Resilience

“‎Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody else expects of you.
Never excuse yourself.
Never pity yourself.
Be a hard master to yourself-and be lenient to everybody else.”

― Henry Ward Beecher

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(a cut sunflower / Julie Cook / 2016)

Some of us are…

And some of us are not…

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What is it that makes us resilient to this thing we call life?
That uncanny ability to hold up and even withstand the often excessive plummeting experienced throughout this journey of living?

For some of us it seems to be a hidden innate, hardwired mechanism comprised of moxie, hutzpah, determination and an odd aligning of the universe producing pure stupid luck.

It is the ability to go on and on despite the assault of physical, mental, emotional and even spiritual forces.

For so many of us, it is life’s cruel and unkind events that render us senseless, dropping us to our knees…

Yet for a few seemingly invincible souls, it matters not the hardship, the heartache, the exhaustion of mind, body and soul—these are the able bodied souls who can take a licking of insurmountable proportion and keep on ticking….

Those who have survived kidnappings, beatings, rapes, tortures, years in death camps, the loss of limbs, excruciating illness and even the tragic separation from loved ones…
those who have witnessed atrocities unbearable to most human beings…
And yet these hardy souls, for good or bad, muster on…
often time not merely surviving, but actually thriving…

Have they been gifted…
or perhaps even cursed?
Are they stronger than the average person?
Are they immune from resulting miseries?

Or is there a subconscious awareness…
a drawing down into a place a great depth that reaches farther and wider….
touching upon that deeply buried remnant piece of the Divine…

The righteous keep moving forward,
and those with clean hands become stronger and stronger.

Job 17:9

concentric centers

At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, which is never at our disposal, from which God disposes of our lives, which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our own mind or the brutalities of our own will.”
Thomas Merton

The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.
Galileo Galilei

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(images of an amazing sunflower / Julie Cook / 2015)

concentric
kənˈsentrik
adjective: of or denoting circles, arcs, or other shapes that share the same center, the larger often completely surrounding the smaller. Late Middle English: from Old French concentrique or medieval Latin concentric us, from con- ‘together’ + centrum ‘center.’

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The sun sits in the middle of a solar system which sits in the middle of a galaxy. . .
While everything and everyone spins mindlessly around the center—that being the sun.
God. . .who sits at the center of the universe
God. . .who was before there was anything
God. . .by whose hand all things came in to being
God. . .who will be when all has come and gone
God. . .in whose breath we find life
God. . .who all living beings revolve around
God. . .who sits at the center of our very being
God. . .who sits at the center of it all. . .
Or
do you believe that this is all here merely by happenstance?
do you believe it all just fell in to place?
do you believe that you sit at the center of it all,
wielding your own power of what will or won’t be?
You who builds skyscrapers, roadways, planes and rockets?
You who charts the heavens, the seas, the entire planet?
You who makes medicine, who attempts to heal, to teach, to save?
You who makes guns, bombs, wars and takes lives.
You who kills, steals, rapes, murders, lies, cheats. . .
You who abuses drugs, alcohol, sex, money, people, animals

Who created the flower?
Did it just happen one day?
Did it evolve from something else?
How did it come to be perfectly and concentrically formed, fitting amazingly together petal by petal and seed by seed?
How does it “know” to follow the sun for its life giving rays?
Can you, did you, make this flower?
You can make a copy, “print” a 3D image, paint or draw a copy, take a picture but can you make, create, produce a flower?
The question remains. . .
Who sits at the center?
At the center of it all. . .
Is it man?
or
Is it God?

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My small gift to you this morning… the joy of a little color

There are painters who transform the sun into a yellow spot, but there are others who, thanks to their art and intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun.
Pablo Picasso

“Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.”
― Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

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(Millennial Park, shore of Lake Michigan / Chicago, Illinois / Julie Cook / 2013)

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(Open air market flower stall, Boston, Massachusetts / Julie Cook / 2014)

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(Boston Massachusetts / Julie Cook / 2014)

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(Millennial Park, shore of Lake Michigan / Chicago, Illinois / Julie Cook / 2013)

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(Millennial Park, shore of Lake Michigan / Chicago, Illinois / Julie Cook / 2013)

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(Millennial Park, shore of Lake Michigan / patch of black eyed susans / Chicago, Illinois / Julie Cook / 2013)

Be of Good Cheer

“Be of good cheer. Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.”
― Helen Keller

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(photograph: giant sunflower at the shore of Lake Michigan / Chicago, Illinois / Julie Cook / 2013)

I know what you’re thinking—“you’re wearing me out Julie, two in one day–not to mention those postings over on the ” the legion of door whores” and now the windows of “what light through yonder window breaks….”

Do you actually think I could leave you on a Friday on a sad note… albeit a note of birthday wishes and blessed redemption— but still with a sad taste in all of our mouths!!??

Heavens NO!!

It’s Friday for goodness sake!!!…. plus a Friday marking the start of a holiday weekend, not to mention the kick off to a season of college football—it doesn’t get much better—whoowhooooo!!!

So on this wonderful Friday afternoon, may I offer you a sun filled weekend spent doing whatever it is your heart desires—sans the labor…..that is if you’re fortunate enough not to have to go in to work—but even if you do have to work–here’s to blessings at work as well….

and incase you’re interested:
thelegionofdoorwhores.wordpress.com
whatlightthroughyonderwindow.wordpress.com
I know, I still hate the door title…but I love the doors…and now windows—–

What makes you happy?

“It is not what we see and touch or that which others do for us which makes us happy; it is that which we think and feel and do, first for the other fellow and then for ourselves.”
Helen Keller

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(photograph: sunflower patch in Chicago City Park by Lake Michigan / Chicago, Illinois / Julie Cook / 2013)

Ode to the joyous, massive and most flamboyant sunflower…Van Gogh found the sunflower a wonderful subject–as he painted numerous images of this most obtuse flower. I think you either like sunflowers or you don’t. They are big and a bit garish for me, however I am drawn to the more demure and petite of the species. I have driven blissfully though the Italian countryside, in the summer months, only to marvel at the beautiful fields upon fields of sunflowers—a sea of endless burnt yellows accented by the pinnacle of the green cypress trees–which are about the only things taller than these huge flowers.

There is something about these huge flowers which seems to bring smiles to the faces of those who gaze upon an endless field of brilliant yellows. Even a vase filled with a few cuttings seems to bring a smile to a room. Is it because they are large and vie for attention? Is it because yellow, in small doses, seems to have a positive psychological effect on those who gaze upon objects reflecting this color? Is it because these flowers represent a mini sun— not blinding, but instead, something inviting, tangible and within our very reach?

A flower that is more of a working man’s flower—so unlike the showy rose which is elusive and coquettish. A sunflower is more real—it says, “here I am—I’m big and droopy, I’m ok with that and I live to make others happy.” It’s honest. I know what I’m getting with a sunflower—showy, big, wide, bright and sun-seeking, happiness in a flower.

Kids smile when they see a sunflower. Who can beat that? Smiles and a sense of happiness—those are nice attributes for anything to be able to evoke from just having folks simply gazing…..

On this new day to a new week, make it a point today to make someone happy—be it a smile, a nod, a hello…don’t worry so much about your own happiness..when you make others happy, you yourself will be the better for it all…..just ask the sunflower.