Sunday, November 6, 2011

About dialogue, part 2

With continued thanks to the International Association for Public Participation, whose excellent material I'm sharing and expounding on.

In dialogue, we seek to find common ground, not to 'win.'. The problem about winning is that it means someone else has lost. In common ground, we share. And from that common ground we can build greater understanding and find yet more common ground.

In dialogue, we listen to understand, not to find flaws. When someone is understood, they are more open and willing to work with you. When you find flaws, the other often closes, becomes defensive, and cannot be open to you or your ideas.

I deeply wish American political parties would seek common ground and to listen to understand.

Peace, y'all


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Dialog vs debate

Here's an excerpt from some excellent training I just attended

Dialogue: a technique based on the art of thinking together--listening and thinking beyond one's position. The primary purpose is to reveal meaning and create an opportunity for learning, shared meaning, and aligned actions.

This resonates with me so much my head hums. I realize this technique can be applied to other challenges than peacemaking-even to antithetical purposes. Yet these techniques call to me.
1. Assume others have pieces of the answer.

Duh! The notion that there's one right answer is scary-wrong. It nay work for debate, and for other situations with winners and losers. But not for the path to a better tomorrow, in which there are just winners.

More to follow.

Peace, y'all


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Trying to make the world a better place

Here's what I'm up to.
Selling paper beads from Uganda--bead for life, check it out. My good friend Kathy is having a party featuring my beads.

Tonight I serve dinner to a very close friend and an old friend of my husband's who is back in our life.

Friday I'm bringing dinner to the gay kids at out local center for the LBGTQ youth.

I have signed one petition today, to fight slavery. I signed and mailed an old-fashioned letter to my congressman.

I will help my husband find ways to pursue his own list of causes (Especially the ones I agree with).

It is not a huge list of peacemaking steps but it's a start. Any suggestions?

Peace y'all


Saturday, October 29, 2011

How to make peace on a Saturday afternoon

Taking a break from a chore I dislike and wondering 'what can I do today that has the greatest impact?" the followon question is then 'to what end?'. Since this is my peace blog, I suppose I should consider my peacemaking goals. Hmmm. As I write this I'm exercising one of ny wonderful First Amendment rights. I think I'll exercise them more today. Sign some petitions, write Congress, write legislators. And make a nice vegetarian meal.

Any other suggestions for peacemaking on a Saturday afternoon?

Peace, y'all


Friday, October 28, 2011

Occupying our town --weekend warriors

It's Friday, so the work week is ending. In my community this means the town square occupiers will soon assemble. That's because our occupiers are blessed with jobs--good jobs for many of them. So they rally on the weekends. We have outrage, though, and are glad to be part of a wider movement. Let others laugh. We vote with our feet and our wallets.

Better times will come, but we have to work for them.

Peace, y'all


Monday, October 24, 2011


Today I'm in the big city and walked by a park where homeless people camp. It makes me uncomfortable. Knowing that bad luck, drugs and mental illness cause people tinkled their homes,jobs and family is bad. Seeing it is worse. That I live in a society that tolerates this is intolerable.

Our nation has a huge disparity between it's richest and poorest citizens. CITIZENS. What rights can homeless people practically exercise?

Something for me to think about.

Peace, y'all


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

On occupy Wall Street

I support Occupy Wall Street. Though I am financially secure, I'm only one medical disaster from becoming a have-not. Also I feel outrage that the financiers who wrecked our economy were bailed out--by American taxpayers--while those same taxpayers saw their jobs disappear and their mortgages implode.

Things are a mess. I'm thankful I have a home, a job, and a full tummy. Wish everyone else did too.

Peace y'all


Sunday, October 16, 2011

On community

A sense of community is so important. I feel blessed by friends and neighbors, kindred spirits, people I like and people I love.

Talk about an antidote to mainstream poison!

I shared breakfast with a neighbor. Eggs from my backyard, peaches from his, and coffee fresh from the roasting plant he maintains. So pleasant!

Later on we got a visit from the little girl living on one side of my home, and a visit with the woman on the other side a little later. Also had a call from my closest friend and will host two other close friends for dinner. Yes, today I've seen and heard from many people close to me. And I glow with contentment.

Community? Sort of. There's also the Facebook community. And office community. Etc. This web of human connections supports and nutures me. I'm grateful.

