Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Keeping Up With My Family AND The Campaign

As a proud grandmother, I was thrilled when my son Matthew asked if I wished to see my youngest grandson, Travis, play in a South Texas PGA Junior Tour tournament that was held recently in Lakeway, Texas. He is 13-years old, and has been playing tournament golf for four years now. This past year he's been taking golf lessons once a week from a golf pro at a local Country Club. He plays mostly against 14- and 15-year-olds, who are larger than he is. However, he has placed in more than one tournament.. I believe he will eventually win a big one, as he keeps improving. I only saw the last 9 holes of his tournament. Even though his dad said he was a little off his game, I enjoyed every minute of watching him. He was so professional and serious about it, it was hard to remember him as the babe in arms I held once upon a time.

Here is a short video of Travis playing in the last tournament held in March at Berry Creek Country Club in Georgetown, Texas. His Uncle Craig said, "I wish I had his swing!"


Audrey & Rob

Granddaughter Audrey recently interviewed for what her mother called "her dream job" in Lake Tahoe. It is with an environmental firm, and if she gets the job, she will spend her first year in Lake Tahoe. Next she will be sent to Denver. Audrey's enthusiastic about it, so it must mean she will be doing a lot of field work -- which she really enjoys. The mountains will be big adventures as well! Here's hoping this works out for her. If she accepts it, she will be moving in May. I will miss having her close, but she's one of the millennials who is making a difference in our world. You go, girl!

Since moving to Austin, Audrey has played with the Central Texas Medical Orchestra, First Chair, Second Violin. Her mother came to hear her play in concert in February, and said it was magnificent. The proceeds from the concert went to the charity Wonders & Worries, which provides professional support for children through a parent's illness.

Audrey is to bring Rob for a visit next weekend. I have heard great things about him from her family.


Allison & Cameron

Grandson Cameron and "best friend" Allison performed a musical revue together at the Songbird Live theater in Cleburne, Texas this past Saturday night. They sang Broadway tunes for about an hour and a half. Allison, besides being beautiful, has a doctorate in music, teaches music in high school, and is planning to teach at the university level. She has sung professionally in operatic productions. What a perfect couple they make. I'm looking forward to Cameron bringing her to meet this Grandmama. In the meantime, Cameron continues to serve the Fort Worth Unitarian youth with exuberance. I know they are having a great time with the classes and outings he plans for them.

...

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Some of my readers might have noticed that I haven't posted anything on this blog in quite some time. I have been so upset over the campaign for the Presidency that every time I tried to write, something else disturbing would happen. I'm talking about the GOP campaign. Of course, I'm not the only one in the country who feels this way. Donald Trump is an embarrassment to our great nation. I don't feel he could ever win the Presidency, however, the fact that so many people are supporting him says something almost as disturbing. What kind of people would believe all the nasty, bigoted, downright stupid opinions he raves on about? Do they really believe as he says -- that he will build a wall to keep the Mexican immigrants out and make Mexico pay for it? How do they feel about repealing the Affordable Care Act? Many of these same voters were uninsured until its passage. On foreign policy, he says he "will totally dismantle Iran's global terror network".. He wants to bring back waterboarding and other means of torture.. He wants to ban all Muslims from entering the United States.. I could go on, but if you have a television you cannot have missed any of his narcissistic ravings.
(Getty Images)
But then, there is Ted Cruz. Senator Lindsey Graham hit the nail on the head when he said having to choose between Trump or Cruz was like choosing between "being shot or taking poison". Cruz and his followers are much more dangerous than Trump. His father Rafael, an evangelical Christian pastor who believes in a form of Christianity known as Dominionism, believes that "anointed Christians are destined to take over the government and create in practice, if not in official terms, a theocracy. Rafael Cruz also endorsed the evangelical belief known as the 'end-time transfer of wealth' - that is, as a prelude to the second coming of Christ, God will seize the wealth of the wicked and redistribute it to believers." "In 2013, several prominent Dominionist pastors at a ceremony in Iowa blessed and anointed Ted Cruz, rendering him, in their view, a 'king' who would help usher in the kingdom of Christ." Mother Jones      King Ted Cruz?

