Friday, November 11, 2016


We lost a giant in music yesterday. The lyrics to this song,"Anthem", describe how so many of us feel about now. It is as appropriate today, if not more so than in 2008.  A "crack in everything".. But we must remember, as he says, "That's how the Light gets in.." 

RIP Leonard Cohen

We will see the Light again.

Love and Hope for tomorrow,


"Tonight was food for my soul. I spent the evening with 4 teenage youth whose compassion and world views left me inspired. We laughed. We cried a little. We made jokes about Putin. We listened to George Harrison. We talked about our fears, especially for our marginalized friends in this country. We talked about our own struggles with bullying and depression. We sang.

My faith, philosophies, practice, and way of life tell me that no matter who you voted for, you too have worth and dignity and are deserving of love and respect. You are a Buddha to me. I'm not going to unfriend you nor stop trying to have a dialogue with you based on your beliefs, and I recognize there is grave danger in thinking that way.

I also recognize that rural, working class America has been, in large part, disenfranchised, and this election was a manifestation of that anger and a way of saying 'We still exist.' I know you, too, have had pain and economic despair, and while I think you have chosen absolutely the wrong leader who does not represent your best interests at all, this shows that we as a nation failed to listen. I hear you.

We truly live in two Americas now. I just wish there were some way for me to convey in my heart of hearts to those of you on the other side that the fear for their lives and personhood my friends are feeling is REAL. My black friends. My trans friends. My queer friends. My immigrant friends. My Muslim friends. My female friends who now know that what kind of domain they have over their bodies may rest in the hands of someone who admittedly views said bodies as objects. The persecution of these groups is nothing new, but we have a president elect who has endorsed this persecution, and so that fear and despair has been exacerbated. 8 trans youth have committed suicide since yesterday. If you still really don't think such oppression exists in supposedly the greatest country in the world, it does. It's real. So please try and take some time to understand that. I beg you.

I wish I had answers to such chaos. I could talk about peace and unity, but that's really just rhetoric. We can't have either of these until we put an end to such atrocities our siblings are experiencing. Let's make it so."

Signing off at 5:40 am.            

Cameron Young
Director of Lifespan Religious Education
Westside Unitarian Universalist Church
Fort Worth, TX
I appreciate your interest in my perspective. 
I voted for Hillary, and admittedly, I was shocked and appalled that Trump won. As everyone knows, none of the polls predicted he could have won, and watching Florida and Pennsylvania swing Republican left me feeling pretty hopeless.

Policies aside, I believe that the U.S. President has much greater duties than the head of the executive branch and commander-in-chief. The president should be a role-model for children and reflect the values Americans hold most dear. Unfortunately, I feel Trump has fallen vastly short in this regard, and I fear for a generation that looks up to him. He blatantly lies, makes racist, misogynistic, homophobic remarks, and relies on petty insults and horrendously inappropriate language. Trump lacks the grace and respect for others that the U.S. President needs. Trump capitalizes on the fears of voters and the American people. Trump wants to build a border wall, a project that, in my opinion, is a step away (from) world peace and cooperation. To my greatest dismay, Trump denies global warming. Trump hopes to weaken the EPA and reverse the role Obama has played in green energy, which I find incredibly ignorant, irresponsible, and disgusting. One's respect for the Earth often indicates a degree of intelligence, and in this case, I think it highlights Trump's selfish, egotistical mindset.

I could continue, and I want to continue. However, the U.S. has made its decision. Trump is going to be president, and no amount of protesting is going to change that. The election IS over. A beautiful aspect of America is the peaceful transition of power, and the American people need to remember how lucky we are to be in a country where an election like this wouldn't result in a civil war.

At first, I found it hard to look at my friends who voted for Trump, but I realized how wrong it was to think differently of someone I respected for political reasons. I still love my friends who voted for him, and I feel guilty for doubting that. I think America needs to move past the election. 

Citizens need to remember that we are all fellow Americans. Those who think Trump will ruin their lives are exaggerating. The divisive nature of our country caused this awful election, and I hope that we learned our lesson to prevent another election like this. Trump-voter or not, we all need to keep our heads up and continue striving to make this world a better place for the next generation." ..Tanner

Like any proud grandmother, my eyes teared up as I swelled with pride for these two young men. Cameron is my oldest grandchild, and Tanner voted for the very first time this year. He is a senior in high school. When I wrote him that he was no longer the little boy I remember so well. (The one who hid from me in the library cupboard.) He responded, "I'll always be a kid at heart. I promise!"

I have highlighted many events in the lives of these two on this blog. They are among the finest in the nation of their generation. Their parents, my older son Craig, and daughter Carajean and her husband Branch, are to be congratulated upon raising such fine men. Our future will be secure in their hands one day. They are handling the election results better than a lot of us "elders".

Cameron first posted the above on his Facebook page following election night. I heard from a good friend who remembers him from his childhood days singing at our Unity Church, "I was incredibly impressed with what Cameron posted on Facebook. Wonderfully astute young man. Hope I'll be voting for HIM for president some day!"

We might  just do that, Pam.

Peace, Love, and Hope for our future.


I'm sorry to interrupt the flow if you were reading this, but I just received a powerful statement from my granddaughter, Hannah, who is Cameron's sister. Not old enough to vote yet, but look out, world, she's on her way!

"It is frightening and hurtful to me that a man who ran a campaign based on fear-mongering and the scapegoating of already marginalized people
could ever win the presidency. In these days following the election, I've had it shoved down my throat again and again that not all of the people who cast their votes for Trump were hateful bigots, and did it for 'purely economic reasons'. Forget that fact that no part of me agrees with his economic policies, but even voting for him because you want a few tax breaks is turning your backs on people who are facing a very real threat in the form of this man.