Peace, y'all


Saturday, October 15, 2011

These poisonous times we're in

My emails are full of partisan messages that the other party is ruining our nation, so give some money by midnight. I get several each day. I usually glance to be sure it's just a request for $$ and not a petition or request that I use my voice somehow.

My Facebook newsfeed has lots of funny or pointed messages to illustrate the same basic thing--what's wrong in the world and particularly our nation.

I feel poisoned.

There is a lot wrong in the world but there is a lot that's right. For a while I will focus on the good and the right, because this poison makes me feel bad. Hope I haven't poisoned you too.

Peace, y'all


Friday, October 14, 2011

On slavery in the 21st century

In the 21st century we call slavery 'human trafficking.' oh please. What's wrong with calling it something we all recognize? Slavery slavery slavery!

There was quite an outcry some yeas ago when it was revealed that some designer's clothing was made in overseas sweatshops. Where is the outcry over the abuse of children in cocoa production? How can one eat chocolate knowing it has cost some innocent child his freedom, safety, family, peace, and hope?

Something else I wonder about, is why don't descendants of American slaves speak out against 21st century slavery.

Slavery is hidden because it's wrong and evil. Today, we have all kinds of ways to shed light in dark corners. Let's reveal abuses wherever and whenever we can.

Peace, y'all


Monday, October 10, 2011

The true cost of our occupation of Afghanistan

This blog entry won't convey the full costs of our role in Afghanistan these past 10 years. A full accounting is probably impossible.

Direct costs in last 10 years in Iraq and Afghanistan are$1.3 trillion. True dollar costs are 3 or 4 times higher.

While we've spent trillions in so-called nation building (which entails killing, terrorizing, and maiming people 'over there'), we've been neglecting the building of our own nation here. Was it worth it? Is Afghanistan better now? Are we?

I cannot quantify the loss of human life, the wounding, both physically and mentally. Money is something we all use and deal with.

The $4 Trillion or so we've spent on these wars comes to about $13,000 for EVERY man, woman and child in the US. Of course, that's money we grownups don't have to pay, because we borrowed it! While Congress enacted 3 tax cuts for the wealthy, and Obama followed suit, we pass this bill off for our children and their children.

The $122 billion for our war in Afghanistan in 2011 could have paid for
  • 62.5 million children receiving low-income healthcare for one year OR
  • 1.8 million elementary school teachers OR
  • 2 million firefighters OR
  • 22 million students getting Pell Grants of $5550 for college.

It's wrong, wrong, Wrong to continue this war.  Or to have ever undertaken it in the first place.

Peace, y'all

Saturday, October 8, 2011

10 years, $1.5trillion in Afghanistan

Yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of America's invasion and occupation of Afghanistan.

No longer proud to be American. Maybe still lucky, but not proud.

Peace, y'all


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

More on synergy and slave chocolate

More divine synergy. Last night inboards a small party to sell beads made in Uganda. Our conversation turned to slavery in chocolate. One guest sells fair trade chocolate at her church, and last night I learned she does not eat slave chocolate either. Kindred spirit, this one!

More synergy. Another friend of mine who knows about my chocolate abstinence and concern about slavery forward to me an email about a meeting next week in my city about slavery in chocolate! There will be a documentary called The Dark Side of Chocolate, from 2010. I am so glad to get an update on the implementation of the Harkin-Engel protocol. Documentaries don't always have long shelflives, so it's great to see a fairly new program.

Synergy. If you ask, it may come. By sharing my concern, others pick it up and amplify it.

My chocolate-abstaining guest also shares my concern about immigration reform. And living greenly. We even went to the same college!

More on slave chocolate later.

Peace, y'all


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cat Lovers Against the Bomb

Yesterday a coworker admired my calendar's October calendar cat, and ended up looking through the whole calendar. She was looking for the entries such as "Fluffy, age 12, returned home to Des Moines after stowing away to Denver, in just 3weeks in 1988."

While seeking entries like that, we both saw many other anniversaries related to peace and justice.

Through love of cats I reached someone I would not expect to have much in common with.

Thank you, Nebraskans for Peace, for this fine calendar, and maybe you'll thank me when this coworker buys the 2012 calendar!

Speaking of buying, tonight I hold a bead for life party and I sure hope I sell lots of beads--and raise more Ugandans out of poverty,

Peace y'all


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Converging thoughts:

We have temporal lives and spiritual lives.

We have physical health and beauty and spiritual beauty and health.

We make the world better when we focus on our and other's spiritual health and beauty and life.

