Posts tagged with Citizen Journalism Academy

This Is Better Than That

"Whatever gets you through your life 'salright, 'salright, Do it wrong or do it right 'salright, 'salright, "

John Lennon's lyrics to "Whatever Gets You Through the Night.", have played through my head numerous times over the years, too numerous to mention.

Most of you reading this blog have at one time or another been in extreme pain, and whether that pain was physical, mental, or spiritual, more than likely you have had many opportunities to feel the effects of how life changing and challenging pain can be.

Pain over the sudden loss of a loved one, news that someone you know and love has a terminal illness, or receiving a negative diagnose of a personal nature is indeed life changing.

Whether it is depression that is getting you down, temporary blues over the loss of a job, a physical ailment, or something more permanent, I hope you'll give the technique I"m talking about a chance to change your attitude by focusing in a more positive manner.

I didn't invent, "This is Better Than That", I don't even remember what it was called when I first heard about it, but the idea is that you begin each day with a mental list that you keep track of to compare what you have done as to being better than anything else that you experienced in the day.

Example: I wake up in excruciating pain, I turn over and the pain is slightly less. I say to myself, "This is better than that".

Next I get out of bed and I feel the cool, smooth floor underneath my feet and I ask, "Is this better than the decreased pain of my earlier movement?"

If it is then it goes to the top of my list. Next item may be something as simple (and endearing) as seeing my child's smile and noticing he/she is missing a front tooth - this immediately goes to the top of my list.

The idea is that if we concentrate on always looking for the next best thing to put on the top of our list. we tend not to focus on the negative things; they are ignored or not as noticeable since they are not what we are paying attention to for our list

.At the end of the day, as your head touches the pillow and just seconds before you drift off to sleep, spend a minute or two thinking about your list and remember as you go through all of the positive things that occurred in your day which one of them was better than all the rest.

If you have been used to thinking in a negative manner, are seriously depressed over a diagnosis, it might take awhile to retrain your thinking pattern.

You DO have control over how you LOOK at things that are happening, or have happened, in your life even though you may not have control over what actually happens or happened. Take back some of the control by how you choose to look at things and don't forget to ask, "Is this better than that"?

What techniques or tools have you utilized to help you transition through a difficult time period or loss?

We have had numerous losses within our community over the past couple of months - what advice would you give to those people who have lost a loved one to help them make it through their life?


Running Naked With iPhone: Day One

Take away modern technology: house, car, microwave, cordless phone, newspapers, radio, television, computers, but don't take my iPhone since it allows me to take pictures and utilize it as many of the other convenience functions as soon as civilization is within reach.

I had the opportunity recently to be stripped of many 'necessities' when I went on a camping trip with a friend, his mother, and my son. We decided to camp in a spot where one, as a seasoned camper, had gone for several decades - we went to Timber Creek, Colorado.

Timber Creek is one of several campsites available to the public at Rocky Mountain National Park, located in the Kawuneeche Valley and surrounded by the Never Summer Mountains. (Boy, did they have the latter right!)

We arrived late Sunday afternoon (July 26th) and were greeted with a solemn reminder of how ravaged this area has become by pine beetles.

Timber Creek, a once forested campground, had been stripped of its ambiance and left a wasteland.

Machines had arrived on site as soon as snowfall ended in early summer and removal of the aftermath of the devastation had begun. Everywhere around our site were huge piles of pine carcasses - some in small pieces usable for firewood, but most were simply saw dust.

Sky-reaching centenarian pine trees, which previously directed eyes upwards to stars, heavens, and mountains, were now gone - the campsite was barren and battle scarred. One lone tree, silhouetted against the descending darkness, held the promise of a quarter moon waning from behind.

Cold rain fell as three pods for tents were secured and we moved quickly, in silence, to build a fire. (watch for "Running Naked With iPhone: A New Day" tomorrow)


Good Night My Friends, Good Night

On Feb. 5th, as people turned excitedly to the news, or filed slowly to form lines to participate in the political caucus system of our great nation, clouds carrying killer storms formed quickly and wrecked havoc in several states. Many people were killed and numerous more were injured. The following is a tribute to those who lost someone they knew and loved:

Snow flakes, falling fluffy and light,

Strike upon my heart as weights

Each one heavy and hard.

