Sharing Sisterhood Across the Globe

Sister to Sister is a place to renew for women of all cultures, faiths and races. Coretta Scott King said, "Women, if the soul of the Nation is to be saved, I believe we must become its soul." I would like to add "Earth" instead of "Nation." We need to widen the borders and challenge the world to become a better place. Join the conversation.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Let's Get Moving With Love ...


Michelle Obama in Harlem
Let's get moving on working with kids, changing the world and making it a better place. My friend just told me that she'd rather see a picture of Michelle Obama than to hear the rhetoric designed to divide us. So, Anjali --- Thank you for reminding us where the power is. The power is in the doing and being and knowing that together we stand. I stand with you dear sisters and brothers. This is the type of message we can share. Stop the hate. Spread the LOVE.
                                                        Sister P.K. for Peace

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Invisible No More



Invisible? No.


Have you ever felt invisible?
The hardest thing about my being invisible
Is not “not” being seen
It is not being seen as I am—not seeing me.

People say they are colorblind.
How can that be?
When you see purple flowers,
Or Red or Yellow ones,
Do you say that?

Why would you say it about me?
Why would you want me to believe that you don’t see?

Have you ever felt that you are not heard?
When you have a voice like mine
And people don’t hear you
It is not because they don’t hear
As much as it is they don’t understand.

People say that we are all the same.
How can that be?
Would you fail to recognize the roar of the bear
Or the slithering slide of the Snake or the song of the bird?
Do you hear that?

Why would fail to hear me?
Why would you want me to believe that you really do hear me?

These questions plug up the waves
Of a brain and heart that won’t separate
Together they bring my reasoning
And my feelings
Into alignment, but there is pain

People say that I’m being too sensitive
That we’re all the same
How can that be?
We don’t feel the same way about things
Or see them the same way at all.
We hear it differently. We miss!

We miss the clues
We don’t follow up on the details
We’re not observing,
Not listening
Mostly because it’s already decided.

Stereotypes.
Prejudices.
Bigotry.
It’s inside all of us
Except we don’t see
Don’t hear
Don’t recognize all that is inside the we!

It matters. It matters.
There is nothing that matters more
Than to know that you’re understood
That you’re heard and
That what you really see is me.
                                                 P.K. McCary, Copyright 2010

Saturday, August 14, 2010

a friendly message from me to you.

I feel that it's necessary to let the person reading this message to know this:

you are not alone. You're a person with many feeling and emotions and although they may be extremely complex and hard to understand at times, you are not alone.

You are loved and even though that idea is can hard to wrap your head around all the time, it's true. It's hard to see sometimes but the love is always there. It's always around. it may be hard for some people to communicate that love to you and it fogs your vision for a while but you can't forget that the love is there. It's a struggle but it's worth it once your heart begins to smile and the emptiness you were feeling goes away.


love is a battlefield and it is worth the fight and to be certain that you win the fight, you have to love yourslf.


one last important thing, you're beautiful. it's in the way you walk and talk and breathe and basically, it's just in you. it's waiting to be embraced and if you haven't acknowldged and embraced it then how do you think other people will do the same.


Truth is you were wonderfully created and your uniqueness is what gives you your exceptional and wonderful beauty. i can see it. i see it in everyone. it makes me sad when people don't see it in themselves. I get sad on the days i don't see it in myself but it's another struggle that is very much worth the battle.


do away with the blurry vision and look at the beautiful person that is you!



you're absolutely wonderful, strong, and phenomenal. I bet you thought it was impossible to be all those things but take a look in the mirror...the person lookikng back at you is all of those things and so much more. especially if you let them be. don't let that wonderful person stay beneath the surface. introduce them to the world and maybe the world will be a little brighter...maybe your heart will smile and little brighter and the sadness will fade away. maybe we can make a change in this place we call home.

It's possible. I'm sure of it and I dream of it daily,
with love...

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Women We Are ...

On a Mission of Light and Love.
video

A Photo Essay of Women by P.K. McCary
Music by Anjali Naja
My friend and sister, Anjali Naja, has brought so much joy to my life with her songs. Her voice has always mesmerized me, bringing light and love to my heart. The first time I heard Women We Are, I knew this was a poignant reminder of all the reasons I enjoy being a woman, but also all the ways in which I am of value to the world. As a woman, my mission is to bring light and love to the world, to bring joy to the lives of others and listening when you need a friend. This photo essay captures the heart of pictures I have taken over the last two years. There are many more, but these photos bring to mind spiritual warriors of love, lifting up our world.
     These are my sisters. Some are known very well and others I have just met, but we are all on this mission of light and love. Listen to the words. Think of the women you know. Your mothers, your sisters--your friends. We can be the voices of fire for those who cannot speak and we can lift each other up. And, as your sister, I have a plan--a request, actually.
     Many of you know the work I have done with URI for more than 10 years--actually 13! Time flies when you're working hard. My greatest wish has always been to become less than one degree of separation from my sisters of the heart. I can't get you all together, but I have a close second to that. I'm asking that you do this. You can do it one time or you can do over time, but here's my request.
     The Request
     Make a date with 7 women, women that you don't know very well, but have met. These women should be from two faiths different than your own. Invite them over for coffee or even a meal. Take it slow or since I know some of you, boldly lead. In your invitation, ask them to come and just share some time with you.  Be intentional in your efforts to just meet. Now, I could offer a couple of models for you, but here's what I know of you--you will make it work. Women have always done this. On my travels this past week, I didn't use any other models than the ones my my mother, grandmothers and aunts taught me. It will not, I promise you, be too awkward because women care, women know. Of course, I am imagining that you will know these women, albeit vaguely. It is just that even though we know women of different cultures and faiths, we generally do not cross that invisible line. Cross it now. Make this effort for women everywhere.
     The Next Step
     Share the stories of these meetings. Send your stories to sisteriisister@thepeacehour.org. If you have pictures, all the better. Videos--I'd be ecstatic! But, it is your story to tell, so I'll take it in any form that it comes. You can also call me with any questions as well. I ask this of you for the simple reason that I care about us--as women, as nurturers as the second half of the world. Please don't delay. You can start the moment that you've read this blog. In addition, you can start by sending it out to our other sisters--as that degree of separation that ends needless separations for evermore.
     In peace--Your Sister of the Heart, P.K.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Ahhhhhhh. Romance in Any Language ...

