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,

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.


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.

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".
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,

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 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

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.


Saturday, November 14, 2015


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
Where there is despair...hope.
Where there is darkness...light.
Where there is
O Divine Master
grant that I may not so much seek
to be to console,
To be to understand,
To be 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.

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.

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.

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.'

And some will say, "I behold the Christ in you."

(Peace image by Jean Jullien)

Hear our prayers.
Love and peace,

Thursday, October 22, 2015

More good stuff...

A few days ago I had a pleasant surprise when I answered a knock on my door. A sweet woman who lives down the road from me stood there with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Sunflowers are one of my favorite flowers!

I knew who she was, although we had met only once before. Her son is my "landlord" and also a friend of my younger son. It seems my son Matthew ran into her (not literally) at a neighborhood gas station, and he noticed she was having some sort of car trouble. (I think it had something to do with her tires.) Being the kind-hearted soul he is, he helped her out. The flowers were her way of "paying it forward" for his assistance. An added bonus - she stayed and visited with me for a while and we discovered we had something in common. We both love arts and crafts. I took her on a tour of some of my and my mother's artwork. She was generously complimentary. I hope to be able to visit her as she suggested in the near future and view her art. I've heard that she is very talented.
More good things have happened in our world lately. Some may not appear to be good in the beginning. One such is the recent scandalous price gouging done by Martin Shkreli, the young hedge fund manager and CEO of a startup pharmaceutical company. In September he hit the headlines when he upped the price of a lifesaving drug used in treatment of a deadly parasitic infection as well as for some AIDs and cancer patients, from $13.50 a tablet to $750 a tablet! That is a hike of 5,000%. 

As shocking as this was, he was doing what most pharmaceutical companies have been doing for years - price gouging and manipulation of a drug's stock -- with the excuse of needing the high revenue to fund "research". There have been several good articles pointing out the way drug companies have been creating massive cost increases in their products, most frequently claiming the drug is a "specialty" drug, and there is not enough demand for it to continue producing it without significant increases. If we pay attention, it is obvious that most companies are paying more for advertising and marketing than they do on research and development! The U.S. and only one other country allow the blatant advertising for the pharmaceuticals to be public... New Zealand.

By putting the spotlight on the greed inherent in these practices that hurt so many who are unable to pay for the higher costs, perhaps we will finally get our government to do something about it.

Bill Moyers presented a good article about this on his site:  Big Pharma Rips Us Off

UPDATE Oct. 23rd, 2015: In USA Today's online report: San Diego-based Imprimis Pharmaceuticals said it would offer customized versions of its drugs for less than $1 a pill as an alternative to Daraprim. Read the report here: USA Today.

This is a totally subjective observation, one that many Democrats share with me, but the former GOP candidate for House Speaker did Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign a big favor when he let it slip that the House Select Committee on Benghazi's work had hurt Hillary in the polls. It was obvious to most that this panel was a deliberate design to defeat Hillary Clinton. "McCarthy bragged to Fox News’ Sean Hannity that “everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi Special Committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping.”  Hillary is holding her own before the Benghazi Committee today. I suspect her performance will not only cinch her nomination in the primaries as the Democratic candidate, but will also assure her being our next President. Thank you, Kevin McCarthy.
Good news for parts of Texas that have been suffering severe to extreme drought conditions. The recent wildfire in Bastrop County made us fearful that more were in the works unless we got rain soon. That wish has been granted, and we are experiencing rain. The thirsty ground will soak it up, and the area lakes will be replenished. Now if we don't get too much, causing flooding! There's that Goldilocks Syndrome again. We have already been warned of flash flooding here in Austin in the next few days. When that happens, the only road into my neighborhood often looks like this:
Low Water Crossing

One more good thing before I close. Jade Helm is Over and Texas Still Exists!
“Oh dear Lord,” (Jon) Stewart said. “Yet another waste of Texas funds that could have been spent on actual threats, like your infamous chainsaw massacres. Texas, it’s not that I don’t find it adorable that your governor thinks your State Guard could take on the United States military. It’s like a little dog growling at a big dog, or an 8-year-old picking a fight with the Predator.” So much for the conspiracy theories surrounding the military operations of Jade Helm.

