Beach Glass Hunting

“The only problem with looking for sea glass…is that you never look up. you never see the view. you never see the houses or the ocean, because you’re afraid you’ll miss something in the sand.” ~ Anita Shreve

It’s 6:45 in the morning. My best friend and I arrive at one of our favorite local spots – a popular beach on Lake Erie. Well, it’s relatively local. It’s 29 miles away or about a 45 minute drive that I can sometimes make in 30 minutes. We are 2 of a small handful of people who are up and about at this crazy hour on a Saturday morning.

As we walk down the ride away, I notice how calm the lake is. It looks like glass with the exception of a few small ripples coming ashore from the lone boat passing by with a couple fishermen. Since I’ve been coming to this beach years ago, I’ve always seen at least a few waves on this lake, but not today. I’ve never seen this lake so calm. Then again, I’ve never seen the lake at this time of the day.When we get to the water’s edge, we part ways. I head towards the pier and she heads towards the creek.

So why in the world are we at the beach at such an ungodly hour on a Saturday morning?

Imagine that you’re taking a stroll on the beach and something sparkly catches your eye. You bend over to pick it up and admire the simple yet pretty, frosty, little odd shaped gem. You look down and see another piece. A few steps away you find another … and another.

A little while later when you get in your car or get home, you look at all of the sparkly, frosty gems you’ve gathered. Maybe you have a rainbow of colors or maybe you have just a couple different colors.

You have just collected what’s known as beach glass or sea glass.

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How did the glass get in the lake?

There are a couple of ways that the glass ended up in the lake then on the beach.

  • Before the 1960’s, many products came in glass containers. Everything from food to beverages to medicine and everything in between. Also back then, it was a common practice to either bury your garbage in the sand or toss it in the ocean or lake. Since the invention of plastic and less garbage being tossed in the lake, these precious little gems are becoming harder to find.

  • The exact number is not known, but Lake Erie has had more than 2,000 shipwrecks, all of which probably had bottles, glasses and ceramic dishes on board.

  • Rumor has it that marbles have also washed ashore. They may have been on ships or thrown into the lake by children playing on the beach or at an amusement park by the lake. They may have also been dumped into the lake by marble manufacturer Akro Agate which was on the Cuyahoga River.

  • The average depth of Lake Erie is 62 feet. It ranges from about 30 feet deep in the shallowest point and 210 feet at the deepest point. In comparison, Lake Superior is 1,335 feet. This means that the waves on Lake Erie can be incredibly rough – especially during a storm. During a storm, strong winds kick up fairly powerful waves. This combined with the riptide churns the water and tosses the glass around while rubbing it against rocks and sand. This smoothes the rough, jagged edges of the glass and transforms them into a beautiful frosty jewel.

  • It takes anywhere from 7 – 20 years of being tossed around in this environment for something like a broken bottle to transform from a piece of glass with sharp, jagged edges to a smooth piece with rounded edges.

  • Beach glass colors span the entire rainbow with many shades of each color in between plus black, brown and white. Some colors, like white, green and brown, are more common than black and red which are very rare.

  • These recycled bobbles are collected all over the world. Depending where you live, they are called many different things like sea glass, beach glass, mermaids tears, ocean glass, and trash glass.

  • Glass found in the ocean is typically called sea glass, while glass on fresh water beaches is called Beach Glass.

  • There is no real value in these treasures, but they are beautiful and fun to collect.

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Back on the beach, I found my thoughts clearing as the sun was rising in the eastern sky. I asked myself why I liked collecting this garbage that Lake Erie polished and spit back out to the beach. Is it because finding these pieces of recycled past is like a scavenger hunt? Is it because I like being up at the crack of an ungodly hour watching the sun rising over the horizon? Could it be because I like playing tag with the waves? Or is it the peaceful calmness and serenity that I feel when I’m here?

My answer? It’s all of the above.

After I’m done looking for that one unique piece by the pier, I head back. I walk with my head down peering into the clear water to my right, then scanning the wet sand and rocks in front of me, then the dry sand and rocks to my left and back again. Every few steps I find a piece, then another, and another, and …

“Buddy! You went past the ride away again!”

