Boy that is an easy question to answer. It is spelled  A M E R I C A!!!  The last couple of days I have watched some interesting shows.  An aside here.  I usually watch only sappy Christmas movies at this time of year.  The formula is girl meets boy they quarrel and leave and there is an intervening wonderfulness and they get back together.  Or it is a family who are fine meet disaster and overcome it with help from their town or otherwise.  Heartfelt sappy stories of Americana and happiness.

Sunday night we watched Neil Cavuto’s previously DVR ‘d show, “Fly Me To The Moon”, about the astronauts and the space program.  It took us from the beginnings to the end of the race to the moon including the sacrifices along the way and the joys of steps on the moon.  It was inspirational and full of American determination and resilience.

Yesterday I watched another DVR’d show as Rachel Ray, ala Oprah, gave away thousands of dollars of gift cards and products to 133 people that were struck by Sandy.  She showed the stories of heroism of the storm and what people were doing to regroup now.  As I watched I shared the joy as these people were given lots of help to get them back on their feet.  She even gave everyone a trip to get away from the stress for a few days.  There were tears everywhere in her audience and especially on my couch!

It led me to think back to 9/11 and the aftermath.  I thought of all the fires, hurricanes and other recent weather related disasters.  I thought of the shootings on a college campus in Virginia and elsewhere.  Gabby Giffords shot outside of a supermarket in Arizona.  In a Colorado movie theater.  In a Wisconsin Mosque.  I thought of the Mall in Oregon.  Of course the school in Newtown, Connecticut.   I came to the realization that no one place is safe any longer in this country.  There is no way we can ever do enough to be safe every single day of our lives.

Never will the deaths be forgotten.  America does not let that happen.  There will be memorials like the Vietnam Wall, Oklahoma City or Ground Zero.  Quiet peaceful places to leave our sorrow when it arises.

Innocence is gone for most now.  As I was in this dark place in my thoughts the question came to my mind.  How do you spell resilience?  And I smiled.  I know that America will  once again survive this tragedy.  In the end the spirit that is the USA will come through this.  There is no ‘getting over’ anything like this.  America will plow through it as only this nation can with determination and caring and love for our neighbors.  You watch this and make some notes.  You will see us all doing more than ever before.  Kindness will abound.

It is like the Grinch.  For awhile our hearts will be a little smaller and less trusting.  We may be a little more wary.  We may lock our doors where we didn’t.  We may now start locking cars in our own driveways.  We may hold our children’s hands a little longer as we walk to school.  We may be a little bit more quiet.  Then like the Grinch’s heart we will let go and our tears will be wiped away.  We will smile a little more often.  We will trust once again.

One morning we will be walking our child to school and they will run ahead and there will be no worry.  Instead we will laugh and let go.  Another day we will run out of the house to do our errands and forget to lock the door and that too will be okay.  Our hearts will be refilled with the air of happiness as the darkness of these days ebbs away.

Death and destruction around Thanksgiving and Christmas are especially hard to handle.  I saw the generosity at Thanksgiving after Sandy and know that will come again as well.  Nothing can replace the loss of home or child.  No one gets ‘over’ that.  America can get through it.  America will get through it.

Resilience is spelled A M E R I C A!  We have been to the moon and back and nothing is impossible in the good old USA!





The title of this entry is from the Bible.  It is in Isaiah 48:17-19.  It was part of my scripture reading on Friday the 14th.  This was the day the shooting happened in Newtown, CT.  Is it something we should be paying closer attention to as we review this horrid day?

Since the shooting I have heard from dear friends that their family who live in that town were okay.  I knew their family was in Connecticut and never made a connection.  I did quickly look up where our niece in Connecticut lived referencing Newtown.   She was over 20 miles away so I assumed her children went to a different school.  Sad when you think that they may know people who were directly effected by this tragedy.  Heavens as I told my husband we had stopped for lunch at a Subway in Sandy Hook last year.  It was a quaint little village.  No man is an island is a recurrent theme.

When a tragedy like this occurs we look back.  We have been hit by many tragedies in the last 20 years.  The bombing in Oklahoma City took 168.  In the attack on 9/11 there were @ 3000 deaths.  We can go down a list from Columbine in 1999 with 13 souls lost, Red Lake 7 souls, Virginia Tech 32 souls, Northern Illinois 5 souls, Oikos University 7 souls, Aurora CO with 12 souls, January 2011 Gabby Gifford was shot with 6 souls, the two souls at the Oregon Mall and on Friday there were 26 more souls.  This does not include the injured or the people effected emotionally by these incidents.  When is enough going to be enough?

That is just this country.  There were 87 killed at a summer Camp in Norway in 2011.  Babies were stabbed in a daycare in Belgium.  Is anyone aware that on the same day Friday the 14th 22 people were harmed in a violent stabbing attack in China.  It seems in the past few years school stabbings are up in China and more authorities are now going into their schools.

