Weekly Posting Goal:

Start off your week with a new post from Spark America every Sunday to get you informed and energized, and to give you meaningful, thought provoking information and inspirational dialog to share with your friends for the entire week. I welcome your comments.

Feel free to email me at GaetanoDrake(at)gmail(dot)com

I invite you to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comment section. Just click on "comments"at the bottom of each post.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Spark America's Spirit

Spark America has come into being because of the need felt by people worldwide for a spiritual peace path that will take us from the darkness that seems to prevail, to a world of peace and love that at most times doesn't seem to be a possibility.
I believe that in order to do this we need to embrace the past, present,and the future--a foundation dedicated to the ideals of peace, love, and freedom for all, and encapsulate it in a core of love, compassion, and understanding.

We must not be misled or manipulated into believing we cannot understand how thinking for ourselves can help us obtain this seemingly elusive goal, and not depend on talking head negativity. The fact of being misled or manipulated through misinformation is one that many within America suspect today, but that few understand in its fullness and complexity. Most are still asleep to the large-scale manipulation that is taking place on a self made lethargic level.

We need to cancel out this business as usual complacency and take aim at the bulls-eye of love, understanding, forgiveness, and compassion that stands before us.

This presence rests on the shoulders of those who choose to take immediate responsibility to create things that are meaningful and worthwhile, and make them victorious upon this earth.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Getting To Know You----Getting To Know All About You

It's a very ancient saying, but a true and honest thought, that if you become a teacher, by your pupils you will be taught. As a teacher I've been learning---you'll forgive me if I boast, and I've now become an expert, on the subject I know most---getting to know you. ( Oscar Hammerstein "The King and I").

Ancient maybe but true, I do need to get to know you. I believe the most often asked questions in America today are, what is going wrong with our country, and how do we fix it? Why does it seem we are spiraling out of control and don't know how to reverse this path that we are on. I believe the answer to these questions can be summed up this way, we need to get to know one another better.

In simpler times most parents always knew where there children were at all times, day and night. Most children could be found at a playground or discovering life at a friends house. This is where the problem begins. In America for the last 30 years some parents seem to feel that it is not important to spend enough time with not only their children, but the children of others they know. We need to open our houses up, invite our neighbors over, and hopefully get an invitation to visit their home. We spend too much time looking down, to outer space and dead space, when what we really need is to go next door and get to know our neighbors inner space. Getting to know them, getting to know all about them. Maybe if we begin to look in someones eyes again we may be able to bring joy to their lives with just a smile.

We need to stop using the same excuses that we have been using for way too long. I don't want to get involved, or, I don't want to get in the middle of that, is a song that needs to be rewritten. If we don't get involved or get in the middle, we wouldn't know if there was abuse, weapons of mass destruction being created, or any other sign of destructive behavior taking place within someone's home.This is not meddling, this is life. This is a way of stopping things before they get worse or out of control, before bad things have just gone too far.We must help our neighbors solve their problems with weapons of love, understanding, and compassion.

It is time in America that we stop pointing fingers, giving fingers, and begin to realize that by showing someone you care, that they can become that beacon of hope and charity that is needed to the rest of the world. We need to become the example of a nation that knows how to solve it's biggest problem, what our purpose is, and how do we really become human and begin to think for ourselves.

To know, know, know you, is to love, love, love you. Just to see you smile, makes my life worth while. Getting to know you, getting to know all about you, is where it's at. You can't get something out of nothing without a spark, so put your help where your hope is. We must stop hiding our hearts, and begin to put them where they belong.

I believe our sole purpose in life is to take all the things that give life meaning and make them better.
Maybe if we start it now, we can learn to get it right.

Try it, you may like it. Start today, tomorrow may be too late.
Getting to know you is love worth finding.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Take Me Home Country Roads

Henry John Deutschendorf, professionally know as (John Denver), was a great American singer, song writer, activist, and humanitarian. As an introverted child growing up in a military family, he spent many years in numerous locations, raised by a dad who showed no love, and always being the new kid on the block. He grew up agonizing over the fact that he felt he should be living somewhere else, that he had no real place to call home. Not a great way to grow up, not knowing the right place to live, not knowing where you can call home.
As his life process endured this hardship, there came a time when he discovered a place that he called home,  his beloved state of Colorado. He finally found a home where his heart could live, his music told us about the new found treasures in his life. It was at the request of Randy Sparks, the founder of The New Christy Minstrels, that he changed his name to John Denver and he never looked back. We can perhaps now understand how he found the words to write for one of his greatest hits--"Take Me Home Country Roads."

