Stop the Madness

Our world, and our country specifically is injured and bleeding everywhere. A poor choice in leadership can do more damage and a better choice can bring some healing, but our leaders are only a symptom of a deadly illness eating us up from the inside.

We are self-destructing.

We are where we are because of ALL of us. Every one. It is what it is because of all the actions we did and did not take, all the things we said and did not say, all the votes cast or not, all the choices we made  or didn’t bother to make. It is what it is, and bitching about it isn’t going to change it. Blaming isn’t going to fix it. Yes, we must take the action, say the words, cast the votes and make different choices next time and the results will again be a mirror of who we are collectively.

Although I attended a parochial school growing up, I haven’t been to a Sunday service for more years than I can count. I’ve studied many religions and am deeply spiritual without claiming the practices of any. I believe there is a core of divinity in all of them that becomes bastardized once the hand of man gets involve in spouting its “rules”.

Just like every other good thing, it can be used for good or ill.

This being said, an old story from the bible has been rolling around in my head and it applies to now, for any race, religion, economy, or country. It is from the book of Nehemiah, chapters 2-4.

Then, as now, a people were scattered and divided. They faced enemies from without as we do from within. We don’t need any help from outside terrorists~good grief, we are practically cannibalizing ourselves. So his first step was to listen to his aching heart. The second step was to go out quietly and survey the damage to the place of his ancestors. Then each person (and his family members) mended and built and cared for the homes they were to live in and the city walls immediately outside. With each neighbor caring for himself and what/who was directly in front of him, sections of walls side by side by side were rebuilt and then each effort joined together to make the whole wall complete and secure.

Instead of years, restoration took 52 days (chapter 6, verse 15).  They didn’t whine, they worked. It wasn’t in a far off land, it was in their own homes and what was right outside. When outside forces threatened their progress, they prepared themselves for defense and kept working.

Rebuild your heart with peace, and prepare to defend it. Clean up your home of rubbish, then your yard, then the neighborhood, then the walls of your city. Join your works to rebuild our country with your neighbors, and them with theirs and so on. Let your actions be a beacon for others to follow.

There are Buddhist monks in history that chose their peaceful, loving way of life and at the same time, trained in a defensive martial arts form that could annihilate anyone trying to take away their right to live. Some have been known to immolate themselves (actually burn themselves alive), a sacrifice to gain the attention and the hearts of those watching and those trying to oppress, stating that the power remains with the individual, no matter what army  or ruler reigns.

If we want something different, maybe an America better even than before the mess we’ve created, we have to clean up our acts, our homes, our neighborhoods etc…we must rebuild our walls side by side and join together to create something beautiful.

The power remains with us. Each of us are responsible.

I’m not suggesting we set ourselves on fire. I’m suggesting that we release the shaming, blaming and hatred that has become a stench in our lives. Refuse to be contaminated by the poison we see and hear every day. Make sure our actions are from a place of integrity whether we march in peaceful protest, write to those who lead us or any other thing we are lead to do to bring our communities to a better standard of living.

When we change ourselves the world around us will change.

Instead of throwing stones let’s use them to rebuild something beautiful, a place we’re proud to call home.

Rebuild your wall where you are; I’ll do the same.

Things I Know For Sure

My only son was just married last weekend. It was such a beautiful, fun event that I will always hold close to my heart. I loved the opportunity I had to meet his two closest friends (who I pre-loved for meaning so much to him), and to thank them in every way I knew how for being such brothers to him, and keeping that important part of him secure during his stint in the USMC. I wanted to show my appreciation for the family that comforted me by caring for him the many times he couldn’t come home for the holidays,  or long weekends.

I am so blessed to love the beautiful girls they brought with them. That was such an amazing bonus to gain two more daughters (or dotters as I always say) on top of the one that’s been a part of our little family already for years. They are so amazing, and fun, and different, and brilliant!

I am so excited at this point at all the possibilities! Someday, I’ll be an awesome Glammaw, and hopefully I’ll get to go to two more weddings of people I love in the next few years, and I get to experience my life blending with a mixture of others that add so much sparkle to the future!

I know this for sure~with as much as I loved my baby boi the whole time he was growing up, I love and respect him so much more now. I love his wife (dotter #1) and think she is amazing. I love his brothers, and their girls (dotters #2 and #3), and look forward to seeing them again. I always thought it was good that I never had another child because SURELY there was no possible way I could love them as much as my one. Little did I know how it grows exponentially, like a tsunami covering everything in its path! Lol.

I’m ready to have some adventures, and see all the new G movies, and shop for everything in the world that’s cool now. I became multi-generational to keep up with my boi and what’s happening now. I’ve got it in me to add another generation to my repertoire.  I am not afraid.

Here’s to life, and all the things I know for sure, and all the mysteries left to uncover!

May you all be so lucky in your lifetime!


Patrick O'Keefe

The True Meaning of Courage

I love stories about courage. Courageous men and women who step forward in a moment of danger and put their lives on the line to save another. Sometimes, I’m sure their actions are based on a decision made in the moment, and others are maybe just an automatic reaction of each of them as a human being. Some freeze in moments of crises, and some are spurred to action.

This isn’t the type of courage I’m talking about today. Not the newspaper headliners, or the interviews on Fox News or whatever, or the kind that gets medals and commendations for bravery. I’m not talking about a moment of courage, I’m referring to a lifetime of it~the decision to be willing to live for and with someone, instead of the “die in a moment of glory” kind.

There are too many cheap relationships today. We fall in love, we do the marriage thing, blah, blah, and after awhile the fire of newness and excitement dies off from lack of interest and care and we fall into the lazy, non-supportive, watered down version of love. We no longer look at each other as gifts and blessings, but rather as someone to struggle with in such important issues as who does the cleaning, makes the most money, makes the decisions, whose feelings matter more. We lose the longing to know the other person from the soul out, and instead find ourselves asking “what have you done for me lately”.

The most important skill to develop while in the beginning of love, is the willingness and determination to solve the problems that come up in every relationship. If you do not have or develop these skills, you will live a life of ground-hog day where you repeat the sorrow, dissatisfaction, and insult over and over until the only thing you feel is relief at being away from the source of the problem to begin with. Healthy love can’t live there.

Let me be clear that this is a two-party agreement. It will not work if just one of you wants to resolve and the other wants to be left alone to pursue what they wish. It takes courage to resolve any argument, to talk with an open heart and mind, and be willing to listen with loving ears. To meet your other half more than halfway if need be. You have to have the combination of love and spine to do this. Many don’t~hence the relationships that are so prevalent today.

It takes real courage to work out the hard problems that come in any life relationship. You don’t need somebody brave enough to take a bullet for you, you need someone brave enough to stand with you, live with you, and work things out for a beautiful life filled with growth and adventure.  Not a monotonous re-run of issues left unresolved and rotting in your heart because you didn’t matter enough~the effort wasn’t worth it.

Live a courageous life, not a mediocre one. Have the guts to fix what is wrong, or walk away.

Don’t let your heart or your spine stagnate from lack of use.