Thursday, October 27, 2011

Be the change..

Many young people are stepping forward and making a difference in today's world. Some of them are part of the Occupy Wall Street movement here in the United States as well as across the world. Not all are necessarily part of a religious faith, but all are united in their wish to "change the world" for the better. They deserve to be heard, and they deserve our support in their nonviolent protests.

I know in my heart that my grandchildren are going to contribute in special ways to a better world. Each of them has a spirit of striving for excellence in everything they attempt, and each shows great love and compassion for animals as well as people. They have loving parents who are guiding them and instilling good values in them. Allow me to exercise my grandmother's bragging rights in the following..
13-year-old Tanner has been busy this summer learning to make his own videos. Always an A student, he plays cello and has been learning computer programming from his dad.  His very early love of turtles has blossomed into a love of all animals, and he shares the vegan lifestyle with his family. He has his own YouTube channel now, where you may go and check out his two fantastic videos thus far. Notice how he clones himself in both! Click on this link:  TANNER'S VIDEOS
11-year-old Hannah decided not to attend the TAG (talented and gifted) middle school this year, but to go to the same middle school that her brother Cameron attended. There she auditioned for the school choir, and just this past week auditioned for and made the Dallas All-City Choir. I haven't heard her sing yet, but she sings soprano and her dad promised to video her singing for me soon. He forwarded a copy of her first report card -- all As, with several 100s and one of those was 103 in choir!! How does one perfect perfection??  You go, girl!
Audrey debuted as an apprentice ballerina with Contemporary Ballet Dallas last weekend. She had an entourage of family members attend, and her Uncle Craig told me she is a beautiful, talented dancer. She is in her senior year at SMU, and this semester has a light load which allows her more time to dance and even do some modeling on the side. She is excited about going to Maui in January to study the migration of humpback whales, and is still an avid animal rights activist. Her degree will be in Environmental Science. She's a whiz at calculus, too! And loves to play violin with her mom when she's at home. The lovely photo of her reminds me of Degas' fascination with ballerinas at rest.
Travis recently brought home his first fourth grade report card of the year - he made the All A Honor Roll! As the only grandchild thus far who doesn't seem to be interested (yet) in music or the performing arts, he has channeled his interests into sports. This year he has made his dad proud with his baseball ability. The last two baseball games, Travis made great catches. One was a flying catch he made at third base when the bases were loaded. I think his dad, Matthew, was as excited about that as he was at attending one of the World Series games in Dallas this past week. Dad was a Junior Ranger when he was a kid, and still loves the Texas Rangers.
This photo is of grandson Cameron in full makeup for an operatic performance at LSU. We can see how he will look as a middle-aged man, huh? Not bad! He sings the role of Alcindoro in LaBoheme this weekend. He said that for this production they set it in the French Quarter during  Prohibition. Cameron would love to go to graduate school next year. I pray that the economy improves, so it may be a plausible possibility. He's one of the many students in this country who - in spite of a four year scholarship, will be saddled with student loans when he graduates. Besides his beautiful voice, Cameron is politically savvy, and has a spiritual side that is developing as he is gaining life experiences. Maybe singing every Sunday for the Episcopal Church choir has had an influence on him! 
I don't have the latest up-to-date info on my other two granddaughters, Ashlyn and Kelly, but it will be forthcoming. A little reminder to moms, Carajean and Amy!

It is obvious how proud I am of these beautiful, young, developing souls. But what I don't say often enough is how very proud I am of their mom and dads.. my children, Craig, Carajean, and Matthew. Their lives were not easy growing up, and they never had the stability and security I wished to give them. I've commented before that sometimes our dreams for a good life are not realized in our own life, but if we hang around, we can often see them come true in our children (sometimes, in spite of their upbringing!) and grandchildren.  Congratulations, you three (and your supporting spouses, of course).. I send my love and prayers for your continuing success in raising such super grandchildren of mine!

As the video suggests... "be the change"... You and yours are bringing about a better world for all of us. One that will be filled with beauty, compassion, and love of all life. 

Peace and love,

Sunday, October 23, 2011


By not watching the cable news programs, I am unable to state with accuracy what is being told about the "Occupy" movements across the country -- even across the world. I know that the network news I watch in the evening rarely has much to say or show about this phenomena. The local news programs infrequently mention the Occupy Austin protests that are going on except if something negative happens... like an intoxicated transient pulling a knife. I read where more and more transients are moving in on the protesters. Perhaps they will get free food. Because, yes, in this "prosperous" state of Texas we have many homeless and hungry people. Oddly enough, to even get up-to-date information on any of the protests across the country, I had to request special "custom" news on my Google news site. Could the reluctance of the media to give proper notice of the revolution going on in America and other democracies around the world be in part due to the fact that the media is owned by large corporations? We know how Rupert Murdoch controls the content of his so-called "news" networks. And we condemn him for it. Surely this cannot happen in our free society that all our news will somehow be filtered to keep from giving the public a clear and true picture of what is happening today. The link under the above video is the "official" website of the original Occupy Wall Street protest. Go there to find out their latest news.

