Monday, December 31, 2012

Hey Santa

Hey Santa

Hey Santa, can you bring me something good?

I thought I should get my request in early as I have a huge task for you and it might take you some extra time to get it all done, some extra planning on your part.

You see we have a big problem in our country.  We have too many guns that are falling into the hands of the wrong people.  The NRA thinks the answer is to have more guns, to put armed guards into our schools.

Where else would we have to put armed guards?  Movie theaters, shopping malls, the grocery store.  This can't be the answer. I guess this could be a form of job creation.  How many new jobs could that create? I shudder at the thought where this could take us.

I read that our country has over 300 millions guns in our homes.  300 million guns!  How many of those are weapons of mass destruction.  Weapons that belong only in the hands of  the military or police officers.

We lost too many people this last year in the matter of minutes because people had access to these weapons.  Twelve people were killed at a movie theater where the police were on site in less than 90 seconds.  Too late and 58 others were wounded in the carnage.

The politicians all echoed that the time was not right to have a serious conversation about guns.  They lamented that nothing could be done to prevent this from happening.  We looked away and hoped it wouldn't happen again.   Shameful...

There was something worse waiting to happen.  President Obama described the shootings at Sandy Hook elementary as the worst day in his Presidency.  The worst day of his Presidency?  What about the parents who dropped their children off at school that morning, trusting they would be safe.  Never to hug them again, to tuck them into bed at night.   20 children, and 6 teachers in a matter of minutes.  The killer had enough ammunition to kill every person in the school.  When the police arrived as cowards do, he turned the gun on himself.

So here is my request.  Since the government says nothing can be done and the loons at the NRA think the answer is to have more guns I am asking for your help to solve this problem.   So when you come down all the chimney's next Christmas eve, can you please remove all of the assault weapons.  We don't need these in our homes for protection, for hunting.  We don't need them in our world.

I know you don't every want anything like this to happen again.  Since we can't do anything about it, maybe you can.

Hey Santa.
Hey Santa, can you bring me something good?
A world without assault weapons.

Will you do this for Jasmine?

Thumbs up!
I met Jasmine at a fundraiser at a bowling alley that she used to work at to benefit the families of the Aurora theater shootings.  Jasmine had been shot in the leg.  Her tibia was fractured and has a long road of recovery facing her.  Jasmine is an avid bowler and she was bowling in a wheel chair the day I met her.  If you didn't bring this to her this last Christmas, please give her the gift of being able to bowl again and walk without pain.   Jasmine is one of the 58 survivors from that horrible night.

Will you do this for the children and the teachers at Santa Hook Elementary, for all of the friends and families whose hearts are broken?

Grace Audrey McDonnell, Age 7
Half a world away, the news about the shootings in Connecticut shook a town in Indonesia.  These are not the stories we want to tell and they are so important so I hope you will find the time to read Katie's story.

So Santa, how about it?  I haven't asked for anything in a long time and I have been good.  Really, I promise.

How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus, if we had nothing to believe in, no hope to hold onto. It would be as dreary as if there were no children like Grace and Charlotte, Daniel and Olivia, Josephine and Ana., Daniel and  Madeline, Catherine and Chase, Jesse and James, Emilie and Jack, Noah and Caroline, Jessica and Avielle, Benjamin and Allison. No laughter to lift our hearts, no smiles to gladden our lives.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Reverb 2012-My favorite picture

Cassie and Taylor

The picture was taken at the 2012 Leukemia and Lymphoma Man and Woman of the year kickoff at the Chinook Tavern on March 16. 

Taylor was giving Cassie some pointers on ballet out on the patio.  Taylor,age 7 was the Girl of the Year for the Rocky Mountain.   Taylor is undergoing treatment for (AML) Acute Myeloid Leukemia.

Cassie, 15 years old quipped, "You are never too old to learn ballet."

I chose this as my favorite picture for several reasons.  Most of all, the moment captured in this picture gives me great hope. 

Taylor was diagnosed with AML on September 30, 2008 at the age of 3.  Without a bone marrow transplant she had less than a 20% chance of  survival.  Taylor received a bone marrow transplant February 5, 2009.  Taylor's Mom said during her treatment , "If her toes were tapping, we knew she was okay,"   Well Taylor is still tapping her toes!

