Blog4Peace Globe #2598 ~ Message In A Bottle

 Message In A BottleThe Queen’s MemeMimi Writes… Dating Profile Of The Day Mimi Lenox

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Blog4Peace Globe #2454 ~ The Queen’s Meme

Bloggingham Palace ~ Mimi Lenox (Mimi Queen of Memes)
Original Peace Blogger
United States 

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Blog4Peace Globe #2454 ~ The Queen's Meme

Bloggingham Palace ~ Mimi Lenox (Mimi Queen of Memes)
Original Peace Blogger
United States 

 #blog4peace
Peace Store


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Dona Nobis Pacem

Welcome to BlogBlast4Peace 2012. Thank you for blogging peace with us today. Do check back for updates and visit our Facebook Fan Page where there are thousands blogging for peace from 152 countries. Tag me with your peace globe. We will tag and share around the world. Be sure to sign the Linky List at the bottom of this post or in a comment. Happy Peace Blogging today! Visit, visit, visit.

Today is my grandfather’s birthday. There is no better way to honor him. He was the most peaceful person I ever knew.

 My Peace post is called The Dream: Trees In The Courage of Time
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Blog4Peace Participants

1. Mimi Lenox
2. Daryl
3. Michelle of Crowsfeet blog
4. Shannon
5. The Misadventures of Me
6. Juliana RW
7. Mike Golch
8. Mike Golch
9. Finding pam
10. Susan
11. V.V. Vaymin
12. Celestial Kitties
13. Sherry Blue Sky
14. Dona Nobis Pacem with Samantha, Clementine, Maverick & Mr. Tigger In Memory
15. Jessica
16. The Gal Herself
17. Kitty Limericks
18. Herman’s Hideaway
19. Of Living and Loving and Coping
20. Clooney’s Num-Num Fund
21. Janice/CrazedNitwit
22. Cate Reddell
23. Thomma Lyn Grindstaff
24. Susie Clevenger
25. Trav’s Thouhts
26. Cats in the Condo
27. Christine
28. Christine
29. Punapippuri
30. Sandra Hammel
31. Nanna Aldrich Murakami
32. Jennie Marsland
33. CyberCelt
34. Sans
35. CyberCelt1
36. Milo and Alfie
37. Silvia Hoefnagels
38. Robyn
39. The Kitty Krew
40. Ginger Jasper
41. Akelamalu
42. laura Hegfield
43. Valerie
44. Kathy Duffy Thomas
45. The Horoscope Junkie
46. Tink
47. Sue
48. Julie Rose
49. Animal Shelter Volunteer Life
50. Stacy Uncorked
51. Julia Phillips Smith
52. Emily Roesly
53. On a limb with Claudia
54. Vinny Bond Marini
55. Jamie
56. Vinny Marini
57. Goodnight Gram
58. Bear-A-Tones
59. Bankerchick
60. Annelisa
61. terica
62. Malcolm R. Campbell
63. Team Beaglebratz
64. The Maaaaa of Pricilla the Farm Cat
65. Cathy Keisha
66. Lavender Luz
67. Richard Ball
68. Margs animals Blog 4 Peace
69. jabblog uk
70. Stephanie Ball
71. CherryPie
72. Rykerz Boyz ‘n’Allie
73. Kerry
74. Kwizgiver
75. Faire Lewis
76. Blog4Peace ~ The Official Site
77. Texas, a cat in New York
78. Jan’s Funny Farm
79. The Kittini Boys
80. nonamedufus
81. A @ A Changing Life
82. Kathy Duffy Thomas for real
83. jabblog uk
84. Janice D’Agostino
85. Janice D’Agostino
86. Wyzwmn
87. Wyzwmn
88. My Musical, Political, and Philosophical Ramblings
89. Marg’s Animals
90. The Creative Cat
91. Cate
92. Max the Psychokitty
93. Buddah pest
94. Thumper
95. rose
96. Louie
97. MJ Holmes
98. Friends FurEver
99. lolamouse
100. Naila’s Pinterest Peace Board
101. Chey-Dona Nobis Pacem 2012
102. What Rose Made Today
103. CountryDew
104. laurie kolp
105. Gattina
106. Welshcakes Limoncello
107. Lizza
108. Joan Anderson
109. Glogirly – Tails Of A Cat & Her Girl
110. Lizza from the Philippines (The first peace globe on Instagram!) Check it out
111. The Meezers
112. BlogBlast4Peace Facebook Page ~ with 5, 471 fans for peace
113. Camies Kitties
114. Eric and Flynn
115. Imaginary Garden With Real Toads
116. CatSynth
117. runaway sentence.
118. The Island Cats – Dona Nobis Pacem 2012
119. Dona Nobic Pacen – Cats of Wildcat Woods
120. Dona Nobic Pacen – Gallery of the Mountains
121. TopChamp
122. Amy Palmer
123. PG Forte
124. Ter and the cats of Curlz and Swirlz
125. Nick’s Bytes
126. Leave It To Davis
127. Barbara Doduk
128. Curlz and Swirlz
129. Faith Gilbert Suley
130. The Cat Blogosphere
131. Tillie and Georgia-Mickeys Musings
132. Julie Rose and Ploynaphat Nina Run (designed by Travis Cody)
133. Anndi
134. lime
135. Inigo Boy
136. Nanna Aldrich Murakami
137. Nanna Aldrich Murakami ~ Hawaii
138. ShaynaCat’s Blog
139. aka Darzy
140. CyberCelt2
141. CyberCelt3
142. It’s All About The Whimsy!
143. The Journeys of Cactus Jack Splash
144. browser life
145. DaisyMae Maus
146. Juliana’s Bits and Pieces
147. The Furries of Whisppy
148. The Queen’s Meme
149. A Blip On The Radar
150. It’s All About The Cats!
151. Misses Peach’s Meowz
152. The Maaaaa Of Priscilla
153. Mama Pajama
154. The Cracker Jack Poet
155. Hannah Gosselin (Metaphors and Smiles)
156. Blondin’ Blonds
157. Bloodthirsty Muses
158. The Unused Portion
159. The Creative Cat
160. ConversationalWordsmith
161. Bertram’s Blog
162. Mimi Lenox
163. Foxxfyrre
164. Rosidah
165. Rumpy Dog
166. AdoptedMomToChazzTheDog
167. DogDaz
168. Savannah’s Paw Tracks
169. Speedy The Cheeky House Bunny
170. bumpyroadtobubba
171. Brian’s Home
172. Lavender Luz *singing                 peace globe
173. MANX MNEWS
174. Susan continued..

