May 30, 2017

Mother's Tears: The Story of Saffron

This story exists as a gift for a sweet couple who graciously hosted a graduation celebration for my daughter. Their kindness and generosity prompted me to find a hostess gift as unique as themselves, and having forgotten the usual flowers or bottle of wine anyhow in the rush of events that are common to such days, I chose instead a bottle of saffron and a story to go with it. I hope it is enjoyable.

Mother's Tears: The Story of Saffron

Once under a time, beneath the ashes of Fire Mountain and far away from the interferences of train stations and horns, of appointments and login passwords, stood a woman. Known by none - for in the past she ran from all who sought to know her - she discovered a life of solitude and peace. The talented Spiders wove her fine clothes of their best silk, their only competition her hair, daily groomed by the loving touch of the Birds who often used her shoulders as a perch as she went about her day. The mineral rich, warm earth that lay on the far side of mountain grew the nourishment that kept her body strong and able to tend to her surroundings with ease of one who knows the intricate lifeline which runs between the spirit of that born of earth and those born of blood. 

How it came to pass is a matter of little debate, for few have heard this story and of those that have, even less are inclined to argue over the how, because this story is rarely heard by those who think the how is more important than the what.

The what is that while tending to her garden one afternoon, the air took on a new scent. Silence tumbled from the sky, enveloping the woman and every creature friend surrounding her. Wind held its breath, and as all stared into the distance in frightened anticipation, a small form emerged from the wooded area, stumbling towards the garden. Suddenly, Wind howled in anger, and all living things within sight gasped as they realized the form of a small Child, even as the Child collapsed and moved no more.

The woman, running with all her might and pushed even faster by the furious wind, ran to this young soul and sat upon the ground, pulling the newly found relation into her lap. Thinking all hope was lost, her tears ran as hot as the lava from fire mountain, drying into thin red strands as they splashed down upon the small, motionless body that lay cradled in her arms. At that moment Sun, who traversed the earth up, around, and down each day seeing All, moved down and stared at Child. Sun's beams warmed the strands of dried tears shed by the woman. Clouds joined Sun and, seeing such tremendous sorrow, shed tears of their own. The water of Clouds tears met with the dried tears of the woman, warmed by the beams of Sun, and turned them into a glorious gold liquid. The gold liquid spread upon the Child, who stirred and looked around in amazement at this second chance to live life anew. The Child instinctively knew this woman would be Mother, and the fire mountain, the birds, the garden, the talented spiders, the circle of Sun and the cover of Cloud, all could live in peace surrounded by the gentle singing of Wind.

So it happened for many years, but Sun did not cease to consider the events leading to the healing of Child. Finding beauty in that moment, Sun held it tight and when, as oft happened in far away places, false clouds sprouted up from the earth, and the boom of death and greed filled the air and tore the land, Sun would find the smallest child, for in the smallest child is always the greatest hope. One by one, Sun guided each child away from the chaos and towards Fire Mountain, where all worked in unity to provide the elements of Healing. Thus the first Child gained many siblings, and what started as one Woman turned into a family.

In this manner passed the years, and with the years came the natural flow of time for the Woman. Bit by bit her strength was reabsorbed into Earth. The minerals in her bones returned to Stone. Her voice again became one with Wind, even as her vision returned bit by bit to Sun, until finally her very breath went up into Cloud. All her Children gathered round her garden and remembered how Woman brought together the elements to form their family. In their grief, they ran to and fro across the garden, shedding anguished tears for days upon days, by reason of their absolute love for Woman, and because their hope for new siblings grew small, for the healing of hope could not begin without the love of Woman.