Peace, y'all


Friday, September 30, 2011

I'm a role model!!

A short visit with an old friend today has me in a happy and contented orbit. She told me she is taking a page from my book and starting a retail abstinence to save some money.


This so surprised and pleased me. That to someone who I admire, I have something to share, and

I'm a role model!!!

It's also a good day because I sold (so far)$30 in beads today, and I found out the source of chocolate our favorite bakery uses. Guittard. Looks fairly fair trade, though the more I learn about chocolate production, the more slippery that concept becomes.

I see myself as a peacemaker and when my behavior influences another's, I'm really glad.

Peace, y'all


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hello reader(s) in Indonesia!

A year ago, blogspot started offering "stats" so bloggers can see where readers are from, which blog entries get read, how readers come to the site, and the like.

It thrills me to know my modest thoughts about peacemaking are read across the globe.

For several days someone or ones from Indonesia have been reading, so I want to say hello, and thank you! Will you tell me via comments what resonates, and what ideas my writing leads you to?

Readers in USA, Canada, Australia, Belarus, China, France, ANYWHERE--thanks and Hi to you too. What ideas have I inspired? What has resonated? What did you disagree with? What have I missed?

Peace, Y'all


Monday, September 26, 2011

Peacemaking priorities

This weekend I listed my peacemaking priorities. These are the areas I care about most deeply and where I want to put my efforts (and money). There are so many worthy causes, some related to peace and some not.

Human rights, fighting slavery and torture and supporting the work of Amnesty International.

Climat change- cutting carbon personally, urging and helping others, and changing laws and rules.

Immigration reform

Clean water for all

Opposition to war--the bloated military budget, landmines, and obsolete and overpriced weapons. Justice for veterans.

Prison reform, mitigating the new Jim Crow, harsh sentencing, and supporting marijuana decriminalization.

Repairing the impacts of racism and colonialism.

Protecting abortion rights

Help prevent abortions and unwanted pregnancy through family planning



Health care reform.

This list helped me say no to a fundraising appeal that came to me this weekend.

What's on your list, friends?



Friday, September 23, 2011

Moving planet day is tomorrow

Tomorrow's the big day for's big event, Moving Planet. In dozens of countries, hundreds of communities.

I will not drive that day. Not because I'm using an alternative means, just because I'll be at a camp for the weekend.

Last few days I have not driven. When I do drive, it's in a hybrid. So I have some room for improvement, probably other areas will be more fruitful in my personal quest to lower carbon levels.

How about you?

Peace, y'all


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

On homelessness.

Home. Home is where the heart is. The ultimate aim of all ambition is to be happy at home, so said someone long ago.

II love my home. It's comfortable and pretty, and every part of it reflects the tastes and efforts of my husband and me. There is no other home I like so well, though I do suffer some kitchen envy when I visit a few friends.

Today, visiting the big city, I saw homeless people. I tried to truly see them, not to stare but not to ignore either. I am so grateful for my lovely safe home. How I wish everyone were so blessed.

The book Nickeled and Dimed revealed to me the surprising number of employed people who are homeless, and how difficult it is to find a decent place to live when you live check to check.

The USA's poverty rate is determined based on what it costs to feed someone or a family. Yet food prices in the US are low, artificially and inappropriately so. So you can have a full belly but no place to set it down to rest?

Income polarization is a bad thing.

What are your thoughts on affordable housing and homelessness?

Peace, y'all


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Quaker Query opposing war

I found this query on my computer this evening, and am ever so glad I did.

Do you live in the life and power which takes away the occasion for all wars? Do you refuse to participate in or cooperate with all military effort? Do you work actively for peace and the removal of the causes of wars? Do you endeavor to cultivate good will, mutual understanding, and equal opportunities for all races, creeds and nations? Have you examined your lifestyle and possessions to make sure that the seeds of war are not found in them?

Hmmmm. Seeds of war? Like driving a car that runs on gasoline? Like buying clothes made by exploited workers? Or chocolate grown by child slaves?

It isn't comfortable to think of how my life and possessions hold seeds of war.

Even less comfortable is the question about cooperating with military effort. I do pay income taxes, so I directly subsidize my nation's greedy military. Maybe one day I'll have so little income that don't. That day is not yet here.

I do endeavor to cultivate goodwill. The Bead sale is one clear and recent example.

