Thursday, December 31, 2009
My retail abstinence begins tomorrow. I am eager to learn what I will say YES to while saying NO to retail. And I'm eager to learn if I can really break my habit of patronizing a certain business named Starbucks. I realize my first challenge will be tomorrow morning when my daughter asks about going to the bagel shop.
My weight has never been as high as today (except during pregnancy, of course). Perfect position from which to dedicate myself to healthier living.
My Cat Lovers Agains the Bomb calendar came down today. The cover kitty has a tag with a peace symbol on it. I want a tag like that for my kitties! Oops! Retail!
CLAB told me, before I removed it from the wall, that 10 years ago today, our nation gave ownership of the Panama Canal to the Panamanian government. The world remains on its axis, I see.
Beautiful quotation, a Chinese proverb, graces the December cat of the month (Squiggy, from Omaha NE) page:
If there is light in the soul, there will be beauty in the person.
If there is beauty in the person, there will be harmony in the house.
If there is harmony in the house, there will be order in the nation.
If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.
Lovely, but I think the third line is a weak link. There IS often light in my soul, beauty in my person, and harmony in my home. But that has yet to lead to order in the nation and peace in the word, I'm sorry to say. But it's a start. Perhaps the first two lines are necessary but not sufficient for the second two lines.
Perhaps I can get some contemplative benefit from combing my cats today.
Happy new year, and
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
I was browsing through lovely calendars at a huge bookstore recently and was distressed to see they were ALL printed in China. Then I checked the back of my wonderful CLAB calendar and saw it was printed in Nebraska. By union workers.
So I've ordered my calendar for 2010. I don't know if it will have different peace-related facts on the pages from those that inspired me in 2009, but it will have different kitties, I'm fairly sure.
The Wounded Knee massacre was this day in 1890. A good reminder that we Americans must resist the sin of pride and work to make all the todays and tomorrows better than our yesterdays.
On this day in 1996, the 36-year-old war in Guatemala ended with the signing of a peace treaty. Guatemalaa continues to pay in painful human terms for that war. I wrote about this last March 11. An excerpt:
Suffrage 18 & universal , except members of Active military, who are confined to barracks
GDP (gross domestic product) $49.73B $
Life expectancy @ birth 69.99
Infant mortality (per 1000 births) 28.79
%GDP spent on education 2.6
Wow, the military is DISENFRANCHISED! Sad. The infant mortality sucks. Life expectancy is pathetic. Ditto literacy, GDP/person, and percent GDP spent on education.
How much longer will Guatemalans pay the price of that war? Considering that the southern states of the USA still pay for the costs of the Civil War, I fear the price of war will be more painful and more incalculable than ever before in my recognition.
On a more cheerful note, I will appreciate the calendar even more this year. Hope you do too
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
The earth rotates on its axis,
and also travels around the sun.
Since there is no beginning or end (we pray),
the calendar is quite arbitrary.
Every day, and every moment
Start the future
From this moment on—
live as you want to live.
It isn't very poetic but I like the idea of the continuation of time and the cyclic nature of time, and that every moment is the beginning of the future.
I'm trying to hold off a cold, (or is it just severe allergies?) don't feel bad enough to surrender to the sheets but don't feel well enough to proceed at my usual pace, either. I wish my illness wasn't so ambiguous, but then again I had better be careful what I wish for! In truth I am deeply grateful to God for the health and wealth I enjoy.
Thankfulness is a wonderful state of mind.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
We don't belong there.
We can't win.
Our continued presence costs too much in life, good will, and money.
Al Queaida is not in Afghanistan.
We can't win a war on terrorism via conventional military.
We were welcomed years ago but we have outworn our welcome and the longer we stay there, the more blood will flow, the more Americans will die, the more Afghans will die, the more money we'll waste, and the more enemies our presence there will foster.
We must get out.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Cat Lovers Against the Bomb (thanks, Nebraskans for Peace) reminds me today is anniversary that in 1999, the US Senate rejected the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, 48-51. Dark day. Not a moment of our nation's history I am proud of.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Still, I am proud of our president. I am hopeful he will fulfill the promise this enormous honor represents. Wish more would support him and we could move forward rather than have little pissing matches about death panels and the like.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
I heard on NPR some comparisons between the now 8-year war in Afghanistan with our nation's entanglement in Vietnam. I clearly understand the differences - size of our force, size of the "enemy" force, proxy war vs not a proxy war. All true. Also true is that the longer we stay, the more lives, money, and good will we waste. We cannot win and the longer we stay, the more hatred of our nation will fester.