Stay dry everyone, and notice the good things happening all around you.

Peace and Love,

Monday, October 5, 2015

Finding The Good

  • The media has inundated us with stories and images of the worsening refugee crisis throughout Europe. Every now and then their cameras capture a very brief glimpse of someone handing a bottle of water to a traveler or candy to a child. I wish they would show more stories on television about the number of charities and volunteers that give so freely of their time and resources to assist the beleaguered thousands as they seek refuge in a strange land. The frightened and sad children make good news copy. However, there are also photos of some of these children going about just being a child - even under terrible circumstances. 
  • I saw one volunteer giving a doll to a grateful little girl; a photo of a child blowing bubbles in front of a barbed wire fence. We would benefit from seeing more images like these to remind us that these little children are still finding ways to be a child. Perhaps this would open our hearts and pocketbooks to help provide them with more opportunities. The heartbreaking stories and scenes have a tendency to make us want to quickly exit and try to forget. Please support the agencies and the volunteers who are often risking their lives to help these people.
    (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
  • Royal Dutch Shell recently pulled out of the Arctic Ocean, which delighted environmentalists. A Shell spokesman said that after spending $8 billion dollars, they found not enough oil and gas to warrant further exploration. Although it is a boon to Alaskan wildlife, some jobs were lost for about 300 Anchorage citizens. Let's hope that some other resource can replace those jobs. I wonder about solar energy in Alaska. Aren't the days longer there in the winter. Does that mean more sunlight?
(Photo by Emily Schwing, KUCB-Unalaska)

  • Due to declining numbers of pandas around the world, the birth of a new cub is seen as a triumph for conservationists working to save the endangered species. The National Zoo in D.C. had a pair of twins born in August, however, one twin didn't survive. Less than 1,864 pandas remain worldwide, with 300 of them living in zoos and breeding centers around the world. Ten cubs have been born at the Chinese breeding center this year! Below, China shows off 14 adorable baby pandas born two years ago at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Sichuan, China. Is it any wonder they are so popular with zoo visitors? Kudos to the wonderful people who work to help conserve wildlife around the world.

  • In June, the Texas legislature passed the open-carry law that allowed guns on campus. On October 1, students and faculty from UT protested this law. 162 professors will not allow guns in their classrooms. Pro-gun supporters tried to interrupt the protest and were asked to leave. Maybe more of these protests against open-carry will create enough interest to revoke these state laws. The latest mass shooting at the college in Oregon was done with "open-carry" in effect. It didn't save the ones who were killed. 
(Ralph Barrera/ American-Statesman)

One has only to look at the records of countries with stricter gun laws than the U.S. to know that they work. 

These statistics were compiled in 2007. I obtained them from an excellent article on global comparisons of gun policies at this site Council of Foreign Relations

With the latest tragic mass shooting in Oregon, the presidential candidates are now beginning to speak out on stricter gun laws. That's a good thing. Even better if/when we see them being enacted in Washington instead of individual states. Our politicians need to stop allowing the NRA to blackmail them into refusing to adopt gun laws that will stop so many homicides in our country. 

As a grandmother of three boys, I have never wanted any of them to play football. Hearing about the devastating brain injuries received by professional football players, I often wondered why we didn't hear more about injuries of high school and college football players. My nephew was a talented high school player. He received enough injuries in high school that he's had to have more than one operation on his knees. He still suffers, even in his 50s. A worse story: his dad was courted by all the armed forces when he graduated from high school for his prowess on the football field. He decided on the Air Force, and played on their team. While stationed in England, my sister pregnant with their first child, he broke his neck while playing football. That ended his football career -- thank goodness. He recovered completely after an emergency air flight to a hospital in Germany, and months of wearing a full body cast.

  • Recently, more reporting has been covering the tragic loss of life among young players. This year in September alone there were three deaths of high school players on the football field in the U.S.. The good news is that more and more schools across the country are dropping their football programs and substituting soccer instead. 
CBS News High Schools Drop Football recently reported the following:
  • "The number of high school football players in the U.S. has declined by 25,000 over the past five years. Last year, five high school players died playing football. That's more deaths than in college, semi-pro, or professional levels according to the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injuries."
Many parents and grandparents, myself included, are pleased to hear of the substitution of soccer for football. I hope more parents will insist on this for their children from the youth leagues on up to college.

