Finding Truth in a World of Questionable Facts

For living in an information society, we operate a lot in the dark.

Largely, it’s because our information is questionable. With five major corporations owning effectively all our mass means of communication (movies, TV, books, “news,” magazines, newspapers, radio, Internet sites) we depend upon the largesse, integrity, and honesty of these corporate entities to give us the facts, without prejudice, propaganda or advertising pressure, leaving it up to our intelligence and wisdom to interpret.

Somehow, I don’t think this is the way their world works.

sailboat sailing night midnight moonlight blue mysterious art painting marine
As we sail through life, sometimes we don’t have much light to see by. But we slow down, stay incredibly alert, and use what light we have to our advantage. Moonlight Sail , art print by Steve Henderson available at Steve Henderson Collections. Click on the image to be taken to the purchase page for prints and gifts of this image.

So how do we find truth when we are unsure of our facts?

In some ways, it is like sailing on a small craft in the middle of the night, with very little light to go by. Depending upon our experience, we may be amateurs, intermediate sailors, or skilled mariners, but wherever we are on that spectrum, we know enough to not go plowing ahead in the dark, fingers crossed, hoping it all works out okay.

We slow down. We use what light there is to see. We recognize that what we do see is limited. And we move forward cautiously, every sense alert, never allowing our eyes to glaze over (that’s what happen when we watch TV) or letting our defenses down.

We recognize that we are in a potentially hostile and dangerous environment, and if we are to successfully navigate through it, we must trust ourselves, our instinct, our abilities, and that inner voice that guides us — when we listen to it.

Thank you for joining me at This Woman Writes. I incorporate the images of my husband, painter Steve Henderson, who paints what I write about — light, life, truth, honesty, questioning, curiosity, independence, and freedom. The image used in this article, Moonlight Sail, is available as a print or image on gift items at

Posts complementing this one are

We’re Not Turning into Zombies, Are We?

We Need Time to Think

We Have More Than Two Choices

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Don’t Give Up

Some days, you feel as if you are looking for something and it just isn’t there. You know it should be, but day after day, it just isn’t there.

So whom do you believe? The people who tell you that you’re being unreasonable to have impossible dreams and goals, that you need to face reality, that you should just accept that this is the way things are and move on already? There are plenty of these. Some are “experts,” Influencers, celebrities, medicos, politicians – strangers, effectively. Others are acquaintances who claim to be friends. Some are even family, who, because they know and love you, really should know better.

timeless woman romantic waiting gazebo rowboad
Your eyes may not see it, but your soul knows that it is there. Timeless, art print by Steve Henderson. Click on the image to be taken to the page where you can purchase the print.

Too easily, too often, we allow these voices to dictate our thoughts, our actions. Should we?

Or should we listen to that voice inside, pay attention to our soul’s insistence that yes, what we are looking for exists, and although it is incredibly difficult to find, it is worth continuing to look for?

One thing is for sure: we need to be looking for something in order to find it. Because if we’re not even looking, we’ll never recognize what we find.

So keep looking.

Thank you for joining me at This Woman Writes. I incorporate the artwork of my husband, Steve Henderson, with thoughts on truth, goodness, life, light, and hope. Click on the image in the article to purchase prints or products featuring the artwork. Find all of Steve’s prints at

Posts complementing this one are

How Do We Know What’s True?

Problems Are Mountains and Mountains Can Be Climbed

What Will Others Think? Honestly, It Doesn’t Matter

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Obedience Is Not a Virtue

Obedience is not a virtue.

Exacted from slaves, dogs, and very young children, obedience is an essential component to a well-run society, but not necessarily a free one.

For the tyrant, the despot, the emperor, a well-run citizenry results when its people are taught to do what they are told. This is more easily achieved when the people implicitly and unquestioningly trust their political, religious/scientific, financial, and medical leaders. These leaders generally communicate with the citizenry via mass media, oratory crafted by professional speechwriters, and decree. The primary mantra is,

“Listen to the experts. Follow your leaders. Obey the authorities. They know what’s good for you.”

The shining example of a good citizen in such a society is the one who not only obeys, but coerces and compels the obedience and compliance of others. A common, non-complimentary term for such a person is tattletale.

They are very obedient.

woman storm grand canyon southwest brave independent beauty
The opposite of obedient is independent; the opposite of submissive is thinking for oneself. Storm Maiden, by Steve Henderson

What they are not, however, are exemplary of qualities that people who reside in the the U.S. proudly insist we have long possessed: freedom, kindness, generosity, tolerance, compassion, independent thought, and, most important to our legendary interpretation of who we are, the maverick spirit of the pioneers and popular movie characters.

