Beauty in the Storm

Beauty in the Storm 1.2 (Midlo, Apr 26, 2015) .jpg

There can be beauty in the storm … as in this case in North Texas, April 2015.

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Beauty in the world: dragonfly.

Drgaonfly 6.1 Midlo Backyard July 22, 2018 copy.jpg

A dragonfly in a North Texas setting.

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Viceroy Butterfly

Viceroy 1.1 MIdlo Backyadr July 7, 2019.jpg

Beauty in the world: Viceroy butterfly in a North Texas setting today (July 7, 2019).

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SCOTUS: The Bladensburg Cross Can Remain, But It’s A Hollow Victory for The First Amendment’s Establishment Clause and Religion.

Bladensburg Cross

Bladensburg Cross

The American Humanist Association (AHA) argued the Bladensburg Cross (Cross) in Prince George County, Maryland, violated the U.S. Constitution’s Establishment Clause (i.e, “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof “).

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) found that “the Cross does not offend the Constitution,” (June 29, 2019).

Although, the AHA position was not upheld, it was a hollow victory for the Establishment Clause and Religion [i.e., religion as understood by the Framers of the Constitution].

The SCOTUS’s opinion, delivered by Justice Alito, failed to decide that the case may have had no Constitutional standing – a win for the Establishment Clause.

Expounding on that shortcoming, Justices Gorsuch and Thomas note “[t]hat a case like this one should be dismissed for lack of standing.”  Justice Thomas wrote, “The Establishment Clause states that “‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,'” and that this case may not meet that test, “[e]ven if the Clause expresses an individual right enforceable against the States, it is limited by its text to ‘law[s]’ enacted by a legislature, so it is unclear  whether the Blandensburg Cross would implicate any incorporated right.”

Instead, in a hollow victory, the Court’s decision noted that the Cross (1) had lost much of its original meaning: “Even if the original purpose of a monument was infused with religion, the passage of time may obscure that sentiment,” and (2) had added “multiple purposes” of secular value: “The community may come to value them (i.e., “religiously expressive monuments, symbols, and practices”) without necessarily embracing their religious roots.”

In this reasoning, age matters, lost is, “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion.”

As Justice Gorsuch noted, “what matters when it comes to assessing a monument, symbol, or practice, is not its age but its compliance with ageless principles… The Constitution’s meaning is is fixed… and a practice consistent with our nation’s traditions is just as permissible whether undertaken today or 94 years ago.”

In addition, the AHA testified “that its members ‘regularly’ come into ‘unwelcome direct contact’ with a World War I memorial cross in Blandensburg, Maryland ‘while driving in the area.'”

In a noteworthy concurring judgment, Justice Gorsuch wrote, “[t]he ‘offended observer’ theory of standing has no basis in law … the Court has already rejected the notion that offense alone qualifies as a ‘concrete and particularized’ injury sufficient to confer standing.'”





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Wining Games Is Great, But Winning At Life Is Better.

Your’e a high school athlete and the season is over and it didn’t end as you would’ve liked.

Got it.

Seasons come and go, but what you do next is important – very important, because it sets a foundation for the rest of your life.

Very good athletic program prepare you physically, mentally, socially, emotionally, and spiritually to win games.

  • Physical – you can withstand the rigors of the game, taking your innate abilities and talents to their highest possible levels;
  • Mental – you know the rules and nuances of the game, you play within those boundaries, and, on, a different level, you are prepared for the stresses of practices, contests, and schooling;
  • Social – you respect your coaches, teammates, and your school’s faculty and staff, and umpires/referees, and spectators;
  • Emotional – several decades ago there was a saying on ABC’s Wide World of Sports television program made famous by the host Jim McKay, “Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sports … the thrill of victory … and the agony of defeat … the human drama of athletic competition.” You know both possibilities are open to you – the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat – and you are prepared for both; and
  • Spiritual – Victory does not define you, defeat does not destroy you.

The very best athletic programs move one step beyond very good athletic programs when they incorporate all of the above in a growth mindset. A growth mindset, according to Carol S. Dweck, is when, “people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work – brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.”

A growth mindset is a journey, and it can help overcome after-the-season moments that, for some, include frustration and blame – that is, blaming others. It’s alright to acknowledge frustration and thoughts of blame and all its negative companion feelings, but in moving forward set those feelings and thoughts aside and adopt a growth mindset  with a plan for the answer to this question, “Given what happened, how can I become a better person?”

Winning games is great, but winning at life is better.



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Beauty In The World: Allium

Allium 1.1 Midlo Backyard Apr 6, 2019

Allium in a North Texas butterfly garden, April 6, 2019.

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“I’ll Get You Home.”

On April 1, 2019, my wife and I traveled to one of our favorite get away spots, Big Bend National Park, for a three day stay in the Chisos Mountains.

Our SUV has been well maintained, but it’s 16 years old with over 350,000 miles, and on  a short, morning drive in the park on the second day of our trip, our car’s radiator began to leak . We took it to the only gas station in the park, purchased antifreeze, put some of the liquid in the radiator, and headed back to our hotel room.

The nearest, reliable service option was over 200 miles away, but when we prayed I heard a reassuring answer, “I’ll get you home,” and every time I woke that night and prayed, I heard the same answer, “I’ll get you home.”

Early Wednesday morning we started our trip back home to North Texas and made it to a dealership in Odessa, TX. When it was time for the mechanic to work on the SUV, the mechanic and I walked to the service area to examine the damage. He showed me the crack in the radiator, and I informed him that we had just come from Big Bend National Park. He thought I said that we planned to go to Big Bend National Park with the SUV in this condition, and he quickly turned to face me and politely, but emphatically, said, “Oh, no, you’ll never make it there with this radiator!”

And I smiled as I recalled an answer to prayer, “I’ll get you home.”

A few hours later we were on the road with a brand new radiator and a promise that would be fulfilled later that evening when we arrived home safe and sound.

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