Site Meter ANCORA IMPARO
I believe in simplicity. I believe in feelings and family, friendship and fidelity, forgiveness and fortitude. I believe in miracles, meditation, motherhood and make believe and that music is the only real magic this world has ever seen. I believe in concocting and consuming colorful cocktails and fussing over and feasting on fabulous food. I believe in living out loud. I believe in laughing until your face hurts and loving until your heart breaks. I believe in behaving boldly and when warranted, badly, taking bubble baths and being barefoot. I believe in poetry, puppies and playing in the park. I believe in seeking without ceasing that which sings to my soul and strengthens my spirit. I believe in dancing in the rain and digging in the dirt. I believe in honest expression and the golden rule. I believe in Nature and naps and that naïveté is sometimes necessary. I believe in goodness and gratitude, grit and grace. I believe in unity and the power of the universe. I believe in being authentically awesome. I believe in being better today than yesterday but not as good as tomorrow. I believe in challenges and change and growing pains. I believe in the inherent worth of every creature, being and life force on this planet. I believe in honoring the individual journeys and paths of people whether I understand them or not. I believe in letting people live their truth and trusting that it’s right for them. I believe in lifting up and letting go. I believe that death is just as sacred an experience as birth and that it is never, ever an end.

Mostly, I just believe that I’m never going to stop learning what it is I believe.


Read the Printed Word!



Lazy Caturday. ..per usual.

Lazy Caturday. ..per usual.

“Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art.”

—Maya Angelou

“What a large volume of adventures may be grasped within the span of his little life by him who interests his heart in everything.”

—Laurence Sterne

“Make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty.”

—Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

fishingboatproceeds:

Everybody was told to make a funny face, but I didn’t get the memo.
Esther Earl would’ve been 18 tomorrow, a real adult. I miss her. 
It’s very easy to turn the dead into Lessons for the Living—to say that Esther taught me to Live Life or To Be Grateful or Not To Take Beauty for Granted. But honestly, in my opinion at least, any lessons learned from her death could’ve been learned in some other, easier way. I think the universe overall would be better off if she were still making videos.
I am so glad that I knew Esther, and that she was a nerdfighter, and that through Esther’s family and This Star Won’t Go Out we can still decrease suck with her. But I am also really pissed off that she died. 
She was young, blessed with a genuinely sophomoric sense of humor, silly, empathetic, madly in love with her friends and family, and a very gifted writer. It’s hard to isolate why, but I’ve never liked a teenager so much—at least not since I was a teenager. She was just really cool, in the best sense of the word. She never made me feel uncomfortable. She listened to me and responded thoughtfully, and was also happy to tell me I was full of shit. 
(On the day this picture was taken, I generally did a not-great job of being an Adult and cried a lot, and at one point Esther was talking about her complicated relationship with the idea of heaven, and I answered that there were all kinds of ways of imagining an infinite afterlife, some of which weren’t even necessarily that supernatural, and she just cocked me a look like, “You need to learn the meaning of the word infinite.” She was right, of course. Back in my hotel room that night, I jotted down easy comfort isn’t comforting, which ended up in TFiOS.) 
The nearly two years since her death have complicated my relationship with Esther because now of course there is not only time but a book between us: I could never have written The Fault in Our Stars without knowing Esther. Every word on that book depends upon her.
But at the same time, I don’t want people conflating Esther with Hazel (they’re very different), and it’s extremely important to me that I not claim to be telling Esther’s story. Esther’s story belongs to Esther and to her family, and they will tell it brilliantly and beautifully.
When I was doing publicity for the book, lots of reporters wanted me to talk about Esther because these days novels “based on a true story” do so much better than novels that are just novels. I never really knew how to deal with these questions, and I still don’t, because the truth (as always) is complicated: Esther inspired the story in the sense that I was very angry after her death and wrote constantly, with a focus and passion I hadn’t known since I was rewriting Looking for Alaska in 2003. And Esther helped me to imagine teenagers as more empathetic than I’d given them credit for. And her charm and snark inspired the novel, as did her idea of incorporating an author she liked into her Wish. But the story is also inspired by many other people—by my son, by my wife, by the kids I knew and loved who died in the children’s hospital when I was a student chaplain, by my own parents (my dad is a cancer survivor), etc.
I wish she’d read TFiOS. I suspect she would’ve found it a bit far-fetched, but I do hope she’d have enjoyed it anyway. I’ll never know, though. I am astonished that the book has found such a broad audience, but the person I most want to read it never will.
Esther has become a hero in our community, and the heroic narrative doesn’t always line up perfectly with the person she was. (Heroic narratives never do.) But this much was true, at least as far as I knew her: She was generous, and loving, and full of grace—which was, after all, her middle name.
Plus, she knew how to make a funny face on cue.
When I told Esther we wanted to celebrate her birthday as long as there were vlogbrothers videos, and that videos on that day could be about whatever she wanted them to be about, she waited a couple weeks before getting back to me. She finally decided she wanted it to be a day that celebrated love in families and among friends. I think of Esther Day as a kind of Valentine’s Day for all the other kinds of love.
It was a brilliant idea, Esther. Thank you for Esther Day. Thank you for helping me say to my family and friends what I still hope I can say to you, even over the great divide: I love you.
(You can support This Star Won’t Go Out, the organization founded in Esther’s memory that helps families of children with cancer, directly here or by buying a TSWGO wristband.)

