Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Obama party? Dinner grace

My husband wants to hold an inauguration party. This would be a stretch for me, as my comfort zone is small dinner parties. But the thought is percolating, and ..... why ever not? Why not celebrate democracy, celebrate diversity (what with Martin Luther King Jr day being celebrated the day before the inauguration), celebrate friendship and hope, and fill the house with friends and good food to help us while away the winter months?

Now some grace. Here is a Christian one:

O Lord, we thank Thee for our daily bread. May it strengthen and refresh our bodies! And we pray Thee, nourish our souls with Thy heavenly grace, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

And here is another:

May this food restore our strength, giving new energy to tired limbs, new thoughts to weary minds. May this drink restore our souls, giving new vision to dry spirits, new warmth to cold hearts. And once refreshed, may we give new pleasure to You, who gives us all.

As a Quaker my grace words are unspoken but one of these days I will make my thoughts visible.

Peace y'all


Monday, December 29, 2008

What to do after Christmas

This is the curious interregnum (love that word) after the mega holiday, approaching a smaller one, sliding into the post-climax bleakness of January. Dark, cold, and wet.

The first definition of interregnum refers to the interval between two reigns. I can see that retail reigns up till December 25. Now what?

It's a good time for quiet inside work. Such as learning, writing, sending messages across the world. Good hobby time, to keep hands busy in positive ways. Good time to cook, spend time with friends.

For me, it's a good time to plan. (Then again, for me any time is good time for planning.) This sentiment leads to new year's resolutions, and putting out new calendars-- turning the page.

My usual prayer is for stength, wisdom, and grace. I hope the new year brings lots of them. I hope I can blog more consistently, with good messages. I want to deepen my faith and practice and invite you to do so as well.

Peace y'all


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happiness is mine

A few good things happened today. I had lunch with an old acquaintance. It was most enjoyable and the food was great, too. Also I found and bought a Wii Fit, which I had nearly despaired of finding at all. And this evening my dearest friend popped in for a visit, and my sister and her family are nearly, nearly here from California! Just another half hour or so.

Peace y'all


Monday, December 22, 2008

Humility, please?

I have always found it easy to apologize when I made a mistake. But I have learned something. It takes more effort to REALIZE I have erred.

This happened this week. I had an idea and I plunged in. I didn't talk to others about it who had a role, and they were unhappy. I don't know, since the communications were email, whether they were some version of angry or hurt, but I know I rocked the boat. After a few days I cooled off and realized that my idea may be valid, my process was poor.

I have some of the 21 steps of personal peacemaking in my head and I will check Lynn Fitz-Hugh's list to find some clearness and reality. I plan to resolve this mess peacefully.

I think that nasty sin of Pride presided. Humility is the cure and I will actively practice it.

Peace peace peace

Yes, peace begins at home. With more time at home, due to the holidays, I will actively practice peace. Hope you do the same!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

cat lovers for peace

Our very good friend gave us a calendar for Christmas--Cat Lovers for Peace! It's full of great milestones for peacemakers across the decades and centuries, and across the globe. Plus pictures of cats. I will never lack for peace-related things to share, at least in 2009.

At the real risk of repeating myself, I am filled with the grace from gratitude. Life is good.

Peace y'all


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Gratitude during the Christmas hustle and bustle


The Saturday before Christmas and there is lots to do. In this culture, anyway. Thanks to God I don't have to add finding fuel and food to the list. Or finding my loved ones (okay, I do need to retrieve my kid from a sleepover).

Thanks to God I have the tools I need to do my chores--health, money, safe wheels for the driving errands, a full tummy and strong back.

Thanks to God also that I don't really have to worry about my daughter getting sucked into a civil war between the people and the government, which is in the hands of multinational oil companies. This is the situation for a classmate of mine who lives in Nigeria. He could have been your classmate too. There but for the grace of God......

Gratitude is a great habit, and helps ground me in this time of year.

Cheerfulness is with me today and I will share it.

Friday, December 19, 2008

snow, and peace

Snowwwwww we have had some, which is unusual. It makes me appreciate most intensely that I have a warm and dry place to sleep.

Not everyone does. This too makes me grateful for what I so usually take for granted.

Gratitude is good.

Peace y'all


Thursday, December 18, 2008


It is going well at work, and I am so glad!

At home I will work a little harder. With a teenager and an elderly husband, there is some clashing. I hope to mitigate it.

All is well.

Today I prayed. ACTS--Adoration Contrition. Thanksgiving, and Supplication. By the time I got to supplication, my soup was cooling and my coworkers chatting, but a few supplications arose through all that--Please, God, strength, wisdom, and grace. If I had more of those I would have less to be contrite about!!

Prayed and afraid rhyme. Oh dear.

I know a guy who is dedicated to peace. He has a peaceful demeanor. He is devoutly and faithfully religious. His old car has a peace bumpersticker, and he wears a black armband. He writes letters to the editor now and again and leads modest demonstrations now and then. Those are just the peacemaking behaviors I witness. What else does he do when I don't see? I admire this man.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Peace begins at home

If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.
If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.
If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.
If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.
If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.

Lao Tzu - born 604 BC

Molly here. If it's to be, it's up to me. (and thee) After delving into those 21 peacemaking steps I felt much more committed to peacemaking where I live. This is a 6-step process. Or perhaps its a 6 billion-step process, since there are so many hearts and souls on this planet. I will focus on one or two of them. (souls)

Holiday stress is nipping at my heels. I have been escaping into a book and have not done the holiday-related things I think I should have done by now.

Back to peace in my heart and home: I will work hard for this today. I invite thee to do likewise.

peace y'all


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Thoughts about Christmas

I'm a mainstream Quaker. I live in the present. I live among nonQuakers. I guess that makes me a real 21st century Quaker, rather than a 19th century Quaker or a fictional Quaker in the 20th century.

As a Friend I have struggled against the mainstream culture of Christmas commercialism. This year I think I have reached peace, or at least truce, with it.

The mainstream culture has lots of stuff to pile on us--parties, group charitable efforts, tons of special food, and an obscene amount of commericalization. Every retail place, from coffe shops to hardware stores, wants us to buy gifts. It makes Christmas impossible to ignore, even if one is Hindu or Jewish or some other faith besides Christian.