How about this. Instead of sending thousands of soldiers, what if we sent thousands of engineers and laborers and nurses to help rebuild the country? Build roads, water treatment plants, schools, clinics. That's a plan I could get behind.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Today I found some good internet sources about engine idling. Thanks to Umbra Fisk at the Grist, our beacon in the smog.
http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/myths/idling.html I like this one especially.
If you're reading this you probably know not to idle. Perhaps these links will fortify your persuasive abilities and can help you spread the word.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
A recent letter to the editor of my local newspaper proposed that anyone stating this truth name the sources and have a computer to back it up. This is silly. Since when must we drag a computer into a meeting when we state a truth?
This morning, I googled “infant mortality.” Here are is what I found in the first five hits.
According to the 2006 United Nations World Population Prospects report, our country ranks 33rd in infant mortality, with a rate of 6.3 deaths per 1000 live births. Outranking us are most European countries, Cuba, Israel, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, New Zealand, Brunei, Cyprus, Israel, and New Caledonia.
According to the CIA’s World Fact Book, last updated in April, the U.S. has 6.26 infant deaths per 1000 live births. Our own government ranks us 46th.
Information Please ranks the U.S .45th. Nationmaster doesn’t list the U.S. at all. Indexmundi ranks us 41st.
The CIA World Fact Book also lists the U.S. as 50th in life expectancy at birth.
Before we can fix a problem, we must recognize we have one. Our health care policies and practices are not working for all of us. Some of us are healthy. Most of us, sadly, are overweight, and a huge percentage of us are clinically obese. And that is only true if we survive infancy, which is harder to do in the U.S. than in dozens of other nations.
Yes, we have a problem. Now let's figure out what we can do to fix it.
Monday, September 28, 2009
For example, elections. November 3 is not far away. In Washington and perhaps your state too, the deadline to register is 30 days before the election. That's not to long from now, so if yo need to register, do it THIS WEEK. Are we not supposed to look out for the least of us? The poor, the young, the disenfranchised, the voiceless (i.e, environment)? -In other words, those who can't vote. Shouldn't those of us who can and do vote make sure our votes protec the least among us?
Gleaning is a great peacemaking activity. It is a good group activity, which builds relationships and connections. Also it's amazing how much good fresh local food gleaning can yield for the poor in our communities. A few years ago my daughter's school gleaned an orchard. In a few hours, with a few families, we filled a pickup truck with fresh, sweet apples. Fun, worthwhile, and tasty!
Thanksgiving is a fine holiday for peacemaking. It is not too afflicted with the sin of greed (read: rampant, blatant commercialism), but does flirt with the sin of gluttony. But please, DON'T call it turkey day. It's a day of thanks, and that is what we should do.
I like the idea of a thanksgiving calendar, like an advent calendar, with little windows that open each day to reveal one more thing to be thankful about.
I like to observe "international buy nothing day," which is the day after Thanksgiving. It's a fine day to keep expressing thanks, to spend with one's family, taking it easy in the kitchen!
When the days get darker and colder, it's a good time to read. Read good stuff, nourish your mind and your soul. As it gets darker and colder it's easier to get depressed. Having a stronger mind and soul will surely help.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Bring it on!!
I have been seeking to define the new norm in my brand new empty-nest-ness. I want to affirmatively choose it, rather than realize in a year what I've become by default. I don't like default. It even sounds bad de (un, NOT) FAULT. What part of this word is good?
In a peace-promoting vein, I want to note that in 1992 California became the 7th state to ban discrimination against gays (thanks, Cat Lovers Against the Bomb calendar). Who were the first 6, and when?
And the cost of wars since 2001 is $913B. This is for both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And this is just the cost of the wars for the U.S. This staggering sum is just as of this moment. But when you read it that price will be history. Visit www.costofwar.com to get the latest but not greatest.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Monday, August 31, 2009
Yesterday my husband and I attended this film and want to share the word. Japan has a news blackout on the evil practices in the town of Taiji, where more than 20000 dolphins are slaughtered each year. The cove that gives this film its name is red with the blood of these sentient, intelligent creatures when the fishermen slaughter them. Japanese citizens don't know about this. They don't know the whale meat they buy is actually dolphin meat with 2000 ppm of mercury in it. So it is not just for the sake of the dolphins that the slaughter must stop. Also, it is for the health of Japanese citizens. (Mercury is extremely toxic to us!)