Their tears ran hot, drying in thin red strands as they splashed upon the ground. Sun warmed the tears so they could never grow cold. Clouds, again seeing a great Sorrow occurring under Sun, covered Ground with tears, turning each red strand into a golden liquid. The talented Spiders caught up the liquid, capturing it within silky strands woven into teardrop shaped cups, then wrapping them tight until the golden liquid rested safe and warm within each Chrysalis. Wind rushed along, helping Ground cover each Chrysalis which formed around the Tears of Woman throughout the garden. The Children carefully tended the garden with love, and while they did not know what may be in store, held onto the hope that their future siblings would not be lost to them, despite the bleakness of their situation. They cared for each other, as Mother taught, and looked to the elements and the talented Spiders for warmth, for cover, for sustenance, for companionship.

Until one day, as Fire Mountain rested, as Moon and Sun and Stars aligned and Ocean ran upon the shores to catch a glimpse of the unusual sight, tiny purple flowers rose up from the garden one by one, reaching towards Sky, until the entire garden filled with their delicate scent. The Children hastened into the garden, and found that within the growing flowers, nestled within their centers, were contained thin red strands. They cried for joy, for each strand represented the promise of Hope for their future siblings, and nobody needed grieve a moment longer for loss of Mother, for her spirit and Healing live on so long as the flowers continue to bloom, which they do even until this day.  May each strand of Mother's Tears, also known as Saffron, bring you hope, healing, and the promise of unity with all who cross your life path.

©2017 Gina Locke

February 27, 2017

Revolution Truth files suit to stop DAPL

RevolutionTruth has officially filed suit against Donald Trump, Energy Transfer Partners and the Army Corps of Engineers on behalf of a dozen plaintiffs from four tribes.

Our plaintiffs are facing a clear case of environmental injustice and racial discrimination. Moreover, this pipeline route under Lake Oahe represents a profound assault on their religious rights and freedoms. Finally, their sovereign rights as individuals existing in a state of dual sovereignty (they are both US citizens and tribal members of their sovereign nations) have been profoundly undermined by the rerouting of the Dakota Access Pipeline onto sacred tribal lands.

Please join us, as lead plaintiff Sarah Jumping Eagle, along with eleven other courageous individuals, head into court to stop this dangerous and harmful pipeline.

Help our plaintiffs, our legal team, and all the volunteers at RevolutionTruth as #JumpingEaglevTrump carries the prayers of #StandingRock, from the camps to the courtroom.

Join the resistance and defend the sacred. Help us #StopDAPL in DC!

Mni Wiconi! Water IS life!

February 14, 2017

How to Download Your Facebook Data

There are multiple reasons to consider downloading your data from Facebook. Perhaps you wish to save the photographs you've put on Facebook, or maybe you are the legacy contact for a loved one, and do not want to lose what they posted on their account. Did someone attempt to hack your account, or are you worried that if someone does manage to access your Facebook profile, all of your information will disappear? Do you need to see the IP addresses that access your account?

The logical thing to do is occasionally download your data, but how? I'm about to tell you, and it is easier than it sounds. I have added photos for your convenience. They are not high quality. If you'd like to donate towards my camera fund, the link is one the side of my main blog page. ;-)

1. First you open up your Facebook account. Next, you go to where it says settings, and you click on it.  If you're on a regular computer, it will be in the top right corner. It is a little upside down triangle with a dropdown menu, and it looks like this:

2.  Now that you've clicked on settings, Facebook will show you your general account settings. Towards the bottom of that, you will see a hyper-link (that is text that you can click on) that says "Download a copy of your Facebook data." Click on that. The words "Download a copy" are the ones that are hyperlinked, so they look blue. That part looks like this:

3. Now that you've clicked to download a copy of your Facebook data, you will see a page that says "Download Your Information." In a box a bit after that is a green button that says "Start My Archive." Click on it. It look like this:

4. You will now be prompted to enter your password. This is necessary for your security. Once your password is entered, Facebook will begin to gather all of the information, and once it is ready, you will receive an e-mail letting your know your Facebook download is ready. The e-mail includes a link. The e-mail looks like this:

5. You simply click it to be taken to the correct area of Facebook. If that does not happen, do not panic. All you have to do is go back to your settings and once again click "Download a copy of your Facebook data." You won't have to repeat anything else. This will bring up the correct box for you to click on. You will be prompted to reenter your password. After you do so, you will see a screen that says, "Download Your Information." A bit below that is a box with a green button that says, "Download Archive." Click on "Download Archive." It looks like this:

Congrats! You did it! Your Facebook data will be downloaded to your computer in a ZIP file. When your computer asks you how you wish to save it, you may want to name the file something you can easily remember, and either put the file where you can access it with ease, or if you're not worried about finding it again without issue, take note of where it will be stored.

