Memorial Day – A Day To Remember – Let’s Make It A Day To Make Change

A day to remember those who are gone…

Those who lost their lives in service of our country…

Those defending our freedom and the constitution…

Those sent on dubious missions who served in good faith…

Those whose lives were stolen by a for profit, corporate war machine…

If only we would stop sending so many to their deaths…

If only war was not for profit…

If only it was a last resort…

If only life was honored as sacred…

 

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Fatherless Day

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A couple years ago, I sincerely wished my friends who are fathers or who have/had fathers a “Happy Father’s Day”.

When I did the same last year, a friend jokingly commented on my Facebook post asking if those who were “immaculately conceived” need not apply.

I simply explained that some of us never knew our fathers; we were never given the opportunity so the observance does not in fact, apply to us.

I don’t want to put a damper on the celebration or happiness of others, so I generally keep my experiences/feelings/pain surrounding this particular holiday (as well as mother’s day) to myself.

Then other people started sharing their stories of divorce and being kept from their fathers.

Still more started sharing their stories about having their children kept from them.

It was then that I was reminded that while I don’t want to ruin the day for others, there are many others who need a place to vent and share there feelings.

In addition to not having, been kept from or losing a father, some were abused by fathers or step-fathers. Yeah, I got the double bonus in the “father” department; one I never knew and one who abused me.

People who were abused as children feel a wealth of pain and anger, and even guilt for being estranged from/not loving their father.

This is a difficult and painful day for so many people; many of whom are spending their first Father’s Day without their fathers or the fathers of their children.

Yes, they may have happy memories, but to them, this day is a painful reminder of their loss.

I have no words that will comfort those who are feeling pain and loss today. I have no words at all other than.

“You are not alone”.

I do however have words for women who are keeping children from their fathers. Actually, they are words for anyone keeping a child from a parent.

Unless the child is in danger/being abused, there is no excuse to keep a child from their father just because you think he’s an a$$hole.

My mother left my father when I was barely three years old.

I have no memory of him at all.

I never even saw a photograph of him.

When I would ask my mother what he was like, she snapped at me, “You don’t want to know what he was like, he was a terrible person, all he cared about was money. He is incapable of loving anyone, he didn’t love or want you or me.”

We moved a lot and she always made sure that we had an unlisted phone number and could not be tracked down.

I finally found his family when I was an adult; I found them too late, he had died two years prior.

I remember curling up in a ball in my kitchen and crying because I was too late. Yeah, I felt guilty for not trying hard enough.

I did finally meet his/my family. The letter I received back was from my step-mother, who had me come visit her.

She gave me some things of my fathers and told me that he did want me and did try to find me. My name was listed in his funeral program. I visited my aunts and met my grandfather before he died. They gave me a few photographs, something I had missed and craved my entire life.

Part of me was comforted by that, and part was very VERY angry for having been lied to my entire life.

I have had to do a lot of forgiving of my mother in regards to this, and other situations. It is a challenging and ongoing process. After she died, as I was going through her things, I discovered the true, terrible depth of her lies. Trust me folks, if you keep a terrible secret, it will be found found out eventually.

I share my story, not to bring anyone down or to ruin the holiday for those with reason to celebrate.

I share my story in hopes that some parent out there will make a different, better choice than to keep a child from their parent.

For those of you who are keeping your children from their other parent (for reasons other than the child would be in real danger) I have these words.

Taking away a parent, even photographs and stories, takes away half of a child’s identity.

Telling that child that one of their parents in a terrible person, teaches them that they are also a terrible person because it’s half of who they are.

Telling a child that one of their parents doesn’t want or love them teaches them that there is something wrong with them and that they are not worthy of love.

Lying to a child, teaches them that they can not trust anyone.

Please don’t do that to your child. They deserve better.

the above photo is of my grandfather and grandmother Lawrence, my father (the one who looks like trouble) and his five sisters/my five aunts

~L


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Black Friday, A Sad Day Indeed

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An elderly woman is knocked to the ground and trampled as a crowd races past; one person turns to help her and is swept away in the mob, only to be injured himself. Two other men begin to beat and kick each other; soon the violence escalates into what has been described as a “small riot” as the pain and suffering of the injured seems fade away into a surreal sea of bodies.

Are people fleeing an attack? Is this a natural disaster? Are people starving and fighting for survival for themselves and their families? What crisis could possibly make human beings behave this way towards each other?

Sadly, the answer is greed.

