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We are no longer establishing ourselves as the brightest beacon for freedom or opportunity.

I will never forget my children’s words that day.

I remember where I was when I got a phone call from a friend, who knows I don’t watch much television, and especially not news.  It was early in the morning; the kids had just left for school.  I was cleaning up breakfast.

Turn on your television.

What? Why?

Just turn it on, I don’t even have words, I can’t…. just turn it on.  Turn on the news.

And then, hours of staring in disbelief as one of the Twin Towers was in flames after being plowed through with an airplane.  Then the second airplane. The second Tower. The people running covered in dust and ash.  The horror.  The tears and emotions I couldn’t even describe or put reason to.

I lost all track of time until my youngest son, only in Kindergarten, so only half days at school, came in the front door.  It took me a second to register that he was standing at the door looking at me.  I immediately called him over to the couch to sit with me.  I put my hands on his head, kissed his head, his face, and pulled him close.

How are you?  Did you see what happened?  Did they say anything at school?

Mommy, it’s so sad.

I know Boo.

He turned at looked at the TV, stared for a minute.  I could see so many thoughts going through his young mind.

What are you thinking?

There are so many kids without their mommies or daddies.  So many kids that won’t get hugged tonight.

This child blew me away.  I thank the stars for his incredibly sensitive teachers.  I don’t know that he came to that realization on his own or with their help, but I do know that if they had not been very sensitive to the fact that they had very young and impressionable children in their care, while they were trying to deal with their own emotions that morning, he could have had a very different outlook that day.

Those words would be enough, the enlightened realization that other children would be not just suffering, but unable to find comfort from their parents.

But, from the mouths of babes we find real truth.  I’ve told this story before, maybe 20 times.  But it has not felt more poignant than today.

President Bush came on the television later that night.  The kids and I all watching, listening as he said “America was targeted for attack because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining.”

Then, as the President ended his speech, he quoted a bible verse and said, “May God Bless America”.

Now, I am perfectly fine with that in general.  I believe that if you are American, you should pray to whatever your version of God is, that America stays safe.  That’s cool.  I’m even ok with the President quoting a bible verse, even though I do feel there is a little mixing of church and state in that, which by all technicality shouldn’t really be done. But, since the President is Christian, and he is doing his praying to his belief of who God is, ok, he’s entitled as well as any of us.

What surprised me, and has stuck with me is my oldest son, then 11 years old, looking at me, a million questions in his eyes, and saying,

Didn’t the people who flew the planes into the Towers do it because they think their God is better?

Sort of.  These people were very extreme, but yes, they claim they did it because we don’t have the same faith.

Then why would the President say God bless America? Isn’t he doing the same thing?  Isn’t he saying our God is better than theirs? Won’t they come do something else to prove their God is better?

And then my 3 young children and I had a pretty incredible conversation about how the pilgrims first came here to flee religious persecution, and why that was the main reason our Founding Fathers created a government that was separate from any church, so that religion would not guide the way our country ruled itself; allowing the tired, poor, huddled, homeless and tempest tossed because they understood that religion can rule the home, but should not rule the state.

We talked about how the President’s words could make people like those who flew those planes want to hurt us more, but that freedom is what our country is standing for, not God.  That’s why we have freedom of religion here.  Some people don’t want freedom for everyone, they want to control everyone instead; and very often they use religion to control. Being ruled by one religion is exactly the opposite of what our country stands for.  Freedom is what our country is founded on and what we hope to preserve.

It has been so difficult to watch the events of the last year, as the freedom our country stands for is being turned on its heels, when the words of President Bush,

“A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve. America was targeted for attack because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining.”

“Tonight, I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened.”   (Emphasis added),

have been twisted and turned in on themselves.

We are now in a time when our beacon of freedom and opportunity have been shut off.  Our doors are being shut to the religiously persecuted.  We’re pushing out or shutting down anyone that doesn’t suit the religious beliefs of the ruling party, fit the physical description of the ruling party, or the ‘class’ of the ruling party.

We’re being regularly lied to, gaslighted, slight-of-handed, and fed a stream of incompetence disguised in power.

On one level, this has been very good for the awakening of the people to see how we just haven’t come as far as we thought.  Merely pushing things under the rug, doesn’t make them go away.  Hiding under “that’s just the way it is”, isn’t going to work anymore.

Now more than ever we need the prayers, to whoever you see as God, to pray for America to make it through this intact.  Those who help build our country, feed our country, and strengthen our country, have had their sense of security and safety threatened… by our own government.

Those lucky of you not to feel threatened by this, try to understand that just because you don’t feel threatened, doesn’t mean no one else does.

We are no longer establishing ourselves as the brightest beacon for freedom or opportunity.  Our government is trying to close off entrance to our bright minds, our families, our doctors, scientists, our workers, that come from Muslim countries our government doesn’t have business interests in, or Mexico because “they’re not like us”.