More good news in regards to prison reform and the death penalty. It is still being reviewed by Congress, so more on this subject later. I am trying to train my brain to pick up on anything good I hear or read in the news. Sometimes it's not easy, as there are so many tragic happenings all over the world.  Why not send me the "good" that you  have heard in the recent news?

Peace and love,

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Impact of the Pope

Many good things have happened of late. Among which was the visit to the United States by Pope Francis. His address to Congress was the highlight of his trip for us non-Catholics. He spoke so movingly about many of the issues in the world today, admonishing not only Congress, but all of us of our moral, social, and political - if not religious - duty to follow the precepts of the Golden Rule, which is recognized by all religions and philosophies around the world.

He covered everything that the world is facing today from the issues of the mounting refugee crisis, war, the unequal distribution of wealth, human trafficking, the poor and needy of all nations, to the critical state of climate change. His speech brought tears to my eyes many times; so much so that whenever they showed him speaking during his whole trip I teared up. (As did Speaker Boehner. I'm still convinced the Pope instigated his reason for resigning the next day.) To see the Pope being drawn to the children and afflicted along his routes.. and kissing babies.. well, no politician on earth could ever match the adulation of this man. We as a nation, and our politicians in particular, needed to hear his message at this crucial time when the candidates for President in 2016 are running rampant across the country. More and more of the GOP candidates' messages seem to be targeting the wealthiest citizens and corporations, rather than the average citizen.

Perhaps we need to be reminded of the following:

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, 
for this is the law and the prophets.

(Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31)

What is hurtful to yourself do not to your fellow
man. That is the whole of The Torah and the
remainder is but commentary.


            (Talmud, Shabbat 31a)              

Do unto all men as you would they should unto
you, and reject for others what you would reject
for yourself.



Hurt not others with that which pains yourself.


(Udanavarga 5.8)

Tzu Kung asked: "Is there any one principle upon
which one’s whole life may proceed?" Confucius
replied: "Is not Reciprocity such a principle?-
what you do not yourself desire, do not put before


(Analects 15.23)

This is the sum of all true righteousness -
Treat others, as thou wouldst thyself be treated.
Do nothing to thy neighbor, which hereafter
Thou wouldst not have thy neighbor do to thee.


(Mahabharata - Ganguli, Book 13 CXIII)

Treat others as thou wouldst be treated thyself.

(Guru Angad - Macauliffe vol2, p.29)

A man should wander about treating all creatures
as he himself would be treated.


(Sutrakritanga Sutra 1.11.33)

Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain; and regard
your neighbor’s loss as your own loss, even as though you
were in their place.


 (Tai-Shang Kan-Ying Pien)

Ascribe not to any soul that which thou wouldst not have ascribed to thee.



(*from the GRO website)

I found these statistics very interesting. At the swearing in of Congress in January of 2013, the following religions - or lack thereof - were represented:

Republicans: 232 members said they are Christians of different denominations
1 member was Jewish
Democrats: 164 members said they are Christians of different denominations
21 members were Jewish
15 members listed "other" or "unaffiliated" (or refused to answer)

Republicans:  All 45 members were of a Christian denomination
Democrats: 51 members were Christians
11 were Jewish
3 members listed "other" or "unaffiliated" (or refused to answer)

Am I the only one who finds it ironical that so many of our representatives in Congress seem to ignore The Golden Rule in all its many forms? Especially those who claim to be Christian?

It is tiresome hearing the self-righteous persons in Congress who have just passed the bill to defund Planned Parenthood in the House, and our state of Texas legislature which has already defunded Planned Parenthood, refused Federal funds for Medicaid when the ACA Act went into effect, and will reach a final decision next week on defunding more Medicaid benefits Texas Tribune, continually lump together the many hungry, the sick, the poor, and the elderly with the few who take advantage of the programs, as a reason for cutting the assistance to those really in need. It's time the millionaire Christians in Congress begin to act like Christians. Its time that the wealthiest 1% and the huge corporations in the United States start paying their fair share of taxes ("Render unto Caesar.." Mark 12:17), which would make it possible to fund programs they are currently trying to cut. 