As we leave 2020 behind, people sigh: “I’m glad 2020 is over! Bring on 2021.”

But 2021 is simply a number, achieved by flipping a calendar page. The ugliness, the fear mongering, the uncertainty, the seeming randomness, the pivoting, the tattling, the hostility that characterize 2020 will nip our heels into 2021 as long as being obedient remains the primary characteristic of who we are.

Obedience is not a virtue. It is a tool of control.

Thank you for joining me at This Woman Writes. Posts complementing this one are

We’re Not Turning into Zombies, Are We?

What Is Freedom? And Are We Free?

Whom Do We Trust?

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We Learn More from a Dead Leaf Than from Our Smart Phone

Too often, when we look down at our hands, we’re staring at a phone.

This is a sad thing because phones, unless we’re using them AS phones — i.e., talking on them to another person — are not interactive objects.

But that’s okay, we’re told, because the best thing about smart phones is that they are a terrific source of information: this little box of technology, which we should change out, for fashion’s sake, every year or two, connects us to the world!

We watch movies on them. We keep up on the latest talk show. We read what our celebrity guru of choice — fashion, home decor, political analysis, medical advice, dietary regulations — tells us to buy, do, or think.

Oh, and we keep up with the news, the all important news that informs us — when we access trusted, trusted, trusted, reliable, government and social media approved sources — of the latest thing to fear or believe.

But the significant thing that the phone does not do is encourage us to question the information it feeds us. Our part of the relationship consists of passively accepting what we see, mentally consuming and digesting a carefully curated selection of informational food.

It is not for us to think, but to allow others to think — and determine, and analyze, and instruct, and teach — for us. After all, how could we possibly know more than the trusted, trusted, trusted experts? Isn’t it daring, rude actually, to even suggest that we question their words?

The artwork, Contemplation, encourages us to be confident in a most precious gift that humans possess, but are constantly persuaded not to use: rational thought. A young woman, standing in a country meadow on a sunny autumn day, looks down at the leaf in her hand.

In a quiet place, in a state of calm, she is contemplating, meditating, thinking. Perhaps she is doing no more than feeling herself breathe, focusing on how it feels to deeply inhale, then gently exhale. Or maybe her thoughts go deeper, as she wonders, “Is there a God? Did He make this? Or is this a product of sheer chance? I’ve been told many things, many of which conflict and fight with one another — what is true?”

But the important thing is that she is actively thinking, as opposed to passively accepting. And the more she does this, this thinking — and the more we do this, this thinking — the more aware we are, the more questioning we are, the more difficult we are to fool, to browbeat, to pressure, to push, to control.

How odd that we have the potential to find more freedom in a dead leaf than a “smart” phone.

Thank you for joining me at This Woman Writes. My blogs complement the fine art images of Steve Henderson, who creates paintings of freedom, joy, thought, beauty, and joy. You can find his art prints at

Posts complementing this one are

How Do We Know What Is True?

Whom Do We Trust?

We Need Time to Think

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How Do We Know What’s True?

Truth is not something we are told.

It cannot be forced upon us, pushed in our face, preached at us, flooded in our social media feed.

beachside diversions nostalgia beach mother child steve henderson surreal art

While the mother is busy fussing, the child, looking off into the distance, sees something. So often, children see things that adults miss. Beachside Diversions, art print from Steve Henderson Collections.

Conversely, it cannot be suppressed, no matter how vigilantly those who police social media feed, or announce things from behind a desk, remove it for our own good.

Truth is something we seek.

Now in the world of propaganda and advertising, there is a maxim that the more times you tell somebody something — three times, seven, 83 — then the more likely they are to accept it, even if it is a lie. Just the sheer act of repeating wears down the psyche, until one begins to think,

“Hmm. Maybe sugury-syrup, carbonated drinks with zero nutritional value really aren’t so bad. After all, lots of smart people drink them.”

For this reason, it is wise to pause when we start to feel assaulted by images or information or “news.” As with any assault, there is a sense of fear or helplessness, of anxiety, panic, despair.

“I can’t do anything!” we wail. “This is huge! This is horrible! And I am helpless!”

No, we’re not. With any situation we face, with any information we receive, we have the ability — and the obligation, really — to ask questions, to research, to look into the matter, to follow a trail and walk along a path toward enlightenment. In every situation — religious, political, medical, ethical, scientific, artistic — there is breadth and depth, a variety of thoughts, opinions, facts, and matters that must be weighed against one another, judged, and interpreted.

When we are told that four out of five dentists agree on a certain sugarless gum, or nine out of ten scientists concur, our first logical question is,

“What about the fifth dentist? What is the tenth scientist saying?” because truth is not a matter of majority rule.