 
Still holding hands after 32 years
What makes us so different from another? On my trip to the Middle East, I explored this question over and over again. I could probably give a surface answer. The dress, the customs--maybe. Then I realized, that I was asking the wrong question. The question should not be about our differences although I believe that I should celebrate those differences of culture and language. Instead, I ask myself, what makes us the same?
     My daughter of the heart, Reed, told me when I arrived in Jordan that I needed to understand three Arabic words: yalla, walla and inshallah. They translate into hurry, really? and God willing. Of course, I know that shukran, Arabic for "thank you" is a very important word. Oh, and also law samaht for please. Still, having Arabic speaking friends, I have picked up words I really love to say, especially habibi or habibti--meaning beloved for male and female loved ones. Which is why the people in this picture held such interest for me. Throughout my time with them, I heard him say habibti a least a hundred times.
      On my tour to Petra and Wadi Rum I sat across from this couple from Bahrain who I learned were celebrating 32 years of marriage. He said, "She's still spicy" and smiled. I remember him introducing her to me, telling me that her name, Iptisam, meant "to smile." And she did. Often. Reminds me of a story I like to tell of a little boy who meets a woman in the park who smiles at him. Later when he recalls the meeting of this woman to his mother, he tells her "I had lunch with God. She has such a pretty smile." Iptisam had God's smile. Like the boy in the story, I, too, was enchanted by Iptisam's smile and I believe it was for that reason. 
     I had fallen in Petra and both Iptisam and her husband inquired hourly of my health. I felt taken care of by their warmth and caring. Later, when we took a picture together (I'm at least 9 inches taller than she), I kissed the top of her head and she pulled my head down to kiss my cheek. I thought of my mother and grandmother. It was the eyes, I first thought and then I later realized, it was the heart. We all have the same heart. It pumps for love, for hope and freedom. Is that so hard to understand? Also, on the tour with us was another couple from Palestine. They joked and held hands, too. They had been married 15 days. Seen here (I asked to take their picture), this young woman had a smile that could light up the sky. They both seemed so happy and I pointed to the older couple and said, "This is what you should aspire to. They've been married 32 years and are still the light in each other's eyes." Barriers of language--perhaps--but in their smiles you see that they understood even with my very, very limited Arabic. 
     What I think I learned best, however, was this. Love conquers all. If we take ourselves out of our comfort zones and try to get to know one another, we could--can--no, will make this a better world. Inshallah. Amen.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

In the Dash of Each Other's Life

Momma and Me
     Recently I found some pictures of my Mother with me. It made me remember that I belonged--to her. I remember that someone held me close, loved me dearly and wanted the best for me. What I owe this wonderful woman who gave me life is beyond price, but not understanding. She lived a life I choose to emulate and then I remembered this poem of Linda Ellis, The Dash. And I realized that what I emulate was part of the dash of my mother's life and I understand from this poem I owe my mother my life and to make sure that her teachings are not in vain. Happy Mother's Day, Momma. I honor your dash. Here's the poem:

The Dash by Linda Ellis
There was a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning to the end

He noted that first came her date of her birth
And spoke the following date with tears
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years

For that dash stands for all the time
That she spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not how much we own;
The cars the house the cash
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard.
Are there things you'd like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
That can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
To consider what's true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.

We'd be less quick to anger
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we've never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect
And more often wear a smile
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.

So when your eulogy is being read
With your lifes actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?

Cos that dash stands for all the time
That you spent alive on earth
And only those who loved you
Know what that little line is worth

It matters not how much you own
The cars the house the cash
What matters is how you live and love
And how you spend your dash

What matters is how you live and love
And how you spend your dash. 

For those of us whose Mother's have journeyed on ...
Honor Her Dash!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Heart Braining


Bringing the brain in compliance with the heart.
Sometimes people will tell me, "Use your head instead of your heart." Or, "That's your heart talking." What this seems to say is that you have to use one or the other when making decisions. If the decision has to do with your loved ones, maybe the heart. Still, tough love, as they say, requires the use of the brain. Too! Silly, isn't it?
     When making a decision recently, I poured my heart out into a letter that explained why I thought this and why I did that. I read the letter to two friends who basically told me, too wordy. Deal with the facts. Deal with the issues. Of the two friends, one said to me, "It's either nurture or negotiation," implying to me that I couldn't have both. I took both under advisement and revised the letter. But, I did something that was counter to what both had said. I used both my heart and my brain.
     I think that we associate the heart with a lack of wisdom. She foolishly lost her heart. We, therefore, associate the brain with a lack of compassion. He is so heartless. What happens, I believe, is that we've created a war where they doesn't need to be. We've made heart and brain waring factions. We've also made the brain the winner. In part because if you're using your head (i.e., brain), you won't get hurt. You won't suffer the pangs of sorry or bitterness.
     Using your heart--well, you might suffer. You lose your heart to another. Your heart gets in the way of thinking. I think that we've been made afraid to engage our hearts because we believe that those choices are fallible. We make poor judgments when our hearts are engaged. Today I disagree with all of these premises.
     I took the letter I was sending and reread it--first acknowledging that I truly cared about the person the letter was written to. I also acknowledged that I felt hurt and disillusioned and now I wanted--what? That was one of the first questions. What was I truly trying to say? I wanted to be valued? Is that heart or mind? Both, I think. I also wanted to still be a part of what was going on. I also acknowledged my fear; that I was afraid that I was going to have to let something else go for the sake of my pride and value. I read the letter and realizing all this, maybe not so subconsciously, I wanted recognition for what I had done, but more acknowledgment that she really didn't value me and if she didn't, then I was going to be hurt no matter what, but I would have gotten in a few licks of my own. The letter was full of recriminations (heart, no brain--in other words, not very smart) and facts (plenty of research to back up why I should be valued--brain, but no heart).
    I rewrote the letter. I let the person know that I understood my value-AND--hers. I acknowledged that the work was very important to me and then I asked for what I wanted. I didn't threatened, cajole or otherwise handicap this request with the brain versus heart rule. I used them together. I was heart braining. I brought my heart in ALLIANCE with my brain. I forced my brain to be in compliance with the heart that beats to love, care and cherish myself and another. Later, when we talked, I felt nothing but a sense of well-being. I didn't get everything I asked for, but I did feel honored and valued and was able to note that I gave the same in return. I'm hoping that in my learning this one lesson, that I strengthen my brain and heart muscles to compliment one another.
     Isn't it time we did a little heart braining?