The things I hear the Congressional right-wing Christians speak out about the most are healthcare, reproductive rights, abortion, and homosexuality. They want to defund some of the very programs that help the most needy. By defunding Planned Parenthood, what will happen to these poor (often unwanted) children who are brought into the world to an existence of poverty or even abuse and neglect? Who's going to provide their healthcare, nutrition, education? What kind of homes will they be brought up in? What about the 16 million children in the U.S. who struggle with hunger? What will happen to the explosion of elderly as the baby boomers reach their "golden years" and they find their Social Security and Medicare benefits reduced or eliminated? 

Bless Pope Francis for speaking out against judgement of homosexuals. He has shamed the anti-gay establishment. That is truly what Jesus would do if he were here today. Apparently, that is one area in which the conservatives are losing ground today, as more and more states are passing laws to allow same-sex marriage. In spite of people like Kim Davis. It is past time for their equal rights be observed throughout the United States.

Bernie Sanders, one of the Democratic candidates for President, stands for nearly everything expected of us as a moral society. At times, his message seems to come directly from the Christian Bible. However, he doesn't stand much of a chance of being elected in the political climate today. I love this saying at the right. My oldest son, Craig sent this to me that he got off Facebook. Jesus, as Socialist Jew? Oh, yeah..

On a positive note, I have more good things besides the Pope's visit that I will cover in my next blog post. Even in Texas there is sometimes a very good reason for optimism. Stay tuned!

Peace and love,

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Another View on Climate Change

Pope Francis has been all over the news lately. His recent major encyclical on the environment has stirred up controversy - not just in the Roman Catholic Church, but also in the many countries he has been visiting. So far he has gotten pledges from around 60 mayors from major cities around the world "to reduce their cities' emissions, and to urge world leaders to pass a 'bold agreement' at the upcoming United Nations talks in Paris." Pledge To Fight Climate Change

So many Christians of all denominations are in denial that climate change exists and is caused by humanity's actions. Pope Francis has strong opinions on this subject and makes a point of telling the naysayers that we are stewards of the earth and every living creature upon it. 

A while back I ran across the following interview between Bill Moyers and Kathryn Hayhoe - an evangelical climatologist from Lubbock, Texas - who along with her pastor husband wrote the book "a climate for change - global warming facts for faith-based decisions". Their discussion covers the effects of global warming and the drought in Texas, and the difference between previous droughts and today's weather from a faith-based perspective. Kathryn was named one of the "Green Heroes" on the Time Magazine List of the 100 Most Influential People of 2014. If you still maintain doubts that climate change and global warming are taking place, I urge you to watch this short documentary.

As the candidates are lining up for next year's presidential election, this topic should be utmost on the list of a candidate's positions on issues. Ask them the questions regarding climate change, and pay close attention to their answers. Are they for the people or for the industrial complex and big corporations that donate to their campaigns? We know who we want them to represent. Hold them to it.

As we here in Texas are preparing for a string of 100+ degree days, give thought to our planet earth. May it see more rain as we did last month.

Peace and love,

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Texas Laws - Gas (It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over) and Guns

Fracking Operation - Planet Investigations
My good friend, Jack Garner, had this Letter to the Editor published in the Denton Record-Chronicle on May 20th.

"When Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg address, November 19, 1863, it was applauded by friend and foe as a celebrated statement of national purpose and intent.

He concluded his freedom masterpiece with ‘this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.’

Would tears flow down the cheeks of the great man were he to know that his declaration of freedom has morphed into ‘Government of the Oil and Gas industry, by the Oil and Gas industry, and for the Oil and Gas industry’ is apparently the law of the land? 

If the passing of Texas House Bill 40 is a bitter pill for you to swallow; knowing that Oil and Gas industry money cleared the way to extinguish majority rule and institute rule by the rich and powerful, consider this: the same thing is happening in Broadview Heights, Ohio, Mora County, New Mexico, Oregon, Colorado, and Highland and Grant Townships in Pennsylvania.