Blood drips from my soul

As tears from eyes should fall

These other storms,

Darkness swirling on the horizon

Too early to be night,

Contrast sharply with

The layering of white

Across our land.

People weep, mourning

Loved ones who disappeared

Too quickly from their sight,

Now awakening to the light of morning

And a plight an entire nation shares

Good night, my friends, good night


Give Us This Day Our Daily Haiku

Go ahead, you know you want to, you know you need to, you know you can't stop yourself, you know you can't live without it.

People are uniquely different - I have a girl friend who years back would take one photograph each day that she felt best captured her feelings for that day. These days she is writing a daily haiku - what a thing to do!

Some people take a daily shower or bath, others fit in a daily routine of exercise or a walk with their doggy. Still others take the time to read their favorite daily newspaper (mine is the Lawrence Journal World), or to watch that favorite television show.

One of the things I have been most surprised about while writing blogs is how popular anything about poetry seems to be. People whom I would never have thought of having poetic minds or thoughts have surprised me with intricate, beautiful, soulful poetry.

So here goes - a living, ongoing, changing forum. Give us this day my daily haiku......please come on daily and post a haiku that best describes your emotional state, your day at work, your romantic life, an interaction with the world around you, or a snuggle with your child.


Running Naked With iPhone: Day Two - A New Beginning

Waking up to a crystal clear morning in the Rockies - it doesn't get any better. The devastation of the campsite by pine beetles seemed less foreboding than it had appeared in the cold rain of the previous evening. Although the first words out of my mouth, "I'm not leaving the tent until the sun is up and the temperature is 70 degrees. No, make that 80 degrees", the thought of campfire coffee, bacon and eggs, and a roaring fire enticed me to exit the comfort of the queen-sized bed with overlaid sleeping bags.

Once the sun came over the mountains, the cool night air warmed immediately. So much so, that we discarded layers of clothing to begin exploring the area surrounding the campsite.

We noticed many small signs of life: a new beginning that provided not only hope that in time this site would return to the beauty of the past (knowing that probably wouldn't happen in our lifetime), but also a gentle reminder of the cycle of life. The knowledge that nature has a way of regenerating and doesn't require much in the way of help from mankind.

The lure of wildflowers, a mountain stream, and the instinctual use of our senses enabled us to first 'trip' across a mother moose with her calf, enabling us to see sights to which I previously would have been oblivious.

Once we spotted the moose, we began circling around her to position ourselves closer, but with an awareness not to come between her and her calf.

As we circled, we became aware of what would have been signs, or clues, if we had known what to watch for. These included fresh moose and/or elk scat (poo by any other name), and an area of grass that had been a recent nesting place for a mother and her calf.

Eventually, with much trepidation, we made our way close enough to the female to get these two pictures. The awareness of her odor, her closeness, her sheer size, brought an excitement and understanding of why people hunt - whether that be with camera or weapon. I felt more alive than I had in a long time, scarcely noticing how soaked we were from lightly falling rain, and the dampness of the tall grasses as we made our way through them and back to the bleakness of the campsite.

Within less than a 24-hour period, we had witnessed what many people go their whole lives without seeing. And, we had adapted to our climate enough to have steaks on our plates in time to retreat into the warmth of our vehicle as evening rain fell once more.

(Stay tuned for: "Running Naked With iPhone: Day Three - Letting the Cosmos Decide"


Loku: New Form Of Poetry With Lawrence Roots Sweeps Literary World

Lawrence, Kansas is a melting pot of people and creative ideas erupting with artists, singers, song writers, performers, and entertainers of all varieties.

From this epic center of creativity explodes a new form of poetry referred to as Loku (pronounced low koo), based on the ancient Japanese form known as Haiku.