I like the holidays anyway. I like lights outside since it's so dark and cold. I love the food, though my higher self urgently reminds me to practice my moderation skills. I enjoy giving and receiving. And I like holiday music, to a point.

The bulk of the commercialism relates to the giving--which quickly equates in our culture to buying. But it need not. So much joy comes from giving of ourselves. I have never thought myself creative, but I married a man who is.

The gifts he has made amaze and delight me. One year he used colored pencils to color a 50-cent map of my favorite lake, and he framed it himself. Bought the wood, stained it, made a frame, cut the glass to size.

Another year he restored a chair that was my father's and his mother's before that. I received this restored chair December 25, 1997, five days after my father's death.

Another time he sewed me a cape. I don't know how long I've had it but I know I wore it when pregnant 15 years ago. I still wear it often, in cold weather.

Even I can do a few creative things. I can harvest lavendar, add it to flax, and sew it into a little eyeglass-shaped bag, then put that bag into a slightly larger bag out of gorgeous silky fabric. Instant eye-pillow! If I can do that, anyone can.

So Christmas reminds me of hope--that even someone like me can make nice gifts.

Back to what I like, or love about the holidays. I like getting in touch with my family, and do enjoy card I receive from friends and family (but not from charities and insurance companies).

Most of all I love that it's open season for wishing for Peace on Earth. OPEN SEASON. This is one time of year Christians and others share this wish.

Sharing the wish is good. Now...what do we do? Have a green Christmas, practice joyful moderation, and love love love, and give (of self) give (of self), give (of self)!!!

Peace y'all


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Government and my relationship with it

"When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny." Thomas Jefferson wrote (or said) this.

I work for the state, and I like to tell people I meet (from my state) that I work for them. It grounds me, keeps me dedicated. It also invariably gets a favorable response, which I like a lot.

Two big questions are rattling around my head lately. Both relate to government and my relationship to it.

Question 1: During my state's tight financial crunch, when the governor says we will all have to sacrifice, exactly what will I need to give up? (A related question: what can I do to help, besides staying of trouble so I don't use state resources to help me out?)

Question 2: How have I, Molly Dove, suffered under the 8 years of the Bush administration? What is the federal government's role in my life? The pondering I have given this question lead me to the tentative conclusion that the federal government's role in my life is largely positive.

Dear reader, would thee please give me input on one or both questions?

With hope--

Peace y'all


Monday, December 8, 2008

Peace in my home

My spouse has made some investments with a company called Reid and Rudinger. Avoid this outfit! He opened an IRA but the $$ went into a nonIRA His password don't work from home, though it sometimes works from a friend's computer. For months months he has tried to get these jerks to move his $$ to his IRA, where it should have been in the first place. No such luck. So we will have a huge distribution from the IRA to cope with this year. Again.

I didn't curse, I didn't yell. I didn't even complain. Peaceful huh? After all, it's only money. More important than money is that we are all healthy and our home is warm and dry.

Ahhhh. Money is important but I like what my college pal Mike used to say--"it's like sex, and only is important when you are not getting any." Since I have a good job, we are getting some. Enough to keep us fed and warm, and some tucked away for the future too. Though not as much, thanks to what's happening in the investment world. Good enough though. Thanks God.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Early childhood education

Consensus is good. Quakers use it So does the League of Women Voters.

Tonight's LWV meeting featured my favorite soup, cooked with a few adjustments for the vegetarians in our group. And we discussed early childhood education and the state's role in it. Rather, the role the state should have in it.

But money is tight, tight, tight So we will probably not see more funding for early childhood education for years to come. So kids of the well-to-do will thrive, and the neediest of the poor kids will get charity (state support). But the kids in the middle may get good care, maybe not. And maybe the kids that don't will be not quite needy enough to be special needs, but are needy enough to have trouble in school and later in life.

League's state study showed that kids who were in an early childhood education program fared better than those who didn't across a number of variables--succeeding in school, making more than $20k/year, completing college, refraining from getting arrested or incarcerated.

Which costs us taxpayers less--$8-12K/year for 5 years, or having a kid grow up to fill a bed in a prison for 5-20 years? So we taxpayers will moan about paying more for gas, food, and education but never mind what we pay for more jails and prisons.

I want to pay more taxes. Sounds perverse, even un-American. But that's my truth. I wantot invest in a green infrastructure for the future, in children, in public health.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I like hats

I have a number of hats and am always looking for a few more. Maybe it's my inner Easterner. What is my point? Hmmmmm they keep my head warm. And shield my eyes from sun or cold.

I am a creature of habit. So hats are now a habit. I like keeping my head warm in winter and the sun off my hair and face in summer.

Can I relate this to peace? Not well. But it's a little of my truth.

Today I felt truly inspired by step 19 of the 21 steps, and lived up the responsibility to live my highest standard of ethical behavior. I felt great today too.

good night y'all


Final 3 steps of personal peacemaking

These came from Lynn Fitz-Hugh's article "21 steps on personal peacemaking" in the August 2008 Friends Journal.

Here are steps 19-21. Bold and quotes are from Lynn Fitz-Hugh.

19. We are responsible at all times for choosing behavior that meets our highest moral/ethical standards.

"to truly live by the Golden Rule, to live in such a way that, if anything true we did was published somewhere for all to see, we would have no embarrassment, guilt, or shame about our action."

Thank thee, Lynn Fitz-Hugh, for this simple and vital point. This speaks to me volumes. This is one of the best steps to teach to children too, as soon as they can comprehend the words, and to teach the gist of it before then.

20. Culture does impact conflict.

"Different cultures have different ways of showing respect, caring, boundaries, etc. The culture we are raised in is invisible to us--it's like air. ....We are all therefore somewhat blind to our own cultural assumptions and usually sadly ignorant of other peoples'. It is helpful to realize this potential and try to figure out if it is part of the conflict--and if so, to try to address it, and use it as an opportunity for learning. "

Fitz-Hugh also notes that second-generation Americans may seem fully assimilated but still have their culture invisibly wrapping around them. This can persist for multiple generations. And it's not a genetic thing, it's cultural.

In 1989 I lived in New Mexico and questioned a local about the pronounciation of Moriarty, a town east of Albuquerque. She pronouced it "mor-e-AR-i-ty. I asked if if wouldn't be "Mor-e-ARE-ty. Her answer, I will never forget: "Well, if you want to sound like a Yankee."