I guess I answer the query with Yes, Not Really, Yes, I Really Try, and Yes--but no.

Peace, Y'all


Monday, September 19, 2011

Using less energy

I want to buy a Nissan Leaf. I want to drive a car with zero emissions. Well, near zero. It runs on electricity, and where I live, 5% of thevpower comes from coal. So when I charge the battery, the electricity will come from somewhere. Some nukes, some hydro, some coal, a dab of wind and solar and a few other things.

Taking the first step will be my contribution to the Moving Planet event sponsored by

Peace, y'all


Sunday, September 18, 2011

On God letters

In my own shorthand, for my perpetual lists, that's what I called my letters to leaders on subjects I felt called to write about to promote peace and justice.  I used to write regularly to my representatives in Congress, the President, the heads of state Amnesty International asked me to write to, and my representatives in the state legislature.
Replies were predictable and rarely satisfying. 

Still, especially in these days of email and online petitions (which I sign frequently), a single letter has value.  Even if the response is rote, the decision makers tally the letters.  More than 5 letters (of the non-formletter type, the truly personal ones) constitute grassroots clamour, a true groundswell.

So I should keep on with the God letters, even though it's a chore.  And so should you!  

Last Christmas I derived great pleasure from writing big checks to charity.   I wonder if I could also derive pleasure from writing God letters?   I wonder which has great impact, my voice or my money? 

Money is finite.  Voice, like love, is infinite.   I guess I should use the gift of language for good, and exercise those marvelous First Amendment rights more vigorously. 

And so should you.  Let's clamour for peace and justice!  Let's make a groundswell of public support!

Peace, y'all


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Racial justice websites

Cribbed from the Quarterly publication of the Southeastern Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends:


Now to translate the source of this list. Quaker group from SE USA quarterly publication.

Peace, y'all


Friday, September 16, 2011

An integrated life

So many things relate to peace for me. Helping others. Speaking out for justice. Living more simply. Fighting to protect the environment. Advocating for gay kids and immigration reform.

I find these good deeds also promote sustainability.

A more sustainable world will have a better standard of life for the world's have-nots. There will be more justice, more mercy, better health for children, adults, animals and ecosystems.

I see continuity and integration. When I encourage my colleagues to act more sustainable, that helps make the world better.

I put a lot of effort toward sustainability. I don't think it diverges from peacemaking. I think it converges, complements, and contributes to my very nonlinear path to peacemaking.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Here I go again. I'm leading another Eco-team. Last time was really disappointing, yet here I go!

I somehow caught wind of an Internet-based initiative from Portland called the 2011 Eco-Challenge. It's pretty straightforward. Change one behavior for 2 weeks.

Visit Sign up. Form a team, or join one. Then get ready to change a habit to make it greener!

By lowering my carbon footprint I will make the world a little better. By eating more simply I'll increase my understanding of people who have so much less than I.

Wish me luck!!!

Peace, y'all


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

On Truth

Quakers are more formally known as the Religious Society of Friends. What are we friends of?


Truth is Godly. Total truth is amazing and hard to behold. It's hard to achieve. Yet as with peace, we must continue to try.

I like to believe I live in truth and integrity but if I look at myself more honestly, I realize truth is more than not lying.

Watching the Republicans' so-called debate (an inaccurate description, more like a group interview) refreshes my awareness of how cavalierly truth is abused.

I will strive for a deeper level of honesty. I wonder where it will lead?

Peace, y'all


Monday, September 12, 2011

On terrorism

On the Interfaith Peace Walk Saturday, I walked for a while with a nonreligious Jew, who is a good friend of mine. He suggested, and I agree, that terrorism has filled America's 'enemy' role that Communism held for so long. Yes, the shoe fits.

And perhaps our nation's heavy-handed response is the 21st century version of McCarthyism from 60 years ago.

If so, I have cautious optimism that the fervor will cool down and we can get on with our lives with the threat in the background.

Peace, y'all


Sunday, September 11, 2011

On 9/11

The memories of 9/11 are inescapable.  So here are my own reflections.   Maybe I can contribute something new to the morass.

I am so sorry our nation squandered the good will offered to us by other people in other nations.  That our response was military is very sadly predictable.

The boy scouts in my town had a project to put up 2900 or so flags to commemorate each life lost in the tragedy ten years ago.  The flags line a long road and it's quite impressive.  The little boys don't remember a life before the tragedy, and that is a really sad thing.