We were lucky this film came to our town. (Sometimes I am surprised by the good UNmainstream films our local theater presents.) Maybe you can see the film. Even if you can't, you can take a few simple steps to help stop the slaughter of dolphins, and you can do it by going to www.takepart.com/the cove. Please do it.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
I am a person of faith and I believe our current system is broken. We need a radically different approach, and I think that means a single-payer system.
Insurance companies add layers of complexity and do ration care. They lobby Congress and no doubt give them lots of information (and meals, etc) on how important they are and what good they do. Understandably, they want to maximize their profits, and exclude sick people (pre-existing conditions).
Drug companies spend thousands on advertising to create demand for their products. And they lobby. This drives up the price of our medicines. This bothers me.
My nephew and his family live in New Zealand, which has socialized medicine. They are happy with it. For urgent care they get what they need, and when they need it. For less urgent care, they do wait a bit, but not to harm their health. If they were wealthier, they could jet somewhere else as medical tourists, just as wealthy Americans can do now.
I am a “have.” I have good benefits and good health. I still suffer from the system’s inefficiency. I despise filling out forms every time I walk into any doctor’s office, and being interrupted as I write the stuff down by health care providers asking me for the same information—which I sent in to the hospital in advance, by the way.
And it hurts me to know 47 million Americans are without insurance and good care. They have fewer choices. They don’t get preventive care. They must skip meals or skip medications—a draconian choice. They fill our hospitals’ emergency rooms, which drives up costs for the rest of us.
Even as a “have,” I am unhappy with the status quo and want to see Congress step up and deal with the tough questions. I want them to represent the citizens of their districts, not the lobbyists for insurance companies and drug companies.
Friday, July 31, 2009
Susan B. Anthony once was arrested for the "crime" of voting. As women were not allowed to vote, her attempt to do so was "criminal."
In many other countries voting is universal and compulsory. We don't have to vote. But we have that right. People have suffered and even died to secure and protect that right. I think that to NOT vote is an affront to those people.
I don't know how I will celebrate August 26 but I have started to think about it. My local League of Women Voters will have a party in the park--that's a start. Maybe I'll wear white, as did the suffragists.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
When people cannot assemble peacefully in the street without facing violence from the government, the people are oppressed. When the government shuts down the press, the people are oppressed.
In other undemocratic countries the press seldom have free reign, but they aren't shut down altogether, either. So the government in Iran shuts down the press, so people can't find out what is happening, and they are beating up or killing people who do anything to oppose the government.
I know my perspective is American, and I have always lived in a country with a free press. I know also that while the government makes a lot of mistakes, I have the freedom to criticize it, without fear for my health, safety, or family. I know not everyone has this perspective.
But I cannot imagine any perspective that would think it right for a government to harm its people for peaceful actions, and the shutdown of the press means they are hiding something.
They are not hiding their light under a bushel basket. They are hiding what they are doing because they know it's wrong, too.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Cuba - today I watched a documentary called "the Power of Community - How Cuba Survived Peak Oil." And I watched Cubans who have much to teach to their neighbors to the north.
Japan - today is the anniversary of the 1995 expression of remorse for World War II from the parliament. Japan was our enemy and is now a powerful trading partner. Ditto Germany. When will it be Cuba's turn?
Iraq - today state flags are at halfmast because another one of our citizens has died on Iraqi soil in the military conflict there. I grieve his death, and pray we can soon end the suffering and begin in earnest the healing and reconciliation the region so badly needs.
One of the Cubans advised, "think globally, act locally." So I will. Another letter to the editor (at least more than 2 people will read it), and some prayerful contemplation. Then more local action, but what they are I don't yet know.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
This bird -- silver-throated tanager-- is my desktop wallpaper this week. It takes my breath away when I see it. I can't feel the heat and humidity of where I first saw this species. I can't hear all the other jungle sounds. Still it awes me.
Peacemaking proceeds even slower these days. Maybe I am like a plant, and right now I am growing deeper roots rather than bearing fruit.
I am amazed recently at all the connections I'm noticing between the fictions I'm reading lately and the ideas and situations in real life. Bio-hazards. The meaning of America. The importance of training and drilling, so we'll know what we need to do when the time comes.
Maybe peacemaking is slower because I am reading so much fiction lately and it fills my head. Guess I'm reading a little too much.
Today is the 20th anniversary of the Tiammenen (sp?) Square face-down of pro-democracy activists and the Chinese military. The Chinese military squashed the protesters. I thank God America's military cannot participate in internal affairs. Glad to live in the USA.
Maybe my focus will return soon.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
Recently I copied a blog posting (Cuba libre) and sent it to the editor of my local newspaper. It ran this past Sunday and I've received a number of comments already. I will do it again next month too--because I know people read letters to the editor.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
A little more thinking about clutter.