This disgusting display did not happen in a third world country or a disaster zone. It happened in the affluent community of South Hill Washington where all people could think of was their own need for material things at the expense of the health and safety of others and even their own dignity.

Sadly, this scenario played out over and over again all across this “great’ country of ours, as people left their homes and families in the cold, dark wee hours of the morning in order to beat others to holiday sales and deals, resorting to violence when they deemed it necessary.

The Tacoma News Tribune decided to print an editorial about how stores should do a better job of stocking their shelves in order to prevent this from occurring.

Are the stores taking advantage of people’s most base instincts? Yes. Do they contribute to the problem because all they care about is sucking people in to spend money on other things? Yes.

But the fault lies with society and the never ending need that many feel to drive a bigger SUV, have a bigger TV screen and to show the neighbors how successful they are all the while driving themselves deeper into credit card debt. Yeah, it’s great for the ten minutes while the presents are ripped open, and people get “everything that they wanted”, only to be let down later, when the weeks (Oh wait, MONTHS, this started before Halloween this year) of anticipation and build up fade away with nothing of substance or resembling the intended holiday (s) left.

What ever happened to gathering with family and friends to share the joy of whatever holiday or tradition one celebrates and actually thinking about what the holiday means? Does greed and a mob mentality celebrate any of the miracles of the season? Does it celebrate the lamps that burned for eight days which is celebrated at Hanukkah or the return of the light at Solstice? Can anyone say that this has anything to do with the birth of one tradition’s Messiah at Christmas or the reclaiming of another groups heritage at Kwanzaa? No. This new “tradition” is as far from the sacredness of any of these celebrations as anything could possibly be.

No amount of product availability, rain checks or security is going to change the underlying problem of greed and complete disregard for anything other than instant gratification.

Even worse, the greed of the big box retailers is getting even worse, as they are not forcing employees to work on Thanksgiving day (the most popular holiday in our country to spend with friends/family/loved ones) by not only moving their sales up to midnight buy by now, opening their stores on Thanksgiving day and threatening any employee that refuses to work with termination.

In addition to obvious greed and mob mentality, some single mothers have to tell their children that they can’t be home to celebrate thanksgiving with them because if they want to keep a roof over their heads, they have to go to work. People may miss out on the last Thanksgiving in which their parents or grandparents will be alive.

I find this disregard for the families of underpaid, over stressed employees even more disgusting than the mob mentality its self.

I am happy to say that rather than engaging in this disgusting display, I will again, share a day with many friends, (who will be receiving home made gifts), decorating a tree with hand cut snowflakes each visitor made with love and wrote wonderful messages on, sharing food, hospitality and spending another day being thankful for what we do have. Many of us also spend this day gathering clothing, blankets and food for those who have less. Yes, it is possible to be thankful more than one day a year and to give back to our community.

Don’t get me wrong, although I do make almost all of the gifts I give, I will purchase a small gift or two for those closest to me, something that will make them smile and that will decorate their home, help them enjoy one of their favorite hobbies, or keep them warm in the winter. They will be modest, purchased from retailers who care for their employees and contribute to their communities, and I will most certainly not behave like an animal in order to get them. I will also not give my business to a retailer who is forcing their employees to miss time with their families.

I pity those who are part of the Black Friday mob. They don’t realize it, but they are the ones missing out.

~L

One Perfect Christmas Moment

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Sometimes when we least expect it, something amazing and profound hits us out of the blue, more often than not, it comes from a source that we least expect.

I am one of “those people” who prefers to use the words “Happy Holidays” to greet people during the winter holiday season in order to respect and acknowledge the fact that the season is shared by many faiths and traditions. It’s not a “war on Christmas”, it’s merely being inclusive and respectful.

I am not a Christian, but I do celebrate Christmas as a holiday of shared seasonal traditions. I celebrate it as a season of light, hope and ideally, peace on earth. To me, rebirth and renewal is a universal concept.

On Christmas morning, I walked to my neighborhood corner market to pick up something for a celebration that I was going to attend later in the day.  The weather was beautiful, the air was crisp and clean, and I was still enjoying fond memories of a celebration with good friends the night before.

As I looked out on to the deep blue waters of Commencement Bay, I also contemplated all the stress and depression that many people feel at this time of year, and how truly sad that is. I thought of all the pressure that our society puts on people to be happy and have the “perfect” holiday, and how many end up disappointed and frustrated. I thought of those who have lost loved ones, and for whom this time of year brings only painful memories of loss.; and as I watched a homeless man digging in the trash, I thought sadly of those who don’t even have a home and a hot meal. It seemed so wrong to me that a season that is supposed to be about happiness and joy brings stress, depression and sadness to so many. I was feeling pretty darn jaded.