I can't help but feel that, on Tuesday, the system failed us. I am scared as a woman, as a sister to a biracial woman, and a friend to all communities. Women's diseases are a very real possibility in my family, and, because Planned Parenthood is basically doomed, I might one day be at a place where I can not afford, therefore not receive, the lifesaving tests that they offer. My close friend's family is covered by Obamacare, and as soon as it is repealed, she will no longer be able to afford her birth control. Already, we are seeing people of all minorities, be it gay or Latino, being accosted on the street, because the election of Trump told bigots that their hate is both okay and justified. We are facing a real possibility of a conservative Supreme Court, which will have the largest lasting effect. With all of this and more, it's hard not to feel that we, as a nation, are doomed.

But we will persevere. We will continue to march in protests, with signs proclaiming that, 'Love Trumps Hate', as is within our 1st Amendment rights (though Republicans seem to have glazed over this fact in their hurry to proclaim their 2nd Amendment right, but oh, well). And I feel blessed that the first election I will be able to vote in is the 2018 midterm elections, because we will get a Democratic majority in Congress, if I have to go out and walk every street in America myself, campaigning for the Democratic candidates. But people ages 18-44 voted overwhelmingly for Hillary. Statistically, if millennials had been the only ones voting, only about three states would have been red. So I have hope. I have real hope in the future for a kinder, safer, and more empathetic America for everyone who cares to come. And I hope to be working on the front lines of this change. On Tuesday, a glass ceiling was meant to be shattered, but I still have hope that someday soon it will. Either way, #ImWithHer, always."

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree in our family, does it? Proud Dad, Craig is with me I'm certain when I say "I'm with HER".

You go, girl.

Thursday, November 10, 2016


I continue to get feedback from family and friends regarding the aftermath of the presidential election. Here are a few..

"I am embarrassed and afraid for my country. I feel so sad that I've left this kind of nation for my children.".. son Craig, Dallas, TX

"Well, it looks like the U.S. did exactly what Putin wanted...It is too bad, indeed....My dad was a highly-skilled, blue-collar worker and he would never have voted for Trump. Dad especially would not have voted for Trump when he started talking about what a great leader Putin is, but I will betcha that most of my cousins voted for Trump. Some of them are blue collar and some of them are white collar. Some are business owners. All dreadfully wrong."..Cliffie S., Coppell, TX

"I am sick beyond sick . . . It's going to take quite a lot for me to come to terms with this."..Pam L., Denton, TX

"I'm willing to wait and see how it goes. Worried about my insurance coverage...Hoping this is not a huge setback for us women. We have worked so hard to be where we are. Just going to take a wait and see attitude."..Carol W., Denton, TX

A daughter of a dear friend of mine from high school lost both of her parents in recent years. She lives in the very small, conservative west Texas town where we knew each other. As she knows my family and so many of the ones who read my blog, I always include her. Here is what she has to say about the election:
"I started to cry as I was reading. You know Mom and Dad were that's how I lean. I feel so alone and like an outcast in this area. I don't start a politics talk to anyone, and very rarely express my opinion."..Amy B., Ballinger, TX

Yes, indeed, her parents were avid Democrats. Sadly, there are few left in that small town. I feel sure this is happening in many rural towns in the U.S.  If you happen to live in one, and you are one of the few Democrats, reach out to others who might be feeling like "outcasts". My dear Amy, you are not alone.
My friend Jack finally came out of his shock mode and said, "I can't think very much. I feel like someone sucker punched me right on the jaw. More then anything I have fear. Imagine a man whose staff took his Twitter account away from him. Who's going to be there to take away the Nuclear Code? I greatly fear nuclear war in the future. Trump does not have the emotional control to be a national leader. I will not go so far as to say he is crazy, but he does have mental problems."..John Nance Garner V, Denton, TX

Jack wrote the following before the election. I substituted "voted" for "vote" in his original Letter to the Editor:
"If you voted for Donald Trump, you are saying sexual assault is all right with you.
If you voted for Donald Trump you are telling the world that lies do not matter.
If you voted for Donald Trump you voted for bigotry.
If you voted for Donald Trump you told the world that it is all right to treat women like second class citizens.
If you voted for Donald Trump you are in effect showing that Black Lives don't matter.
If you voted for Donald Trump you approve of tax cuts for the 1% of the nation's richest.
If you voted for Donald Trump you are satisfied with the super-rich paying little or no taxes.
If you voted for Donald Trump you have no respect for Latinos.
If you voted for Donald Trump it shows you stand for everything negative about him.
That's what voting for Trump says about you."

Lots of cartoons are expressing our feelings about this election. This one has to be my favorite. I think we all woke up feeling this way yesterday.
(David Rowe Cartoon)
I have more reactions for another time. In fact, I'd be willing to bet there will be many unfavorable reviews of this new president-elect during the next four years. May we stand firm in our belief that America is already great, that no one person can tear down all of our beloved institutions, and that we will learn lessons from this election. Hopefully, most of those lessons will be apparent to the disenfranchised voters who put this man in office. 

Above all, let's keep our sense of humor. After all, we will have a clown for president.

Peace, love, and hope for the future,

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

"The world just caved in.."

said my friend, John Nance Garner, V. (Jack)

His famous uncle, John Nance Garner, IV, former Democratic Speaker of the House, and also 32nd Vice President under Roosevelt, was noted for his quote, describing the Vice-Presidency as being "not worth a bucket of warm piss". One wonders what he would say about today's politicians.

