The Lady Speaks

So This is Christmas…

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December 25, 2007 Posted by | America, Children, Holidays, World Peace | 1 Comment

Santa’s On His Way….

December 24, 2007 Posted by | America, Children, Holidays, Life | 1 Comment

Happy Turkey Time!

Give Thanks

When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light,
for your life and strength.
Give thanks for your food and the joy of living.
If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies in yourself.

–Tecumseh

As I said last year, I think it’s a great idea to have a day set aside to be thankful. Despite what so many of the Christianists think, one doesn’t need to be Christian to be grateful for the blessings in our lives.

I do have a problem with the Pilgrim nonsense, however. Let’s get real: these people came to escape religious persecution and then turned around and persecuted those who didn’t believe exactly as they did.

Thanksgiving isn’t about Pilgrims and Indians, at least, not in my house. Thanksgiving is simply the time to be grateful — to a deity or not — for the friends and family still with us, to remember those we’ve lost, to be thankful for the roof over our heads, the clothes on our backs, and the food in our tummies when so many are going without. This has been a difficult year in my home, but we have so much more than so many of our fellow citizens. We have been blessed.

So, here’s part of my “Blessings” list – the idea for which I stole, in part, from Strategerie:

  • My children – R, P, and M – the greatest of my blessings.
  • My mom and step-dad – always there with sound advice and lots of humor.
  • My sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephew who all bring joy, laughter, and fun to my life. Remember: it isn’t a party until someone says, “Do you remember…?
  • My friends, real and online – for being there.
  • And, last but never least: my Gabbly pals — also known to my children as my invisible friends — jeff, EPU, Cy, Strat, Gari, eva, proudprogressive, Shez, Caitin, and leinie.

Happy Thanksgiving!

An Iroquois Prayer

We return thanks to our mother, the earth, with sustains us.
We return thanks to the rivers and streams, which supply us with water.
We return thanks to all herbs, which furnish medicines for the cure of our diseases.
We return thanks to the corn, and to her sisters, the beans and squash, which give us life.
We return thanks to the bushes and trees, which provide us with fruit.
We return thanks to the wind, which, moving the air, has banished diseases.
We return thanks to the moon and the stars, which have given us their light when the sun was gone.
We return thanks to our grandfather He-no, .., who has given to us his rain.
We return thanks to the sun, that he has looked upon the earth with a beneficent eye.
Lastly, we return thanks to the Great Spirit, in whom is embodied all goodness, and who directs all things for the good of his children

November 22, 2007 Posted by | America, Family, Friends, Holidays, Thanksgiving | Leave a comment

All I Want For [Winter Holiday of Your Choice]

Like others who have lots of little people in their lives, I’ve been wondering just what in the world to buy them for Christmas … the holidays.

The one and only, very bestest, gotta-have-it toy my niece wanted – pulled from the market. Same goes for the items I’d been eyeing for my nephew and another niece.

I’m not about to buy some piece of Chinese-made lead-coated junk, so … what to do?

Ah – I heard that! Books, absolutely. I’m the book-aunt in my family. No event goes by without some book as a gift, and I frequently give books for no reason at all.

But, kids – being kids – like toys and want toys, and even if I don’t buy them now, I’m going to have to buy toys at some point in the future.

Which is why I was thrilled to find this:

Still Made in USA – a great resource list with links to companies whose products are, obviously, still made in the US. With product categories like: Toys and Games, Kitchen and Dining, Bed and Bath, Appliances, Apparel, Tools, Home and Garden … everything you could want or need — produced in the US, by US workers, under US standards — can be found through this site.

Under Toys and Games, for example, you’ll find companies such as:

K’nex – celebrating its 15th anniversary – K’nex building sets were a favorite of my boys when they were younger.

ImagiPLAY – “Toys with Integrity” – Earth-friendly and Child-safe toys

Skullduggery, Inc – plaster craft kits in a variety of themes: race cars, fossils, etc.

Shrinky Dinks – You remember these! Kids can create a wild variety of different objects with shrinkable plastic.

Wiffle Ball, Inc – Home of the original Wiffle Ball.

Greenleaf Dollhouses – dollhouses, furniture kits, birdhouses and more

Magic Cabin – soft dolls, dress-up clothes, arts & crafts, books

And that’s just a sampling. Enjoy looking around the site and finding great, safe toys, games, crafts, and more for kids of all ages – and stuff for you and your home as well!

I shall now consider this my good deed for the day – which means … chocolate for me!

November 12, 2007 Posted by | America, Children, Family, Holidays, Made in the USA, Planet Earth | Leave a comment

Happy Destruction and Oppression of Native Peoples Day

In fourteen hundred and ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

Ushering in centuries of slavery, death, and destruction for the First Nations of the New World.