21. When we have made a mistake, it is best to apologize immediately.

amen amen amen amen amen

"..rather than trying to justify, rationalize, diminish, or cover up the mistake we made. We are not bad because we made a mistake. If we live without blaming, others should also be able to accept our mistakes without blaming. If someone else engages in blaming, that is the other person's issue and not something we have to take on ourselves."

I have the knack of this step well in hand and try to teach it to my kid. It is marvelous for defusing, deflating conflict. It's also honest. I usually say, sincerely, "oops, I goofed. I'm sorry."

Try it the very next time you make a mistake. If you are pulled over by a cop for some driving error, add the word "sir" or "ma'am" once or twice too. A friend of mine avers if you get in four "sirs" before he asks for your license, he'll let you off with a warning. And he has lots of experience to back this up.

So if you make a mistake, own it, apologize, and let the universe reach equilibrium again. And follow step 19 and live to your highest standards so your mistakes will be less frequent.

That's all 21 steps. Do you have faves? Steps you have mastered, steps that reflect where you need to work a little harder?

I'm going to walk cheerfully and answer God those I speak to. Have a great day.



Monday, December 1, 2008

Steps 16-18 of the 21 steps of personal peacemaking

I'm back in the groove, and here are the next three steps from Lynn Fitz-Hugh's 21 Steps on Personal Peacemaking, from the August 2008 Friends Journal. Lynn's words are in bold or quotes.

16. When speaking to another person about our upsets, it is best to use "I" statements of our experience and reactions as our own, rather than blaming others or making them responsible for our feelings.

"It is also best to listen carefully and respectfully to the other person's responses and be willing to change our minds if presented with different information."

"I" statements are something like the second commandment of assertiveness training. It's such a simple and strong technique. Besides being assertive, it lessens the other person's defensiveness and is not blaming. Back to that B word again. The B word is bad.

17. The use of drugs, alcohol, or violence during a conflict, or during the attempt to fix it, will make the conflict worse.

Lynn Fitz-Hugh doesn't elaborate, and neither will I. Except: DUH!

18. People who are very alike often have a great deal of conflict. "...Perhaps we see our worst or most detested trait in the other perosn (but of course it looks much worse on him or her). What is helpful is not to focus on how awful the other person is but to focus back on how we feel about ourselves when we behae that way and begin by working on forgiving ourselves for our own behavior. When we can love ourselves as we are, the other person magically becomes much less annoying and more an object for compassion."

This is a hard step for me. The person I find most like me is my own daughter, whose similarities to me are numerous and somewhat eerie. My challenge is to not project the rest of me onto her, and to respect her for the person she is.

I also love the notion of forgiving myself for my behavior, and love the idea of compassion. What a lovely virtue. I will contemplate (read: google) this today.

Peace y'all


something wonderful from Sojourner's

This blessed my inbox this morning and I want to share it. (Emphasis added)

"It's been a long, hard year for many of us. And the sense of relief and even joy is still slowly settling in. We have no utopian illusions, no faith in political messiahs, but we still see a transformational moment in this election — especially for a new generation. So despite the falling financial markets and the problems focused on during this endless political campaign still unsolved, let us take this Thanksgiving holiday to truly give thanks for the hope that so many now feel in our country and around the world. Let us thank God for new beginnings. And let us pray for better days ahead.

"And then on Monday, let us go back to work, because there is much work to be done. We haven't yet seen the change that we need, but we now have the opportunity to make that changewhich depends not just on a new president, but on each and every one of us. People of faith are often the ones turned to for translating hopes into realities. Let us rest well this holiday, for the work of real change is just ahead."

The whole article is at http://www.sojo.net/blog/godspolitics/?p=4194

The rest of the 21 steps will resume shortly.

peace, y'all


Sunday, November 30, 2008

what I am grateful for

Here's a quick list, by no means exhaustive

  1. My cousins visited us! It was very pleasant and gave me the chance to cook like crazy. I was glad to spend time with their baby, who is a darling little boy of 6 months, 14 pounds, and one extra chomosome.
  2. I am grateful my baby (now 14) was easy in just about every way, and has been healthy and normal (more or less).
  3. I have done a pretty good job of exercising for 3 months now!
  4. My health is good. Maybe even great.
  5. My family is healthy. My spouse is in far, far better shape than one year ago, when he was in a walker, getting food and meds through a tube to his stomach, and we were between surgeries.
  6. My cats continue to give me immense joy.
  7. We live in a peaceful state. Not perfect but I am grateful for a warm dry place to sleep, and food in my belly. And no shells hitting my home.
  8. My wonderfully generous neighbor bestowed more coffee on me, and I have not spent $ on coffee at home since Feb 2006. Thanks, Eric.
  9. Strangely, I am grateful to be free from eldercare worries since my parents are long gone.

That's it for today.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Is anyone reading this blog?

I started writing 3 months ago and have received ONE comment. I don't want to be discouraged.... But I am.

Peace y'all


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

On the very verge of a hhhhhhhhh HOLIDAY

I am about to plunge into a holiday weekend and hope I enjoy every moment of it. I doubt I will enjoy every moment but expect to have quite a few good ones.

I hope you do as well.

I also invite you to tell me what you are thankful for this Thanksgiving. I will do likewise, but not right now

Peace, y'all


Steps 13-15 for personal peacemaking

This wonderful article in the August 2008 Friends Journal came from Lynn Fitz-Hugh. By sharing this with you, friend, I reinforce it for myself. Steven Covey called this "third-party teaching," meaning you learn something better if you learn it with the intent of sharing it. So I invite you to read what follows with the intent of sharing it with someone else.

13. When someone else is disappointed or angry with us, this does not mean we are bad or unworthy. "We may have been told this in the past, and therefore this feeling may readily rear its head. It actually just means the other person is having a lot of strong and perhaps complex feelings. It is a good idea to care about others' feelings, but when we start operating/speaking out of guilt or shame, we are now actually having a competing upset that steals the attention from the person who was originally upset. Once two people are upset, the whole thing becomes a much larger mess."

Rarely do I feel bad or unworthy, thanks to God

14. Dragging other people in by trying to convince them of our point of view or trying to get others to choose sides just makes the conflict bigger and worse. "As a result, this causes pain in additional people and is another reason for the person with whom we are in conflict to be angry with us. it is one thing to ask someone to process feelings with us (ideally someone who does not know the person) or to speak without identifying the person. But it is quite another thing to 'compile a case together' or confirm each others's negative feelings."