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Gathering


The World is Calling Us
To Gather Together
To Bring the world its blessings
A time of renewal, A time of birth
The sound from our voices
Rises melodiously upward
and Raises the Earth
to its place among the stars
Soaring through the Universe's
Tapestry of Creation

As grandmothers, we rise
As mothers, we rise
As daughters--yes, we rise
Sisters, Let us Rise!
To gather to that place of being
Where spirit and love shine
Nurturing the sick and fallen
Carrying the banner of peace, waging peace
for the Nations, for our Children
All of God's Children ... Red, Yellow, Black and White
We are gathering with Our Might.
We gather.
We gather.
We are here.

P.K. McCary (c) April 12, 2010 at One Minute After Midnight

Thursday, April 01, 2010

A Sister of the Heart & Soul


A Tribute to Barbara Malloy-Morin

A Gentle Spirit who will live forever
A quiet soul whose ties we’ll not sever
An earthly manifestation of His love
An angelic presence from God above
A rare and precious treasure
An exceptional gift that could never measured
An extraordinary sister of the heart & soul
A jeweled diamond, exquisite gold

She volunteered to clean up her neighborhood
When others wouldn’t, she gladly would
When Katrina came some turned their backs
But Barbara just pitched right in and didn’t wait to be asked
She made caring seem so easy, so effortless
When reaching out to others, my how she would bless
Working so diligently to help the downtrodden
Her unique brand of sisterly love will never be forgotten
An incomparable sister of the heart & soul
A jeweled diamond, exquisite gold

Ms Mary Kay, made all girls feel beautiful and invincible
They became the cherished ones, indispensible
Barbara loved the little children of the world
Red, yellow black & white
They were ALL precious in her sight
A Research veterinarian, she was a friend
of all creatures big or small
She took care of and loved them all
A brilliant sister of the heart & soul
A jeweled diamond, exquisite gold

A loving wife who knew how to give
A caring mother whose spirit in Dianna will forever live
The sweet comforting smile, impish grin
Kept her going thru thick and thin
No matter the affliction she still could smile
She would just do and go that extra mile.
Absent from the body but present with the Lord
She has now received her well-deserved heavenly reward
Now Barbara will able to breathe very well
As we wish her a fond farewell
We don’t say bye, but just so long
For we will always be serenaded by Barbara’s sweet song
Our sister of the heart & soul
A Jeweled Diamond, Exquisite Gold

sister mama sonya-2010©

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

This world is waiting.

I want to travel the world. I don't want to stay in any little box. The world is waiting for peace and love. To achieve that, I think that we have to be open and willing to explore and accept cultures and traditions outside of our own. I don't understand why more people aren't interested in learning about others. Just because something isn't familiar to you doesn't mean it's bad. Fit it into your schema! Everyone, in every part of the world, needs love. I'm sure that one of the first steps to having that love and peace in the world is accepting people for who they are and loving them because they're beautiful and remarkable and precious. We may not believe in all the same things and we may not all look the same but that's what makes it so exciting. The countless opportunities to see more smiles and to see what love looks like around the world, why shouldn't we want that? I think that's a wonderful desire to learn more about other cultures without disrespecting them. Too often I see and hear people talk harshly about some religions and traditions and entire nations and it makes me think, if you've never lived that way, and you don't know anything about it other than what you've researched, who are you to criticize and judge them? Try to go out and see the world through their eyes. Show them love and respect. It's what we would all like for ourselves and our beliefs. Why then do so many people continue to disrespect the world outside of what they see to be "the right way to live." The world is beautiful. It could be full of love and peace if we just open our eyes and our hearts to accept what's outside of our boxes. It will be worth it.

