Bernie Sanders. Reprise.

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I’ve watched Bernie Sanders’ role in the unfolding of the Democratic National Convention this week with both sadness and pride.

I have no patience whatever with the handful of snivelers raging that Bernie Sanders ‘sold out’.  You don’t sell out by giving up your own personal opportunities and agenda for the sake of what you believe is right, and what helps thousands of others at no gain to yourself. Grow up.

Fortunately though, those snivels are few and far between, at least  on my radar.

The majority feeling I’ve seen is better described by a post  I saw this week with an image of Bernie and Jane Sanders that said

This humble man rekindled my compassion and hope, and brought us together. Please be kind toward him. He had to make a very difficult choice.”

And that about sums it up. I definitely don’t agree with some of Bernie’s choices about the DNC,  but he has my respect. Because he deserves it. Something I don’t often say about a politician.

The second quote I’ve pondered a good deal said

“Let’s be clear about something. If Bernie Sanders is a choice for President on the ballot I will vote for him. I would support him in any way (except voting for Clinton or writing him in) but time is crucial if we want a viable Plan B….”

I’m not as delighted with this one, but  it does merit some contemplation. If there is a chance of getting Bernie Sanders to accept the presidency  and vote him into it, I am all for that, and as I mentioned in a prior post, am willing to campaign to make that more possible. I don’t know, however, if Bernie Sanders is willing.

And if he’s not, what IS the best Plan B?

I won’t vote for a libertarian at this stage in history, and I certainly won’t vote for an ignorant madman. I don’t want to vote for Hillary Clinton. I respect what I know if Jill Stein, but I don’t know enough, and she remains a distant second to Bernie for me.

I certainly understand that a Donald Trump presidency would be far more visibly dangerous than a Hillary Clinton presidency, but I do have to wonder: Might that not actually be better in the long run?

Donald Trump will alienate our allies and incite our enemies to further violence, he will damage the ability of most Americans to prosper and to live better lives, he will make us a laughingstock. He will put people’s lives at risk; the lives of those who have serious health problems and need high-quality and affordable health care, as well as the lives of our soldiers, who must respond to the increasing aggression against us which will certainly result from choosing an aggressive, ignorant, and weak leader.

However a Donald Trump presidency should also galvanise the American people. Even we could not possibly leave our futures in the hands of the elite after the horrors that resulted from his reign. And it would be only 4 years, assuming he lasted even that long without being impeached, jailed or killed.

I’m not sure that a Hillary Clinton presidency would be as effective in those respects.

I think Hillary Clinton will be simply more of the status quo as president, not actually a clear abomination.

Hillary Clinton will undoubtedly do far less to destroy our environment, and our existing rights and potential than Donald Trump will. She will almost certainly do quite a bit more to enable the 99% to make a decent living.

And that, of course, may tamp down the passion to make real and lasting change. If the global economy happens to be strong during her term, she’d likely even get a second one.

And America can do a lot of forgetting in 8 years.

And if we forget, if we sink back into complacency, we won’t finish this fight to prosper and to thrive, to wrest control from the elite and to ensure that America is a safe, secure, peaceful, and prosperous country.

So it’s a tough call. Much thought, much prayer, required.

My third key quote this week came from my main man Bill McKibben:

“Our job is not to elect a savior. Our job is to elect someone we can effectively pressure.”

A great way to look at it. Doesn’t answer my question, alas, but it’s a good reminder. The power is not MEANT to be the property of the elite in our political system; it’s meant to be ours and we are meant to use it to control the politicians we elect.

Our job doesn’t end on election night, it begins.

 

Be well. 

 

Monday hope to carry on: It’s going to be okay.

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Happy Monday!!!

It’s been a rough few weeks. As I’ve talked with colleagues about our job crisis, or friends about other crises,  or anyone about the US election, one thing I’ve noticed is that we frequently pause and say something along the lines of

“I don’t know HOW, and I know it may not look like we expect, but I really  do believe it’s going to be okay.

And I don’t think we are saying that to each other just to make ourselves feel better.

I think we really are, with whatever sliver of faith we each can muster at any given moment, speaking a truth we believe.

And you know what?

IT HELPS. 

 

Hearing someone who I trust to really know that things are not always okay, say ‘It’s going to be okay’, it lifts my spirits just enough that I remember, and I believe.

The first person who said this to me during this latest bit of chaos was my friend Amber. And when I said I hoped so, but I was struggling to have faith in it, she hugged me and said “Well, you keep praying and I will have faith for you.

And I believed she would. And that was enough to renew MY ability to believe.