Dona Nobis Pacem ~ The Cabinet

Something led me to the potting shed this morning. So, I put on some leaf-walking shoes to follow the muse.

It is clear and beautiful in Bloggingham today with a bit of breeze and the sound of falling acorns. Leaves are changing faster than I’d like for it’s only a matter of time before they lay bare and naked the strength of my trees, losing their protection and grace.

For weeks now I’ve thought of spring. Remembering scenes in my life that happened – only – in springtime. I wondered why. The images so strong as if I were re-living them again. I could smell spring. Touch spring. In my chilly foggy forest surroundings, a season I love most of all, I needed, I suppose, to feel spring.
So on my way to the potting shed I stopped at my patch of wild mums and descended upon them with the camera lens. They were waiting like old friends to give me a breath of spring.

But back to the muse. The shed the shed shed. I must get to the shed. 
Just inside the door of the little building in my grove of trees and overgrown wildness…is this

It belonged to my Papa. It was his tool cabinet. It hung on the wall of the garage where he made things and sawed things and stored things in it; including the secret stash of chewing tobacco in a can in the corner beside nails and rags and oilcans. He made picture frames and tables, stools and odd furniture pieces. I made mud pies and tried to leave him be while he measured and thought hard.  It was a steady stream of stirring inedible cuisine (some things have not changed, my friends), him spitting in the can while I tried not to look, sawdust, the swing of the hammer and the sound of my grandmother’s voice trying to shout above the bzzzz bzzzz saw that supper was ready and we’d better wash up.
He’d scoop me up in his grease covered arms and let me do my favorite thing of all: I got to close the wooden latch.

Opening it today without the benefit of hugs and the promise of butter biscuits was bittersweet. But something had led me to the shed today and I aimed to open it.



Hmmmm…not much left in here except spider webs and dirt. A very old can of something to do with grease, some iron rings, a few nails…and a brand new water hose head I bought last spring lying on the bottom shelf.

How did that get in there? I didn’t put it there.

At that moment a large gust of wind starting spinning Bloggingham’s trees above the A-line roof of the shed, branches swaying heavily above me soaring and tall in the blue sky while the bam bam bam of acorn bullets descended upon the roof at the same time above my head. Yow! It scared me so I ran out the door. Find the wild mum patch, Mimi! Mums aren’t scary. Don’t you go back in that building. That was a sign I tell ya, a sign!

Go back in, silly, it’s just the wind.

OK. But only because you’re a droopy mum and need cheering up. I’ll go back.

I crushed a few acorns with my leaf-walking shoes and went back inside. Reaching into the deep storage shelf on the bottom, I gingerly removed the out-of-place water spout and laid it elsewhere. But what I saw underneath startled me so that I ran out again. This time stopping in the yard to put my face in hands, tears on my face with memories of dusty nails flying into walnut, pine and oak, now pounding in my mind as I wondered….

How did THAT get in there?


It was Papa’s hammer.


All tools near and far were lost in the divorce, gathered from this cabinet and absconded with the swish of a legal pen.  I never saw this before. His hammer. His hammer. How could I have missed it?  His hammer. Why hadn’t I seen it before? How long had it been there? No logical answers could I find, even after a phone call to said absconder-of-the-tools. He didn’t remember it being there either. “I’m sure I cleaned everything out of that cabinet,” he said. No matter. It’s peace day ya know.  It doesn’t matter how it got there. But I have no doubt I was supposed to find it.

We might need a hammer you know.