Wait, wait, don't nations (especially ours) do exactly this with other nations? Hmmm, this warrants some contemplation. Anyone want to help?

15. When we direct all of our actions towards trying to prevent another person from feeling a certain way (angry, hurt, disappointed) we find ourselves caught in co-dependent emotional caretaking. "We need to redirect our attention toward how we are feeling, what our needs are, and how we feel about our own behavior."

Amen Amen Amen Amen Amen

Two more installments, and we'll have all 21 steps presented. I peaked ahead: 17 is a no-brainer, and 21 is a snap for me. Good, that means I can work harder on other steps. Today I think it will be #10, and look for what each person I relate to (in conflict or otherwise) can teach me. And I will share it.

Peace to you. Personally.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Steps 10-12 for personal peacemaking

Here are steps 10-12 of Lynn Fitz-Hugh's 21 steps on personal peacemaking. These were published in August 2008 in the Friends Journal.

10. Each person has something to teach us. "People do not arrive in our lives by mistake, even when we did not choose them to be in our lives. If we successfully evade one "nuisance," another one with the same traits will show up It is best to learn the lessons about ourselves and life that we are to learn from this person. That we do not like this kind of person is not the lesson. This person is in your life as a teacher..."

I guess this means that the person and the conflict will point to something in ourselves we can improve. This is a lot like looking for the good, or answering that God, in each person.

11. Judging a person or deciding 'who is wrong and who is right' is just another form of blaming. People have differences in opinion, in cultural norms, in styles of doing things, in interpreting information, and in acting in the world There is not a right or a wrong way about this. Our standards are right for each of us because of the life we have lived. That does not make our standards right for someone else who has lived a different life ... When we judge someone else or try to define him or her as wrong based on 'our truth,' we are insisting that our way is the way. Instead of this we must acknowledge and accept the differences. We must figure out how to build bridges across the differences."

oooooh I really like this step. It speaks to me! And that means it will be speaking to others I relate with. Lucky them.

12. People do not cause other people's feelings. "Rather, Person A does something and person B observes that action and then decides what it means to him or her. We all have had experience of starting out feeling one way about something, getting a slightly different perspective, and then having a different feeling about it. Despite the sense we have that our feeling are automatic and unbidden, we actually do choose what we feel. .... Even though we may not welcome it, it is a chance to look at our old feelings, process them, and heal."

What a powerful step this truly is. We cannot change other people We can change how we respond to them.

Now an update. Last evening two people I love were having a dispute over what happened. "B" said she had told "A" about something, and "A" was certain she had never heard about it. This went back and forth for a few volleys, then I spoke up and invoked step 1 of the 21 steps of personal peacemaking. I didn't express it quite the way Fitz-Hugh did, but it stopped them and they pointed their discussion forward. Someone else in the room thought my remark was very Zenlike, which I take as a compliment. Anyway, I helped peace and reconciliation a little last evening and am glad about that.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Steps 7-9 for personal peacemaking

These 21 steps are from Lynn Fitz-Hugh, and were published in the August 2008 Friends Journal. Below are steps 7-9.

7. When in a conflict with another person, it is not helpful to keep going over in our mind (or with another person) how bad the other person is, or how bad his or her actions were, how upset he or she makes us, or how much we hate this person.

Angry thoughts are like poison. They harm the thinker. You strengthen what you dwell upon, so if you dwell on the negative, it gets stronger. If you focus on the good, it will be stronger. Which makes more sense? When my daughter was little, and I heard her say she hated something, I always replied "Don't hate, because it makes you feel bad." That's a simple way of conveying step 7. Also don't hate because it does no good. And I mean "good" in all its meanings.

8. What is helpful is to focus on the good points of the person. "If we are not aware of any, try to notice what those might be or what other people like about that person. In a pinch, make up something: 'This person is kind and loving to his or her cat at home.' The idea here is not to lie to ourselves or live in fantasy, but we need to start connecting to the part of that person that we would like to have in our life. No one is without good. The more we focus on what we do not like about a person, the more we experience waht we do not like about him or her."

I should be practicing this step a little more actively. And asking others I love to do so. I tried it during the election. I told my Obama-leaning companions that I thought John McCain had a lot of good points. I named some, and my companions quickly named the bad points. My point, I think, is that by remembering the good in him, I couldn't demonize him or show disrespect.

9. Making fun of the person you are in conflict with, or engaging in sarcasm or ridicule, is poison.

'nuff said.

Go in peace, and practice a step or two today.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Steps 4-6 of Lynn Fitz-Hugh's 21 steps of personal peacemaking

Today my daughter and her friend had a back-and-forth conversation about two sides of the same reality, and I expressed the gist of step 1 - "Nothing is gained in trying to decide whose version of what happened is true." My daughter asked why I launched into big explanations when she made a comment. I explained she gave an example and I explained a point it illustrates. Inducing--going from specific to general. But I'd better dial it back a few notches so I don't get tuned out.....

Okay, steps 4-6 from Lynn Fitz-Hugh's 21 steps to personal peacemaking.

4. Running away from conflict does not solve it. "The conflict will still be there, but now someone may also feel abandoned or insignificant. Often the resulting lapse of time has allowed bad feelings to fester and false assumptions to be made. It is best to address conflict as soon as one has control over one's emotions and the other person is able to engage."

Molly, does thee hear this? Here is a step I need to work on a lot.

5. When people are very, very upset they get flooded by adrenaline. "This is a biological wiring for 'fight or flight.' We cannot just turn it off. It takes at least 20 miutes with attention off conflict--longer if it is hard to get attention off of it--to get rid of all the adrenaline....It is a bad idea for someone to try to talk, listen, or make decisions while flooded with adrenaline. Rational thinking is impaired and the brain has a difficult time working constructively."

OOOh I just hate it when this happens to me. I do the flight thing and I know it takes far more than 20 minutes to be able to return after I leave. I will try to focus away from the source of upset--probably that will help.

6. Timing of efforts to address a conflict is a two-party affair. "People exist on a broad spectrum from 'eager to address issues' to 'extremely terrified about addressing issues.' It is not fair for the [more] willing party to demand that the other person engage because the first party wants to/needs to, and it is similarly not fair for the more avoidant party to insist that his or her nonengagement policy be accepted by both (or to continue avoiding without addressing when he or she will be willing to engage). "

Hmmm... this speaks to me very clearly. What sayest thou?

