Friday, December 31, 2010

On promoting peace in 2010 and 2011

In 2010 I did several new things to promote peace. I hope in 2011 I'll find new qays and do still more. Can I make a difference in my home? Sure. Among my friends? Sure. In my town? I hope so. In my nation? I doubt it, but I'll try. Across our beautiful planet? Yes. Micro- loans can directly help families in other parts of the world.

Sometimes I'm so focused on myself and on finding personal peace and harmony that I lose sight of my broader objectives. I hope I'll do better and do more in the new year.

Happy new year, beloved readers!

Peace, y'all


Saturday, December 25, 2010

My Christmas gifts

Merry Christmas, planet. For those who do not choose to celebrate the birth of Jesus, I send warm greetings and my intense wish for peace and good will. Part of my celebration today will be to open my checkbook wide and give give give to those who help people and parts of the planet that need my money way more than I do.

Peace, y'all!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Another fallen soldier in our senseless, immoral war

Since I work for a state agency I know that another child of a mother in my state had died in our senseless and immoral war in Afghanistan. The email tells me he died in Kandahar Province from unjuries caused by an IED.

No. What killed him was our government's wrong-headed policies that send our people into harm's way.

America has the largest military budget on the planet. Bigger than the militaries of the next several countries, combined.

When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. So America sends our hi-tech tools and our young men and women into harm's way. This does NOT make anyone safer.

When you see state and federal flags at half mast, it means someone has died. In my state it's a silent symbol that the State-sanctioned terror had claimed another mother's child.

Family of US Army Cpl Sean M Collins, Ian so sorry for your loss.

Peace, y'all. NOW


Monday, December 13, 2010

Would I be a spy?

Recently I've thought about my country's wars. I oppose them with my heart and voice, but I don't march in the streets and I still pay my taxes. And I still, on occasion, pledge allegiance to the flag....

(do other countries have a rite like our pledge of allegiance?)

I hate what my country is doing in Iraq and Afghanistan. When I see anti-American words or actions, I want to say "not me, I'm don't support USA's actions.". But do I have a leg to stand on?

Millions of Americans oppose the wars. We are all painted by the same brush.

My country is tarnishing my name.

Like the hikers.

Peace y'all


Monday, November 29, 2010

Another do no harm day

Darn this funk. I awoke wishing I hadn't. Today I'll do the rights things and perhaps the right feelings will follow.

M Scot Peck wrote that to feel love one must actively love. Maybe to feel good one must actively do good.There is lots of good to do. I am feeling better already.

Peace, Y'all


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving blessings

I have so much to be thankful for. Today I tried to count my blessings and gave up after 50 or so. I have a good life, and I'm grateful. In my last big prayer I asked to to an instrument of peace. I work for peace in many ways. I hope to find many more.

Peace, y'all


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Daily gratitude and an answered prayer

My funk lifted, and the world is a better place.
It started to lift after that big prayer on Saturday, which I mentioned in the last post.

The prayer starts with adoration. Next comes contrition, then (my favorite part)thanksgiving. Last comes supplication. All I asked for Saturday was to lift me out of my blues.

Now I'm wondering if God answered my prayer, or if the things I did last weekend lifted me.

On Facebook,I have posted daily something I'm grateful for. I got this idea from a Quaker friend who is on FB a lot. Others picked up the idea too, and it creates a lovely sense of gratitude and abundance.

There is so much to be grateful for.

Peace, y'all


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Do no harm

I have been depressed. It sucks. I have not posted lately, or done much of anything. I am taking my antidepressant, getting sleep, using light therapy. Still the funk continues. Today I engaged in protracted prayer, and I feel a lot better. I am also much more constructive around the house.

First things first. Peacemaking must start right here in my own murky psyche. Till the funk lifts, I will go by the motto of 'do no harm.'

Peace y'all


Friday, November 12, 2010

Peacemaking on Halloween

Here's what we gave out this Halloweeen.  We also gave the kids (except the under three crowd) a whistle.  We had a pile of them left ovr from a Halloween many years ago.  Oh how I hope my concern reaches not just the eyes but the heart of at least a few of the parents whose little ones came to our door on Halloween.  With more holidays approaching, there's lots more chocolate to buy or to bake, and most of it is tainted with child slavery.   If we know slavery is wrong and have banished it in our country, how is it OK to eat chocolate we KNOW has come from children who are starved, beaten, and denied what we all think childeren deserve?

Peace, y'all


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

German anniversaries today - good and bad

Cat Lovers Against the Bomb calendar tells me, and I share with you, today is the anniversary of two key events that rocked the world. Both in Germany, interestingly.

On this day in 1938 was Kristallnacht. Literally, the night of broken glass. That's the night Nazis and citizens ransacked Jewish synagogues, cemetaries, homes and businesses throughout Germany and Austria. This tragic event, which was widely reported across the globe, marked the beginning of the Holocaust.

What is the right way to commemorate this dark milestone? Answer hate with love, I guess.

The second anniversary today is the 1989 fall of the Bein Wall. This is way happier.

But the pain of the pogroms continues.

Must stop the hate, stop the demonizing. Just as there is that of God and good in each of t
Us, there is also something of evil in us, which we must suppress.

Peace y'all


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Micah 6:8 and where it leads me

Recent readings have synergized in me, a divine convergence of ideas. I don't know exactly where this goes. When I find out I'll probably share it here.

Sarah Vowell's recent and charming book about puritans--The Wordy Shipmates--reminded me of the sweet words of Micah-

And what does the lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Then I read a journal article about the lack of, and need to, incorporate ethics in the study and pursuit of sustainability. Yes! Duh!

Isn't that what underlies the saying,

Live simply so that others may simply live.

This last has resonated with me for a long time. I've agreed with it but haven't really seen how to implement it. That is, how does it help the poor and hungry on other continents when I recycle, ride the bus, and refrain from shallow materialism?

The positive incorporation of ethics in sustainability will help.

I'm no scholar. I'm a citizen and a seeker. So--how do I use my skills and resources (aka gifts from God) to live simply so that others may simply live, act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God?

That's what is incubating in me this week.

Peace, y'all


Friday, October 29, 2010

International Buy Nothing Day approaches!

I like planning and in my head Halloween is already over. My head hopped ahead to the end of the month and my next opportunity to spread the word on simplicity and sustainability. I had a great idea.

I want to host a big party for International Buy Nothing Day!

The message of IBNDay is a negative one -- to NOT do something (to NOT join the mobs engaging in the post-Thanksgiving retail frenzy).

Rather, I want to have a party to enjoy and have fun with friends, maybe even make it a left-overs potluck.

Play games, share ideas on ways to celebrate sustainable and sensibly, popping popcorn,maybe making something for someone more needy--with companionship and fun.

Sound good? Steal my idea! Only it isn't stealing if I give it to you.

Hope you accept this gift, observe IBNDay, and share the occasion with others in a fun way.

Peace, y'all


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Saving the ta-ta's

This a first for me, blogging with a beer and blaring music. Some women I know-- strong partying smart gals-- are throwing a big party to raise $$$ for the Susan G Komen foundation to conquer breast cancer. There are SO many ways to spend $$, and all raise $$ for the cause. I am not feeling very itchy in a retail way so my contribution is to buy a beer (part of the cost goes to the cause).

Well I am not a huge party girl. Breast cancer has afflicted my family. My sister survived. So dis my cousins Susie and Jannie. Not so my cousin Winnie.

Cancer also took my mom, and my mother-in-law. And cancer has laid a siege on my step-daughter and step-son as I write this.

Cancer kills 1 in 4 in the US. Some reason that's because we don't die from other things. Yep, that's it.

Contributing to a charity is a good thing, and if we can have fun at the same time, why not?

Cancer, bad. Charity, good. Fun, good. So this fin may help some woman fight off Demon Cancer.

Peace, y'all


Unplug 'the Christmas Machine

Six coworkers signed up my my workshop, but I needed 8-10. So I sadly canceled it. Yep, sadly. Better luck next year.

I so hoped to reduce the stress in my workplace. Perhaps I will find another way.

