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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.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/08/29/1011562/-Most-of-you-have-no-idea-what-Martin-Luther-King-actually-did

Palestinian Outrage at Romney Is Understandable


During his visit to Israel last week, Mitt Romney remarked that Israel was so much further advanced than the surrounding

Stateless Palestinian refugees, 1948

Stateless Palestinian refugees, 1948 (Photo credit: BlatantWorld.com)

nations, comparing “her” quite clearly with Palestine… which, due to Israel’s control, isn’t permitted to have the status of being a state or nation.

One Democrat here at home commented that if Romney made such gaffes while he was a tourist, imagine what he would do as President.

I’m fed up with both the GOP and the DEMS, to be honest, but to blame the victim for being poor and “uncultured”, touched a nerve. Below, you’ll find two articles by others who reacted unfavorably.

Dear Mr. Romney: Palestinians are Poor Because You Stole from them and Kept them Stateless.

Israeli PM Netanyahu: “Such behavior does not characterize IDF soldiers.”


Flickr - Israel Defense Forces - Suicide Bombe...

Flickr - Israel Defense Forces - Suicide Bomber Stopped in Gaza (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Israel's Special Forces in Camouflage

Israel's Special Forces in Camouflage (Photo credit: Israel Defense Forces)

I wish this title were true, or even wishful thinking. There are two sides to the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict and this incident illustrates it well.

I’ve heard that at this time when the Palestinians are increasing their efforts at non-violent negotiations and protests, the Israelis are increasing their aggressive behaviors.

As I watched the following short, YouTube clip sent by a Christian friend, several thoughts ran through my mind.

What is Done in Secret?  uL-GmYBNDqY

Sure, the young protesters were there to provoke a response, but they were non-violent. They were present in Israel to call attention to the violence and injustice done towards Palestinians, something seldom seen in the Western press, and not deemed important by American Christians.

That there are real security concerns in Israel is a fact.  The IDF is trained to suspect all Palestinians of the most egregious crimes and behaviors.  They do not differentiate. Imagine an entire nation labeled “Terrorist Killers”! This includes small children, pregnant women, old women and hard working farmers who are Muslim and Christian.

That there is an over diligence and over reaction often to the point of bullying on the part of the IDF and the Government is a well documented fact.

Let’s give the Lt. Col. who over reacted, the benefit of the doubt: PTSD, Family troubles, Stress, Depression, Economic problems may have entered in.  But, consider what happens in similar situations to a lone Palestinian farmer who doesn’t have a camera following him, when he argues with a soldier about the confiscation of his land?

Read what blogger Emily L. Hauser, who left Israel because of their policies toward the Palestinians, has to say.

Israeli PM Netanyahu: “Such behavior does not characterize IDF soldiers.” « Emily L. Hauser – In My Head.

Qur’an burnings indicate need for mission overhaul


Here is a thoughtful article giving some perspective on the Afghan reaction to American Military. The rampage this week of a lone American soldier who went house to house slaughtering innocent people only puts a point to a systemic problem.

I feel sorrow for the families who lost their loved ones, and sorrow for all who are killing out of fear, mental illness, revenge or hatred. It isn’t normal or healthy.

Qur’an burnings indicate need for mission overhaul by Lisa Schirch and Karim Merchant – Common Ground News Service.

Susan G. Komen Should Focus on Research Not Charity


Race for the Cure Logo

Image via Wikipedia

Well, we’ve certainly seen the ugly underbelly of women’s health care this week, haven’t we?

First Susan G. Komen for the Cure withdrew funds from Planned Parenthood, then after a great deal of brouhaha, reversed their decision.

However, during this time, Planned Parenthood’s donations far exceeded the amount of the Susan G. Komen grant.

Does anybody really know why Susan G. Komen withdrew funds in the first place? There is much speculation.

Planned Parenthood assumes that it is because of pressure from Pro-Life activists. Now that they have reversed their decision, it is rumored that Planned Parenthood waged a “mafia” type campaign against them.

Was this truly all about politics and abortion as most people claim?

Two things I learned about Planned Parenthood this week. They are being investigated in several states for illegal activities, and though they do breast exams, they don’t do mammograms.

