Shine On!

shine-on-award

A huge “Thank you” and a hug to Emily Guido for giving me The Shine On Award. I am not convinced I deserve it, but I very much appreciate it.

During the months I’ve been blogging, I’ve encountered many fine, generous people, folks who have offered me support, friendship and encouragement with no agendas. It’s enough to renew my faith in humankind. Emily Guido has been among my most staunch supports. She is one of a handful of people in my acquaintance who has displayed genuine courage. She doesn’t merely do what she must; she does what she can because she believes it matters.

“Shine On” is not a blogging award. It originated in the real world a few years ago and is awarded to men and women who serve their community. I’m not sure who was its original creator, but the award’s description is consistent:

“The recipients of our Shine On Awards are not only incredible men and women who made or are making history, but are also the people remarkably like us all. They work hard, struggle with balance, and dream of a better world. We applaud them for the extraordinary ways they have shared themselves to benefit others.”

Four to be honored at second annual Shine On Awards: The Ogemaw Herald

“There is not nearly enough applause in the life of the average American woman. And you might well think that if you won a Nobel Prize or were the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, the juggling act would get easier, but not so. The winners of our Shine On Awards are not only incredible women making history, but also women remarkably like us all: They work hard, struggle with balance, and dream of a better world for themselves and the people they love. We applaud them. And we applaud you, for making a difference in someone’s life every single day.”

 Shine On Award Winners – Women Honored for Charity Work – Good Housekeeping

I’ve found this quote … almost word for word … in multiple places. This award has entered the blogging universe, but it did not originate here. I hope I can adhere to the original spirit of the award — offering recognition to people who have contributed to the greater good of their community.

In the blogosphere, our community is the World. I have put considerable thought into what service I offer other than entertainment. Is offering my opinion and distributing the opinion of others who I believe positively contribute to a sane public dialogue a sufficient service?  Perhaps, though I never thought of it that way. The blogging universe is young. As a group, we are still feeling our way around, figuring out where we fit on this huge stage.

There are blogs on every conceivable subject from fashion to cooking, sports, film, books. decorating, gossip and making people laugh. History buffs and movie mavens, authors, poets, painters and photographers and everyone else have a home on the Internet. More rare are people whose goal is to make the world a better place.

If, as a group, we have any power, it is that we can disseminate information and ideas, offer perspective on issues that concern us. We can sometimes influence minds and opinions and that’s no small thing. Regardless of whether we touch a few dozen people or tens of thousands … whether we focus on art, books, movies, technology, education, faith, ecology, politics … or any of millions of issues, we do what we can.

As a generalist without a specialized focus, I try to encourage literacy, civility and dialogue between people who have something valid to say. Like most of you, I try to do the right thing. I may not agree with your definition of “the right thing,” but I acknowledge the importance of differing opinions. Disagreement is the backbone of a free society.

It isn’t easy for me to recognize the validity of opinions with which I disagree. In fact, it’s the hardest thing I do and one of the most important.

There is far too much hate, anger, and meanness on and off the Internet. Cloaked in the first amendment, people promulgate hate, violence, cruelty and ugliness. I’m sure demagogues and hate-mongers have existed throughout history, but the Internet brings them into our homes and pushes them in our faces. It has become impossible to ignore and I’m not convinced ignoring the clamor is the right thing to do. Ignoring evil is a kind of tacit agreement. Silence doesn’t send the right message.

The recent presidential election brought home with stunning clarity how far we are from being a civil — or civilized — society. I am disturbed at how many people are recklessly careless of how they express themselves. They are either unaware or unconcerned (both?) with the impact their words have, how much pain they cause, how much damage they inflict.

“Words can never hurt me” was a childhood mantra, but it isn’t true. Words hurt, words damage. They destroy reputations and ruin lives. Lies parade as facts. I would never dispute anyones’ right an opinion, but spewing hate isn’t an opinion. Intentional cruelty isn’t an opinion. Applauding and encouraging violence is not an opinion. These do not deserve respect. Hiding behind the first amendment doesn’t make hate, cruelty and violence acceptable. Just because you can’t be jailed for saying it doesn’t make it right. When I can, I weigh in, try to offer informed opinions and support for causes that matter to me. If that’s community service, then I guess I serve. But there are so many others who deserve to be honored, I feel rather like I’m sailing under false colors. All I can say is thank you and I hope I live up to it.