I'm sorry, but I have a hard time not thinking that the above two candidates for the most important job in the world are both a little nutty. And what does that make the many folks who vote for them?

Bring on Bernie or Hillary!!
(Nat'l. Progressive)

Peace,
Marilyn

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A REPEAT POST

In light of the current political climate, and the campaign rhetoric we are bombarded with daily, I thought this might be as relevant (or more so) today as it was in 2014 when I published it on my other blog. So, here's a repeat of "When Did Liberal Become a Dirty Word?:

"..Jesus was the ultimate liberal progressive revolutionary of all history. The conservative religious and social structure that He defied hated and crucified Him. They examined His life and did not like what they saw. He aligned Himself with the poor and the oppressed. He challenged the religious orthodoxy of His day. He advocated pacifism and loving our enemies. He liberated women and minorities from oppression. He healed on the Sabbath and forgave adulterers and prostitutes. He associated with drunks and other social outcasts. He rebuked the religious right of His day because they embraced the letter of the law instead of the Spirit. He loved sinners and called them to Himself. Jesus was the original Liberal. He was a progressive, and He was judged and hated for it. It was the self-righteous religionists that He rebuked and He called them hypocrites.." This is an excerpt from an article on The Christian Left blog written by Gary Vance, (a Christian evangelical minister)Wasn't Jesus A Liberal?
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Excerpt from Bishop John Shelby Spong's (a retired Bishop of the American Episcopal Church) Manifesto:

(2006)
"..I do not debate any longer with members of the "Flat Earth Society" either. I do not debate with people who think we should treat epilepsy by casting demons out of the epileptic person; I do not waste time engaging those medical opinions that suggest that bleeding the patient might release the infection. I do not converse with people who think that Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans as punishment for the sin of being the birthplace of Ellen DeGeneres or that the terrorists hit the United Sates on 9/11 because we tolerated homosexual people, abortions, feminism or the American Civil Liberties Union. I am tired of being embarrassed by so much of my church's participation in causes that are quite unworthy of the Christ I serve or the God whose mystery and wonder I appreciate more each day. Indeed I feel the Christian Church should not only apologize, but do public penance for the way we have treated people of color, women, adherents of other religions and those we designated heretics, as well as gay and lesbian people."..

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We need more folks like Bishop Spong, et al, and fewer folks like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. The candidates who espouse their Christian beliefs would do well to read what Bishop Spong has to say, and go back to their Bible and study the life and teachings of Jesus, as well as those he championed.


Some of the words and actions of my fellow Christians make me ashamed, and I am not the only one. I hope more of my LIBERAL friends will step up to the ballot box and change the face of this country. We no longer act like a "Nation Under God".

Proud to be called a liberal (I am in good company),

Marilyn

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

ON "SHELFIES"


"Selfies show the body. 'Shelfies' show the soul." ..Maggie Galehouse

I recently read a wonderful article Shelfies - I'll Show You Mine.. by dewtx on Daily Kos that reinforced my intention to keep all of my books. Having moved five times in the past 15 years, I had to leave a lot of books behind. Most of those were fiction.. (I really love crime fiction.) A lot were books from a book club that I discovered were not worth what I paid for most of them when I tried to sell them to a used book dealer. In recent years, when I wish to read fiction, I usually visit my local library. Recently, I sometimes turn to e-books. My older son has generously gifted me with gift cards to Barnes & Noble, so I will be adding to my cache of nonfiction.

The bookcase above is in my office/guest room, and the one to the right is in my bedroom. All of the books in my home are accompanied by many "little treasures" on the same shelves -- photos of my loved ones and often small gifts from family and friends. Like a lot of people, the little table beside my bed has more than a few books that I have not yet finished reading or that I am reading again.

In the article I mentioned at the beginning of this post, was the following quote by J. Frank Dobie that was published in a column in the Houston Post, Sunday, November 1, 1959:

"For me, no mere design in paint is as beautiful as a wall of books, some old, some new, some with paper jackets still on, some without jackets. The colors in a whole wall of books are multitudinous: the arrangements, infinite. A house without books is as undecorated as a Hollywood decorator could make it. ... It doesn't matter to me that I can't read all the books. I can only read an infinitely small fraction of them: indeed, only a small fraction of them do I want to read. But it is wonderful to have hosts of good books around, and it's wonderful to look at walls solid with shelves of books, books, books."