So I encourage you today, to remember, that at some point, even if it doesn’t look exactly like we expect, really, it is going to be okay. 

And if you can’t believe that right now, you are not alone. But SOME ONE of us CAN. And we’ve got each other covered. 😉

 

Be well. 

I will if you will.

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Raise your hand if you are truly, sincerely, excited to vote for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.

Okay, you folks with the raised hands, today’s post is not for you.

Now raise your hand if you expect you will vote for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, because the alternative is too horrible to contemplate, but you REALLY don’t want to.

YOU FOLKS are the people I’m writing to today.

I have spent a number of election years voting for the lesser of evils, and I hate doing it. Can you relate?

And here we are, faced with the prospect yet again, only with astronomically more less and evil.

If you are anything like me, you may even have a candidate that you would actually prefer. Someone you think would make a good president, or at least someone you think would support what you value.

And you are deeply distressed that you can’t vote for them, because that would be throwing away a vote. And every vote AGAINST either Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump, depending on your values, MUST COUNT.

If you are anything like me, every time you’ve voted for the lesser of evils, you’ve thought

“I KNOW there must be a lot of folks JUST LIKE ME, who want to vote differently, and if we could all band together we could probably even swing this election.”

But you can’t be SURE they will vote for the long shot candidate. So you can’t risk voting for the long shot either, or (say it with me) your vote will be wasted and THE WORST OF THE EVILS will be elected because you wasted your vote!

So you’ve voted the safe route.

I got to thinking this week though: what if we DID know  how many other people were going to vote for the person they REALLY want to vote for?

Would we feel braver about voting that way ourselves?

I would.

If I knew that 100 million people had pledged a write-in vote for Bernie Sanders, for instance, my choices about not voting for Ms. Clinton would be rather less stressful.

Then I thought, with the advances of technology, we CAN kind of know these things. We no longer have to depend on biased media polls. We could band together and stage an information revolution.

We have the technology. 

As we’ve talked about before, I’ve only got energy enough for fairly small revolutions at this point, but a small revolution just may be enough to solve THIS problem, at least.

So I have a proposal: I will if you will.

I say we set up a campaign with a pledge to vote for the REAL candidate of our choice. I’m happy to start the thing, but I’m equally happy for anyone else to do so if you have more time/energy/whatever than I have.

If I am going to do it, Bernie Sanders is my first pick, and if he declines, then Jill Stein is probably my next choice, but I am not going to make any final decisions on that until well after the democratic convention.

I imagine if you are very conservative you’ll probably want to do your own version, because my candidate likely won’t be to your taste. And that’s fine.

I do suggest that our odds are best if we have only one main progressive and one main conservative candidate, so we can gain a critical mass of those voters.

But ultimately, I want a system where EVERYONE can vote their conscience without fear; so do what you believe is right.

So, what do you think?

If there were  public pledge  to vote your real conscience for this one election, in hopes of beginning to change our political system,

and

you could see how many people had signed on before voting day arrives, would you be wiling to do join? 

We are not guaranteed success, of course.

Being true your beliefs, especially in a rigged system, necessarily involves some risk. People may not keep the pledge, even with all of us voting our conscience we may still not have enough votes … lots can go wrong, and we could still end up with a president we deplore.

But at least we will have fought that for real instead of contributing to it. And perhaps 4 years with the worst of evils would be worth it if we change our futures. But it’s a risk, no doubt.

I figure we can give it a shot, and see how things look by, say, mid October, and go from there.

Anybody else in?

If so, leave a note on the blog or on Facebook, and if I see some interest I’ll start the petition or campaign and get us rolling.

If you’ll both sign up on whatever forum we come up with, and also share it through your networks, we may just achieve something!

If anyone has the time / money / energy to do more than that, let me know. I’m happy to hand this over to someone more able to focus on it than I am just now.

 

UPDATE at http://somegracewiththat.com/i-will-if-you-will-update/ but if anyone wants to move forward with any sort of campaign, please do let me know!

Monday Pondering: the time and effort to help us grow up

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I just love Eugene Peterson. Especially for spearheading The Message translation of the Bible.

Now yes, I am that uptight structure nazi who had to get the ‘Remix’ version because having no verse references whatsoever made me completely freaking mental. But once poor Pastor Peterson was browbeaten into that one change, his book became such a useful tool.

So often he translates things in a way that thwap me upside the head and make me see them rather than just read them, or give me a new perspective on them.

One such passage is 1 Corinithians 4:15:

“There are a lot of people around who can’t wait to tell you what you’ve done wrong, but there aren’t many fathers willing to take the time and effort to help you grow up.”