Peace y'all


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hooray for the stats

I am thrilled to learn I have readers from other parts of the planet. Hooray for the stats that let me know this! For months I wrote without knowing if anyone (besides Tom) read my words. Now I have some idea and it is soooooo wonderful!

I am motivated to write more, and through that find more ways to peace -- for me and perhaps you too, wherever and whoever you are.

Peace y'all


Atomic bombs. Bad, bad, bad

A coworker recently shared with me a powerful portrayal of nuclear testing we have subjected our planet to. Check it out:

Two things impress me days later.

First, the USA has the dubious distinction of having detonated the most nukes -- half of the 2053 bomb tests between 1945 and 1998.

Second, most tests are in remote areas. The US used the South Pacific, then remote parts of the US--Nevada. The UK used Australia. France used the South Pacific.

In one way this makes a lot of sense. Why would you do something dangerous and harmful in populated areas?

But the remote areas are populated too. And not just by humans. How many ocean creatures died in those tests?

Last thought, and the hardest. Did these tests make the world a better place?

I usually focus on things within my own control. But I was glad to see the bomb test show. Good to think about the big picture sometimes.

Peace, y'all


Monday, October 25, 2010

A good obituary

Sounds a little silly, but I do hope my life will add up to enough good to merit an obituary in the Friends Journal. I like reading them, admiring what other Quakers have done with their lives.

I don't yet measure up. But I still have several years, perhaps decades, to improve my life record.

Better get busy.

Peace, y'all


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Never mind Christmas -- let's make a list for Congress

Just 2 more weeks of attack ads, campaign letters to the editor, and emails asking for money. Nothing is happening besides campaigning right now. But in a short while our elected leaders will get back to work. But on what?

Time to flex those first amendment rights and petition the government. I am going to make a list of issues I know need attention. Then I'll identify where the solutions come from, and how to petition the decisionmakers.

For example, immigration. The fix is clearly at the federal level. And we need comprehensive reform. What can we do locally? Petition, assemble, speak out.

We can see our representatives' voting record.

What else? That's the work of the listmaking.

Prayer will help me find inspiration. Will make this idea more robust and useful.

Peace, y'all


Monday, October 18, 2010

Drat it

Just wrote the passionate blog entry ever, and somehow lost it. Darn and double darn. The gist is this: peacemaking is never finished, the world isn't perfect, so I want to make it a better place and want you to also. With a bit of dialogue (IOW, Comment!!) we can help each other on this path.

There, much more concise this time.

Peace, y'all


Please comment

Besides Tom in Ohio, I have 'no' idea who reads this, nor what readers think of it. Before last week I had 'no' idea IF anyone read this blog. I truly thought, each time I started to write, that once more I was peeing in the dark. That's what I thought.

Last week I realized Blogger now offers 'stats.' It felt like an answer to my prayers! Yes! People ARE reading! I am still thrilled. And grateful.

And motivated. I want to build peace pretty much all the time. And I would like others to do it too. Peace is a process. Its sisters are justice, harmony, love, brotherhood. We reach these sweet spots in special moments. Sometimes we have a general sense we are in thw right place--especially if we have a full belly and a warm, dry place to sleep.

Yet when we are in a good place, maybe giving a prayer of thanks for our meal as we gather with our loved ones, we know the world is not perfect.

'Perfect' means complete, finished. The world is not perfect. In dozens of places on the planet, armed conflict is ripping apart civil society, lives, and the environment. Somewhere right now millions do not have enough to eat. Or a warm, dry place to sleep. Or justice. Or freedom.

That's why peacemaking must continue. In our hearts, in our words, in our actions.

As I meander through life my temporal path is straight. My peacemaking path is anything but. I reach for peace every day, when I smile at strangers, when I seek some kind thing to say to every one I encounter, when I become a sponge and absorb the words that provoke me and extinguish them with love, when I strive to cut my carbon, to help the immigrants and gay kids, when I cook some of God's bounty to nourish the bodies and souls of others (and me), when I open my checkbook wide, when I pray, and when I write in this blog.

I want readers to walk this path with me. Sometimes I will lead, sometimes you will. We will add to the level of goodness in the universe either way.

Peace, y'all


Love thy neighbor

Yesterday I read Anthony Manousos's fine blog essay on ending torture. I reflected more on the evil of ongoing slavery. And the rancor of partisan politics in these final and vicious days of the campaign season is impossible to ignore. There is much evil in the world.

What if, what if peace prevailed in every heart? Roots of evil, I believe, are human vices. Greed, gluttony, fear. If we abstain from vice, the worst we might do is err, or act wrong due to oblivion.

My thinking went a little further and simplified it. Love thy neighbor. Treat him and her the way you want to be treated.

So simple, so profound. Could we overcome the evil, pain and suffering on our planet by simply loving our neighbors and practicing the golden rule?

Peace, y'all


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Break your addiction to oil

Beloved readers, this was a note some time ago in a message in the Grist, a wonderful environmental newsletter, in an entry about what we can do about the oil tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico.

The immediacy of that crisis seems to have faded, but the message persists.
Under this topic were four suggestions:
1. take stock of your own carbon footprint
2. get out of your car
3. Support sustainable energy sources
4. Promote smarter transportation systems.

I'm in good shape for the first two, and hope you are too. My carbon footprint is a huge and scary thing, but I'm working on it. And in June I got serious about commuting via bus, and have used the car for work I think 3 times since then.

#3 and #4 are more challenging, at least for me. Any suggestions? Looks like a good way to flex those First Amendment rights of petitioning the government.

I would embrace suggestions.

Peace, y'all


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Peacemaking on Halloween

I have a sweet idea for Halloween. I am in the phase of life of having little trick or treaters visit my home, not escorting one of those little duffers. I wince over the trash this holiday creates and the escalating decoration, plus the tragic waste of food--pumpkin is a food after all.

I learned recently about "reverse trick or treating." That's when kids give adults a small piece of fair trade chocolate taped to a card with the hard facts of child slavery in cocoa-growing areas.

I am going to order little pieces of fair trade chocolate and make my own card. It will say something like

Hey, parents! Did you know that most of the chocolate you child collects tonight was grown in tropical areas by slaves who are children just a few years older than your own precious child? Mainstream chocolate companies don't want to tell you that. Using disposable slaves keeps costs down and profits up. This little bit of chocolate was made by adult workers who have decent conditions and get a fair wage. Enjoy this morsel

Visit www. I'll find the websites .

How does that sound?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Voting today

Today from the comfort of my home I'll exercise one of my most valuable rights. I will vote. Not just once--there is so much confusion on this. This ballot has 32 separate races or issues for me to vote on. When I cast my vote for Patty Murray, it will be the 8th time, I think. The first time was in 1992. when I realize how many votes I really have, I feel very blessed--and empowered.

I also feel awe for the people who have suffered and died for the right to vote. I am grateful for those who have protected my right. I am grateful for the integrity of the electoral process. I doubt it's flawless, but it's pretty good.

I am grateful for the League of Women Voters. I am pleased I am one of them.

I am thrilled to realize that today, some of the brand new US citizens I registered to vote after the Naturalization ceremony may be casting their votes alongside me today.

Hmmm. The government is by the people, of the people, and for the people. Since I love other people and recognize that of God in each of them, I guess I indirectly love the government. And that which we love, we nurture. So I will renew my birthday pledge to the USA and exercise my rights--and duties.

Peace, y'all


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Riding in the palm of God's hand

The sense of grace and gratitude remains. I have more to do and miles to go...Today I learned how easy it is to get info and support through my city's web site. I can do some good this way.

I have been keeping my promise, my gift to our country on its birthday on July 4. I pledged to use my First Amendment rights.

Am I flexing my First Amendment right to freedom of the press when I write this blog entry?

I petitioned government today via email. I prayed and spoke my mind, and will assemble with coworkers in a few. So, today I'm 5 for 5!