A few years ago at a Quaker interest group meeting I rewrote the Lord's Prayer. I love my version. Here is an excerpt
Please guide me, please strip from my heart and light the clutter and bitter residue of human failings.
So much of my clutter are my false assumptions, my hopes, my delusions of things I intended to do. Evidence of promises broken. Magazines I meant to read, clothes I've been meaning to mend. piles of recipes that tempted me but I never tried, half-completed craft projects, bags of supplies for projects I wanted to do but didn't get to. And sometimes still promise myself that I will.
The bitter residue of this human's failings.
And sometimes, clearing that clutter is admitting failure. And pitching stuff reminds me of how wasteful I, a typical modern American, am. So the satisfaction of clearing space and establishing open, clear places in my space and my heart has that ugly downside--all the crap I'm putting into another part of the planet.
The next part of my prayer is this:
Wash away my weaknesses and wrongdoings. Help my truth and strength to shine.
that's a good note to stop on.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
But how about Arlen Specter's change of party!!? It sadly reflects on how far to the right the Republican party is going. How does this relate to peace? Well, a good democracy has lots of back and forth, give and take. And the narrowing of the GOP makes that party weaker. Ultimately that is bad for the USA. But maybe it will be good for moving the USA to a better position in a variety of policy areas.
And what about the swine flu's origin in the CAFO pork factories in Mexico? Visit Tom Philpott has the story. to read about it. For me, this underscores the importance of sourcing our foods closer to home. This relates to peace thus: it's better for the planet if our food dollars pay for food, not petrolem. And we need a healthy planet for us to live in peace.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Okay, we trade with China --actually we just pour our consumer dollars into Communist China hands-- because through trade we can influence the Chinese government to treat its citizens better, right? But we can't trade with the communist government just a long swim away from our shores? Hypocritical.
Silly. Lilke we take our toys and only play in our own back yard, but the rest of the planet happily trades with Cuba.
Wrong. It's wrong for the tail to wag the dog, and that's what we do with the Miami Cuban-Americans who are angry with Fidel controlling the foreign policy of the United States of America.
Ineffective. See silly, above.
Unintended and unfortunate - by withholding our trade and our riches, we have given the government a bad guy to blame for Cuba's troubles. It's the norteamericanos! We have strengthened Fidel.
Cuba is the pearl of the Antilles. It's lovely and I am eager to be a gringa tourist there. I am eager to bring eco-bucks there. I want to be neighbors with our, well, neighbors.
I want the US to end its silly, stupid, wrong-headed, ineffective policies against Fidel, and act neighborly to our neighbors.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Then I dashed outside the courtroom to the table the court had provided me, and handed out League of Women Voters pamphlet "They Represent You," a free directory of all the elected officials in our counties, and how to contact them (and vote them in or out). My husband and I gave out dozens of these.
I also offered to register the new Americans to vote. I registered 8 new Americans right then and there, and several others took the form with them to mail in later.
It was sweet--I checked over the forms to be sure they were filled in right, and had to remind a few folks to check the YES box to confirm they were American citizens!
It has always been a dream of mine to register brand new Americans, and last Friday my dream came true.
Anyone can do this (at least in my state). I went to the county Auditor's office to get the forms, I arranged a table, and brought a pile of pens.
I can't wait to do this again. The court's person said they would have another citizenship ceremony in another month or two. They'd worked hard to bring this back to our community, and I am thrilled about it.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
When I was in grad school my prof for the Latin American politics class said the problem was that in Latin America, the countries are occupied by their own military. I guess Guatemala illustrates this point clearly and tragically.
Our military doesn't 'occupy' the U.S. because of some law from Reconstruction times. Plus the Bill of Rights, I think. That would be a good exercise in civics for baby boomers. Find the answer to this: why does the US military NOT meddle in domestic affairs?
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Then, using the CIA fact book, I compared Guatemala to Costa Rica, a nation with no military, and with USA, a nation we are most familiar with. Here are a few comparison points
Suffrage 18 & universal , except members of Active military, who are confined to barracks
Population 4.2 million
GDP (gross domestic product) $49.73B $
Life expectancy @ birth 69.99
Infant mortality (per 1000 births) 28.79
%GDP spent on education 2.6
Suffrage - 18, universal and compulsory
Population 13 million
GDP - 70.19B
GDP per person- $11,000
Life expectancy @ birth 77.4Infant mortality (per 1000 births) 9.1
%GDP spent on education 4.9
Suffrage 18 and universal
Population 303 million
Life expectancy @ birth 78.14
Infant mortality (per 1000 births) 6.3
% GDP spent on education 5.3
Costa Rica is little but by eliminating its military, has much more $$ available for health and education than does Guatemala. Costa Rica: no wars, high literacy, higher life expectancy. Dividends of peace.