I have noticed this a dozen times or more, and it impresses me more each time. It impresses me far more than the million or so times I had read it in other translations.

I can understand JUST what my man Paul is talking about! I have been on the receiving end of both the ‘good father’ instruction, and, alas, the ‘I just want to tell you what you’ve done wrong’ instruction.

I imagine you have too. They have a rather different impact, don’t they?

I fear I’ve also been on the GIVING end of both.

But this verse, coupled with SO MUCH that I’ve seen, heard, learned, makes me want to do better. I have finally figured out, at my advanced age, that it actually IS true that people need more mentors than they need critics.

I am ALL about accountability, confession, and helping each other grow, but this reminds me that there are effective ways to do that, and ineffective ways that just don’t do it. I want to be on the right side of that equation, don’t you?

So, today, why not look for situations in which we can build each other up, support each other in needs, and contribute to each other like good fathers or mothers contribute to their children’s development by investing and caring?

I think we’ll be a lot more successful in the end, and a lot happier on the way.

Blessings in the storm

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My goodness it’s been an intense week!

Last week was such a whirlwind – getting the news about my job ending at the end of September, numerous meetings about that, and having to get myself back to CA, on top of two projects with deadlines – that I really didn’t have any time at all to process the reams of information about my job disappearing.

Or even the FACT that my job will be disappearing.

This week has been a bit of a whirlwind too, but at least I have the 10 hour drive (11.5 with CA traffic jams) and most of the deadlines behind me.

So now I’ve at least caught up on the ‘What to expect as your job disappears’ paperwork, and I’ve begun to actually FEEL all the feelings swirling around this latest crisis.

I am EXHAUSTED by the end of most workdays! Which, I guess that at least prevents laying awake nights worrying. 😀

One of the most unexpected things about this little crisis has been the blessings within it.

I imagine I’ll do more than my share of whining and maybe even raging over the course of this latest adventure, so I want to take at least this one opportunity to acknowldege the BLESSINGS.

My boss sent out a general announcement about the restructure, and within hours the man I respect most in my whole organisation (and one of the men I respect most in the world) had sent me a note asking how it would affect me, and expressing concern.

Since then I have received a number of similar notes from people I admire all across our organisation. Not just people I work with each week, but people who could easily go a month, many months, without ever thinking of me. I don’t think I felt so honoured when I GOT the job as I do by these expressions of concern and support!

As soon as another colleague heard, she skyped me to say that if I need any help processing things, or just want to chat, she is there for me – and I know for a fact that this woman has been working 75 hour weeks lately due to more work than people to do it.

Since I was in Washington when I got this news, I had to call my friend who lives there, whom I had been expecting to spend more time with, and tell her that I was leaving two weeks early and couldn’t say now when I’ll be back.

And she immediately offered that I could come stay with her if I need a place to live. No questions, no strings, no time limits, just ‘If you need this, you have it’.

Do you have any idea what that does for the soul on the receiving end?

If I get nothing else out of life’s lessons, I pray that I get THAT lesson well enough to do the same for someone else down the road.

And my lovely housemate, who will arguably be most affected by this if the worst comes, made the same offer! She also took me to my favourite restaurant for lunch the day after I limped back from Washington.

Who has friends like this?!?!

Actually, I hope you ALL do. I hope I am so good a friend.

If not, I hope I grow up to be.

Yesterday this same housemate came home with a special edition of of my favourite workout magazine, focused on stretching and strength. “Because,” she said “you’ll need to be taking good care of yourself during this time.”

I am also one of those blessed people who has a truly supportive family. They do not all pray, but those who do have all offered prayer support. And ALL of them have offered emotional support, wisdom, and help whenever I need it. I know that not everyone has that and I do not take it lightly.

Even the fact that I have a fairly long notice, and some options, and an emergency fund, is a blessing. I know that some people lose their jobs with no warning.

So, this isn’t the most peaceful of times, and I have moments of horror and despair, yet I am richly blessed.

I do not, yet, have the whole picture of my ‘abundant life’, and yeah, this latest crisis even looks a bit like going backwards; yet my life is pretty abundant.

 

 

Be well. 

Economic Parasites

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If you read nothing else today, please read Nick Hanauer’s extremely helpful article Confronting the Parasite Economy!!

Ignore my blog, ignore Pokemon GO, whatever that is, but read Nick Hanauer!

This article does SUCH a great job of explaining exactly how our economy went from GREAT to dismal – and how to Make America Great Again.

There are so many important points it’s hard to choose a selection to summarise it, but these stand out for me:

“all of us who live and work in the real economy should be royally pissed at the way the parasite economy is sucking us dry.”