The artwork, Beachside Diversions, invites us, like the child, to look deep into the distance, to shake off distraction, and look with the intent of seeing. In the same way adults frequently chide children for living in a world of pretend (and thereby never listen to what they are actually saying) so people who ask questions, who express doubt over what they are repeatedly told, who ask to see more and different information, are tut-tutted for being difficult, reminded that they are (like children) not experts in the matter.

They are admonished to accept what the experts say because doubt and dissent are dangerous.

Truth, however, is not threatened by doubt and dissent, intense questioning, and open, honest dialogue.

But lies are.

Thank you for joining me at This Woman Writes. Posts complementing this one are

Choose Wisely Who Influences You

Lies and Darkness, Truth and Light

Whom Do We Trust?

All of the artwork in my blogs is by my husband, fine artist Steve Henderson. He creates work that celebrates joy and goodness, freedom and thinking. You can find his prints at or

Posted in america, Culture, Current Events, Daily Life, Encouragement, inspirational, Life, Lifestyle, media, News, self-improvement, Social Media, thinking, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Wearing Masks — What Happens When We Do This?

Masks come in all forms. Some, like Halloween masks, conceal the entire face. A domino goes over the eyes. A surgical mask blocks the nose and mouth.

enchanted woman garden sunshine beauty freedom steve henderson art

She is absorbed in her surroundings, not in herself, so her face speaks what she is inside. Enchanted, art print from Steve Henderson Collections

Regardless of what type of masks they are, they all do the same thing: they hide the face, all of it, or part of it. And hiding the face, any part of it, dehumanizes the wearer. It’s easy to think of people wearing masks as not quite human, because an essential component of our humanity is. our. face.

Some people, like politicians and pop celebrities, wear masks all the time, only these masks are not physical. The masks that famous faces wear hide the personality beneath, and we are shown only the image, the persona, that the wearer wants us to see. We can be easily fooled into thinking that the person they say they are on the outside represents who they are on the inside.

If we are not careful, as ordinary people we also can don masks — to our detriment and to that of those around us. Let’s say that, when we go out into public, we are the cheerful sunshine person with a dazzling smile and a word of encouragement for others. Then, when we return home, we think black thoughts about those people we said such nice things to, and wish them the worst. We’ve taken off our mask.

Or maybe we’re deep and dramatic and emotive — an artiste, with tempestuously spiritual overtones. Or intensely erudite and intellectual — the scientific sort. Or the nerd. The cheerleader. The sage. The yogi.

Whatever it is, we are a caricature of a person, a partial aspect, like just eyes with no nose or mouth (surgical mask), or mouth with no nose or eyes (domino), or somebody else’s face altogether (Halloween mask).

The artwork, Enchanted, celebrates one of the most beautiful elements in nature: the human face. Thanks to the celebrity culture, most of us are dissatisfied with our faces, but they are, we are, all beautiful.

Our mouths express joy, bewilderment, curiosity, sadness, thought, anger, fear, happiness. Our eyes dance, shutter, peer, glance, watch. Our noses — why, they’re all so incredibly different and unique, just like each one of us!

Eyebrows, eyelashes, cheeks, ears, chin, lips — every component of our faces is precious and beautiful, and worthy of being celebrated.

Let us, then, celebrate who we actually are. Without masks.

Thank you for joining me at This Woman Writes. Posts complementing this one are

Do We Like What We See in the Mirror?

You’re Unique, So Be Unique

Fear Blocks Our Ability to Think

All of the artwork in my blogs is by my husband, fine artist Steve Henderson. He creates work that celebrates joy and goodness, freedom and thinking. You can find his prints at or

Posted in america, Culture, Current Events, Daily Life, Encouragement, inspirational, Life, Lifestyle, Relationships, self-improvement, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trendy Phrases Lead to Shallow Talk

I watched way too much TV as a child.

To this day, one of my more dubious accomplishments is the ability to sing, word for word, assorted advertising ditties and intro music to insipid situation comedies from the 1970s.

promenade spring garden woman parasol strolling steve henderson art

Conversation is like a gentle walk in the garden, one in which there are many beautiful phrases — like flowers — to enjoy. Promenade, art print from Steve Henderson Collections

I also remember, though I don’t want to, a lot of inane phrases which at one time were considered cool, like,

“Sit on it!”

As middle school and high school students, my friends and I thought ourselves astonishingly witty to parrot this phrase from Happy Days, a show that purported to celebrate the joyful frolics and innocent antics from those perfect, halcyon 1950s. Whenever we wanted to put anyone down, we rolled our eyes, looked askance at the offender, and said,

“Sit on it!”

