Walking away is not an option... dialogue must prevail.

"A good listener tries to understand what the other person is saying. In the end he may disagree sharply, but because he disagrees, he wants to know exactly what it is he is disagreeing with."
- Kenneth A. Wells

"I do not want the peace that passeth understanding. I want the understanding which bringeth peace."
- Helen Keller

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Dona Nobis Pacem 2012 - By the power of our words...

For several years now, I have participated in the Blogblast for Peace. I am one of many who believe that words are important, that they have power... and that they will bring us Peace.
Every year I wonder, what more can I say. I think to myself: "the people who will read this post don’t need convincing. They know. They believe."
And then, a story brings me new perspective.

Just a couple of weeks ago, a young Irish lad of 9 found a bottle that washed up on the shore near his village.  In it he found a message that had been written 8 years ago by two young girls from Canada. The two girls had been 12 when they wrote the message. He couldn’t make it out because it was written in French, but that didn’t diminish his excitement. He was determined to find out what the message said. With the help of his grandfather (ah, the wisdom of a grandfather, right Mimi?) and Google Translate, he did. 

The girls had included an e-mail address on the message and asked that whoever found the bottle contact them so they would know how far it had traveled. Filled with excitement, the lad wrote to the girls. Sadly, the account was no longer valid. But with the help of newspapers, and with a story that captured people’s imagination, word of the search made its way to the authors of the note.

The young ladies never dreamed their little note, their words, would navigate across an ocean and after so many years had all but forgotten their little missive. When they heard that their bottle had been found so very far, they were elated. They reached out to the lad and had a wee chat using Skype. Next year, the young women will travel to Ireland to meet their new friend and fetch their bottle.

Words... they do grand things.

Sometimes, it’s not the message.. it’s how far a little gesture can go. It’s the journey...

For as long as we are called upon, we will send our own words, our own missives out into the world... reaching out in friendship. 

For Peace.  

For us all.

 This song has become my Blogblast for Peace anthem... sing along, okay?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Dona Nobis Pacem - 2011

Took a while to post this, had to get rid of the cobwebs...

So... Here's how it works. Every year, I write a post for Queen Mimi's BlogBlast For Peace. Every year, the initial spark of inspiration comes from a song I hear. A few notes, some lyrics, a feeling... and off I go.

Imagine my surprise when this year the lyrics that jumpstarted my post were:

"Crazy, but that's how it goes
Millions of people living as foes.
Maybe, it's not too late
to learn how to love
and forget how to hate..."
- Ozzy Osbourne, Crazy Train

That's right, people. ... I went to my peaceful place because of Ozzy. On the Crazy Train. That's way outside the box for most people. I know. But then, just goes to show... Peace is everywhere, even where some might not expect it. I imagine past visitors have come to expect a kumbaya feel good song from me, the peace hippie bee. And I come up with Ozzy. Stop looking at me like that, I don't control it.

But here's the thing: he goes on to say "You have to listen to my words"

*insert rocking guitar riff HERE (headbanging optional - air guitar twang compulsory - and I'm watching so go on, do it... you know you want to, besides you already think I've lost my mind, do you really want to upset me?!)*

We've been saying this all along... Words matter. It's why we believe that blogging, tweeting, facebooking for Peace makes sense.

Because words matter...

And then I see this video and I get it. Change... the music changed, my words (well my quote) changed... because "crazy" has been defined by some wise people as "doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result". Guess my muse planned this all along.

Now go forth, and try something different, in the spirit of Peace. If we want Peace, something is going to have to change... *wink*

Remember to be mindful of the words you use.

Anndi's Peace "Jukebox" 

I had to... this song started this post after all!

My more traditional peace hippie bee kumbaya most perfect peace song... with Arlo

One Love

Trying something different...

Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. A happiness weapon. A beauty bomb. And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one. It would explode high in the air - explode softly - and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth - boxes of Crayolas. And we wouldn't go cheap, either - not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest. And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination.
~Robert Fulghum

Thursday, November 11, 2010

we will remember them....

Coming so close on the heels of the Blog Blast for Peace, we turn our hearts to those who might have been saved had humanity managed to find that peace that allows for understanding...

I'll wrap myself in my daddy's legion sweater on this solemn day (as I did last year) and be thankful he fell ill and was released from active duty without having to have seen the horrors of war from the inside of a Canadian Armed Forces tank in WWII as that was his path during training.

