Windchime Walker

Windchime Walker <$BlogRSDUrl$>

Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Yesterday's setup still up.

sending love to Molly 

I join with countless persons from around the U.S. and the world in sending the incomparable Molly Ivins love and healing energy. This longtime truthteller is fighting cancer--her third bout with it--and is in need of all the love and good wishes we can send her way.

I'll let her old friend Harvey Wasserman say it for us all: "We love you Molly"!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007



As if Iraq's not bad enough... 

Messrs. Bush & Cheney's sabre rattling toward Iran has reached new heights. And, as we know from past experience, these two sabre-rattlers don't do it for show: they mean business. So the only question is when. The Sunday Herald out of Scotland says U.S. bombs will start raining down on Iran by late April of this year. That is a mere 2-3 months away.

From the article, "America ‘Poised to Strike at Iran's Nuclear Sites from Bases in Bulgaria and Romania" by Gabriel Ronay, comes the following:

President Bush is preparing to attack Iran's nuclear facilities before the end of April and the US Air Force's new bases in Bulgaria and Romania would be used as back-up in the onslaught, according to an official report from Sofia.

"American forces could be using their two USAF bases in Bulgaria and one at Romania's Black Sea coast to launch an attack on Iran in April," the Bulgarian news agency Novinite said.

The American build-up along the Black Sea, coupled with the recent positioning of two US aircraft carrier battle groups off the Straits of Hormuz, appears to indicate president Bush has run out of patience with Tehran's nuclear misrepresentation and non-compliance with the UN Security Council's resolution. President Ahmeninejad of Iran has further ratcheted up tension in the region by putting on show his newly purchased state of the art Russian TOR-Ml anti-missile defence system.

Whether the Bulgarian news report is a tactical feint or a strategic event is hard to gauge at this stage. But, in conjunction with the beefing up of America's Italian bases and the acquisition of anti-missile defence bases in the Czech Republic and Poland, the Balkan developments seem to indicate a new phase in Bush's global war on terror.

Sofia's news of advanced war preparations along the Black Sea is backed up by some chilling details. One is the setting up of new refuelling places for US Stealth bombers, which would spearhead an attack on Iran. "The USAF's positioning of vital refuelling facilities for its B-2 bombers in unusual places, including Bulgaria, falls within the perspective of such an attack." Novinite named Colonel Sam Gardiner, "a US secret service officer stationed in Bulgaria", as the source of this revelation.

Curiously, the report noted that although Tony Blair, Bush's main ally in the global war on terror, would be leaving office, the president had opted to press on with his attack on Iran in April.

Before the end of March, 3000 US military personnel are scheduled to arrive "on a rotating basis" at America's Bulgarian bases. Under the US-Bulgarian military co-operation accord, signed in April 2006, an airbase at Bezmer, a second airfield at Graf Ignitievo and a shooting range at Novo Selo were leased to America. Significantly, last year's bases negotiations had at one point run into difficulties due to Sofia's demand "for advance warning if Washington intends to use Bulgarian soil for attacks against other nations, particularly Iran". Read more.

Compare Messrs. Bush & Cheney's ideas about war with those of Tom Bowe, a man I met last Friday night when I presented to the Detroit Theosophical Society about nonviolent dialogue. In a recent email, Tom wrote:

Where and when,
Will peace begin?
In our hearts,
When now is then.

Can one be at peace yet carry anger in one's heart, even if that anger is for the cause of peace? Can the seeds of thorns be planted in hopes that doves will be fed on the millet that springs forth?

When will we (America) see beyond the now of war and recognize that it will not end regardless of whether the troops are home tomorrow or next year? It will follow them home like the asbestos on a mine workers clothes, brought home to his family, his children now afflicted with the same disease and mortally wounded in the bed next to their father. It would have been better had he found other employment, be it less convenient and more laborious. Such is the nature of war; once the ore has been smelted its slag cannot be returned to the earth under the pretense of making her whole. Pray for our troops, and their children, and their children's children. From Washington, DC to Libby, Montana they're gonna' need it.

With whom do you resonate? George & Dick or Tom? How I wish we had a choice.