Oh, what scintillating wit, what sparkling word play!


Remember that one — Not? It dated from . . . sometime. Like Awesome. Rad. Or Oh . . . you bad.

If you don’t recall these, that’s okay, because they’re a fleeting part of our culture only because TV or movies, pop culture music and talk shows, government or mega-corporation sponsored public relations firms, propaganda posters and memes, slick magazines, and more make them so, pushing a phrase into our lexicon that people use to seem cool or savvy or in the know, but oddly aren’t, because EVERYONE is using it.

The artwork, Promenade, is an invitation to us to recapture our individuality, to engage our creativity, to take delight in the words we say, the phrases we employ, the way we interact with others.

A young woman strolls through the most delicious garden, a landscape filled with an abundant variety of flowers and flora. A slightly mischievous smile plays upon her lips as she peeks ahead of her, head tilted.

One gets the idea that when she speaks it will be with a lilt in her voice, and the words she uses won’t be trite, inane, expected — a mindless and obedient repetition of trendy, shallow, promoted expressions. She chooses from a rich repertoire of parlance, a variety as artistic and colorful as the flowers that surround her.

Her words reflect what is going on in her mind, and her mind is free.

Thank you for joining me at This Woman Writes. Posts complementing this one are

Explore a World without Walls or Fences

Quiet People Have a Lot to Say

You’re Unique So Be Unique

All of the artwork in my blog is by my husband Steve Henderson, a fine artist who creates work to celebrate joy, thinking, individuality, and love for family and friends. You can purchase his work as prints at or





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Manipulating Numbers — It’s Really Easy

Numbers are fascinating, because they are so incredibly easy to manipulate.

september flowers fruit bouquet pink country steve henderson art

How many flowers are there, exactly? Do you count the partial ones? What about the fruit? September, art print from Steve Henderson Collections.

We’re taught that they’re firm and solid, and when they are thrust in our face, we can believe what we’re told, especially when the person doing the telling and thrusting is an expert. Numbers from experts are Science, which, today, shuts up any further discourse (especially by lay people; our job is to accept, not ask questions).

Years ago, I worked at a college bookstore, and in conversation with the textbook buyer, I learned a little something about numbers: they’re fluid.

It had to do with textbook markup, which the store associate assured me was 33%.

“Oh, so a book with a wholesale price of $10 will then sell for roughly $13.33, because you take a third of the $10 and add it to make retail, right?” I asked.

“No, actually the book sells for $15. We add $5, which is one-third of $15.”

“But wouldn’t that be a 50% markup, because $5 is 50% of $10, the wholesale price?”

“That’s not how we do the numbers.”

It was a good lesson, one I’ve never forgotten. I’ve seen numbers manipulated in everything from the standard mass media “news”  to a church meeting, when the pastor went into great detail explaining the difference between how people arrayed themselves in pews versus chairs. There were charts and tables and percentages, a vast array of erudite sounding information that you could tell, from the glazed looks in people’s eyes, the audience wasn’t properly processing.

The artwork, September, is a reminder to us that numbers are not as firm and incontrovertible as we are told. In this still life of autumn fruits and flowers, there are many elements, many items we could count: but we’d have to define what we’re counting.

Are we counting only flowers?

All flowers, or just a certain variety?

And if only certain ones, whole flowers only or partial ones as well?

You see, in order for the numbers to be meaningful, we have to define our parameters, fully disclose what it is we are counting, and how. It requires transparency and honesty, essential elements to truth.

Too frequently, we laughingly say we don’t see transparency and honesty in many arenas of our lives, but when those arenas start talking numbers, we suddenly and magically believe.

Perhaps it would be best to question first, before we believe.

Thank you for joining me at This Woman Writes. Posts complementing this one are

Whom Do We Trust?

Fear Blocks Our Ability to Think

Lies and Darkness, Truth and Light

All the images used in my blog are by fine artist Steve Henderson, who creates paintings celebrating beauty, hope, goodness, joy, thinking, and questioning. You can buy his work as prints at Steve Henderson Collections.


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We’re Not Turning into Zombies, Are We?

So what happened to all the zombie apocalypse movies?

gathering thoughts aqua teal woman wading seashore steve henderson

We humans are real, beautiful, precious beings. We need to treat one another — and be treated — as such. Gathering Thoughts, art print from Steve Henderson Collections.

It’s not as if I miss them. Like most modern entertainment, they were big on computer graphics and small on plot. But as propaganda, they got the message across:

Zombies are yucky, scary, horrible humans who have been transformed into something despicable, something to be destroyed, through a . . . mystery disease.