John Denver not only found a home for himself, he found a home for his heart. His music came from the home that lived in his heart, the words that were chosen for him to write, came from God.

We as Americans still seem to be searching for a place to call home, yet what we really need to be doing is to find a home for our hearts. When we find that home, we then need to build a bridge from our hearts to others, to help them find that country road that will lead their heart back home. After all, isn't home where the heart is?

Take me home country roads, to the place I belong,
The Radio reminds me of my home far away,
Take me home, down country roads.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Boston State of Mindfullness

Bringing ones attention to the tragic event that took place on the streets of our great city of Boston, should be an eye-opening realization of the difficulties that lie ahead in our processing of this horrific event.  We must help our fellow man begin to navigate from the traumatic pictures of this horrific event stored in our minds eye, to become mindful pictures of the needs of others in our own daily lives. We need to make a conscious effort to turn this tragedy into a vigilant and cognizant mind parade of love, hope and compassion, not a parade of retaining pain, suffering, and revenge.

When tragedies like this one happens in America, a process begins in our heads as to find ways to cope with and understand the one numbing question; why? What could possibly drive someone to commit such a crime? We may never find out the answer to that question , nor fully understand the answer even if we someday find it. What are we to do?

boston marathon
(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

The answer to this question lies within all who seek it, and we must seek it in order to have any hope of working through this process of understanding and coping.  Love is the only possible answer and we must begin right now, before it is too late, to understand that the essence of life is love, and we must deposit that love within the hearts of others.

We need to do this now, today, if not for ourselves, for the innocent Americans who upon awakening on Monday to cheer on their loved ones, not knowing that this day would be their last. Let us also pray  for the survivors and their families, whose lives have been tragically changed forever. Let us honor the dead by sanctifying our values, by affirming life and all those things that make us stronger and bring us closer together. These things we must remember to remember.

Love in Boston. 12" x 12"  City Fusion Paintographic Fine Art Print

Life is short and what matters most is how we choose to live it. Dig into your heart today and find God's love, build a bridge, and deposit that love where you already know it belongs. This is not something you can deposit in the bank. Let not this act of violence and cowardliness keep us from running to the finish line.

Isolation is a bad destination. Life makes more sense when we're connected.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Painting Gives Life To Life

If you could paint a picture of America, what do you think it would look like?
Would it be:
An abstract painting with a message only you would be able to interpret,
a beautiful still life watercolor looking out to the beholder a scene of peace and tranquility,
would it be an oil painting with your brush strokes of life giving your viewers you interpretation of the skyline of NewYork, focusing on the new One World Trade Center,
maybe it would be a mixed media painting of a map of the United States using your imagination and all the colors of the rainbow as your color palate,
a nation inhabited with children living in peace and love,
a picture of people living in dark fearful places, afraid to come out,
a field of beautiful wild flowers just waiting for hand painted vases filled with love to accept them,
it could even begin by painting a picture you like from a paint by numbers canvas.

Most Americans and people from the rest of the world, would provide a kaleidoscopic painting landscape of what America has become to look like to us, as well as to our global family. Maybe if we would just take the time in our seemingly too busy lives to gather up the necessary painting materials, each one of us could begin the journey of finding the artist that lives in all of us, and discover what the great artists of all time discovered; when we paint we discover who we really are. They wanted us to see life as they saw it through their eyes. Painting gives life to life.

When you have your vision in your head of what America looks like to you today, even though it may not be pretty, paint it anyway. If you do not like what you see, you may want to begin a new painting of what you would like to see America look like, but make sure you become the changes you may wish to see in your renewed painting.

A great way to begin to find the artist in you would be to take yourself, a friend, or a child to your closest art museum and begin to look at life through someone else's eyes, but put what your eyes see on the canvas of  your life.

Seek the artist in you and you will find a beautiful piece of art.
Painting gives life to life.
My painting is finished., maybe you should get yours started today, don't wait till tomorrow.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Annette Funicello--More Than Just A Mouseketeer

  Once upon a time in America there lived a young teen age girl who captivated the Mickey Mouse Club audience of children and their parents. Parents and children alike fell in love with this young teen, because she represented the good moral values which became the bedrock foundation for teens in America in the 1950's. Her name was Annette Funicello.

