The Peace of Stoop Sitting

When I moved to NY in 1975 (oh, it seems so long ago), air conditioning was not as common as it is today, nor as effective. It was not infrequent that cities had brown outs in hot steamy weather because AC used so much electricity.

People had elaborate systems for opening and closing their windows and blinds to minimize the effect of the heat and sun.

Luxury high rises had AC… but brownstones and, um, less luxurious high rises, did not. So when the evening came, and the sun was safely in New Jersey, behind the West-side Buildings and Jersey skyscrapers, when dinner was over and the dishes washed, people came out and breathed slightly cooler air together. You took your chair down to the stoop.

The groups swelled and narrow by turn as people went up to put the children to bed and came back down.

And all the while people talked about the day, their families, the state of the nation, and of course, the weather. You knew your neighbors. You made Peace. Apartment houses were extended families, you wanted things to be smooth as possible between you. Walls were thin. You knew a lot about each other’s lives anyway. Better to keep things quiet. and everyone worked hard anyway.

So you made Peace. Many of the things that used to throw us into conversation and community are gone. We have to create those opportunities. The world does better when we do.

Peace of the Summer to you, my friends. May you seek it, may you find it, may you create it!

Dancing for and with Peace

This gorgeous photo of dancing water reminds us to dance.

Wherever we are. Whatever we’re doing. Simply because life is beautiful.

Simply because we are able to dance.

I know a young-ish (at least to me) guy who went to the hospital yesterday because there was snow, he shoveled and wasn’t in shape to do so.

We owe ourselves that. We owe Life that. I owe the Goddess those thanks. I think about how frequently I’m ungrateful to my body. There were so many years I didn’t swim — or do anything. And now, i feel good again. Good enough that I shoot baskets with my grandson. What’s that worth? Pretty damn priceless. What did i get out of it? A purple Minecraft palace that will be called Queen Ann’s Palace rather than Queen Grannianni’s Palace because that seemed too old for him! I’ll take that!

So Dance… If there’s anything this world needs right now, it’s a dance!

Alone. In Community. Dance!

Dance because in Peace there is a lot of Dance!

Coming Together in Peace

I think Peace is not a solitary endeavor. We make Peace with our friends and then as friends we make Peace. I just finished a book that talked about a leader who had the good of society in his mind but didn’t have the good of the communities in his heart. It tainted his doing good.

We the People make the Peace. We may not concentrate on it enough, but it’s true nonetheless.

We can do this differently if we choose. Do we choose Peace? Do we choose connection?

I’ve said several times but none with more urgency than now, I never thought that the most important thing I had to offer in my ministerial work was community. And they never teach you that (oooh same problem as the leader in this fantasy novel!). You all think you’re going to be a prophet for your (oh-so-gifted) oratory. Nah, it’s the smiles and waves and hugs that set the scene. It’s the actions. And if you’re lucky, you’ll preach well come Sunday morning…

So, get up, gather your group (or meet up for them) and plot for Peace.

A Day of Shared Work is a Day of Peace

Working together is important. When you can work together and laugh together at the same time, life is sweet.

Shared purpose brings Peace.

For two months now a dedicated team has been working to put together this huge extravaganza of a yard sale that takes place for five days. (thank heavens for a sabbath in between! whew!)

Friday morning at 6:45 am I rolled in LONG after others had been working to get things set up.

The doors were supposed to open at 8. They opened at 7 and people came pouring in.

Now, if you know me at all, you know I’m an extreme extrovert with an incredibly chaotic mind. This much chaos is over load for me. But people are so excited. Oooooh! look at this! Imagine! All day long, people thrilled over the bargains.

And all day long, community members are helpful and enjoying themselves. You have the chance to get to know people you’ve never known as you check out customers, or dish up hamburger barbecue. (Oh, we laughed: a woman started to tell us about her business helping people make life style changes with resultant weight loss, by cutting out gluten and sugar. Meanwhile we were all stuffing hotdogs in our faces, and following them up with homemade black walnut brittle chasers… she didn’t get any clients today at the yard sale — unless after the sale is over we all feel badly about all the cookies we ate! Just another way friendships are built!)

But it was flat out fun today, because the people are grand. Poor Marie tries to organize us and manages despite our camraderie and general ineptitude at sales. Meanwhile people keep buying stuff and we move toward balancing the budget. And it’s not all about the money, although that’s its purpose, it’s also about people’s buying things they can’t otherwise afford: dishes and pots and pans disappear pretty quickly. Clothes find their way home to people who need them (and, ahem, some of us who don’t!)

Building solvency. Building community. Eating good food! Yum! Fun! Peace.

Peace is where you find it. It’s where you make it. Say, can I get you a bag for your stuff?



The World’s Gone to the Dogs and That Ain’t Good

Dear Bartender and Priestess,

I’m not sure what I expect from you, but I feel like I need to get this off my chest. I’m just so taken aback. And angry. Okay, really angry.

I love dogs. I’m a dog owner and have always been a dog owner. Continue reading

Peace at the End of the Day

There are those days, those lovely busy weekend days, at the end of which your reward is to gather around the table and catch up with your friends. There was something about this photo that brought that to mind.

Sometimes the food is the focus, but often it’s a casual meal, and laughter is the bottomless dish. There are periods in your life when those meals are more common than others, but whenever they happen, they’re grand.