To be builders of peace it isn’t enough to declare it so, will it so, pray it so or blog it so. In between the words, which indeed are powerful ideas and mantras, we have an arsenal of tools at our disposal just begging to be utilized for good.  Some have been lying around for years but all we want to do is talk about them. We’re too busy sometimes to actually pick up a nail and pick a spot – any spot – to inhabit peacefully in our world. To make it better for someone we don’t even know. We don’t see that the lack of connectedness in one person brings the whole planet into a state of perpetual lack. And how one area of unrest brings the whole planet into jeopardy.  Cause I’m here to tell ya…it’s easy to cohabitate peacefully with people you love. But it’s darn near impossible to build peace with perfect strangers across a ragged world of war.
Yet peace builders we must be with weapons of saws and plowshares.

And let’s throw in some beauty, shall we?

It isn’t enough to elevate people in dire need with food and clothing and somewhere-out-of-a-cardboard-box. They need – we all need – artists and writers and painters and dancers to lift our spirits to a place far beyond the basic tenets of existence. I never saw my grandfather’s day end without a book in his hand, a song playing on the stereo
or a Spring in his smile. 

In the meantime…we need sowers of seeds for crops of food and medicine, laboring hands to shingle roofs, diggers of wells and drillers of land, mattocks and shovelers, sweepers of oceans and singers to soothe those who can’t understand this peace you say in front of their hungry children.  We have to pick them up – these building tools –  and make them happen in our homes and communities before we can expect anyone to buy into a word we’re saying on the subject of peace. Then and only then can we call ourselves peacemakers. In my own personal space of planet Earth I will hold myself to that standard.   I will try. I will try. But I don’t believe it will take the world as long to arrive at the inevitable wisdom of peace as it did to lunge into the abyss of universal war.  It seems to me that the tide of consciousness and awareness is turning.

But it won’t last unless we get out of the realm of consciousness-raising and into the physical realm of working the work with more than manifestos. You all know how firmly I believe that words are  powerful – but they are not the only tools we have. I have no trouble nailing my purpose to the plate with words.  It is who I am. It’s a bit more daunting to get my skirt dirty with your problems when I have a world of my own.

Have you ever noticed that in the cold dead winter of warring with someone, there comes a time when you just get tired of warring and you wonder, “Isn’t there a better way?” Do I think there are people hellbent on destruction for the sake of destruction? Yes. Do I see and understand that not everyone in the world wants to go searching for spring? Yes. But I have to hope that somehow deep down even in the hearts of evil men lies a human seed of desire for survival. And if they can’t reach peace for any other reason than that, then so be it.  Because we’re on a collision course that peace treaties and scribbled sanctions can’t fix. The heart of man has to change…and that is nothing akin to changing our minds. It goes as deep as long-grained wood. That brand of human evolution requires that we sometimes allow the other person to open the door and sometimes we  must allow them to lift us up to reach the door.

When my grandfather began a new project, he first chose the strongest of materials, the most sturdy wood. He knew that to lay a foundation on anything else was a waste of time. He knew that building things without the proper tools was a recipe for destruction.   Then he threw in his ingredients: Solitude. Contemplation. Pride. Patience. Hard work. And a sense of service. He didn’t build things to sell. Giving them away gave him great pleasure.

 I was reminded by a friend today that it’s good to use the tools of our fathers and grandfathers. There is something organic about it. I hope as the world churns and turns toward a new season, that we don’t discard the hard-won sacrifices made before our time nor the wisdom those experiences bring to the table of peace building.

It is not enough that we learn to unmake war. 
We must learn to remake peace.

Wanna borrow my hammer?

 
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Peace Globe #2000 ~ Mimi Lenox @ Mimi Writes

My Peace Posts in chronological order
Papa’s Marbles. Not a pretty one in the bunch.
Every one brown or taupe.

I don’t know why my grandfather’s loving eyes gave me gifts of handmade earth-shaped marbles in a bowl that grace my piano top today, nor why he planned for me, all those years ago, to write about his prayers. I don’t know why.
But I do know how.

And so do you.
Let the revolution begin. 


“You do not need me to tell you what to do. I am proud of you and you are doing just fine. Just remember one thing: It takes all the dolls in the box to make the world a beautiful place, Mimi. . They can’t hear what the other one has to say unless you introduce them to one another and set their feet to dancing.
Take them out of the box.”

June 6, 2008  A Revolution of Words ~ #4
Voices of peace can’t war.
How, Mimi Pencil Skirt – as one reader asked – can you use the word revolution in the same sentence as peace? “Because,” I said with a mouth full of unexpected resolve …”because I now know the meaning of revolution.” I am turning. I am changing as I read. And walk through jungles
with starving children
with nothing to hide behind
but my words

Now I have yours too.


And then the world looked on as an election in the United States loomed ominously toward conflict of the most internal kind. Would we? Could we….


There is a place between two worlds I’ve heard of. Some say it is Holy.

I stood in that sacred space last week. I saw redemption and grace in a split second of time when one breath ended and another began. I am here as a witness to tell you it is full of Spirit.