I had the honor of nominating Cassi to run as a Woman of the Year candidate for one of the Leukemia and Lymphoma's society's signature campaigns.   To see Cassi take on that challenge at the age of 15, be a source of love and support and inspiration for Taylor and even learn a few ballet moves along the way is something I will always hold close in my heart. 

I was so glad I had the opportunity to see all the candidates come together that night and make a stand for a world without cancer.

Cassi and Taylor give me hope for a better world.  A world without blood cancers, a world filled with love and hope and yes, ballet!

Friday, December 21, 2012

The day our country died

The end of the world as predicted by the Mayan's on December 21, 2012 was as over hyped as the Year 2000 rollover doomsayers. However, maybe the Mayans were off by a week  in their predictions as it felt like our country  died  on December 14, 2012 at 9:30 AM. along with 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary. 

Part of me died all over again as I heard the news of the latest mass shooting, so close to the pain and heartbreak in my community last July.  We buried one six year old girl, Veronica Mosher.

 I can only imagine the pain that the community in Newton has to endure as they face saying goodbye to 20 young children. 

Today church bells rang 26 times across the United States at 9:30 to remember the lives that were taken from us a week ago. 

  • Charlotte Bacon 6
  • Daniel Barden 7
  • Rachel Davino 29
  • Olivia Engel 6
  • Josephine Gay 7
  • Ana Marquez-Greene 6
  • Dylan Hockley 6
  • Dawn Hocksprung 47
  • Madeleine Hsu 6
  • Catherine Hubbard 6
  • Chase Kowalski 7
  • Nancy Lanza 52
  • Jesse Lewis 6
  • James Mattioli 6
  • Grace McDonnell 7
  • Anne Marie Murphy 52
  • Emilie Parker 6
  • Jack Pinto 6
  • Noah Pozner 6
  • Caroline Previdi 6
  • Jessica Rekos 6
  • Avielle Richman 6
  • Lauren Rousseau 30
  • Mary Sherlach 56
  • Victoria Soto 27
  • Benjamin Wheeler 6
  • Allison Wyatt 6

  • The cast from The Voice sang a beautiful tribute to those that were killed. 

    I did my best, it wasn't much
    I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
    I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
    And even though it all went wrong
    I'll stand before the Lord of Song
    With nothing on my tongue but Halleujah

    "We know this is a complex issue that stirs deeply held passions and political divides. And as I said on Sunday night, there's no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence in our society. We're going to need to work on making access to mental health care at least as easy as access to a gun. We're going to need to look more closely at a culture that all too often glorifies guns and violence. And any actions we must take must begin inside the home and inside our hearts."

    "But the fact that this problem is complex can no longer be an excuse for doing nothing. The fact that we can't prevent every act of violence doesn't mean we can't steadily reduce the violence, and prevent the very worst violence."~President Barack Obama

    Natalie Braden's letter to President Barack Obama and her perspective of gun control at the age of 10.  Can we all find our voice and choose to make a difference as Natalie is doing for her brother Daniel?

    As Hannah Brencher said in a recent blog post on Facebook,  "There are no words for a bit of this."  

    I agree with her and yet we have to find our voices, without judgement, without rancor and  make a stand for these young children, for our country. 

    With apologies to Don McLean. 

    "And the three men I admire most
    the father, son and the holy ghost
    they caught the last train for the coast
    the day... our country died." 

    Tuesday, December 18, 2012

    Silence and Support for Sandy Hook

    Donate by clicking here. 

    Monday, December 17, 2012

    A Wordless love letter to all who need it.

    This is a love letter that Hannah Brencher from The World Needs More Love Letters wrote about the Sandy Hook shootings.

    There are a few people that I have been waiting to hear the wisdom and hope that some of my other blogging friends will offer in the aftermath of what happened in Newton, Connectiut.

    Check out Patti Digh and Kim Maihot for their perspectives and the hope they offer.

    Please read Hannah's love letter.  She says this better than anything that I could ever hope to say.

    To whoever finds this letter,

    It's been one of those days where I've wished I could reach you in a real kind of way.  