Jack has had a few choice words of his own regarding the now President Trump and his Vice President Pence, however, he said he couldn't share them yet - they are "too profane". Something about a "bucket of glue"?

I'm sure I'll hear more out of Jack shortly.

"The people have spoken—and the people have set in motion a path that threatens our republic, at least as we know it. They have chosen to take the country in the direction of illiberal democracy. They have selected a leader who hates the First Amendment, who has shown a proclivity for imposing religious and ethnic tests on the citizenry, a leader who has benefited from an enemy power’s intervention in our democratic process. Donald Trump is not my president, and perhaps he’s not yours, but he will have more power over us—and the inclination to use it—than any president in American history.".. Franklin Foer, Slate

On Trump's mocking of a disabled reporter:
"If this was a member of your family or a next-door neighbor, a guy at work -- you would immediately distance yourself from that person," Letterman says of Trump's lack of civility. "And that's what I thought would happen. Because if you can do that in a national forum, that says to me that you are a damaged human being. If you can do that, and not apologize, you're a person to be shunned."..David Letterman on the NYTimes


"Words are not enough. Tears are not enough. My beloved country is now in the hands of an immoral, egocentric racist and his minions. How happy Putin is today. God help us all."..June C. from OK

"I am in shock. We have, in my opinion, now alerted the universe that the U.S. has the most stupid, self-destructive people on earth...What is happening??? I woke up around 3:30 AM and thought, well let me turn on the news and see how badly she beat him. I could not go back to sleep. I turned it off and waited a bit and turned it back on because I was SURE I was hallucinating or something...And I bet the people who voted for Cheeto in Charge didn't even look at what that fool who is now V.P. did in his state. I'm not watching any news either. The U.S. has now declared to the world that we have more stupid people who vote than anywhere else.​"..Rita B. from NC

"(Watch) Hillary’s concession speech this morning. Just as classy as you would expect from this intelligent and able woman. And I think her words describe the way we should all try to go forward." Martha N., Austin, TX

"Disgust. Sadly, racism and ignorance are the driving force.." daughter, Carajean, Amarillo, TX

Grandson Tanner who turned 18 last August and voted for the first time, was so disappointed that he didn't want to go to school this morning.

Granddaughter Hannah, although not old enough to vote yet, was also very unhappy. To quote her dad, Craig, she's "having a breakdown" over the election results.

"Very disappointing that Hillary did not win. While her winning was never assured, I thought she would pull it off before the results began reaching the media otherwise. Truthfully, it so disturbed me that when I woke up during the night, I had to take an ambien to get back to sleep. I mean to say I was bothered. 

So many social issues and global issues at stake. From what I hear, it was the white male non-college educated that got Trump elected. We are living in a new age where everything is going to change."...Truman C., San Antonio, TX

           A former classmate, Denny, who has a second home in Warsaw,  is
planning to go to Poland in December during the semester break where he teaches at Stony Brook University. After the election results, I asked if he just might decide to stay in Poland. He replied, "Unfortunately I have to be back to teach on Jan 23, so I will return to Trumpland on Jan 18th." Denny was so fed up with the campaign this year he decided like a lot of us to quit watching the U.S. news coverage. He has many international friends who think we have gone crazy even nominating Trump. Bet he hates to face them now.

A final note for now from a beloved friend. 

"My thoughts after the election:      It is time for deep, personal reflection 
and what we can all do to be more inclusive of those who have felt disenfranchised, unheard, forgotten, and left with a sense of hopelessness. The voices/votes of the 'silent majority' have been heard and it is disheartening that so many American men and women have not felt as if they matter. This was/is the open door that led to the election outcome.

Time to affirm that the power of light and love are restoring our nation! We are all in this TOGETHER." Carin H., Denton, TX 

Beautifully said, Carin. 

Thanks to all of you for your input. If you wish to send me your thoughts as well, they will be welcomed and posted at a later time. In the meantime, let's all take a deep breath and say to ourselves, "This, too, shall pass." And remember, over half the voters in our country voted for a saner candidate.

Peace and love and prayers for our country,

Sunday, November 6, 2016


I have started several blog posts in the past few weeks, but as I gave up on my news fast and started watching some of the campaign news I've fallen into a blue funk. (Note I said "blue".) This morning the tension and accompanying stress were so prominent in the newscasts on broadcast TV that I didn't even have to hear the actual words they were saying for the energy to hit me full on. I kept switching channels until I reached one of the PBS channels.
(Striped Hyena - It's even got the hair!)
Guess what they were featuring? Hyenas! I immediately correlated that animal with another disgusting, ugly, bottom feeder who's running for President. (I just couldn't get away from him.) "Generally, hyenas are known to drive off larger predators, like lions, from their kills, despite having a reputation in popular culture for being cowardly." .. "Hyenas are commonly viewed as frightening and worthy of contempt, ... In some cultures, hyenas are thought to influence people’s spirits, rob graves, and steal livestock and children." (Wikipedia)  I know, I know. These scavenging creatures are a necessary being in our ecosystem. So are vultures. But as our president?

I don't even like to speculate what kind of government we would have if this hyena is elected.
"The number of Klan-affiliated groups in America grew to 190 last year, up from 72 in 2014, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s report, titled 'The Year in Hate and Extremism.'" Also in this report, "The number of (hate) groups on the American radical right, according to the latest count by the Southern Poverty Law Center, expanded from 784 in 2014 to 892 in 2015 — a 14% increase."