In math we were told to take a problem and bring it down to a common denominator.  Is there one in all of this violence?  Who can understand the mind of madmen who carry out such evil?  I certainly cannot.  To bring this down to a simple common thought might I suggest, this being Sunday, that faith is lacking?

Do not the majority of faiths have as their guiding principles to love our neighbors and live in peace with all of those around them?  I quickly looked through faiths from Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, to the Jews and Deism including as many as I could.  All call for love and/or respect for others.  All speak to good over evil.  If we believe in these values how can we be killing our brothers?  Could it be that we have strayed far from the basic tenets of our faiths?   Have we forgotten that if we have good then there is also bad.  Have we forgotten that every action has a consequence?  If so how do we change/restore? More questions.

I will put forth ever so cautiously that if we as a society do not find a way to change our behavior, we will allow EVIL to rule our world.  Despite Sir Isaac Newton’s scientific theory that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, I put forth that good brings good.  A negative pole cannot adhere to a negative environment.  A negative pole can  only adhere to a positive.  If all the positive in the world would come forth wouldn’t it smother the negative.  If we actively speak and put forth all of the good our faith gives us would we not be a better world?

I leave this morning with two things.  One is the greatest hoax’s in all the world is that Satan has convinced people that he does not exist.  The second is one of my favorite Church Signs sayings.  It is, “You know that love thy neighbor stuff?  I meant it.  Love God”.





This morning I had planned to be someplace else except behind this keyboard.  It had been on my calendar the last two months that I would be in Arlington Cemetery helping the Maine State Society of Washington D.C. place wreaths on the graves of the heroes buried there.  Living less than 2 hours above D.C. if seemed logical to join this group.  Plus one of the officers is a dear friend of ours.

As I have often written about ebb and flow and highs and lows it did not work out as I had hoped.  I changed my plans.  Perhaps I can attend the clean up that will take place on January 26th.

If you are unaware of this project go look it up. Read the story of Morrill Worcester who began the project in 1992.  I am including much of it in this post. Go to the site to see the pictures.  It seemed to me important enough to simply copy it and paste it here.  My words are no better than the author of the site:

The Arlington Story

Morrill Worcester, owner of Worcester Wreath Company of Harrington, Maine, was a 12 year old paper boy for the Bangor Daily News when he won a trip to WashingtonD.C. His first trip to our nation’s capital was one he would never forget, and ArlingtonNationalCemetery made an especially indelible impression on him. This experience followed him throughout his life and successful career in business, reminding him that his good fortune was due, in large part, to the values of this nation and the Veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their Country.

In 1992, Worcester Wreath found themselves with a surplus of wreaths nearing the end of the holiday season. Remembering his boyhood experience at Arlington, Worcester realized he had an opportunity to honor our country’s Veterans. With the help of Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, arrangements were made for the wreaths to be placed at Arlington in one of the older sections of the cemetery, a section which had been receiving fewer visitors with each passing year.

As plans were underway, a number of other individuals and organizations stepped up to help. James Prout, owner of local trucking company Blue Bird Ranch, Inc., generously provided transportation all the way to Virginia. Volunteers from the local American Legion and VFW Posts gathered with members of the community to decorate each wreath with traditional red, hand-tied bows. Members of the MaineState Society of Washington, D.C. helped to organize the wreath-laying, which included a special ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.Arlington National Cemetery

This project went on the same way by Mr. Worcester donating each year until 2005 when a picture of the wreaths on the stones in the snow appeared on the internet.  Requests poured in to Mr. Worcester.  In 2006 Mr. Worcester sent 7 wreaths representing each branch of the military and the POW/MIAs.  The Civil Air Patrol and other civic organizations helped place wreaths in 150 wreath laying ceremonies in 2006.  In 2007 ‘Wreaths Across America’ was begun as  501 3c non-profit organization.  Their mission is simple, ‘Remember. Honor. Teach.’

On December 9th the wreaths left Harrington, Maine bound for Arlington.  The Patriot Guard Riders have been escorting these tracker trailer trucks since 2006 in what has become known as the world’s largest veteran’s parade.  It arrived in Arlington this morning after several educational stops along the way.  In 2010 220,000 wreaths were laid in 545 locations.  In 2008 Congress unanimously voted December 13 to be “Wreaths Across America’ Day.  Go read more about it.  It is quite uplifting.

We need something uplifting today this day after the horror of Newtown, CT.  The news has been totally taken over by this tragedy of the 26 that were killed there.  Having young children slaughtered in a classroom is unheard of in this country.  These children were babies.  As our President said yesterday they had their lives ahead of them.  The most poignant thing I read yesterday was from my young cousin Lindsey, I think she is 11/12yrs. old.   On her facebook page she posted these words:

18 children dead? 18 futures, 18 personalities, 18 possible world changers, 18 children that aren’t making it home today.