People the world over are familiar with this simplistic, yet profound, structure of 17 onji, or syllable count, structure of 5-7-5

.Other poetic forms that use a similar structure are the Katuata, Choka, Tanka, Mondo, and Sekoka.

The Katuata uses 19 sound units (onji), or syllable count, with a structure of 5-7-7.

The Mondo form is written by two poets with one person asking the question and the second supplying the answer. An example of the Mondo is as follows:

Why is there no rain

the land cries our for water

but cannot shed tears?

There will be no rain

because you wept time before

when there was some rain.

and is in the traditional 5-7-5 syllable count.

Choka is the most intricate of Japanese poems with a choice of form using either 5-7-7-5-7-7 or 5-7-5-5-7-5.

Enjoy the following example:

The Moth

there is no freedom

escaping from my cocoon

I must seek you once again

I am drawn to you

like a moth to a candle

circling nearer and nearer

the deadly flame calls

now my wings are scorched

why must my nature be so?


The new form of poetry created in Lawrence, Kansas, known as the Loku, is a simple three word, three syllable format

.Example:"two words, three"

One interpretation of the above poem is simply, I love you, or I love thee, since love is the core value of all poetry and a universal language.

It is more difficult to write a Loku poem than it may appear.

Please spend time following the Loku format and share Loku poems of your own creation along with the meaning of your poem.


E is back in town. Now about that A list.

I missed E and I know a lot of other people did as well! Let's face it, he is mighty sexy with his extended head and feet - and whatever that other middle pronged thing might happen to be.

Don't ask and don't tell when talking about Mr. E in broad daylight.

Please make sure your comments refrain from the use of the letter A, large or small. That's right, no letter A tall

Today we're talking a new game. Add Ms A to your A list. A list of non-usable words that sans the letter A. Agreed?


Taking it Easy, Keeping Cool, Remaining E less.

So we're stuck inside; that's if we're one of the lucky ones. For those who are forced to work outside on a day such as this, you have my deepest sympathies. Lemonade stand anyone?

Word spread through the Internet grapevine of a 'cool' game being played at one of the campus buildings yesterday and it sounded like a fun way to beat the heat and keep our brains from frying.

Post a sentence or paragraph of at least twenty words that are e free. Yes, leave out the E words and go for the other vowels. A I O U and sometimes Y. Y not? Have fun!


Lawrence Sound Event - July 3rd: Support for Community Shelter and Lots of Fun!

Local artist Stan Herd and son Evan Herd will be hosting a pre 4th of July party Saturday evening from five to midnight and you're invited. Only one problem, it's so large they're holding it at Abe and Jake's Landing - 8 E 6th St.

The event, which is from five to midnight, July 3rd, (tickets are five dollars - with one dollar from each ticket going to the Lawrence Community Shelter) will showcase a multitude of area bands including: Michael Paull - Big Stack Daddy, Frut Snaxx, Forest of Luxury, Yeti Speak, Atomic Blues, Quiet Corral, Katlyn Conroy, Yes 'ir, Rachel Black, and Elevator Action.

It sounds like there will be something for everyone! So my question: (since I'll be helping with tickets and juice bar) which bands should I be sure to catch? Remember, my tastes run the gamut from Beatles, blues and I love the poetry of rap music.

So, if any of the reading audience has any positive words about the bands, now is your chance to speak up! I hope to see you there - the event will be hotter than an exploding fire cracker, so beware!


Musical Thursday: har har hardly the weekend!

Two work days to make it through before the explosive thought of July 4th, and the day following as paid vacation for most of us, so let's pass the time sharing some of our favorite performers and performances that have instrument solos with the letters 'har' in them. I'm thinking harmonica (a personal favorite), harp and harpsichord.

Who are your favorite 'har' pos, 'har' poons, and 'har' pers? Yeah, yeah, yeah - Lennon could really play a mean harmonica as can Dylan.

List your song and performer and share a link so we can enjoy. One post per comment, please.


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