I repost this, a poem I wrote some years back, as has become custom in my Remembrance Day posts.

I cry…

For the men and women who died, fighting for our Nation, for my freedom and the freedom of others…

For the mothers and fathers who have lost their sons and daughters in the fight for Peace…
For the men and women who have lost their soul mate…
For the children, those who are left behind… and those who shall never come to be…
For the friends who are left with only memories…
For those who have no PEACE…
For those who forget what makes the sacrifice so meaningful...
For those who miss so many important moments of everyday life because they are fighting for justice... the first step, the first tooth, the first goal, the first school play…
For my country, for we have lost so many fine Canadians…
For those who died alone... and for those who are buried so far from home...
For those who confuse their opinions on war and the respect and appreciation owed for the sacrifice of our soldiers...
For those who have lost their brothers and sisters in arms and parts of themselves...
For those who will not take the time to remember…

For my father who gave me life and unconditional love... for him I shall work for Peace

Daddy is on the far left

The Ode of Remembrance

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
Lest we forget.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Dona Nobis Pacem

As I type this, it’s “BlogBlast For Peace” Eve. I sat down wondering if I’d remember how to blog. You see, it’s been a very long time and I had pretty much given it up, not really feeling the urge or inspiration to write anything. But Mimi has a way of asking without asking and I am a Peace Bee after all.

When I was a kid, the future Peace Hippie that I was, loved the song “I’d like to teach the world to sing… in perfect harmony” (heh! Caught you singing it to yourself, didn’t I? *snort* It’s ok, as cheesy as it is, it’s darn catchy)… Well, it dawned on me tonight that my beloved Queen Mimi has been doing just that. She’s been gathering us together, giving each voice a forum and she manages to make us all sound and look awesome. Fitting for a Maestra, no? She takes voices from all over the world, all unique, and she brings us together for a common purpose and dream: Peace. Mimi knows how to conduct the choir and put on quite the show with costumes and everything!

So I sat down and read last year’s post once again. That left me wondering… is there really anything else I can say? I still feel the words I wrote last year. I still long for understanding. I still believe it’s essential.

"I do not want the peace that passeth understanding. I want the understanding which bringeth peace."
- Helen Keller

And then it hit me (don’t worry, I’m fine…. it was a warm tingly kind of feeling *smile* - nothing actually fell on me or smacked me). You see, this is how these posts happen. I goof around looking for songs that give me the “A-ha!” feeling (not to be confused with the musical group A-ha, although I’m sure they give some people the tingles) and those songs then inspire the post. I turned to Arlo Guthrie once more. He served me well last year and he always makes me smile, a good thing to be doing when trying to save the world and bring about World Peace (that last bit sounds really awesome if you say it in a booming superhero voice, by the way).

And there it was, my Peace song. (You have to wait a little to hear it, okay? Because I have something I have to say first, thanks. No cheating and scrolling down allowed. *wink*).

“Difference is of the essence of humanity. Difference is an accident of birth and it should therefore never be the source of hatred or conflict. The answer to difference is to respect it. Therein lies a most fundamental principle of peace: respect for diversity.”
- John Hume

In the past few weeks, we’ve been hearing the stories of LGBT youths who have committed suicide because of bullying, because of small mindedness and fear and misunderstanding… and because they despaired, feeling things would never get better. Some really awesome people have been stepping up to remind the young ones out there who are struggling with who they are and who feel that diversity will never be embraced that it will get better.

"Civilizations should be measured by the degree of diversity attained and the degree of unity retained." 
-W.H. Auden

Last year, my question was: why? Why aren’t we there yet? Now, my question is, why not? When people say it’ll never happen, we’ll never have Peace, I say: why not?!

"Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not."
- Robert Kennedy

Even in days like these, where diversity brings strife and sorrow, we must remember… things will get better and we will live in a culture of Peace, Understanding, Acceptance and Love. Why? Because we dream of Peace… and we act on those dreams.

"We may have different religions, different languages, different colored skin, but we all belong to one human race."
- Kofi Annan

Okay… NOW you can listen to the song *giggle*.

“I know the storm will soon be over
The howling winds will cease to be.
I walk with friends from every nation
On freedom's highway in times like these.”
-Arlo Guthrie

Peace! Don't forget to go visit Mimi and the other BlogBlast for Peace contributors HERE

I’ve also included last year’s song… because it’s just perfect for a day like today.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

We're baaaaaaaaaaaack!