Monday, March 29, 2010

An Angel In Our Midst

Barbara Malloy-Morin
December 21, 1956 to March 27, 2010
Sometimes life seems so unfair. The adage that the Good Die Young is so appropriate for me today. My friend and sister, Barbara Morin-Malloy died at the age of 53 on Saturday. Her unwavering faith in the good of humankind can be a beacon for all of us right now--my angel, my friend. She's gone, but not the good works. There will be a large chunk missing from my life with her passing, but I know that she is not truly gone--she's right here in my heart.
     There are moments in time that are forever etched in our brains, especially those moments that we can never get back. My friend's face at church comes to mind. She loved Lamb of God. We are both Lutherans who for about two years did the Sunday services, from the liturgy and praise to the sermon. Our favorite part, of course, was the communion, where we shared the body and blood of Jesus Christ with others. Another moment is when we put together interfaith services at this our small congregation church, bringing choirs and monks together to share the love of God. Another moment is watching her with the children in her community, a community where people were often marginalized. After Katrina, many of the residents of her complex were from New Orleans. Many of the downtrodden. Barbara was their champion. And still there are other moments etched in my brain, especially the one of her this past December, smaller and hooked to a breathing machine. Still she kept going-moving forward, coming to support me at a critical time that weekend. She was always, always, my champion.
     But, the memories that will be forever etched in my heart are the ones of Barbara and Dianna. Dianna, her daughter, at age 5 or 6, helping her mother around the church. Dianna in her white robe, lighting the candles at church. Dianna, in my classroom at Sunday school, digging in the dirt with the other children as we reenacted the scene from Holes. Dianna, holding her mother here.
Barbara and Dianna
     Barbara, I believe, helped her daughter to be strong. She loved her in ways that helped her grapple with her illness, but not use her illness as an excuse. If something had to get done, Barbara would do it. She might be tired afterwards, but she never complained. Dianna could not have asked for a better mother or example for life. But, now it is our turn. Barbara has placed Dianna in our capable hands. She knows that we will help Jerry (her husband) and Dianna through this difficult time and in the times to come. Because that is what sisters (family) do. We don't ask where will the child sleep or how will the child eat because each of us will do that.
      Dianna, this message is for you. Your mother gave you not only life, but the tools by which you will continue to grow into the woman she saw in you at birth. Strong, vibrant, self-confident and courageous. Just know that you will not do it alone. We are here. We are your sisters. We are your family. And like your mother--we love you.
     One other thing, Dianna. You mother did not leave you. She stands by you. You can still call on her and her comfort will come and surround you. Right now she's with Nana (remember my Mom) and they are watching over both of us. I love you, dear heart. Rest assured, you have my support until, I too, am called home.
     So, Barbara. Sleep the eternal peace, My Sister of the heart. We'll meet again. I'm sure of it. In the meantime, we'll watch over Dianna with the protectiveness and love you gave to each of us.
     Your Sister, P.K.

Dianna picked the pictures here. If you would like to send her a message, you can email me at sisteriisister@thepeacehour.org and I will pass it on to her. Or send her message via facebook (Dianna Malloy).

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Listening and Hearing the Haitian Stories

By Cecile S. Holmes
What is happening to Haiti is one in a series of misfortunes visited upon the Haitian people. Journalist Cecile S. Holmes visited Haiti summer of 2009 and learned first hand the Haitian people’s stories. More than one story, this blog is a reprint of an article for “Crosswalk,” the official publication of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina (www.edusc.org). Currently Haiti is in need of your help as they deal with the recent earthquake that left thousands dead or injured. Check our earlier posts for ways in which you can help the Haitian people.
 
Photograph courtesy of FriendsofHaiti.org
When I think of Haiti, images not words flash through my brain in a mind-numbing panorama of contrasts. I see the countryside of rolling hills and mountains shrouded in rain-filled mists in late afternoon and bedecked in pink-and-orange sun in early morning. Yet the majestic hills have few trees. Haiti’s rich forests were chopped down two centuries ago, leaving most hillsides raped of their rightful foliage.
     I see the beaming faces of parents as their sons and daughters processed into the Episcopal Church of Haiti’s Church of Our Saviour at Cange on a sultry Sunday morning. Dressed in pearly white dresses, sky-blue socks and matching ribbons, each little girl walked in beside a little boy. The boys were clad in dark blue pants and jackets; their pale shirts chosen to match the girls’ socks and hair ribbons. Almost every child smiled shyly. Hands clasped in prayer, the boy-girl pairs bowed before the altar and then to each other.
     Joy radiated from parents’ faces at this kindergarten graduation. I couldn’t help but smile, my delight linking me to the hospitable Haitians and to the other 11 Episcopal “missioners” on this Trinity Cathedral trip to Cange with Canon Joye Q. Cantrell.
That same Sunday morning, I also couldn’t help but weep in fear for the children at Church of Our Saviour.
     The vital statistics for surviving to adulthood in Haiti are daunting. Haiti has the highest rates of infant, under age 5 and maternal mortality rates in the Western Hemisphere. Diarrhea, respiratory infections, malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS are the leading causes of death. The average life expectancy is only 47. Poverty, disease, violence and almost every negative imaginable plague this nation, the poorest in the Western Hemisphere.
     But those realities have not deterred the commitment of the Upper Diocese of South Carolina to Haiti for some 30 years. The Rt. Rev. William A. Beckham, who died in 2006, was a key figure in the development of that close relationship which began with the building of a water system in Cange. Even today, getting to Cange --just 30 miles from Port-au-Prince –is a perilous 3-hour journey along a rut-ridden, single lane dirt road.
     Yet giving to Cange, being in Cange remains a diocesan priority. The Rt. Rev. Dorsey F. Henderson has emphasized our ties to Haiti throughout ties his tenure.
     In January, Bishop Henderson issued a statement stressing that faith without outreach is not really faith. He likened the diocese’s current capital funds drive for Haiti -- “The Gifts of Bread and Water” – to the Christian call to “love with the heart of Christ, think with the mind of Christ, and act in the world as the body of Christ.”
     Noting that at least $1.6 million is needed to alleviate the water crisis in Cange, Henderson said the water system built by the diocese to serve 800 now serves 8,000 daily. Indeed, many of Haiti’s problems are linked to the lack of such basic necessities as potable water.
     In addition, unemployment rages with some estimates putting it as high as 70 percent. Densely populated, Haiti too often has been plagued by political upheaval, violence and lawlessness. The resulting uncertainty severely limits access to the essentials that would help the children of Church of Our Saviour grow up safely.
     Going to Haiti took me way beyond my comfort zone. I struggled to muster the energy to make the trip since it occurred less than three months after the death of my father following a lingering illness and the unexpected death of my husband from a heart attack. I felt emotionally raw, personally bereft and spiritually unsteady. My uncertainties paled in comparison to the daily facts of life in Haiti. Going, especially with the other “missioners,” gave me perspective and courage.
     In Haiti, it wasn’t the cold showers, or lack of fans and air conditioning that made me uncomfortable. What jarred me was recognizing just how often I am self-absorbed rather than focused on God’s call to serve others.
      I had seen abject poverty in nations as disparate as the United States, Mexico and Russia through my work as a religion journalist. I had experienced the dissonance bred in hope and sometimes destroyed by church projects gone wrong when Christians tried to help victims of everything from hurricanes to terrorist attacks.
     Haiti is different. It is geographically closer to South Carolina. Our efforts are ongoing. Our relationship is certain; our work rooted in what the Haitians say they need.
     For Trinity, completing a school at Morne Michel -- a 3 ½-hour hike straight up a mountain – is a priority. Six missioners hiked to see the school. Near the climb’s end, Trinity missioner Rhett Wolfe watched the “outlines of the new school rising through the fog,” deciding that while the church cannot help everyone; it can “have a major impact.”
     When I returned from Haiti, a friend told me about her own experience there. “Haiti changed me when I went there in the 1980s,” she said, “changed my life, changed my values. I’ve never seen such poverty, nor such joy.” This summer, missioner Lucy Dinkins returned more cognizant of the importance of mission and ministry. “Interacting with Christians in a completely different part of the world gave me a true sense of just how vast the kingdom of God is,” she said.
     Missioner Elizabeth Clark came home troubled that so many “Haitians are educated and ready to make their way in the world, but trapped in a country with no real economy to support them.” She hopes diocesan programs to build agricultural schools and improve farming will help, but worries that what is being done will not meet the enormous needs. Like Elizabeth, I cannot answer those questions, but I am certain we should keep trying, keep giving, keep praying and keep going back to Haiti. We need the Haitians as much as they need us.

