The Power of Knowing History

I am reading Readers Digest’s  The American Presidents. It is an older edition and only goes up to Clinton but I am fascinated by all those who came before. Strangely, reading history in this way is lightening the dark mood I was in as I watch what seems to be a disintegration of our democracy. Thomas Jefferson is still my favorite president and, so far, Andrew Jackson is my least favorite. I can’t tell you how much he reminds me of our current president and, strangely, Trump called Jackson a great man. I don’t know if he said that about any other of our past presidents.

What I find interesting is what historians are always telling us…that history repeats itself. I have heard that a sure sign of insanity is when a person does the same thing over and over again and expects different results. By this definition, the United states is insane. And you would think that reading about this cycle of events, decisions, and consequences, my dark mood would darken further. But I see as I read that within those cycles were some very positive places. We always seemed to come back to the original revolutionary beliefs of the founders. I guess we just don’t fully believe that a democracy by the people and for the people can really work. They are given the power and then it is taken it back again, over and over again. But there are still those moments of light, moments that make me happy to be an American.

I am watching with interest the movement for sensible gun control started by the Parkland students. I am impressed by how informed and articulate are these young leaders as they take their case to Congress and to the American people. It reminds me of the abolitionists before the civil war. Lincoln’s early solution was to allow slave states to remain slave states while all other states and any new states will be free. The abolitionists would have nothing to do with this. Slavery is wrong and ending it was the only solution that would make them put down their signs and go home.

I think these young people are just as committed to their cause and the abolitionists were to theirs. I am happy to say the that the abolitionists, in the end, had their way. The Parkland students will have their way, too. I feel my dark mood fading away.


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This is Going to be an Adventure

I don’t know if I have ever looked forward with as much joy to all that is coming. In June our daughter, Becky, along with her daughter, returns home after living in Arizona for the last 20 years. Another daughter, Kate, already here in Minnesota plans to build a new home and has informed us of the help they will need moving things around. My book will be published, probably in June. Our grandson is getting married in Colorado in late July and my husband and I are planning a Lewis and Clark river trip in September.

My mother used to say when things got crazy hectic, “This is going to be an adventure!” It always took away fears and apprehensions such as I would get stepping on to a roller coaster.

I am already exercising and going to the chiropractor in anticipation of my participation in all of the above. I am still here on the earth. I will walk as long as possible, sit as little as possible.

I think I am being inspired by Stephen Hawkins who kept going no matter what his body said. I had a piece of pie in his honor yesterday.

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People Who Love Allabodies

I am not afraid of politics but I am afraid of offending friends. I never want my politics to come between me and people I love, even between me and people I don’t particularly like. I think of my Aunt Rose who, when people around her took to arguing and who turned to her to take sides, would say, “I love allabodies.”

I love allabodies, too. There is not a person on this earth that is not loved by God and it is not my place to make them believe otherwise. At the same time, I think many could clean up their acts, get the rubble out, the anger, the prejudices, the fears, or whatever, and make room for a little kindness. So I pray for the kind of patience others have afforded me over the years.

I was at a retreat recently where the leader asked the participants to name the heroes in their lives. I immediately thought of a nun that mentored me when I attended college in Madison Wisconsin. I was in my early thirties, a drop out after my first run at college. My youngest child was in preschool and for the first time in 15 years, I had a  few hours a week I could call my own. This is when Sister Marie Stevens Regis, known by friends as “Stevie”, offered a class for parish lay-leaders (i.e. volunteers) to take take non-credit theology classes. For reasons I cannot explain, she liked me. Stevie loved allabodies but I was shocked when actually accepted an invitation to come to my home for dinner. Stevie inspired me to go to the register at the college to major in theology, which I did. I can truly say that it was her belief in me that prodded me.

Stevie was not afraid of controversial topics. If she was ever afraid of offending friends, she had apparently gotten over it. Her sharing her truth was always laced with respect and well-grounded information. It was hard to get mad at her even if she made you a little uncomfortable. She had a contagious laugh and a sense of humor that was always directed at herself.

I am thankful to have known her. More importantly, I am thankful that she knew me at a time I did not know myself.

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New Carpeting

As I sit here, there are two nice men laying carpeting in my living room. I smelled something that I thought was burning and realized that one was using an instrument that looked like a hot iron. I guess I am safe. Keep my coat nearby.

Our new carpeting is only a shade darker than what is being torn away, so it is still light, lighter than I remember picking from the samples. But I really like it. The room is looking so bright that I dread putting the dark brown couch and  chairs back. This starts me thinking about new furniture. Bernie and I talked a little about that this morning and we both agreed that the couch will never go. Never! It is crappy for sitting on (sorry, guests), but it is amazing for taking a nap or going to in the middle of the night, which I often do when I roll over on a sore shoulder. I thought that after I replace all of the other furniture with something lighter, I will throw something over the couch. A throw will slip and slide because it is leather. Maybe just a couple of light colored pillows, though these tend to slip and slide, too. I have tried it.