Full of energy.
Full of peace.
Maybe we keep asking for the same struggle and getting exactly what we ask for because we’re not ready to lay down the most powerful weapon we have
Love

Bloggingham Palace
United States
Original Peace Blogger

Dona Nobis Pacem ~ Write On My Heart Every Word

When my Papa was middle-aged, he found the love of his life.
She was my grandmother.  And through the years I was privileged enough to watch them live out that love right in front of me. While they surely had struggles and bumps like everyone else, they had something else too. What was it?
I am pleased to report that I don’t know.

But I saw it when he looked at her.
And I heard it in his laugh.

I learned what to expect from men in my faraway future by watching him treat her with respect, with dignity, with never-ending fascination. I learned what a real man worth his salt in this world should look like, should act like, should be.  For all her many quirks and eccentricities and no matter how many times the wigs flew off or the cigarette dipped in the morning coffee cup, he gifted her with unwavering love and devotion. Sometimes it was eye-rolling twinkled-eyed devotion – but devotion nonetheless.
She was and would always be the love of his life.

  There were many things about my beloved grandmother that could-make-a-preacher-cuss (some might say I inherited some of that cussability factor) and many differences in the way they went about coping with their worlds and dealing with people – she, a colorful and semi-raucous individual with a sly and wrinkled nose glance, a hopeless and rather comical hypochondriac and a penchant for high heels and gentle dancing. He, a protective bear of a man at every turn, confident, happy and a hopeful sufferer of legitimate ailments yet incapable of feeling anything but gratitude for each day he lived, whether or not he was in pain and more than determined to make her imaginary illnesses tolerable by ministering to her every need even when we all knew that the bat of her eyelash was more for his benefit than needed salve for any ailment. It wasn’t in his nature to argue with the beautiful and whimsy creature he called wife.

She was a character foreign to his outward way of living but crucial to his inward way of loving.

The inward was always more important to my Papa.
They were delicately and diametrically different. 
All of that disappeared the minute she looked across the table at him. I saw it many times.
She never smiled at him; she smiled into him.  He smiled into her.
What WAS that?

I am happy to report that I do not know.

All I know is…..
You don’t know you have it until you’ve got it.
You don’t know you don’t have it until you’ve got it.
You don’t know you need it….until you don’t.
Enter gothic grandmother and a tall praying man in a fine starched shirt and matching hat.

It occurred to me this week in preparation for peace week that as much as I’ve focused on what my Papa and those marvelous marbles have taught me in my spirit and heart since this whole peace globe movement began and how the whole blessed thing is in reality based on NOTHING I can logically explain and how it was birthed with the little girl in my heart who missed her grandfather ….and wanted to honor his influence in my life, that really, in essence,  the entire scope of the peace globe movement is based on coincidences of random occurrences that blossomed into a cohesive ball of fire and substance – much like their relationship, much like their example, much like their love.

  I wrote a post. I made a graphic.  I found the earth marble made by my Papa in the 1920s.
  I write a story. I tell it to you. You tell it to others. A movement begins.
And it makes perfect sense, no?

Like the round agate blue earth ball in the middle of the wooden bowl I love so much, there is a never-endingness in the idea that when one story, one idea, one truth touches the global heart of man  it spontaneously perpetuates into all manner of mutated species and cultures, blind to the differences, tolerant of the language barriers, spinning wildly out of control on the same blue rock we call planet Earth. It still maintains the composite structure of rocks and of people and of Earth, building strength as it cohesively binds to the next rock and the next rock and one after that.
Until finally there is nothing but a big blue rock of all that is, hopefully, peaceful and good.

Somehow in a roundabout collision course of uncanny coincidences from start to finish, it makes perfect sense and it makes no sense at all. And on a personal level it seems the salty lessons are engraved on my heart in reams so deeply true that I can’t tell where one memory ends and another begins.
And that’s just it.

The most eternally rich experiences in life make no sense at all.

If I knew how to explain it all in scientific cosmic terms that make sense, I would. I would tell you why it is that out of my pen keeps spinning tales of a life that began nearly a century ago and speak to me now …I would tell you how that came to be if I knew how to do so.

I am pleased to report that I do not.

And really.
Why do I want to mess with a perfectly imperfect chain of events that led me here…to one of the happiest places in the span of my life?

And then I remembered the Cokesbury.
And the song.
What WAS that song?

I’ve had that book on my mind for days. Where is it? What have I done with it? What does it have to do with peace globes? Here I sit on another Dona Nobis Pacem Eve and have not finished my own post. It is perfect imperfection! Again!  Four hours ’til the stroke of midnight and I have a half-baked peace post. When the muse stops speaking, I stop writing. That is how it is in my pen-shaped pencil skirt world.
So this afternoon while Australia and New Zealand blogged peace on the other side of the world, their fearless leader went outside to pick a few wild pink mums. I had visions of hippie flowers in my hair and silliness for BlogBlast For Peace Day.

The muse had another idea.

The song…the song….Something about moving along and being tempted and tried and it had a certain predictable lilt that made you want to know more and yet somehow you knew there would be no answers really and that the same song would be sung next Sunday in the very church you see here by the same out-of-tune grandmother and all would be right with her out-of-tune world.

I decided to find the hymnal. 