Not surprisingly, contributing to this rise in hate groups has been the ongoing campaign of Donald Trump, as well as other GOP candidates and supporters. These groups include anti-gay, anti-Muslim, anti-abortion, neo-Nazi, and White Nationalists groups among others. There seems to be "something or someone for everyone" to hate.

Our democracy is destined to become a thing of the past if Trump is elected and his supporters predominate in governing our country.

Listen carefully to your heart and get out there and vote for equality, responsibility, decency, fairness, and true democracy. Vote for Hillary Clinton and other Democrats who stand for these values. Then, it is up to all of us to see that these values are upheld and fulfilled.

Peace and Love,

Monday, October 10, 2016


My younger readers may never have heard of Glenn Miller or this classic, In The Mood. I think they will enjoy watching the orchestra play, and might even find themselves tapping their toes. And how about those flying trombones? The whole orchestra puts on quite a show. This brings back lots of memories, as I learned to "jitterbug" to that when I was in junior high school. Of course, we never could match the expertise of our parents who jitterbugged through WWII, and in a few short years our steps and music were replaced by "rock and roll".

As I have found myself saying I need to get "in the mood" to write a new post, the above song came to mind. It really cheered me up after all of the depressing headlines of the ongoing election campaign. Not to mention the devastation being caused by Hurricane Matthew. The Haitian people have yet to recover completely from the massive 2010 earthquake, and we continue to hear of the destruction there and along the Eastern seaboard of the U.S. caused by the same hurricane with another one looming in the distance. We cannot ignore the plight of the Syrian refugees, nor of their citizens trapped in Aleppo, deprived of food, water, and medical assistance. (Please open your hearts and pocketbooks.) Then there are the melting glaciers and ice caps, putting more wildlife in danger of extinction. Sometimes it seems the doomsayers may be right, and the end of the world is near. 

But life does go on, for however long, and there are many reasons to celebrate and experience the joys of living --especially in America. 
This past Labor Day my daughter Carajean and her husband Branch had a 
(Photo by Rob Binder)
big celebration for their 27th wedding anniversary. Most of our family celebrated with them, with the exception of my granddaughter Hannah, who had other commitments. Her dad was here, as well as her brother Cameron and the love of his life, Allison. Most stayed at the new place that CJ and Branch recently bought on Lake Travis, about 3 minutes from my home. As they won't move into it until next year, there was no furniture, and everyone had to sleep on air mattresses. The food, water sports, movies, and camaraderie made up for any discomfort, so I'm told.

Carajean came down first and brought along her beloved dogs, Honey
and Nimbus. They all spent one night with me, and Nimbus insisted on sleeping in the double bed with me and Carajean. He's apparently used to this, and managed to move out of my way each time I turned over! Nimbus is the younger of the two, and thoroughly enjoyed being on the lake. His life jacket was a little too big, but next time he'll have the perfect fit. Honey is getting old, and creaky joints made her trips up and down to the lake more treacherous. They both seemed to love all of the excitement and having their family around.

Grandson Tanner and his Mom, Carajean, are currently in New York at Cornell University. Tanner wanted to take a tour of the university, and although he is not certain he will be admitted, he is going to give it his best shot. He said touring the campus gives him some good ideas for his essay. "Evidently," says his Mom, "the essay is just as important as his scores and grades.. It is a breathtaking campus, fall colors outstanding. One of the rooms looks like Hogworts in Harry Potter.. I think he would fit in, be challenged and inspired at Cornell."

If not this Ivy League school, I feel pretty certain that Tanner won't have any difficulty in gaining admittance to one of them, which is his goal. Besides being a straight A student throughout his school years, Tanner plays cello in the school orchestra, and is on the tennis team as well. In his last tournament a couple of weeks ago, he won both his singles and doubles matches. Smart, talented, and good looking, too! (Just a little grandmother's bragging.)
What are you in the mood for? Maybe listening to the music will take your mind off the current political climate, and even give you a little inspiration along the way. Or maybe you'll feel like dancing?

Peace and love,

I mailed in my voting ballot on Saturday. How about you?

Thursday, September 1, 2016


Personally, I have been doing extremely well avoiding the negative rhetoric by and about the current presidential candidates. I have really made use of my TV remote mute button, and other than reading the headlines (which are often as disturbing as reading the whole piece), I'm not reading any more news articles online that mention the campaign or its participants. I promise you, I have been sleeping and feeling much better. 

However, this morning I received the following piece from my older son, Craig. Alex is an "interim" Unitarian Universalist minister, and was until recently the minister at my grandson Cameron's church in Fort Worth. Alex is also a practicing Zen Buddhist. He and Craig met and became close friends. I thought it would be interesting to share what he wrote. I agree with so much of what he has to say, but I truly hope he is wrong about "something terrible is going to happen this year". I have to admit that I have felt the same way at times, but I have tried to erase those thoughts and feelings from my consciousness, and replace them with prayers for "the highest and best" for our country.

What I appreciate about Mr. Trump (no, really...)
...Rev. Alexander (Alex) Holt

Image result for Alex Holt, Unitarian"Anyone who knows me would raise eyebrows at the idea that I could appreciate anything about Mr. Trump. I have run into people similar to him who are cheerful con artists and who could convince you to give them your most cherished possession and then would be willing to sell it back to you for a steep fee. I'm not sure even how skillful he is in such ways.