As I prepare to geek out with my daughter over TFIOS film, I am reminded that Esther was real. That her parents are real. That her legecy is love. 
Thanks, kiddo!

fishingboatproceeds:

Everybody was told to make a funny face, but I didn’t get the memo.

Esther Earl would’ve been 18 tomorrow, a real adult. I miss her. 

It’s very easy to turn the dead into Lessons for the Living—to say that Esther taught me to Live Life or To Be Grateful or Not To Take Beauty for Granted. But honestly, in my opinion at least, any lessons learned from her death could’ve been learned in some other, easier way. I think the universe overall would be better off if she were still making videos.

I am so glad that I knew Esther, and that she was a nerdfighter, and that through Esther’s family and This Star Won’t Go Out we can still decrease suck with her. But I am also really pissed off that she died. 

She was young, blessed with a genuinely sophomoric sense of humor, silly, empathetic, madly in love with her friends and family, and a very gifted writer. It’s hard to isolate why, but I’ve never liked a teenager so much—at least not since I was a teenager. She was just really cool, in the best sense of the word. She never made me feel uncomfortable. She listened to me and responded thoughtfully, and was also happy to tell me I was full of shit. 

(On the day this picture was taken, I generally did a not-great job of being an Adult and cried a lot, and at one point Esther was talking about her complicated relationship with the idea of heaven, and I answered that there were all kinds of ways of imagining an infinite afterlife, some of which weren’t even necessarily that supernatural, and she just cocked me a look like, “You need to learn the meaning of the word infinite.” She was right, of course. Back in my hotel room that night, I jotted down easy comfort isn’t comforting, which ended up in TFiOS.) 

The nearly two years since her death have complicated my relationship with Esther because now of course there is not only time but a book between us: I could never have written The Fault in Our Stars without knowing Esther. Every word on that book depends upon her.

But at the same time, I don’t want people conflating Esther with Hazel (they’re very different), and it’s extremely important to me that I not claim to be telling Esther’s story. Esther’s story belongs to Esther and to her family, and they will tell it brilliantly and beautifully.

When I was doing publicity for the book, lots of reporters wanted me to talk about Esther because these days novels “based on a true story” do so much better than novels that are just novels. I never really knew how to deal with these questions, and I still don’t, because the truth (as always) is complicated: Esther inspired the story in the sense that I was very angry after her death and wrote constantly, with a focus and passion I hadn’t known since I was rewriting Looking for Alaska in 2003. And Esther helped me to imagine teenagers as more empathetic than I’d given them credit for. And her charm and snark inspired the novel, as did her idea of incorporating an author she liked into her Wish. But the story is also inspired by many other people—by my son, by my wife, by the kids I knew and loved who died in the children’s hospital when I was a student chaplain, by my own parents (my dad is a cancer survivor), etc.

I wish she’d read TFiOS. I suspect she would’ve found it a bit far-fetched, but I do hope she’d have enjoyed it anyway. I’ll never know, though. I am astonished that the book has found such a broad audience, but the person I most want to read it never will.

Esther has become a hero in our community, and the heroic narrative doesn’t always line up perfectly with the person she was. (Heroic narratives never do.) But this much was true, at least as far as I knew her: She was generous, and loving, and full of grace—which was, after all, her middle name.

Plus, she knew how to make a funny face on cue.

When I told Esther we wanted to celebrate her birthday as long as there were vlogbrothers videos, and that videos on that day could be about whatever she wanted them to be about, she waited a couple weeks before getting back to me. She finally decided she wanted it to be a day that celebrated love in families and among friends. I think of Esther Day as a kind of Valentine’s Day for all the other kinds of love.

It was a brilliant idea, Esther. Thank you for Esther Day. Thank you for helping me say to my family and friends what I still hope I can say to you, even over the great divide: I love you.