“It is the real economy that drives both production and demand, and that fills our tax coffers with the money needed to educate our children, maintain our infrastructure, invest in research and development, fund our social safety net, and provide for the national defense.”

“The real economy delivers on the promise of capitalism. The parasite economy relentlessly undermines it.”

“So why should we subsidize a low-wage parasite economy when the high-wage real economy offers so much more? “

But honestly, those don’t begin to cover this awesome (and pretty funny!) article. So just read it! 😉

I have long respected Nick Hanauer because he understands business reality but he doesn’t look at it through snively ‘But this is how we’ve ALWAYS done it’ glasses; he looks at it with the eyes of someone who wants his businesses to KEEP growing.

I’d kinda like that for the American economy too.

And I’d kinda like that to be relevant for ALL OF US in the American economy, you know?

 

 

Be well. 

 

In case the link doesn’t work above, you can cut and paste it from here:

http://prospect.org/article/confronting-parasite-economy#.V0IGuQt2t4M.twitter 

Monday REST Reprise

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Oy! What a difference a week can make!

Last week I was enjoying the lovely state of Washington where it is cool and grey far more than it is hot and sunny, and very seriously debating whether I could move there in the next month or two. This week I learned that my job will end on the last day of September.

SO, I won’t be relocating just at the moment!

I’m still trying to adjust my mind to all of this. I imagine it will take a little while. I am grateful for a lot about the timing of this, but I still wish it wasn’t happening at all.

So, though this blog certainly isn’t old enough to be rehashing ‘oldie’ posts, today’s ‘Monday’ is going to be all about Skillet again.

Because I’m gonna need some Rest in these coming weeks!

 

On this Monday, I wish you peace and security.

Be well.

If you are not familiar with Skillet, you can check them out here: http://www.skillet.com. A word of warning though, REST is an unusually quiet song for Skillet!! 🙂

 

Donald Trump, James Dobson, and … me?

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I’m seeing this ongoing debate in social media: Did Donald Trump really accept Christ, or not? First James Dobson apparently said that Mr. Trump had become a Christian!! Then James Dobson apparently began to backpedal!!!

Which brings up the question why are we asking James Dobson? Wouldn’t Donald Trump be the logical source for this information, if it’s any of our business at all?

I think I know the answer: we don’t trust Donald Trump to tell the truth about it, and/or we don’t think he understands what it means to be a Christian.

Which, assuming that isn’t answer enough on its own, prompts the question what difference could it possibly make, then, whether James Dobson thinks that Donald Trump is a Christian ?

Unfortunately, I think I know the answer to that one too.

I think that answer is that whether or not Donald Trump is “really” a Christian determines whether or not we should vote for him for president of United States. So if we can get somebody that we trust and respect to certify that Donald Trump is a Christian, then it’s okay to vote for him as the only Christian presidential option, regardless of his behaviour or his ability to lead the United States.   So we really need James Dobson, or SOMEONE to come through for us.

Does this horrify anyone else?

It’s the wrong reason. On SO MANY levels.

Donald Trump shouldn’t have to become “Christian enough” to make it ok to vote for him. It’s important that someone’s Democrat enough or Republican enough to run on that party’s ticket, but being “Christian enough” DOES. NOT. EXIST.

We shouldn’t be weighing and measuring a man’s salvation and relationship with God based solely on our need for him to meet a minimum qualification for peace of mind as we vote for the leader of our country. (Not to even mention that if he HAS accepted Christ, the Bible is very clear about not giving new believers positions of authority.)

And .. um… should we be choosing our president based solely on his profession of Christianity, regardless of whether or not that shows up in his life? Christianity is a bit more than a ballot entrance exam!

Let’s bring this down from the stratosphere:

Imagine this scenario with someone who wasn’t rich, or famous, or running for president.

Ask yourself if someone you actually knew – your brother-in-law, your boss, the guy that hangs out at the corner bar – behaved like Donald Trump, said the things he says, would you be conclude that he was a Christian?

My guess is you would want to suspend judgement on that a bit until you saw whether his life showed evidence.  At least, that would be the Biblical approach.

But either way, your conclusions about his Christianity would probably be completely separate from whether you’d consider him a good choice to lead something very important to you, like the bank that controls your money, or your government.

And that’s okay. 

A decision to follow Jesus or not goes far beyond a job, or an election. And lots of people do jobs for us every day without our knowing if they are Christian or not.