This is what I appreciate about this loathsome and rather pathetic individual:

First, I am convinced that a trickster archetypal figure would have eventually created chaos and havoc in a political system that has become dysfunctional and warlike at a national level. Bernie Sanders could have been one as well but I am thinking here of Mr. Trump. He has ripped the band-aid off of the deep psychic and emotional wounds that the Republican Party has fostered on itself since the Goldwater campaign. When a political system is in paralysis it can take only a small push from an unexpected direction to have it all come apart. I think both political parties are due for some serious reform movements.
Image result for political party symbols
Second, the Republican Party (and I suspect the Democratic Party as well down the road) will have to go through a reshaping and possibly a realignment of political parties. I wouldn't be surprised if the Republican establishment figures attempt to bring the party back under their control by breaking it off of the more fundamentalist portion.

Third, people like myself have been appalled by the nasty and deeply offensive words used online by people who are able to hide behind anonymous identities. Mothers would resort to soap in such peoples' mouths were they to hear such language and lack of civility. That said, I think that the venting of emotional pus in America today is at least a start to bring the poison to the surface. Governor Le Page in Maine is an example. His anger and bluster echoes the feelings of others. My point is that those feelings of rage, anger, fear, humiliation, etc. have been there couped up in peoples' heads for many years. That deep anger is - I think - just under the surface for Americans regardless of age, race, political label or region.

Those are three reasons why I think Mr. Trump (or someone like him) was necessary to come along. My worry continues to be that the seething rage under the surface in America might break out in unpredictable ways either before or after the 2016 election. I've said before that I worry that something terrible is going to happen this year. If such a tragedy happens I hope it doesn't alter the healing that 'might' come after this election is done and America looks at the rubble of how far our national political system has paralyzed itself.

My mood is optimistic, however. I have met and listened to fellow Americans of all types during my life. Nearly all of them are generous and kind people. Some have shorter fuses and less tolerance than others. Most would stop on the side of a road to help a stranger in distress (especially in the South).

I think that liberal and conservative fundamentalism is a natural outcome to the years since World War II. My belief is that the vast majority of Americans who are the above kind and tolerant people will have their voices heard.

Could I be wrong and full of it? Of course. However, I still believe that we are capable of doing great things as Americans. We can be exceptionally good and exceptionally bad. We had a choice after 9/11. We still have a choice. The good old days weren't. The world isn't a safe place. We Americans have to be used to being part of the world now rather than safe behind our oceans."

I believe we are capable of doing great things, too, Alex. Hold that thought.

Love and Peace,

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Then I hit the mute button..

Six years ago this month I wrote the following article. For some reason, I ran across it this morning and realized I needed to say these things again. Not so much for my readers as for myself. In this post I state truths that I believe, but have not been practicing in recent times. I have "strayed from the path" so to speak. 

So many of the events taking place when I first posted this are occurring again today -- with additional people involved in them. Good news is that Bill Gates and Warren Buffett and their philanthropic organization The Giving Pledge are flourishing. The number of billionaires who have pledged to give half of their worth to charitable causes to improve the world has grown. If one looks at all the good that they and others like them working on behalf of the betterment of our world, their accomplishments far outweigh the actions of those we hear about in the media trying to promote the negative and hate that seems to run rampant in today's politics.

I am continuing my efforts to refrain from listening to and reading the worst of the news. It is difficult to catch what little news that does not cover the election campaigns or the atrocities of war taking place. I'll keep trying. But then I think of "nonresistance". I feel that sometimes I'm "damned if I do and damned if I don't". When I hear something now that raises my hackles or strikes fear in my heart, I try to let it just run off me like water off a duck's back. My version of nonresistance. Then I hit the mute button.


Lest some of you think from reading my last blog entry that I condone censorship, I must fall back on my French ancestry by quoting the famed philosopher/writer, Voltaire: "I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it."

(Photo of First Amendment [free speech] Zone at 2004 Democratic National Convention)

I was half-joking when I remarked that Warren Buffett and Bill Gates would be doing us all a favor by paying some of the more obnoxious people who's voices are so strident in the land today to "stay home and shut up." Of course, they have a right to speak their minds.. even when they are spouting lies and half truths, and even when they are advocating violence, as some do. If I truly supported censorship, I would not have suggested they "pay them"!

In light of this, I'd like to state that I am sorry if I offended any of my readers of this blog. I did not start this blog to be a forum for dissension or political debate. If some of my words create a need for such, I suggest these debates take place in a different forum, such as Facebook or one of the many political blogs already doing so. Or... you may start your own blog. I am happy to print your comments, but I will not be dragged into a heated discussion on issues that are important to each of us. My own opinions, as I am sure yours have as well, have been formed over many, many years of study, observation, and personal experiences.

I have suffered many experiences that would cause most people to view the government, law enforcement, and the "establishment" in general with much suspicion and indeed, fear, as so many seem to be doing today. I choose not to live my life in fear. I choose not to believe the "voices of doom" or the conspiracy theories so loudly proclaimed in our land. I choose not to believe President Obama or the current administration - whom I proudly voted for - have anything but the best interests of this country at heart. I choose not to view with suspicion people of color who may or may not be in this country legally. I choose not to believe that people of a different faith than mine are somehow unacceptable anywhere in this country.

"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis, 1935
I choose not to believe that rallies that are prone to incite violence and promote dissension are the way to solve the enormous problems we face in our country. The voting booth is my preferred way, and words spoken in an honest, calm, and deliberate way by me as well as the candidates I support.