I was distracted from my train of thought when I stopped to chat with a friend from work at the little coffee shop on the corner, and was then greeted by familiar faces and smiles at our little neighborhood market. I made my purchases and began my walk back home, my mind drifting back to the sadness I was thinking about earlier..

And then, I heard it on the air.

At first it was faint and distant; then it began go gain strength and seemed to be coming from all around me.

Music, bells, magic.

I live in an old, historic neighborhood where most of the buildings are at least 100 years old. It contains several beautiful old churches.

Resounding across the waters of Commencement Bay, the castle that is now Stadium High School and the old brick buildings filled with history, was “Gloria, In Excelious Deo…” coming from real bells in an old church (I don’t know which one) that has an organ controlling the bells. Next I heard, “Joy to the World” and was reminded that this indeed is a season of hope for many traditions.

I stopped walking and just stood there to listen, appreciate the world around me and experience something that was very powerful. It was then that I noticed other people stopped on the streets, also mesmerized by the magical sounds. They came out of their businesses and homes to sit on the stoops and listen, some even pulled their cars to the side of the road and turned off their engines.  Everyone, regardless of their religious upbringing, traditions or even current life circumstances was smiling in shared joy for the beauty in the air surrounding us. Most of us did not know nor had even seen each other before that moment; yet we felt an undeniable connection of the spirit.

For one brief moment, the world stood still, filled with peace, love and joy.

It doesn’t matter which church, religion, tradition or building that joyful sound came from. There are certain messages in this world that are universal.

If only we could all share more moments like the one I experienced Christmas morning in a tiny Tacoma neighborhood.

The world would be a better place.

~L



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St Patrick’s Day or Irish Day?

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Today is the day in which everyone claims to be “Irish” for a day. (Oh, did you know that St Patrick is believed to have been of Welsh descent?)

It’s a day where many of the self proclaimed Irish go out and drink too much and often behave like idiots. Much like New Year’s Eve, St Patrick’s Day is often considered “amateur night” due to the sheer volume of drunken idiots out getting their party on.

Like New Years Eve, it’s certainly not a night I’d be out on the road risking my life driving with the idiots, especially not on a night when I have things to do the next day.

And then there’s the big debate (OK, it’s a big debate in some circles) as to if the alleged “snakes” that St Patrick supposedly drove out of Ireland really refers to the serpent symbol favored by the druids as he helped (forcibly) covert the country to Christianity.

I know many good pagan folk that boycott the holiday because face it, driving the earth centered religion out of the land isn’t a very nice thing to do so why “celebrate” it? (Hmmm, sounds a bit like US Thanksgiving doesn’t it?)

I know many peace loving people of Irish descent who wear red to protest the blood shed by religious war in Ireland and do not participate in the activities.

I know other people who wear Orange on the day in support of Irish Protestants.

It’s not only a holiday in which people often over indulge, but it is one that has some serious social, political and religious issues attached to it.

I’m becoming a fan of the term “Irish Day” rather than “St Patrick’s Day”. Although I am of Irish descent (and Scots and Welsh among others) I am not Catholic (nor Christian) and the only “saint” I have any relationship with is Brigid who was a Goddess long before she was canonized, and her flame is still tended in Kildare Ireland. (Interestingly enough, by nuns)

I wear green, not to choose a “side” but because I don’t necessarily want to be pinched. (oh, and I’ve been told it looks good with my hair color) and because, hey why not appreciate it for the Americanized celebration it is.

I often run in the Tacoma and (bigger and crazier) Seattle St Paddy’s Day races, which are about community and tradition (and good healthy fun/earning one’s beer) and attend Celtic festivals in Seattle and Tacoma.

I’m going to celebrate “Irish Day” and let everyone else celebrate (or not) as they see fit. (much like I celebrate US Thanksgiving as a day to give thanks and share with friends rather than pretend that atrocities were not committed against the first nations people)

I enjoy Celtic music and a Guinness as much as anyone. Two years ago, I walked to my neighborhood pub to listened to some music, drank a Guinness (no sitting, it was standing room only), realized that it was too loud/noisy/crowded to talk to anyone or get another beer without waiting for an hour, went home early (did I mention that 5:00 AM wakeup call?) and and watched “The Secret of Roan Inish”

For the last two years, I decided to forgo the crowds and am instead hosting a small gathering of local friends & neighbors to drink Draught Guinness (the fun kind in the can with the C02 cartridge that looks so pretty in the glass) eat home cooked pulled pork (way tastier and healthier than corned beef) some live music and perhaps we will also watch “The Secret of Roan Inish”, a truly charming Irish tale.