But it is not enough. Miles to go before I rest

Monday, October 11, 2010

Global Warming Cafe was yesterday

10/10/10 was yesterday, and what a day it was. More than 7000 events around the planet, and I did one right here in Richland. With a lot of help from Lora Rathbone and Lyle, Kathy C, Kathy W, and Susie O, we had a room full of people who want to cut their carbon. Many have already cut it a lot.

But I thought I was pretty green, and I have found ways to cut 10500 pounds, which is 12% of our family's total. Last year's anyway. I expect we'll fly a bit less this year, which will make our total lower than the very scarey 79000 pounds we dumped last year.

I'm filled with hope, and gratitude. This looks to be a wonderful fall season.

Peace, y'all


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Peace prayers

Yesterday I attended a local peace event. It was 9/11 and was in response, sort of, to the Florida pastor who shook the world with his aborted and misguided plans to burd Qurans. Our gathering had messages of peace from representatives or leaders from Baha'i, Buddhist, Christian, Sikh, Jewish, Mormon, Muslim, Religiouss Science, Unaffiliated, and Unitarian faiths. Also singing, gospel readings, and poetry.

It was a lovely event. I left feeling (besides sad that I was leaving)very close to many people I don't know.

I am grateful for the people who shared prayers from their faith, and to the organizers of this event, for bringing so many together in peace, right here in my little town.

I was impressed also that we were exercising most of our First Amendment rights--speech, religion, assembly, press (a TV crew was there). All we lacked was petitioning the government. A fine event for the exercise of our First Amendment rights to promote peace right here where we live.

Peace, y'all


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Carbon diet update

Yesterday I bought more CFL bulbs and replaced two incandescents. Next I will buy some surge protectors and shut things down at night. The clothesline we ordered should arrive any time now, too. I am planning to check my kWh use this month vs one year ago. I expect I'll see a reduction.

Found a great way to curb my appetite for chocolate goodies. I read online about the child slavery so common in cocoa production in the Ivory Coast.

So the path to peacemaking is very personal today. Hope the carbon team makes a bit of headway.

Peace y'all


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

On cutting carbon

my office eco-team is not doing well and I don't know what I can do about it. My default communication tool is email, and maybe that's the wrong tool. Anyway, I will keep plugging away. So much to share, but --- when? more to come

Peace, y'all

Monday, July 26, 2010

more on the federal budget

Wow I didn't realized I haven't posted in so long. I'm back. For now anyway.

The feds sure spend money on war. We used to call it that--The Department of War. This changed last century to the Department of Defense. How Orwellian.

Well, here is a look at the 2011 budget. Billions of dollars (did you know the lowest number starting with "b" is "billion?) and the biggest slice is for war. 30% is for current military spending. 18% is for past military, including veteran's benefits, and (ominously) interest on the national debt from previous military spending. $1398 Billion. That's $1.3 TRILLION. Any way you slice it, that's real money. And obscene amounts of it.

Non military spending -- that is, every other thing the feds do, is more than this. This is right. We should spend most of our money on nonmilitary things, like international relatons, foreign aid, justice, environmental protection and (my favorites) National Parks.

I agree that national defense is a federal function, but our military is a cancer on the federal government. It consumes it. Its product? Wealth to military contractors, and death and destruction for "others." For the womend and children and poor in other places. It's wrong in so many ways.

Oh yes, that military largess also paid for the F-15 and F-16 in the air show I saw yesterday. Was the entertainment value worth what that bird and its well-trained pilot cost us? No way.

I would like the military to hold bake sales and give billions to schools. What about you?

Peace, y'all


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Stuffed and Starved

Yesterday I finished reading Raj Patel's "Stuffed and Starved." Enlightening, showing how all the dots connect to food, poverty, and power on our planet. Raj is not American, and I truly valued the perspective of America's role in the world. Sobering.

The fear of the restless masses destabilizing governments and threatening the bottom line for businesses has made the poor poorer and the rich richer. The poor grow our food, the rich profit from their labors. On the receiving end, the poor cannot afford good healthy food. Instead they are subjected to subsidized, processed crap, cheap carbs, high fructose corn syrup, soy, etc. So as this unhealthy diet spreads, so does diabetes and heart disease.

There are so many things wrong with this picture it would, and did, fill a book. Raj Patel's to be precise.

His prescription is a blend of what I'm starting to do already (locavorism, eating lower on the food chain, CSA, fair trade...), which are personal actions, and the group actions that are so much more challenging-- using those wonderful rights in the USA's First Amendment

Petitioning the government.

My birthday gift to USA is to flex these rights. That which we exercise gets stronger.

Peace, y'all


Monday, July 5, 2010

Is the Federal budget a reflection of our country's moral values?

So claims the Friends Committee for National Legislation, a fine Quaker lobbying group. So also claims Matthew in the Gospel: For where your treasure is, they will your heart be also (Matthew 6:21

But the cynic in me (small but still present) says them who have the gold make the rules, and that fits our budget picture more clearly.

For each dollar of federal income tax we paid in 2009, our government spent
33 cents on Pentagon spending for current and past wars (3 cents on veterans, 6 cents on interest on debts, 24 cents on Pentagon and related spending.
27 cents supporting the economy -- recovery and bailouts, 26 cents, other jobs, education and social programs, 1cent.
17 cents on health care, mainl Medicare, I suppose
11 cents responding to poverty
9 cents for general government
2 cents for energy, science, and the environment
1 cent for diplomacy, development, and war prevention

FCNL says if these expenditures don't reflect your values, talk to Congress. Good idea. Also talk to your family and friends, your neighbors, your Facebook community, anyone you can.

FCNL makes it easy to reach your reps in Congress. Visit, follow the "contact Congress" link, and there you go!

Honest to goodness, it is so much cheaper to prevent a war than to wage one and pay one off decades later. But there's profit in war and not so much for working on making lives better for the multitudes of poor and disenfranchised.

Okay, I'm going to silence the cynic, who is rarely constructive, and bring back cheerier outlook.

Peace, y'all


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Where I am right now

Just reminded myself to start wherever I am, which is at this moment, in my dining room. So I am going to turn up the thermostat a few degrees, because just as we do outdoors, we should use clothing to regulate our comfort rather than electricity.

Now I want to share the preamble to the platform of the state Democratic platform. It resonates with me and I hope you too.

We are Democrats, the party of the people. We believe in teh values of community, dignity, equality, opportunity, fairness, tolerance, respect, and the common good of the world we share. gthese values provide the basis for our ideas, supported by our Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Now here's the preamble for the state Republican party platform:


The Washington State Republican Party is dedicated to preserving a constitutional republic. We believe that active participation by citizens is absolutely necessary to protect and preserve conservative values which include preserving a free society, free markets, free trade, the sanctity of human life, limited government, low taxes, a minimal bureaucracy, a strong national defense, private property rights, and the concept that government should do for individuals only those things they cannot do for themselves.

Washington State Republicans believe that good government is based on respect for, and trust in, the ability of individuals to chart the course of their own lives. We believe that respect for each person’s ability, dignity, and liberty is the foundation for a free and prosperous civic body politic. Good citizenship begins with protected rights and ends with accompanying responsibilities.

We believe individuals are more enlightened than governments, that markets are more efficient than bureaucracies, and that the citizen is more visionary than the collective. To this end, we reaffirm the words in the Declaration of Independence, “That all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness -That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed.”

To each generation falls the responsibility to uphold the values that have made the United States the most free, wealthy, compassionate and successful civilization in history. As we confront security threats from international terrorism, economic threats from ever-increasing state intervention, and social threats from liberal cultural elites, we must also see these times as an opportunity to move society in the right direction. We are committed to ensuring that the two-centuries-old experiment that is America never fails.

It has been over two centuries since our Founders established the American creed — government under God and accountable to the people. We believe their vision is best preserved by supporting the policies outlined below.

Well! I wish I could embrace just the parts I like. There are some parts I like. If less government really mean less government, it might be OKAY. But when less government means turning folks loose to profit from exploiting people and the environment, I flinch.

There it is--I believe government's role is to help those who cannot help themselves. This means the environment, animals and fish, children, disenfranchised, the weak, and the poor.