I choose to believe in the edict issued by some religions to practice "nonresistance". What we resist, we do maintain. That is often very difficult to practice, especially in today's world. Carrying signs proclaiming the power of love is very different from those proclaiming anger, hate, and ignorance. As Mother Teresa said, "Let me know when you give a march for peace." Do not ask me to support a march to "take back our country", especially when many of those making these statements vow to "carry a gun"..and some blatantly do so.

I suggest that many of those would do better by arming themselves with facts and the truth of the issues they think they are supporting.

Enough of that. I had a delightful visit yesterday with my "boys". We ate a huge "brunch", then - even with full stomachs - they decided to play golf anyway. Craig later returned and told me that they had a really "fun" game, putting aside their initial competitiveness about half-way through the 18 holes, and just plain old enjoying themselves. I wish I had been on the golf course to photograph them, but I located an older photo of another time they played golf. I might add that Matthew does not wear a beard now. (I don't think!) Craig, however, still does.

I am indeed a proud mom. We had some really good discussions, and I have great hope for the future of both of my sons. They are both intelligent, warm, loving human beings, who are raising children to be the same.

I love you guys,
Mom (Marilyn)

Friday, August 5, 2016

Butterfly Wings..

For years I saved a yellowed newspaper clipping of a short poem that began:
"Look small, into the wings of things.
Concentrate time.."

I've either lost or misplaced that little clipping during one of my many moves. I wish I could find it. The huge events taking place in our world today make me want to "look small" and "concentrate time" to only the present moment.

During the past year I have gradually strayed from routines that kept me in positive, optimistic moods. In going over some of my older blog posts, especially from a few years back, I realize I have changed. I no longer see the world events through innocent eyes; no longer am I able to readily summon my alter ego, Pollyanna. My spiritual and/or inspirational books lie gathering dust on my night table, only partially read. I've cut my daily devotional readings from several books down to only two publications. I have become more and more isolated.

I suspect some of the above have to do with growing older, coupled with physical ailments that limit my personal interaction with positive people. I am most thankful for the technology that has brought instant contact with others through our many devices. It doesn't take the place of personal touch and interaction, but it is reassuring to be able to reach loved ones quickly and easily. However, these devices come with drawbacks. The computer and television keep us connected not only to friends and loved ones, but also to the world at large. Therein lies my problem.

I have become a news junkie! Sights and sounds from everywhere in the world are always at my fingertips. Morning, noon, and night I watch the TV broadcast and PBS news.. Thank goodness, I don't have cable. I would probably keep the news channels on all day, and never get anything done. When the TV news is over, I turn to the Internet. Wow! News is always available -- faster there than the broadcast news can present it.

I have tried to limit my news intake. I have wonderful "good news" sites I read to break the hold the often dreadful happenings around the world have on me. In the U.S., the presidential campaigns of the past year seem to monopolize the news, and draw me back in to practice my addiction. The campaigns and the mass shootings that have been taking place here and abroad can traumatize one with the violence and hatred being transmitted on a daily basis. Particularly now in the election campaign being run by the GOP candidate. The world thinks we are crazy to have someone like him running for the highest office in the land of the most powerful country in the world. Personally, the things he says makes me believe the man is a little bit (maybe a lot) crazy himself.

"Whoever relies on the Tao in governing men
doesn't try to force issues
or defeat enemies by force of arms.
For every force there is a counterforce.
Violence, even well intentioned,
always rebounds upon oneself."
...Tao Te Ching

When I recently was sent a political email by an old classmate who is obviously a Trump follower, I found myself going into "attack mode". What is happening to me? I discovered a partial answer in an article by George Lakoff, a cognitive linguist, Understanding Trump

It seems, according to Mr. Lakoff, it has to do with our brain circuitry. According to his research, we each have "two moral worldviews that in general contradict each other" characterized by the neural circuitry in the brain. In other words, a conservative may have some progressive positions and a progressive might adopt some conservative opinions. According to Lakoff, these two are linked together by a common neural circuit he calls "mutual inhibition." Apparently, the language one hears (or reads?) activates one or the other, strengthening it...and weakening the other.

Here it gets interesting. "..The more Trump's views are discussed in the media, the more they are activated and the stronger they get, both in the minds of hardcore conservatives and in the minds of  moderate progressives.".."This is true even if you are attacking Trump's views....It doesn't matter if you are promoting Trump or attacking Trump, you are helping Trump."  (He's a Braineater!)  In other words:

"What you focus on, increases."

Yikes! No wonder I've been in such a pessimistic mood lately. On the one hand, Trump keeps pounding his message that the country is going to hell in a handbasket, and on the other, his detractors (including me) are incessantly reminding us of the doom we face if Trump is elected. No wonder Trump is everywhere! What we don't need  is more Trump. I must begin to mute every mention of Trump's name on the TV news, and skip over articles that give every detail of his every move and tactless blunders. Fat chance, huh? Maybe I won't need to bother if it's true what many pundits are saying -- that Trump is on his way out as the GOP nominee. 

Mr. Lakoff's article explains the Trump phenomena in great detail. It gives one pause when we are listening to any candidate. It explains a lot how dictators such as Hitler and Mussolini rose to power. I encourage you to read it, no matter how you view yourself, conservative or progressive.

I added a couple of my devotionals to my reading today. I feel better already. As for "time", the present moment is all we have. To all my dear friends and loved ones, even when I'm not blessed with your physical presence, I spend time with you in my thoughts and prayers. I dedicate this song to you. 

Peace and love,

Sunday, July 10, 2016

They shall not be moved!