My Prayers Go Out To All Of The Families In Newton, Connecticut.

I can add nothing except to suggest we keep all these people in our prayers.

The drums are already beating about gun control.  It is too soon and will not change a thing.  Here are a few facts – please check them out for yourself.

1]  Connecticut has the third strongest gun control laws in the country

2]  WashingtonD.C. has THE strongest gun laws with no guns allowed in the city.  This last year has seen a 40% increase in crime and twice as much of that is gun related.

3]  The bombing in Oklahoma City killed more people in a single action.

What happened yesterday was an act of evil.  I am predicting we will not ever really know or understand why this happened despite all the talk and conjecture.  I have heard that we need gun control.  Lack of faith has been blamed.  Video games and the culture of death we have in this country has come under discussion.  The shooter seemingly has been identified with an illness where he could feel no pain.  He also has been identified as a master gamer.  What he did was evil pure and simple.  No explanation will change this.

I was on a facebook thread yesterday with adult nieces and a nephew who believed very much in gun control.  Despite what I said it was their contention that gun control was the answer.  How else could so many be killed in a single action unless they had guns and gun control would stop it.  When it was pointed out that Oklahoma City bombing did the same the reaction was that  a bombing was rare.  Well so were mass murders with guns years ago.  Bombings though are not rare in London or other places.  I think 9/11 in NYC was evil as well.  An act without guns that killed many.

I was asked the following: ”Until we can agree on the problem it is hard to come up with the solution. Again I ask, you say guns aren’t a factor, so why are they always the weapon used in these horrible occurrence”.  My answer was simply that we did indeed need to talk to find a solution.  I asked did we have to agree or simply come to their way of thinking?  This was not perceived as an answer.  For me it was.  Until there can be meaningful discussion on the fullness of the situation nothing will be accomplished.

In order to understand the tragedy of yesterday I believe we have to examine our whole society.  It is not ONE thing and the one thing in gun control will not change it.  We have to look at how we are living.  Using a tired old axiom, in my day, kids used guns to hunt and there was even that occasional gun during hunting season in the rack of a truck in the school parking lot.  There was also respect for that weapon and the damage it can do.  The question can be asked here if the callousness with which people are killed in movies and in video games has any impact on the kids who watch and play them.  I used to watch the occasional violent movie and can no longer due to the graphic nature of the seemingly gratuitous violence.

We need as a society to look at the lack of faith we are experiencing in our world.  I believe fewer and fewer people go to church or have any form of religious education.  I can hear it now – ‘gun toting Bible thumper’.  No it is the morals that lay in most faiths that are important.  It is the respect for each other, our families and our world that is being lost with lack of any kind of religious education.

Our schools are teaching children that there are few consequences.  When I was a new school parent I remember a class of children where many had to stay back.  This was back in 1976/77.  This just could not happen we were told.  These children would be damaged.  Contrary to what the parents were saying, the school board went ahead and created a transitional grade to help these children achieve what they had not the previous year.  While I did not agree with this at the time or understand it, I can now see it as the beginning of the decline of consequences.  We do not let anyone fail anymore.  If no one ever fails we take away the ability to learn from failure.

Look at some other cultural issues.  The nuclear family is being lost.  Divorce effects 50% of our marriages.  Drugs abuse?  We have now legitimized marijuana in two states and chaos is breaking out as they do not know how to handle this new law.  Alcohol abuse?  Homelessness?  Abortion?  We are a society who has made it legal to kill unborn babies.  Cell phones, computers and gadgets allow us to stay isolated and  keep us further separated from any relationships whatever.  If we have no relationship with family, friends, faith then how can we distinguish right or wrong?   We are more polarized in our politics.  There is the left and right.  I believe Reagan and Clinton worked with their congresses to solve problems and find solutions.  Working with not setting against.

The solution to all of this comes from a large discussion not just the simplicity of more gun control.  As a society we are becoming less and less engaged with each other while at the same time believing through our technology we are closer than before.  No Skype will replace the touch of a hand in yours no matter how we try to tell ourselves that it is just as good.

I believe there will be wreaths brought to this school in Connecticut.  Wreaths to Remember.  These wreaths will also honor these sweet souls.  Hopefully they will allow us to learn the lessons to help change our world for the better.

As we remember all of those who are gone today let us please not let the deaths of the military be for nothing.  They died protecting our freedom.  Let us honor them and the sweet children and the adults in Newtown.  Let us learn that we as a nation need restore the values that made us great.  We need to come together as people of faiths.  Not one faith – the many faiths who share similar values.  We need to become bi-partisan not polarized.

Yesterday many of us, including our President, went to prayer and scripture.  I think that just may be the best starting point.