On World Earth Day let's give the planet Peace...

Well, I'm not quite back. But this little Peace Bee has been pressed into service by her Queen, the wonderful Mimi, to tell everyone about this year's edition of the BlogBlast for Peace... and what better day to do it than on the 40th anniversary of World Earth Day.

"You can't be suspicious of a tree, or accuse a bird or a squirrel of subversion or challenge the ideology of a violet"  
- Hal Borland, Sundial of the Seasons, 1964

"When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world." 
- John Muir

Because we are all connected, because we have but one planet to call home... let it be a beautiful, clean and peaceful home.

Here is my Queen's message:

Welcome to the 7th launch of BlogBlast For Peace aka Dona Nobis Pacem in the blogosphere. It's inception began in 2006 with one single post and a cry for peace in our world.
A small group of bloggers answered that challenge and it began to spread across the internet in ways that humble me still. It reaches across political lines and religious creeds, abides in corners of unrest and places of hope, gives voice to individual beliefs and promotes tolerance for diversity. It celebrates the genius in each one of us, found in sparkling conversations of passionate pleas for change in the earth. It is that hope for change that motivates us.

It was the Internet's first ever online movement of its kind to invite bloggers to post the same message on the same day. From blog to blog it has moved and continues to grow. We have been amazed to see the power and passion shown each year displayed on pages across the world. We visit each other with our prayers and scribbles, prose and poetry, art and angst, heart and hilarity - and we are moved by it. From one post to thousands of others in fifty countries and almost every state in the United States, something rare and wonderful happens on BlogBlast For Peace day.
I am privileged to witness it.
I invite you to experience it.
It's time.
Join us!
November 4, 2010
Bloggers from all across the globe
will blog for peace.

We will speak with one voice.
One subject.
One day.
How To Get Your Peace Globe 2010
Here's how to do it in 4 easy steps!

1. Choose one of the Peace Globe designs shown on this page. Right CLICK and SAVE in JPG format.

2. Sign the globe using Paint, Photoshop or a similar graphics tool. Decorate the globe anyway you wish. You can even include the name of your blog. Click here for thousands of inspiring examples from previous BlogBlasts.

3. Return the peace globe to me via email ~ blogblastforpeace at yahoo.com and sign the Mr. Linky below. Leave a comment and your blog's name and url in the Mr. Linky so that we can visit each other.
Your submission will be numbered and dated in the official gallery with a link back to your post and a permanent spot on the Official BlogBlast For Peace website.

4. On November 4,2010 DISPLAY YOUR GLOBE IN A POST on your blog, FACEBOOK WALL and TWEET IT!

Title your post "Dona Nobis Pacem" - Latin for Grant Us Peace. This is important. The goal is for all blog post titles to say the same thing on the same day. Write about peace that day or simply fly your globe.
Come back here and sign your name again once you've posted your own globe.

Need ideas and inspiration? Go to BlogBlast For Peace.com to see the gallery of thousands of peace globes and posts from 50 countries already submitted and numbered.
If you'd like to read about the history of this movement, go here.

You can also find us on....

Join the Peace TWIBE
Bloggers Unite group

What should you do while you're planning what to write and create?

1. Post this badge on your site and Facebook pages to promote.
Or feel free to use it as your globe on November 4th. Just grab the code below.

November 4, 2010

2. Become a Peace Globe Worker Bee.
This organization of busy helpers and dedicated peace bloggers began in 2009. The concept was created by this man and taken up by a growing number of bloggers with a passion for peace and this movement. Read "You See There Were These Bees...." to find out how the bzzzzzzz started bzzzzzzzing. Any one of the bloggers mentioned in that post or who commented on that post are ready and willing to assist you.

What does a PGWB do? Many of you already do the following actions that define a Peace Globe Worker Bee: Spreading the word, posting the date, flying the Blog Blast banner, offering assistance to anyone who needs help making a Globe, or directing bloggers to one of the sites where they can find out more about the movement. Please take the bee badge with you too! We want to see the peace bzzzzz everywhere! We appreciate all you are doing already to spread the word.

3. SHARE and TWEET this post every chance you get until November 4th, 2010.

This is what has gone before.
I can't wait to see what you do with this movement in 2010.