When I heard about her death the other day I was saddened, but it also brought a lot of wonderful memories. and those memories are still dancing in my head. She was the perfect girlfriend of every boy who ever dreamed of falling in love for the first time, hoping to be on the receiving end of a first kiss, a kiss from Annette Funicello. It was just the kiss and nothing more, and would be the defining moment of what was refered to as "puppy love".

Annette Funicello set a standard for young women in America that for the most part seems to have disappeared, or perhaps it could be said, the bar has been lowered too much. We seem to have gone from Annette Funicello to Lindsay Lohan, what a drop. Worse yet, we have gone from 'Leave It To Beaver' to 'Beavis and Butthead'; and beyond. Maybe some day very soon a new Annette will show up, raise the bar to where it should be, and give puppy love a second chance. This may sound 'old fashioned' to many people who read this, but it is not. What will never be old fashioned is an America where teenage girls begin living a life of good moral values, leading the way for future generations of teen girls to understand that being a young woman with high standards is just what is needed in America today.

Walt Disney did us all a huge favor when he hand picked Annette first out of about 200 other girls, and somehow I wonder if he saw something special in this tender sweet 12 year old that no one else would have seen. I would bet that he did.

Thanks Walt.
Good bye Annette, sleep in heavenly peace.


Monday, April 8, 2013

As Far As The 'I' Can See

Some people say seeing is believing. Others can say, come see it for yourself. I say, do you see what I see?
Unless we take the time to see others as we see ourselves, we can try to see as far as we can see, but we will be unable to see the forest  for the trees.

In America today and probably tomorrow, we focus too much on the big picture of life without realizing we must take a step back and look at the little things we need to be grateful for. Unfortunately, we shape our lives around the big news stories without creating the small meaningful life stories we need to be establishing in order to survive. There are a multitude of wonderful stories waiting to be told, we must take the time to seek, create, and watch them unfold.

Life consists of simple words, simple love, simple understanding, and the eyes to behold the beauty in all of us. If we continue to live life just looking outside ourselves towards others , we can never see the inside of ourselves or marvel at what lies in our own hearts, or the hearts of others. We need not be blinded by the light.

If we are to create a whole new generation of children who will see each other as equals, they must see the love with there own eyes. Reading about it in books and just hearing about in it church, will not be enough to provide them with a "seeing is believing" app. They must be witness to this love everyday in order for them to see what life is all really all about. This must be not just a classroom discussion for them, they need to see it with there own tender eyes. Remember, the eyes are the gateway and corridor to the brain, which is the library where they will store the images set before them.

"As far as 'I' can see, the "eyes " have it. Let's remove our blinders and show our future generations a clear image of life, as far as the eye can see.

Do you see what I see?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Faith Reduces Doubt

Doubt is a status between belief and disbelief and involves uncertainty, a lack of trust, and also involves a lack of sureness of an alleged fact, an action, a motive, or a decision. Doubt brings into question what is right and what is wrong. This allows for the mind to be suspended between two contradictory propositions and unable to assent to either of them, therefore creating a paradox.  

Faith is confidence or trust in a person or thing. It may also be a belief and does not have to be based on proof. Faith is a word that seems to be easier to understand than doubt and grasp on to as a positive way to melt away the layers of doubt that seem to be prevalent in the minds of too many Americans these days. This cloud of doubt appears to be getting denser with the winds of time as it makes it way across this great nation of ours.

We seem to be preoccupied with this cloud of uncertainty, distrust, and lack of sureness that is keeping us from making the right decisions. The biggest decision seems to be what is right and what is wrong. What is right just involves common sense and the lack is what causes things to be wrong. There ain't no doubt about that.

Allow me to give an example of the difference between what is right and what is wrong. Most people in America have neighbors. If both neighbors own a dog, it is each persons responsibility to make sure "fido" is being responsible, therefore doing the right thing. Herein lies right from wrong. Responsible neighbors keep their canine pet on their property, not allowing their loving pet to destroy their neighbors property, therefore doing the RIGHT thing. Irresponsible neighbors allow their loving pet to destroy your property and bite you and your children, this would be WRONG. Seems so simple to be right, yet lots of people choose to do the wrong thing.

My point is, if we would choose to do more of the right thing, using the common sense we need to have, we will create the faith to erase the doubt about the direction in which our nation is headed. Each of us can erase the doubt about our future, but only if we put faith in the drivers seat and do the right thing.

Put your faith to work today and do the RIGHT thing.
Put your faith in America.