Our government is not only trying to rule using religious beliefs as a motivator, it’s trying to push an elitist, xenophobic, misogynistic back-peddle.

I know it’s going to hurt a lot of feelings out there, but America is not a Christian nation.  We are a nation that allows freedom of religion.  Our founding fathers separated church and state on purpose, so that we could not have a national or state religion.  You cannot claim to stand by the Constitution and also say America is a Christian nation.  You can’t, it’s not true; the First Amendment makes that idea illegitimate.

Church can rule the home, but it should not rule the state.  Choose to or not to use birth control, depending on your beliefs, but NOBODY’s personal religious beliefs should be determining the choice of other Americans.

I don’t believe in abortion personally, I have never had one, but my belief should not rule out the ability of another woman to make that heartbreaking choice.  It’s their choice.  Let God do his own work in the end, it’s His/Her/It’s decision on who is ultimately “heaven” worthy, not ours.

I understand the concept of it being murder, but while there is no viable ability for the fetus to live outside the womb, it’s inside her body.  That gives her the choice to choose how to best take care of her body.  Some people take vitamins, some people take a prescription to keep their bodies and minds healthy.  Sometimes, a woman may need to terminate an unplanned pregnancy to keep her body and mind healthy.  It’s never an easy choice, it’s not made lightly, and it’s none of anyone else’s business.  Trying to create laws about abortion is a religious verdict, and has no right to be part of our country’s laws as such.  And planned parenthood does SO MUCH MORE than abortion services.  Abortion counseling, that happens before any services are rendered, clearly indicate and elaborate on options other than abortion.  Planned Parenthood also offers adoption counseling….

They say it’s so unfair that Muslim men “make” their women wear hijabs, (to cover themselves, to protect themselves from unwarranted stares).  They must stay covered up? That is terrible.  That is abuse of male power.

But, yet it’s acceptable to “make” someone have a child, no matter the circumstances.  No matter their ability to emotionally or physically or financially take care of the child.  It’s acceptable to “make” someone risk getting pregnant, risk getting sexually transmitted diseases, risk not detecting breast cancer.  That’s ok.

It’s morally right to have no option for gynecological health care, but to make someone wear a head covering, no.

And yet, a woman who is raped, will be asked that horrible victim-blaming first question, “What were were wearing?”

They say it’s so unfair that Muslim men “don’t allow” their women to have freedom.  They must be accompanied always.  They’re under their man’s thumb constantly; that’s so terrible. That is abuse of male power.

But yet, it’s acceptable to “not allow” women to have a legal foundation to argue upholding or gaining their legal rights as citizens, because American citizens are still allowed to be treated differently by gender.  Women face far more difficulty fighting for their rights as citizens, if those rights have been violated because they are women. The government can still pass laws that consider men and women as different kinds of citizens.   Yes, still. Yes, in America.

I don’t want any more terrorists in America.  But I sure don’t want an America that sits inside its walls shivering in fear either.  That’s what Shrump is trying to do.

‘Everyone that doesn’t fit into the plan, OUT.’  ‘Quick! build the walls, their coming to get us!’  ‘Aren’t we great?  Look all the bad guys are out there now.’ ‘America first, America only.’ ‘Why doesn’t anybody like us? We’ve been so good to them before.  Look at all those good things we did, very good things, the greatest things, that’s why we’re great.’ ‘Fine, we’ll show them!’

All the -isms are being put out in full force for the masses to feed on.  It’s so familiar.  We’re ok, the -isms don’t affect us.  The -isms are only going to find the bad guys. Only bad guys fall into the -isms, and they’re all bad guys.  Sure, there’ll be a couple mistakes along the way, but it will be mostly the bad guys.

America, wake up.

Please.

This isn’t going to make America great.  It’s going to make America fall.

I want a great America, for my children, for my future grandchildren.  I want a great America.

But, for that to happen, we need our beacon turned back on.  We need to stand for freedom and equality for ALL. We need to have compassion, dialogue, and a standing respect of the land.  Greatness does not come from supreme powers, greatness comes from shared values, mutual respect and understanding.

It certainly doesn’t come from cozying up to Putin, or devaluing the media, or having no ascertainable ability to tell the truth, or repeating propaganda, or hiding personal ties to whatever, or telling everybody in the world fack off, America first, or religious persecution, or racial profiling, or any of the astounding non-American things that have happened in what is days away from only the first MONTH of Shrumps administration.

This guy is what is going to make people like those who flew those planes want to come back again, not saying God bless America.

 

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Almost

It’s almost time to write…. Still processing….. But almost

 
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Posted by on 08/02/2017 in living

 

Contemplation

I, to the dismay of a few people, spent my New Year Eve in my apartment, in meditation.  As many of you know, I have had my share of demons these last 2 years.   As the weeks coming into the close of 2016 began, I felt myself begin to turn inward.