From Bartoleme de Las Casas, in his Brief Account of the Devastation of the Indies, 1542:

And of all the infinite universe of humanity, these people are the most guileless, the most devoid of wickedness and duplicity, the most obedient and faithful to their native masters and to the Spanish Christians whom they serve. They are by nature the most humble, patient, and peaceable, holding no grudges, free from embroilments, neither excitable nor quarrelsome. These people are the most devoid of rancors, hatreds, or desire for vengeance of any people in the world. And because they are so weak and complaisant, they are less able to endure heavy labor and soon die of no matter what malady.

[snip]

They are very clean in their persons, with alert, intelligent minds, docile and open to doctrine, very apt to receive our holy Catholic faith …

[snip]

Yet into this sheepfold, into this land of meek outcasts there came some Spaniards who immediately behaved like ravening wild beasts, wolves, tigers, or lions that had been starved for many days. And Spaniards have behaved in no other way during tla! past forty years, down to the present time, for they are still acting like ravening beasts, killing, terrorizing, afflicting, torturing, and destroying the native peoples, doing all this with the strangest and most varied new methods of cruelty, never seen or heard of before, and to such a degree that this Island of Hispaniola once so populous (having a population that I estimated to be more than three million), has now a population of barely two hundred persons.

[snip]

The common ways mainly employed by the Spaniards who call themselves Christian and who have gone there to extirpate those pitiful nations and wipe them off the earth is by unjustly waging cruel and bloody wars. Then, when they have slain all those who fought for their lives or to escape the tortures they would have to endure, that is to say, when they have slain all the native rulers and young men (since the Spaniards usually spare only the women and children, who are subjected to the hardest and bitterest servitude ever suffered by man or beast), they enslave any survivors. With these infernal methods of tyranny they debase and weaken countless numbers of those pitiful Indian nations.

[snip]

And never have the Indians in all the Indies committed any act against the Spanish Christians, until those Christians have first and many times committed countless cruel aggressions against them or against neighboring nations. For in the beginning the Indians regarded the Spaniards as angels from Heaven. Only after the Spaniards had used violence against them, killing, robbing, torturing, did the Indians ever rise up against them….

[snip]

And the Christians, with their horses and swords and pikes began to carry out massacres and strange cruelties against them. They attacked the towns and spared neither the children nor the aged nor pregnant women nor women in childbed, not only stabbing them and dismembering them but cutting them to pieces as if dealing with sheep in the slaughter house. They laid bets as to who, with one stroke of the sword, could split a man in two or could cut off his head or spill out his entrails with a single stroke of the pike. They took infants from their mothers’ breasts, snatching them by the legs and pitching them headfirst against the crags or snatched them by the arms and threw them into the rivers, roaring with laughter and saying as the babies fell into the water, “Boil there, you offspring of the devil!” Other infants they put to the sword along with their mothers and anyone else who happened to be nearby. They made some low wide gallows on which the hanged victim’s feet almost touched the ground, stringing up their victims in lots of thirteen, in memory of Our Redeemer and His twelve Apostles, then set burning wood at their feet and thus burned them alive. To others they attached straw or wrapped their whole bodies in straw and set them afire. With still others, all those they wanted to capture alive, they cut off their hands and hung them round the victim’s neck, saying, “Go now, carry the message,” meaning, Take the news to the Indians who have fled to the mountains. They usually dealt with the chieftains and nobles in the following way: they made a grid of rods which they placed on forked sticks, then lashed the victims to the grid and lighted a smoldering fire underneath, so that little by little, as those captives screamed in despair and torment, their souls would leave them….

October 8, 2007 Posted by | America, Holidays | 2 Comments

Jenn’s Sunday Sermon – Easter Edition

Happy Candy-filled Spring Holiday to all those celebrating.

This probably should have been a Good Friday post, but…well, it isn’t. As usual this week, I’m running behind.

* *

For many Christians – the real ones, not the Talibangelical-types – this is the holiest day in the Christian calendar. Not Christmas.

As miraculous as Christ’s birth might have been, it was his life and his death that mattered. However, even if you’re not a believer, you can still understand and be awed by the story of Christ: A man came and stood up to the establishment of the time and was killed for it.

Whether he rose from the dead or not matters little in the end, when you consider the impact of his life.

He came and told the people that they were all equal. He told the people to love one another, to care for the poor, the widowed, the orphaned, the imprisoned. He sought no wealth and even threw the money-changers and vendors out of the Temple.

He didn’t die for defying Roman authority. He died for offending the sensibilities of the religious leaders who saw their congregants leaving to follow a no-name itinerant preacher.

He died for telling the hyper-religious and the wealthy that unless they put actions to words, they were not assured of a place in heaven.

He didn’t die for advocating against the government. He died for preaching peace, love, and brotherhood.

From the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:

And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:

2  And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

3  Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4  Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

5  Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

6  Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

7  Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

10  Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

In short, Son of God or not, Jesus was the original Dirty F*cking Hippie.