Cecile S. Holmes, who worships at Trinity, is a USC associate professor of journalism and the author of “Four Women, Three Faiths.” If you are interested in hosting a book review party, contact us at sisteriisister@thepeacehour.org.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

A message to everyone.

Once on a yellow piece of paper with green lines
he wrote a
poem
And he called it "Chops"
because that was the name of his dog
And that's what it was all about
And his teacher gave him an A
and a
gold star
And his mother hung it on the kitchen door
and read it to his
aunts
That was the year Father Tracy
took all the kids to the zoo
And he let them sing on the bus
And his little sister was born
with
tiny toenails and no hair
And his mother and father kissed a lot
And the
girl around the corner sent him a
Valentine signed with a row of X's
and
he had to ask his father what the X's meant
And his father always tucked him
in bed at night
And was always there to do it

Once on a piece of
white paper with blue lines
he wrote a poem
And he called it "Autumn"
because that was the name of the season
And that's what it was all about
And his teacher gave him an A
and asked him to write more clearly
And his mother never hung it on the kitchen door
because of its new
paint
And the kids told him
that Father Tracy smoked cigars
And left
butts on the pews
And sometimes they would burn holes
That was the year
his sister got glasses
with thick lenses and black frames
And the girl
around the corner laughed
when he asked her to go see Santa Claus
And
the kids told him why
his mother and father kissed a lot
And his father
never tucked him in bed at night
And his father got mad
when he cried
for him to do it.

Once on a paper torn from his notebook
he wrote a
poem
And he called it "Innocence: A Question"
because that was the
question about his girl
And that's what it was all about
And his
professor gave him an A
and a strange steady look
And his mother never
hung it on the kitchen door
because he never showed her
That was the
year that Father Tracy died
And he forgot how the end
of the Apostle's
Creed went
And he caught his sister
making out on the back porch
And
his mother and father never kissed
or even talked
And the girl around
the corner
wore too much makeup
That made him cough when he kissed her
but he kissed her anyway
because that was the thing to do
And at
three a.m. he tucked himself into bed
his father snoring soundly

That's why on the back of a brown paper bag
he tried another poem
And he called it "Absolutely Nothing"
Because that's what it was really
all about
And he gave himself an A
and a slash on each damned wrist
And he hung it on the bathroom door
because this time he didn't think
he could reach the kitchen.


This poem is called, A Person, A Paper, A Promise, written by Dr. Earl Reum.

Isn't it sad? My wish for you all is to understand that the world in which we live is brutal, it's rough, it's confusing, it's real but it can be beautiful. It wil give us strength. You are not alone. You 're stronger than you think. You can make it. Please don't give up. You are beautiful. B-E-A-U-tiful. You are worth so much. You're not worthless, you never were, and you never will be. Sometimes things are hard but they'll make you stronger and you'll get past it. You're going to make it. I know you're tired but you can take it. You'll get the energy to make it through. You'll find the light to lead you out of the darkness and your heart will sing and be happy and you'll feel the love. The sadness will go away. You'll accomplish things you can't even imagine right now. Don't be afraid, don't run away. You're amazing and you're going to make it. You deserve the sun and the stars, the moon, the clouds, and all the smiles in the world. You deserve it all. Your life is precious and beautiful. It's wonderful and perfect. You may not see how precious your life is but treasure it. It's a wonderful thing. Please don't hurt it. Don't destroy it. Don't tarnish its beauty. Please! I love you. I'd love for you to be happy. I'd love to see you smile. A beautiful and happy smile. I'd love to see pain and sadness vanished from the world forever. I want all hearts to be healed. I believe that we can work together to achieve that. We can make it happen through love. Love is magical. Hope is magical but they're both real. They're real and we can use them to change the world and make it better place. A place that we deserve and a place that our children and their children deserve. A beautiful place built on love and feed with happiness. It can happen and it will. It's possible if we all believe and know that it's real. Know that a better tomorrow is possible and we can all work towards it. Tell someone how amazing they are. Tell someone that their smile is beautiful and that it warms other people's hearts. Tell someone that they are loved and not alone. Believe it. Understand it and spread the word. Together we can spread love to every heart and the world will be a better place. We can do it. I believe. Do you?



Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Starting Small

Despina Mwembe from Uganda (shown here with her colleague and friend, Heidi Rautionmaa from Finland) submits her first blog to the Sister II Sister network. I'm proud to call her both friend and sister. She shares a story of starting small--in order to accomplish the bigger things for peace. Despina is a peace ambassador who works alongside others in a quest to end religiously motivated violence and to build cultures of peace, justice and healing for the world.
P.K. McCary, Host of the Sister to Sister Blog


Dear Friends,
This morning I went to the Ministry in charge of religious affairs because it is a current requirement for all NGOs to get clearance letters from their line ministries in order for them to continue with their business.  As I was coming in the Minister was getting out so we chatted for a little while and he informed me that his assistant Ronald who works on those issues shall be handling my case.  He called him and as I was waiting for his secretary to photocopy some of the organizational proof documents I had gone with, we started a conversation.
     Apparently, Ronald and his friends belong to a prayer group which was practically targeting the workers because they don't have time  to attend to prayers.  This was started by 2-3 people in one of the institutions which was regarded by most Ugandans as the most corrupt institution ... The Revenue Authority.  Every day, they would meet and pray during lunch time, share a sermon by whoever had prepared to do it that day. As the days went by, more employees joined them to a tune of 35, the Institution started getting more revenue collections.  The employees were commended by their heads, those praying also increased again more in number. Later, some talked to a few of their collegues in the Presidents house locally referred to as State house, ethical conduct started to prevail, though coupled with other pressures. Today the President is openly coming up to condemn corruption and also starting to have a firm grip on those who are corrupt in some institutions.  They went also to the Judiciary, some hospitals and according to him they are continuing with this mission to the different parastals.
     As he shared this,  we started discussing that when you say that governments are corrupt, it is very important to target the workers because they are the ones with the gadgets to either steal or not. An employee theiving attitude can reflect the out puts from that institution. How the children are also brought up by their parents is also key to the outcomes of their behavior in the future. So all these parastals and families need to do something to their employees and children's  values. If it is about domestic violence for example, it is important for us to teach all our  children that women need to be respected, etc.
     An employee who takes an organization for granted and doesn't come on time, doesn't meet deadlines has a negative attitude towards those visiting the organization can greatly contribute to its downfall.
As we were talking about the employees and families etc., I was also evaluating myself and at the same time thinking about the CCs (United Religions Cooperation Circles) and the people therein and how these can start small to have nonviolence attitudes guided by the golden rule at that small level.  In 20- 30 years maybe we would make a difference.
     I also talked to Ronald about whether this can be done while involving other religious groups apart from Christians. He said that would be a good thing because all these un-ethical conducts can't discriminate.  His problem though was whom to contact from those different groups and how to organize it.  As for organizing, I told him he needs to work it out with the concerned parties and as for whom to contact I gave him some key persons.
     I was one of those who feared to start something and I know that it is always hard to start something, but once you put your energy to it, comitment and also believe in prayer as some of religious traditions inspire us, then chances are high that something good can come out of it.  Of course there are so many hurdles along the way but comitment and endurance does sometimes pay off. Ronald also says, the attitude also shouldn't be selfishly motivated.
     This can be a departmental program you are doing, an activity you are planning or executing, a familiy value you are inculcating, an organizational programing you are setting, etc.
     The small things we start and do at that level then become the larger building blocks which can be credibly applauded.  There are times when I feel that maybe I am not doing enough especially when I look at what is going on around me, but Ronald's story today has really made me feel that starting small and commiting can one day be the big achievement that we can all celebrate.
     Thank you all for those sometimes un recognized contributions you are making in the world.
In peace,
Despina Mwembe

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Give Your Heart To Haiti


Greetings Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As soon as news of the earthquake in Haiti reached us, we began to organize fundraising efforts for relief work. I belong to an international relief organization, AMURT-AMURTEL. Here in Asheville, NC, we've been fundraising at the stores, and in schools. Many of us have put out calls to our friends nationwide to organize fundraising in their areas, with great success. This week, we collected food, clothing, bedding, medical supplies, educational materials, and in kind donations to send out to AMURT-AMURTEL centers in Haiti. Here is an update on the work going on there:

AMURT & AMURTEL in operation GIVE YOUR HEART TO HAITI continues the work on the ground in Port Au Prince by offering soup kitchens and canteens offering ready to eat meals and bringing in critical resources that are still virtually impossible to attain in Haiti, such as food and fuel. The feeding program is being extended and reinforced next week through several partnerships that will enable the team to offer meals to even more people, for an extended period of time, and in several different locations in the city. The emergency medical clinics and soup kitchen at the Ananda Marga Schools are providing much needed care to thousands of local residents. Most people have been staying outside as a result of the aftershocks.

AMURT & AMURTEL brought in the latest round of relief supplies through the Dominican Republic on Saturday, accompanied by several more team members. The additions to the team have been vital in setting up an additional office in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, where many agencies are setting up their coordination centers. There is also a large shipment of medical supplies and other aid materials en route to Florida, scheduled to leave from Miami this Wednesday by boat to the Dominican Republic. These items will then be transported over land into Haiti. Additional medical teams and volunteers are scheduled for deployment within the week.

AMURT & AMURTEL have also made significant progress in contacting and partnering with other agencies on the ground, including Catholic Relief Services, the International Organization for Migration, and the World Food Program. Through these partnerships they will immediately start developing programs based on their objectives of targeting vulnerable and marginalized populations - people with disabilities, the elderly, women, and children. The programs will include easily accessible food programs and child friendly trauma evacuation centers.

AMURT & AMURTEL have more than two decades of experience with relief work in Haiti, and have facilitated many ongoing development projects there. AMURTEL particularly focuses on meeting the special needs of women and children in disasters. The teams are responding to this calamity as rapidly and effectively as possible, and will remain far after the triage and immediate relief has been completed.

