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  • July 2018
    S M T W T F S
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Small Changes in History

Why make an unnecessary loop around a tree when you can walk straight across a shady yard to reach your goal?

This question gave me new energy yesterday at the end of a very long, hot line in Alexandria, Virginia.  We had been in this line, following several city blocks for almost two hours to see the Coast Guard training vessel, The Barque Eagle. The sun was hot, but families were cheerful as we made our way like turtles towards the entrance gate. I had the feeling that the fathers, on a whole, were much more enthusiastic than their wives and children, as they could be heard in lively conversations, keeping hope alive.

To my surprise, there was very little whining. Our grandson, didn’t complain about his feet hurting, wanting a drink, or sitting down. I didn’t either, nobody did. I heard one little boy behind us say, “We just have to be patient!”

We were reaching the end point of the line, or so we thought, only to find that the straight line that we had been following forever, suddenly did an 350 degree arc around a tree!

WHAT? This didn’t seem to alarm anyone but me. Why were hundreds of people purposely taking a detour away from the entrance? It might have made sense to someone early in the day, but, call me crazy, I wasn’t about to go around a tree in the opposite direction of the gate after standing in the hot sun for two hours.

So, I began to devise a plan of action. I talked to our family and the family in front and back about how we could cut off the arc and begin to straighten out the line. The man in front wanted nothing to do with changing the arc. The women in back thought it made sense. It seemed easy enough.

All it took was one small group of us to go in front of the tree instead of behind it to begin to straighten the arc. Another man in back resisted with a grumble. Why? Then I pointed out that there was more shade IF the line simply went straight rather than circled out-of-the-way around the tree. He made a face. I wondered if it was because I wanted to change things? Was it because I was a woman who wanted to change things? Because he hadn’t thought of it?

He reluctantly followed us inside the arc. Others began to avoid the tree and followed us.

By the time we finished the tour and came back through the line, guess what!? The line was perfectly straight. Directly through the shade, no arc around or even near the tree. I had forgotten about our change, but my husband and grandson pointed it out! I didn’t think our grandson had paid much attention but he did notice that the line had changed shape! Later, he told his dad how “Mimi had changed the shape of the line.”

I pointed out to our grandson that one person or small group (like us) can change history, but you do have to begin doing something different from the crowd. It takes a bit of persuasion, and you will have people who don’t follow or even like the change.

I didn’t tell him that I pondered my actions for a while afterwards. Was I just wanting to “control” something? Why did I think I had to be the one to change the line to be more efficient? Did I like the feeling of irritating those men? No, not really. I don’t understand why other people don’t take initiative to change things. Why do I so often think of ways things could change and then act to change them? Small changes do make a difference. A kind word, a smile, a tender act. Practice makes perfect.

This was a small thing, but I hope he will remember the day his grandparents and he changed the line!


Electing the Unelectable

As I sit here writing about the election in the USA, I know that it is not going to turn out well.

It may seem that I feel hopeless, or depressed, but I’m not. The people of the United States have chosen and as we learn more about the candidates they sink lower in our estimation. That is, both the candidates and the people who inexplicably chose them.

Is anyone really surprised at this? Not many people who I know are surprised. I know many African-Americans who have never felt America was safe for them. I know many Muslims who have lived here a long time, but have never seen the inside of their American neighbors’ home. I know Christians who feel we are “brainwashed” when we talk about many Muslims being good people, who feel that refugees and immigrants are at least taking their jobs and that most will be admitted to the country with no screening.

My friends here in the States seem angry and unwilling to listen to reason or experience different from the voices of pundits who seem to control their thoughts by way of the airways.

So, what will be the outcome of the Election 2016? It would be a start if both candidates humbly sought forgiveness for their wrongdoing from the American people, and settled down to learn how to govern with transparency. This would be one of those miracles we pray for!

But, even the people who begin to govern with bright hope seem to finish in a quagmire of disillusionment. Maybe having no expectations is better than having high expectations like we did when Obama was elected.

Ending on a note of hope!








Two years ago,  I lost my blog and couldn’t remember my way back into it. For the thousands ( yes!) of readers who visited over the years, I apologize for dropping the blog for no apparent reason.