Our nation has become nastier since 9/11/01.  Embroiled in 2 wars of choice, partisan politics making government completely dysfunctional.   The far right and far left are getting further apart.  This is scary.   The planet's hot, the rhetoric hotter.  Gas prices are high but not high enough to get us to give up our gas hogs. 

The price of higher education is in the stratosphere.   In 2006 or 2007 I bought share in my state's 529 plan at $70/share.   Today those shares cost $163.

10 years ago I got the news while at the gym.  Maybe I'll revisit that gym and see if all my parts still work.

We are no longer #1, except in military might, per capita waste, per capital wealth, and medical technology.  Our people are not healthier, our children are not the most successful in school, and our reputation is in shatters.  

I'm so sorry. 

How do we get better?   Well, we must think globally and act locally.  Do no harm. 

Peace, y'all


Saturday, September 10, 2011

On slavery, chocolate, underwear and abstinence

Clothing shopping abstinence ended in August and I ackowledged it with a trip to buy new underwear. It was high time too, because during my 12 months of clothing shopping abstinence, most of my underwear got pretty ratty. Every morning when I don a new pair, I so appreciate my ability to buy new things! Now I'm abstaining from chocolate. It has been just over two weeks and it hasn't been that hard. Why chocolate? A curious combination of events. 1. I finished reading Chocolate Wars, which ended with Kraft's takeover of Cadbury. 2. I looked, but couldn't find Cadbury's chocolate in my usual store. 3. Alarmed, I checked in another store. 4. I found the Cadbury chocolate! But it was made in USA by Hershey under license by Cadbury. 5. Same day, I read Cadbury's Dairy Milk bars are now Fair Trade (but what I read was written before the Kraft takeover). 6. Also on same day, I got an email askingvmevto sign a petition to protest against Hershey using forced labor from immigrants. I sent inquiries to Cadbury and Kraft to ask if the chocolate I buy in the US is slavery free. I don't have answers yet. So -- no chocolate till I find out. I'm pretty sure fair trade, organic chocolate is slavery free. But what about the chocolate in chocolate chips? Ice cream? Mocha drinks? Oreos? Peace Y'all Molly

Monday, June 27, 2011

Globalization comes home

Yesterday I took my daughter shopping for shorts. While she deliberated, I looked at labels. Vietnam. Indonesia. India. Pakistan. Bangladesh. Mexico. Guatemala. Haiti. Dominican Republic. China China China. Is it possible to find new clothes made by union workers rather than nearly certainly exploited young women?

I am in the tenth month of my yearlong moratorium from clothing shopping (for me). What a great respite it has been from temptation, yearning, time-wasting and closet cluttering!

For clothes to be so cheap after being transported literally across the planet means those workers can't be earning much. This bothers me.

When my year of abstinence ends I will still practice extreme restraint.

Peace, y'all


Thursday, May 26, 2011

On Memorial Day

Another Military holiday. This one to honor those who died in military service to the US. Coming at the end of May, it also serves as the unofficial start of summer. I hope the summer brings more peace in the world, but I doubt it.

Peace y'all


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Can people really listen?

An old saying is that God gave us two ears and one mouth. So we should listen twice as much as we speak. Yet we are so quick to speak, and to share our own views, what we think, what we've experienced. I like silence. I like to listen for the birds. I like the freedom and space that silence gives us.

Asci write this I realize I should be listening. I'm going to take my own advice and listen carefully.

Peace, y'all


Monday, May 2, 2011

On the murder of Osama Bin Laden

I can't feel joy about this. I recognize the closure many Americans feel, and am glad for the closure. But not the death. Proverbs 24.17 advises "do not gloat when your enemy falls;when they stumble, do not rejoice."

I felt embarrassed seeing the gloating crowds outside the White House last night.

I hope my nation can heal. That we can focus on helping each other, on forming a more perfect union, rather than on vengeance.

Hope this chapter passes quickly

Peace, y'all


Thursday, April 28, 2011

On simplicity

My work to declutter my study continue, and I'm nearly done with the paper part. Next, cleaning, restoring, painting.

Decluttering is to simplicity as...registering to vote is to justice?

I realize the path I'm on leads to a simpler condition. The path is dirty and dusty, filled with emotional and sentimental obstacles. Some I cast into the recycle bin with cathartic satisfaction. Some went into the bin with a fond farewell. The material remains in my heart, but not my drawers. Some obstacles I keep to be someone else's issue some other day.