That's where I am right now,

Peace, y'all


P.S. Happy Birthday USA! My gift to you will to be a more engaged citizen, to exercise my rights, and keep working to make this country a better place.


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A funny sort of trouble

Today at work I was researching the Vancouver Peace And Justice Fair, thinking my agency might do some outreach there. I printed something from the website but didn't retrieve it right away. My boss summoned me to his office and chided me for the printout, reminding me of our ethics rules and the ban on personal printing. Imagine his surprise when I told him it was for work! He asked if it were approved. No, said I, we are planning.
This amused me. But probably it shouldn't. Maybe the boss has it in for me, or has polarly opposed views.(yeah, who could oppose peace, love, and justice?)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

So you think you know about sustainability?

Rude awakening for thine truly. I just found a survey from the International Society of Sustainability Professionals --the ISSP Sustainability Knowledge Competency Study. Thinking I was fairly knowledgable, I clicked to take the survey. Hoo boy.

Here are a bunch of events. I have some familiarity with some of them...
Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
Bruntland Commission/Our Common Future
Commission on Sustainable Development
Convention on Biological Diversity
Intergovernmental Forum on Forests
Kyoto Protocol
Limits to Growth/Club of Rome
Millennium Development Goals 2000
Montreal Protocol
Silent Spring/Rachel Carson

How are you doing so far?
Keep going....
UN Environment Programme
UN Forum on Forests
Vienna Convention for Protection of the Ozone Layer

Now, some organizations
Business for Social Responsibility (BSR)
Carbon Disclosure Project
Earth Policy Institute
Environmental Protection Agency
Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI)
Hadley Centre for Climate Change
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
International Society of Sustainability Professionals
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
World Business Council on Sustainable Development
World Resources Institute

Not through yet with humbling myself
Now for sustainability frameworks
Herman Daly's Triangle
Triple Bottom Line

Now for some principles
Adaptive management
Agenda 21
Caux Roundtable for Business
Cradle to cradle
Earth Charter
Equator Principles
Hannover Pronciples
Melbourne Principles
Precautionary Principle
Talloires Declaration
UN Global Compact

Had enough? But wait! There's more!!
Practices and Protocols
Closed loop recycling
Design for environment
Ecological footprint
Environmental/Sustainability Management System/ISO14001
General Reporting Protocol
Global Reporting Initiative
Green Chemistry
Greenhouse gas protocol
Industrial ecology
Life Cycle Assessment
Life Cycle costing
New urbanism
Product stewardship/EPR (extended producer/product responsibility)
Smart growth
Socially responsible investing

My humbling is not over but I am tired of tapping. So I'll continue layer with more stuff I think I should already know about.

Peace, y'all

Molly (the humbled)

If It Was My Home - Visualizing the BP Oil Spill

If It Was My Home - Visualizing the BP Oil Spill

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Start wherever you are

That is one of the key messages I got at the low carbon diet training.

Climate change has begun. We must address it!

It will take at least 10 years to scale up renewable energies and new technologies. Conservation is available today. It's the low-hanging fruit. And when we are in a conservation mind frame, we are more inclined to embrace the new technologies that come along.

US citizens are 5% of the planet's population and use 25% of its resources. And we waste up to 75% of it through inefficiency and ignorance. Americans are a huge part of the problem--so we also can - and n
must - be big part of the solution.

We like to think we are the world's most innovative. Fine. (and no let hago and tend the garden).

Join me in reducing my carbonfootprint. I'll start where I am. Thee do likewise.

Peace, y'all


Saturday, June 26, 2010

On reducing our carbon footprint

I said I would blog about it when I registered for the teletraining for the low carbon diet, so here goes.

I'm always looking for ways to build peace in the world, to make the world a better place, to form a more perfect union. A new way has opened. When one Seeks one can find. And I did.

A sweet convergence. I am my program's sustainability chair. By default, but nonetheless. The state legislature passed a law in 2008 or 2009 with specific goals for state agencies to reduce carbon and our governor charged my agency with showing other agencies how to go about it.

For Earth Day my agency rolled out a program they call 'Carbon Smart.' It has two parts -- greening our office by what we do there and how we get there. The other part is to reduce carbon at home. This hits us, so to speak, where we live.

I have a leading to lead carbon reduction teams.

More about this soon.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Read grist!!

Today I have been reading articles from the Daily Grist. Great stuff. Several times today I've thought "this is good, I should share it on my blog!"

Grist has several newsletters. Today I'm reading the weekly assortment. You should too.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Carbon reduction

I am on the verge of kicking off a low-carbon diet team at my office. Wish me luck!

Sustainability starts with me - phase 1

Sustainability is my present focus. At work I am the default, de facto lead for the team that is supposed to to some good with no impact on staff time. At home I am always looking for ways to walk more gently.

This leads me to right here. At home we bought a new, energy-efficient fridge. So new and clean, my husband doesn't want all those magnets and flyers to go on the new fridge. What to do with those things? One of these is a small poster from the E3 conference 2 years ago. E3 stands for economy, education, and environment. It illustrates the interconnectedness of what we do.

I quote:
it all comes down to personal choices--at work, school, or church, people must choose sustainable behavior. Imagine e3 as a wheel and the spokes carry messages (goals) out from the center (individual behavior). People may learn at school, work, or club, and bring that behavior home, changing their own behavior.

I am seeing this interconnectedness very clearly. Hope to harness it to amplify my peacemaking.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

One day at a time

I seek to build peace all the time, nearly. I hope that each week I can point tosomething I have done and say "that builds peace in our [world] [town] [home]. Friday we made and served dinner for the Vista Youth Center.

Yesterday...hmmm...well, during the ton of shopping, we only collected one bag? That is something. And we patronized a small local business or two. Not a Red Letter Day for peacemaking, but I like to think I have ordered my life to be gentler and kinder to the planet. Sometimes big steps, sometimes smaller ones.

I hope to take some stronger strides soon. I'll need to call on my Inner Light to heed the call -- leading carbon reduction teams not just at work, but with my friends, family, neighbors, and--who knows?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Wherever you go, there you are

Deep down I feel like an Easterner, though I love my home in the West and am happy to live there. Yet when I am East I feel settled. Even though I don't know my way around, don't have all the connections. Something deeper. Why? Maybe it's sentimentality, since I grew up there (here). (the same way I scoff at my friend who has lived in my town for 35 years but still calls Kansas "home.") Or it is because I so miss having a meeting, and the East is teeming with them.

I don't have to make any decision today.

No matter where you go, there you are. So I will do what I can, where and when I can.

Peace, y'all


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

On guilt, graciousness and God

My password, one of my dozens, has the word Miracle in it and whenever I type it I wonder if one will become evident to me. I think I experienced a wee one two days ago. My mood was very fragile. After a weekend of mostly depression I was intensely hoping for some joy. Then I prayed the formal, thorough way I learned of in "the year of living biblically." The acronym ACTS stands for adoration, contrition, thanksgiving (my favorite part), and supplication. My prevailing supplication was to find joy and lose the funk. And a little while layer, I did!

About guilt--should I feel guilt over the carbon price of this trip to Pa and NJ? I don't think guilt is needed but mindfulness is. Thinking of how to mitigate our carbon for this trip, and think I'll find a few ways.
And the coworker who was challenging me over the carbon from this trip--that's my business, not hers.

I don't need toxic tips from people close to me.

Peace on a few levels. Peace in my heartthrough a funk- lifting prayer, peace in my soul by seeking and doing what I can to mitigate this trip, and peace in my house by keeping toxic people at arm's length.

Peace y'all, wherever you need it


Sunday, June 6, 2010

On sharing what I receive

I receive tons of great information from Quaker sources and always think--I'll share that in the blog! And sometimes I actually do. But like so many of my great ideas, it clutters my life and surrounds me with one more "shoulda." I sure don't want more of those.

In a recent bulletin from Friends Committee on National Legislation, a (the?) Quaker lobby group in Washington DC, came a gem from Dr King: "coalitions of concience to close the gaps in broken community." These few words make a phrases that inspires me to keep sharing messasges and ideas, to keep living according to my faith and practice, to be a shining example of simple living and loving, to gently encourage others.