Financial support is desperately needed. Tax-deductible donations for GIVE YOUR HEART TO HAITI can be made directly at www.amurt.us, www.amurtel.org, or www.amurt.net. Donations are also being accepted by check made out to AMURT and sent to:

AMURT & AMURTEL USA
GIVE YOUR HEART TO HAITI CAMPAIGN
2502 Lindley Terrace
Rockville, MD 20850

http://www.amurt.net/
http://www.amurtel.org/
http://www.amurt.us/


From Amy Goodman's Democracy Now broadcast yesterday, I understand that the greatest need in the city of Port au Prince is medical personnel, medical equipment, and supplies for the General Hospital. Please refer to her broadcast at: http://www.democracynow.org/ . There you will hear/see an amazing interview from one of the doctors on the ground.

Please keep Haiti in your hearts and do what you can to help with the relief efforts; and to support future sustainable projects. When considering donating items, it's best to send cash to help support the economy of the country in need for things that can be bought there locally. Otherwise, check in with the on-ground organization to see what their needs are.

Sisterly yours,
Anjali Natarajan
AMURT-AMURTEL Committee Member
Asheville, North Carolina

Saturday, January 16, 2010

God's Grace is Sufficient

Note: Sister Mama Sonya is a wonderful and gifted storyweaver and playwrite and founder with her two sisters of 3 sisters in the spirit productions. She and I have been friends for decades and have worked with children and on projects as long as we've known each other. Thursday this week, my friend almost died of diabetic complications. She is a tireless worker on many fronts, but diabetes is what she lives with every day of her life. This is her story. Sister Mama Sonya is the author of Sweet Sensations for the Spirit, a book about diabetes. Yours in peace, P.K. McCary
The number of people around the world suffering from diabetes has skyrocketed in the last two decades, from 30 million to 230 million, claiming millions of lives and severely taxing the ability of health care systems to deal with the epidemic, according to data released Saturday by the International Diabetes Federation. While the growing problem of diabetes in the United States has been well documented, the federation's data show that 7 of the 10 countries with the highest number of diabetics are in the developing world.
New York Times, January 16, 2010
JAMBO/HELLO!!!
9 And He said to me “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-11
When God administers U a test, U are duty bound to give your testimony, so here is mine:
On Thursday, I left my office around 10:30 to go to the eye doctor for an 11:00 appointment at Kelsey Seybold Clinic in the Galleria area. As I got on Hwy 59S, the freeway began to look funny to me. The lanes seemed to keep changing, morphing in & out. However, I kept driving. I vaguely remember getting on to 610 and exiting at Woodway ( although I should have exited at San Felipe). As I tried to go to the clinic on Augusta, I became more and more disoriented. However, I really did not know what was going on.
I drove around looking for the clinic and called the nurse saying I was lost. She asked where was I and I told her on S Post Oak and something, then hung up. I called again and told her I was late, but to please do not cancel my appointment and then I hung up. I called Craig, my husband. Later, he told me that I was babbling on the phone.
As I drove around I became more and more disoriented, yet still not realizing what was really happening. I saw myself driving erratically, turning around in the streets, pulling in and out of parking lots, even going through a red light or two.
At this point I thought I was having a nervous breakdown and keeping saying, “Please, Lord, I’m not going out like this. Lord, do not take me out like this please.” I remember screaming trying to make sense of the situation.
I kept trying to get to Augusta Street, but I could not find it. And when I did see it for whatever reason, I did not turn on the street. I remember looking at the clock. It was 11:45 a.m.. I saw a neighborhood, a house with a baby swing in the front yard and then I was back on Westheimer again, driving erratically.
The next thing I knew, it was 1:45 pm and I was lying in an ambulance with an IV in my arm in front of the  house with the baby swing.  My sugar levels had gone down to 21 and I had passed out in my car.  Someone saw me passed out and called the police who called an ambulance
God’s grace is sufficient.  Even with the erratic driving down the freeway, through the streets, still I did not cause harm to myself or anyone else. I do not know how I got back in front of that house, yet the hand  of God hand parked my car perfectly off of the main streets.
Craig would not have known to look for me on that back street if I was still passed out in my car.  Hallelujah!!!!! His grace, God’s grace was my covering and protection. I now know more than ever, just how good God is, how he protects U, safeguards U, looks after U, keeps U when U can’t do it for your self. When infirmities come your way, He is there to make U stronger in your weakest hour. Hallelujah!!!! Glory 2 God!!! I just can’t stop saying thank you enough for His grace is sufficient.


Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, sickness of the mind
In my weakness, I get stronger
Divorce, separation, unfulfilled relationships
In my weakness, I get stronger
Bankruptcies, foreclosures, unemployment
In my weakness, I get stronger
Hatred, racism, jealousy
In my weakness, I get stronger
Violence, Death, Destruction,
In my weakness, I get stronger
Wars, earthquakes, calamities
In my weakness, I get stronger
When my life feels low
And I don’t know where to go
It gets hard to look up and not give up
When U drink from life’s bitter cup
When challenges & infirmities seem be all there is
I stop and remember that I am His
Then I become stronger and know that I can go on
Because I know who I can to go to and call upon
His grace is sufficient
It IS enough
When times get tough, the going gets rough
In my weakness I feel His strength & power
Because I know His grace protects me in my darkest hour
In my weakness, I will cry no longer
For in my weakness through His sufficient grace
I AM  Stronger


sister mama sonya 2010

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

When Disaster Strikes ...

A beautiful place:



God cries, too.


According to a report from NPR:
"The tiny bodies of children lay in piles next to the ruins of their collapsed school. People with faces covered by white dust and the blood of open wounds roamed the streets. Frantic doctors wrapped heads and stitched up sliced limbs in a hotel parking lot. The poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, still struggling to recover from the relentless strikes of four catastrophic storms in 2008, was a picture of heartbreaking devastation Wednesday after a magnitude-7 earthquake."
     Why does it seem that Haiti cannot get a break? My heart breaks for the suffering of the people of Haiti who have had more than their share of tragedies. Still, for someone to say that God somehow designs these tragedies to punish people is more than cruel. It is wrong. More than a half million people and even more may have suffered because of the January 12, 2010 earthquake that rocked this small country. There are many ways to help. My hope is that you will take the time and send whatever you can. There are many places to give included in this blog. I'm only asking that you do. Here are a few:
What you can do:
• Donating cash to established relief organizations is the best way to help because it allows professionals to get exactly what they need and does not use up scarce resources such as transportation, staff time or warehouse space.