Protagonists in the movies — the good guys, the brave guys, the big-name stars — spend their time running from clumps and clusters of zombies, which congregate like rotting sheep inside old, dark buildings.

(Zombies don’t go outside. They shelter in place.)

The goal is to kill off the zombies, eradicate them from the earth, make humanity safe from their threat. They used to be human beings, but they are no more. For that reason, it’s okay to attack them.

And while zombies don’t exist in real life (the commercial-based arena of our scientific community has not yet created a means to turn people, physically, into zombies) the fear, the panic, the suspicion and distrust focused on people, because they may be infected, feels disturbingly, increasingly real.

“Stay away!” the man behind the counter in a government building recently barked at me. “Don’t get too close!”

Another time, I passed by a couple in their 80s, walking arm in arm. My young grandson, wary of strangers, clutched my leg and peeked around it, but the woman misinterpreted.

“That’s okay,” she told me. “We’re old, and people think we’re dangerous to be around.”

The artwork, Gathering Thoughts, is a reminder to us of what we are as human beings, and what we can and should expect in our lives as human beings on this earth. While on one end, we can describe ourselves (and some people do) as a mass of bacteria, a repository for viruses, a collection of cells that potentially infect, this is a dreadful way to regard one another. It takes us nowhere as far as establishing meaningful relationships, humane connections, face to face interaction.

Rather, we are to be, like the woman wading through the surf — outside at the beach on a sunny, warm day — incredible, precious creations with the ability to think, wonder, question and question and question and question and question and question and question, feel, love, give, respond, and experience joy and freedom and beauty.

Why aren’t we doing this?

Thank you for joining me at This Woman Writes. Posts complementing this one are

We Need Time to Think

Fear Blocks Our Ability to Think

Fellowship: It’s Not a Church Thing; It’s a Life Thing

All the images used in my blog are by fine artist Steve Henderson, who creates paintings celebrating beauty, hope, goodness, joy, thinking, and questioning. You can buy his work as prints at Steve Henderson Collections.

Posted in america, Culture, Current Events, Daily Life, Encouragement, Faith, inspirational, Life, Lifestyle, mass media, Relationships, self-improvement, thinking, Uncategorized, wisdom | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

What Is Freedom? And Are We Free?

What is freedom?

spirit woman sprite grand canyon freedom joy steve henderson art

The Canyon Sprite stands at the edge of the rock, glorying in space and light and goodness. Freedom begins in the mind. Spirit of the Canyon, art print by Steve Henderson

The most obvious answer is one we can see: freedom is the ability to walk about without being stopped, to live outside walls, to be able to pursue one’s interests — and the welfare of one’s family and loved ones — without undue and excessive interference from impersonal governing bodies — whether those bodies are political, financial, medical, or religious.

In the country in which I live, the United States, we have for years pointed at “other” countries as the bad guys: “You have to have papers to go out on the street!”

“The government dictates and controls their travel!”

“There’s no freedom of speech — you can’t say what you feel, think or believe without being censured!” (Social media, anyone?)

“They censor information!”

It can go on. And it does.

Some people in the country in which I live like to say that we are free indeed because we have many, many laws, which is an interesting way of looking at things. Laws are limitations placed upon people when, morally, they are unable to do the right thing unto their neighbor. Generally, the more laws that are in place, the less that people do things from their heart, and the more they conform to dictates.

They follow the law, and confuse this with goodness, kindness, compassion, or justice.

Freedom, also, is not something that is “given” to us through decrees and statutes, constitutions and legislation. As any lawyer knows, and as regular people with commonsense readily see, it’s easy to find loopholes, twist words, creatively “interpret.” And anything “given” can be taken away.

The artwork, Spirit of the Canyon, is an expression of freedom, the kind that starts within us, because that is where, initially, freedom begins. And in some times, and some places, when outward expression is severely circumscribed, freedom is limited to our thoughts and hearts, our beliefs and convictions, our very inner being whom we share with few, or any, others.

It is a good thing that our private thoughts are private, our prayers, if we say them, secure with God who keeps our words as close to His heart as we keep them to ours. From there, we seek out other humans who are “safe,” people with whom we can share and communicate without being condemned. (Face to face, personal interaction is an important part of this process.)

Freedom begins with thinking, with silence, with contemplation, with getting away from noise and chatter and propaganda that relentlessly assault our spirits and try to replace our own convictions with the teachings of others.

Freedom begins with thinking.

Thank you for joining me at This Woman Writes. Posts complementing this one are

Sunlight: Still Free, Still Available to All of Us

We Need Time to Think

Compassion and Pride Don’t Mix


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