    It's been one of those days where, if it were at all possible, I'd sit down and hand write you a letter that hit in all the right places. I'd find a way to show up in your mailbox. I'd navigate the states, the country lines, and miles of highway, to get a piece of me to you. A piece of love that would hold you much better than I know how.

    The world feels broken tonight. Tender. Torn. The tears are rolling and the holiday lights blink duller than yesterday. Amazing Grace is streaming and I don't feel like wiping the black stains off my cheeks. And I know I'm not the only one who needs a love letter right now. We all might need one... To pick us up. To carry us through. To remind us of our strength & our solidarity & the truth: there are never any words for a tragedy like this.

    No words for the sadness that slips beneath the door. No words for the pain that sits heavy on the chest. No words for the "sorry" that seems too small. No words for the evil that feels so real.

    No, there are no words for a bit of this.

    This is my wordless love letter. For the pain we cannot shoulder. For the burden we cannot hold. For the questions that go unanswered in the night. For the candles that flicker for the lives of precious little ones, gone too soon. This is my only way to say that I still believe in love and the power it holds to hold us all, when the tears refuse to stop, and the pain is thick & angry, and we've lost all sense of understanding of what it means to "be strong" and "hold tight."

    If it were quite possible, I’d find the sunlight in this darkness and drop it at your door. Crack open all the windows. Wipe clean the empty. Suck your pain up like a vacuum. Pull you close and hold you. I’ve got no words but love never really needed syllables anyway.

    And it never takes us any words to hold each other tighter than yesterday. Or kiss each other harder than tomorrow even knows. No, it never takes us any words to sit beside a friend. And give one another the attention we deserve. And be fierce with our kindness. And be intentional with our ways. No, these are wordless kinds of things. They are the acts of love that always quiet the words & hush out the tragedy. They are the acts of love we need to carry in our arms to replace the pain we've found is just too hard to hold.

    And so I only pray you're held right now. Held by a love with has no tipping point. Held & held & held until the sun falls down behind the hills. Held in the morning. Held through the storm. Held like the strong arms of the Mama on the subway who finds a spot to sit and wrap her arms so tight around a child she loves beyond silly, little words. She holds that child with a triumph that makes you believe there could be no evil at all.

    That's how I pray you're held and wrapped so good in Love. Cloaked so good in Love. A fierce kind of love that breaks all boundaries.

    I hope tonight you find arms wrapped around you. Find the resting. Find the prayers. Find the strength.  Find the friends. Find the unity. Find the dawn.
    Find the good within his smile, the glow with her hands. Find the compassion on the street corners. And the bravery in the hallways. Find yourself in all this clutter and know that you are loved tighter than yesterday. And find that you are capable of the love that this world needs out of you. And yes, and yes, it needs that love from you so badly.

    Find & find & find.

    But don’t try to find the words right now. There are no words for a bit of this.

    Sunday, December 16, 2012

    One of the faces of Sandy Hook

    This is Victoria Soto. Victoria was only 27. She was killed to in the shootings after she hid her first graders in closets and cabinets and told the shooter they were in the gym. He killed her and not one of her children were harmed. God bless Victoria, her family and friends and all of those who were involved today in anyway. Victoria is a true hero!!
    There is a popular thread that is going on Facebook with comments from Morgan Freeman about the shootings at Sandy Hook, how the media turns the Batman theater shooter and the Oregon mall shooter into celebrities, how the media turned the Columbine shooter's into household names and asks how many of us know a single name of any of the victims from Columbine. 
    I know the names of many of the people that were killed at Columbine.  I read the stories of their short lives and as the Columbine shootings occurred in Colorado it hit much closer to home.  Again this summer the shooting moved even closer as the Aurora theater shootings occurred a mile or two from my house.  A high school classmate of my son was killed in the theater.  I know their names and a little of their lives that were cut short senselessly. 
    Now the only news that is available is over the legal wranglings, the re-opening of the theater set for January 17 next year. 
    I read something yesterday from the mother of Alex Sullivan in reaction to President Obama's speech after the shootings to "hug your children tightly tonight."  I wish I could find the article, so I will have to paraphrase, "I can't hug my child, Mr. President.  My child is gone."
    Less than five months after the Aurora theater shootings we are left to face more heartbreak that is magnified by the age of so many young lives lost. 
    So again for me, I will read the stories of the 26 lives that were cut short and I know this will be incredibly hard.  This is not the first elementary school shooting we have been faced with.  Newton Connecticut is faced with 26 funerals.  That is just too much.  
    Lowering the flags to half-staff and talking about taking "meaningful action" is not enough.  
    Sandy Phillips is the mother of Jessica Redfield.  Jessica became the face of the Aurora theater shootings as she was the first person confirmed as being killed.  Jessica was a student at Metro State and her mother was in town to pick up her diploma when the shootings at Sandy Hook occurred. 
    "The bad guys will always get the gun, but that doesn’t mean we do nothing. To do nothing makes us culpable and we can’t do that in America any longer, not after today, not after today.”~Sandy Phillips
     I will write every year on this blog about Sandy Hook, just as I do about Columbine and will do for the Aurora Theater shooting and I will never mention the killer's by their name. It's not enough, it will never be enough. 
    What can each of us do to never forget the name of Victoria Suto and what she did for her students?