The broken community I see is the oil-addicted society and its members. When we can't do without our car, we are expressing that addiction.

The broken community is our now polarized partisan political system. My community received almost $2B in stimulus funding but our congressman voted against it. Guess what party he is in?

The broken community is the "us" and "them" culture, wherever we find it. I am ready to form a coalition of conscience with anyone, everyone. Any takers?

Peace, y'all


Saturday, June 5, 2010

On Driving Less

I have deepened my faith and practice. I have decided to STOP driving to work until.... maybe a medical appt, or if I must be somewhere RIGHT after work.... I have bought a bus pass for the first time. The first 2.3 years of riding the bus, I didn't do it enough to make it less expensive than buying 10-ride books. Since the price of riding rose and I ran out of cheap 10-ride tickets (I stocked up before the price changed) I'm now in the ranks of bus pass users.

I hope to use the car way less. I'll measure this by frequency of fillups. This month will be light because we'll park the car while out of town. Putting miles on a rental car, alas.

I also hope the walking will help me improve my health and fitness.

I will gently encourage others to give up their cars. At least sometimes. How I'd love to get my husband onto the bus. Baby steps first.

Peace, y'all

Monday, May 31, 2010

on the brink of being a better citizen of the world.

Home again, after 4 days in Seattle for the folklife festival. I spent a lot of money. I hope I don't regret it later. I don't regret it now.

I saw a few of my Quaker acquaintances today. It was neat to see folks I know. I saw more West-side Quakers I knew than East-side people from anywhere.

My companion drove, and drove fast. Very unJohnWoolmanlike. Me, I want to get deeper into my faith and practice, starting tomorrow. Want to read about John Woolman. Pray more too.

Retail abstinence lite-- one week only. Also I will minimize my driving. That shold help a lot.

peace, y'all


Sunday, May 30, 2010

More on What Would John Woolman Drive

Purpose of quaker queries is to get one thinking, then aligning one's actions and behaviors with the light and grace of God.

Darn that pesky query about what would John Woolman drive!

I often take the bus home from work, and less often (get up early enough to) take the bus in the morning.

When I do take the bus to work, the bus stop is in the city's busiest street, and I watch car after car after car with just one occupant. I become self-righteous and outraged (mildly). I'm waiting for the bus, breathing the exhaust from all these SOVs.

Then some days I drive. I am a driver of a single-occupant-vehicle. I'm one of "them."

The --dare I say it? -- hypocrisy? -- of this dichotomy rattles inside me quite dissonantly. I have moral dissonance. Not good.

In June I will buy a bus pass and endeavor to drive -- not at all-- to work. Perhaps dissonance will yield to grace.

Peace, y'all.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

What would John Woolman drive?

Gentle readers, John Woolman is the American Quaker version of a saint. He walked, mainly, because horses were treated poorly.

We in the US are addicted to oil. Oil:
o contributes directly and hugely to global climate weirding
o is bankrupting our nation
o Is to valuable to burn, really
o comes from environmental sensitive areas, since the oil in easier places has
already been burned up
o Comes from Petrodicators, whose profits go to suppress their own people and to foment violence against America.

Still, we drive and drive and drive. I'm getting better about bus but there is so much more to do.

Smoking used to be glamorous. No longer, now we scorn and shun smokers. Can we effect the same change for single-user vehicles? how?

Friday, May 14, 2010

On Tithing

I have decided to tithe. Our agi was $59K and my 1040 said we donated $2282. We probably gave more but I can't find the records. So I will give another $4K this year.

It's lovely weather and I have been feeling fairly good. Hope you do too

Peace y'all


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Bye bye, beads!

Today I sent the beads (what few were left) back to Bead for LIfe, along with a large wad of checks.

I raised $2530!

Last week I went to the BeadforLife website and clicked a link to an article about it by Nicholas Kristof. I went through the comments, thinking to add one of my own about what a spiritually nourishing and FUN experience it was for me.

What a gold mine! Many of the commenters gave links to other wonderful-looking groups like Bead for Life. I marked them as favorites and can't wait to go back and consider them more carefully.

Okay, the bead chapter is over, now on to other peacemaking efforts, but what? I enjoy seeing what unfolkds.

Today I will start my first -ever loaf of sourdough bread. The yeast are yearning for flour as I write! Also tonight, dinner with cousins Carol and Peter, from Boston, who are bicyling across the U.S. Both are uber-obstetric radiologists, and on the way they are lecturing at medical facilities to prepare others for their board exams. And they are updating a book, and blogging. Check it out!

Peace, y'all


Friday, April 30, 2010

On bread, beads, and my fridge

The official "living room" bead party was last night and turned out well. I had 7 guests, which was quite a surprise to me (I feared far fewer). It was really enjoyable for me, and others I am quite sure. The take was good, but I must be jaded because it disappointed me any way.

My sales are up to $2330, which is really very good. I am happy to know the benefit of my effort will help so many in Uganda.

Now on to bread. I have yet to bake it but I still plan to. Tomorrow I think will be the big day. Or maybe Sunday==this is process, not an event, and I must plan.

Bread, the staff of life. Lenin promised "land, peace, bread." basic things. Learning to make basic bread while selling beads to help our Ugandan sisters buy food and shelter. We are all so linked.

Now the fridge... needs defrosting AGAIN!! I think this really means it's time to get a new fridge. Quelle bummer. But a newer fridge will be more efficient, and that's a very good thing.

The women in my party -- Shall I name names?
Kathy, who I've know for more than 20 years, who is the only person to consistently beat me in Scrabble. Kathy wants to be a crew member on the Enterprise, and explore space. She loves to fly, but aims instead for the heavens. Or to be a Sandhill Crane.
Marilyn - daughter of pioneers, great customer for my parties, a very very good person, stalwart member of League of Women Voters and dutiful caregiver. I admire her goodness. She'd be a river otter.
Kim - another isolated Quaker in our area, who I relate to so well I don't understand why we remain isolated from each other. Another river otter wannabe.
Laura - she's so beautiful in spirit and appearance. She helps people heal. I wish I had her quiet grace, and her amazing red hair.
Victoria - a playful girl in a woman's body, fun, smart, living fully. She taught me to knit.
Dana - Taurus, mom of three, of whom two are autistic. She deals. She leads an autism advocacy group and sells Mary Kay.
Nina - Briefly an Oasis mom, a regular at our library, a kind and smart soul.

How does this lead me to peace? Hmmmm.

Connecting to others is a step in peacemaking. And with each woman I shared the story of our sisters in Uganda, and to some of them I shared the need of the Darigold Dozen.

My bead party must end soon. I think I will mail what remains next Saturday or Sunday. There won't be too much!

Peace, y'all


Sunday, April 18, 2010

More on food

What is a more basic need than food? Only one--water. Food is essential, as is "of essence." It's vital, as in our lives depend on it. How fortunate are most Americans that they think about what to eat, and how much, rather than IF they can eat.

Some of the 300 members of BeadforLife are HIV-positive. The meds for the HIV are free, but they stimulate appetite, so before BeadforLife came around, they would not take the meds because they couldn't feed their appetites. OMG.

Defrosting the frostfree freezer requires emptying it. Now a full freezer is more efficient than an empty one, but it distressed me to see how many "freezer mysteries" persist. These are generally good meals I make too much of, so I freeze the rest before it goes bad. I always intend to have "freezer mysteries" on the week's menu but we can't get ahead of it.

Freezer mysteries will be on our menu at least twice a week until I start thinking my freeze is too empty. This will also keep me out of the grocery store, and save me that time and gasoline and money, and exposure to the marketing mania that is retail food.

Also on the food theme, I'm on track to bake my first ever loaf of sourbread. I fed the starter today. Thursday I'll feed it in the a.m, mix the dough in the p.m. (and feed it once more) and prep, then Friday, I'll actuallly bake. I'm excited and hopeful. If this succeeds I will have a new way to eat healthier.

