Saturday, April 30, 2011

Yosemite - Light, Water, Earth, Sky, Spirt, and Time

Yosemite Valley at sunset. Truly, a magical event when a shaft of red-orange sunlight moves up the Merced River and strikes the eastern Yosemite Valley wall, adding a reddish glow to Bridal Vail Fall for just a brief moment of awesome wonder.

I am amazed at the grandeur of Yosemite. I can see why the native peoples wanted to keep it a secret and sacred place. I can't help but feel the presence of the Creator calling out to me, yet at the same time my analytical, science craving brain is questioning my earlier "Young Earth" literalistic views.

A mossy grove at the base of Bridal Vail Fall that I almost missed. Yosemite is all about light, water , and time.

None of this would be here without water and ice and the time required to carve out the valley.

None of the flora and fauna would be here without life giving water and sunlight.

Yosemite Falls, the Merced River, and Yosemite Valley Floor. None of this could be enjoyed without light.

We are blessed to have eyesight enabling us to interpret the sunlight reflected off the landscape that was created by stardust flung into the cosmos at the beginning.

When I am in such a magnificent place it is impossible for me to deny the Creator's existence or the events that pushed up the granite mountains that were then carved out by glaciers long ago.

The plate tectonics that pushed up the Sierra Nevada mountain range, and the carving out of solid granite by glaciers and rivers that created Yosemite Valley speak of a planet that is older than I can imagine.

The beauty and majesty that is Yosemite declares a Creator's hand and an invitation to a spiritual connection to our universe created in deep time.

"For from the world's creation the invisible things of him are perceived, being apprehended by the mind through the things that are made, both his eternal power and divinity, so as to render them inexcusable." (Romans 1:20)

"In God's wildness lies the hope of the world."
~John Muir

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Autism, Kids, and Animals

Here is our little one at the 2011 Walk For Autism. Everywhere we go she says "Excuse me, can I pet your dog?" Children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder tend to connect with animals is such a way that one has to wonder if some form of communication is happening between them.

William Stillman, a writer and lecturer with autism, suggests in his book Autism and the God Connection that the Autistic experience often includes a special connection with the animal as well as the spiritual world.

Temple Grandin, Ph.D., assistant professor of animal science at Colorado State University, and author of the book Thinking in Pictures, relates how her Autistic brain thinks in pictures in much the same way animals think. Dr. Grandin's article Thinking the Way Animals Do gives some insight as to how our animal friends and our Autistic loved ones think alike.

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Empty Tomb

This is one possible site in Jerusalem where Jesus' body may have been placed after the Crucifixion. The four Gospels proclaim that Jesus' tomb was found empty and he later appeared several times to upwards of five hundred of his followers over a forty day period before he was then taken up into heaven.

Jesus' life and teachings gives us inspiration to get through each day and the empty tomb gives us hope for eternity.

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
(1 Corinthians 15:55 KJV)

(Photo: The Garden Tomb, originally uploaded by Dennis1980 at de.wikipedia)

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day 2011

And Jehovah God taketh the man, and causeth him to rest in the garden of Eden, to serve it, and to keep it.
Genesis 2:15

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

(Photo: NASA - Earth from Apollo 17)

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Militarization Of Easter

Our desire to support our brave men and women who serve in the armed forces has created the acceptance of the militarization of every aspect of our society. I believe that camo Easter eggs are just one more example of how our society has normalized the warfare state.

He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.
(Ephesians 2:17)

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Friday, April 15, 2011

There Has Never Been A Good War

"There never was a good war or a bad peace."
~Benjamin Franklin, 1705–1790

Note: Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America. He was a leading author and printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat.

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

War's One Certain Thing - More Taxes

"War involves in its progress such a train of unforeseen and unsupposed circumstances that no human wisdom can calculate the end. It has but one thing certain, and that is to increase taxes."