I like my study now. It is not yet pretty, but it's airy and open, a huge change. In a few days it will be much prettier, because I will clean this weekend and order new windowblinds.

Simplicity....thus freed from clutter, my heart is lighter and I feel the promise of possibilities. I will be a better person soon. Perhaps I am already?

Peace, Y'all


Monday, April 25, 2011

Immigration Reform in the US-- where do we start?

My continuing concern about the plight of the fired dairy workers from RubyRidge Dairy in SE Washington brings me to the immigration debate. Comprehensive immigration reform will shine the light of justice into America's darker corners. It is the workers' undocumented status that lets owners to exploit their workers.

Here is a website that shatters a few myths about immigrants in the US.

Please share this, especially readers in the USA.

Peace, y'all


Sunday, April 10, 2011

A nice evening

I hosted two of my best friends for dinner tonight. What a pleasant evening. Living the good life...

Peace y'all


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Climate deniers

A coworker sent me a link to Sunday's New York Times editorial by Paul Krugman. It is titled "The truth, still inconvenient."

You can google it by the title. Since I'm writing this via my iPhone I can't hyperlink, sorry.

Climate deniers set up a technical study to refute climate change. The deck was stacked, yet the guy they picked changed his mind in the luligjtvof the overwhelming evidence.

I'm ashamed of my country. There are many good people, but the climate deniers will paralyze us. And if the US fails to take action, we are sealing our doom.

No peace if we keep wrecking our planet

Peace y'all


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The 47 nationalities of workers who I met

Here they are, in no particular order

South Africa
St. Vincent
Costa Rica
South Korea

Just writing this list down helps me remember the wonderful people and hold them in the light

Peace, y'all


Monday, March 28, 2011

A troubling question

I watched a silly poolside contest on my recent vacation. The swimsuit-clad contestants had to answer this question: suppose you became president of the United States. What would you do to advance the cause of world peace?

What indeed? What can I do right now, right here?

Living right and simply is not enough.

Suggestions, anyone?

Peace y'all


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I feel connected to the world

I just came back from a visit to five Carribean cities. I saw faces and tried new languages, left my money behind here and there. Also I went bird watching and it was wonderful.

I was on a cruise. I really wondered how to work for peace on a ship dedicated to luxury and pleasure. The answer surprised me.

First, the ship's environmental officer spoke to my group and revealed all the ways the ship protects the environment. That was a comforting revelation.

Also, I challenged myself to find as many of the 62 nationalities of ship employees as I could. I found 47!!

It was fun. And it had the surprising dividend of helping me see faces, learn stories, and relate to these workers much more sincerely and deeply. I already miss my new friends.

Seeing faces and learning stories are two paths to peace. Even in the lap of luxury!!

Next post (or soon, anyway) I'll list those nationalities. If I had the skill I'd post an illustrated world map, too.

Peace, y'all


Sunday, February 27, 2011

On civil disobedience

Dissent is democratic and civil disobedience is a courageous version of it. It has given women the vote, ended legal racial discrimination, toppled colonial rule and recently, autocratic oppression.

It won't work without the press though. We need the press to share the news, show the courage of dissenters and cruelty of power. Hooray for the press.

I get a lot of my news through friends on Facebook. So I don't use mainstream media the way I used to. Still I cherish my local paper, though I ignore a lot of it.

I see things coming to a head. I am asking myself for what issues am I willing to be arrested. I don't have an answer yet but there is a lot of value in asking.

The first thing thatccomes to me is gratitude, for the press, for my FirstvAmendment rights, and that I have enough years and money to be able to contemplate earning a criminal record without fearing it much

Peace, y'all


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Income distribution in the US -- an ugly truth

-I'm pretty sure this will link to the article that concerns me today.

Peace, y'all


Stop the world, I want to get off!

That's an expression my mother taught me. I know we lack the ability to leave this world. Gravity ensures this. I thought of this expression because so very much is going on, I'd like to slow things down and deal with them one at a time.

Democracy is breaking out in Africa and breaking down in the US -- or so it seems as the rich get richer and try taking still more from the environment and the working people.

Mother Jones magazine posted a very graphic article on Feb 7 that clearly shows how the wealthy in our nation are getting more. I'm blogging from my phone so I can't link to it now. But I will.

The uneven distribution of wealth undermines peace and justice. I wish the wealthy could see the impacts of their wealth.