I hope everyone enjoys this day and that they do so responsibly; please don’t drink and drive and risk your life or the life of some innocent person on the road.

~L

Mood: Amused



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Tacoma Christmas Carols

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I’m sure this has been done (ad nauesum), but I couldn’t resist a little holiday fun.

Here are some Tacoma Christmas Carol titles.

“Wet Christmas”

“Oh 253 Trees”

“All I Want For Christmas Is Free Parking”

“Do You Smell What I Smell”

“Have Yourself a Gritty Little Christmas”

“I Saw Three (Container) Ships”

“Grandma Got Run Over By The Light Rail”

“Here We Come a HarmonBrewing”

“Go Tell It On The Hilltop”

“Hark The Tacoma Revels Sing”

“Oh Little Zoo at Pt Defiance”

“God Rest Ye Merry Taco Men(s)”

“It Came Upon the Sounder Train”

Tacoma Elf Storage

~L

Mood: Sleep Deprived and Easily Amused



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One Perfect Christmas Moment

“One Perfect Christmas Moment”

by L. Lisa Lawrence

(author holds copyright on all material.  Permission granted to link to original pages, please use contact link on webpage for any requests for reprinting or publishing)

Sometimes when we least expect it, something amazing and, profound hits us out of the blue, more often than not, it comes from a source that we least expect.
I am one of “those people” who prefers to use the words “Happy Holidays” to greet people during the winter holiday season in order to respect and acknowledge the fact that the season is shared by many faiths and traditions. It’s not a “war on Christmas”, it’s merely being inclusive and respectful.

I am not a Christian, but I do celebrate Christmas as a holiday of shared seasonal traditions. I celebrate it as a season of light, hope and ideally, peace on earth. To me, rebirth and renewal is a universal concept.

On Christmas morning, I walked to my neighborhood corner market to pick up something for a celebration that I was going to attend later in the day.  The weather was beautiful, the air was crisp and clean, and I was still enjoying fond memories of a celebration with good friends the night before.

As I looked out on to the deep blue waters of Commencement Bay, I also contemplated all the stress and depression that many people feel at this time of year, and how truly sad that is. I thought of all the pressure that our society puts on people to be happy and have the “perfect” holiday, and how many end up disappointed and frustrated. I thought of those who have lost loved ones, and for whom this time of year brings only painful memories of loss.; and as I watched a homeless man digging in the trash, I thought sadly of those who don’t even have a home and a hot meal. It seemed so wrong to me that a season that is supposed to be about happiness and joy brings stress, depression and sadness to so many. I was feeling pretty darn jaded.

I was distracted from my train of thought when I stopped to chat with a friend from work at the little coffee shop on the corner, and was then greeted by familiar faces and smiles at our little neighborhood market. I made my purchases and began my walk back home, my mind drifting back to the sadness I was thinking about earlier..

And then, I heard it on the air.

At first it was faint and distant; then it began go gain strength and seemed to be coming from all around me.

Music, bells, magic.

I live in an old, historic neighborhood where most of the buildings are at least 100 years old. It contains several beautiful old churches.

Resounding across the waters of Commencement Bay, the castle that is now Stadium High School and the old brick buildings filled with history, was “Gloria, In Excelious Deo…” coming from real bells in an old church (I don’t know which one) that has an organ controlling the bells. Next I heard, “Joy to the World” and was reminded that this indeed is a season of hope for many traditions.

I stopped walking and just stood there to listen, appreciate the world around me and experience something that was very powerful. It was then that I noticed other people stopped on the streets, also mesmerized by the magical sounds. They came out of their businesses and homes to sit on the stoops and listen, some even pulled their cards to the side of the road and turned off their engines.  Everyone, regardless of their religious upbringing, traditions or even current life circumstances was smiling in shared joy for the beauty in the air surrounding us. Most of us did not know nor had even seen each other before that moment; yet we felt an undeniable connection of the spirit.

For one brief moment, the world stood still, filled with peace, love and joy.

It doesn’t matter which church, religion, tradition or building that joyful sound came from. There are certain messages in this world that are universal.

If only we could all share more moments like the one I experienced Christmas morning in a tiny Tacoma neighborhood.