This constitutes a power grab whereby freedom is not being taken from us by the sword but by the big buck. If they can negate one man, one vote, if they can abolish the principal that the majority rules, that positions them to grant and reverse the freedom foundations by which this country was established.

If you love freedom, recognize the threat to its existence generated by the Oil and Gas Industry, and make a vow to fight against it." .. John Nance Garner V

HB 40 is the new state law passed ostensibly to overturn the frack ban that Denton voters passed last November. Other Texas cities have also expressed their intentions of banning fracking in neighborhoods for health reasons -- which of course, the Oil and Gas Industry denies there being any danger. The anti-fracking activists are intent on challenging this law as unconstitutional.

From The Denton Record-Chronicle"In addition to nullifying Denton’s ban, HB 40 greatly limits the ability of Texas cities and other local governments to write local rules pertaining to the oil and gas industry. Many legal experts call the new law sweeping and unprecedented."


Poster created Ca. 1980
10,728/year vs 32,000/year in 2013
Open Carry Law -- This bill passed May 29th, after lawmakers made concessions to law enforcement groups, removing an original provision that barred police from questioning people carrying guns if they have no other reason to stop them. Concealed handgun license holders are even allowed to skip the metal detectors at the state Capitol, as state troopers providing security assume they're armed. 

Taking a handgun into the Capitol? What if someone decides to get rid of a few lawmakers? Of course, it's probably mostly conservative Republicans who are  or will be openly carrying -- or even concealing their weapons. They wouldn't shoot the ones who granted them this privilege -- would they?

(Houston Record-Chronicle)

The Campus Carry portion of the bill passed the Senate this afternoon, which will force public universities to allow concealed handguns on campus, but it did not apply to private schools, who in this latest version would be able to opt out of the requirement altogether. (Democrats finally got at least one concession out of their 101 proposed Amendments approved, allowing regents to define gun-free areas on public campuses, which includes classrooms.) The final vote by the House will take place Sunday afternoon before heading to Governor Abbott for his signature.

Biker Shootout May '15 (CNN)

Do you wonder what would have happened if all of the bikers at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco on that terrible day had their handguns exposed on their hips? Is anyone foolish enough to think they wouldn't use them?

Federal gun violence statistics in 2014 showed that every day in America nearly 90 people are killed by guns, a total of roughly 32,000 annually. Over 7,000 children are hospitalized or killed due to gun violence every year, according to one study published in the medical journal Pediatrics in 2014. An additional 3,000 children die from gun injuries before making it to the hospital, bringing the total number of injured or killed adolescents to 10,000 each year. We should stay on top of gun death statistics here in Texas with the new gun laws passed.

What is it going to take for Texas citizens to overrule the overzealous GOP majority in our Legislature? 

Love and Peace, please..

Sunday, May 31st: The Texas House voted to pass the Campus Carry bill, which will now go to Governor Abbott.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Preparing their life resumès... Part II

Being the worry wart that I am, I kept after Carajean to let me know if she and Audrey were safe. (At one point, when the weather was so bad during their flights, she answered my anxious texts with, "Turn off the TV, Mom!") Last night I received the following text from her, along with the picture, which Audrey sent, that was taken in Haida Gwaii. When you see this and read what Carrie says, you will see why I am just a wee bit concerned about them! 

"We were only in Vancouver for one night. We are in the Queen Charlotte Islands of British Columbia, also known as Haida Gwaii. It is very remote. Very few people. Have been doing a lot of hiking and plan to hike a difficult trail to the top of Sleeping Beauty tomorrow. It involves ropes and ladders and a little scaling. If clear, we will be able to see Alaska at the top. Have seen 3 bears. One on a hike, crossing the river. Bald Eagles are everywhere. Saw a family of river otters today on our picnic. The trees are truly magnificent. Audrey has become quite the trail blazer. Although, we have had a guide on two of our outings."  

Ropes, ladders, and a little scaling? 3 bears? A guide on two of their outings? I continue to pray to God the Prayer of Protection over my two tiny adventurers! And I know She will protect them.