My file was approximately 54 megabytes. I do tend to clean out my history, delete posts that get no reaction, and delete my activity log on occasion, so mine may be smaller than others who have been on for multiple years.

I hope this was helpful. I did not intend to post this, but a friend made the request after I did mine, so please forgive any spelling errors or low quality of photographs, as I rushed through it. Again, if you'd like to make a donation to say thank you, that is always appreciated but not expected and definitely not required. If this helped and made you smile, you've already donated to the world's happiness more than enough today, and I love that!

January 22, 2017

What She Said

I came across the post as I nonchalantly scrolled through my Facebook feed. It came from a friend, but I soon discovered it may have originated with a person named Brandi Goings Atkinson. While people are saying she is not the original author,  I looked up the post to ensure its accuracy, and the photo of a young, smiling, blonde haired, blue eyed woman smiled from beside the post. While I love the often over zealous enthusiasm with which many of the young adults tend to exude when making their thoughts known, this post is too far off the mark to let pass without an attempt or two to help show her the other side of the coin she tossed in the air as she called for heads to roll over the seeming ignorance of others who try to advance women's rights in the United States instead of jumping fervently into the problems of places such as Saudi Arabia or the Democratic Republic of Congo. 
I am going through the mystery author's note, but to make it more specific, I will write it as if  Ms. Brandi wrote it, as she and others are posting it as if it is their own work. I will go over a few sentences at a time, adding my thoughts on after the thoughts that were posted by Ms. Brandi. Here goes:

- "I am not a "disgrace to women" because I don't support the women's march. I do not feel I am a "second class citizen" because I am a woman. I do not feel my voice is "not heard" because I am a woman. I do not feel I am not provided opportunities in this life or in America because I am a woman. I do not feel that I "don't have control of my body or choices" because I am a woman. I do not feel like I am " not respected or undermined" because I am a woman."

**This is pretty awesome and I cannot disagree, because I am not her. If this is how Brandi feels, it tells me that the women's rights movement is doing great. Until every single one can, this does not stop.

-I AM a woman.

**Me too.

-I can make my own choices.

**Which choices? Please elaborate.

-I can speak and be heard.

**Many women cannot speak and be heard in a meaningful way. Ask a mother who lost her children in our corrupt court systems if their voice is heard. Good luck, because many are gagged and not allowed to speak. Ask the children who are court ordered to visit their abusers without the protection of a loving mother. Ask the raped women how loud their voices were when they cried out for justice. Ask minority women how loud their voices are and if they are heard when they apply for the same scholarships, home loans, or positions of power as their non-minority co-workers. I could go on, but you get my point.

-I can VOTE.

**You can vote because other women stood up for your right to vote. Not all women. Just a few. Many women said, "I have enough rights and I'm happy. I don't need to be able to vote." The women who fought for your right to vote are the same type of women who are standing up for other rights now. If you do not wish to accept any of the freedoms and rights that may be granted in the future, I doubt any of us will force it upon you.

-I can work if I want.

**Do you realize how blessed you are to be able to make that statement?

-I control my body.

**This treads so much territory. I'm not quite sure where to begin with such a broad statement. I urge you to take a moment and consider all of the situations in which a woman may lose control over her own body. Think about laws that pertain to the female body. Think about mindsets that affect the female body. Think about what some women must do to protect their children, and how that may lead to lack of control over the body. Consider what living in a country where women and girls are raped and molested without proper recourse does for control over the body. Consider what forced medications or the with-holding of medications can do about a woman's control over her body.

-I can defend myself.
-I can defend my family.

