From: a touch of william
Sent: Thursday, November 27, 2014 2:39 AM
To: 'atow/CBTC Mailing List'
Subject: Happy Thanksgiving and some thoughts


Greetings to each of you,

Embracing All of Who You Are

One of the conclusions I have finally come to about myself is that I see things more in a glass half empty kind of way than a glass half full.  At the end of the day, I tend to look at what I did not get done rather than take stock of what I accomplished.  I always find it easier to remember my failures, than to focus on my successes.  When I notice a speck in someone else's eye (Matthew 7:3-4 and Luke 6:41-42), I presume there is likely a similar larger log in my own eye, which I should be attending to first.  The list could go on, of course, but basically I have for years spoken of an ingrained (what I call a) negative “default” response.  I am aware of how much my life has been, and is, blessed (especially when I use a global perspective), but whenever I have tried to consistently maintain an “attitude of gratitude,” it always ends up seeming dishonest to me.  So, one of the things I can be thankful for is a specific “Thanksgiving” holiday to remind me of how much I truly have to be thankful for.  However, in my world, even that is still a bit of a mixed bag.  I have heard some Native Americans now refer to it as Gratitude Day, trying to distance the celebration from the whole European Pilgrim invasion connection.  I guess even the name “Thanksgiving” can conjure up less than positive emotions depending on one's heritage. 

It is interesting, that sometime in this past year, I read an article published in a magazine from my alma mater.  Apparently, a fellow at Michigan State University did a study about this whole negative versus positive concept.  What he discovered is that it is more stressful for a person with a negative default to try and put a positive spin on things, than the level of stress experienced from the negative perspective itself.  Stress, being a major health factor, brings a forced “positive thinking” admonition into quite a quagmire.  On the other hand, there are highly credible spiritual teachers who tell us our thoughts create our realities in a very real cause and effect manner.  Negative thoughts – negative outcomes.  Positive thoughts – better manifestations.  I understand the concept, and can see evidence for it, but an indifferent universe responding to our thoughts without a benevolent Creator available to help those of us less disciplined in our thought processes, is not an idea I can fully embrace.  Still, decades ago, Henry Ford told us a similar thing with his famous quote, “If you think you can, you are right.  If you think you cannot, you are right.”  And even Jesus tells us with enough faith we can move mountains (Matthew 17:20).  I am not sure science, religion, and industry could make our lives any more confusing than they already have. 

After a number of years of absence, early in 2014, while last winter was still upon us, Mormon missionaries started visiting the Center again on a weekly basis.  I am open to all at the Center.  They recently decided to stop their visits.  But for over half of a year they began each visit with a prayer.  And, each prayer usually began with giving thanks.  I remember teasing them at the very beginning, that they were probably the only people in the entire state of Michigan who were thanking God for more snow at that point, in what had become a very long winter.  Actually though, I have long wished I could be genuinely grateful for whatever each day brings, as they had obviously developed a habit for doing.  I will miss them. 

The most positive spin I can put on 2014 is to dub it “the year of extremely challenging surprises.”  It has been a year where God has been revisiting what I believe regarding everything from security, to demons, to belonging, to love (and probably more I am not remembering just now).  There are two strong beliefs I have emerged from this year holding onto.  The first is that God loves each of us with a personal all-consuming passionate love, not some generic (almost impersonal) “Christians are supposed to love everybody” kind of love.  The second is that the prodigal son story (Luke 15:11-31) in Scripture is a really valid parable, because our Creator actually does love us with an all forgiving love.  God is ready and waiting with open arms to accept us whenever we choose to reestablish the relationship.  Just as I am, as Billy Graham has always emphasized.  It does not matter what we have done, or not done, or said, or not said.  He just loves us.  I try to stay away from absolutes, and will not say that I “know” these things to be true about God.  I am not the holder of Truth (capital T) or the Mind of God.  Yet, at this moment, in this place, I believe them as strongly as my own belief that I exist, and I pray I will carry them to the grave, and beyond.  These two, learned through a time of intense emotional and spiritual struggle, are things I am immensely thankful for.  Life is challenging. I used to say it is simple if you let it be.  I still think that is a true statement. But simple and easy are not the same thing.  It is not that easy to let go of, unlearn, or even just sift through so much of what bombards us regularly.  Whether you are a glass half empty or glass half full person, I hope you can find a moment where you can realize what a beautiful person you are in God's eyes.  How much you are truly loved.  Each of you makes my “thankful for” list on this holiday, by whatever name you might call it.  Today, I am reminded a half empty glass is always half-full too. 



God’s peace,

Acts 5:29


General Notes: 

My computer is usually kept turned off from sundown on Friday (beginning of the Sabbath) until very late on Sunday (end of the Lord's Day).  Therefore, I typically do not see, nor have the opportunity to act on, reply to, or send, emails except on weekdays.  Plus, I normally only check emails once each weekday morning, so later emails are not seen until the next day (or Monday if sent on a Friday).  Please keep this in mind when deciding whether to email or phone. 

I am not on Facebook, Twitter, or any other online social media site.  So, in addition to creating and maintaining the website (have you visited it lately?), I currently maintain two emailing lists for sending information, updates, and greetings: 

atow/CBTC email list (formerly the poet’s circle) keeps you apprised of basic information from a touch of william and Cherokee Bill's Teaching & Trade Center, as well as updates, changes, and new additions to my (.org and .net) website.  This is my own separate list from the T&SC corporate list (the poet’s circle).  Simply reply to my email address to request addition to or removal from my atow/CBTC list.

My personal Family & Friends email list is used primarily for holiday greetings or other more home life related communications and information, although very occasionally I might use it along with the atow/CBTC list to announce something important which is related to my work.  Simply reply to my email address to request addition to or removal from my Family & Friends list.  Those on my F&F list normally receive a birthday greeting by email.  If you are receiving other F&F emails but not a birthday e-card, I probably do not have your birthdate in my files.  Please provide me with the date.  I would very much like to acknowledge your birthday. 

If, for any reason, you feel the need to be removed from either or both of my lists, this is fine, just let me know.  All I ask is that you please not designate my emails as 'spam.'  They are not that.  Doing so could sidetrack them for others who wish to receive my emails.  I have never sent spam and never will.  If you are on my list(s), it is because you requested it, or our prior contact or relationship seemed to deem it appropriate (such as merging our Christmas card list into the F&F list). 

Helping to identify and stop spam:  All emails from me clearly state the topic in the subject line.  If there are any links, the complete URL is shown and the reason for the link described in the body of the letter.  If I am including any attachments, they will be identified and mentioned in the body of the letter as well.  When mailing to either of the above mentioned lists, I always use the blind carbon copy (Bcc) line so your email address does not appear in the email.  My address books are kept only in my computer and not online anywhere.  I do not forward petitions, lists, or similar items that show addresses, as these can be bogus attempts by spammers to collect them. 

If you add me to a list of yours, or whenever you are sending me multiple recipient emails, I would appreciate it if you would please use my email address.  It is my most public address. 

If you are replacing a working computer system or laptop with a newer one, live locally enough to drop your old one off at the Center (or have it picked up), and would like to donate it to my a touch of william outreach rather than try to find where to recycle or dispose of the old one, I freely place functioning used systems (Windows XP or later operating systems) with my slide shows into nature centers, museums, and other places where they are desired.  Call me (627-7366) if you have a system or laptop to donate.  


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