~Thomas Paine, Prospects on the Rubicon, 1787

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

The Quaker Peace Testimony

"We utterly deny all outward wars and strife and fightings with outward weapons, for any end, or under any pretence whatsoever; and this is our testimony to the whole world. The spirit of Christ, by which we are guided, is not changeable, so as once to command us from a thing as evil and again to move unto it; and we do certainly know, and so testify to the world, that the spirit of Christ, which leads us into all Truth, will never move us to fight and war against any man with outward weapons, neither for the kingdom of Christ, nor for the kingdoms of this world."

~The Quaker Peace Testimony, Declaration of Friends to King Charles II, 1660

Picture: George Fox (1624 – 1691) Founder of the Religious Society of Friends, commonly known as the Quakers or Friends.

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The 2011 Budget Deal... War Is Theft

According to Tuesday's press release from the House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, the 2011 budget deal "will cut an unparalleled nearly $40 billion in federal spending"

The press release goes on to say that it is "the largest non-defense spending cut in the history of our nation – tens of billions larger than any other non-defense reduction"

Although there are cuts to just about everything under the sun, there is a key phrase that is mostly going unnoticed, "non-defense reduction".

According to the House Appropriations Committee "The Department of Defense is funded at $513 billion in the CR (continuing resolution)– approximately $5 billion above last year". It goes on to say that "The bill also includes an additional $157.8 billion for overseas contingency operations (emergency funding) to advance our missions abroad."

While cutting most domestic programs, the single largest budget item gets an increase. Most of our income tax dollars go to support the military, close to 50% of each tax dollar is spent on funding past and present wars.

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed."
~Dwight D. Eisenhower

"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
~Jesus (Luke 12:34)

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there are three different types of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs):

Autistic Disorder:
Also called “classic” autism, this is what most people think of when hearing the word “autism.” People with autistic disorder usually have significant language delays, social and communication challenges, and unusual behaviors and interests. Many people with autistic disorder also have intellectual disability.

Asperger Syndrome:
People with Asperger syndrome usually have some milder symptoms of autistic disorder. They might have social challenges and unusual behaviors and interests. However, they typically do not have problems with language or intellectual disability.

Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS):
Also called “atypical autism”. People who meet some of the criteria for autistic disorder or Asperger syndrome, but not all, may be diagnosed with PDD-NOS. People with PDD-NOS usually have fewer and milder symptoms than those with autistic disorder. The symptoms might cause only social and communication challenges.

No matter where an individual falls on the "spectrum" the challenges are very real. As parents of a child diagnosed with PDD-NOS, it is frustrating to hear statements like "she is not that that impacted" or "she doesn't look disabled". Well, we just keep educating everyone about how differently girls on the spectrum present, and then we remind them that it is called a "Spectrum" disorder for a good reason.

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Friday, April 01, 2011

Smelling The Light - Autism And Sensory Processing Disorder

This is a photo of a typical sensory moment for Bella. According to studies by The Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation more than three-quarters (78%) of children with autistic spectrum disorders have significant symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder.

So what exactly is Sensory Processing Disorder? Here is a definition from The Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation:

"Sensory processing refers to our ability to take in information through our senses (touch, movement, smell, taste, vision, and hearing), organize and interpret that information, and make a meaningful response. For most people, this process is automatic. We hear someone talking to us, our brains receive that input and recognize it as a voice talking in a normal tone, and we respond appropriately.

Children who have a Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), however, don’t experience such interactions in the same way. SPD affects the way their brains interpret the information that comes in; it also affects how they respond to that information with emotional, motor, and other reactions.

For example, some children are over-responsive to sensation and feel as if they're being constantly bombarded with sensory information. They may try to eliminate or minimize this perceived sensory overload by avoiding being touched or being particular about clothing.

Some children are under-responsive and have an almost insatiable desire for sensory stimulation. They may seek out constant stimulation by taking part in extreme activities, playing music loudly, or moving constantly. They sometimes don’t notice pain or objects that are too hot or cold, and may need high intensity input to get involved in activities. Still others have trouble distinguishing between different types of sensory stimulation."

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)