Community is such a delicious joy. The friends and family who people our lives on a regular basis sustain us and deepen life’s experience. It’s hard to write about without being trite and hokey.. But oh… So, when the sun goes down today, I hope this finds you with friends… If not, remember how fun it is and plot for an upcoming weekend.

The Peace of Community be with you…with us all.EverydayPeaceSaturday8Feb20

Supporting Peace in Advent and Every Single Day

If Peace is what I long for and speak for and work for, then I must have support for that work.

I must find internal support — for me that’s my spiritual practice. As an extrovert and an activist, I don’t always find enough time for my practice. Oh it was sweet yesterday to walk the labyrinth on the Solstice. Remember Ann, remember. find time for that.

And then there is the community. I am so joyful at the community support and interaction that I enjoy — and that I’ve finally figured out how to live in that. I’ve always been such a loner… not an easy characteristic for an extrovert!

But supporting: both being supported and being supportive. Both of these are crucial to our quest for Peace — and Peace on Earth and with the Earth is crucial to our well-being.

Supporting Peace. During Advent and the rest of the year.

Alternative Advent – December 22: 20¢ for every meal you ate in a restaurant this week.


Remembering the Peace of Advent

One of the hard truths about this time of year is that we are forced to confront what we may have missed, or have lost. For some of us, those of us who are very privileged, the holidays have been sweet, families have been united and traditions have traveled between the generations. But even those people have lost beloved family members who are no longer there.

It takes a while to recalibrate. It takes a while to decide to focus not on what i don’t have but on what is there. It’s important for me to honor the heart of the holidays, both religiously and communally. But it’s also time to cut out the pieces of the holiday that no longer fit.

I love to think of the root of the word remembering … to re-member, to piece back together. To take the remnants of the good and to make something beautiful from it.

It takes a while to demand (of yourself) the space to celebrate holidays in your image in a fashion that suits you. But you are worthy of that. If you’re alone, find other people who also are. Or celebrate another holiday and make that yours until you can reclaim your own for yourself.

Remember the holidays… Feel free, not to long for what you once believe you had, but to create that which celebrates the deepest possibilities of life. Savor the Dark. Explore the Mystery. Be amazed by the Wonder. Gather with those who love you as you are — even if that means you’re alone and loving yourself fiercely.

Allow your holidays to be filled with Peace. Share that with others. Remember. Make that cloak of beautiful memories and move forward with joy. Peace be with you. Peace be with us all.

Alternative Advent December 12 – 15¢ if you have dishes in your house. There are actually people in our Susquehanna Valley who do not. So be generous. if you have more than one set, try 15¢ per set.





Cherishing Advent Peace

Here at a time in my life when so much of my family has died, I have had to make decisions about what and when I cherish. What do I bring forward from that life with them? What do I call out from my time in California? How do I incorporate the people in this life whom I’ve come to love and their celebrations? And how do I leave myself room to “mind the gaps,” to drift away from what is still too painful to touch?

This is some of Advent’s important work I think.

Many of us, for reasons far sadder than death, don’t have the family they want. So how do you celebrate and cherish the family you do have? How do you make holidays that matter with who you are and what you have.

The Dark is a precious gift and so are the holidays that come with it. And there are so many. Can’t do the one you were born with? Can you do it differently, or make a home in another one?

And can we all acknowledge our responsibility to cherish life? This is a time of new beginnings, celebrations of tiny scraps of God among us and light returning. Can we sing sleep in heavenly Peace in December and mean it in January? Can we light candles and remember the past and look forward to the future and providing defiant light to the world?

We’re the people to do that! We’re the people to cherish our own traditions and to invite people over to share the festival foods. We’re the people to become curious about others’ feasts and fests and learn about what makes us different and celebrate the urge to come together to with our families and communities to make new memories.

We’re the people to create Peace. We’re the people to cherish it. May it be so.

Alternative Advent today is 10¢ for every flush toilet. That should be a dollar! These are precious!


The Peace of Beloved Festival Foods

For most of us, Thanksgiving is one of those holidays filled with food and family.

For those without either, let us be generous in opening our hearts and our wallets and cupboards. If we’re going to be thankful, it’s good to be so actively — and there is so much need. Thanksgiving requires great thanksgiving. Some of us are so lucky. I’m humbled by the life I lead. Blessing counting is an important part of this day.

But let us also enjoy — unabashedly… and make plans to revel in the fun.

And the food. Ah, festival foods are the best. Everyone has a favorite food associated with Thanksgiving. We were all stunned when niece Jan chose stuffing as the one food she never had to eat (her brother chose broccoli, which I like, but stuffing, that great gravy conveyance?). The rest of us we all about passing the bowl around one more time.

But for some it’s the yams, for others the turkey itself.

And for me, right up there alongside the stuffing is any kind of cranberry!

I once hosted a thanksgiving feast with 8 different kinds of cranberry sauce. Oh, i was happy!

Today it’s Monday. In three sleeps, it will be Thanksgiving. Turkey. Cranberry. Stuffing.

And a lovely, lovely wedding to perform. Yep. I’m looking forward. (and i get to miss the football part, which I know is other people’s favorite piece.)

I hope your Thanksgiving is filled with thanksgiving.