BeadForLife proceeds so far: $995! Oh so close to a nice round number. I hope to surpass another round number by this time next week (after sales at work, at my Quaker gathering, and with my friends who can't come to the LR party. I love giving parties like this and I really love raising money for our sisters in Uganda.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Bread baking

I went today to a bread baking class the local slow food group sponsored. It was fine fun, and most of the folks also bought some of my BeadforLife offerings. I also had good time with a good friend of mine, an altogether good time. How can I be so blessed when so many others are not?

We are thawing our frostfree fridge, which had an amazing unauthorized ice buildup on the coils. I have never before taking apart a fridge this way. The emptying of the freezer went quite easily, since we did this just one month ago (apparently we didn't get to the root of the problem, though). And it's still clean from last month so that's one other thing we didn't have to tend to.

Thanks to God for portable hair dryers/freezer defrosters.

Peace, y'all


Friday, April 16, 2010

Not much to say

Does anyone read me? I sometimes wonder. I am having a bead for life party and have raised $850 so far. Visit and see for yourself. I am so enjoying this! I like the beads, I like modeling them, selling them, succeeeding in selling them, plus I'm doing GOOD! I am raising money to help lift 3000 Ugandans out of abject poverty. It's wonderful

Peace, y'll


Sunday, April 11, 2010

More on the Ruby Ridge fired workers

Yesterday, through a translator, I learned more about the plight of the fired workers from one of those workers. He said that Ruby Bingen, who owns Ruby Ridge dairy, is denying he ever worked there so he cannot collect unemployment, and says bad things about him when potential new employees call to verify previous employment.

These workers all have families. How can they provide for their families with the Bingens persecuting them?

I learned that things are still bad for workers stil at the dairy. There, 2 workers must milk 1700 cows daily, and 6 workers handle the other 400 cows. The 2 with the impossible workload are the ones in the union.

The workers must provide their own equipment-gloves, aprons, safety items--the Bingens provide only the cows. After the expenses are considered, the workers make less than minimum wage. Is this legal?

Also, the Bingens force the workers there to sign a pledge that they won't join a union as a condition of continued employment. Is this even legal?

Bingens sell their milk to Darigold. I've heard Darigold is giving legal support to the Bingens for their defense in the suit the workers have filed. IF this is so, Darigold is as guilty as the Bingens.

I don't know how those people can look at themselves in the mirror.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Eating together

This is a path to peacemaking I really relate to. That's why my husband and I agreed to bring dinner and an activity to the local youth center for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transsexual, Queers, straight kids. Gliberty-Qs.

It was very satisfying for me to accept so much appreciation for the food. I still feel a purr coming on when I recall their declarations and their gusto for the grub.

It also was a stretch for me this time, because each youth--every single one--was plugged into his or her or zer phone or PC, or both. They were not fully present. Part of me thinks - these kids have enough challenges, maybe their phone is all they have going for them. Then I think -- we cooked for 3 hours, brought good food to BE with you kids, can't you give us common courtesy?

Yin and Yang, Salt and Pepper, Day and Night, good and bad, it's all there. I realize I must relax my rigidness and be more open to building relationships. And work a little harder at remembering preferred pronouns.

Maybe next time I'll bring a movie so if the kids want to tune out with their electronics it won't be as big a deal as in the game we were playing.

Anyway, eating together is a good peacemaking thing to do

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

update on the Ruby Ridge workers

Darigold is trying to resolve the issues of the fired workers from the Ruby Ridge dairy,(the Darigold Dozen), who were fired after trying to form a union. The workers have a suit for violation of state rules for employment and federal laws against discrimination. Hooray for Darigold for trying to find resolution.

Darigold is in this because Ruby Ridge dairy is a Darigold coop member. I don't know what happens at other dairies in my area but think I will find out, and share. I hope dairy users will buy from dairies whose workers and cows are treated with respect and care.

The fired Ruby Ridge workers are anxious and need your moral and financial support.

peace, y'all


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Here is a gem I try to recite each a.m. to great the new day. It is a gift from e.e. cummings.

i thank you God for most this amazing day;for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth
day of life and of love and
wings;and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any--lifed from the no
of all nothing--human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened.)

Lacking much inspiration of my own today, I cheerfully share mr. cummings'

I am having a marvelous little day. I took some great pictures of my cats, had a lovely walk and breakfast with my daughter, and we did a little purging today. So her shelves are emptier of stuff and fuller of potential.

Through the lens of peace, I suppose I'm reaping the dividends today. And feeling suitably appreciative.

Peace, y'all


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Have I really not posted since last Sunday? Dear me!

This week I learned if I google Ruby Ridge dairy, I find my own blog posts pretty quick. Also the web is full of news about the workers I now call the Darigold Dozen.

The VP of Darigold is on the brink of meeting with the supporters of the workers. This is good news. On Monday I will talk to a group of local citizens seeking to make our community better, and will brainstorm ways we mere folk can help those workers.

Working to help the Darigold Dozen meets several of the 12 steps to peacemaking I keep in my mind and my assistant brain, the PDA:
1. Pray for Peace and one another - check!
2. See faces -- check!
3. Learn names and stories -- yup!
4. Take the first step -- oh well
5. Reach out and touch --- ???
6. Find common ground -- yes, and I think I can find more to do in this area
7. Make relationships concrete -- lots of potential
8. Give peace offerings -- check
9. Learn languages -- un poco
10 Eat together -- check
11 Celebrate together -- check
12 Stand with those in danger -- check, sort of

So I see I have more work in finding common ground, and the more I do, the better. I also see I can use this work to build and foster alliances and this lays the groundwork for the next social issue.

Praying, writing, and talking about the Ruby Ridge dairy workers are not my only activities for peace this week. But it's enuf for now.

Peace, y'all


Sunday, March 7, 2010

The rally for Ruby Ridge fired, the Darigold Dozen

I was born in the 20th century and reached maturity then too. A recent college grad, born also in the 20th century but reaching adult in the 21st, referred to me as "20th century" when commenting on my lack of skills with technology. Well, I try. If a tool appears to have value to me, I learn it. For instance, I had no interest in texting until I learned my daughter would respond to me promptly when I do. So now I text to keep in touch with my kid.

All this is prelude for the fact that 1) I am going to post pictures from the rally for the Ruby Ridge fired workers, the Darigold Dozen, the brave men who stood up for their rights as workers and were fired thereafter for other reasons, the owners allege. RIGHT. Just coincidental, is it, that all of the fired workers were the ones leading the unionizing effort?

and 2), to find other blogs relating to workers, union rights, immigration issues, dairy workers, and human rights and put my 2 cents in there. I am not fluent in Spanish so I will do what I can in English for these men and all the other workers who will benefit if these guys succeed.

If you have ideas to help these workers, please pass them along (and do them as well!)

Peace, y'all


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Si se puedes!

Yesterday I participated in a rally to support the beleagered fired workers from the Ruby Ridge dairy. The Darigold dozen! To my surprise, they (the fired workers) fed us lunch as well. Tortillas and very spicy grilled beef.

We had a short march and vigil on the road to the dairy (respecting private property) and did garner the attention of a local TV station. It encouraged me that the number of people participating seems to be growing.

Click to read the Utne Reader article about the dangers the dairy workers face. And please, consider the source of the milk your family drinks and who besides you pays for it, with their health, their dignity, and their trampled human rights.

Peace, y'all


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A moving prayer for peace

This was in my email inbox this a.m. and I am moved to share it. Enjoy. Peace, y'all


Dear Brothers & Sisters,

We all need to pray for one another, and to love one another. We should always pray for the safety, peace, love and brotherhood for people all over the world.

Too bad we can't have an independence day for the entire world. A day of freedom from ignorance, hatred, war, illusions, power and control. A day where we can all love each other as human beings and toss away the weapons of war, and cast out our fears and hatreds from our hearts into the graves. We must mourn the graves of the innocents all over the world, and give the children of the world the hope of a peaceful, loving and beautiful world.