**Against what?
I'm beginning to sense a theme - a seemingly strong statement, followed by zero elaboration. What are you defending against? Ninjas? People who belittle you or your family? Men who grab women by the pussy?

-There is nothing stopping me to do anything in this world but MYSELF.

**Yes. Anyone can grow up and be president of the United States.

-I do not blame my circumstances or problems on anything other than my own choices or even that sometimes in life, we don't always get what we want. I take responsibility for myself.

**I strongly urge you to sit down and hold a serious discussion with other women. Here are a few ideas.
1. Go to a homeless shelter and talk to the women. Find out who they are and what brought them to this point.
2. Find a copy of Maya Angelou's biography and read it. Consider what the United States is like for minorities and how very recent some of the struggles are for women of color. Then consider just how much remains unchanged, and how much simply changed form.
3. Go to a poor neighborhood and speak to some of the mothers. Ask what opportunities zipped past because of their combination of gender and financial status.
It could be that start of a new realization.

-I am a mother, a daughter, a wife, a sister, a friend. I am not held back in life but only by the walls I choose to not go over which is a personal choice.

**In theory, I agree with this statement. I feel as if you may not realize the height and breadth and barbed wire fencing some walls present for a number of women, but the concept is a great one. No matter what is thrown at us, keep on going. Just don't stand on the shoulders of other women on your way over and then claim you're doing it yourself. And I can assure you, nobody gets anywhere in life all on their own. Someone helped you along the way. Take a moment to thank them.

-Quit blaming.

**Quit blaming what? You disagree with the women who march, and you say "quit blaming." Again, please elaborate.

-Take responsibility.

**Take responsibility for what? For wanting to be free and equal? We are. That is why we're out there trying to make a difference.

-If you want to speak, do so. But do not expect for me, a woman, to take you seriously wearing a pink va-jay-jay hat on your head and screaming profanities and bashing men.

**They are kitty cat ears. Pussy cat / pussy hat. It is a play on words that takes the negative term for a woman and turns it into something better. President Trump (and yes, I dislike saying that) is the one who used it to refer to a vagina. Not us.

-If you have beliefs, and speak to me in a kind matter, I will listen. But do not expect for me to change my beliefs to suit yours. Respect goes both ways.

**Why would you bother to listen if you are not willing to learn or change your opinions? There is always value in considering the views of others and in taking a good long look at your own beliefs to see if they still resonate with who you are at any given point in your life. Life changes people. Circumstances and experiences greatly impact world views. That you approach discussion with "don't expect me to change" is rather immature. I do expect you to change. I expect I will change. This is part of living and part of what keeps things interesting.

-If you want to impress me, especially in regards to women, then speak on the real injustices and tragedies that affect women in foreign countries that do not that the opportunity or means to have their voices heard.

**I am not here to impress you.

Now that we have that out of the way, let's talk about why we didn't march into the streets on the day after the inauguration and talk about the injustices in other countries. It is because we wanted to address the injustices in our own.

-Saudi Arabia, women can't drive, no rights and must always be covered.
-China and India, infantcide of baby girls.
-Afghanistan, unequal education rights.
-Democratic Republic of Congo, where rapes are brutal and women are left to die, or HIV infected and left to care for children alone.
-Mali, where women can not escape the torture of genital mutilation.
-Pakistan, in tribal areas where women are gang raped to pay for men's crime.
-Guatemala, the impoverished female underclass of Guatemala faces domestic violence, rape and the second-highest rate of HIV/AIDS after sub-Saharan Africa. An epidemic of gruesome unsolved murders has left hundreds of women dead, some of their bodies left with hate messages.
And that's just a few examples.