This past week has been filled with many heart-breaking stories and images. The massacre of police officers in Dallas was particularly disturbing. A sniper at any kind of demonstration -- no matter who the targets are -- seems to align America with the realm of terror-ridden countries around the world. If this occurs in Dallas, where will the next one occur? What kind of gathering will set off the crazies with their guns? Where will we be guaranteed safety? The "open carry" laws in Texas are cause for more concern. A man (or woman) with a rifle slung across their shoulder at any gathering is suspicious to say the least. Do we trust that they are among the "good guys"?

Baptist minister Jeff Hood leads Dallas protest.

I am dismayed when watching images of this and other Black Lives Matter protests that the TV cameras do not show enough views of the many white faces among those who are demonstrating. I do not remember any mention of the white minister shown above with his hand raised who organized and led the Dallas march. (Although, I do not have cable TV. Perhaps he was shown on cable news.) It is that type of media coverage -- focusing on the violence and the blacks involved -- that is creating more of the same. It's time they focused on the positive images surrounding the events. This minister, Jeff Hood, not only organized this to protest the shooting of the black men in Minnesota and Louisiana, but when the shooting started he shepherded many to safety.

Had I known as I watched the news coverage into the wee hours of the morning that my first-born grandchild, Cameron, and his girlfriend, Allison were at the protest rally and march I would have been terrified.

The day after Dallas, Cameron posted the following on his Facebook page:

"Can I not weep for the officers killed and also weep for the people of color being killed by police brutality? Are the two mutually exclusive? Can I not have major grievances against the policing system whilst still having the utmost respect for the officers who fought and died last night protecting our right to demonstrate?

Needless to say, the last 24 hours have been nothing short of a whirlwind of emotions and events. Between the adrenaline rush of trying to flee disaster and waking up today to be called a 'bonafide inverse racist' with blood on my hands, it's been a struggle to meditate through and navigate this gargantuan spectrum of emotions, and I can't say that I've found clarity at this point.

Last night, as we were wrapping up our peaceful protest we were standing about a block behind where the shooting took place (eerily right across the field from the Kennedy Memorial Monument). In a split second, everything is erupting in chaos. We fled south and then east as police officers jumped in their cars and sped in the opposite direction. We could smell the gun smoke as we headed away from the red brick courthouse. As we took safe haven in the Dallas Morning News building, I began asking these questions to myself.

Yesterday I took a staff position with the group that organized this event, which means I would continue to be front and center for these demonstrations. I was beginning to re-think things, but my friend Eldred said it so perfectly when I asked if this experience would deter him: 'deter me? i'm not moved. hell, no terrorist attack is making me call in Black today. and, more than ever, am i convinced that change is NEEDED. otherwise, this will only get worse.'

I am not backing down. Extremists disguise themselves in every political movement and no prominent ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬ leader would ever condone this violence, and to blame the movement for this is unfair and unjust. Anyone who tries to condemn protesting because it attracts violence is echoing dictators who have done the same thing throughout history to justify their suppression of free speech. If any parties back down in this, police or demonstrators, we're playing into the hands of these extremists who are trying to puppeteer us into becoming enemies.

We shall not be moved."  

Cameron Young, Director of Lifespan Religious Education 
Westside Unitarian Universalist Church, Fort Worth, TX 

Cameron comes by his activism naturally. His father, Craig, gave me nightmares when he was of a similar age back in the 80s and marched along with Jesse Jackson at the South African Embassy in D.C., protesting apartheid. He survived, and has passed his love of equality and justice for all along to his son. I am proud of both of them.


The following video was produced shortly after the Orlando nightclub massacre, in honor of the victims. I think it is appropriate to listen to now for the Dallas victims as well.. We certainly do need love! The music begins at 1:57.

Love and Peace,

Saturday, June 18, 2016


Long-time friend, Jack Garner, wrote the following Letter to The Editor of the Denton Record-Chronicle shortly after the Orlando massacre. 

I agree with him wholeheartedly about assault weapons of any kind. It was good to hear Senator Murphy (D) from Connecticut lead the Democrats in a 15-hour filibuster on gun control this past Thursday, ending only when GOP leaders agreed to allow votes on two of the issues. I pray they can come to terms and pass such legislation we so desperately need. We'll see.

"50 dead at the time of this writing; more in critical condition may not survive. The cause? Not a hurricane, tornado, or earthquake, but one deranged man with an assault rifle.

It matters not if the shooter’s motivation was a hate crime directed at the sexual orientation of his victims or an Isis-inspired act of terror. What matters is that we are in a position to have this foul act repeated as long as assault rifles are on sale to the public.

Every family should be able to own a pistol with a limited ammunition clip for protection of home and family. The sportsmen should be allowed guns that permit them to participate in hunting; but to continue the sale of assault rifles is to sanction murder.

The National Rifle Association will scream to the high heavens at this proposal. They will claim that it violates their Second Amendment rights. When the Second Amendment was penned, a musket fired one round - a far cry from an assault rifle’s 30-round magazines. An assault rifle is overkill for home protection as well as hunting. Its only purpose is the taking of human life.

