Saturday, December 15, 2007

Advent reflections

The image you see above is a digital montage by Barbara Desrosiers, and is entitled Luminous Dawning

Meditating upon the birth of the Christ-child led me to combine the images of a baby, a cathedral, and dancing light. Luminous Dawning is an attempt to hint at the power of faith, the protection of the Almighty, and the eternal birth of hope despite this world of pain. Upon the completion of this piece I found a kindred spirit in the words of Meister Eckhart.

“The awakened heart is like a luminous sphere just giving without thought to any who may come close or gaze at it. The soul becomes blessedly lost to all but its own holy being.” ~Meister Eckhart, Jerusalem
The web site Explore Faith features a section, A Time of Miracles, which includes reflections on the seasons of Advent and Christmas. I've used a couple of them for our family's evening Advent reflections.

Haloscan comment thread

Friday, December 14, 2007

NO War with Iran meeting with US Rep. office

Sometimes the most spontaneous events become the most inspiring.

2 days ago a national Moveon organizer called and asked if I would be willing to help get people together to give our local congressman, Don Manzullo, petitions asking to sponsor HR 64 bill to remove Bush's authority to wage a war against Iran. The first thing I thought, oh dear, one more thing to do. I was running a candidate forum on Wed. and participating in a county Democratic meeting on Thursday. HOKay, just one more thing. I have to admit; it really is hard to pass up an opportunity to let our Republican US representative know how I feel.

I sent out over 400 email notifications and printed out the petition. To my surprise, there were over 260 signatures from all around the 16th district and most of them were not the "usual" peace activists that I knew. They included some incredible and thoughtful comments like, "We can not allow this administration to compound errors and mistakes. Disaster awaits those who do not head their mistakes and make changes to prevent their re-occurrence."

I called the representative’s office. The receptionist said that they would be glad to have a representative meet with the group "Holly". I guess I am on first name basis with his staff now. ☺

Twelve hardy activists met in the icy parking lot. A pastor read his inspirational poem, we discussed what we would say, and took pictures of the group with a peace sign under our representatives sign.

We ushered the group into the entryway and jammed ourselves into the 12 by 12 foot space. As we waited, another constituent needed to squeeze by to get some government papers from the front desk. As he spoke we could detect a middle-eastern accent. They slipped his papers under the glass barrier to him. He asked why we were there and we explained that we wanted to get the message to our representative that we wanted to prevent war with Iran. His eyes lighted up and he just stood in the middle of the group to hear this for himself.

Our congressman’s PR man squeezed in from the office door to join us in the foyer. Guess there will be not comfy conference room for these uninvited guests. I always wonder why people worry about security with PEACE activists.

I read him the petition and explained that we wanted to pass on to our congressman that we did not want a war with Iran and to have him sign a bill to remove Bush’s authority to wage this war. Almost all stated their strong opinions including wasting of billions of dollars, losing thousands of lives, and resenting Bush’s fear tactics, it was hard not to wander off on Manzullo’s miserable voting record, including issues such as health care, energy and his distorted logic for saving money by eliminating human services and spending billions in Iraq. We may question if any of this does any good but it sure felt good! I handed him the 10 pages of signatures as we left.

Outside the door the extra visitor asked if he could share a word with us. He explained that what is going on in Iran is complex. Russia and China are negotiating with Iran for oil. He told us to listen to the truth teller Olbermann.

He finished by saying, "I love America and I have lived here for over 10 years. I come from Iran."

He added, "It was an experience for me to see people like you care about other people in the world. Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you," and he kissed his fingers and extended them to each of us in the group.

Haloscan comment thread

Thursday, December 13, 2007

'Tis the season...

I read this story:

"Merry Christmas" a group called, and this guy and three friends called back "Happy Hanukkah!" So ten people jumped them.

At least a good Samaritan came to their aid--a Muslim. He confirms that nothing else was said; there was no antagonism, just the greeting. He got beaten too.
And the story about the "Christmas is wonderful" resolution that was passed by the House of Representatives. And I just came up short. As I wrote here, I'm really at a loss.

We need to do something.

Something positive. And now.

I'm at a loss. It's like those dreams I have where I try to scream and nothing comes out. I feel immobilized.

I know what not to do. Talking about "those people" and how horrible they are will not make it better. I'm not criticizing anyone for doing so, because the impulse can be hard to resist.

But we need to start recognizing our common humanity. Can't do that by pointing fingers, though. I'm pretty sure we need to lead by example.

That's all I've got, though. No wonder I don't blog much these days.
I'm still pretty stumped by all of this. But I thought this might be a good time to post the bumper sticker I made a couple days ago...

We are all God's children...and God doesn't care "who started it"

Haloscan comment thread

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mr. Splashy Pants

Mr. Splashy Pants won!

Mister Splashy Pants got a huge 119,367 votes (over 78 percent of the vote) with his nearest rival being Humphrey at 4,329 (less than 3 percent). The rest of the top ten were Aiko, Libertad, Mira, Kaimana, Aurora, Shanti, Amal and Manami.

Many websites also took credit for the rise and rise of the Splashy-Panted One. Some websites encouraged their readers to cheat and vote more than once, while others like Treehugger seemed to imply that Mister Splashy Pants wasn't a proper name for a whale.

We're sure Treehugger didn't mean it that way but it resulted in a final wave of votes from their readers that took Splashy to an unreachable position at the top of the pod.


Haloscan commen thread

December 12

I saw this painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe at a local retreat center. (Sorry it's so blurry.) I had a little mini-retreat of about two hours. I think I'll be going back for more before this busy season is over.

Today is the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. That, and the approach of Christmas, serves to remind me just how radical and countercultural the message of this season can be.

From an essay on "Liberation Spirituality":

Interestingly enough for Catholic spirituality (but with increasing ecumenical implications), the rediscovery of the historical Jesus is being accompanied by a rediscovery of Mary of Nazareth, the faithful woman of the gospel, the model of the "poor of Yahweh" of yesterday and today. She who is always found among the poor (like our Lady of Guadalupe, for example) becomes a model of a spirituality of liberation for the poor and for those who live in real solidarity with the poor. Her Magnificat becomes a song of historical liberation. In the Puebla documents she becomes a model "for those who do not accept passively the adverse circumstances of personal and social life . . . but who proclaim with her that God 'exalts the lowly' and, if it is the case, 'pulls down the princes from their thrones"'

We can agree to disagree about religious matters, but I think most of us here can relate to the desire to "pull princes from their thrones". :)

Haloscan Comment thread

Monday, December 10, 2007

Open Thread

Took this picture of Stevie this morning. Tried to think of a caption for it, but he doesn't really seem to be doing anything. "I has a big, climby, stratchy toy?" Nah.

Then I remembered having seen lolcats with the caption you see here. Stevie does kinda look like he's staring at you.

Haloscan comment thread

Pine Ridge Reservation Christmas Drive

Thank you to Jessica for reminding us of the help needed at Pine Ridge Reservation this time of year. Click here for more information about the current donation drives.

Haloscan comment thread

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Autism awareness t-shirt designs

Some of you may be aware that we had a problem with another shopkeeper offering one of our graphics in his/her store. Thankfully, that has been taken care of, and Demetrius has been adding some new designs to the autism awareness section in our store. Anyway, to make our designs all "Google-icious", I'm posting this to the front page.

"I love someone with autism" puzzle heart design

Yeah, it's another open thread. But at least it doesn't *say* open thread in the title. I'm a little tired of looking at those words. ;)

Haloscan comment thread