Peace, y'all


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Peacemaking - my day job

To further the pursuit of peace today I will strive to hold the spirit of recent meetings for worship. Peace in my daily rounds. Grace for everyone. Peace y'all


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

First Amendment Rights in Action at Quaker Lobby Day

Yesterday I flexed most of my first amendment rights. I prayed. I assembled. I spoke. I petitioned the govt.

I am glad I went to Olympia and lobbied. Yet--I am so aware that those who lobby more than I do, who can give our elected officials golf trips and the like, are so much more successful and effective than I.

I really liked seeing so much democracy in one place. Lots of union folks, lots of kids, signs to save our kids, save our schools, protect state workers.

I guess I see democracy around me all the time, but not the baring of the stark reality of the competition of values. It was there, in the state Capitol, where people travel to plead their case.

I am glad to be home, yet I want to remain engaged. The measures I care about help to make the world better. Must keep trying.

Peace, y'all


Sunday, February 20, 2011

More on Micah's words

Months ago these words started germinating in me. "what does the Lord require but that we love mercy, act justly and walk with our God?". Today I thought hard on these words. In English, mercy and justice are sort of opposites. And love is more than sentiment, it's action, an active verb. So it's clear to me what it means to walk with God. (though it is hard to do). But nurturing both justicevand mercy is still a puzzle.

Then a serendipitous thing happened. Tomorrow is Quaker Lobby Day in my state Capitol, and 'the issues we'll lobby on are criminal justice!! Talk about justice and mercy.

Quakers in my state place priority on efforts to repair the harm suffered by victims over soohong punishments to offenders.

We want to enable offenders to redeem themselves and reintegrate in society.

We wantto replace costly incarceration through diversion, drug treatment, job training, and education.

We want to redress racial inequity of the current criminal justice system.

Tomorrow I will lobby with Micah's guidance. I don't think God requires this. I think God prepared me for tomorrow some how.

Peace, y'a, and act justly, love mercy, and walk with God!


Saturday, February 19, 2011

democracy, freedom, and the Middle East

Such exciting times these are.  Tunisia, Egypt, now citizens across the Middle East are stirring.  The U.S. must rethink its position in Middle East--supporting autocrats if they sell us oil and don't make war on Israel.  Advocating democracy is very close to the heart and soul of American policy.  Yet when the Palestinians held an election and chose Hamas, the US turned away.  As if the US has never used terror as a tool! 

The pro-Israel lobby is very powerful in Congress.  Will it hang the US out to dry?  Will it keep our nation in a 20th century paradigm? 

Yes, things are a-changing.  I am watching.  I'm wondering.  I'm eager to see what the future looks like. 

Peace, y'all


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Revealing myself

The de-cluttering continues. I have found some stuff from the 1980s that is now on its way to scanning, shredding, and recycling. Most of the detritus is paper. I realized last night that the clutter has obscured from me a clear sense of self, and what I've found helps me know myself. I like the me I have found, and I'm ready to say goodbye to the parts that bury me in their 'shoulds.'

I think I've already noticed I'm more effective in doing what I think I should do.

Enough about me. How goes the stroll through life for thee?

Peace, y'all


Sunday, February 6, 2011

What do I fear?

Thinking today about what makes people believe as they do. Is our nation on a path to ruin? Is the planet in peril from climate change? Will the US lose its comprtitive edge? What will happen when white people are the minority in this country? Are we becoming a socialist country? Will the US go broke?

These are not my own fears, except the first two, and the last one. I wonder if exploring fears is a way to determine what really matters to people, and what information they are getting, or not getting.

I have a fear related to global warming. I fear the collapse of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. I would like to see it before it disappears.

Beloved readers, what do you fear?

Peace, y'all


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Clean my room, clean up my life

In the few weeks I have been purging my cluttered study, I have discovered a lot of things. First, the rest of my home deserves the same treatment. Second, I am ready to let goof far more than I ever imagined. Third, I am who I am, and have been for some time. Things I wrote or collected years ago still resonate. Fourth, this clutter has been far more limiting and crippling than I ever realized.

Part of project has me talking to folks with same kind of house as I live in. One is a retired pastor who enlightened me. She has helped many people close the home of someone who has died. The deceased's treasures become thrift store fodder. How much of this stuff do I want to take into the next chapter of my life?

It is a big question. So this de-cluttering is leading me to evaluate what matters to me, and what I want to leave for my daughter to deal with when I die.