April 8, 2007 Posted by | Christianity, Easter, Holidays, Religion, World Peace | 2 Comments

Happy St. Paddy’s Day

*

Anyone feel a need for a history lesson this morning? Me either.

If you don’t know who Saint Patrick was or don’t know anything about him, go here.

St. Patrick’s Day is just a national excuse for a giant party, at least here in the US. It comes at the right time for those of us in the cold parts of the US – just as we’re all getting heartily tired of winter.

In my house, despite being full of non-Christians, non-pagans, and non-humans, St. Paddy’s is cause for celebration for two reasons.

The first being, we’re Irish. My paternal grandmother was the only daughter of two illegal immigrants, Patrick and Kate (Clark/e) Malloy, from County Meath and County Cork, respectively.

The other reason for celebrating is my maternal line’s fondness for the name. We’ve had a Patrick or Patricia in every generation, always named after their aunt/uncle, and always passing that name to their niece or nephew. For awhile the only real advantage to that name was the free Shamrock Shake you could get at Mickey D’s with proof of ID.

When you have a Pat – or Patty or Patt or Paddy – in the house, you just have to celebrate, even if all you’re celebrating is the coming of Spring. We have the traditional dinner of ham and cabbage with potatoes and carrots. We put shamrocks in the windows. We wear tacky, “Kiss Me. I’m Irish.” pins.

Like most of the US, we’ll have fun and laugh, but we won’t, I’m sure, take much time to think about today’s version of the hated Irish – Hispanics. So, I’m going to do that now.

When the Irish first began arriving in waves in the middle 1800’s, people were not too happy. Too many Irish were willing to work for any wage to provide for their (usually large) families. On top of which, many were Catholic – a religion few in the US could tolerate.

Boston, so noted for it’s Irish culture now, was a hotbed of hatred when the Irish influx became overwhelming.

From Tolerance.Org:

When a wave of Irish Catholic immigrants began arriving in the U.S. in the 1820s, they found a bitter welcome among the Anglo-Saxon Protestant majority.

Newspapers described them as “Irish niggers” and “a mongrel mass of ignorance.” Many employers assigned Irish laborers to only the most menial and dangerous positions. Irish Catholicism was denounced with charges of superstition and perversion. In some cities, such as Philadelphia, anti-Catholic and anti-Irish hatred erupted into violence.

Equally divisive as religious and ethnic differences, however, was the matter of immigration itself. In just half a century, native-born Americans had come to regard all newcomers as “them.”

In Pennsylvania public schools in the 1840s, daily lessons from the King James Bible were required by law. In the opinion of Philadelphia’s Protestant majority, this practice provided the moral underpinning of education.

[snip]

In Philadelphia, as in Boston, New York and most other large cities, anti-Catholic and “nativist” organizations opposed the integration of new immigrants into U.S. society.

One such organization was the American Republicans, a Protestant political party in Philadelphia that became heavily involved in the school Bible controversy.

From the official site of the Ancient Order of Hibernians:

Then in the 19th century, the rise of the Native American or face Georgia Know Nothing Party ushered in an era of unparalleled bigotry in America. Anti-Catholic, anti-Irish sentiment had originally come to the British colonies with the representatives of the Crown and that prejudice was manifested up to the time of the American Revolution.

The service of the Irish in Washington’s army mitigated the intensity of that intolerance to a degree, but the basic bigotry had already taken root. The great number of Irish Catholics who arrived diseased and destitute at the time of Ireland’s Great Hunger gave new fuel to those fires of bigotry which were still smouldering.

The massive influx of Irish, fleeing starvation in their native land, focused Know Nothing hatred on that unfortunate group, and on the Catholic Church which they supported. Employers closed their doors to Irish workers, and legislation, reminiscent of the penal laws, was sought against the immigrant population who, it was stated, diluted American principles.

Who would think it of Boston, with its great and public displays of Irishness today? Who would think it of America, as its citizens prepare to parade and wave the Irish flag and drink themselves into stupors? We’re the great “melting pot.”

Truth be told, America only allows a group to “melt” into the pot once it finds another one to hate. The Irish – despite all the heroism displayed during the Mexican-American and Civil wars – weren’t fully accepted until after the Civil War, when freed slaves and Chinese immigrants became the new target.

From nearly its founding, intolerance has been an American institution. The Pilgrims wouldn’t allow other Protestant sects to “corrupt” their faith. Protestants didn’t want Catholics. Pale northern Europeans didn’t want darker southern Europeans. And so on, and so on.

I suppose today’s Hispanic immigrants could take comfort that in 100 years or so, we’ll be celebrating Cinco de Mayo as a national party and picking on some other group who made the mistake of believing the Statue of Liberty spoke for America.

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Happy St. Paddy’s.

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March 17, 2007 Posted by | America, Family, Holidays, St Patrick | Leave a comment