Gather in Peace

I wrote about gathering for the holidays and finding your pack.

But today, my mismatched pack will gather in Love outside a mosque to say no to the haters and to put them on notice. We are here. We are Love. We are together.

Peace isn’t something others get to take from us. They can’t have it. We are here. We are Love. We are together. (and Merry, Happy everything to you and your pack!)


Peace of Festal Foods

There’s my brother and his family and my family who remember our family’s festal foods. Most of them keep the holidays a bit differently than Deb and I did… And now with Deb and her family gone, Betty and Sam gone, and my not needing several tins of cookies with only Steve and me to eat them, my holidays look different than they once did.

I miss making cookies with my mom. I miss making them with Deb. I miss the smell of the house as the different cookies bake.

This used to be the saddest puzzle. Now it’s simply a puzzle. What do the holidays look… and smell… and taste like… at my house? To tell the truth, I don’t hunger for the sweet stuff. I hunger for the memory.

I think Festal Foods matter. I believe they bind people together… I don’t know what they are right now! I don’t even know exactly who my family is.

Trust me. There are worse things! Eating my way to Peace! Binding hearts in Peace. Holiday Hurrah!


Peace of Short Days with Lots to Do

The start to Winter Holidays were long cold nights when everyone was crowded together inside and no one went out but to hunt and care for the animals. And in days when the days were not about gifting and more about celebrating and dancing (ok, and probably drinking), the holidays were probably more fun.

However we got to lavish and wildly expensive gift giving, I’m not excited.

This year I’m scaling back. I say this who was always a lousy giver of gifts! I’m giving gifts to the kids and the adults are getting donations to important organizations that will change our world. And suddenly, I feel so much more generous. It makes me happy. It makes me feel useful.

It also lessens the amount of crazy running that I do. And who wouldn’t celebrate that? And truth be told, it shifts my sense of loss of family to a connection with the wider world. I have family, whom I adore and of whom I am fiercely proud and for whom I’m incredibly grateful. And now I have a world that I feel responsible to, as well.

The holidays are wonderful if we fill them up with people we love and fun events. They become less so when we stuff them with assignments. Whatever you ponder during your holy days, why not give yourselves some down time to do that. Mull some cranberry juice, or some wine, light some candles and settle in.

Peace is in the beauty, not the crazed running around. Find yourself a lovely slice of Peace and consider your world — all its beauty — and all the places you’re going to use your powers for good!

We’re needed. And so is the Peace we bring, in Winter’s lovely short days and beautiful long nights and all the rest of the year, too. Let’s Peace.



A Beautiful and Peaceful Beginning

Good Morning. Happy Easter!

Unlike today’s beautiful picture, Our day in the Valley is going to be one of mist and mystery. Which sort of suits this holiday of profound mystery and rampant —and I admit it fun — commercialism of talking bunnies bringing eggs and new clothes. (The new clothes imperative belongs to a Pagan holiday Beltane, when you throw off winter and burn your clothes. It makes more sense when Easter’s a month later. Did you get new clothes growing up? We often got Spring Clothes, but my mom was very clear we did not get a new outfit for Easter. She hated the connecting of the profound and the profane. I appreciate that understanding a lot better now! And in fact, practical child that I am, a pretty little spring dress when it’s very cold wasn’t really that much fun to a child who had no meat on her bones. The egg hiding was originally incentive to our bird friends to fruitful and multiply.)

However you celebrate today, I hope it’s in the presence of those you love.

And oh, Deb Slade, what a picture. Such Beauty. This branch of the Susquehanna is a slow moving one. So many days, and this picture represents this, it looks like a lake rather than a river.

Peace to you. Peace and Beauty, and Joy. The Peace and Beauty of rose-gold mornings and rivers. The Peace and Joy of Easter. The Peace and Beauty and Joy of another day to be a live and make a difference.


Sorting the Stuff from the Peace

It’s an end of the year exercise. Do I want or need this? Does this bring me Peace? Does this clutter up my dreams?

Can i let things go?

Can I just sit in my chair and read a romance… which i love to do this time of year!

Sort, shuffle, straighten, read. Maybe even write a little.

Ah the glories of the days in between. No deep thoughts. Just sweet longings for Peace and trying to clear a path through the holiday clutter to the essence of it.



Peacefully Coexisting

How much more than the title do we need to say?

Side-by-side coexistence… a great start to joyful mingling.

But because we will always have differences, co-existence is going to be a forever thing. We get confused about differences. Our intolerance causes a lot of problems. It causes a lot of violence.

I find this shocking and wrong. We must find our way to Love. Love is the answer to co-existence. Love brings us to Peace. We come to Love by way of our commitment to Peace. It’s all connected. Coexistence. Love. Peace. There’s a holiday wishlist. There’s a holiday to-do list!

And on the joyful coexistence list? It’s the Winter Solstice today. It’s really one of my most favorite days. Most people cheer because they think the days start getting longer… actually, they really hang out for a few days and stop getting shorter. But I love the Dark. I love the candlelit Mystery of this time, the songs, the story-telling, the discovery of new facets that only seem safe to examine in this sweet soft time. I also love the cold, crisp starlight of Deep Winter. Oh, hurrah.

Alternative Advent – December 21: 25¢ if you have a gas/electric law mower. Ha! No lawn; no lawn mower! I should probably give money for my wild joy at not being personally responsible for a particular piece of turf!


Peace: When Sharing Is Not Overrated

What we’ve come to think of as sharing tends to be the detailing loads of intimate information.

We try to teach our littles to share. Let Timmy play with your toy, Sally.

But as we get older, we’re often not so good at letting others play with our toys. (I had to stop and look this up. This sentence should read: as we become more affluent we’re often not to good at letting others play with our toys. What I was really interested in in this part is that rich people who live in economically diverse communities give more… We notice our neighbors.)

So then I looked up volunteering. Americans do it; but even those numbers are wonky.

And the clubs we join these days are not communal clubs but health clubs. We get our exercise alone… We don’t join fraternal organizations as frequently, even though there are more of them.

December and the Holidays are when people do think about others a bit more… but sharing with others, not just our resources, but also our hearts is something we need to do all year long. We don’t need to do this simply for our neighbors or our community, we need to do it because it fulfills us — and because we have so much. Everyone becomes more generous when someone models sharing… It changes the world. Softens it and enriches it.

Sharing helps us understand another’s view point, to see new possibilities.

Life is so much fuller when we share. We begin to Love people for who they are and how they think and live. We need to share because that makes Peace more possible. By any measure, that’s a good thing!

Alternative Advent – December 19: 5¢ for every window in your house.


Reveling in the Peace of Advent

Happy Holidays! All of them! I love this season for so many different reasons that I did as a child. (although Santa, still love me some Santa) I love the Dark. I love this cold quiet time of the year. Tiny sparkly lights whether in the sky or on trees are an additional pleasure, but… just the Dark.

And then there are all those moments. Some are simply solemn. Others are joyfully festive.

But I take this period seriously… It’s the end of a year, time to take account. It’s the beginning of a new with hopes for something better, something more, something Peace. My job today is to revel in that. To let that sense of wonder vibrate through me like the sound of a bell in the cold dry Winter.

Peace needs us. It needs us, it seems, more than ever. It’s on us to appreciate the Peace we have and to keep it growing

Alternative Advent for December 17: 5¢ for every reusable water bottle in your house (or car!).



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!