Papa's Marbles ~ How It All Began
The Silence Of Peace
BlogBlast For Peace #1

BlogBlast For Peace #3 November 2007

BlogBlast For Peace #5 November 6, 2008

If words are powerful....then this matters.
Join us!


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BlogBlast For Peace logo and concept is the sole property of Mimi Lenox.
2006-2010 copyright

All rights reserved.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

and the soul is lifted...

I wanted to share this with you as we enter into a time of renewal, hope and promise. It is what I feel to be one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever composed, a masterpiece of the twentieth century.

I hope you enjoy it. It never fails to move me to tears and gives me hope.

“When you have come to the edge of all light that you know and are about to drop off into the darkness of the unknown, Faith is knowing one of two things will happen: there will be something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly.”
-Patrick Overton

Thursday, March 11, 2010

drive by post

I'm still live, not quite ready to write exactly but I had to share this...

Maybe someone will get a chuckle from it, I know I laughed heartily.

"One horse-laugh is worth ten thousand syllogisms. It is not only more effective; it is also vastly more intelligent."
- H L Mencken

Friday, February 19, 2010

a loss many will never fully understand...

It was with great sadness that I woke to the news that Canada's last WWI veteran, John "Jack" Babcock, had passed away yesterday at the age of 109. This news comes at a time of great joy for Canada as we host the world in the one event that used to bring armistice in wars, even if for a brief time.

Mr Babcock was born July 23rd in 1990 on a farm in Ontario, one of 13 children. He was like so many young men of that generation... he was feisty and looking to make a better life for himself. He had gone through many hardships as a young lad, his father dying when Jack was only 6 years old. He was of the generation that witnessed and took part in Canada's transition from British Dominion to Independent Nation.

At the age of 15 and a half, he enlisted in the 146th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces (lying about his age to do so) after hearing recruitment officers quote from Tennyson's The Charge Of The Light Brigade . He was initially assigned to serve in Canada because of his age, but managed to sign up for a regiment that was headed overseas by stating he was 18. So after passing his physical, he was sent overseas to England but his fib caught up with him and prevented him from seeing active combat. Because he was under age, he was sent to the Boys Batallion, a regiment where young men were trained to fight until they were old enough to fight on the front lines. The war ended just months after he turned 18, and he never did get to fight the Germans.
He regretted not seeing combat in that war, being a "tin soldier"... it stayed with him throughout his life and so he never considered himself a true veteran of the Great War. In an interview in 2007 he said: "I think if I had a chance, I would have gone to France, taken my chances like the rest of them did. A lot of good men got killed."

The people that served in The Great War experienced war at it's most raw and the cost in human life was devastating. Sometimes I think if technology wasn't what it is today we might think twice about walking away from discussions and work towards Peace that much harder.

In the 20s, he moved to the United States and also served in the United States Army. He became a naturalized US citizen in 1946. Dual citizenship was not permitted in those days, so Mr Babcock was forced to give up his Canadian ties but never lost his love for his homeland. In April 2008, during a visit from Canadian Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson, Mr Babcock said he would like to get his Canadian citizenship back. At Mr Thompson's urging, he handwrote a note to Prime Minister Stephen Harper which was hand delivered by Thompson that was reported to have said:

"Dear PM. Could I have my citizenship restored? I would appreciate your help. Thank you, John Babcock."

Governor General Michaëlle Jean granted his request and a Canadian delegation traveled to his home in Washington state for a swearing in ceremony.

"We are proud to welcome Mr. Babcock back into the Canadian family and to honour the service he gave our country," Harper said in a news release.
"He symbolizes a generation of Canadians who, in many ways, were the authors of modern Canadian nationhood." - Stephen Harper.

Mr Babcock died a Canadian citizen... as it should be.

Today, my plans changed. I traded in my red sweater, as I try to wear red on Fridays as much as I can in support for our troops, for my father's Canadian Legion sweater. I wear it proudly in their honour for I owe them so much. I can just see the welcome Mr Babcock must be receiving from his veteran comrades in Heaven. May they continue to watch over our troops and act as their guardian angels.

Rest in Peace, sir. Thank you.