I find this video and its music particularly moving. Contrary to what I heard FOX News said about the protestors being dirty, unkempt, anarchists bent on destroying Western civilization, you will notice that everyone is represented in this video... There are young people, old people (yayyy seniors!), a mix of races, business suits, young couples with children, celebrities, and even clergy. And I don't notice any ragged dirty folks either. (Although, with the length of time they are having to make do with minimum bathing facilities, I'll bet some are beginning to smell a little rank!) The following is from their website, stating what they are all about:

"Occupy Wall Street is a leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%. We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and encourage the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants."
Students who have been burdened with outrageous student loan debt when graduating college and with no jobs available to assist them in paying their debt... Seniors who are concerned with losing some or all of their Medicare and Social Security benefits... Workers who have lost their jobs and benefits due to outsourcing of labor to foreign countries so Corporations can continue to rake in record profits... Homeowners who have been foreclosed upon by banks who in their greed accepted faulty mortgages... The uninsured; the homeless; the discriminated against; the disenfranchised from all areas of our society... These are the members of the Occupy movements.

The one common theme throughout all of the movements is that something is broken in our government. Our politicians are letting us down. This is no longer the land of plenty. There is plenty for the few -- the 1%. But our country is so much more than that 1%. Sadly for us, the coming election campaigns are not being waged "by the people and for the people"; but the candidates with the biggest war chests and the most powerful, rich, and influential backers will be at the forefront. Thank you, Supreme Court for your ruling on corporate campaign contributions!

I applaud the protesters and only wish I were younger and able to join them. A couple of my senior friends and I had planned to join the Occupy Austin movement on Columbus Day. Some protesters we were! The first good rain Texas had in months happened the day before we were to join them, and the forecast was for even more. We didn't want to go and be rained out. (Maybe we can still participate. I have my bell bottoms and love beads ready!)  She's concerned with the impending cuts in Medicare and Social Security, and he wanted his sign to read, "Give me back my pension!" He had worked for a steel company in Ohio for thirty years, gradually moving into management. I haven't asked why, but the company filed for bankruptcy and he lost all of his pension he had paid into all those years. I assume it was during the time so many steel companies went under due to competition from the steel companies in China. Another case of corporate greed.

I was recently reminded in a talk by former President Bill Clinton that every critical change for the better in this country was preceded by protest movements of some kind. Even as early as the movement to end slavery that resulted in the Civil War. We had the Women's Suffrage, Civil Rights, Anti-Viet Nam War, and Women's Rights movements that all led to necessary change to raise our society to a higher level. Nonviolent protests are the Democratic way. So... rock on, Occupy Wall Steet movement. May you continue to spread throughout our land until the issues of inequality are addressed and corrected!
Long-time friend, John (Jack) Nance Garner, continues to speak his mind on subject matters of importance. He frequently has his Letters to the Editor published in the Denton Record-Chronicle. And he frequently gets a lot of opposition in return. Here is his latest:

Corporate welfare:
"Hate welfare? Think it’s the most wasteful idiotic government program ever conceived by man with the help of God’s adversary? I do, too. Let’s put the boot to this government boondoggle. Let’s end it now. Let’s take the super rich, Big Oil, pharmaceutical companies, Wall Street and big bankers off of welfare. With 1 percent controlling 40 percent of the nation’s wealth, how much of the government’s resources do you think they use to maintain and add to their personal wealth? Of course, the idea of taxes should be the burden of the less-wealthy. The super rich need their money to make more money. They never get enough.
The base reason is from a mental condition known as peniaphobia — a fear of poverty; an unreasonable fear that is the father of greed, which in turn births the unequal tax system the super rich want to keep in place. This is not a new mental condition.
God handled those super rich of that time by proclaiming a year of jubilee, which required the compulsory return of all property to its original owners or their heirs, except the houses of laymen within walled cities, in addition to the manumission of all Israelite indentured servants. You had to give everything back and start all over. Godly inspired or not; not a popular concept with the “haves” then, as of today.
You would think Obama’s jobs program is going to do that from the amount of crocodile tears dripping onto the editorial pages."
There has been so much happening in the world recently, it is hard for me to make up my mind what I wish to write about next. The death of Muammar Qadhafi hopefully will mean that Libya can now get down to the business of creating a government of equality for all. They were under so much oppression for so long. Again, we are faced with a matter of rejoicing at the death of a fellow human being. It must have been very, very hard for his wife, children, and grandchildren to see the horrible images of his dying and death that were displayed everywhere. As the old saying goes, "He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword." It's still sad to see someone end up that way. Let us hope it was for the greater good of the Libyans.

These are exciting times of world changes that we live in.

Peace and love,