Monday, January 29, 2007


Grade 5 weaves

Sunday, January 28, 2007


Child's-eye view

Saturday, January 27, 2007

being where we need to be 

No, I wasn't in Washington, DC for today's mammoth rally and march to oppose President Bush's sending 2500 more American troops to Iraq. And yes, that felt strange. But I was obviously where I was meant to be, and that felt good.

Before I even knew about today's rally and march in DC, I'd agreed to speak to the Detroit Theosophical Society about what I'd learned during my 18-day solitary vigil--what I called my Lebanon Peace Initiative--in front of the White House and Senate and House Office Buildings last July and August. To read all about it, you can go back to my July 19th blog entry and scroll backwards. I called last night's presentation, "Practicing Nonjviolent Dialogue for Peace."

There were sixteen of us sitting in a circle at the Detroit Theosophical Society Lodge in Berkley, Michigan. For a half hour I read aloud what I wanted to share about my experiences in DC and what I'd learned firsthand about nonviolent dialogue. I'll post the final conclusions I made during that presentation:

So what is the difference between dialogue and debate?

I see dialogue as an attempt to understand how another person sees things. Listening is its core component.

Debate is an attempt to talk the other into seeing things like I see them. Marshalling one's thoughts and expressing them effectively are debater's tools.

And why do I use the word "nonviolent" to describe the kind of dialogue I engaged in during those 18 days?

Because I consciously did my best to meet hatred and negativity with respect and love, in a way modeled by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi.

Here are my principles of nonviolent dialogue:

1. Stating your point of view in a respectful way;
2. Letting the other speak;
3. Listening to what they say, even if it is said with hostility;
4. Finding and expressing that upon which you agree;
5. Trying to understand where they are coming from;
6. Responding, even to hatred, with love but not tolerating verbal abuse. Such abuse escalates the cycle of violence;
7. Stopping when the dialogue is no longer productive;
8. Concluding with respectful acknowledgement of your commonalities. Wishing them well.

Dialogue is more about understanding the other than changing their minds.

Of course it is ideal if both participants are trying to enter into nonviolent dialogue, but even one nonviolent dialoguer can change the tone of the encounter.

Perhaps the change you make is not in what they think about an issue, but in how they will express themselves in the future.

The quality of your presence is more important than the content of your conversation.

You do not need to change minds to change hearts, yours first of all.

Consciously engaging in nonviolent dialogue is transformative. You will be changed in ways you cannot imagine, the most notable being the growth of compassion. If you listen deeply to what is being said, you'll see that how individuals view the world makes perfect sense, given their life experiences. The same is true of yourself.

Nonviolent dialogue requires that one be prepared to set aside their long-held assumptions and prejudices. Like looking through a prism, you will be seeing the world through a different facet. It will not look as you expect.

We then had a circle discussion for the next half hour or so. It was gratifying to see that so many of the participants understood what I was trying to say. As always happens at this kind of gathering, we were all teachers and students, giving and receiving equally.

This way of promoting peace now fits me like a glove. It follows so naturally with what I learned during last summer's dialogues on the sidewalks of DC, and that is that one-to-one and small group discussions have such potential for change. And to bring peace into our world, we each must change on the deepest levels possible. The persons I met last night helped me do that in unexpected ways.

I'm coming to see that peace is a verb not a noun.


May there be peace in the Middle East.

As hundreds of thousands of Americans march today on the streets of Washington, DC to call for an end to Mr. Bush's war on Iraq, I light a candle in remembrance of all who have suffered displacement, injuries and death in his misguided invasion of a sovereign nation. The candle rests on an Egyptian scarf my friend Aly gave me, and hanging from Maggie Celestino's raku clay sculpture are my brother Rabih's wooden prayer beads. I see the New Mexican driftwood as a protective presence watching over the whole.

Friday, January 26, 2007


Morning check-in

Most mornings I get out of bed, wash my face, brush my teeth and turn on the computer. The first place I go is to

And you? What's your computer schedule?

Thursday, January 25, 2007


With PaD (photo-a-day), even a haircut becomes a photo op!