A world full of love and without hatred or fear. A world where we can join hands together and accept one another, regardless of our skin color, ethnic divisions, religion or nationality. If we don't unite as a human race, then we have condemned the future generation of children a dark and very grim future.

Think of love, compassion and peace always...


Merciful God, You made all of the people of the world in Your own image and placed before us the pathway of salvation through different Preachers who claimed to have been Your Saints and Prophets. But, the contradictions (made by us) in the interpretation of Your teachings have resulted in creating divisions, faith based hatreds and bloodshed in the world community. Millions of innocent men, women and children have so far been brutally killed by the militants of several religions who have been committing horrifying crimes against humanity and millions more would not be butchered by them in the future, if You guide and help us find ways to reunite peacefully.

IN THE NAME OF GOD, THE COMPASSIONATE, THE MERCIFUL, look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the controversial teachings of arrogance, divisions and hatreds which have badly infected our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; reunite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish Your purposes on earth; that, in Your good time, all nations and races could jointly serve You in justice, peace and harmony. (Amen)

Peace Activist

Friday, February 19, 2010

The plight of dairy workers

The latest issue of UTNE READER shines light on the ugly truth about conditions dairy workers face in southeastern Washington -- and elsewhere in the US, too. It calls out specifically the plight of the workers at the Ruby Ridge dairy just north of Pasco, who were fired after they signed a request for a union vote.

These workers were exercisig rights given to them through the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Find it at

Articles 23 and 24 especially speak to their condition.

Who is looking out for these workers? Besides the good people at the Oregon Farm Workers Ministry? What do you say?

Before our nation shoves democracy down the throats of other nations, we must clean up the mess in our back yard.

Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America. I want to live in an America where all the people can enjoy all the rights defined in the UN Declaration.

Peace, y'all

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Peace in our time?

The largest part of the federal budget is war, paying for past ones, and supporting today's, plus subsidizing the military industrial complex and caring for our veterans.

The parts of the budget that make peace are miniscule. But they are vital.

Let's work for peace, any way we can.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Nonviolent protest in Iran today

Sojourners is a good group of people. A recent email brought to me a NYT article.

The present situation cannot continue. I want to support the brave people facing an angry, unfair and violent government with their persistent truth and peaceful actions.

Don't know how just yet but I'll pray about it and maybe an angel will send me ideas.

Peace, y'all


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Remaking America? Or just cleaning the house

Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

These are words from Obama's inauguration speech that resonate with me strongly.

Do I remake America when I patronize a local business?
Do I remake America when I fold laundry and groom the cats?
Do I remake America when I attend a fair trade bead party?

I just don't know. I think contributing to the economy helps others, and that helps remake America. So do contributions to charities.

It's just not enough.

Today I will follow the words of Candide instead, and tend the garden.

Peace, y'all


Monday, February 1, 2010

Retail abstinence phase 2

Today is the first day of February. My month-long experiment ended successfully.

I strayed from my "rules" just once. My spouse and I went out to dinner and blew $4.31 on a fast food dinner.

The best part for me is that I was able to say no to lattes right up until I was on the road on 1/29. The worst part -- I had a latte at Starbucks on 1/31 and it was heaven on earth.

But if I can go cold turkey in cold dark wet January, I can manage other times too. And I liked saving money. I will not return to my pre-abstinence spending levels.

Today I will spend a little money. I have a lunch date. But no big binge as I had envisioned earlier last month.

I have yet to tally up my expenditures and compare them with a similar month (Sept 2009, the first month I was daughter-less. I am eager to see the tally, and will do something good with the savings. Donate to food bank? Donate to Haiti? Put into investments? Make a rainy day fund? It will be fun to decide.

The other good thing about February 1 is at last cold dark wet January is over, and there will be a few signs of spring this month. Bring it on!

Peace, y'all


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Retail abstinence

This is day 20, and it's still going strong. Maybe not entirely happily, but strongly. I have not wavered, even when very depressed and profoundly yearning for a latte. I didn't want to break my vow.

I realize my spending is now on line with many, many other people's, who don't spend because they cannot, not because they are choosing to. Some of the challenges I've faced I've met with gifts and loans, and just saying no. I almost bought a latte Sunday, when I was working, but I found free regular coffee and went that way instead. And I am learning to knit, and my daughter is lending me her needles and yarn, as is my knitting teacher.

Nine more days until I leave for the Quaker silent weekend retreat. I am confident I will have a rich internal dialogue to process the month of abstinence, and I will figure out what this means for life (and spending) after January 31. I don't think I want to go back to my old thoughtless if somewhat thrifty ways.

One thing I did allow myself this month is to be generous to charities. So I have not spent on myself but have given our money to good causes. Felt great.

Peace, y'all


Friday, January 15, 2010

On Haiti

Poor Haiti. Literally and figuratively.

Haiti is the poorest nation in our hemisphere, in the shadow (literally and figuratively) of the hemisphere's and the planet's richest nation.

It thrills me and relieves me and puzzles me to learn of the millions of dollars and euros pledged to help Haiti. The world is mobilizing, and in a peaceful and (mostly) nonpartisan way. It's amazing how quickly the richer nations opened their checkbooks, so to speak. That's the thrill and relief.

Now the puzzle. How far will the rich nations go to make Haiti whole?

When there is order in the streets? When there is running water? When the port is restored? When the prison is fixed and the prisoners rounded up? When the UN and government ministries are rebuilt? When there is enough infrastructure to allow the citizens of Haiti the rights in the UN's universal declaration?

or just when the rubble is cleared?

And how will each nation decide when to stop? I think public opinion is part of the answer.

I want my nation to help make Haiti whole.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Gays in the military, Southern Christian leadership Conference

Not feeling terribly inspired today so I'll just share a few facts and ideas.

Fact: On this day in 2000, England lifted its ban on gays in the military. Good for them! I haven't heard that the earth stopped spinning or that the mililtary has fallen apart (though come to think of it, I wouldn't really mind if it did).

On this day in 1957, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference was founded in Atlanta. This group focused first and foremost on civil rights through the use of non-violence. Boycotts. Marches. Voter registration. All good things, and just as relevant today.

So I ask: do you walk your talk? Do your purchases align with your values? Do you chose recreation that fosters your spirit and helps improve the world?

Off my soap box. I wonder when I'll get my next chance to register voters?

Thanks to the great folks at Nebraskans for Peace, who produce the Cat Lovers Against the Bomb calendar with the facts that almost inspired me today. And maybe gave you a thing or two to think about, as well

peace, y'all


Monday, January 11, 2010

Learning from the World Community

Small epiphany today. If we visit a poor country and see the poverty, we would first feel shock, then get ideas on how to help.

So, it is as well when people from poor countries, or European countries (where the standard of living is high but by using far fewer resources) visit us.

They're amazed (to put it politely) at the amount we waste. The packaging. The food. The driving everywhere. They are impressed (and not in a good way) at the shocking majority of us who are overweight. They see our big cars, our drive-throughs, our big houses and huge grocery stores too big and far apart to get to any other way but driving. They see our huge closets, just bursting with stuff. They see our self-storage cottage industry.

We can share education, infrastructure, sanitation, and public health resources with the others in the world, and they can show us how to live joyfully on far, far less.

Today I viewed my world through the eyes of someone from another country, and didn't like what I saw.

The retail abstinence continues. Day 11. I find I enjoy browsing in catalogs and don't mind stores too much. It's getting easier! I realized today we are saving a LOT of $$ by not going out to eat at all.

We hosted a nice dinner last night for two women friends and their daughters. I opened a bottle of wine (didn't finish it), but also received one, so I think I broke even on that expense. I bought very little for this meal. I had the pork and the bacon (local!), I had the potatoes from the CSA, I had the pears from the CSA. Need to buy the cresent rolls, nuts, brussels sprouts, cheese. That wasnt' too much.

I entertained the daughters with my cats and then with learning to fold cranes. They both embraced it quicky and happily. It gave me happiness as well to share my interest.

In the interest of promoting peace, I shared with the two women issues of the newsletter from Right Sharing for World Resources. Perhaps RSWR will get their moral support (likely) and financial support (I hope).

