I see your hate

you are awash in it’s fate

I cannot rescue you from it’s end

my love did not end

but the words that you spew

have an end, there is an end

I will not swim in the racism

the polarization

you may not take my faith with your words and your hate

I am not bowed, I am not cowed

by your accusations

it is you who are drowning in the lies that you make

eating your hate

the things that you say DO NOT GO AWAY:

“and we found out George Floyd died of a drug overdose”

“Sandy Hook; actors”

“if you voted for Joe Biden you are a baby killer”

“the gays should burn like Sodom and Gomorrah”

“911; actors”

*RHINO, Denver*

Thoughts on Religion

I often think about Religion and it’s impact on the world and it’s impact on me as an individual. There may not be another subject that I feel so at odds about than this one. This year has exacerbated my angst about Religion as I watch a majority of the evangelical christian community support a man whose character is so at odds with the way Christ framed the way to live and treat others. Once again, like history repeating itself endlessly, religion was used to influence people to make a political choice. Today if you “belong” to certain religious communities in the United States there is incredible pressure to vote and believe along Republican party lines. When politics and religion join hands there are bodies left behind the road they walk. Religion appeals to a deep place inside of us, a sacred space, where our minds and hearts simply obey. The power of linking religion and politics takes this obedience to God and directs it towards a political party or a political figure.

Religion can be used for harm or good. It can be used to influence and pressure people in positive and negative ways. I have seen the positive power in my community where people of Faith come together to help the homeless, the hungry, the disenfranchised. The values of kindness, hope, patience, self control, respect, grace, mercy, forgiveness are ones I believe in. I want to be influenced and reminded of them by clergy and others of Faith.

However, I am deeply opposed to religious leaders and religious people who seek to define what it means to be have Faith in terms of politics. I am opposed to those who through religion speak with a “higher calling” to control others lives through legislation and seek to override the freedom of others with their own code of ethics. It is oppression.

*Rome, taken by my husband*

The dance of the living

The shadows are uncovered

I’m not afraid to stare back at where they lived

they don’t frighten me as they once did

their looming shapes and giant mighty waving arms have lost their power

they don’t define me

they won’t confine me

I am dancing down the road in sunlight

Unafraid to reach for what I want

Unapologetic for who I am

This dance is from the sun and rain

the leaves, the stones, the dirt and all living things

It is the dance of the living; the heart beating, the eye blinking, the breath moist, the mind thinking

*Portland, Oregon*

golden chain

there is a time to sit in the pain and let it drain

sit, sit, sit in the pain

then look to the stars and think how infinitesimal your domain

gaze outside again

let the beauty of your world in and rain, rain, rain

open your hands to the blessings that came, came, came

a seed can grow, planted in the pain, watered in the rain

in its season it reaches up it’s mighty arms with leaves verdant to sustain

the soul inside; your golden chain

*Charleston, SC*

Grit and Kindness

The value I most want to grow is kindness

Definition of kindness:

the selfless action of being friendly, generous, considerate to consciously pass along hope and goodwill

The trait I most want to grow is grit

Definition of Grit:

the action of courage, conscientiousness, perseverance, resilience, passion

empower our daughters

I have two daughters. I want them to have equality in their impact on the world. Culturally women have been taught to make people feel more comfortable and at ease. We can have trouble standing out, speaking up, being ambitious and strong. We undermine our thoughts and ideas with weak language.

Have you noticed how men and women speak differently? Strong language is more prevalent among men than women. Language reflects our willingness to comply or alternately to be decisive. One of the most offending words is the word “just”. I just want to tell you that the customers don’t like the candy. The customers don’t like the candy. I just want to tell you that when you do that it hurts my feelings. When you do that it hurts my feelings. Women should strike the word “just” from our language. Language is influence. Strong language is power.

“I would love”, “I feel”, “I believe”, “I’m sorry, but” all can have similar softening effects of our opinions. I would love to have sushi for lunch. I want sushi for lunch. I feel that this move would increase our product’s desirability. I expect this move would increase our product’s desirability. I believe that we should be inclusive. We should be inclusive. I’m sorry, but I disagree. I disagree. Let’s replace those soft words and ideas with “I’m confident”, “I expect”, “I’m convinced”. This does not mean we don’t use diplomacy. Thoughtful and kind language is important. Having good emotional intelligence is important. But, let’s end soft posturing and over-flexibility and be courageous about about our verbal expressions. Let’s be fearless with what we believe and the way we express it.

Weak language is not taken as seriously. Unapologetic, direct communication will get our daughters farther in having influence. It begins with us, ladies. Let’s model strong language and not worry how our ideas are taken. They are our ideas. Let’s own them proudly.

*my daughters (and daughter from another mother) and I, Lincoln City, Oregon*