Bernie will be surprised when he gets home and I tell him that we are going to buy new furniture. We already invested in a new vacuum cleaner. But the carpet guy told me that my pads are great…no need to put new ones in. I think we should spend the money saved on pads with great speed before we get to comfortable seeing it in our savings.

The sun is hanging around more these days. Pretty soon light will be even-steven with the darkeness. My mood is changing. All is well.

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Welcome Back

That welcome is for me, not for you. I have been away from my blog for a long time. It isn’t that I haven’t had things to write about. Rather, I have been working on finishing and publishing my first book. As an older adult who has a dysfunctional relationship with my lap top, Beavers Pond Press has been a perfect fit. I will be sure to let everyone I know on the planet when it is published and how to get a copy.

Meanwhile, life goes on without my commentary. I am not sure what a difference it would make, but I do have a voice and every voice is important. Since I no longer have to  put “work on book” on my list of duties each day, I plan to put “blog” on the list as I once did.

I chose for my blog the title “My Thoughts on Peace” and challenged myself to write every day for a year. I learned a thing or two during that year and in those that followed.

  1. I am a pretty good writer, but I needed some serious polishing.
  2. I like looking deeply at matters. It is on the surface that we see our differences and to focus there contributes to division, not unity.
  3. I am extremely passionate about some things but that passion does not have to translate into meanness. Being respectful contributes more to peace than any logical argument.

Today is a beautiful day in the neighborhood. (Happy birthday, Mr. Rogers). I won’t be getting into religion or politics today, but I am sure that will come. Meanwhile, welcome back to me…and to you. If you are interested, there is a way to sign up to get an announcement when I release a new blog. That way, you don’t have to keep checking.

Posted in Blogging, Life | 1 Comment

“Lies we believe about God”

I am reading lies we believe about God by Wm. Paul Young. Young, best known for the best-seller The Shack. Each of the chapters are titled with the lies: “God loves us, but doesn’t like us”, “God is good. I am not”, “God is more he than she,” “God is a magician,” “God is a prude,” and “God blesses my politics”.  I got the book because these are exactly the beliefs about God that I have struggled with much of my life. Now, I have pretty much put them be behind me. You might say, I bought the book because I was seeing another author that already agrees with me and it has proven to be quite satisfying…until this morning.

Chapter 8 (and lie # 8): “God wants to be a priority.” Young quotes Jesus, when asked by teachers and lawyers of his time, “What is the greatest commandment?” We all know his response: “Love God with  your whole heart.” Sounds like making God your priority to me. Young asks, “What does it mean to put God first?” Then he lists some possibilities spiritual practices such as prayer, church attendance,  tithing, or doing volunteer work. But the next question is, how much is enough to qualify for “priority?” Maybe this is about the order of things. Pray in the morning first, then watch the news, not the other way around. If God is a priority are there things in my life I have to walk away from in favor of whatever God wants and what is it that God wants?

Here is what Young suggests:

“Instead of a list of priorities, Jesus introduced us to something completely different: a moving, dynamic, living relationship in which God is not first, but central. This is not a flow chart, but rather, a  mobile where everything is moving and changing as our choices and participation are woven inside the activity of the Holy Spirit. Lists are about control and performance; God is about adventure and trust. If God is at the center of our lives, then so is love and relationship, since God is profoundly both.”

“God doesn’t want to be first on your list,” Young concludes, “but rather central to everything.”

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Jesus as a Source of Division

On Facebook today I commented on the continual and deepening divisions in the country. It is starting to rip my insides. While people I know and love have always represented a variety of views,  recently there seems to be more hostility and people are taking sides as they demonize the opposing positions. It is especially evident in the politics of Washington where people of different parties no longer talk to one another. Any socializing, building of friendships, they tell me, no longer happen. These people are no longer experiencing one another as people. They are, rather, enemy combatants.

So Christmas is upon us once again. I fear that even the celebration of the great Preacher of Peace is a source of division. Christians with certain beliefs say that those who believe differently are not really Christian. Only they have the correct view of who Jesus was and what it means to be his follower. This comes from various factions, each making the same assumption about the others.

I almost started to list specific issues around this, but stopped myself. All that would do is raise blood pressures. Instead, I will just confess that my Christmas spirit has been ruined. I dread what people will put on Facebook or even comment casually at parties we might attend. For me Jesus is a symbol of Oneness and Love. When I see hatred and judgment thrown about in his name, I cringe. And it happens often.


Posted in Life, spirituality | 6 Comments