**Let's talk about the United States for a moment.
Before we talk about infanticide, I'd like to know your definition, so I'll hold off on that for now. As for the rest, here goes.
An extremely high percentage of American children are raped and abused in the foster system. Babies are raped. Two year olds are raped. Ten year olds. Fourteen year olds. Seventeen year olds. They cry out for justice, but it is rare. They are often imprisoned for speaking out against abuse.
The poor and minorities in the United States lose children to false accusations of abuse at an alarming rate. Families are forced to beg, borrow, steal, get into prostitution, whatever it takes to fight for their children's right to their natural parents, and the right of parents to raise their own children. In the meantime, their children may be getting victimized and once the government has custody and control of a child, they rarely investigate themselves for abuses that happen while the children are in their control. There are toddlers running around with STD's, but you don't see that often on FOX news, do you?
If you do not feel female circumcision is okay, why are ignoring the fact that approximately 75% of boys in the United States are circumcised? Genital mutilation is horrendous. It needs to stop. Let's start at home. Did you read the story of the American woman who took her son and ran away with him to stop his genitals from being mutilated by court order? Yes. In the United States, genital mutilation even gets court ordered. Unspeakable!
There is more. So much more.
It is okay to fight for the rights of women worldwide. If women across the globe united, can you imagine how much progress could happen? It is a goal, but I'm not going to walk over the bodies of my fellow citizens and ignore their screams in order to reach those in the next country over.

-So when women get together in AMERICA and whine they don't have equal rights and march in their clean clothes, after eating a hearty breakfast, and it's like a vacation away that they have paid for to get there...
This WOMAN does not support it.

**This is a surprising yet common view of inequality. Do you honestly believe that when a woman has clean clothes, a decent breakfast, and can take a bus somewhere, inequality doesn't exist? Did Claudette Colvin and Rosa Parks both appeared to have clean clothes, breakfast, and bus fare?
Inequality doesn't always mean you're running around in rags and begging crumbs off the local baker. Go explore. Live. I love that you're obviously a thinker. I hope that in ten years time, you will again post your point of view concerning such things. I for one will be interested in seeing if you actually take me up on any of the early suggestions I made, and if between those and living a few more years, your viewpoints will have changed some. Best of luck to you.

January 2, 2017

Beneath the Rainbow

Beneath the Rainbow

Somewhere beneath the rainbow
Laughing in a sunny field
At a grasshopper startled to flight
A little girl in sandals and pink
Serious suddenly upon hearing her name

Called brusquely from a distance
How quickly the sun seemed to vanish
And dread silence upon the field fell
Broken only by the heartbeat thrum in her ears
A dutiful step back towards a brutal space

Heavy with worry no child should know
Oh to be like the grasshopper
Driven to strength by innate understanding
Knowing to flee before danger could strike
Tall grass for a cover

A blanket of leaf
And wings, glorious wings.
To never know inadequacies or shame
Perhaps tomorrow, but that's far away
So she lowers her head and obeys.

© 2016 by Gina Locke

New Year Rising

New Year Rising

Then it ended
And a new season rose to reign
Born of the echoes of history
The wars, the fears, the neglected seeds of hatred
Revived by the nurturing hand of the wealthy
And planted in the hearts of those without souls

To blossom in the fertile ground of their decaying minds
While neon warnings reflect the past
Only to fall beneath the graves of those
Who also disturbed the rage
That seethed behind white shrouded faces
Raise a toast to the future

A glass of rotted fruit
Flecked with gold flakes and hope
Of profit and pleasure and a soft landing
Cushioned by the bodies of the drudges
Now it begins
Take your place in the brave new year

To become an echo in history
By the time a new season begins
Buried in a fragile garden
Of neon, or will it be hatred
With which you'll fill your glass
To ring in the Happy New Year?

© 2016 by Gina Locke

May 14, 2016

You're Never Out of the Game: by Fletcher Long

Is it ever too late? Are you living in fear, or in despair over events of the past, present, or that may happen in the future? Read the following. I hope you will be inspired by this article written by Fletcher Long, titled...

"You're Never Out of the Game."