I felt embarrassed to admit the truth, that my mind was so confused  I couldn’t remember how to recover passwords and I decided I wouldn’t try any longer. But, in the years of my blog, as I struggled to find my place, I felt that I had written some good material and I mourned its loss, even as a record of my journey.

Today, while driving out-of-town I realized why my mind has been in such disarray.

In the past six years my husband and I have moved ourselves, our dogs and our possessions into and out of seven homes.

We have had a sabbatical on the ocean, in the mountains, driven cross-country, back again, moved from North to South, settled and resettled and traveled overseas between celebrating marriages and births. It’s all been a bit much for my aging brain.

As I sit by my window, settled into our log home, I look out at restful green fields surrounding me. I am beginning to love this new place, though I held back my affection for a while.

Today was the day I found my blog and my heart let down its guard.

PS. Can I ask your patience as I find my way around WordPress blogging again? Thanks.

Historic Islamic Art Museum “Completely Destroyed”

Egypt’s treasures destroyed

Egyptian Streets

Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities has announced that Cairo’s Islamic Art Museum has been “completely destroyed,” in a moment of anger and frustration.

The Minister’s statements came after a car bomb exploded outside the Museum and the Security Directorate, killing five and injuring more than 80. The explosion was one of three in Cairo today, with one killed at a Metro Station in Dokki.

While the extent of the damage is not yet clear, the Minister was earlier quoted as saying the damage is in the “tens of millions of dollars,” but vowed to restore the Museum and any antiquities that remain.

The Islamic Art Museum in Cairo houses one of the most extensive and important collections of Islamic art in the world. The Museum displays priceless Islamic art work from all periods of Islamic history, including one of the rarest copies of the Quran.

Until 2010, the Museum had been closed for…

View original post 30 more words

New York Jews Blast De Blasio Over AIPAC Speech

Rethinking Foreign Policy

A group of prominent Jewish leaders in New York have sent a letter to the city’s new mayor, Bill De Blasio sharply criticizing him for the fawning and kowtowing speech he secretly made to AIPAC. It’s short and to the point–AIPAC doesn’t speak for these Jews and, I’ll add, AIPAC doesn’t speak for most Jews or Israelis. It’s high time these people, who are not only causing immense harm to Palestinians but are also determined to lead Israelis over a cliff and US Jews to the end of the era of our history most free of anti-Semitism were confronted in no uncertain terms. They have money and hate, and nothing else. They represent no one but themselves.

Here is the letter:

View original post 302 more words

Bono on the difference between Grace and Karma

Resistance & Renewal

Bono_on_Bono_Cover“It’s a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the Universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people, but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma…

You see, at the centre of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you; an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics – in physical laws – every action is met by an equal or opposite one.  Its clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the universe.  I’m absolutely sure of it.

And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that “As you reap, so will you sow” stuff.  Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news…

View original post 286 more words

Freedom From Terror: MLK JR’s Legacy

“Your father and his brother, the mayor, came into the kitchen with a rope. They said a black man had raped a white woman and they were going out hunting for him. I was terrified.”

Until I was an adult, my mother had told me nothing about her dashing, handsome husband, my birth father.

She asked me not to look for him because he was “dangerous.” I honored her request until I was forty-seven years old, when I searched for and found my father, an old man living in South Georgia.

Mom was a beautiful, small town Northern Pennsylvania school teacher who had spent years caring for her sick mother. He, a charming Southern soldier on leave, had swept her off her feet. They married on a whim. On their honeymoon, he took her to visit his traditional, southern family where she discovered his true identity.

With a flare towards the romantic, mom picked her china pattern, ‘The Georgian’ by Homer Laughlin,  learned to make Southern Biscuits, got on a train back to Pennsylvania and seldom saw the man she married until after WWII.

He returned to discuss divorce, disown me, and disappear. He never appeared in our family story until I found him in his kitchen forty-seven years later.

“I always wondered what happened to you, but I never did anything about it.” sad words from my elderly father, as I sat at his knee bawling.

We spoke on the phone several times and then three months later he died. The end.  Yet my work was just beginning. I needed to forgive the trauma and loneliness, depression and anger that remained in me.

When I read this article, I remembered him again and thought about the terror he was responsible for in that Southern town so many years ago.