Apparently, this is big news to some who thought Planned Parenthood was essential for breast exams, but it simply refers women to other places where Mammograms are available.  See the following article:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/planned-parenthood-challenged-on-purported-mammogram-claim/2011/03/30/AFjCFO3B_story.htm

When I think about it, I wonder why an organization supported by donations turns around and donates a lot of money to another organization. It seems like people donating to Susan G.Komen for the Cure intend their money “for the Cure”, for researching a cure for breast cancer, not for Planned Parenthood or any other group.

So, this clarifies things for me. I don’t demonize Planned Parenthood, it provides birth control for women who can’t afford it. I’d like Susan G. Komen to focus on research.  Let Planned Parenthood survive on their own, as this week has proven they can.

An Inside Look at Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s Spin Machine – Jeffrey Goldberg – Health – The Atlantic.

Life Lessons


English: Photograph of Paul McCartney of the T...

Paul McCartney 1964

I turned 64 the other day and the lyrics from the Beatles’ song “When I’m 64” began to run through my brain as if they were programmed. The song was written by Beatle Paul McCartney when he was 16 in 1966. I was a senior in high school.  You’ll find the full song with lyrics below:

love_lyrics_125.htm

The full story can be found here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/When_I%27m_Sixty-Four

None of us imagine being “old” when we’re sixteen, but looking back we remember singing those songs as if it were yesterday.

I only had a few Beatles’ records and seldom listened to the radio. It wasn’t a part of my Christian culture.  My life didn’t revolve around music, but rather cruising the roads in boy’s hot rods piled full with friends, screaming myself silly at basketball games, and on Sundays going to Alliance Youth Fellowship at Church.

I spent a lot of quiet, interior time as well; roaming the woods and pastures, writing stories, sitting in trees, being in companionship with my many dogs and cats.

None of these times prepared me well for my future.

I found family life to be very stressful, though I had longed for it with all my heart.  I never imagined the demands that commitment brings, especially commitment to raising a family, and signing on to self-denial until your children are grown.

This wore me out pretty quickly, and unfortunately, the stress showed in ways that I was unprepared for.  Anger was the most comfortable for me, and most hurtful for my kids.

I learned early that I would be the kind of mother who needed to apologize and seek forgiveness often because I so often flew off the handle with my kids.

Once my husband asked me if I couldn’t “think” before I became angry.  My immediate answer was, “No”, because the anger never gave me time to think, it always just “appeared” suddenly and furiously.

I know my children bear scars from my unpredictability, and that they forgive me now, but it took years for me to accept their forgiveness and to forgive myself.

That I am a different person now is such a relief…and transformation was years in process.  I’m sure God was involved but I had so often asked God for help in the past, and then blown up in anger immediately afterwards, it took something more for me.

Why are some people just naturally better at coping with life, I’ve wondered? Do they not have these explosive tempers? It seemed to me that they never struggled as I did.

I had not realized that I was depressed most of my life, though I was also a pretty happy young person. I would spend dark times in college, suffering through what I know now are depressive episodes where I would question everything but God holding my hand.

“Why art Thou cast down oh my soul, why art Thou disquieted within thee?” Just one of the many Bible verses I would pray out loud as I walked to my Social Work assignment in South Philadelphia in tears of melancholia.

I so longed for, but never found any other person who truly understood me, or came along to help me deal with my intense emotions, though I always tried to be emotionally transparent.  I know I must have appeared capable, pleasant, funny and actually was all those things,  and possibly didn’t have words to ask for help.  I was always called upon to help other people, and did…which just added to my stress.

I could handle being an Resident Assistant, a Social Worker, living and working in a dangerous city in a foreign country, but at the least little unexpected stress in the privacy of our  home I was in danger of falling apart.

There was no formula that worked on me. It took years and(thirty plus) years of counsel, Bible Study, Discipline, and then medication, for me to finally be able to “think” before I become angry.

I’m a pretty calm presence in my home these days, even when the unexpected happens, and I think it comes from trusting that God will work things out for the best and that I don’t have to control everything. He’s still holding my hand.

Now I’m 64!

I would have benefited from more people sharing their life lessons with me. How about you?

Here’s an interesting website called “The Legacy Project” I found at Cornell. It’s a compilation of  the life lessons from 1500 older people.

legacyproject.human.cornell.edu.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/10/health/elderly-experts-share-life-advice-in-cornell-project.html?_r=1&src=tp&smid=fb-share

Seth’s Blog: Insulate yourself…


Seth’s Blog: Insulate yourself….