I find it sad that Guatemala's active military is confined to quarters and cannot vote on election days. Guatemala has been stable for a few years now, and I hope it lasts. Guatemala vividly illustrates the costs of war. High infant mortality, shortest life expectancy in our hemisphere, rampant poverty, incalculable impacts from human rights abuses.
Yes Mr. Clinton, the US's role in supporting the Guatemala military was wrong.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
We are all born for love... it is the principle existence and it's only end. --Disraeli
The life and love we create is the life and love we live. --Leo Buscaglia
To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead. --Bertrand Russell, Earl Russell
By ourselves we can enjoy life, but to really appreciate life we must find companionship.
You who have received so much love, show your love by protecting the sacredness of life. The sacredness of life is the greatest gifts that God has given us. --Mother Theresa
There are only four questions of value in life . . . What is sacred? Of what is the spirit made? What is worth living for? What is worth dying for? The answer to each is the same. Only love." --From the film Don Juan DeMarco
You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have really lived, are the moments when you have done things in a spirit of love. --Henry Drummond
Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are traveling the dark journey with us. Oh be swift to love, make haste to be kind. --Henri Frederick Amiel
One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life; That word is love. --Sophocles
Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love. --Lao Tzu
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. --Martin Luther King, Jr.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
--1 Peter 4:8-9
Love one another and you will be happy. It's as simple and as difficult as that. ~Michael Leunig
Who, being loved, is poor? ~Oscar Wilde
Forget love - I'd rather fall in chocolate! ~Sandra J. Dykes
Enjoy these and love joyfully
Peace and Love, y'all
Thanks once again to the fine folks at Nebraskans for Peace for their "Cat Lovers against the Bomb," (CLAB to them) from which I got these good facts.
Reminds me that everything happens some time, so creates an anniversary. And we use anniversaries to remember things. Besides the anniversaries above: on this day in the past, people lived and loved. Some good things happened, and lots of bad things happened.
Perhaps if we all do good today, we will have happier memories to look back on.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Sunday, February 8, 2009
I am pleased to report I wrote to Utne to express my disappointment the latest issue didn't back up its claim to show how to fix our schools, stop genocide, and conquer fear. I also emailed the president to share with him the wishes for his first term from the folks who attended our inauguration eve party on 1/21.
These were some of the ideas that came to me at the Quaker silent weekend.
My weight is down a teensy bit, too
Friday, February 6, 2009
On the brink of this weekend I pray for the peaceful virtures of serenity and balance. With these I can do great things, or do small things in a great way, as Mother Theresa told us. Thank you Mother Theresa.
The small things I will do are tend my home and family, and entertain a bit. Hope I can do them in a great way. I want to find some time around the edges for extra peacemaking stuff. I will relate them tomorrow.
This is a little like telling someone your weight. You get motivated to do something to make the news better!
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Here in one BIG GULP are attrbutes of personal peacemaking.
abundance, confidence, fulfillment. orderliness, self-reliance, acceptance, connectedness, goodness, patience, serenity, altruism, contentment, grace, placidity, service, balance, coolness, gratitude, poise, silence, beauty, cooperation, groundedness, purity, stability, benevolence, courtesy, harmony, quietude, stillness, calmness, creativity, honor, receptivity, sustainability, caring, empowerment, interdependence, relaxation, tranquility, centeredness, equability
justice, reliability, trust, cleanliness, equality, lightness, respect, unification, comfort, equanimity, modesty, reverence, unity, communication, even-mindedness, nobility, safety, universality, compassion, expansiveness, non-attachment, satisfaction, well-being completeness. faith
non-violence, security, wholeness, composure, freedom/liberty, oneness, self-assurance, wholesomeness
Quite a list. As you read it, did you find a few of them calling to you more strongly?
My mind lingered on stillness and connectedness.
Especially on weekends I find myself in constant motion, and it's tiring. Sometimes I only pause in the bathroom and at the dining table. I can't feel still and I feel its absence keenly. What I loved about the silent weekend was that I could be still. Nothing whatsoever kept me from it, in fact.
