Tuesday, December 31, 2013

From Our Home To Yours - Brightest Wishes for 2014!

 Our home and altar - For the Children, for Peace

  Our Letter...

Warmest greetings and wishes for the New Year!
2013 has been an extraordinary year! In the midst of the sweetness of everyday life, there has been great change, challenge, joy, miracles, love. Among the highlights -- In August, Molly’s oldest son Brian married his beautiful Marita. One month later, on September 14th, Ron and Molly married! Then, just before Christmas and following a year long legal struggle for permanent guardianship of her mother, Molly was able to prevail and bring her mom home for good to live near our family in the Pacific Northwest. WOW! So many gifts, sometimes very difficult to walk through, but always - in the larger picture - a gift. We hope that 2013 has been wonderful for you in all the ways that most matter.

Now yet another New Year is upon us. And the question, posed beautifully by poet Mary Oliver, once again arises for new inquiry: “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Perhaps live with ever greater gratitude, love, presence, compassion, laughter, courage and kindness. 
Wishing you harmony within your heart and that 2014 may bring great blessing to you, your loved ones, and all beings.
Brightest wishes ~ Molly & Ron

May we ourselves welcome the year to come with open arms. 
May each new day bring us full aliveness and great peace of heart! 
And in the end, may we be able to say with Mary Oliver: 
 ”I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, 
taking the world into my arms.” 
This is what I wish you at this season.

- Brother David Steindl-Rast

 Robert Beatty marries Ron & Molly
 Marita & Brian
 Nancy & Molly
Ron & Molly with all the "kids": Kevin & Kristin, Brian & Marita, Matt, and Alli

A Pledge for Grateful Living

What a lovely intention to mindfully embrace the New Year and each day with. 
May we be bearers of gratitude, healing, harmony, peace and love.  
♥ Molly

Br. David Steindl-Rast

A Pledge for Grateful Living 

 Bro. David Steindl-Rast O.S.B.

  • In thanksgiving for life, I pledge
    to overcome the illusion of ENTITLEMENT
    by reminding myself that everything is gift
    and, thus, to live GRATEFULLY.
  • In thanksgiving for life, I pledge
    to overcome my GREED, 
    that confuses wants with needs,
    by trusting that enough for all our needs is given to us
    and to share GENEROUSLY 
    what i so generously receive.
  • In thanksgiving for life, I pledge
    to overcome APATHY
    by waking up to the opportunities 
    that a given moment offers me
    and so to respond CREATIVELY to every situation.
  • In thanksgiving for life, I pledge
    to overcome VIOLENCE
    by observing that fighting violence by violence 
    leads to more violence and death
    and, thus, to foster life by acting NON-VIOLENTLY.
  • In thanksgiving to life, i pledge
    to overcome FEAR which is the root of all violence
    by looking at whatever i fear as an opportunity
    and, thus, COURAGEOUSLY to lay the foundation 
    for a peaceful future.

    Offered at Thanksgiving Square, July 2008 
  • from  http://www.gratefulness.org/readings/dsr_pledge_gl.htm

An Economy That Benefits Ordinary People? What We Learned From the 1%

When thinking 40 years into the future, people step out of the current political situation, and our sense of what's possible becomes much more expansive. We are not only able to think bigger—we crave it.

Lightbulbs photo courtesy of Shutterstock
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
National People’s Action members recognize that to reverse the economic and political conditions that are crushing American families, we need a long-term strategy. We believe that if we let the challenging circumstances of now lower our expectations of what’s possible, we’ve already lost. Instead, we have decided to completely reimagine what is possible.
That is why 500 NPA members worked for a year to develop the Long-Term Agenda to the New Economy. Family farmers and public housing residents, employed workers and those seeking work, new immigrants and those whose families have been here for generations worked together identifying the structural reforms necessary to change the balance of power to favor people and democracy over corporate interests. Our members provided direction to the process from start to finish, building an agenda that is truly representative of people.
We started by dissecting the agenda of the corporate elites that produced what we call the 1% economy. The economic and political reality of today is not accidental. Corporate CEOs, think tanks, and political operatives created the 1% economy. Their strategy was to expand the focus of corporate America from simply amassing profit to aggregating power. They organized individual companies and families into a corporate infrastructure, working to build power to advance their agenda. Over the course of decades, they have gained control of our political process, government, and media and used them to shape an economy that serves their interests at the expense of the American people.
With that in mind, we built our own agenda. Imagine a new economic ethos in America. Imagine it creates an economy in which the prosperity and well-being of all people is accounted for in our national bottom line. One that lifts everybody up, and is defined by a robust commitment to dismantling the structural barriers that lock poor and working-class people, people of color, and women out of economic opportunity. Envision a society where global sustainability is a defining economic priority. Imagine that the best-case scenario isn’t simply hoping to share in the prosperity of corporate elites.
That is the world that the members of National People’s Action are fighting to create. 
In creating the agenda, we learned a key lesson. When invited to think 30 and 40 years into the future, people are able to step out of the morass of our current political environment, and our sense of what’s possible becomes much more expansive. We are not only able to think bigger; we crave it. Those of us struggling every day in the 1% economy want and need to think beyond the limits of our current reality.
Still, it wouldn’t be enough to think big if it didn’t pass a credibility test. We found that reimagining what’s possible feels real and credible only when accompanied with a clear analysis of how structural reforms—reforms that take power away from the 1% and move power to everyday people—can lead to larger transformation. When we see how a series of steps create a tipping point and a new balance of power, we can envision how we create the level of change that our communities and the planet require. Considering the level of skepticism and cynicism that our current politics breeds, we can’t overstate the power of hope coupled with credibility.
NPA members are now organizing around this agenda. Across the country, we are building long-term structural reform agendas at the state level and launching national campaigns to advance structural reforms that move us toward our long-term vision. There’s one key ingredient missing for this to work. And that’s you. We hope you’ll join us.