I have to agree with Mr. Dobie with an exception. I have read most of my books. The big coffee table books in my living room, shown at the right, are some I probably have not read completely, however, I obtained them mostly for reference. That I have done, especially when creating Indian art work.

The invention of the Internet has sadly put an end to reading by the younger generations. All three of my children are extremely well-spoken, and talented writers (when I can coax them to write!). I read to each of them when they were very young. Consequently, my oldest, Craig, taught himself to read at age 5. I started when the youngest, Matthew, was a babe in arms. At nap time, as soon as he could walk, he brought me a stack of his books he wanted read to him while I rocked him. My mother bought sets of books that he received once a month for years. By the time he was eight years old, I was told he had the vocabulary of a sixteen-year-old. He was winning spelling bees consistently as well. 
When his son Travis was about a year and a half, I visited frequently. He did the same thing with his books -- bringing them to me to read to him. I have to admit the reading had to be interspersed with watching DVDs of Nemo and Monster, Inc.  An eighth grader now, he and his little sister are both good students and read very well.. especially on their computers.
As the old saying goes, "Children will not always do what you say, but they will always do what you do." I hope the children of my grandchildren learn to read something other than the emojis on their smart phones, or posts on their Facebook page!

You can tell a lot about a person by the books or lack thereof in their homes. It can be fun to sneak a peek at the titles.

Love and good reading,
Marilyn

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year


And to all my family!




So many New Year toasts, wishes, and resolutions seem so commonplace and trite. I tried to think of something I haven't said or heard before. I found a site on the internet called Living Life Fully that contains much wisdom. I found this quote particularly meaningful and a challenge to me:

"Every new year people make resolutions to change aspects of themselves
they believe are negative. A majority of people revert back to how they were before, and feel like failures. This year I challenge you to a new 
resolution. I challenge you to just be yourself."

Sounds easy, doesn't it? However, how many of us know who our "real" self is? We wear so many faces and labels, depending upon different situations or people with which we find ourself or stories we might be telling, that sometimes it's difficult to define who we really are. Maybe that should be our New Year's resolution this year -- to find out who our "real" self is in all its intricacies, and love them all. 

Personally, I plan to get back to journaling on a regular basis. That and meditation. Both reveal aspects of yourself you may not know exist -- or have forgotten. While I'm at it, I think I'll drag out the box in my closet that's labeled "Journals" that go back to the 80s and 90s. They should contain some insight into the person I have become. I remember reading a book during the 1980s called "I Love The Person You Were Meant To Be". I don't remember the content, but the title alone is intriguing. I wonder if my old journals might show me how far I've come. Or how far I have to go to discover who I was meant to be. 

Or maybe I will discover that the "real" me wears those many faces and labels -- and it's okay.

Love and peace to you all in the coming New Year 2016,
Marilyn

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

For The Sake of Peace

Those of you who are, like I am, a fan of the TV series "Homeland", are also familiar with the actor Mandy Patinkin. A while back he was on my favorite morning "news" show, CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose. His views on the condition of what he calls the "world on fire" today were mesmerizing. One of his suggestions for a solution to the violence and many problems humanity faces was "what if we bomb these people with hope and opportunity" captured my attention... I believe you will be as moved as I was. His comments at about 5 minutes to the end will make you cry. I did.



Back in October I wrote on the blog The Impact of the Pope a list of religions represented in both houses of Congress. The majority were Christians, followed by Jews. Only a total of 18 called themselves as "other", "unaffiliated", or refused to answer. All religions of the world contain prayers for peace. Why is it we hear more politicians, and would-be politicians crying out for war..?

Our Christmas prayers nearly always contain prayers for "peace on earth". Here are a couple more beautiful such prayers.