So I went downstairs to a box of music books and fished it out from the dust of funeral services gone by. It was Papa’s personal copy. I ran my fingers across the inside cover scribbled with the name of a man who could not sing above a mumble. And I remembered…and heard the music….and remembered.  The smell of the wooden pews. The polish. The carpet. The altar. The tinny tuned piano. How joyfully my grandmother stood in the little country church you see here and held that proud brown Cokesbury with his name in it. She was an “alto“ and proud of it. On the back row. Middle. She sang. And sang. And sang. And even as I use that term loosely in her dearly departed presence I remember how she made me learn to read shape notes. It made her happy. It made my piano teacher crazy. It didn’t matter. Nobody could sing as badly and with as much joy as my grandmother. Truly. (don’t tell her I said that) Oh I knew I’d get a rap on my knuckles from my teacher. It didn’t matter. I’d rather have my grandmother’s joy.

Opening the leather-bound 1939 “Favorite Books and Hymns” I sang the song.
There it was. Page 38.
I laid Bloggingham’s flowers on the page.
 “Farther along we’ll know all about it. Farther along we’ll understand why. Cheer up my brother. Live in the sunshine. We’ll understand it. All by and by.” 

 NOW I remember why that song bothered me so. Who wants to wait to understand? Sigh. I found it uninspiring… so….so….depressing. Yes, that’s it. Depressing. Except for one thing.

My grandmother. She always smiled through the whole thing. Every square sour note. Like there was some secret between the tempteds and trieds and the toils of the wicked verse that I just didn’t get.
What WAS that?

I am happy to report that I do not know.

But I’m betting she did. Maybe I was more than a little irritated that she could grin through natural spiritual disasters and I couldn’t. Who wants to “cheer up and live in the sunshine” when the world is falling apart?

Certainly not moody Mimi.

I was a serious child. When things worth being serious about show up in my world, I tend to be a serious adult. And I see the enormous challenges we face as a global community. I know you do too. As a people struggling to live in peace with one another on the world stage of mismatched choirs,  fearful that this great blue earth ball of dirt and water we inhabit will one day implode under the weight of it all…we are perpetual experts at the struggle. It is sobering. I understood Grandmother’s song better than she thought. We are brilliant at round tabling. We are bodacious builders of peace-seeking strategies. PowerPoint pacifism. Stupendously adept at the fine fine art of peace-building on paper.

We fail miserably at retreat.
We run screaming from surrender.

We don’t want to believe in anything we can’t see, smell, touch and understand.
I understood that grandmother couldn’t sing.
I understood that I hated that dreary song.
I understood that grandmother understood that there was no rhyme or reason in her Pollyanna philosophy.
And I understood that it mattered not one iota to her.

 I wondered why….why the winks and smiles in church…why the knowing nods between the two of them…..why the certainty that every uncertainty known to man was a certain source of their joy. They didn’t need to understand why. 
I was certain of that.

My grandmother couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. But she thought she could. And when she would sing in the old country church choir, it would make my ears hurt (Don’t tell her I said that).
But Papa didn’t mind. He couldn’t sing either. And to him, her voice was as beautiful as her face…or her Hollywood sunglasses, her long dark hair under the hats they shared or the strange strange way their unlikely union seemed to jell into one –  despite her minor-keyed world of wigs and harmonies unknown to man.

He learned to surrender.
No. I take that back.
He loved to surrender.
And that is the word we must put before any attempt at laying down of arms

We have to teach each other not how to unmake war but how to remake peace.
Because truly, if we believe that words are powerful and if we believe those incredible words of Mother Teresa’s about how peace is unattainable because we have simply forgotten that we belong to each other, then we wouldn’t have to think at the think tank of perpetual peace talks at all.
We could just step out of struggle and live in the shiny world of Cheer up my Brother and actually live in the sunshine.
All it takes is a life force on this planet willing to take the first step.
And show the other side that trust is not only a scary thing, but the only way.

Which brings me back to my grandfather’s Cokesbury Worship Hymnal.

I needed to trust the muse.

The last time he held this book in his hands was the Sunday before he died. In the back of the book there are Responsive Readings. He often led the congregation in those readings. I could not get that book off my brain this week. I needed to find it. After I brought it upstairs, sang from the shaped notes hymnal of cheer-up doom and gave my mums to my grandmother’s memory, I started thumbing through the back of The Cokesbury.

Would you like to take a wild guess where his page was turned down?

Why is that?
I am happy to report that I do not know.

But here in Bloggingham tonight, bound to my grandparents’ memory is a small bouquet of wild pink peace mums laid on a bed of uncommon love, shaped oddly like the sound of a far away tune in a church full of cheer in the middle of plowshares and pruning hooks. 

“Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”
Maybe we keep asking for the same struggle and getting exactly what we ask for because we’re not ready to lay down the most powerful weapon we have
Love

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Dona Nobis Pacem

The Bargain
Once in a blue moon I am speechless.
And this day, of all days, I need to find words.

