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