Sarah van Gelder: 10 Hopeful Things That Happened in 2013 to Get You Inspired for What’s to Come

Beyond the headlines of conflict and catastrophe, this year’s top stories offered us some powerful proof that the world can still change—for the better.

2014 photo courtesy of Shutterstock
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
There was something almost apocalyptic about 2013. Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines, the strongest storm ever recorded on land. It killed more than 6,000 people and affected millions. But it was just one of the 39 weather-related disasters costing $1 billion or more in 2013.
In Australia, record high temperatures forced mapmakers to create a new color on the weather map. Massive wildfires swept through California, historic flooding took out bridges and roadways in Colorado, and tornadoes swept through the Midwest, destroying towns like Moore, Okla. Millions of people are on the move, seeking to escape the effects of climate-related disasters.
CO2 concentrations passed 400 parts per million for the first time this year, and yet governments have done little to curb emissions. Meanwhile, hundreds of millions of dollars—much of it from secret sources—flow to climate-denier think tanks and advocacy groups.
Pop culture often explores a change before politicians do, and 2013 saw a rash of post-apocalyptic movies—from World War Z to Oblivion—and zombie apocalypse role-playing games.
Much happened that was hopeful this year—a new pope focused on inequality, successful minimum wage campaigns spread across the country, and the number of states allowing gay marriage doubled.
But responses to the threat of the climate crisis lead off this year’s top stories as we look at seeds sown this year that could make 2014 transformational.

1. We saw surprising new leadership on the climate issue

In northeast Nebraska, Native Americans and local ranchers formed a new allianceto resist the Keystone XL pipeline. Seven thousand activists gathered in Pittsburghto press for action on a wide range of environmental justice issues. Students across North America persuaded nine colleges and universities to divest from fossil fuel companies. Hundreds of climate activists walked out of the COP19 climate talks in Poland to hold their own climate talks.
The governors of California, Oregon, Washington, and the Canadian province of British Columbia have committed to taking action on the climate crisis. But Congress remains deadlocked and in denial, and climate scientists—when they let down their careful professional demeanor—express astonishment that world governments have failed to act on what is fast becoming a global emergency.
A new potential ally is coming from an unexpected source. Some investors are beginning to worry that fossil fuel companies may not be a good bet. Investors worry about a “carbon bubble.”
The reserves of oil, gas, and coal counted as assets by the big energy corporations would be enormously destructive to life on Earth if they were allowed to burn. Many believe that new regulation or pricing will keep a large portion of those reserves safely in the ground.
If that happens, the companies' reserves, and thus their stock, may be worth far less than believed. Savvy investors are placing their bets elsewhere: Warren Buffett, for example, is investing $1 billion in wind energy, which, along with solar energy, is looking better all the time.

2. Native peoples took the lead in the fossil fuel fight

In response to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s attempt to ramp up fossil fuel extraction on Native lands, Idle No More blossomed across Canada this year. First Nations people held flash mob round dances, blockaded roads, and appealed to government at all levels to protect land and water.
And it’s not just Canada. In Washington state, the Lummi Tribe is among those resisting massive new coal transport infrastructure, which would make exported coal cheap to burn in Asia.
In Nebraska, the Ponca Tribe is teaming up with local ranchers to resist construction of the Keystone tar sands pipeline. Indigenous peoples in the Amazon, the Andes, Malaysia, the Niger Delta, and elsewhere are also at the front lines of resistance to yet more dangerous fossil fuel extraction. Many are turning to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples and the new Rights of Nature movement for support.
Indigenous peoples developed ways of life that could sustain human life and the natural environment over thousands of years. The rest of the world is starting to recognize the critical importance of these perspectives, and there is growing willingness to listen to the perspectives of indigenous peoples.

3. The middle and lower classes fought for economic justice

Income inequality is reaching levels not seen since the Roaring Twenties. People stuck in long-term unemployment are running out of options, and those who do find work often can’t cover basic living expenses. The issue is now getting attention from mainstream media, becoming one of the defining issues of our time, as President Obama said.
Now a movement is building to create a new economy that can work for all. Voters this year passed minimum wage laws in SeaTac, Wash., ($15 an hour) and the state of New Jersey. An overwhelming majority favors raising the minimum wage to $9 an hour. Domestic workers won the right to a minimum wage after years of organizing.
The message was also clear in the election of Bill de Blasio, a founder of the Working Families Party, as mayor of New York City. Inequality is a top plank of his platform and his public record. At the national level, Senator Elizabeth Warren’s defense of the rights of student borrowers and her proposal to strengthen Social Security (instead of weaken it, as leaders in both party are discussing) is winning widespread support. There is even talk of drafting Warren to run for president.
Like what you're reading? YES! is nonprofit and relies on reader support.
Click here to chip in $5 or more
 to help us keep the inspiration coming.

4. A new economy is in the making

At the grassroots, National People’s Action and the New Economy Institute are leading new conversations about what it takes to build an economy that works for all and can function in harmony with the environment. Thousands of people are taking part.