Connectedness delights me. I love finding new connections. I think of community as a tapestry, and the more warps and wefts, the tighter the weave, the stronger the fabric-- and the greater the possibility for beauty. At our big inauguration party, it surprised me to learn who already knew who. More connections. The fabric of my community is a little stronger.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
I had some stuff to feel contrite about--I was immersed in a Tom Clancy novel, and shirked my tasks and stayed up too late. Finished the book today and plan to sleep well tonight!
And the spirit brought me more gifts! My coworker Ginger met a man who attended Westtown and identifies as a Quaker. Another Quaker in my town!! This is exciting.
Ginger is brimming with ideas and I am going to help her.
How is this for a cool idea. Does your city have a sister city? If so, why not set up a student exchange with that city and have the students learn about the green and sustainable practices the host city is doing!? And participate in a community forum to share the status of carbon reduction, alternate energies, local food, whatever, from their home country! Then when the students return home, they hold another forum to share what they have learned. And somehow (haven't figured this all out yet) find ways to implement what the student ambassador learned from sister city.
How else can we build peace with sister cities? I am glad my city has a sister city and I hope we can use that mechanism to increase the level of harmony in the universe.
Sunday, February 1, 2009
I attended the silent weekend for the Pacific NW Qtr of North Pacific Yearly Meeting. It was wonderful. No speech for 40 hours. We worshipped in meetings for worship and in mindful activities. It was rich, fun, and filled with grace.
I had hoped the weekend would recharge me spiritually and help me find ways to help Obama form a more perfect union.
It did, and I did.
Je me suis tres bien amusee (I had a very good time).
I lavished attention (really wallowing!) in the prayer structure I learned in the very amusing book The Year of Living Biblically, which I recommend cheerfully. The structure is ACTS. Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving, Supplication. The spirit really opened up and the Thanksgiving and supplication sections were huge, and wonderful. Then ideas poured forth, just as I'd hoped.
And that was only the first worship session, just after we clammed up our yappers!
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Talk about NIMBY. Testing in the South Pacific is the ultimate NIMBY for Western civ.
Tomorrow I drive to a Quaker silent weekend. I am so looking forward to it! Maybe I will come home refreshed and happier.
All is well, or at least okay
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
"There is no trust more sacred than the one the world holds with children. There is no duty more important than ensuring that their rights are respected, that their welfare is protected, that their lives are free from fear and want and that they grow up in peace. "
Kofi Annan, in "Foreword" to The State of the World's Children 2000
This one resonates with me because I am praying for the child of my coworker, whose troubles are acute, scary, and I hope not scarring. I also pray for my own child, who gets along with her father so poorly we are seeking counseling.
Peace to you
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
What is wrong with humans that they can do genocide? I really don't know, and that scares me. I believe good people can go with the flow and if the flow is toxic then good people do horrible things.
I know I am a good person and wonder what have I done, in oblivion, that is evil or toxic? They say if you pluck a flower, you shake a star. Our actions affect others just as ripples across a pond.
I would like to think good actions have good repercussions, so I will have to do some more good and find out.
Peace, y'all, like our lives depended on it! Perhaps they really do
Monday, January 26, 2009
How should I open dialog with those whose views differ from mine? What I want is for us to look forward and find common ground. Positive ground. How? Maybe I should pose a question like, "What are your hopes for the next year?" or "next administration?"
Or perhaps I could share one of my favorite lines from the inauguration speech (or the invocation!!) and ask if others find inspiration in it as well.
I hope I can make some headway. I really want to make a little more peace in the real world.
Friday, January 23, 2009
I received a nice thank you note today (for the inauguration eve party we held Monday) and think one good turn deserves another, so I will write a few notes today myself.
Peace....be with you
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
"Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions - who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is goined to common purpose, and necessity to courage."
He wants an end to bitter partisanship, and so do I.
Now I have criticized the other party in the past, with ease and enthusiasm. But I am ready to STOP and to look ahead. I am willing to find and build from common ground.
I think it's easy for most political people to slip into the end zones and ignore the huge common ground in the middle. Perhaps it's our baser nature. But we should live from a higher place, our better nature.
I don't think I can ask the other side to stop name-calling until I do, until my "side" does.
True, the other political side has made mistakes. True, they have zipper troubles, just as some of our side did. It's true the recent administration has eroded our nation's reputation and has driven up the deficit to terrifying levels.
But we cannot blame every problem on them. And even if we could, to what purpose? Rather, let's understand the problem and work together to find a solution.
I hope I don't sound pollyanna-ish. I want our country to heal and become a more perfect union, and don't think name-calling is the way, nor do I think that only half of this nation is right.