Leesa of Leesa's Hair Salon in Windsor, Ontario gives me my monthly shearing. When you live in a border city like Detroit, it's no big deal to go to another country for a cut!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Windchime Walker

Ever ready to offer assistance, Windchime Walker waits at the end of my bed.

hand prints 

I invite you to come visit my newest gallery of photos on It is called "hand prints" and includes a collection of hands doing some of the many things that hands can do. I am hooked on hands!

A few days ago I also put up a gallery that I call "photo-a-day outtakes." In it you'll find my daily photos that didn't make it into the "official" photo-a-day gallery.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


They just wouldn't stay still!

Monday, January 22, 2007


Grade 5 self portrait collage

Sunday, January 21, 2007

people pleasures 

Yesterday I learned that my people woes of a few days ago aren't everything. There are also people pleasures too rich to be counted.

Like spending the day with MorganRose, a spiritual/creative sister whom I first met at a Leaven Center writers' retreat last spring. Although we've been in touch by email, we'd not seen one another since early autumn. MorganRose lives in Toledo, Ohio--about 100 miles from here--and our schedules had not allowed us to make the trip of late. But yesterday MorganRose got in her little red car and came north to visit. We shared lunch and stories for five hours, and could have gone on forever. But I had another date that had to be kept.

That was a potluck supper/gathering with the Great Lakes Gaia women with whom I sang for years. And as a special treat, Carolyn McDade--the gifted singer/songwriter/lover-of-justice, women & the earth who had brought us together in the first place--was in town to work with the community on a new CD project. This one is based on original songs by Carolyn, Nancy Nordlie and other Gaia songsters, in which they have set the words of the U.N. Earth Charter to music. Because I had to be carried by two strong women into Ellen and Mary Jane's rather inaccessible house, I entered like a queen...and was treated royally all evening! These women are incredibly loving and certainly know how to make a person feel welcome.

Today I feel like a plant that has been given the rain and sun she needed to thrive. And I am deeply grateful to the "gardeners" who provided such nourishment.


Margaret Tafoya vase, Guatemalan textile & my painting

Saturday, January 20, 2007


And now for something completely different...

I created this painted photograph yesterday (Friday) because today (Saturday, January 20) was going to be full of non-photo-related activities. I have my brother Rabih in Lebanon to thank for encouraging me to explore blending painting and photography. This is a first for me.

So what do you think?

Friday, January 19, 2007


Self portrait working out at the gym

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Cody's wheelchair

Cody is a fifth grade student at the school where I volunteer. He needs his wheelchair to get from class to class, but doesn't like to use it in his classroom. That's why it was parked in the hall.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Find Ed!

Do you remember those children's books called "Find Waldo!"? Inside this photo sits my husband Ed just waiting to be found. By the way, the painting is a watercolor that Detroit artist Mary Aro made of me in 1984. I was also a working artist at the time and had made a woodburned portrait of Mary. After our portraits were exhibited in a show that year at Detroit's Focus Gallery, we exchanged them as gifts to one another.

people problems 

Do you ever go through times where you just can't seem to get it right? "It" being making people happy? Or even content?

Now, let me be clear here. Things are great between Ed and me. There's no problem there. And my closest friends and I are getting along fine too. It's everybody else. Even strangers.

Like the woman who pulled her car over to the wrong side of the street yesterday to ask if I was OK. I know I should have just thanked her and let it go, but, after going through this same thing day-after-day whenever I stop to take photos, it really pushes my buttons. I mean I was using my camera with the macro lens--a rather huge lens, at that--and I can't understand how she (and all the other people who do the same thing) don't see that I've simply stopped to take a photo.

This goes under the heading of "officious" to me, officious being offering help that isn't asked for or needed. Just because I use a scooter, does that mean I am more in need of help than an able-bodied person? If I need help, I'm good at asking for it.

Anyway, I just turned and answered her "Are you OK?" question by saying, "Do you see what I'm doing here?" while I held up my camera. She said she hadn't seen my camera so I guess that should have cleared her, but it still bugged me.