       Thank you for your courage, your compassion and your love for your students.   I want you to know that I will be forever grateful for your act of valor.  You are my hero and a hero to many.  Your life matters and I will never leave you.  Your memory burns brightly in my heart. 

      With much love, 


    Friday, December 14, 2012

    Unabated, the madness rages on....

    From the Columbine High School Memorial

    "It brought the nation to it's knees, but now that we've gotten back up
    how have things changed; what have we learned?"

    Sadly we live through yet another school shooting.   13 plus years removed from the shootings at Columbine.

    I have no answer to this question, how have things changed, what have learned in the years that have passed.

    As a community that has lived through this too many times, from the shock and horror at Columbine, to the shootings at  
    Platte Canyon High school to the madness at the Aurora theater less than four months ago, I fear that little has changed.   The body count continues to grow and to borrow a line from Mayor Rudolph Guliani as we learn more about the young children that were killed today the pain will be more than we can bare. 

    Communities will rally around the community in Conneticut.  We will donate millions of dollars, people will rush to give blood and it will never be enough to ease the pain and the loss. 

    The mother of Jessica Redfield  began to her plea to the media to focus on the victims and their families and not publish photos of the coward who murdered 27 people and the media will publish the photos of the killer.  I grind my teeth every time I see a photo of the Aurora shooter.  I want to see pictures of Jessica and Alex, and Mckalya, and the others that were killed last summer.  I don't want any of them to be forgotten. I fear that as long as we remember and talk about the killers instead of the innocents that this cycle will never end. 

    The politicians will not act.  They will state that nothing can be done.  The second amendment and the right to bear arms, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.  The guns used at this latest crime might have been obtained legally and why oh why does a private citizen need a Glock that can squeeze off 100 shots without blinking. 

    I have already seen the posts on Facebook and Twitter stating this is not a gun control conversation, but a conversation about mental health.  I am trying to stay away from social media.  Now is not the time to throw another log on the file. 

    For now we will turn to prayer, we will donate money, donate blood and we will go on with our lives and hope this won't happen again.  Hope won't be enough to stop the next shooting.  And when the next senseless shooting happens we will debate about the need for stricter gun laws, how do we identify the shooter that lives quietly among us and wonder what signs did we miss.   We will donate more money, more blood and then we will move on. 

    I don't know what the answer is.  I fear deeply that the shootings will go on. 

    Wednesday, December 12, 2012

    Reverb12 on 12/12/12

    Today's prompt come comes from me.

    What’s something you notice about yourself, what's something you would like to change?

    I was at a board meeting tonight for my chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and after the meeting ended we were having a holiday party at the home of the board president.  There were probably 20 or so people that were congregating in the kitchen and I found myself standing in the corner of kitchen, all my myself.  A passive observer, not a participant. 

    These are people that are not strangers to me.  Some of the staff members of the board I have known for  many years and yet there I stood by myself, in my aloneness, unable to join in the conversation in the small groups that had formed. 

    How many times have I found myself in this situation over the years?  Feeling like an outsider even when  surrounded by people that I know, people that I care about. 