I look up and sure enough I did. I was so busy with my eyes looking over every square inch of beach that I hadn’t even noticed the time, the tide going out, the scenery around me, or that I walked past the ride away… again. That’s ok though. I was enjoying the moment as it was happening.

When I catch up to my best friend back at the car, we show off our haul to each other. Today we found a lot. We both found a few big pieces and at least 1 of each color – white, blue, green and brown. I also found a few neat looking rocks and a couple of fossils. We hop in the car, put the windows down and the music up as we head for home. On the ride home, I am acutely aware that I hadn’t eaten breakfast. No matter. This was a great start to the day.

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Our lives are filled with so much stuff these days. Between work, children and information coming at us from every direction 24/7. We’re always rushing from here to there and a couple of places in between. I know. I’ve been there. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized what’s important in life. I know that there’s more to life than work and obligations. I missed out on a lot of things because of the obligations I’ve had over the years. I decided last year that I was going to do more of the things I enjoy doing.

In all my years of coming to this beach, I have yet to find a marble. Perhaps one day, when the tide is right, I’ll find a marble sitting on the beach waiting for me to pick it up.

My best friend told me years ago that when we got old that we would walk the beach collecting glass and seashells. I laughed and said, “Yeah right.” Little did I know back then that she was right, except now we’re not old. We’re just older.

Thought for the day: We will always have work and obligations in some form until the day we die. If we want to be happy, healthy people we need to look up from our work, obligations and our electronic devices. See the view. See the houses or the ocean/lake. Don’t be afraid of missing the occasional piece of glass in the sand. There will be more.

***Please be sure to read more of my posts

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Tolerance

“Everyone has a responsibility to not only tolerate another person’s point of view, but also to accept it eagerly as a challenge to your own understanding. And express those challenges in terms of serving other people.” Arlo Guthrie

You’ve probably seen me list tolerance when I’ve shared about Spiritual Principles. Tolerance is when you respect someone’s opinions and accept their ideas, opinions, beliefs, practices, behavior or situation no matter their race or ethnic origins, etc. – even if you disagree or find them nonsensical.

Part of being tolerant is acceptance, another Spiritual Principle. When we are accepting, we are willing to recognize and respect the beliefs or practices of others. Self acceptance is an acceptance of yourself as you are, warts and all.

I’m sure you’ve also probably heard that opinions are like…well, everyone’s got one. Everybody has an opinion on something which is all well and good. Unfortunately today, when that opinion is expressed somebody, somewhere will be offended. I don’t care what the topic is, someone will inevitably be offended.

You see, each of us is a unique individual who was raised differently, with different values, beliefs and/or learned different things in our lives. This gives each of us a different perspective. This can in turn give us an opportunity to learn new ways to do things and also a new way to look at problems or situations differently from each other. Believe it or not, relationships can become stronger and a new level of respect for that person can be achieved when we have disagreements.

Thought for the day: It’s ok to agree to disagree with each other. Just because we disagree doesn’t mean that whatever relationship we have with that person is over.

***Please be sure to read more of my posts.

Crime and Punishment

“An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

The Old Testament says, “If there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth…” (Exodus 21:23–25). This basically meant that the punishment must fit the crime. Excessive harshness and excessive leniency should be avoided.

This is what we see everywhere around us today. People hurt each other all the time whether it’s intentional or accidental. When someone hurts us we hurt them back. People keep getting revenge on each other keeping the cycle of violence going. When does the cycle of violence stop? Til everyone gets got? Then who’s left? If we lived by the Old Testament ways, everyone of us would be dead or maimed in some way.

The New Testament, it says, “Do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek…”(Matthew 5:39–42). This is where Gandhi’s quote comes in. Of course we are angry when we are hurt by someone else. If we weren’t we wouldn’t be human! Does this mean we should resist, forgive and love all evil people or let them walk all over us? Not necessarily.

People do need to be punished especially when they murder, rape, and commit other heinous crimes, however punishment should be left to the courts. For everyday occurrences we need to step back, evaluate what happened and ask ourselves, “Is this person really mean at heart? Is there a communication breakdown? Will all of this matter a week, a month, a year, or more from now?” Probably not.