Please join me in ending bitter partisanship. Find and build on common ground, and treat fellow Americans with respect.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
So begins the preamble to the Constitution and to Obama's March 18, 2008 speech about race in America.
The theme recurs in Sunday's Parade magazine: In a letter from Barack Obama to his daughters, he said their grandmother "helped me understand that America is great not because it is perfect but because it can always be made better--and that the unfinished work of perfecting our union falls to each of us."
So... how? If you are reading this, would you please send me an idea? Or two, or a few? Something we the people can do.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
I live in a relatively small city, and the retail options for some things are limited. So I can't sashay into a party shop two days before a party and expect to find bunting and patriotic banners. I'm sure a larger community can support a store with far more inventory. I could have ordered them online but alas, we will do without. Darn.
I also learned that hot items are anything with Obama on them, such as dress-up magnets and bobbleheads. Darn again.
I have learned which grocery stores have better spice selections as I searched for something for one of the Kenya recipes.
I am impressed by how many pictures I see of Obama in the media. Bring it on!
I am delighted that the deputy director of my agency will allow us to watch the inauguration on TV while we're at work on Tuesday.
Peace is not prevailing in my home today. My two loved-est loved ones are sniping at each other and it isn't too peaceful in the cross-fire. But reading my own blog inspires me to focus on gratitude and the spiritual aspects of home caring and cooking. One of these I've done lots of and the other I'm about to. Peace in my own head.
Tomorrow we entertain on a far larger scale than usual. That puts me in a prayerful mood.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Here are a few MLK jr quotes to inspire me and perhaps thee
Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the staircase.
Let no man pull you low enough to hate him. (I love brevity.)
...And I've looked over, and I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land. So I'm happy tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. ... (this last was uttered the day before Dr. King was killed in Memphis in 1968)
Perhaps MLK is in heaven and will be looking over Obama's shoulder in four short days?
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
I used to work for a guy who said "history is written by the winners." I understood his point and for the most part (sadly) agreed. Recently I heard a slightly different version -- "History is not what happened, it's what is written down."
Genocide, racism, murder, discrimination, rape, torture, yup, we've done it all. I learned the rocks that "stone-wash" jeans comes from a site sacred to native Americans.
Ironic, isn't it, that the qualities that are good in our nation--the First Amendment in particular-- are what let us know about our nation's flaws.
Now somethng less depressing. Today is the anniversary of some good peace milestones.
On this day in 1784, the brand new United States signed a peace treaty with ex-Mother England, ending our revolution and beginning the saga we are still participating in.
And 220 years later, in 1994, President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed accords in Moscow to stop aiming missiles at any nation and to dismantle the nuclear arsenal of Ukraine.
In 2005, just 4 years ago today, Army Specialist Charles Graner Jr., the reputed ringleader of a band of rogue guards at the Abu Ghraib prison, was convicted at Fort Hood, Texas, of abusing Iraqi detainees. (He was later sentenced to 10 years in prison.).
Thank you New York Times for distilling these anniversaroids.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
But the stain of shame and the loss of American honor persist. For how long, I don't know. I pray our new President will work actively to repair the harm and restore our honor.
I have often said I don't feel proud to be American, but I feel very LUCKY to be American. On election night I thought I might once again feel pride.
Less than one week until we have a new President in office!
Sunday, January 11, 2009
We cannot impose peace. It's up to each of us to forgive, to accept, to love actively-- to make peace. And if our heart isn't in it, there's little likelihood of success.
So peace does require our hearts. And our souls, and our minds--and sometimes our voices, our feet, our vote, and our arms.
Today I will use my voice to sow harmony. I will use my feet to guide me through my chores, my arms to hug the ones I love.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
150 years ago yesterday was the birth of Carrie Chapman Catt. This woman worked tirelessly to bring the vote to American women. If you are a woman, you should thank her and give her honor and credit. You should do so even if you're male, because having women participate in the voting process makes things better for all of us.
63 years ago today was the first assembly of the United Nations General Assembly. Now the UN's ability to foster peace has a few blemishes but on the whole it does a LOT of good. When I was a kid all the kids carried cardboard UNICEF containers when we trick-or-treated. I wonder why they don't any more?
Thanks, Nebraskans for Peace for your wonderful calendar.
Feeling lots of gratitude today.....
Thursday, January 8, 2009
There is no way to peace -- peace is the way.
That is why I call my blog Let's MAKE peace. Because it's in what we do, in how we face the world and answer its inhabitants. MAKING peace - here are a few ways that come to me
- Resolve conflicts in your life
- Give to the needy
- Use less
- Speak out for what is right
That is a simple little list. But a good one.