Baha'i Prayer For Peace

Oh God, lead us from the unreal to the Real.
Oh God, lead us from darkness to light.
Oh God, lead us from death to immortality.
Shanti, Shanti, Shanti unto all.
Oh Lord God almighty, may there be peace in celestial regions.
May there be peace on earth.
May the waters be appeasing.
May herbs be wholesome, and may trees and
plants bring peace to all. May all beneficent
beings bring peace to us.
May thy Vedic Law propagate peace all
through the world.
May all things be a source of peace to us.
And may that peace come to me also.

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Zoroastrian Prayer for Peace

We pray to God to eradicate all the
misery in the world:
that understanding triumph
over ignorance,
that generosity triumph over indifference,
that trust triumph over contempt, and
that truth triumph over falsehood.

(FB.com)
Maybe all of us know one or more atheist. Like me, maybe you even pray for them. Many are kind and good-hearted -- more so than a lot of religious people. Even if they don't believe in prayer, many send out "good thoughts" when hearing of pain or sorrow in the world, and for the individuals who are caught up in such suffering. They volunteer and donate out of the goodness of their hearts. I like to believe that their kind, loving thoughts are just another form of prayer, which add to the positive energy of all the prayers we are sending to our Creator. I also like to believe that if enough of us do so, we will someday reach critical mass in the consciousness of all people in the world. Then there will be "peace on earth".
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Mystery Flowers

Last week I had a delightful surprise. The flowers pictured below were delivered to me with a sweet, sentimental note saying this person would be thinking of me and my family during the Christmas holidays. However, there was no sender's name. A call to the florist was of no help to me. They not only did not have the sender's name, but they also could not say if the order came from another city or state.
I just said "thank you" to the Universe, and enjoyed my colorful arrangement. Sadly, two days later one of the two lovely hydrangea blooms was drooping, and soon to die. I sent an email to the florist explaining that I thought it should have lived longer than two days. Shortly thereafter I received a call from their customer service department. The friendly young woman offered her apologies and asked if I would be home the following Monday so that they might bring a replacement. I was delighted, and never expected this result. I assumed they would be bringing me another hydrangea. Lo and behold (I must have been a very, very good girl this past year!), Monday morning I answered a knock on my door, and to my amazement, there was another beautiful little floral arrangement! (Freytag's Florist is the company.)
What a surprise! I now had two containers of gorgeous flowers to grace my dining table! I wish my next-door neighbor were at home. One of these might be perfect to share. As she lost a son a couple of months back, they would be a little bit of cheer.
Amidst all the tinsel, lights, and brightly wrapped packages, I hope you all have a bit of nature in your home this Christmas -- a live tree, poinsettias, or beautiful floral arrangements sent to you with love. And if you happen to be the generous person who sent these flowers to me, please let me know so I may thank you personally.

May your Christmas be merry, and full of

Love and Peace,
Marilyn

Monday, December 7, 2015

When Will We Ever Learn?

(Kevork Djansezian/Reuters)

Once again, we watch the TV images in horror at the lives at risk -- not in some foreign country, but in our own United States. This time in California, which has some of the strictest gun laws in America. More lives lost or injured forever. While our Congress squabbles over how many troops to send into Iraq and Syria, in order to assist in obtaining peace, the citizens of our country are suffering acts of terror with guns obtained legally in their home states. When will Congress do something about the existing gun laws throughout the land? The NRA must share the responsibility for these mass shootings with assault weapons that they pressure our Congressional leaders to continue to allow to be sold to the general public. Many without background checks at all, such as at Gun Shows. I say ban the assault weapons, period. Ban the high capacity magazines as well.

I hear gun rights' advocates and Congressmen -- especially the GOP -- keep saying stricter gun laws won't help, that most mass killings are carried out by mentally incompetent citizens. That we should be screening purchasers of weapons for such illnesses and refuse to sell to them. There is no way to tell if someone buying a gun is a "sociopath", which is how an analyst described the gunman in California. Many more types of "mental illness" that might cause someone to conduct such a raid are not easily detectable either. What are we to do? Will there be a list of anyone who sees a mental health provider available to anyone selling weapons? Will a seller be required to discriminate when it comes to a purchaser's race or religion? After all, if he appears mid-eastern, could he be a terrorist? 