Then there's my sister. The one who won't talk to me. I'm doing everything I can not to fall back into my old childhood pattern of blaming myself for any problems she and I have. This is not my fault. I know that, but even so, my internal guilt-producer loves to attack me at vulnerable times, like when I lie down to sleep at night. Yes, I'm sad that we're going through this period of estrangement, but, to be honest, I don't see any way I can make it better. I've just got to let it be what it is, and hope we can come out on the other side someday. Until then, I need to let it go.

Recently I hurt the feelings of a woman I'd gotten to know online, but it was unintentional. It had to do with how I set up my blog, and since this is how I present myself to the world, I feel very strongly that it must reflect who I am and what gives meaning to my life. Every word, every link, every photo must be in sync with my own truth.

That approach to life (and blog-keeping) isn't always going to make other people happy. I guess that comes with the territory of being yourself.

And there's one last thing. I feel badly that I hadn't visited Sr. Elizabeth (who died recently) since her 91st birthday party last Memorial Day weekend. I didn't even call her. I know she enjoyed our visits, but I just got absorbed with my own stuff and didn't really consider her feelings. And now it's too late. I was reminded of my shortcomings regarding Sr. Elizabeth in an indirect way by one of the sisters in her community yesterday, and it made me feel pretty rotten.

So there you have it: a litany of my poor people skills.

Could it be true what I've said before, that the more you become yourself, the fewer people like you? If so, I sure am becoming myself these days!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Setting sail on the sea of life

Monday, January 15, 2007


It was snowing out there!

Sunday, January 14, 2007


Ed's piano

As I posted this photo today, the jazz pianist Alice Coltrane was very present to me. She died on Friday and our world is a lesser place because Alice is no longer here. I was privileged to experience her and her son Ravi in concert at Ann Arbor's Hill Auditorium in September. I am deeply grateful to have made that connection with such a woman of peace and love.

news from Lebanon 

I had a nice long phone visit this afternoon with my brother Rabih in Lebanon. All is well with him, Sulaima and the kids. But they're growing up!

Sana (17) has an appointment at the American University of Beirut tomorrow to see about applying to start taking courses there next year. She takes her SATs on Saturday. In May, she'll be graduating from high school. Sami (14) and Rami (12) are regular and most enthusiastic exercisers at the local gym. And little Ibrahim is now two and a half and entering into complex conversations. Rabih describes him as "the joy of our household." I didn't think to get news of Oussama (8), but next time I will.

Sulaima is busier than ever and has recently gotten her Lebanese driver's license so she can chauffeur the kids around, take care of shopping and such when Rabih is out of the country...which is LOTS! She still gets together with Sandy, Fatima and her other women friends whom I met during my visit there in November 2005.

Rabih is again where he belongs: on the world stage. In addition to his ongoing consulting work with NGOs around the world, he has been made the Executive Director of the Global Anti-Aggression Campaign, a new organization dedicated to monitoring the often-negative media depictions of Islam and its followers. As I understand it, their intention is to counter prejudice with dialogue while offering international opportunities for interaction among individuals and groups of different religions and points of view.

This is such a natural for Rabih; it is what he has always done, whether here in the United States, in Kosovo, Afghanistan, or countries across the Middle East. He is a born uniter, just the person to spearhead this most necessary work.

I don't know about you, but I've seen a huge upsurge in anti-Muslim feeling here in the U.S. since 9/11. Of course, when you have a president who talks about mounting a war on "Islamic fascism"--which is a contradiction in terms--it's not surprising that the common people, most of whom know nothing about Islam and its tenets, follow his lead and become openly anti-Muslim.

I was also interestered to hear that Rabih is also finding time to volunteer in his local community. With Lebanon's current polarization of the population into pro- and anti-government factions, Rabih and other leaders have founded the Independent Islamic Conference. Instead of taking sides, this body says you can be independent thinkers and judge each issue for yourself rather than jumping into one camp or the other. Again, this is a natural for Rabih. He has always acted as a bridge between opposing opinions and diverse segments of the population.

And it was for this bridge-buildng that he was jailed in the United States for nineteen months, never charged with any crime, and secretly deported in the middle of one night! Rabih's only "crime" was being a person with a vision of the world as one and the gumption to turn that dream into action. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr--whose birthday we here in the U.S. celebrate tomorrow--comes to mind. Visionaries are never treated well by the establishment. Actually, they are a threat to the establishment; that's why they must be silenced.