    I eventually struck up a conversation with a society funded researcher who was standing by herself.  We chatted for a bit about her move to Colorado, how did she like living in Boulder.  I thanked her for her efforts to find a cure for blood cancers and looked to say goodbye to a few people before I left. 

    What I noticed was that familiar feeling of  wanting to hide, to not be noticed.  I hoped no one noticed that I was off standing by myself and I could be wrong, but I don't think anyone did.  I am quite good at not being noticed, being a ghost. 

    The conundrum for me is that while I crave the safety that the cloak that invisibility offers me is that I so want to feel connected.   I have become an expert in my life at being alone.  Straight A student, honor roll, class valedictorian.  

    There are times that I feel so alone and the feeling is born from not letting people in. While being a ghost  is safe, it is not a way of being that nurtures the soul. 

    Years ago I was at a Landmark forum seminar and one of the exercises was to walk around the room and introduce yourself and describe how you show up in the world. 

    "Hi, my name is Ross.  Please don't hurt me."  I said that over and over again.  I have said that at other seminars.  It is how I show up. 

    What I yearn to say is, "Hi, my name is Ross.  Please get to know me.  I am lovable and capable.  I am worthy."   I so want to raise my hand and use my voice. 

    Tuesday, December 11, 2012

    Reverb 12 Day 11

    Today's Reverb prompt comes from Victoria Musgrave

     Anticipation: What is one thing you are most looking forward to in 2013?

    I have several things that I am looking forward to in the upcoming year. 

    Sue and I will be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary in April. 

    Laura is getting married next summer and I look forward to walking down the aisle with her as she begins her life with Chris in July. 

    Chris and Laura at the Louvre, Paris France 2011
    Most of all, I am looking forward to is turning the final page on the last 30 months and getting  myself back on the horse as it were.  I am excited about the new path that I find myself on.  

    Monday, December 10, 2012

    Reverb12 Day 10

    The prompt for today comes from Hope Wallace Kearney.

    10 things you were thankful for in 2012?Another list prompt! Big or small - list out (at least) 10 things you were thankful for.

    • My pets who bring such joy to my life
    • Being able to exit from a bad situation
    • Running the Bolder Boulder
    • Seeing Wicked, The Producers and Legally Blonde
    • Attending a DrupalCon seminar
    • The Rock Fairy
    • Adam went to see The Dark Night at a different movie theater on July 20. 
    • Health insurance
    • Discovering that I do indeed have an imagination and can write creatively.  
    • Reading for pleasure
    • Family
    • Starting a meditation practice
    • Colorado Free University
    • Cassi
    • 24 Hour Fitness
    • Meeting a dear friend in person for the first time
    • Giving blood
    • Big Bill's Pizza day of giving on September 11. 
    • Attending Team in Training National Conference 
    • Attending TEDx conference at Denver University
    • Being able to meet one of the survivors from the Aurora Theater shootings and give her a hug
    • Writing 
    • My new glasses

    Wednesday, December 5, 2012

    Reverb12 Day 5

    The prompt for today comes from Hope Wallace Kearney

    List out 5 things you do not want to forget from this past year, and write a bit about why you do not wish to forget... 

    1. The Winter Cocktail kickoff party for Cassi's Woman of the Year campaign for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. There was so much excitement and hope that evening.  It is a memory I will always treasure.
    2. Attending the Celebrate Your Life conference in Chicago with Sue.  Highlights were the keynote speakers, Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, Marianne Willamson and Don Miguel Ruiz.  Sessions with Michael Beckwith and Panache Desai were amazing. 
    3. Wrigley field Tour with Adam and a baseball game at a very quirky Wrigley Field.  Special memory with Adam. Wow, are we lucky to have a beautiful stadium to watch our less than stellar baseball team. 
    4. The Aurora movie theater shooting.  I do not want to forget the people who lost their lives simply because they chose to attend a movie that night.   Adam and his co-host Dario hosted a show on Mile High Sports the day after the shootings that gave their listeners a chance to begin the healing process. The tone of the show was perfect, respectful, hopeful.  I will never forget how beautifully Adam and Dario handled such a difficult situation.
    5. Climbing Mt. Evans with Laura and Michelle.  One down, 53 more to go.  How blessed I am to be healthy enough to be able to climb a fourteener and better yet that I have the memory of this day with Laura. 