Baseball season is in full swing as evidenced by my youngest grandson Travis. I have been unable to go to any of his games this year, but the Saturday before Mother's Day my oldest grandson, Cameron, stood in for me. I got the rundown from him and Travis's dad, Matthew. It seems that Travis's team, the Orioles, was losing. In the top half of the last inning, the visitors had two men on base when the coach sent Travis in to pitch. 

Did he ever pitch! Travis struck out three in a row. As if that weren't heroic enough for him, he scored the winning run in their last up-to-bat. Way to go, Travis!

Travis is not only a fine baseball player and a PGA Southern Texas Division Junior Golfer who has won a couple of tournaments, but he consistently makes the A and B honor roll. Some of his seventh grade classes are Advanced Placement. I recently asked him what his favorite class is -- "Texas History", he beamed. He makes us all proud.

Cameron sent this photo as he was cheering for the "hero" of the ballgame. He told me that the whole team was cheering for Travis. I wish I had owned a decent camera when Cameron was a little kid playing soccer in Denton. I would love to have photos of those games.

Miss Kelly, my youngest granddaughter, is holding her own with the rest of my grandchildren. She and her mom, Amy, couldn't be at Travis's game that Saturday as she was playing volleyball. Mom said, "Kelly made the all A Honor Roll, and Travis made the A/B Honor Roll. He is in Pace Math and is doing very well. I am so sad I missed his performance, I was at Kelly's volleyball game and she scored several points and is a fabulous overhead server."
(I had to research PACE [Programs for Advancement, Challenge and Enrichment] Math. These courses are designed to prepare students to take future AP and/or IB courses in high school. That's Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate. "These programs give high school students an opportunity to pursue college-level studies while still in high school. Depending on the college they attend, these courses can lead to advanced placement [skipping entry-level courses] or sometimes even receiving college credit for the coursework completed under these programs. The AP courses are accepted at virtually all U.S. colleges and universities, while the IB program has more limited acceptance within the U.S. but is growing in popularity." Guess that means these courses are meant for the smart kids, huh?)

Kelly is a strong math student as well. The past two years she has been chosen to participate in the Steiner Ranch Elementary's Math Pentathlon Team - Steiner Strategic Stallions. This is a program that is run through the school on a strictly volunteer basis. Those participating in this program:
  • Learn active problem solving, 
  • exercise strategic thinking, 
  • accelerate math skills, and have fun playing games!
Amy said, "The tournament this year was here in Austin. It's the Math Pentathlon Division II Tournament. They play 5 different Math games in the tournament, all against different schools in Austin and the surrounding area. They did well, although the competition was tougher this year. We did not win State again, but had a good finish." You can tell by this photo how seriously Kelly takes her math competition. 

This lovely young lady is Annie, who we are proud to have as a member of our family now. She and her brother, Bruce, live with my daughter and her husband, Branch. Their late mother, Evelyn, is Branch's sister. Annie, very bright and eager to go to college and get on with her life, took summer classes last year, and is graduating along with her brother this month - at the tender age of 16. She plans to attend OSU in the fall, along with her cousin, Ashlyn. She will be 17 in August.
Big brother, Bruce, will turn 18 this next week. He plans to attend Texas Tech next fall, and follow in his late mother's footsteps by being a pre-med student, with the intent of becoming a physician like her and so many others in this family. He and Annie both are graduating "with honors". I know their mother will be there in spirit, and will be very proud of both of them.


My daughter teases me about bragging on my grandkids. I gave that some thought, and I realized I do more of that than any of my friends. Why? For one thing, I don't believe there is any such thing as too much praise of our youngsters, and it's something I never received as a child. Having grown up in an extremely critical, and even abusive home, I have wondered from time to time what my life would have been like if our home had been more supportive and loving. Then I realize that I would not want it to be any different. I might have gone on to get more education, but -- and that's a big "but", if it had been different, I would not have the wonderful family I have now. My children and grandchildren are my greatest loves, and bring so much joy and happiness into my life, I cannot imagine life without any of them. I feel so blessed. For, as the Bible says, "If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing."  I Cor. 13:2

My beautiful, talented, loving children and grandchildren tell me in so many ways, "I am something!" I am loved, and so are they.

Peace and love to each of you,