But Rabih Haddad is silent no more. And Mr. Bush and his henchmen can not hurt him again. Hurray for that!

Saturday, January 13, 2007


My great great grandfather, my mother and me

Friday, January 12, 2007


Tea's on!

Molly Ivins: Stand Up Against the 'Surge'

Posted on Jan 11, 2007

By Molly Ivins

The purpose of this old-fashioned newspaper crusade to stop the war is not to make George W. Bush look like the dumbest president ever. People have done dumber things. What were they thinking when they bought into the Bay of Pigs fiasco? How dumb was the Egypt-Suez war? How massively stupid was the entire war in Vietnam? Even at that, the challenge with this misbegotten adventure is that we simply cannot let it continue.

It is not a matter of whether we will lose or we are losing. We have lost. Gen. John P. Abizaid, until recently the senior commander in the Middle East, insists that the answer to our problems there is not military. "You have to internationalize the problem. You have to attack it diplomatically, geo-strategically," he said.

His assessment is supported by Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the senior American commander in Iraq, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who only recommend releasing forces with a clear definition of the goals for the additional troops.

Bush's call for a "surge" or "escalation" also goes against the Iraq Study Group. Talk is that the White House has planned to do anything but what the group suggested after months of investigation and proposals based on much broader strategic implications.

About the only politician out there besides Bush actively calling for a surge is Sen. John McCain. In a recent opinion piece, he wrote: "The presence of additional coalition forces would allow the Iraqi government to do what it cannot accomplish today on its own--impose its rule throughout the country. ...By surging troops and bringing security to Baghdad and other areas, we will give the Iraqis the best possible chance to succeed." But with all due respect to the senator from Arizona, that ship has long since sailed.

A surge is not acceptable to the people in this country--we have voted overwhelmingly against this war in polls (about 80 percent of the public is against escalation, and a recent Military Times poll shows only 38 percent of active military want more troops sent) and at the polls. We know this is wrong. The people understand, the people have the right to make this decision, and the people have the obligation to make sure our will is implemented.

Congress must work for the people in the resolution of this fiasco. Ted Kennedy's proposal to control the money and tighten oversight is a welcome first step. And if Republicans want to continue to rubber-stamp this administration’s idiotic "plans" and go against the will of the people, they should be thrown out as soon as possible, to join their recent colleagues.

Anyone who wants to talk knowledgably about our Iraq misadventure should pick up Rajiv Chandrasekaran's "Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone." It's like reading a horror novel. You just want to put your face down and moan: How could we have let this happen? How could we have been so stupid?

As The Washington Post's review notes, Chandrasekaran's book "methodically documents the baffling ineptitude that dominated U.S. attempts to influence Iraq's fiendish politics, rebuild the electrical grid, privatize the economy, run the oil industry, recruit expert staff or instill a modicum of normalcy to the lives of Iraqis."

We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. Make our troops know we're for them and trying to get them out of there. Hit the streets to protest Bush's proposed surge. If you can, go to the peace march in Washington on Jan. 27. We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, "Stop it, now!"

To find out more about Molly Ivins and see works by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Copyright 2007 Creators Syndicate Inc.

The people say NO 

The day after President Bush announced his plan to send more than 21,000 additional American troops to fight in Iraq, there were thousands of protest demonstrations and vigils in cities, towns and rural areas across the United States. Here in the Detroit area, there were at least two such demonstrations.

The one I attended was coordinated by local members of and was called the Emergency Rally to Stop the Escalation in Iraq. It started at 5:30 p.m. Thursday on the corner of a busy intersection in Royal Oak, Michigan, a city a couple miles north of Detroit's city limits. For over an hour on this chilly evening, 200 persons of all ages lined the sidewalk holding up signs so the rush hour commuters could see us, and honk if they agreed. We got LOTS of honks!

But will it matter to our imperial president? Does the will of the people EVER matter to such people? I leave this question unanswered...