One week ago today I buried my father.
Had you been in my home fifteen minutes ago you would have seen a very different Mimi than the one you might have imagined. You know…the one who writes glowing sonnets tripping over a moonbeam of golden light in the middle of La-La land while dangling in a skirt and perfectly manicured nails – and let’s not forget the feathered pen on golden threaded linen. Thoreau-ish? Not today.
Well, the nails are right. The rest? Not so much.

How, I asked the Universal Powers That Be, can I be expected to spout forth inspirational puff and fluff when all I want to do is rail against the indignity of the past five weeks. And loudly, I might add.

I am angry.
I am tired.
I am tired of being angry.
I am tired of being sick.
I am sick of goodbyes.

You see, when he was a living breathing roller coaster of complicated medical terminology, I could eek out a measure of hope. At least he was still breathing. Sometimes. I could imagine another day, another month, even another year at times…on the good days. Reality didn’t pan out the way I wanted. Comas don’t lie. No faith healer showed up. The best medicine in the world couldn’t save him. I couldn’t take away his pain nor could I erase what my eyes saw in that god-forsaken bed of hell he lay upon for thirty-two days and thirty-two nights after years of spiraling in and out of survivable mode. And now what do we have?

Reality.

I hate it.

The truth is, sometimes life is beyond difficult – it is overwhelming. It is energy-depleting. It is raw. Watching someone die agonizing slow is not pretty. The memories are not pretty. And no matter how hard I try to fashion a tale of peaceful prose this full-moon night in the South, I can’t.

So I stood in my house and let fly out of my mouth what I really wanted to write in this post complete with words a Queen shouldn’t say and an entire upside down string section of sorrow…that I am exhausted and resentful. That I don’t want to write a War and Peace novella on this blog for peace day. That I am human. That I am overwhelmed. That I miss my daddy. That I can’t stand the thought of him lying in a box of dirt. That I wish I could have done more to ease his suffering. How inadequate I felt at times. How mortal.

And then I remembered what the preacher said.
It was a graveside service. The violin had just played “Amazing Grace” I followed the trail of a spider along the vault mechanism and marvelled as a butterfly landed right in front of me on top of Daddy’s casket flowers- all personal signs to me of graces and gratitude I needed to remember.

He told a story I’d never heard before about my father. One day while visiting Daddy for one of those are-you-right-with-God-discussions, the preacher asked a favor of him. You see, the pastor had lost his son in an accident just a year ago. With a shake in his voice standing under the green tent in the middle of a stone field full of my kin, he retold this conversation with my Dad. “Could I ask a favor of you, Walter? When you get to Heaven, I want you to promise me that you will look up my son. And then I want you to ask him to take you on a tour of Heaven. But when you do, be prepared, because he will take you on a tour like you’ve never experienced before. He’s quite a character. I think the two of you would get along and it would mean a lot to me.
Let him show you around. Will you do that for me?”

Daddy smiled and agreed.
They struck a bargain.

He said he’d never before or since felt inspired to ask anybody else to do that for him. After the service I reassured him he’d made the right choice. “That’s a safe bet,” I told him. “Daddy will keep his word.”

Then he picked up a handful of dirt from the ground at his feet and laid it squarely at the head of my father’s pine box coffin. It wasn’t a pretty moment for me.
My emotions raged. Inside the core of that damn box lay someone I loved and I couldn’t touch him or smell him or get to him again…oh but I could see the dirt fly up under his cleats and the spit in his eye darting cross the shortstop line one more time. Rounding third base and digging in home base dirt with a powerful unassuming charge as if to say “My work is done. Your turn.” A flock of birds flew over and I knew he was making his flight towards home, seeing new sights, wondering at the design of the Universe..and yes, I knew the pastor’s young son would be waiting to escort the aged ballplayer laughing through the park on a firefly night full of stars.

And even as I remembered the nights he would scoop me up in his arms and carry my sleepy dusty self off the bleachers and to the car, the preacher kept talking about dirt. He said he wondered when my dad was playing baseball all those years, if he ever thought of the symbolism in the dust he kicked up and played in…..If he ever realized the evolution of Earth and sod and life and death returning to Earth. The cycle of resurrection and renewal.


When I saw him lay the handful of Earth on the box – it was right.

It was so right.




There is a place between two worlds I’ve heard of. Some say it is Holy.


I stood in that sacred space last week. I saw redemption and grace in a split second of time when one breath ended and another began. I am here as a witness to tell you it is full of Spirit.

Full of energy.

Full of peace.
In this life on the planet we share and walk around on, there is the world of peace and the world of war. The world of grace and the world of strife. The world of forgiveness and the world of unrest. Some live their entire lives with one foot in each space.
But I don’t believe that is how it should be.



Daddy taught me to keep one foot on the base if I wanted to stay safe on a steal and to run like the wind in a split second of decision at the sound of his voice. When I told him on the day he died that is was OK for him to go….he took that safe-stealing foot and flew home. Just like that. At the sound of my voice. And just like his base-stealing eye always had my best interests in sight, so did my pigtailed pencil skirt heart feel him go.
I wanted to love him all the way home. I wanted to stand and cheer. I wanted to make his journey safe with both feet off the base so that he could fly into joy.