Just because Donald Trump is running for president doesn’t make his religious choice any more my business than if he were my banker or doctor or mechanic. And whether or not he adopts the right title for the sake of an election in no way means that his presidency would be a ‘Christian’ one.

Because I am a Christian, I am obligated to pray for Donald Trump’s salvation if he happens to be in my line of sight, and I’m obligated to treat him with decency and respect and kindness, as I am all people. But this one decision is between him and God.

And am not obligated, or even allowed, to try to manufacture a conversion for him so that I can check that box off my list of concerns and vote for him ‘because it’s God’s will’!

(Shakes head, wonders what this world is coming to.)

Adventures in Optimism Episode 3

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Well, this week has been more adventure than I planned!

Have I mentioned that at ye old day job we have been going through a strategy process and planning a restructure of my team? This has meant about 6 months of living in limbo, which is always somewhat stressful, but we’ve gotten through it pretty well and were very much looking forward to it being OVER.

Then came the note that all of my team’s jobs will end on 30 September. Including, of course, MINE!

There will be some new positions created, but it doesn’t look like I’ll be a good fit for those.

It has certainly created the opportunity for a reflective pause.

Or, I should say the vital need for a reflective pause, since my days now involve trying to get my urgent work tasks done, and commiserating with co-workers who are scared and confused, and trying to process all the information about what my future looks like now. Completed most of the urgent stuff today, so I HOPE to have some open space tomorrow and Friday to be more attentive to my co-workers and to the reams of information on What Next?

Since my possible move to the great Pacific North West is largely dependent on both HAVING A JOB, and also on having a job that I can do from home, my trip is now effectively complete. I simply can’t make decisions about a long haul move until things are settled at work.

On the upside, I got to all the places that I think are realistic options for a future move, and I was very much encouraged that it might be possible to live here within my limits for a reasonably frugal life.

It will be very hard leave here, where we are currently heading into low 70s / high 60s and rain, for my hot and sunny home, but even in that I feel more ‘ready’ and okay about it than I would have anticipated. And goodness knows HOME is always my favourite destination, even when that home is not in my favourite location.

Tidbits from the Journey:

Once of the great joys of this last weekend was getting to see another dear friend from Grad school! I had warned her when we started to set up a date that I was a still bit mental these days, then when we got to the day of meeting I had just gotten the news about my work, so I was REALLY a mess. Sarah, as always, was like a cool drink of water in a parched land.

GORGEOUS countryside. WOW. I spent a significant part of the holiday weekend driving all over western Washington, and it was SO beautiful. I have to keep reminding myself that it is summer.

A full night’s sleep!! I actually got it both dark enough and quiet enough to get one full night’s sleep! It transformed me! Now, alas, the following night, on the road trip, I had a HORRIBLE night with only 3 hours of sleep, but hey, one night is better than none!

Tom Petty. I have heard more Tom Petty on the radio since I arrived here 2.5 weeks ago than I have probably heard in the preceding 2-3 years. I finally had to look him up and see if he grew up here. No. I have no idea what it is. Nothing wrong with it, it’s just odd.

Gratitude. I’m scared and distressed about this new wrinkle with my job, but I am also grateful. I am SOOO grateful this didn’t happen in the middle of the LifeWreck. That would have been beyond my capacity. I am also grateful it didn’t happen until I had begun to get my trust in God back. I’m not at 100% yet, but I am FAR better able to weather this new crisis than I would have been a year ago. And I’m sure grateful that it didn’t happen the week AFTER I moved to a completely new community – and a rural one at that!

I had to think about it at first, but I decided I’m even grateful that the job crisis happened AFTER I started off on this research trip. Though I’ll head home sooner than I had planned, I really got the main information I need, and I would not have even considered this trip if I had learned about the job beforehand. I don’t know what will happen now, but I feel at peace for this point, at least, and that is pretty amazing.

 

Be well. 

 

 

Monday Motivation: The Moment We Come Alive

Happy Monday!!

How are you?

I hope everyone is well and safe on this Independence Day Holiday!

I’m doing all right. Still having ups and downs in this little moving research adventure I’m on, but I’ve survived thus far.

In the spirit of this adventure – which this weekend included a northerly trip to check out the last of my ‘possibles’ areas, and an afternoon with one of my dearest friends from grad school – some excellent traveling music is in order!

 

I am LOVING this song just now. Not that you can go wrong with any combination of Road Trip + RED.

 

 

Be well. 

 

And of course, if you like your Mondays a little more energetic, there will ALWAYS be: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yH-k_6tU9Wc 😀

While we are on the topic: Congratulations to RED on the tenth anniversary of The End of Silence! Thanks for all the blessing you have been!