I took photos at the demo that I have posted on The gallery is called "The people say NO", and you can go there by clicking on the following link:

Once you get there, probably the best way to view the photos is to click on the word "slideshow" at the top right corner of your screen.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


my dirt-splattered scooter speaks her mind

When will we wake from this nightmare? 

I'm always trying to figure people out. Guess that's why I went into social work. Case in point: George W. Bush.

Why is he going against the will of the American people as clearly expressed in the midterm elections, the generals on the ground, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, most members of his own Republican party, respected conservative analysts who are usually on his side, and the entire international community? Only his partner-in-crime Tony Blair, stands with him.

What is going through his mind right now?

My husband-the-psychiatrist maintains it's all about trying to come out on top in the long run. He points out that if Bush were to start withdrawing troops from Iraq while everything is in such a mess, he'd be seen as a loser, a failure, a pariah. Whereas if he can just hang on until his term ends in January 2009, the mess he leaves behind will be someone else's problem. The next president will be the one left holding the bag, and Bush's part in it will be forgotten.

At least that's what he hopes.

Of course anyone with any sense knows that Bush's war in Iraq, the lies he told to justify it in the first place, his mishandling of every aspect of the war and the occupation since March 2003, the total destruction of an ancient civilization, the civil war that is getting worse every minute, the deaths of what is likely to number in the millions before it's done, the unimaginable financial debt this war is creating for future generations of Americans, the universal loss of respect for America among the international community (with the exception of Israel), the destabilization of the entire region and possibly the world...all this will be President Bush's "legacy."

And still he keeps bulling forward on his own, with just his small cadre of like-minded advisors and workers beside him, while the nation and the world shakes its collective head in disbelief and horror.

I can't even imagine where it all will end. But what we are seeing is the nightmare scenario our nation's forefathers did their level best to protect us against: a president gone mad.

So we millions will do today across the United States and the world. We write blogs, letters to the editor--as I did last night--articles, essays, songs, poems, books. We analyze, scream, cry, rant, grieve, get arrested, hold protest rallies/vigils/marches, get depressed. Or go numb, go shopping, watch TV, pop pills, drink, shoot drugs, beat our spouses, yell at our kids, work three jobs to make ends meet.

And Mr. Bush doesn't see or care about any of us. He is on a mission from his God--such a godforsaken deity!--and will do whatever he sees fit. Remember? "I'm the decider," he said. The sad part is that this man's decisions affect every single person on the planet.

When will we wake from this nightmare?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


beach glass

checking in 

Well, dear readers, I'm sure it comes as no surprise when I say that I am totally absorbed/obsessed with photography these days. I go to bed thinking about it, dream about it all night, and wake up ready to tackle yet another new photo project each day. I've been using the photo-a-day to try new things and am having a wonderful time. If you want to see them in better resolution/color, I advise your going to

Once there, you'll find LOTS to look at. And not just my stuff either. Click on the word "gallery" in blue up in the lefthand corner of the window. Once there you'll see the most recent uploads. Most all of them are worth checking out, but a surefire winner is the "popular galleries" link in blue at the top. These are galleries that have received the most votes. Speaking of that, I had a big surprise last night when I explored the popular gallery archives and found that four of my galleries had appeared there several weeks ago! I didn't even know it until now.

Other than that, I still swim laps, exercise at the gym, help out at school, go for nice long scoots, have the occasional lunch with Eddie, go hear live jazz every so often, and get together with friends. I'm not particularly politically active right now, but you can't do everything. My head and heart are following my creative passion and that feels good. Very good.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


my favorite childhood toys, ca. 1940s

Monday, January 08, 2007


Grade 5 starts self portraits.

Sunday, January 07, 2007


Scarves on the diagonal

Saturday, January 06, 2007


Rembrandt reads the paper.

Friday, January 05, 2007


My favorite jewels

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Sr. Elizabeth LaForest, a shero for our times 

This how I want to remember Sr. Elizabeth LaForest. Doing what she did best: putting her life on the line for peace and justice. Let me quote from my blog entry of Monday, October 7, 2002:

Later on, when the Bush Adminstration and the press and media try to make us believe that the American people are behind the war on Iraq, I want to remember today so I can say with conviction, "No way!" This afternoon I was part of the largest, most vocal, most energetic demonstration I've ever seen here in Detroit. Folks said it reminded them of the old anti-Vietnam War days in the '60s. I'd guess we had 1000 people out on the streets, most with their own homemade signs...