The Shine On Award recognizes individual contributions to the community.

There are no specific requirements, no designated number of recipients or questions to answer. The only requirement is that a recipient be an individual who has contributed to the good of the community.

My two candidates are women who have worked hard to help those who can’t help themselves and to educate others on issues that matter to them.

Jenny Threet of Rumpy Dog has waged a relentless campaign to help save dogs, cats, and other animals who have been victimized or abandoned. She never gives up on the furry creatures she loves and always strives to protect and save them. She deserves recognition for the good work she does. There are a many beautiful creatures who would not be alive today were it not for her efforts.

Jo Ashline of A Sweet Dose of Truth is a fine writer. She is mother to an autistic child and has put her heart and soul into educating people about autism. She takes on other causes too, but autism is near and dear to her heart. She is a determined soldier for truth and justice. I admire her dedication and passion and am very pleased to nominate her for this award.

And that, my friends, is it for now. Some of you to whom I would award this prize have already received it . To the best of my knowledge, my two candidates have not previously received it. I hope I got it right.

There’s no time limit as to when or to whom you can choose to pass it. The important thing is to not cheapen the award or its meaning. It isn’t an award for fine writing, taking beautiful photographs, or making people laugh. All of these are wonderful things, but there are other awards to show that kind of appreciation.

Congratulations and keep on doing what you do. The world is better because you are in it.

“VERY INSPIRING BLOGGER AWARD” – My Cup Overfloweth

Very Inspiring Blogger award

Tonight I went with my husband to Sutton’s Congregational Church. They were having their Christmas Concert and Garry and a friend of his had produced a documentary about the concert … how it was put together, how the choir family pulled together to create this every year. It’s playing now on local cable stations around the valley.

75-Choir_HP-17

This was the official Christmas concert performance. Considering how trying these past few days have been, a trip to church to hear Christmas carols was exactly what we needed. It was a nasty night. When we got out of the car at the church, the entire parking lot was covered with black ice. It was drizzling, but just cold enough so that the drizzle froze instantly on all the paved surfaces. I barely made it the 20 or so feet from the car to the church without falling and the minister did fall on her way out of her house.

The concert was lovely. Good singing, lots of smiles. And I took pictures and by the time we left the church, it had warmed up just enough so that the ice was gone. As the minister said, we had been blessed.

And now, blessed again by yet another gift of a Very Inspiring Blogger Award, courtesy of  Dear Kitty. Some blog: On animals, peace and war, science, social justice, women’s issues, arts, and much more. This is a woman whose causes are my causes, whose passions are also mine, a woman who I greatly admire. I am touched and honored to receive this award from her.

I often don’t feel particularly inspiring, but inspiration comes from many sources. I am glad that my words and pictures … and the other posts I find and reblog because I think they are important and worthwhile … provide inspiration for others. It makes the effort worth it to know that there are people “out there” who read the words and it means something to them.

That somehow I’ve gone in less than a year from “who’s that?” to getting more awards than I imagined possible leaves me a little breathless. Awards are always given by people who do not know us intimately. I am sure if people knew me better, they’d be incapable of giving me an award because they would, as my old friends do, remember that time I had one Mai Tai too many, fainted dead away and had to be dragged home by three big guys in a fork lift. People who know you very well may love you, but they don’t give you awards. Moreover, anyone who met my second husband or first boyfriend would never find me inspiring, although I might serve as a cautionary tale … if that could be considered inspirational.

The difference between something that gives me a migraine and something that inspires me can be razor-thin. This last week, full of tragedy and madness has been inspiring … but not in a way I would ever have chosen. It’s been a grim week. I only hope that from this something positive will emerge. I guess we’ll see how long people remember and if all the talk turns into some kind of action.

Being told that I’m an inspiration is an inspiration. It means I have not become irrelevant and maybe the experience of a lifetime is was not entirely wasted. All of you in my blogging world inspire me. I read your stories and poems. I admire your photographs and art. You change my view of the world, the way I do things, give me food for thought. If I do a bit of the same for you, I am glad.

