$80 of your $100 purchase goes to Japan, and it's tax deductible. So you're getting a quality jersey for $20 AND wearing your support for those in Japan AND making that support tangible with a monetary contribution.

George ordered his today. I can't wait to see him wearing it out on a ride. AWESOME!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Things on Thursday: Ovaries

I'm not going to show a picture of ovaries.

You're welcome.

But ovaries gave me the best laugh of the week, so they are my Thing on Thursday. Check out this post on Heather Armstrong's blog, Dooce. I hurt myself. Some of the comments are just as funny as Heather's post.

And I'll never think of racoons the same way again.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Word of the Year Quarterly Check-In

Remember the Word of the Year Project? Many of you claimed a word for 2011 to be your guiding theme of the year. My word is Learn. If you need a reminder, here's our list of words:

Me: Learn

George: Relax

Mom: Practice

Starla: Leap

Sue B.: Celebrate

Francie: Appreciate

Sue: Satisfied

Susan K.: Bigger

Lisa: Free

Linda R.: Enjoy

Claire L.: Delegate

Mickey: Acceptance

Cheryl L.: Create

Karen L.: Reflection

Marilyn: Believe

Amy: Positive

iriseyes: Act, Kind

Mari: Expand

Susan: White Space

Angela L.: Nature

Courtney L.: Write

Ginny: Focus

Nicole: Unrepentant

Janet: Trim

Kathy: Redefine

So now that the first quarter of 2011 is over, I thought we should have a little check-in to see how we're doing.

For me, this year's word is a no-brainer. Learning is like breathing...I want to do it all the time; in fact, I couldn't stop myself if I tried. Here are some of the things I've learned in the last three month:

1. Jeans grow as you wear them. Just because you put on jeans the second day in a row and they are baggy doesn't mean you have magically lost weight overnight. Sad, isn't it?

2. Tricare supplemental insurance isn't worth the cost for our family at this time.

3. I'm a daydreamer and write novels in my head. Well, since the onset of Mommy ADD eleven years ago, I write short stories in my head. When I was in college, I learned that up to half (and perhaps more) of all students sitting in a college class are not listening at all...they are daydreaming about sex. Still, I've always suspected that most adults in the real world were more sensible and didn't daydream much about sex or anything else, but it turns out I was completely wrong. According to an article in Scientific American Mind magazine, "daydreaming can help solve problems, trigger creativity, and inspire great works of art and science.... Most people spend about 30 percent of their waking hours spacing out, drifting off, lost in thought, woolgathering--or as one scientist put it, 'watching your own mental videos.'"

What a relief to learn I'm normal after all. Now, if only I could get those short stories and novels out of my head and onto paper....

4. I've learned a lot about dogs. For instance, if a dog eats a smallish rock, you should feed it whole wheat bread and wait for the rock to pass. If a dog eats a dish towel, you should take it to the vet, who will make it throw up. Then, the vet, who owns two golden retrievers of his own, will confess to you that he refers to the breed as golden retardeds. And you will agree with him.

5. Also, I learned a dog can dislocate its knee cap, which is as painful as it sounds. Puppies who have never experienced pain before will dramatically cry the first time they get hurt. Then, as they get hurt more (as in repeatedly dislocating their knee cap), they will stop crying and man up. Or dog up, as it were.

6. A small boy who hates getting shots, however, will not man up with repeated experiences at the immunization clinic. In fact, each time you take him back to the torture chamber clinic, it will take one more adult to hold him down than the previous time. We're up to four grown-ups to hold down a 65-lb boy.

7. Reconnecting with old friends on Facebook is fun and rewarding most of the time, but occasionally, it's best to let the past lie quietly behind you.

8. My minimalist closet works as planned. Now, if I could only learn how to apply the concept to my craft room....


9. I learned I can roast a chicken that's as good as George's roasted chicken. I'm not sure this is a good thing to have learned, however, as it makes me more likely to have to cook in the future. 

10. After 2.5 years of seriously studying the Bible, I finally learned how to find the book of Isaiah in less than ten seconds. Go, me! Now, if only I could figure out where Tobit is....

Now, it is your turn. What have you done with your word so far? Please share in the comments!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Gratitude Journal #84

Today, I am grateful for last week's trip to the Boonshoft Children's Museum, where I took these pictures.

My First Born


Today, I am grateful for the end of spring break and the return to school.

Today, I am grateful for Pride and Prejudice.

Today, I am grateful for The Quiet.

What are you grateful for today?

Sunday, April 3, 2011


This sleepy baby...

is now this alert dog.

Daisy is still 100% puppy inside, but her outside is turning into a very handsome dog.

Both photos by George.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Words, Words, Words about the ABCs and a Prayer

I lifted this poster from a website called Pinterest. Be careful. If you go there, you may get sucked in and lose hours of your day to extreme coolness.

I just finished reading the book based on The Happiness Project blog this week and highly recommend it. The author, Gretchen Rubin, gives readers something to think about on every single page. My biggest take-away from the book is that happiness is hard work worth doing. Too many unhappy people wait around for life to make them happy; most happy people have figured out that it's the doing of happiness that makes one happy.

Toward the end of the book, Rubin shares a prayer attributed to St. Augustine that touched me deeply.

Tend your sick ones, O Lord Jesus Christ;
rest your weary ones; bless your dying ones;
soothe your suffering ones; pity your afflicted ones;
shield your joyous ones.
And all for your love's sake.

One of the problems with having a happy blog like mine is that not everyone who reads it is happy or is even in a place where happiness seems like a reasonable or attainable goal. Sometimes, when we're sick, weary, dying, suffering, or afflicted in some way, other people's happiness hurts us.

Wednesday, I spoke with a friend who is going through hell on earth right now, and sunshiny posters of happiness cliches are not helpful for her. She is afflicted with huge and completely overwhelming pain, major life changes on all levels, situations over which she has very little or no control. She asked me for advice, and I had nothing for her except to remind her to take care of herself in body, mind, and soul.

My friend already believes in God, knows that He loves her through all that is going on in her life, and has a wonderful support group of family and friends around her. She is already seeking professional help for the depression she feels coming over her and medical care for her physical problems. She is, in short, already doing everything she can to get through this. I'm proud of her. She will get through.

But that doesn't make her life any easier right now. Augustine's prayer is for her; for the people afflicted by the tsunami, the flooding in Australia, and other natural disasters; for the people in areas of fear and oppression and violence around the world; for those who are suffering in body, mind, soul; for those who are at the end of life; for those who know that being joyful is hard work and a blessing and so very fragile.

For love's sake.