There were moments these last three weeks when I felt almost outside myself, looking at myself begin to fold in on myself as the year-end approached.  But, whereas in other times that would scare me, there was no negativity in this turning inward.  I sensed nothing negative or bad about it, just a simple realization that it was happening.  And, the realization that I needed to heed the call to heal myself so that I could emerge on the other side of this in a good place.

And so, I sent out my request to be left alone for the evening, and began to prepare myself for whatever was going to happen.

One very, very good thing that came from 2016 is the reassurance that when I leave myself open to the possibilities Spirit can bring me, no matter the challenges, great things are part of the package.  It is only when I close myself, believe that I know what is supposed to happen next, that the challenge is only a challenge, none of the greatness gets to come along.  Essentially I block my own ability to progress.  I stay stagnate in the challenge every time I say,   “but if I do this, that is supposed to happen”, “I want this thing”, “.

Also, the old adage, “You made your bed, now lie in it”, Yeah, that one can go screw itself.  It is nothing more than a progress blocking saying.  You can’t learn from that place.

Some would try to say that the saying is about consequences, but in truth that saying is dictating remaining in an unlearned and harming place as a punishment.  AND I SAY NO WAY.  I will rip the sheets of that bed, I will over turn that bed, and I may very well burn that bed.  I will learn my lesson of how not to get put in that position to begin with, but I will not just bow my head to the whatever gets dealt out because that bed got made to begin with.  The lesson is the important part.  I will learn the lesson and move on.

Being open to the possibilities of my dreams does not mean there won’t be challenges, of course there will be.  I will make mistakes along the way, no doubt.  I will learn the lessons as I go and become stronger for them.  But the challenges have a different ring when they are part of the progress towards the goal, than when they are consequences based on a bad choice or someone else’s abuse.  I spent this New Year’s Eve releasing the negativity from my challenges, while keeping the lessons learned, so I don’t need to repeat a lesson.

Recently, someone said, “You keep bringing up things from the past.”  I thought about that last night.

On one hand, there is the forgive and forget idea.  And I agree, if I, or anyone, is bringing up past events as a “punishment” or a reminder with a negative connotation, that is not ok.  I need to watch myself, to see if that is what I am doing at the time.  It certainly could be, and if that has been true, I offer my sincerest apologies.

BUT, and for me this is a big but, if I am bringing “it” up as a positive reminder of a lesson learned that I do not want to repeat; if the past event is an action I have to base how I will decide to react to ‘this’ event about to happen, then it is not a punishment to them, or a negative moment I am dwelling on.  It means I am trying to make a decision on how to proceed, and based on what I know to have happened before, I want to know if there is a conscious choice happening for things to go differently.  It is only by confronting the choice that we can make a conscious one.

I spent some of my meditation time releasing ties to those who have hurt me, and those I have hurt.  I also allowed myself to heal from those pains.  It’s an ongoing process, but it has to be a conscious process.  Emotional wounds dig deep inside, the mind plays them over and over.  Some of them have been playing for so long, there are Grand Canyons that I need to heal inside.  That doesn’t happen overnight.

I was given a vision of what happens to our pain as we release it.  I’ve been afraid to release; I felt that I didn’t want to put the pain into circulation. I was afraid that if I released it from me, the pain would go to someone else.  My vision was the most healing part of my night, it brought an understanding that Spirit is truly magnificent and that energy  is always positive until intended to be negative.  When released in a neutral or positive way, it will always return to a positive state.

My intentions going into this new year are for an increased openness.  I will be open to all the positive, no matter the challenges that brings to overcome.  I will be open to healing myself and others.  I will be open to whatever Spirit brings me.  And I will be open to becoming what I am meant to be.

I have a great dream.  A dream that is part something I have been dreaming of most of my life, and part something that I have recently acquired.  There is a long way to go to accomplish it, a lot of work I need to do.  There will be challenges along the way, and there may be direction changes I am not aware of yet.  But isn’t that a wonderful thing?  To know that if you are open, there are even better than you could dream of things yet to happen?

There is a saying that I really don’t like, “F@!$ my life”.  Guys, I have been through some astonishingly sick things, things that many people could not have gone through; yet,  I will not say “F@!$ my life”, I will not.  My life is good.

I have so many larger blessings.  I have great children.  I have great friends.  I have family that tries to keep me part as I heal.  (Progress can be heart-breakingly slow, I know.)  I have a career I love.  I have been traveling around the world for the last 4 years and seeing so much.

None of my life that is negative, has stopped the blessings from coming.  I have a good life.

This was my “guide” as I began my evening.  I wrote this in contemplation.  I believe I made the best choice for myself and in turn for those that I influence in whatever way.

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May everyone’s 2017 be one of openness, of love, and of greatness.