"I think it would be nice if all the different people in the world could get along together so we weren't having wars. I don't suppose that'll ever happen, though."
- John Babcock

I strongly encourage you to watch the following videos from The History Channel... I did and learned a great deal about one boy's journey into manhood at a time of great change. Listening to Mr Babcock share his memories, extremely lucidly might I add, gives me an even greater desire to work for Peace.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I do believe... we are more.

12 years ago, I sat at home, a ball of hormones. I was nesting... waiting for the light of my life, the promise that was growing inside me, to join the world. I blamed my hormones for the tears that flowed as I watched the opening ceremony of the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympiades.

But the fact of the matter is: I’m a sucker for the Olympic Games.

I love watching athletes from all over the world come together. There’s a glow about them. They’re filled with hope and promise, you can see it in their eyes. You can feel the pride on the face of the flag bearers. And the smiles on the faces of the athletes as they take part in the Parade of Nations is infectious.

My friend Tez's niece, Tamara Oudenaarden - first time Olympian
Long track speed skating

I love the anticipation during that moment before the puck drops, the bell rings, a whistle blows, a figure skater’s music starts. It’s the moment of promise.

Yesterday, I sat at home, waiting for a light from my grandfather’s homeland, Greece, to make its way to the big cauldron of the opening ceremony. There were sweet magical moments, as every day people ran through the streets of Vancouver, on that last day of the flame’s journey. A journey my daughter and I were blessed to have witnessed when, on it’s over 45,000 km cross-Canada trek, the flame was lit in our own community cauldron by a hometown Summer Olympian.

I cried tears of hope and pride, and remembrance, as Terry Fox’s dad, Rolly Fox received the flame from a cancer survivor. My heart swelled and tears flowed as I watched the quintessential hockey dad, Walter Gretzky, hold that torch high and run while people chanted “Go Canada” and afterwards he lead the crowd as they broke into a touching and genuine rendition of “Oh Canada”.

My heart broke when a reporter for CTV informed us of the tragic luge accident that would claim the life of a young Georgian Olympian who that night should have been with his team mates, taking in a moment that no athlete ever forgets, that moment when you get to walk behind your flag as the crowd cheers you on. Nodar Kumaritashvili’s passing reminded us of just how fragile life is and how living to the fullest is the only option.

His team mates chose to honour him and to embody the very spirit of the Olympics by marching in the opening ceremony and competing in the games. Georgia's Minister of Culture and Sport, Nikolos Rurua, said the Georgian team would "dedicate their performances to their fallen comrade.".  I don't think there was a dry eye in the place when the Georgian team entered the stadium.
As a Canadian, I will always remember them and I will keep them in my heart forever. As a Canadian, I nod in direction of the organizers who had both the Olympic and Canadian flags flying at half –mast as the ceremonies were dedicated to Nodar’s memory.

I was moved by John Furlong's words as he addressed the athletes and coaches: "may you carry his Olympic dream on your shoulders and compete with his spirit in your heart.".

I am immensely proud of my country. We have welcomed the world to our backyard and demonstrated what  makes this country great: the warmth and resolve of its people. This swelling pride is extended to all the athletes present at the games. When faced with tragedy, all rose up and found a way to move on. Tragedy need not define these Games, in the words of slam poet Shane Koyczan : “we live to get past the experiences we go through”.

“We are an experiment going right for a change.”
-Shane Koyczan

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Preaching or sharing... you pick.

I haven’t felt the inclination to post. I’ve reverted to my introverted self because I’m too tired to deal with people most of the time and the introvert has been greatly reinforced of late. But I saw something this morning and I wanted to share it.

I stumbled on this in a series of serendipidous interwebz clicks.

I opened up my Twitter the other day and witnessed a perfect example of putting the focus on the wrong aspect of what someone has said and assuming their intentions. Instead of being a conversation about why something was felt to be offensive, it became an attack with name-calling and everything.
I’ve read and heard things from people that fell under the category of “prejudiced/racist”, but instead of judging them and writing them off, I’ve tried to focus on the words they used, what those words convey as a message and that’s been the starting point of the bigger conversation. Sometimes you won’t be able to have the conversation with the interested party... but you gotta try.
Conversations... man, that’s sorely lacking in the world today.

Maybe this is the perfect day for me to start posting again, as I celebrate the 20th anniversary of Mr. Mandela's release from jail. Maybe I’ll get rid of the little voice in my head that keeps me from interacting and just share.

"And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same."
- Nelson Mandela