Sometimes peace comes kicking and screaming….as it did for me tonight… as it did for my dad in his final days. I am still struggling with the memory of those days. Sometimes the way to peace is not easy. But that doesn’t diminish the promise. Nor should it delay the reality if we can help it. Even when peace comes knocking at the door all ugly and ragged and worn out – it’s still full of hope.

Today on this blog and many many other places on the Internet, out of the living breathing earth rose a cry that somewhere….somehow….someday…there will be peace.

So today let us speak Dona Nobis Pacem in large loud numbers.
It is documented.
It is promised.
It is recorded.
When even one voice stands up to be counted among the peacemakers of the world, there is hope.
We all live on the same ball of dirt.



I’d forgotten about it, this photograph, from a few weeks ago at my father’s bedside.One thing is perfectly clear:
It wasn’t I who covered you, Daddy.
It was you who covered me.

There is a profound difference in
standing for peace

and standing in peace.

**NOTE** Hundreds of Bloggers are signing HERE too. Please do the same so that you don’t miss any posts. Amazing day.


Dona Nobis Pacem

Welcome to the 2nd anniversary of BlogBlast For Peace! This post will stay up through Sunday so that bloggers may have time to visit, as many are still contributing globes and posts. Thank you for blogging for peace today and sharing your stories. Please sign the Mr. Linky so that I can keep up with your peace posts and document the day. One hundred and ninety bloggers have already signed at this link. Feel free to do so again here. I hope you will take time to read and visit everyone. The globes are beautiful and the posts inspiring. Wherever you find your peace today, may this be a day of hope and goodwill.
Brava to the blogosphere! Our voices matter.

Shadows On A Stone: Voices Of Our Time

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The year was 1968. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy had been slain. Our country was in turmoil. The controversial war in Vietnam polarized our politics and our hearts. Richard Milhous Nixon was about to become the 37th President of The United States.
I was about to begin my education. It started at the backdoor.
A knock.

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Come on in, Joe!” Papa exclaimed with a laugh. “And Joe, come around to the front door. I’ll let you in.” In some areas of the south in the sixties, visiting black men in small town USA still did not approach the front door of a white man’s residence. Forty years later, we are quite possibly about to elect the first African American President of the United States. What astounding progress. I do not know the direction my grandfather’s politics might have taken had he lived to see this election – which fell on his 94th birthday – nor do I know for sure how he might have cast his vote but I can promise you one thing: the candidate’s social status, the color of his skin, his religious affiliation, political slant, or the cost of his shoes would not have mattered. Papa’s welcomes were equally sincere and easily given, just as surely as his profoundly obvious walk with his everyday conscience.
He followed its voice.
I followed his.


What did he want, I wondered….as I sat in the tiny kitchen with my grandmother….and why did he come to the back door? Nobody ever came to the back door. The man needed a job, she said. He couldn’t feed his family. I heard low whispers from the living room and then the front door shut. Lesson one duly noted.


One sunny day not long ago I went to visit his double-hearted spirit in the cemetery. I stood there listening, wondering, wishing he would speak to me. When I developed the pictures later, my shadow had fallen across the stone. It looked as though we were perfectly in sync – still. It started me thinking how my time has eerily overlapped his time; a slice of American history that was shameful in so many respects – the abundance of ignorance, the quest for power,font style=”font-weight: bold;”> a<!– @page { size: 8.5in 11in; margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } –> <!– @page { size: 8.5in 11in; margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } –> <!– @page { size: 8.5in 11in; margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } –> were just background noise to voices of his time that mattered – those who championed and upheld the most basic of human needs – the right of all persons to be treated with dignity and respect as the crucial core issue which lay at the heart of his generation’s unrest and violence.

In the middle of all that ruckus, he showed me the content of his character.

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As a teenager, I waitressed in my grandparents’ restaurant. I was, admittedly, the worst waitress on the planet. One of our regular lunch customers was a Democrat running for Governor. He went on to serve our state in the U.S. House of Representatives. I distinctly remember the day I took his order as he sat with a group of political groupies in a corner booth. With my usual I-hate-waitressing-scowl accentuated by the hippie-like pigtails and bell-bottom jeans, he decided to play twenty questions over iced tea refills. “Who would I vote for and why? What was my opinion on the Vietnam conflict? What was my party affiliation? Civil Rights? What are your feelings on this issue, young lady?” Caught off-guard and woefully unprepared to answer, I stammered something unintelligible I’m sure and returned with his ticket, making a hasty retreat back into the kitchen with my grandmother. I still, to this day, remember how embarrassed I was when I couldn’t answer him. <!– @page { size: 8.5in 11in; margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in }

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Ignorance, especially mine, was intolerable. I expected more of myself and set out to learn what I could, just in case my pigtails ever held court with a pre-polling candidate again.

Perhaps that’s why my grandfather started saving the newspaper clippings. About the war. The peace process. The presidency. The assassinations. Current events. Senate races. I still have the yellowed marks of that time in my closet where I keep his things.