Peace, y'all


Monday, January 31, 2011

Seek first to understand

On a recent drive I held a conversation with an imaginary companion who was scornful of liberals.  I explained my position.  Then I realized I had failed to observe the third habit of Highly Effective People - Seek first to understand-- and I really should listen to the other person.  Since that person was imaginary, that's as far as it went.

Not really.

I realized that my articulating my views, I was seeking first to understand--to understand myself.  Have you asked yourself why you believe what you believe?  That's what I did, and below I share.


Thank you, planet!  Thanks, nation, society, and community!
I didn't ask to be born, nor did I really choose it.  Yet, here I am. I KNOW I have taken more from the planet (and my community and etc) than I have given back.   I eat food and return mere compost.  I use far more resources than most other living things on the planet, because I am human.  And since I'm American (again, not by choice but by fate), I use far more resources than most of the planet's other people. 

The planet and society benefit and nurture me.  So--I owe.  To say thank you, I must give back. 

Government must stick up for the little guy -- and girl.
Unless a higher power intervenes, the big will prevail over the little, the strong over the weak, the rich over the poor.  Predators eat prey that is smaller than they are.  Bullies are the big kids.  Sports teams choose the biggest players.  In many sports, we match contestants for size because it's such an obvious advantage.  A bigger army usually vanquishes the smaller.  Etc.

It's why the U.S. has a Senate, where a Senator from a tiny state has the same power as a Senator from a big state. 

Now our government is of the people, for the people, and by the people.  The government's role is to protect ALL the people, weak and strong, big and little, rich and poor.  To do this the government must make sure the strong don't prevail over the weak. 

That's the basis of labor laws.  Employers, you must pay workers.  You cannot work them too many hours.  You cannot use slaves.  You cannot use children.  You must provide a safe workplace.  Etc.  

Could a business make more money if it didn't have to follow these rules?  Certainly!  

Children are weak, small, and powerless.  So our government makes laws and regulations to protect them.

Our environment and the living things that live --but don't vote, or contribute to electoral campaigns--are weak too.  They cannot fight back if some pollutes or abuses.  Government must protect these too. 

Absolute power corrupts absolutely. 

We all want to live in a safe community with clean air and water, pretty open spaces, plenty of beauty.  Unbridled industry doesn't create these.  A government protecting the common good does.

These thoughts are not fully refined,   But what I did on that trip was seek first to understand--myself.  Now I'd like to hear from conservatives and understand what underlies their beliefs.

Peace, y'all

Thursday, January 27, 2011

On what goes around...

Last two weeks, I have undertaken a huge and overdue effort, clearing the clutter in my home study. What a process! It's dirty. There's dust and fur (my cats like this room and have contributed to its chaos by knocking things off surfaces). There is evidence of worse cat behavior, too.

Amid the boxes of stuff that is mostly going to be recycled, each day I have found a treasure. Things I have despaired of ever finding, genealogical treasures, various coins, cards and such that are worth real money, photos I had forgotten about.

Also this effort takes me back in time to the year the clutter settled in there.

I have found a leaders guide for Simplicity Circles. Environmental guides. Climate chain info from 18 years ago (alsojournal articles from that era on the need to reform health care in this country).

It helps me realize I've been working on same thing a long time, and that though thevissues persist, they change. So I recycled facts about consumer waste from 1994.

Maybe instead of recycling all this, I'll get it shredded so it can have further use as bedding or cage liners....

The boxes and boxes of STUFF I am ready, even eager to pitch (responsibly). It's daunting, sobering really.

I hope I never again create chaotic clutter like this.

Peace, Y'all


Sunday, January 23, 2011

On the verge of something....

I feel I'm on the brink of something. I've had strange dreams and I'm getting my home in order. Like a bird gestating inside the shell...soon I think I will break through with some new blaze of epiphany, inspiration, or activity. Beloved readers, what are you doing this winter to make the world a better place?

Peace, y'all


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

True confession - what I want in my obituary

Today I did an exercise in visualizing my memorial service, and what would I want others to say about me. This put me in touch with my most deeply held values and revealed the contrast between what I strive for and and what I really do.

What I want to show for my life is this: the planet's highest honor, the Nobel Peace Prize.

Yup, that's what I want. Now I realize I must work on my pride issues. I also will write to the 2009 winner and urge him to live up to the faith placed on him with this award.

Peace, y'all