These 3 steps speak to me clearly and I know I have some work to do. I hope I need not do it soon (because that would mean a conflict sooner rather than later) but do hope I will have these steps in mind when I need them.

Peace, y'all


Friday, November 21, 2008

1-3 of 21 tips on personal peacemaking

Recently I re-found Lynn Fitz-Hugh's 21 tips on personal peacemaking, published in the August 2008 Friends Journal. Lynn Fitz-Hugh is the founder of the Washington state Alternatives to Violence project. She says she has broken each of the 21 guidelines at least once. They are good and I want to share them, and contemplate them as I do so. Please join me in sharing and contemplating.

1. Nothing is gained in trying to decide whose version of what happened is true. In the end it doesn't matter. Each view is real to the viewer--assuming each is honest! "Attaining peace doesn't require one party to accept or capitulate to the other party's version of truth. "

This Friend speaks my truth.

2. Blame is not a helpful concept. "It does not move things forward. No one wants to be the blamed one. No one wants to be wrong... When we blame, it increases the other person's defensiveness and blocks his or her willingness to listen to us. Blaming, either internally or aloud, is a way to foucs on the other person and his or her behavior, rather than on our own painful feelings and our part in what happened. "

I also want to note how easy it is to accept responsibility when I've erred. I sincerely but usually cheerfully say "I goofed, and I'm sorry." Then I can move on and usually so can the other person. But I put my pants on same way as everyone else, and I know I spend too much time in Blameville.

3. Instead of saying "It is his fault," is is more helpful simply to say "it is." "This simply takes the poison of blame and judgment and in some way helps us focus on more practical actions for th future and lessons to learn from the past."

The grammar cop in me doesn't love this--because it hides the subject of the declarative sentence. But I see Lynn Fitz-Hugh's point and will meekly submit--and tell my inner English teacher to shut up.

Tips 4-6 next post.

Walk in peace, friend

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mother Theresa's word

Mother Teresa once said “Few of us will ever be called on to great things but all of us can do small things in a great way.”

This speaks to me, because I am not famous or powerful. I am just me. But I can do small things in a great way and today I renew my intentions to do just that. I will practice a few of the 12 steps of peacemaking (see a really old post for these).

Peace to you.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

questions for candidates

My favorite group, the Friends Committee on National Legislation, has a nice publication on what questions to ask candidates. Banning cluster bombs, banning torture, reducing the risk of nuclear weapons, investing in children....what radical thoughts.

Oops! Elections are over! So, why not ask these questions of officeholders? The elections are over but our nation's problems are not. We still have hunger. We still have homeless folk. We still have unhealthy folks, and people with serious medical troubles (like my step-son--pray for him please?). Here in the richest country in the world we still have these troubles, and what about the rest of the planet?

No, the elections are but a speed bump on the path to the future. And let's keep working to make the future better.

I am still asking myself what I can do to make the world a better place, and I think a little consciousness-raising, by keeping these questions in the open, is another small step. So off I go. Join me!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Peace in your home?

Pray for me, if you read this. Send wishes for peace to me.

Guess I'll practice some gratitude until I feel better.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Peace in my home and across the world

I try to think of a new way EACH DAY to promote peace.

Today I am going to work on peace in my own home, where there is a lot of bickering due in part to the fact that my beloved daughter is now a teenager. I will share how my efforts work out.

But that is not enough for today, so here is something nifty:

http://greenfield.fortunecity.com/swallowtail/408/addresses.htm is a website to get contact info for government leaders across the globe. Cool!

Bookmark this site and when you learn of something in a foreign land and want to (Amnesty International-style) write the leaders to express your views, la voila, you can.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Peace and hope

Hope is still high with me. Hope to bridge gaps, to heal divisions, to strengthen community. I thank Barack Obama for instilling this hope in me, and hope (more of the H word) the inspiration can come to those who didn't vote for him, and will remain with me after Barack Obama's certain misstep sometime down the line.

My personal call is for peace. My personal creed states, among other things, "I build peace and find win-wins." So the inspiration puffs up my peace sails and off I go.

I found a nice peace essay from the folks in Portland, OR who run the website for Rooms for Peace. Follow this link

Here is a mere excerpt:

For peace is also found in stillness and quietude, in calm reflection, in kindness and sincere friendship, in building community and relationships, in renewal of ecosystems and cultural heritage, in personal growth and health, in reverence and respect, in love and generosity...in many ways, shapes, and forms (see the list of peace-related qualities below). Each aspect is indeed a doorway into a greater reality of peace that's expansive, timeless, and universal.

Click the link to find the peace-related qualities.

Peace be with you.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Finding common ground

I feel this wonderful sense of optimism. It took me a long time to catch what one could call "Obamamania." I remember too clearly the dismal presidency of another brilliant Democratic newcomer, Jimmy Carter. (Though Jimmy Carter is indisputably the best ex-president we have ever had, and deserves our respect and honor and admiration and gratitude.)

But I do feel the hope. I am personally inspired to do what I can to heal the divides.

Yesterday I shared this thought with a colleague. She is pro-life and I am pro-choice. I noted this, and said, we have common ground--preventing unwanted pregnancies. Let's work on the common ground, and not forsake it for some extreme position, such as not giving federal support to agencies that refuse to teach abstinence-only. This woman agreed with me. So we made a teeny bit of common ground.

How do I build on that?

Washington just followed Oregon with a ballot measure that permits people near the end of their lives to get help from a physician to die. The measure was based on Oregon's, which withstood a Supreme Court challenge.

When the measure became law in Oregon, people hardly lined up to end their lives. In 11 years, fewer than 400 people have used the law to end their lives. A far higher number have obtained the medications that would kill them, but opted not to use them.

What the measure did was focus Oregonian's attention on end of life issues. Hospice services became more available and more availed. Attention to pain management increased.

Common ground--dignity and comfort for the dying!

I am hopeful that Washingtonians will increase their attention to end of life issues and increase dignity and comfort for the dying here too.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes, we can

My grumpy old husband told me he feels "euphoria."