I am not naive enough to think banning of assault rifles would stop all murder. It has been a negative social act since Cain clobbered Abel, and will continue as long as humans carry hate in their hearts. Banning of assault rifles will, however, stop blood-flowing massacres such as the carnage in Orlando."
"Gun manufacturers are pushing military style weapons: Rolling Stone magazine charges that since the industry has seen significant drops in the number of hunters in this generation, the industry has promoted assault rifles and machine guns, (the purchase of) which has risen in recent years." (
If the millennials in my own family are typical of this generation -- and I believe they are -- the number of hunters will continue to drop. Their love of nature and involvement in environmental causes promise to keep them and their families to follow from ever wanting to intentionally harm the beautiful creatures on this planet. My daughter's family is vegetarian so they certainly don't go along with the argument that we need to slaughter animals for food. For those who do eat meat, the humane treatment of such animals is a priority. I cannot argue with that. I banished veal from my diet years ago after seeing a segment on "60 Minutes" about how tiny little calves were kept penned up so tightly as to prevent any fat or muscle development (one's veal must be tender!). They were never allowed out of this confining little prison until slaughter time. I cried as I watched the secretly filmed video of these poor little babes.
The deputies in the Sheriff's Office in west Texas where I worked for a short period of time, were typical hunter types. They loved to razz me about my tender heart where animals hit by cars were concerned. ("They are just animals.") They tried to convert me to their hunters' point of view with the issues of over-population of some breeds. Especially deer. (And now, of course, we have the feral hog population to deal with in Texas.) I realize the need for reducing/controlling over-population. It seems I heard some years back about trials with birth control drugs being used for this purpose with some animals. Modern technology can surely find a way to make that a plausible solution. Anyway, if we have to resort to hunting and killing as a "humanitarian" way of keeping some from starving, why does it have to be with assault weapons? These weapons were invented for use by the military, and for one purpose -- to kill humans!

I may have shared this story before, but must do so again. I probably told it to the Sheriff's Deputies, thus, the reason they teased me so. Long ago I told a friend of mine in Denton how it disturbed me to see so many animals lying dead along the side of the highway, having been hit by cars. She told me how she dealt with it. She just "blessed their little spirits" and drove on. (Thank you, Mary, for teaching me that.) It made things a little easier for me. It became second nature to me as I drove -- blessing little spirits of dead animals along the roadside. I could spot them up ahead and would begin my blessing, until one day the "animal" I thought I was blessing turned out to be a large piece of wall insulation that had blown off a truck! The blessing was complete by the time I reached it. Boy! Did I feel foolish!

I loved the story of Native Americans putting grass in the mouths of deer they killed for food, so the animal's spirit would have something to eat on its way to the other world. They would thank the animal and bless it on its journey. 

I wonder if the Orlando shooter thought even for a millisecond of blessing the spirits of those he killed. He certainly didn't kill for food.. so was it for sport?


Friday, June 17, 2016


My granddaughter Hannah, who will be a junior next fall at the performance arts high school Booker T. Washington in Dallas, is an aspiring playwright. Recently a one-act play she wrote was one of five out of 60+ entries from the north Texas area high schools to be presented this past Saturday at Booker T. during PUP Fest.

"Playwrights Under Progress (PUP) Fest is a unique project co-produced with local youth organization Junior Players. As part of the New Works Festival, PUP Fest features an afternoon of five world premiere staged readings written and performed by some of the Metroplex's finest high school talent and developed through playwriting workshops." Kitchen Dog Theater - PUP 

Hannah's father and brother Cameron attended the production, and Craig said his daughter's play was "absolutely wonderful". It is about the problems of a young, gay high school student. Supposedly, videos of these plays will be posted on YouTube in the near future. 

Hannah's cousin Audrey, my oldest granddaughter who now lives in Austin, is a talented writer as well. She writes on a blog called ONE WORLD, TWO FEET along with other "explorers" of our beautiful planet. They write brief posts along with amazing photographs of their adventures that they take as well.

Audrey, an environmental scientist, has recently taken a job with Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) as a Habitat Exchange Program Specialist, working on the threat to the extinction of the monarch butterfly. EDF has offices all over the U.S., Europe, Mexico, and China. Their mission is creating "solutions that let nature and people prosper." by working toward "stabilizing the climate, feeding the world, and protecting our health (safer household products through chemical policy reform and corporate partnerships)." Saving the planet and all living things is a big job. One that Audrey has been devoted to and planning for most of her young life. 

Audrey's brother, Tanner, is a senior in high school this coming fall. Besides being an honor student, and preparing to attend a favorite Ivy League college, among Tanner's many accomplishments is the ability to write. I was so impressed with an essay he wrote for his English class this spring that I asked him for permission to quote some of it. 

"When I was just a little tyke, my father and I would often ride bikes to a sandwich shop for lunch. I fondly remember these adventures, as my father would engage me in a wide variety of interesting topics. I remember one discussion in particular, one about the impact of pattern recognition on how we humans interact with our world. I have continued to think about this topic ever since that discussion. Humans excel at identifying patterns -- indeed, this ability is key to mastering our environment. This ability to recognize both dangers and opportunities has carried us to the top of the food web. However, we are so proficient at recognizing patterns that we often find patterns which simply do not exist."

"..Humans innately categorize everything. Although this is a largely beneficial trait, it is my belief that this tendency to categorize causes many societal issues. Those who are not like 'us' because they act differently than 'we' do, make 'us' uncomfortable. Those who do not fit into the predetermined categories that we subconsciously create make 'us'  feel uncomfortable and afraid. Sometimes, violence arises from this fear. Thus, massive injustices such as xenophobia and racism occur.."

EDITOR: And of course, homophobia, as we witnessed this past week in the tragedy at the nightclub in Orlando. 

More next time on my other grands. All stay so involved in all aspects of our world today. The arts, science, sports, and life in general. Sometimes it tires me to even contemplate their busy lives. But overriding it all is pride in their accomplishments and their parents (my children) who are doing such a magnificent job. 

Peace and Love,