(You can support This Star Won’t Go Out, the organization founded in Esther’s memory that helps families of children with cancer, directly here or by buying a TSWGO wristband.)

As I prepare to geek out with my daughter over TFIOS film, I am reminded that Esther was real. That her parents are real. That her legecy is love.

Thanks, kiddo!

Ed Sheeran covering “Stay With Me”.

You’re welcome.

For those of you thumbing through the Skymall catalog wondering who on Earth actually buys that stuff…now you know. #noregrets

For those of you thumbing through the Skymall catalog wondering who on Earth actually buys that stuff…now you know. #noregrets

anarcho-queer:

Study Reveals It Costs Much Less to House The Homeless Than to Leave Them on the Street

Not only is it morally wrong to let people live desperately on the streets, but it doesn’t make much economical sense either.

A new study has found that it’s significantly cheaper to house the homeless than leave them on the streets.

University of North Carolina Charlotte researchers released a study on Monday that tracked chronically homeless adults housed in the Moore Place facility run by Charlotte’s Urban Ministry Center (UMC) in partnership with local government. Housing these people led to dramatic cost savings that more than paid for the cost of putting them in decent housing, including $1.8 million in health care savings from 447 fewer ER visits (78% reduction) and 372 fewer hospital days (79% reduction). Tenants also spent 84 fewer days in jail, with a 72% drop in arrests.

Moore Place cost $6 million in land and construction costs, and tenants are required to contribute 30% of their income (mainly benefits) towards rent. The remainder of the $14,000 per tenant annually is covered by donations and local and federal funding. According to the UNCC study, that $14,000 pales in comparison to the costs a chronically homeless person racks up every year to society — a stunning $39,458 in combined medical, judicial and other costs.

What’s more, Moore Place is enabling the formerly homeless to find their own sources of income. Without housing, just 50% were able to generate any income. One year after move-in, they’re up to 82%. And after an average length of 7 years of homelessness, 94% of the original tenants retained their housing after 18 months, with a 99% rent collection rate.

The general population is biased: The original proposal for Moore Place was “controversial, if not ridiculed,” according to the Charlotte Observer. Locals mocked the idea that giving the homeless subsidized housing would do any good. A 2011 report commissioned by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority found that people have condescending attitudes towards the homeless, with the public perceiving higher levels of substance abuse problems (91%) and mental health issues (85%) than reported by the homeless themselves (41% and 24% respectively). It concluded that if “personal failings as the main cause of homelessness, it is unlikely that they will vote for increased public assistance or volunteer to help the homeless themselves.

But “you can’t argue with the statistics," said UMC housing director Caroline Chambre. “This approach was controversial at one time because of the stereotype of who the homeless are, and we had to change that stereotype.

In 2012, total welfare spending for the poor was just 0.47% of the federal budget. It turns out that maybe if we spent a little more to help the chronically destitute solve their problems, we could save a lot of money.

(via reagan-was-a-horrible-president)

liberalsarecool:

They could keep it the same price AND pay their employees a living wage AND they would still be billionaires.

The Wal-Mart business plan proves nothing trickles down. The entire supply chain has been squeezed to benefit the Walton heirs.

#raisethewage

liberalsarecool:

They could keep it the same price AND pay their employees a living wage AND they would still be billionaires.

The Wal-Mart business plan proves nothing trickles down. The entire supply chain has been squeezed to benefit the Walton heirs.

#raisethewage

“So number one, Reading Rainbow was not cancelled because it was not effective. Reading Rainbow was the most used television resource in our nation’s classroom. In 2009, it was [cancelled] due to No Child Left Behind. That government policy made a choice between teaching the rudiments of reading and fostering a love of reading. So the idea that I am trying to somehow revive a failed endeavor is bullshit. That’s right. I said it. Bullshit.”

“No one else has access to the world you carry around within yourself; you are its custodian and entrance. No one else can see the world the way you see it. No one else can feel your life the way you feel it. Thus it is impossible to ever compare two people because each stands on such different ground. When you compare yourself to others, you are inviting envy into your consciousness; it can be a dangerous and destructive guest.”

—John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not.”

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

policymic:

5 lies we need to stop telling about Net Neutrality

Net neutrality will kill innovation and jobs. It’s about subsidizing takers. It’s the government takeover of the Internet.

In the brewing storm around the FCC’s proposed open Internet rules (which detractors claim would gut net neutrality), there’s a lot of misinformation. Here are five of the most common myths floating around about net neutrality and how to counter them.

Read more | Follow policymic

(Source: micdotcom, via truth-has-a-liberal-bias)

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