Keith and St. Nick

Happy whatever you celebrate. Celebrate everything, why don’t you? Rejoice that you are alive, because you have a friend, a roof over your head, and maybe something to eat. Forget for a while all the problems and craziness because it won’t forget you … it’ll be there, waiting, when the party’s over. Love you all!!

The rules of this award are:

  • Display the award logo on your blog
  • Link back to the person who nominated you.
  • Tell us at least seven things about yourself that you would like to share.
  • Nominate other bloggers for this award and link to them. I am not going to set a specific number. I know how difficult it can be to keep coming up with nominees and rather than burden you all with having to find everyone all at once, you can keep a few awards in your back pocket and pass them along when the time is right. The holidays are upon us all, so please don’t feel pressured to push beyond your comfort zone.
  • Notify your chosen bloggers of their nomination and the award’s requirements.

Seven things about myself that I haven’t explicitly said before (at least not where anyone could hear me) are:

  1. I was a music major in college, then finally graduated as a drama/broadcast dual major. I would have stayed for a third major in social science, but they told me I had to graduate.
  2. My favorite movies are comedies. I love to laugh.
  3. I have owned so many cats and dogs that I really can’t remember all of them any more.
  4. I’m a good cook, but after more than 40 years of dishing up meals, I’m very happy to eat other people’s cooking.
  5. If the mother ship comes and offers me a ride, I’m outta here.
  6. I learned to read in about two hours when I was five.
  7. I believe that anyone could write well if they would just remember that writing is just talking through your fingers. Good writing should sound as natural as speech. Most people try too hard; others don’t try hard enough.

My nominees (the envelope please):

  • Lust and Rum: New York, thy name’s “Delirium” — because I grew up in New York and  Anton Brookes’ photography and commentary reminds me that I still love it. His pictures are touching, evocative, the kind of photojournalism you rarely see any more.
  • Wessays – by my old friend Wes Richards whose writing is so good  that every time I read one of his posts, I immediately feel inadequate.
  • Awakenings: Awakenings from Then ’til Now allows you to Embrace Your Past, Empower the Present, Enrich Your Future. Because Sharla inspires me every day in more ways than I can count.

For all of you to whom I’ve already give awards, know you are likely going to get more. I like you, I like your websites, your thoughts, your pictures, you opinions … so you’ll have to cope with getting a few awards now and again. There are worse fates!

“VERY INSPIRING BLOGGER AWARD” – An honor, a privilege, a puzzlement.

Very Inspiring Blogger award

First of all, thanks to Mike Smith at  MikesFilmTalk who honored me with this, my second Very Inspiring Blogger Award. I have no idea why anyone finds me inspiring, but I like the idea.

I suppose the most inspiring thing about me is that despite everything, here I am, sense of humor intact. Survival is inspirational, but surviving while retaining a sense of humor is better. Unless you are going to be drowning in a sea of your own tears, you’d better laugh because no matter how much crap you’ve already gone through, I can personally guarantee that there is more just down the road past that traffic light. Crap, much like the tax collector, can always find you. You might just as well stop trying to hide because it’s pointless. What’s going to happen is going to happen. If it doesn’t kill you, it’ll make a great story.

Somehow I’ve gone in less than a year from “who’s that” to frequent honoree of awards … inspiring and brave and wise. Getting awards is all about finding someone … or someones … who don’t know you well enough to realize what a jerk you are.  I mean really … does anyone who you know close up and personal ever give you an award? No, right? That’s because they remember that time when you had one brandy Alexander too many and danced on the table … or that other time when while passing something around, you fainted dead away and had to be dragged to your tent by three big guys and a fork lift. These people love you, but they don’t give you awards. Intimacy precludes formal honors. Moreover, anyone who ever met my second husband or my first boyfriend could never find me inspiring. Perhaps if there were an award for it, I could be a cautionary tale, a warning to not do that!