    Monday, December 3, 2012

    Reverb12 Day 3

    Today's prompt comes from Hope Wallace Kearney.

    Did you try anything new in 2012?
    Was there anything that you did in 2012 that was a new experience? What was it? What was it like? How did it make you feel? If you did not try anything new - was there a reason? Something holding you back? 

    I did several new things this year.  One has been on my bucket list for several years which I finally achieved. One thing was something that I never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought I would do. 

    Earlier this year, I did a fire walk, walking 15 feet on a bed of hot coals as part of a breaking through fear into power workshop.  Much to my surprise, the fire walk was somewhat anti climatic.  

    This summer I climbed my first fourteener, Mt. Evans with my daughter Laura and her friend Michelle.  Colorado has 54 fourteenr's, which Michelle called "our epic and stupid fourteener adventure."   I felt very alive during our epic and stupid adventure. 

    I signed up for a on-line writing class and also took a couple of writing workshops.  I wrote my first creative writing pieces since I was in high school.  I never thought I could write anything that was creative and I thoroughly enjoyed that aspect of the writing classes the best. 

    I also dabbled earlier this year into learning Drupal, HTML, and CSS.  My first experience in trying to learn this was met with considerable frustration as I told myself that I wasn't smart enough to learn this and  that I was also too old.  Most recently I dove back into this learning a different programming language called Ruby and I have been surprised with how much fun I have had doing this. 

    I also gave blood for the first time in my life shortly after the shootings at the Century 16 theaters that occurred less than a mile from my house.   I have given blood two other times since then and I have found this to be something that makes me feel very good, to be able to contribute to my community. 

    Sunday, December 2, 2012

    Reverb 12 Day 2

    The writing prompt for this day comes from Kat who writes from Melbourne Australia.

    What was your most significant expenditure in 2012?

    It doesn't have to be necessarily the biggest expenditure, just the one with the most impact.

    What difference has it made to your life?

    The expenditure with the biggest impact for me was under 50.00.  I attended a Sarah Mclean Seminar about beginning a meditation practice at Journeys for Conscious Living.  I bought a book and a CD and began my meditation practice on June 24 and I haven't missed a day since I started.

    It is the first thing I do every morning and I spend anywhere from 15-40 minutes.  It has been a great way for me to start every morning.  It is nice that a very inexpensive expenditure led to a great impact on my life.  

    Saturday, December 1, 2012

    Reverb 2012

    #REVERB12 BUTTON. This explosive and colorful Reverb Button was done by the blogger Ms Curlypops. It is being used by the bloggers participating in #Reverb12. You see it on the right side of this blog entry!

    I will be blogging throughout the month of December following various writing prompts from the web.  Today's prompt comes from Kat who blogs from Australia.   i am not sure how often I will be reverberating, but for now I have a streak of one day!

    So, without further ado, the first prompt for #Reverb12 is:

    How are you starting this last month of 2012?

    Take a moment, close your eyes, take a deep breath and ask yourself the question: how do you feel...

    ... in your body? in your mind? in your day job? in your creative life? in your heart?

    I would say that I am beginning the last month of the year in a state of curiosity and I also think I am going to choose that as my word for the upcoming year.  To be curious, an active desire to learn or to know. 

    I have spent a good deal of time over the last several weeks immersed in a new programming language called Ruby which utilizes Ruby on Rails as the framework for building web applications.  This has opened up an exciting possibility for me as I can see myself doing this and having fun in the process.  

    I can see that learning Ruby will have practical benefits as well as benefiting an aspect of my creative life. 

    I have circled around where my writing could take me and then curiously the more things I do to develop a writing practice seem to lead me away from actually writing. 

    For the month of December I hope to write more frequently in response to the Reverb prompts as well as participating in The Twelve Days of Love Letter Writing

    So as I begin this last month of December, I feel a renewed sense of optimism that I haven't felt in some time.   I am open to the new challenges and curious as to where this might lead to. 

    I am excited about learning new things, reading just for fun and writing.

    My hope for this month and beyond is to be open, to be childlike in my curiosity, to be open to wonder.