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And even after all this time you see, the ghost walks around in my pencil head at night – causing me to remember the Joe’s and the governors and the furniture plant needy and that laugh of his that welcomed even the most down trodden of souls. What made him tick? My grandfather was so religious that he would even buy gas on Sundays. He gave more than 10% of his wages to his small church all his life and was the Superintendent of Sunday Schools for seventeen years.
And yet it wasn’t about religion. It wasn’t religion. <!– @page { size: 8.5in 11in; margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in }

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It was about respect.


For himself and for others. Everyday. Not just on Sundays. He stood up when a woman entered the room long after it was fashionably safe not to do so. He dressed extremely well and took care of himself. He listened. He laughed. He loved immensely and huge. Where did it come from? That answer is easy. It’s explained in a memory I have of him standing time and time again with his gentleman’s hat in his hand as he prayed aloud in some small sanctuary or at home, oftentimes dropping to one knee and never failing to bring the presence of peace to those present.

I have a confession to make.

I was not praying. I was watching….because I was so proud of him and I wanted to see how he managed to get God’s attention. I thought, in my little girl mind, that it was the hat. A sign of respect. That must be it. So I watched….his respect for his God and his unapologetic awareness of what quietly burned within him. There was no one in the room but the two of them when they spoke. I was quite sure of that. Not only that, but I felt it too. I still feel it when I think of that hat.. It was a place of reverence inside his head and his whole being. A reverence that he carried for his Maker. A reverence that carried over into the limited world in which he walked. A reverence that I sense now as his small town steps walk with us around the world. What made his peaceful presence so extraordinary was that it was just as evident outside the walls of the church as on the inside. In fact, he brought it in with him.

It is not what I heard him say – but what I watched him do.

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And that is why, when I look at a man’s worth, a woman’s worth, and try to seek out the tenor of their character by the words and deeds they offer up in public in a year such as this that markedly shadows the very essence the year 1968, when we must make the right decision and do the right thing…..I want to hear a voice of compassion.

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I am looking for the man who will not only leap boundlessly to his feet at the knock of a voice crying for help and comfort but who will also shamelessly and with conscientious joy usher that visitor to a new place of dignity, through innovative doors of ideas and hope, never to fall back again to a place of backdoor visitations and shame. For minorities, for women, for teenage black children in my faraway small town memory still seated emotionally in the roped off balcony section of theatres, for those oppressed by all type of stereotypical prejudices and discrimination, for families with nothing to eat and no place to sleep in this community I call my country – for children dying in politically fueled wars on the other side of my world. There are those who cannot enter one way and exit another without our help. <!– @page { size: 8.5in 11in; margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in }

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And we cannot hope to facilitate their peace and their rightful place in this world without an intrinsic reverence and respect for life and human dignity . We have to be to offer a new direction and cast them gently toward a threshold of pride.
We need a leader who will open the door.
And take off his hat.

At my grandfather’s wake literally half the town showed up. There was – and still is – a colored funeral home and a white funeral home. It was out of the ordinary for blacks to visit the dead on the other side of the tracks. But visit they did. His friends became our friends because we loved him.. He was the thread. And the door opener. And the bridge builder. And the example of moral courage in my life. We all need one. There were many in his generation. We are still looking for those voices in our own.

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This election is not solely about race and yet it has become the issue that stares me in the face; because it tears at the vilest of human prejudices and by necessity, as one holding a mirror, demands our attention, once again, to disgraceful acts in our nation’s history. And do we really not understand that halfway around the world in dark places such as Darfur and Ethiopia people still are stripped of all things human simply because of the color of their skin?
Until we stare back it will not be healed.

Not since the 1968 presidential election has there been greater unrest and volatility in our nation’s voting conscience. As I write this, I do not yet know the outcome of the 2008 election. That, at this moment, does not matter nor will it change the tone of this post. It will be what it will be and we as a nation will come together and heal. Because we must to survive. Not because it is politically correct but because it is morally right.

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What matters are the voices of hope that I will read on this day and the grace that comes with tolerance and respect for one another’s diversity and culture, baggage and blessings – because I have faith that you are the most kind of human beings. Because I know that collectively we are more than a stump speech and a soundbite. Because I know our hearts yearn for peace; in our homes, in our communities, in our world, with each other.


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The voices of our time matter too.

If we can do it this day – we can do it everyday.

And although he never formally discussed politics with me, he left large hints and gave large hugs, conveying by a massively quiet power – that love is really all that truly matters.

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Perhaps my shadow has fallen at just the right moment – excavating memories and voices of a flame that was not buried underneath granite and dirt and stone after all – but lives to speak as the voices of his time still do from a heart-shaped resting places of peace. And hope. And even mystery. I’ll be the first to admit that his method of getting my attention lies closely akin to the audacious. But if I choose to let my shadow fall upon his and allow his to align with mine… as Dr. King’s fell across the front door of my grandparent’s home…then the two can meet and be whole; not one fine day – but now.

If my grandfather were alive today he would be the first to say, “Barack and John, come on in the front door. Sit down and let’s have a talk. Take off your hats.

There’s peace to be done.”


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Peace Globe #920 ~ Message In A Bottle, Mimi Writes, Dating Profile of The Day

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