Ruth Woodliff-Stanley

Arts & Architecture

Wilderness Rhapsody

The Rev. Todd Weir

Blooming Cactus

A poem about blossoms in the wilderness.

Listen to how the poet relates endurance to beholding wonder; consider the meaning of endurance, and its relationship to patience. Also, consider where the feet your heart have grown are taking you.

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Science & Nature

Device That Draws Water from the Driest Desert Air

David L. Chandler

MIT News (as reprinted by Good News Network)

Article that describes new system that can extract potable water from extremely dry desert air with relative humidities as low as 10 percent.

Pay particular attention to the paragraph beginning, "This technology is fantastic…" and the one following.

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Current Events & World Affairs

Ratifying the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights

Article summarizing the content and intent of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and outlining how its ratification in the U.S. could significantly impact the treatment of immigrant children in this country.

Notice that the safeguards provided to children through the Convention include right to their own identity. Consider how human identity influences and is influenced by human rights abuses.

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Spirituality & Psychology

Healthy Self-Identity in Children is Everything

Jim Taylor

Psychology Today

Article about the importance of self-identity in children and the conditions that foster it.

Pay particular attention to the section entitled, "Keep Your Children Grounded in Reality."

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How does clarity affect resiliency?


Joy emanates from clarity. Clarity does not always entail joy, but joy requires clarity.

"The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing." Isaiah 35:1

In today's arts and architecture lesson, poet Todd Weir expresses initial surprise that he should find joy in the wilderness. But that surprise gives way to clarity as he sees the beauty that does not flaunt (poet's image). And with the clarity comes his ability to keep going, despite the starkness that surrounds him. The device that MIT scientists are continuing to refine, as described in today's science and nature lesson, can extract moisture from air with relative humidities as low as 10 percent. Nature has been waiting to give us what we previously deemed impossible to get. It has taken clarity from the scientific community to open nature's reserves. Now, it has become possible to survive in places we could not previously have imagined to be habitable.

"When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them." Matthew 11:3

The question "are you the one?" asked by John of Jesus is often overlooked. It is a question John asks to gain clarity. Jesus answers by telling the messengers to tell John what is plainly in front of them—what they have seen and heard. It was Jesus' clarity about who he was that kept him moving forward in his life no matter the cost.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child, described in today's current events and world affairs lesson, articulates not only the child's right not to be abused, but also the positive right to identity, highlighting that the formation of one's identity is not a luxury but rather a fundamental human right. In today's psychology and religion lesson, Taylor notes the importance of grounding children in the reality of who they know themselves to be amid external market-driven messages about who they should wish to become.

Reality about ourselves, of the sort Jesus exemplifies, begins with noting with great clarity what we can hear and see of our own lives. Gaining such clarity is an act of self loyalty. It is a core spiritual practice of those who bring forth the lives they intend.

About what do you need clarity in your life? Where is your hidden beauty that does not flaunt? What reserves do you have that can allow you to extract waters to sustain you in conditions that are arid and desolate?

Do not let anyone or anything stop you from finding that clarity. It is perhaps the only thing that can bring life out of death.