Hoping to make the world a better place.....

Peace, y'all


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Who would Jesus bomb?

Day 10 of the retail abstinence. Either 21, 18, or 11 days to go, depending on trips during which I'll need to buy food on the road and could get a latte as well (milk plus buzz--why ever not?).

I am encouraged. I am at worst, 1/3 through this and the only hard part is lattes. The rest is a snap. I think I could easily go retail-free every other day, or weeks at a time, besides the coffee element.

I have wondered what I would turn TOWARD as I said no to most retail temptation (I still buy gas, bread, milk, meds). I am still asking. I know I'm enjoying my regular coffee more and I think I have more time and am getting more done. That's about it. So far.

I browsed in a catalog from Northen Sun, just packed with T shirts, posters, buttons and bumperstickers that say YES to me. A few really resonated, such as the one where people were worshipping the coffee cup, and the How-to-make-community posters, and the "Who would Jesus Bomb?" bumpersticker.

Who would Jesus bomb? Dear God, what a question. I think the answer is "no one, today." I don't know about the past or future. But Jesus represents love and forgiveness to me, and nothing about love and forgiveness supports bombing.

I moved through yesterday thinking "what can I do today to make the world a better place?" And I came up with a few answers. I turned down the thermostat. I smiled at people. I didn't rise (or sink) into the arguments my spouse was throwing my way.

And I didnt' bomb anyone.

Peace, y'all


Saturday, January 9, 2010

a little at a time

Last night's peace offering went well, and my retail abstinence continues but I can't say it goes well. I miss my lattes!

The group at the youth center had what they call "check in," in which each person says their name, their age, astrological sign, orientation, preferred pronoun, a good thing that happened this week, a bad thing that happened this week, answer to a silly question (if you were a piece of clothing, what would you be, and why) and a serious question (what could you do tomorrow to make the world a better place?")

I proposed the serious question. It inspired me to frame my fairly unplanned day. So far I have met a new neighbor and given out voter registration forms, and have loved up my kitties and trimmed claws on 3 of them.

I will go now and turn down the thermostat and restore order to my home.

Peace, y'all

Friday, January 8, 2010

Today's peace offering

As I write, my husband is grating the cheese and this afternoon we'll make a huge batch of mac and cheese for tonight. This is the peace offering. We, along with two of my coworkers, are preparing dinner for up to 12 lbtq's - teens who are lesbian, bisexual, trans-something, or queer. I pronounce this liberty-Q's. Mayba Gliberty'Q, if I add gay to the front of this.

As hard as it must be to not align with the preponderance of popular culture, face bullying, hatred, and discrimination, it would be harder still to go through the difficult teen years that way. So we want to show and give support to these teens, to accept them unconditionally and have a fine and really fun game of Apples to Apples and Cranium.

Fun and tasty peace offering, I think.

Peace, y'all


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Do Justice

While I await inspiration and energy, I want to share the day's entry on the perpetual calendar from Alternatives for Simple Living (800-821-6153).

The first principle is not "Think about Justice," or even "Believe in Justice." it's "Do Justice!" Besides our prayers, our contributions, and our pressure on governments, we help the world's poor by consuming less, thereby making more available for others. Biblical Justice reflects God's great love for the poor and our parallel call to live in a way that positively responds to their needs."

So concise and right!

I am consuming less this month by declining to buy. I am having a month of retail abstinence. The hard part is staying away from lattes. The rest is not too bad. Last night we went to Costco to buy a few things on our grocery list. I felt interest but no temptation from all the other stuff there.

More on justice. Just a brief pause to consider it gave me an idea. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals just ruled that felons in prison have a right to vote. My local newspaper deplored this but I embrace it. The disenfranchised in our culture are the ones who suffer injustice - children, illegal aliens, plants and animals, air and water, the poor. Isn't it justice enough to lock up those folks?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Cat Lovers Against the Bomb tells me that on this day in 1941, President Roosevelt gave his 4 freedoms speech. (

It also tells me today is Epiphany. For a mainstream American, this is a quaint old holiday that our culture barely recognizes. Out of fashion, as it were. Probably we are all just nursing our holiday hangovers and need to burrow into our homes and work till the days get longer and the earth renews.

In Catholic countries, especially Eastern Orthodox ones, ephiphany is a much bigger deal. Significantly for Americans, especially in the South, it's the kickoff of the carnival season and the beginning of the festivities that culminate on Fat Tuesday. The king cakes related to Mardi Gras actually relate to Epiphany,which is the date Christians celebrate the visits to the baby Jesus by the 3 kings, or magi.

My retail hangover hurts. I don't mind the lack of shopping but the cold turkey approach to lattes is sad.

Pathetically yours


Monday, January 4, 2010

a bit of preaching

The AltSimLiv calendar has introductory-type info for the first few days. Today's message resonates with me and perhaps with you, whoever you are.

"Living more simply may mean dealing with our own resentment when others don't "get it." When we are making corrections to lieve more responsibly, and others don't seem to have the slightest inclination to change their wasteful ways, we may feel angry. We can be living testimonials. We are not judgmental but we speak up whenever we have the chance." Alternatives fo Simple Living, 800-821-6153.

I try not to feel angry at others who are behind me on the path to simple and sustainable living. I love the idea of being a living testimonial. At the same time, no sense in hiding our light under a bushel!

So I'll try harder not to judge all the single-occupant cars that pass me when I wait at the bus stop, especially since many times I am one of those drivers!

The other thing that gets to me are engine idlers. In 2008 I stopped using drive-throughs and no longer idle the car except at traffic lights. (and sometimes not then eithe!) How do I be a living testimonial of something I'm NOT doing anymore?

I am led to distribute propaganda supporting the anti-idling message to idlers I encounter. But I fear this is too judgmental, presumptious, arrogant, etc. I'm not ready yet to go forward with this.

The last two sentences of the AltSimLiv message make me think about the sins of pride and the others (lust, sloth, gluttony, greed? I don't recall) Pride is my challenge.

My retail abstinence is going alright. But the month is young.

Peace, y'all


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Peace is non-linear and today it's circular

The path to peace is not linear, and today I'm seeing this quite clearly. My decision to reuse my eternal calendar from the good people at Alternatives for Simple Living ( lead me back to Doris Janzen Longacre's Living more with Less.

Alternatives for Simple Living is a non-profit organization that equips people of faith to challenge consumerism, live justly and create meaningful celebrations (cut and pasted straight from their web site). It's Christian in a gentle and practical way.

Doris Janzen Longacre was a Mennonite, and this book is part of the Mennonite Central Committee's work to meet human needs world wide. It's nourishing. Like hors d'ourves rather than a 3-course dinner. Her categories are

Do Justice

Learn from the World Community

Nurture People

Cherish the Natural Order

Nonconform freely

Yummy! It comforts me to organize my own activities along these lines. Is my food donation today a "nurture people" and "do justice" ??? Is my party tonight to make it fun to take down the Christmas tree sort of "nonconform freely?" Am I doing a bit to cherish the natural order when I recycle?

As I drink coffee grown and processed by Gustavo in Turriabla Costa Rica I feel pretty good. I honor the memory of Doris Janzen Longacre.

Back to circular. I got this book years and years ago and it has rested quietly on my bookshelf for quite a while. It's practically new to me once more.

I did some work with AltSimLiv years ago too. And I am led there once more. (More on this in Sept or October 2010.)

Peace, y'all


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Retail abstinence

I decided last week to have a moratorium for shopping in January. No retail, besides groceries, medicines, stuff for cats, toothpaste, stuff like that. No restaurants either, unless I'm traveling. The very hardest part of this for me is staying away from Starbucks, Coffee Bean, etc.

I am eager to learn what I will say YES to while saying NO to shopping. I am also eager to compare expenditures in January from those say, last September.

This is like the polar bear dip, I think. January is the longest, darkest, coldest month (beside December, which is full of activity and lights).

This is my way of deepening faith and practice, to have a new approach to daily living. I think when it is over I will have learned to spend less, and more wisely.

Peace, y'all