Organizations accepting donations:
• InterAction has a list of agencies responding and how to donate to them. Find it here: www.interaction.org/crisis-list/earthquake-haiti

• To donate $10 to the American Red Cross,
text Haiti to 90999. The amount will be added to your next phone bill.
The organization is also accepting donations through its International Response Fund at www.redcross.org or (800) RED-CROSS.

• To donate $5 to Wyclef Jean’s Haitian Yele charity, text 501501. The money will be added to your next phone bill.

• To find out how to help the International Rescue Committee, visit www.theIRC.org or call toll free, (877) REFUGEE.

• To donate through Oxfam’s emergency appeal, visit www.oxfam.org.uk

Don't politicize. Don't judge. Simply give. Today.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Woman as Mother

by Anjali Angela Silva

Who am I
As Sister,
Mother,
Daughter,
Friend?
Who am I?

Coming into womanhood, I asked myself this question time and time again. Thus began the personal, internal journey. Throughout my teens and youth, I identified myself as Chicana, Portuguese, Sephardin - an exotic singer/dancer, an indigenous spiritualist, a healer with a strong urge to serve the underserved. The years pass; an initiation into the Tantric spiritual life; a marriage to an Indian man and two children later. The question takes on another form: Who am I as Mother?

Mother, has been my prominent role for the last 13 years. It has been the primary focus and goal from pre-conception to pre-teen years: How will I raise these boys? What education will they receive? What are my goals for them? How do I raise them to be spiritual and conscious beings? As a spiritual woman on the Tantric path, Mother has taken on the form as Universal Mother, Mohiini – mother to all. Indian philosopher, P.R. Sarkar states that in Bengali culture, all females, from newborn to crone, are revered and addressed as mothers, or ‘Ma’. If this were to become a universal social trend, surely violence against women would cease. In his book, The Awakening of Women, he writes:

“In the Vajrayana Buddhist age, the idea first developed that the basic identity of a woman was neither “sister” nor “daughter”, but “mother”. To support this concept, the Vajrayana Buddhist Tantrics used to say that the person whom the newborn baby notices immediately after its birth is neither its sister, its wife, nor its daughter, but its mother. So that on the wider canvas of this universe the identity of a woman, from first to last, was portrayed as a mother.”

This summer, I moved to the mountains of North Carolina to be a part of a yogic community. I am one of a few women living near the brothers land. Here, we have a milking farm, a retreat center, and the beginnings of a sustainable community for women. Late December it snowed and snowed, and what was supposed to be only 4 inches of snow turned out to be 18! Within the first few hours, the power went out, and did not return for nine days. Grandpa came running downstairs, lugging two snow contraptions: a sled and a toboggan.
“Come on boys; let’s go play in the snow!”
Into mother mode I went, “Get on 3 layers of clothes, snow boots, hats and gloves and your winter coats.”
These boys grew up in Houston where winter temperatures are around 50-60 degrees F, thus I received much resistance to bundle up: "It’s not that cold!"
But after a few days of reinforcement, they finally understood.

How is it that mothers hold the intention for keeping children safe and warm? I look around me at the men in my life - strong men, beautiful men, spiritual men, men with so many good qualities. But only mother thinks to keep the children covered and warm; to keep track of them on 100 acres of mountain woods where anything can happen to them; to give them proper nourishment in food and love; to make sure they spend time doing a variety of activities during the day. Mother as Warmth. Mother as Love.

During the four days we were snowed in, I became the keeper of the homestead, “The Pioneer Woman”, as Grandpa said. Having recently watched a demonstration at an old fashioned homestead village, I learned to make a coal bed for cooking. As I chopped vegetables, I thought of the brothers outside, gathering wood, assessing the land, clearing the roads of fallen trees. In great appreciation of all their work, I carefully chose the right salty seasonings for a hearty soup that would warm their bodies and please their senses. Mother as Nurturer.

I was the mother to those boys and men who worked hard to keep us in fire wood and clear the roads. I cooked and cleaned and kept the children in dry clothing throughout the day. It is this consciousness that God has given to us – Woman as Mother.

A week later, my family and I traveled to a spiritual retreat in Missouri. On the way there, I fell sick with extreme anemia. A motherly angel appeared in the form of a curandera; a natural doctor, Ashima. She knew just the thing to do and had brought all of her supplements, needles and wisdom, in her plastic bags. “Take these supplements every morning and drink lots of water. Come stay in my room with me so I can take better care of you.”

And that she did.

She made sure every morning I took my supplements and gave me daily acupuncture treatments that stopped the bleeding and raised my energy. She advised me not to attend the programs – to stay in bed and rest as much as possible until my strength returned. Then, Madre Angel wrote me a long list of things that would help me to heal, and consulted with my own natural doctor. This is mother – one who goes out of her way to help others.

At the same retreat, I noticed a young, single mother struggling to get time away from her baby. I reached out to her and relieved her of her duties several times so that she could attend the meditations. Though I myself was sick, I saw that I could still serve in some small way.

In the West, the concept of Universal Mother is mistaken for martyrism. It is looked down upon by many women. Here, we are given the privilege to explore our masculine side, to ‘do our own thing’, to be individualistic. In the East and in other countries, the quality of mother is valued and highly honored. Being raised in the West of ‘old world’ parentage, I have struggled with balancing the internal question: Who am I as a woman? In this time and space, I am mother – Universal Mother who sees all of humanity as her own, and strives to keep it in my consciousness to serve others. Woman as Mother.