Too much stuff

Mike sort of reminds me of me. That’s probably how come he has gotten a lot of awards from me and will get more. He doesn’t just write about movies. He writes about life. His life, and just any old life. He thinks about stuff. He’s had a hard time and I suspect that 2012 will never be marked in his mental landscape as “one of the great years.” Mike has managed to survived the worst life could throw at him and while he isn’t thrilled with it, he’s found ways to cope without whining and can apparently still laugh. Around here, that’s an achievement worthy of note. Somewhere, he got the message that life is neither fair nor easy. For anyone.

Inspiration comes to me from so many places, but oddly, the comments I write to Mike on his posts have, at least half a dozen times, morphed into posts of my own. He has a knack for saying stuff hovering on the edge of my consciousness that while I’m commenting to him, I realize is something I’ve been meaning to write.

Then, there are the books I read, the shows I see on the telly, current events, the weird stuff that happens at home to me and friends, and the way the light filters through the trees. The difference between something that gives me a migraine and something that inspires me can be razor-thin.

Doggy ChristmasBeing told that I’m an inspiration is an inspiration. It means someone still listens to me and I have not yet become completely irrelevant. The older one gets, the more the fear of irrelevancy stalks us. Not just me, but whole generations who were shakers and movers and now find themselves as designated “old people.” In our society, we don’t honor old people. We just shove them away and try to ignore them. Blogging lets me continue to be a part of the world and to still have a bit of impact on it. I’m not going to shake up the establishment, but I might just inform, inspire, awaken a few minds … or at least make someone who’s having a bad day, smile. That’s something.

All of you in my blogging community inspire me. I read your stories, poems and look at your pictures. You make me want to do more and be better. If I can do a little of the same for you, then I am glad.

I’m going to pass this honor to a few of the usual suspects, a couple of surprises … and suggest that any and all of you with whom I am regularly in contact, whose blogs I follow … any of you could equally well be recipients of this or one of the (I’m losing track) other awards I still need to deal with. Truly, if I hadn’t so recently received another of these so that I could take the post I wrote for it and redo it, I’m not sure I’d have been able to deal with this today. Christmas is near, my project deadline is breathing down my neck, my family has gone completely wacko and all I’m eating are homemade cookies which is unlikely to make me a more attractive or healthier person, but wow, they taste great.

Happy whatever you celebrate. Celebrate everything, why don’t you? Rejoice that you are alive, because you have a friend, a roof over your head, and maybe something to eat. Forget for a while all the problems and craziness because it won’t forget you … it’ll be there, waiting, when the party’s over. Love you all!!

The rules of this award are:

  • Display the award logo on your blog
  • Link back to the person who nominated you.
  • Tell us at least seven things about yourself that you would like to share.
  • Nominate other bloggers for this award and link to them. I am not going to set a specific number. I know how difficult it can be to keep coming up with dozens of new nominees and rather than burden you all with having to find in a single batch so many blogger, I will suggest that as you find worthy blogs you would like to honor, pass the honor to them, then let them pass the honor along as they find worthy recipients. No need to rush!
  • Notify your chosen bloggers of their nomination and the award’s requirements.

Seven things about myself that I haven’t explicitly said before (at least not where anyone could hear me) are:

  1. My second husband was a moron. I have no idea why in the world I married him. I will never understand. It may have had something to do with drugs and sex.
  2. My favorite shows are reruns. M*A*S*H is the best.
  3. I have a back so bad and a spine so damaged there’s no medical name for it.
  4. I make killer chile.
  5. I’m still waiting for the mother ship to come and take me away ala Cocoon so I can be young again.
  6. My first IQ test showed me to be a genius of the highest order. I was 11 years old. It’s been all downhill since. Now, I’m lucky if I can remember my name.
  7. Before settling down to writing, I was going to be a pianist. Which is how I completed a full major in music before realizing that I’m not good enough to be a musician, at least not classical. But once upon a time, I was pretty good.

My nominees (the envelope please):

For my friends to whom I’ve already give several awards (you know who you are!) and who live in fear of getting another, you are doomed. If I missed you this time, trust me … I will get you on the next round. And if you like any of these awards, feel free to just take the award, pat yourself on the back, and pass it along. It really is all about sharing. Share and be glad!