The world would be a better place.

(author holds copyright on all material.  Permission granted to link to original pages, please use contact link on webpage for any requests for reprinting or publishing)
Click here to return to Lisa’s Writings, Rants and Essays
Click here to return to the Lisa’s  home page



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Hot Snowflake Action

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I have been very remiss in posting snowflake photos this year.

I was running an hour behind on the Day After Thanksgiving feast and burned the heck out of myself cooking, so I never got around to having people cut snowflakes.

But YES, I always accept snowflakes from my friends. They go up in the windows after the tree is recycled at the end of the holidays.

I LOVE being able to get at and use my ornaments again, but I do love it when my friends cut snowflakes.

My first one was made by Robert who cut his out of foil and glued it to a paper backing so that it would hold up.

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I got two paper snowflakes in the mail thus far.

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and my now annual “michigan never melt snowflake” from Randy (Puck)

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and some beautiful ones sent by other friends…

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Here is the door thus far…

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Gotta run for now, the girls are coming over to stitch and bitch

~L



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Whatever you call it, don’t be an asshat

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Once again, a season of light, hope and ideally peace; the time of the winter solstice when many traditions celebrate rebirth and light has sadly turned into a battleground.

Well funded political groups (who are tax exempt because they are “churches”) demanding that retailers (don’t even get me started on the mixing of religion and retail) say “Merry Christmas” and that “Jesus is THE reason for the season” despite the fact that this time of year is sacred to many religions and traditions while atheist groups decry and dispute religion at all, sometimes going so far as to post some seriously obnoxious billboards and displays.

As one who says “Happy Holidays” in order to include people who celebrate all traditions at this time of year, and who is adamantly against any “state sponsored” or “official” religion; I find this completely over the top.

Promoting tolerance and diversity is one thing (one thing I adamantly support), but denouncing and insulting religion, any religion, is another thing entirely.

Yes, there are those who would yell from the tallest rooftop that “Jesus is the Reason for the Season”. (Yes, December 25th is “Christmas” and I’m happy to respect, honor and celebrate that, but it’s not the reason for the entire season)

I hate to break it to you narrow minded zealots, the the tilt of the earth on its axis is the reason for the season.

Sorry folks, the celebration of the birth of Jesus was moved to the time of Winter Solstice in order to assimilate the ongoing pagan tradition of honoring the rebirth of the God to the Goddess at the time of Winter Solstice.

There’s nothing wrong with that.

Just as there is nothing wrong with the celebration of the story of the Maccabees and the miracle of the lamp oil that burned for 8 days in the Jewish tradition sharing this time of year.

Just as there is nothing wrong with the celebration of tradition, honor and heritage at Kwanza also sharing this time of year.

My point is; that there is a celestial event (that my friends is science and can not be denied) that occurs on or around the 21 day mark in December, the Winter Solstice.

The solstices its self, is a cause for celebration. It is the return of the light, the promise of spring. It is the world ready to be reborn again.

Sunrise at Stonehenge (III) Colour

The Winter Solstice is when many world traditions choose to celebrate a common theme.

Rebirth, miracles, light, love, peace, giving, sharing, etc…

So why in the heck must it always degrade into a battle that casts a dark nasty pallor on the season for all of us?

When I attended public school in the 60s and 70s, we celebrated Christmas, Hanukah, and Solstice; and learned about many other world traditions.

We learned that it was a shared season.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people could put away the petty bickering and instead, learned to celebrate a season of rebirth, light and love?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful, if just for a few weeks, people could learn from and appreciate what we have in common rather than dwelling on and fearing the differences?

It could happen…

We could all do our own little part to make it happen.

Imagine what a difference, such a simple concept could make in this world.

~L

Mood: Wondering WTF is wrong with people?



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First Thanksgiving on the Hilltop (or Too Pooped to Post)

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It was a FABULOUS “Day After Thanksgiving Feast/Holiday Kickoff-Open House/Anti Black Friday Protest” last night with about 20 friends.

It is so wonderful to be able to do it in my own home again, instead of that crappy little apartment.

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I’ll post more later, but in the mean time, here is a slide show of the photos, including the feast, decorations and some spinning practice on the new wheel. (because although Francine wanted to make me wait and learn to drop spindle first, she couldn’t resist the siren song of the wheel)

I hope everyone else had a wonderful holiday as well.

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The kitchen of course, is a disaster, but I’m happy and blessed to have friends to dirty it up for.

~L

Mood: Tired



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