I had a quick mini-epiphany (no time yet to settle in and seriously pray about it) that the first step is to stop the name-calling. I am not much of a name-caller anyway but I can do better--encourage and admonish others not to name-call!

I feel love and hope and an urgent call to pray--to devote intense intellectual and spiritual focus on what to do next. Because I do believe--peace starts at home. And I want to do what I can to bring it about.

We still have wars going on. We still have a huge deficit. We are still pouring too much carbon into the air, and poisoning our planet in the process. We have much poor policy to repair. Yes, there is a lot of work to do, and I pledge to you, my reader, and to my planet and to my President I will do what I can.

Love and Peace!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A curious sense of peace, hope, and fear

I voted a few weeks ago. My county votes by mail entirely, so we don't cope with lines or have any sense of "going" to the polls. I have done my part, I have voted. I have given money to many of the candidates I support. Now, like millions of people in the world, I sit back and wait.

This is a strange sense of peace.

It is also a curious interregnum, bursting with hope and with fear. There is so much promise in the changing of leadership. There is potential--for good and for bad, for inspiration and for despair.

Some of my friends have described the event of the presidential election going to McCain/Palin as something akin to the end of the world, or of democracy as we know it. I hopefully disagree. I know that no matter how it turns out, millions of American citizens have become new voters, and that energy can move mountains, if we can harness it.

Monday, November 3, 2008

peacemaking through environmental ed

Today I salute my coworker Ginger. She is a peacemaker even if she doesn't know it. She tends to be on the agressive side interpersonally, and complains a lot. Still--she is always, always seeking to make the world a better place. She is trying to build and strengthen community, promote justice, link people in good ways, help children--all through the lense of environmental education. Helping children understand nature and how to help it is a form of peacemaking. Working to build a stronger and healthier community is peacemaking.

Recently I read a summary she wrote of a summit of community members working to improve the "E3" process in our counties. The three E's are economy, education, and environment. The three need each other. The big move toward green this and green that, even greenwashing, indicateds businesses and business folk see the value of the environmentalism to their bottom line. (Hooray!) What struck me intensely was how all of the elements of the plan support a peaceful community, one that is in greater harmony with Mother Earth.

Hooray for you, Ginger.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pride vs Gratitude

Today lots of people I work with wore costumes. One man became a US citizen last year, and wore a "Proud to be American" t-shirt. (This man was born in Arkansas and lost his citizenship on a technicality, and was Canadian for many years.) I told him I didn't feel proud to be American, I felt grateful and thankful. He asked me if I didn't think there was much in America to be proud of. I agreed but quickly pointed out there was also much to feel shame about. I also noted that pride was a 'sin."

This seemed to shut him down, which surprised me. Did I exercise a moral nuclear option? Is there no rejoinder to the claim of sin? I am curious, and wonder if the other sins have as much power. Pride, envy, gluttony, lust, greed, sloth, anger. What about selfish, thoughtless waste?

I hope this finds you well, and thankful

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Thoughts about Religulous

Our family went to see Religulous on Sunday and it left me feeling a little defensive. While I delighted in the revelations of the seemingly preposterous basis of Christianity, Scientology and Mormonism, I know that people of faith around the planet do a lot of good. And faith gives people comfort--there are no atheists in foxholes, remember?

I reached in my mind (and blog) for the mission statement from the Friends Committee on National Legislation, FCNL:

We seek a world free of war and the threat of war
We seek a society with equity and justice for all
We seek a community where every person's potential may be fulfilled
We seek an earth restored.

Nothing religulous about this mission.

Make the world a better place for people and other living things. That's a pretty concise mission, and one I cannot imagine anyone disagreeing with.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Why and how I am an isolated Quaker

My father's family was Quaker. My father remained a Quaker until his mental illness led him elsewhere. But long before that, I found my way to my father's faith and practice. I joined the Society of Friends at the age of 14 and have identified as a Friend ever since. I attended a Quaker school and even staggered to meeting almost regularly during college. After college I led my first and second loves into meeting with me, and those relationships shone in the meeting. My first love is still clerk of our meeting!

The first time I attended a yearly meeting, I felt enough light and grace to quit smoking. And I did. I have not lit up since April 4, 1980.

But in the 1980s I moved to an area with no meeting! I love living where I do, but there are a few drawbacks and being far from other Quakers is definitely one of them. It is a 3-hour round trip drive to attend a meeting, and I just don't feel right about the gas or the time it takes (mainly the gas).

I love visiting back East. It feels right to me. I feel a nearly physical envy of Quakers who can choose which meeting to attend because so many are available to them!

So... I subscribe to Friends' Journal. I donate to Quaker charities. I attend the region's quarterly meeting twice a year. I usually travel to at least one other meeting for worship each year. I try to be a one-woman peace and social concerns commitee. Our family observes grace for every dinner at home. I consider queries.

My greatest challenge is to bring up my daughter as a Quaker, without the benefit of a meeting. I would walk on my hands if that would help. I use the plain language with her some of the time (not so much any more.) I encourage her connection to Quaker kids in our quarter and her Quaker cousin peers. I hope to send her to a Quaker school.

I am finding lots of good Q stuff online and don't feel quite as isolated any more. But how I miss having a Meeting!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

All is well

All is well. I know this. I took a personal inventory of blessings today and realize that even if some of my savings have crashed, I am diversified and plenty of other $ sources are safe. Health is good, and there's lots of love in my life. Now if I had enough time to read...

The attitude of gratitude

This old phrase sounded new again to me yesterday. At the beginning of a "now hear this" lecture about civility, the boss reminded us we do have a lot to be grateful for in these troubled times.

How true! How does this connect with peace? A few ways.

First, a thankful heart limits the danger of pride, and lets us remain humble and open.

Second, when we consider what we are thankful for, we are actually articulating the dividends of peace which we enjoy, and are naming what we need to share with others in the world.

Third, if we remain thankful we can avoid the paralysis of despair and helplessness that so often attend the focus on current events and personal woes.

I have a new thing to be thankful for: only 21 more days till this election is over.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

These challenging times make call for different kinds of prayers. Besides prayers of gratitude, which I believe in offering several times a day, now also we pray in supplication, seeking comfort, guidance, and wisdom in facing the difficulties of the day. In this prayerful mind set I have been browsing in Quaker stuff and found this worth sharing.