Thought for the day: While an eye for an eye makes everyone blind, we shouldn’t be doormat for others to walk all over us. We must find a healthy balance between punishment and being a pushover.

***Please be sure to read more of my posts

Words

“If you proposed to speak, always ask yourself, is it true, is it necessary, is it kind?” ~Buddha

This boils down to 4 simple words that seem to be the hardest to do. Think before you speak. When we fight with or dislike someone, we almost instantly throw around derogatory words, lies, untruths, gossip, and insults about the other person. Once our words leave our mouths we cannot take them back.

Some people can let this type of stuff roll off their back like water on a duck’s back. Sometimes it causes the recipient to fire back with the same type of words. For others, though, quite the opposite happens. Some people end up internalizing those words and it hurts them deeply. Perhaps they end up believing those words.

I admit, I am no angel when it comes to my mouth. Over the last few years I’ve had rumors and untruths said about me. Instead of firing back something nasty about those people, I either stay silent OR I walk away. Why? For two simple reasons.

The first reason is simple. If I fire back, I’m continuing the vicious cycle of anger and hate. I was taught a number of years ago by two women in my circle that if you continue to put gasoline on a fire it continues to burn. Stop putting gasoline(saying nasty things) on the fire and you take the fuel out of it(the fight). Also if I stay silent my character, the way I live my life, will speak for itself. If I stoop to the other person’s level that can make me look as bad if not worse than the other person.

Thought for the day: What will you do the next time someone speaks badly of you?

***Please be sure to read more of my posts

Are You Part of the Problem or the Solution?

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right.” ~ Dr Martin Luther King Jr

This post is not meant to inflame the already tense time we are living in. If my words offend you, I kindly ask that instead of leaving a nasty comment, just stop reading and go to the next post. This piece is meant solely to be a voice of reason in the sea of madness.

There seems to be a growing, yet disturbing, trend in America in recent years. Anger, resentment, divisiveness, intolerance, ignorance, hypocrisy, and dishonesty. And that is just the short list. All of this can be attributed to many factors. Social media and mainstream media are at the top of the list. However, there’s one thing that has made things worse. Politics, rather the politicizing, of just about everything we do from writing common sense legislation to what we have for breakfast. There are plenty of people out there willing to take a stand and protest what they feel is wrong.

What about taking a stand and protesting for what’s right? Are we all that scared to do that?

I have to say, I’ve seen my fair share of debates on the news involving some of the more controversial topics and I have to wonder, where has basic civility gone in our country? As an objective observer, I’ve noticed a couple things that always end up happening during these debates. Three of the most glaring observations are that at some point 1) while one person is trying to have a civilized, rational discussion, the other person spews hate filled word vomit, 2) one of the debaters, without fail, resorts to name calling and someone is always room blame.

I have a question. How does any this solve anything?

There are some things we can we do to fix this mess. Let’s look at the name calling, the hateful word vomit and shouting down others first.

I’d like to encourage you to try something if you get an a chance. Watch two people debating a controversial topic. You could also watch or read the news from different outlets. There’s one catch though. You need to do this without an opinion either way and with an open mind. If you choose do this, you’ll see that one side tries to rationally discuss the situation and come up with logical solutions to the problem.

You will also notice that instead of coming up with another idea, the other person who disagrees starts throwing around labels like racist, bigot, misogynist, xenophobe, feminist, etc. I don’t know about anyone else, but if someone were to call me one of those names I would get angry in the blink of an eye. Name calling not only shuts down the conversation, but it invalidates everything you just said. Not only that, but the person you just called a bigot, etc is probably far from it.

Sometimes the person who disagrees will shout down or talk louder than the person trying to have the rational and logical discussion. If you and I are shouting at each other, can you hear what I’m saying even if we agree on a solution? I know I wouldn’t be able to hear you.

Finally, something I hear a lot of on mainstream media, see on social media or hear from others in general. Someone always gets blamed for everything that happens. While there may be someone or something that caused the problem(s) we see today, blaming doesn’t help anything either.

