Friday, October 24, 2014

What's Wrong with the World

Lately I find myself almost unwilling to turn on the news. When I overcome this aversion and flip it on anyway, I often end up wishing I had not. Negativity reigns, and one story after another delivers enough bad joss to leave me asking myself two questions: (1) What's wrong with the world? and (2) When on earth is it going to get back on track? Even worse, the list of "wrong" things is growing so fast that I am increasingly convinced the answer to question #2 may be "Never."

No wonder my blood pressure is on the rise! Ebola, ISIS, health care crisis, Congress run amok, war, lame duck (getting lamer all the time)…and no immigration reform or budget balancing in sight. What's a concerned citizen to do?

Well, one thing we should not do (though the prospect sorely tempts me at times) is throw up our hands in dismay and surrender to the prevailing tide. As Americans, we still have a voice, and we need to use it. With elections in sight, we should speak our minds by voting our conscience. This means knowing enough about the candidates and issues to ensure that we have a conscience to vote! Knee-jerk voting along party lines can no longer suffice; we must analyze each person and proposition closely in order to make the best possible judgments––informed judgmentsand not just informed by a biased news station or celebrity, but by our own research. When no candidate or proposal satisfies, we can identify and support the lesser of two evils, using the next two or four years to keep track of how frequently he or she represents us well and how frequently we are let down. If we are let down too often, we can react by letting our representatives down when the next election rolls around.

Of course, it's not ideal when the field of candidates makes us want to run full speed in the other direction. Election reform is definitely called for, reform that makes it possible for people to be elected to public office without having to sell their souls to the highest bidder or pretend to be someone they're not in order to get financing. Some civility in campaigning would be nice too, so that decent and relatively "normal" people might actually be willing to step up to the plate and lend us their talents. Equally appealing, what if opponents quit trying to label and villainize each other (because we, the citizens, refused to be distracted by that) and focused on the issues at hand? What if we did the same?

Enough said. I know there's no magic bullet; there rarely is. But I also know that hard times are probably here to stay. If we don't rise to the challenge, we will keep falling––and failing to live up to our legacy as a nation. We are better than this. We have to be. So when we ask ourselves "What's wrong with the world?", let's make sure we are more of the solution and less of the problem. And let's remind ourselves that it all begins with one person…You. Me. (us)

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Victory: Overcoming the World

Victory: Overcoming the World
©2014 Susan Noyes Anderson

We come to earth with full intent,
prepared to meet the call.

We cannot know what lies ahead,
but we have pledged our all.

The journey's long and treacherous,
with thorns to hedge our way.

The trail will twist and turn us,
push us forward and delay.

Our stumbles, we will call mistakes;
our summits, sweet success.

We'll know the sting of misery,
the surge of happiness.

We'll rise and fall and rise again
until we find our place.

But no man ever walks alone,
secured by heaven's grace.

In this world and beyond this world,
the Light is ours to see.

The path goes on, and we are born
to claim the victory.

How blessed we are for life and love
the Savior freely gives.

What peace and consolation come
from knowing that He lives.

For all of us belong to Him,
no matter where we roam.

And He stands waiting, open-armed,
to welcome us back home.

"Fear not, little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world, 
and you are of them that my Father hath given me." (D&C 50:41)

For Taggart, in love and memory.

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Monday, October 13, 2014


Self Portrait, Vivian Maier

©2014, Susan Noyes Anderson

Just when I think that I can see
all of the angles that are me,
another flashes into view
and makes me question what I knew.

So much depends on light and lens.
Great captures fade to try-agains;
and shutter speed, while in my hands,
falls short of what my heart demands.

I thought I had a good eye. Strange,
to watch the composition change
without my knowledge or intent,
by happenstance or accident.

Despite my heartiest denials,
no matter how I twist the dials,
control eludes me and the frame
finds parts of me I cannot name.

I miss the days when I felt sure
of ISO and aperture.
Exposure offers ways to see,
but is it friend or enemy?


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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Susan's Season

Autumn in Madeira - Jacek Yerka

Susan's Season
©2014 Susan Noyes Anderson
Fall is a cozy season, made
to match my patchwork house.
What better spot for cider hot,
doughnuts for man
and holes for mouse?

Fall is a spicy season, round
as pumpkins, brisk as tea.
Red-orange leaves tumble from trees,
crunch crunch and crumble,
all for me.


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