 

 

2017

 

 
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Posted by on 01/01/2017 in living

 

The end of 2017

Though I mourn the loss of our many amazing entertainers this year, there is much to be grateful for.
My wonderful daughters marriage for one.



My son’s are both healthy and happy and becoming wonderful men. Watching these three blossom is a highlight of every year. I was greatly blessed with them.
Because of good friends, I am in a new and wonderful country, and good things are happening, despite a few set backs.

And right now the city is decorated and beautiful.

So to ring in the New Year, here are a few pictures of the city.

To all my family and friends, happiest of holidays to you, May your 2017 be fantastic. May you feel joy and gratitude. May you know how much I love you all.
Now

2017, be gentle, kind, and peaceful to us please.

 
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Posted by on 29/12/2016 in living

 

Just Puff

Eyes to Subconscious:  Hey, I see light…  what time is it?

Sub:  I’m not sure any more, I don’t even know where we are these days.

Eyes to Stomach: Dude, is it morning, afternoon, or evening out there?

Stomach:  I thought it was morning on the last plane, but then the stewardess brought chicken and asparagus, so I’m as lost as Sub up there.

Eyes:  I don’t know if I should let Conscious know to wake up…..

Left foot:  Hey we rolled the other way, I’m getting blood again, Conscious is about to wake up anyway!

Eyes:  Crap! Conscious is gonna be pissed it wasn’t me.  This is not good!  What am I gonna do???

Stomach:  Yup, Conscious is not going to like foot being the waker.

Eyes:  I know!!  What am I gonna do?!?!

Sub:  Puff up! Quick! I hear it confuses Conscious, she won’t know it wasn’t you!

Foot:  Here it is!  The needles are here!  OWWWWW!

Sub:  She’s waking up!!  Puff Up!!  Puff UP!!

 

Me, staring in the bathroom mirror 10 minutes after my foot and leg stop feeling like a million needles being pushed through it in rapid fire succession…..

WHAT HAPPENED TO MY EYES!!

Woah, I didn’t even know they were capable of swelling that much.

I’d be impressed if it didn’t hurt so much.

Airplanes suck the life out of me.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on 15/11/2016 in living

 

We teach them more than 123

I try to be honest in everything I do.  I speak honestly. I work honestly.  I live honestly.

I’m not perfect, but I’m honest about that too. And I teach my students honesty, through example, as well as discussion.

I champion good treatment of everyone.  I make it a point to teach my students that being good to each other and ourselves is of extreme importance.

I champion integrity in my classes.

I champion being good to each other through word and deed.  My first class rule that students repeat almost every day is, “Our class is a safe place”. And I teach them that safe means Every form of safe, not just from hitting or blatant bullying; but from the words we use and the way we say them, and from the snickering bystanders too. Our class is safe from gossip, and talking about others when they’re not around, or in a language they don’t understand.

And I teach them that anytime we are at school, they are part of my class.

It’s that important to me.

We as teachers are helping raise the next generation.  They spend the majority of their waking hours in our classes.  We are responsible to teach them how to be good people along with good spellers and mathematicians.

I take that responsibility seriously.

And I’m not the only one.  Most teachers I know feel the same way.  When we discuss what’s right or wrong in our individual schools and school systems, it is always with the intent of finding and doing what is best to help these children be their best.

I love communicating with all my teacher friends across the globe as we compare and contrast the ways, but never the goal.  The goal, help raise great humans, is always understood.

I wouldn’t say it’s a thankless job.  I love getting my thank you’s from students and parents and the leaders at school.


When we’re appreciated for the countless hours we put in to give these students the best education we are capable of, that’s what keeps us going.

I teach for these little notes, the high fives, and the thank you’s from students; not for my paycheck.

Hearing, “come in, teach the book, go home, get paid” does not even compute in my book. I’ve heard it from 5 or 6 teachers as I’ve traveled the world.  If your goal is just to get paid, or not to put effort into understanding that parents are trusting you to be part of the village that raises their child, in belief that you are giving them all the tools to be good humans, if your goal is to go in, have students read from the book, and go home and forget these children exist until you have to be in class, please don’t be a teacher.

Teaching is more than 123 and ABC.  It is understanding we are more than babysitters, we are more than dispellers of information collected in a book.

We are working to shape how these next generations: interact with each other, create the habits that will help them thrive as adults, believe in themselves, feel about their ability to learn, interact with difference, with the world, and feel safe.

Children need to feel safe enough to learn. That is created through building a safe community amongst everyone at the school.

Honesty, integrity, safety, acceptance, balance, good will, and courage to explore new things, that is part of the 123ABC package.

We teach them so much more than just 123.

Teachers, yes you, go be awesome!

 
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Posted by on 22/10/2016 in living

 

It is interesting

Working for both a school and a news station….

 
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Posted by on 12/10/2016 in living

 
 
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