For many people it was their first time out on the streets protesting war...

Once we had marched the five blocks down Michigan Avenue to the Federal Building, we circled in front of the plaza in silence. Whether walking or riding, the energy stayed high. Soon there was a rally with speakers like Detroit Representative John Conyers, who is always a strong anti-war voice in Congress, Maryann Mahaffey, our peace-and-justice-supporting President of the Detroit City Council, and John Zettner who was one of The Fourteen who intended to perform civil disobedience.

What they did was to have a "Die In" where the participants lay down in front of the doors to the Federal Building. And although there were some police and federal marshals in attendance, no arrests were made. One of my greatest heroines, Sr. Elizabeth LaForest--who at 87 has been arrested more times than I can count, even spending significant stretches in jail--told me later that she was most disappointed. As she said, "I now have the time to do it!" I later asked one of our peace marshals to take a picture of Sr. Elizabeth and me, and then I got a picture of a young man healing her with his didgeridoo.

That's Sr. Elizabeth for you! A true warrior for peace.

The first time I met her was the morning in the spring of 1992 that she and Luella Bassett were to begin serving a two-month sentence in the Macomb County Jail. These women had been part of an anti-nuclear action at a local test site, and, because it was not their first such offense, they were given jail time. Luella was in her 60s and Sr. Elizabeth in her 70s.

That morning a number of us peace activists met Luella and Sr. Elizabeth for breakfast at a diner near the jail. During that send-off breakfast, I suggested that we meet in front of the jail every Monday at noon for a prayer service. We never missed a Monday. Both Sr. Elizabeth and Luella told us afterwards how much our faithfulness meant to them. They said they couldn't hear us but could see us through a narrow slit of a window in the hall.

On May 31 of 2006, I took this picture of the former cellmates at Sr. Elizabeth's 91st birthday party at the McCauley Retirement Center where she'd lived the past few years. Even there she was active with her work for peace. Sr. Elizabeth had a bulletin board in the hall where she posted articles and photos having to do with local, national and international issues she felt her religious Sisters of Mercy needed to know about. Even when it became hard for her to use scissors, she'd instruct one of the younger sisters in cutting out and posting the articles and photos she chose.

I understand Sr. Elizabeth's health had been failing significantly of late. Instead of having her own room, she was now living in the infirmary. Apparently her breathing became labored on Tuesday. She died that night in the hospital. They say it was a gentle death.

A gentle death for a woman of fierce commitment to peace and unyielding hunger for justice. May we who follow look to her for strength and fortitude in the struggle. Sr. Elizabeth never gave up and neither should we!


My art studio patiently waits.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

photo-a-day plus two 

Even an old rocker deserves a bit of whimsy.


The rocking chair photo is the one I chose to put up in my photo-a-day gallery on, but here are two more photos that I took today. The tree is right outside the window I look out while sitting at my laptop. Lucky me!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Tangible memories of Lake Huron

Monday, January 01, 2007

Riverbend corrects the record 

Please go to Riverbend's most recent blog entry to read her reaction to the lynching of Saddam Hussein on Eid al-Adh, and to read what he REALLY said as his last words. The Western press has it all usual.


A close-up of my bathroom altar

new beginnings 

I need to believe that this new year will bring new ways of being for every person in our world.

I need to hope that we are beginning to learn that war is not the answer and that dialogue is the only way to bring about deep and lasting change.

I refuse to give into despair although it pulls at me from every headline.

This is a day of new beginnings and I celebrate its power to restore humanity to its wisest, most compassionate Self.

We are the ones we've been waiting for, and NOW is to time for us to shine the light of peace into every dark, festering corner of our planet.

Everything is possible; nothing is outside of the grasp of our most magnificent dreams and yearnings.

May we believe in the power of the phoenix of peace to rise out of the ashes of war.

And may our children and grandchildren benefit from our choices, personally and globally.

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