This is a collection of contributions from a Friend named Steven Travis Pope. They are short essays from a Christian Quaker, and they speak to this non-Christ-centered Quaker as well.

http://quakerquaker.org/ is a collection of Q-related blogs and news. I invite you to have a look.

A Christian response to the economic crisis, and a prayer of thanksgiving

I feel inspired by the Sojourners email which asks about the Christian response to the deepening economic troubles our nation and our planet are facing.

First, my personal perspective. I am grateful and prayerfully thankful for my home (paid for), my job (good and steady), and my health (so far, really pretty good). I’m grateful my only debt is a car payment and I have no trouble making those payments. So at my personal ground Zero, all is well.

But I sense and feel the stress around me. I certainly hear it and read it anytime the radio is on or I glance at the newspaper or TV. I also hear it on the lips of my friends and coworkers. Gas prices are still high. Food prices are high. True! Again, I am thankful they are not so high that I must make difficult choices.

I admit I agreed with one (probably only one) of Sarah Palin’s remarks during the debate on October 2, when she said we average folks need to tighten our belts, review our expenditures, and up our savings. Something like that anyway. I agree. It’s a good time to remember to live within our means, and to save something for another day (or for another needy person).

Sojourners has a leading (Quakerese) to pursue the question of the Christian response to the economic crisis, and I am glad of it. Join me in visiting God’s Politics blog.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


My coworker sent this to me yesterday and it so impressed me I want to share it widely.

Please check out www.storyofstuff.com. It's 20 minutes long and a little cute, so suitable for younger folk. I deeply appreciated it and hope you will too, and will share it with others.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Quaker mission statement

This is the mission statement for Friends Committee on National Legislation, a Quaker lobby group in Washington DC (in a very nice, historic, greened up building!)

We seek a world free of war and the threat of war
We seek a society with equity and justice for all
We seek a community where every person's potential may be fulfilled
We seek an earth restored.

Visit them at http://www.fcnl.org/.

I think as mission statements go, it's really good. In fact, I might rearrange it a bit and incorporate it into a personal mission statement. I would put society first, community second, world third, and earth 4th. Not that the earth matters least, but rather that the other 3, if in a good place, also benefit the earth and help restore it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

why vote?

Nearly every morning my inbox has something from the folks at Grist, an environmental newsletter and blog. Today I found a very cogent essay on the importance of voting, even in a flawed system, even if the candidates for president making us feel "none of the above."

Check this out!!! http://grist.org/advice/ask/2008/09/22

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I don’t have a lot of pride but the little I do have gets me in trouble.

I am proud to be a Quaker, while at the same time flinching because pride is a sin.

I am proud of my writing skills. But this makes me extremely sensitive to comments on my writing, which does not go over too well at work.

I am proud of my extended family’s unity—but acutely aware of all the warts and flaws, and know that I would not choose to socialize with many of my cousins.

I am proud (I think) of my extended family’s academic prowess—and realize, however belatedly (I was in my 20s), that intelligence does not equate to virtue.

I am proud of my daughter, so is so eerily like me, and who has turned out so very well in so many ways. But I know that I had little to do with it, just my DNA and womb and doing my best.
Back to the gratitude thing: I am not proud to be American; I feel grateful to be American. I am quite lucky to live in a country free of the threat of war, in safe neighborhoods, with opportunities to improve my life and live well, with ample food, with clean water and air (relatively speaking of course).

Maybe I should practice more gratitude, and thank God for the ability to write fairly well, to thank God for putting me in a Quaker family, thank God that my father, as poor a father as he was, gave me the DNA to be healthy, intelligent, and a member of my extended family. And I do feel gratitude to historical Quakers for all the good they did. I didn’t do all those things. And I am deeply, deeply grateful that my daughter is so easy for me to love and raise.

Next time I feel some pride, I will not flinch or flog myself, I will quickly restate my thought to put gratitude into it.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Say Grace

I am grateful my family has a tradition of saying grace for dinner. We don't manage it for lunch or breakfast, which we don't often eat together. But we do nearly always eat dinner together. We join hands and have a few seconds of silence. Into this silence I have learned to pour out intense and efficient thanks, because neither my husband or daughter are as reverent as I, and often the silence is much too quick for my liking. So I very quickly thank God for the food, my health, the wealth that brings us food whenver we want it, the wealth to eat off china in a beautiful room with hardwood furniture and a gorgeous rug, and to buy the lovely light fixture that the empty china plate reflects. In fact I look for that reflection as a visual cue of what I can be thankful for.

Then I think about the incredible love and life the meal represents--all the workers who added value to the food, the families they love and support, the energy of the sun, the force of life....well I can't usually get all that into the few moments of grace, but I try.

Gratitude is a great practice. It's hard to be unhappy when you are feeling active gratitude. The habit of giving thanks is very wonderful. The idea of pausing before plunging into the joy of dinner makes the dinner a little better.

And I love that our grace tradition is solid enough that our guests know it and expect it, and even practice grace our way when we are guests with them!

Grace is good.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Deny Them Their Victory: A Religious Response to Terrorism

Here is a sad fact. Though all day long I was quite aware of the 9/11 anniversary and the need to pause to contemplate it, I was go, go, go, all day long. So I didn't have much still space in which to let truth arise.

But while I was scurrying, I found a gem to share. This was a statement issued after 9/11/2001, from more than 4,000 of America's religious leaders of all faiths. It was printed in the New York Times then, and is printed here today with my endorsement as well.


Deny Them Their Victory: A Religious Response to Terrorism

We, American religious leaders, share the broken hearts of our fellow citizens. The worst terrorist attack in history that assaulted New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania has been felt in every American community. Each life lost was of unique and sacred value in the eyes of God, and the connections Americans feel to those lives run very deep. In the face of such a cruel catastrophe, it is a time to look to God and to each other for the strength we need and the response we will make. We must dig deep to the roots of our faith for sustenance, solace and wisdom.

First, we must find a word of consolation for the untold pain and suffering of our people. Our congregations will offer their practical and pastoral resources to bind up the wounds of the nation. We can become safe places to weep and secure places to begin rebuilding our shattered lives and communities. Our houses of worship should become public arenas for common prayer, community discussion, eventual healing, and forgiveness.