While browsing online to learn about AJ Muste I found another quote I really like:
"What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
This was from Albert Pike. You can google him for yourself, and then tell me.
The neat thing about Pike's words is that what we do to the world might be good but is certainly also bad, if we are part of the wasteful mainstream American culture.
Thanks again to Cat Lovers Against the Bomb and the fine people at Nebraskans for Peace, which created this nifty calendar.
Peace (resolve conflicts, use less, give to the needy, smile, use less) y'all
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Here's a nice quote from Oscar Arias, the former president of Costa Rica and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate:
"Peace is not the project of a victory or a comment....Please is a never-ending process, the work of many decisions."
Thanks again, Nebraskans for Peace for your wonderful calendar, Cat Lovers Against the Bomb.
Arias's words fit my home situation these days. Thank you Oscar Arias.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
It's old-fashioned sounding--not sound-bite-ish but the words ring true. If you don't want to click the link, the four freedoms are of
- freedom of speech and expression,
- freedom of every person to worship God in his way
- freedom from want
- freedom from fear
I still think FCNL's mission statement works better--and more concisely, because it relates to the whole planet, not just its human inhabitants.
Monday, January 5, 2009
Who was Francisco Suarez? I admit I had no idea, but now I do and so will you. He was a pioneer of international law. And a Catholic superstar.
Come to think of it, international law didn't just hatch one day. Someone had to start it.
Suarez entered the Society of Jesuits at age 16. He was ordained in 1572. During his lifetime he was regarded as the greatest living theologian and philosopher. He rejected the divine right of kings. He argued only the Church was established by the Divine, and states were creations of the people.
I can't describe Suarez's legacy in short readable sentences so I'd just say this--Google him yourself if you want to learn more.
Also, think about international law. Do you take it for granted? How does a nation's sovereignty fit with international law? How should international law be enforced?
Saturday, January 3, 2009
What has this to do with peace? It's a dividend of peace that we can contemplate such a trip. And one reason Costa Rica is such a mecca for eco-tourism is that it has no military sucking up its budget and terrorizing its own people. Costa Rica is a functioning democracy that lives in peace. No civil wars. Nearly universal literacy, though it's defined fairly liberally.
I am thrilled. I am grateful.
On January 3, 1793, Lucretia Coffin Mott was born. She was a Quaker, and back in those days, men and women treated each other far more equally than they did in the larger culture. Lucretia's leadings brought her to forefront of the anti-slavery movement. In that capacity she traveled to England for an anti-slavery convention. But she could not sit with the rest of the delegates because she was a woman!!! This made quite a stir, but that is another story.
It was here she met another Quaker lady, Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The women decided they would have a women's rights convention along the lines of the anti-slavery convention, and in 1848 it materialized in Seneca Falls, NY. There she and others penned a "declaration of sentiments" based quite directly on the Declaration of Independence. This is considered the birth of the women's rights movement. But the Civil War loomed, and the larger issue of ending slavery took precedent.
Suffrage for women took a back seat to suffrage for blacks. Suffragists suppressed their pursuit of the vote to pursue basic freedoms for blacks. The fifteenth amendment gave black men the right to vote.
Then suffragists pursued the vote for women. Quaker ladies - Mott, Susan B Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Alice Paul--led these efforts. In college I attended Meeting in Gainesville Fl. The meeting had an old, old man named Roy Anthony. And when he was a boy, he spent time with his cousin (or aunt) Susan B. So I am one person removed from this other great Quaker lady.
I am proud (uh oh! grateful, grateful) of the Quakers of the past. Quakers found the truth of the evils of slavery much sooner than other Americans. They led the anti-slavery movement. They led the suffrage movement. What next?
What can any of us do if we have righteous passion? Then link up with others of the same nature. And move mountains? At least move part of the universe along in the right direction.
Friday, January 2, 2009
But where exactly do the weapons come from that are used on citizens of countries with civil wars or abuses of human rights? Does the republic of Congo make the weapons soldiers use to dominate every element of the economy? Does the former Burma make the weapons its military uses to terrorize citizens and even its Buddhist monks?
The United States' two biggest customers for weapons are....Egypt and Israel. (so I have heard-but maybe my info is out of date or wrong.) Do we have blood on our own hands for the havoc in the Gaza Strip this week? How would we know?
Thanks to the folks at Nebraskans for Peace, who published my family's new "cat lovers against the bomb" 2009 wall calendar, and thanks again to our friend Gene for giving to us.