I am not going to protect this blog, though my blogs are usually for the purview of only those people whom have joined Warriors4Justice.  Today, I leave this blog open and accessible in the hope it may reach that one person whom God knows needs this message so that he or she may find their way off the ledge.  Amen.
A really tragic event occurred at the most historic and prestigious private, college preparatory school in the South, Montgomery Bell Academy, which is an all-boys school.  A young sophomore tragically ended his own life.  I was informed of this by a friend of mine whose own son attends MBA and is on the baseball team and a Junior.  This friend thought to reach out to me, as he doesn’t know my brother, but he does know I have two nephews at the Academy both of whom were on “The Crew” with the recently deceased.  I thought I would offer a few thoughts.  Novelist, David Foster Wallace once likened the “psychotically depressed” to someone trapped in the high-rise of a burning building.  According to Wallace, “…the fear of falling remains a constant.  The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors.  It’s not the desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames.”  Wallace goes on to relate that “[y]ou’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.”
I have experienced a great deal of terror, self-inflicted or not.  I would tell Wallace I have felt the flames and have, at least, wondered if the terrors in front of me were more or less terrifying than death.  I have lost my career, been subjected to national, public humiliation which impacted my wife, kids, siblings, parents, in truth, all my family in cruel and even unfair ways.  I have felt shame and seen the mocking and reproachful looks from lifelong associates with whom I have had some measure of acquaintance as they scornfully looked down on me mentally recounting the many opportunities they believe I have squandered.  I have lost every dollar I ever saved and the income stream which I developed over nearly 20 years of employing trial skills most would claim were somewhat skillful.  I have lost my independence, my self-esteem, and in many ways the essence of what made a “man” peer back at me in my mirror.   So, David Foster Wallace, who are we kidding?  No one, and I mean no one, has stood much closer to the abyss while, simultaneously, feeling heat from flames creeping up behind them.
I won’t kill myself, and you shouldn’t either, no matter how many times I contemplate of which fear am I more afraid, falling or burning.  Here’s why.  I could remind you many denominations of Christianity teach it is a “mortal sin,” not to mean it is unforgiveable because I, personally, believe God, who loves us, never closes the door to our salvation regardless what sin we commit, but, nonetheless, it being considered a “mortal sin” still wouldn’t deter a secularist.  I could tell you it is a cowardly way to go, as I have heard that often argued, but that doesn’t really help avowed cowards; and I am not sure that is always true.  As Wallace sets forth, jumping from the ledge metaphorically requires some courage, I would think, as one does confront the fear of falling.  I could tell you it destroys the people whom you leave behind but that has little impact on narcissists.  So I am going to tell you the one thing 47 years of hills and valleys has taught me.  You’re really never out of the game.  When you are at your lowest, when you feel you can’t go on, you’re still just one move, one break, one blessing away from righting the ship and finding the shore.  As long as the game continues, you’re still in it.  So long as the fire hasn’t yet engulfed you, even though close, there is still a chance the water will reach you first.  You truly haven’t lost, and the game isn’t over, till the horn sounds.   
I have started a new career in Radio and you can hear The Long Version every week-day either over the air or on the internet.  As my agent, Chris Keaton, has assured me, while Act I of my career may be over, that doesn’t mean there isn’t an Act II.  As long as I have breath, as long as I have ability and talent, as long as I have opportunity to see the sun crest over the horizon every morning, I still have a chance baby, and the same is true of you!  We owe it to each other to stick it out and ride the wave all the way to the shore.  I’ll do if you will.  Shhhhhh, the curtains going up…
Take it for what it is worth, because…

This article is written by Fletcher Long, a radio talk show host out of Tennessee and a true Warrior for Justice. You may read this articles and others by clicking RIGHT HERE. Most are articles you must sign up to read, but this one is free! (and it's worth signing up for, especially if you listen to The Long Version) If you go to the main page, you can listen to podcasts, but you can also listen live by finding WJZM on TUNE IN, which is a free app for use online or on your smart phone.

© ? This article may or may not be copyright. To ask permission, do not ask me, Gina Locke, like you normally would for articles on here. The article was written by Fletcher Long and reposted with his permission. Please click on his link, underneath the article, and ask him directly if you wish to reprint it.