Second, we offer a word of sober restraint as our nation discerns what its response will be. We share the deep anger toward those who so callously and massively destroy innocent lives, no matter what the grievances or injustices invoked. In the name of God, we too demand that those responsible for these utterly evil acts be found and brought to justice. Those culpable must not escape accountability. But we must not, out of anger and vengeance, indiscriminately retaliate in ways that bring on even more loss of innocent life. We pray that President Bush and members of Congress will seek the wisdom of God as they decide upon the appropriate response.

Third, we face deep and profound questions of what this attack on America will do to us as a nation. The terrorists have offered us a stark view of the world they would create, where the remedy to every human grievance and injustice is a resort to the random and cowardly violence of revenge -- even against the most innocent. Having taken thousands of our lives, attacked our national symbols, forced our political leaders to flee their chambers of governance, disrupted our work and families, and struck fear into the hearts of our children, the terrorists must feel victorious.

But we can deny them their victory by refusing to submit to a world created in their image. Terrorism inflicts not only death and destruction but also emotional oppression to further its aims. We must not allow this terror to drive us away from being the people God has called us to be. We assert the vision of community, tolerance, compassion, justice, and the sacredness of human life, which lies at the heart of all our religious traditions. America must be a safe place for all our citizens in all their diversity. It is especially important that our citizens who share national origins, ethnicity, or religion with whoever attacked us are, themselves, protected among us.

Our American illusion of invulnerability has been shattered. From now on, we will look at the world in a different way, and this attack on our life as a nation will become a test of our national character. Let us make the right choices in this crisis -- to pray, act, and unite against the bitter fruits of division, hatred and violence. Let us rededicate ourselves to global peace, human dignity, and the eradication of the injustice that breeds rage and vengeance.

As we gather in our houses of worship, let us begin a process of seeking the healing and grace of God.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

We cannot kill our way to victory

This is all over the web today, and I want to amplify it just a little more. Yesterday the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen said “We cannot kill our way to victory.”

Good words to hear from a military person. He is right, dead right (so to speak). Are we better off than 6 years ago, which was post 9-11 but before we invaded Iraq? I think not. Our nation's stature in the world has eroded. Our economy is fragile; so is our planet.

A Quaker lobby group, Friends Committee on National Legislation, offers a bumper sticker that states Quaker-plainly, "War is not the answer." It is great that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff seems to agree!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

12 steps to peace making

Here is a fine list of tangible steps we can take to build peace, right where we are. I list them here and invite you to suggest examples and experiences.

1. Pray for peace and for one another.
2. See faces.
3. Learn names and stories.
4. Take the first step.
5. Reach out and touch.
6. Find common ground.
7. Make relationships concrete.
8. Give peace offerings.
9. Learn languages.
10. Eat together.
11. Celebrate together.
12. Stand with those in danger.

I love to visit this list now and then. As I just typed it I remembered it is NOT a 12-step program per se.

But I am on step 4 right now. I have a coworker I don't really like. But I have to get along with her, and our boss has expressly said to make it work, and make the tension go away.

Step 4 is take the first step. What might it be? For a few weeks I made a point of greeting her in the a.m. (she always gets there before I do). A few times it was barely a thaw, and once or twice I encountered some friendliness. Maybe I could get help from step 6, and find common ground. Somewhere there must be some.

I will believe we have made peace when she invites me, or accepts my invite, to something. Or greets me when I get to work.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Let's not talk about candidates' persaonal lives

Can we talk about the elections and focus on the nation's issues, rather than the candidates' personal lives?

My mother liked to point out that despite his huge popularity, John Kennedy was not a great president. And his successor, LBJ, though well known as a master tactician, actually got a lot down. Civil Rights Act, EEOC, for example. I was always quick to dismiss Clinton's zipper problems. And if Bush had any zippper problems, I would dismiss those too (albeit more reluctantly).

I don't think the mother of an infant, especially one with Down Syndrome, should take on a job as grueling as campaigning for the second highest office in the land. But that is to cricitize Sarah Palin's record as a mother. When considering her for the #2 spot in our nation, I will look to her record as a mayor and a governor.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Peace Be With You

Peace, love, happiness. good stuff. They all connect. Here's an example.

Today the weather was nice and I was in a pretty good mood, so it was easy to spread a little joy. I walked cheerfully over the land (some of it, anyway) and answered that of God in others. I smiled. I made eye contact and smiled some more. I said please and thank you.

This was not romantic love. This was add-to-the-good-in-the-universe love. My father was really good at it, though not good in many other areas (keeping a grip on reality, for example). But I learned some good values from him, and one of them is the old Golden Rule.

Today I think I brightened the day for a lot of other people.

On a macro level, the Golden Rule means not waging war on others, not stealing or harming others, not lying or cheating. Countries should practice the Golden Rule too.

I live on a micro level, however, so on that level, Peace Be With You.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Our culture is invisible to us, our accents are invisible to us. What else? What else can we not see, and not know about ourselves?

Do we realize the impacts of our actions? I think that sometimes we do and sometimes we don’t. I know that when I make an effort to smile and say kind things, I add to the Good in the universe. And when I am short with others, or waste or harm, I am adding to the Bad in the universe. And good begets good, and bad begets bad. So on a micro level, and a conscious level, the answer is Yes.

But on an unconscious level—my choice of job, home, and auto, for example, I am less confident.

Yesterday, while waiting for the bus, I counted the number of single-occupant cars passing me, and tried to find the ratio of single- to multiple-occupant cars. I think a fair estimate is 10:1 or 15:1. So every time I drive my car and I am alone, I’m part of that parade.

Pluck a flower, shake a star.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Are we rich?

Yesterday I tried to look at my neighborhood through the eyes of someone from a different country. "Are you rich?" the visitor asked me in my mind. Well, so-so. Some folks have trouble making ends meet, either through bad fortune or bad decisions. Others have their needs met and money left over for fun, though they doubtless want more than they have. None would admit to being rich--Is this a uniquely American trait? But really, all the people in my neighborhood are comfortable, have enough to eat, and have a safe and comfortable place to live. And we all live in an area free of violence, lately anyway. So I think we are very rich, though not ostentatiously.

I want to buy something in the $600 range that is completely optional. But my pets have been ill, and my spouse brought home a bill from the dentist in the $750 range. So I will wait to buy the optional service I want. I am not poor. I could find the $$, but I would rather keep the $$ in savings. I am not poor. I am actually quite blessed, be able to choose and to be able to pay the dental bill and the vet bill.