All of this needs to be addressed. America leads the world in mass killings. We only hear of the public ones that hit the national news. "Data compiled by the crowd-sourced website ShootingTracker.com reveals a shocking human toll: there is a mass shooting – defined as four or more people shot in one incident – nearly every day (in the United States). (Updated on 3 Dec 2015)" "1,052 mass shootings in 1,066 days.." (The Guardian.com)

Not only have we not strengthened gun laws in the United States, but many states have passed Open Carry laws. The backlash from the recent act of terror in California may result in even more such laws. What will we eventually see? Wild West shoot-outs on our streets? When will our country do what so many countries have done, and strengthen our gun laws to reduce the amount of homicides we suffer every year? Doing away with assault weapons and high-capacity magazines would be a good start.

Peace,
Marilyn


Saturday, November 14, 2015

"AN ACT OF WAR"


One cannot escape the news of the horrendous terrorist attacks that took place in Paris yesterday. Frightening images are all over the news and the internet. At this time, the total dead is 129, with one American exchange student being identified. The number of wounded, many in critical condition, is 350+. These attacks were carried out by ISIS in six locations around the city. The popular tourist places such as the Eiffel Tower and Disneyland have been under guard by French security forces since the terrorist attack on the newspaper Charlie Hebdo in January. Imagine going to a concert or having dinner at a favorite restaurant. Who would fear for their lives on such an outing? Typical unguarded venues were targeted.

As a sixth generation Moragne, the first Pierre having immigrated to America in the 1700s, I know there are some Moragnes still residing in France. Although I may not know them, they are still family, and I pray that they were spared any of the horrific attacks.

What will it take to put an end to the slaughtering of innocent people in many parts of the world by ones who say they are acting in the name of Allah? Can the leaders of the radical Islam faith not see the atrocities being committed by their followers? Surely they can see the folly of thinking they will control the world and force conversion to their religion. Are there not enough rational Muslim leaders to take a stand, join forces, and condemn these actions?

Many years back I was living in Denton, Texas. This was before computers were readily accessible. I made frequent use of our public library. At one point in time I checked out a book containing several chapters on "Prayers for Peace". Unfortunately, I did not write down the name of the book. However, I photocopied the prayers and the following statement:

"In 1986, a historic conference took place in Assisi, Italy -- the home of Saint Francis. For the first time in history, the leaders of the twelve major religions of the world had been called together to pray for peace."

A member of the conference brought back the prayers, which I feel are relevant -- and necessary in light of today's world events. I'd like to share them here a few at a time in no special order of significance other than the Prayer of St. Francis, which I will post first. Many of you will be familiar with a lot of these prayers. 

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred...let me sow love.
Where there is injury...pardon.
Where there is doubt...faith.
Where there is despair...hope.
Where there is darkness...light.
Where there is sadness...joy.
O Divine Master
grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled...as to console,
To be understood...as to understand,
To be loved...as to love.
For it is in giving...that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
It is in dying...that we are born to eternal life.
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Jewish Prayer for Peace

Come, let us go up to the mountain of
the Lord, that we may walk the
paths of the Most High.
And we shall beat our swords into plowshares,
and our spears into pruning hooks.
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation--
neither shall they learn war any more.
And none shall be afraid, for the mouth of the
Lord of Hosts has spoken.
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Native American Prayer for Peace

O Great Spirit of our
Ancestors, I raise my pipe to you.
To your messengers the four winds, and to
Mother Earth who provides for your children.
Give us the wisdom to teach our children
to love, to respect, and to be kind
to each other so that they may grow 
with peace in mind.
Let us learn to share all good things that
you provide for us on this earth.
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Muslim Prayer for Peace

In the name of Allah,
the beneficent, the merciful,
Praise be to the Lord of the 
Universe who has created us and
made us into tribes and nations.
That we may know each other, not that
we may despise each other.
If the enemy incline towards peace, do
thou also incline towards peace, and
trust God, for the Lord is the one that 
heareth and knoweth all things.
And the servants of God,
Most Gracious are those who walk on
the Earth in humility, and when we
address them, we say 'PEACE.'
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And some will say, "I behold the Christ in you."

(Peace image by Jean Jullien)

Hear our prayers.
Love and peace,
Marilyn