All of this only fuels the flames of anger and makes the divide between you and me even bigger.

One way to fix all of this is with the Spiritual Principles that I’ve written about for some time. These Principles can help combat the anger, resentment, divisiveness, intolerance, ignorance, hypocrisy, and dishonesty I mentioned earlier. Principles like open mindedness, forgiveness, patience, tolerance, honesty, compassion, empathy, integrity, humility and acceptance are just a few that can help.

Obviously everyone isn’t going to agree on everything. What we CAN DO is either compromise on some stuff or we can agree to disagree. As I said earlier, name calling based on differing viewpoints solves nothing but fuel the fire and makes the divide between you and I even greater.

You may have heard some version of the following quote, “It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” by Maya Angelou. The keywords in that quote are “in diversity there…is strength.” While some journalists and news pundits argue or question this, it is actually true. Think about it for a moment. You and I have two different solutions to the same problem. But if we look at both of our ideas, there may be aspects of each of our solutions that will work.

Another quote by Eldridge Cleaver comes to mind when I see a debate descending into madness. “If you are not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem.” As I watch these mini debates and see what each person does, or doesn’t do, I find myself yelling at the tv, “So, what’s your idea? What’s your solution to this problem?!” Seriously, if you disagree with me and my thoughts, instead of throwing blame around, calling me names or shouting me down, tell me your ideas. Maybe together we can fix the problem.

Thought for the day: Instead of spewing hateful word vomit, name calling and throwing blame around, let’s all of us everywhere try something different for a change. Let’s try practicing the Spiritual Principles. Let’s also work on being part of the solution instead of part of the problem. Don’t do it for your sake or mine. Do it for the sake of the future.

***Please be sure to read more of my posts

Crossroads

“The decisions we make at crossroads in life don’t just impact us. They can impact generations to come.” ~ Lynette Kittle

A crossroad is an intersection of two or more roads, whether physical or internally, where a crucial decision must be made that will have far-reaching consequences.

Most of you reading this have seen or read at least a little bit of the news lately. Our world is in a sad state of affairs. The list of the problems is very lengthy. Whether we realize it or not, we are at a crucial time not just in our lives but for future generations.

Our ancestors ways of living, our current ways of living and different messages of how to live have come together to meet in the present day. What we do today will affect not just today’s children but also future generations of our children.

To begin making changes, we need to teach our children to be respectful, along with Spiritual Principles, the ability to know right from wrong, and that there are consequences for their actions.

As adults we need to remember to live by these same things that we teach our children. Don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk.

“If we want to make this country and even the world great again the silent majority…needs to speak up. They need to speak up and not only say but also do what’s right…Only in doing good can we create and achieve greatness in our communities, country and the world as a whole” ~ Carly Fiorina

Thought for the day: Yes, we truly are at a crossroads now. If we don’t start to fix things in our world…well, I just want to know how the future will be for our future generations.

***Please be sure to read more of my posts

Love Yourself – Warts and All

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserves your love and affection.” ~Buddha

For as long as I can remember I’ve loved and cared for others. I never really thought about caring for myself and my needs until the last few years. For about 7 – 10 years I actually hated who I was. I didn’t feel like I deserved love. Sure I got compliments for looking nice, doing a good job or being nice but I figured people were being nice and didn’t really mean it.

How could I help other people if I didn’t at least like myself?

I always second guessed myself until I met someone who changed all that. This person, rather his passing, made me go outside my comfort zone. This was my first step in loving myself. Since I’ve done that, I’ve had lots of complete strangers all over the world compliment my work which has helped me to accept myself a little more each day.

Thanks to the love everyone has given me, I feel love for myself and that love is sent back out again to others. It is the love that is given, shared, received and given back out. It continues going from me to you, to my family, to your family, and on, and on and… It’s a circle of caring and sharing.

Thought for the day…Believe in yourself. Conquer your fears. Dip your toes in the water to test it if you must, but then just jump in. You are not as bad, ugly, or unworthy as you may think you are. Love yourself for who you are, warts and all.

***Please be sure to read more of my posts