More powerful than fear

My older son greeted me at the door as I got home from work.

“Guess what?” he asked, continuing before I had time to guess anything. “Daddy got lots of movies in the mail today!”

(This is his daddy‘s first year receiving Academy Awards movie screeners.)

“Oh?” I asked Li’l D as I offloaded my bags.

“Yeah! He got–”

“I got five movies in three packages,” Anthony finished. “The first is A Monster Calls, and then–”

“Wait, what? You got that?! It’s not out until next year!”

“Mm-hmm,” he said, before trying to continue his list.

“I’m sorry, hon, but from A Monster Calls, it’s all downhill.”

See, I wrote in July how deeply the book A Monster Calls moved me.

Revisiting that post now, my heart is absolutely overflowing to see its conclusion.

I’m believing it (again) a little more each day, but all the same, it’s good to be reminded that:

Love is more powerful than fear.

Love will win.

a monster calls

 

Books, knowledge, & wisdom

Yesterday, I read my two-year-old a children’s book about killer whales. I couldn’t help smiling while I read.

As an eighteen-year-old, I’d researched killer whales from islands in British Columbia. As a thirty-eight-year old, I read about them to my own little boy a couple thousand miles away from where I’d once watched in awe as they played.

acrosswater

I was able to read Littler J the book because of bookstore’s going-out-of-business sale. My husband and I picked up two boxes full of delightful reads. We’ll be busy for months, just from those books!

There’s knowledge and (with introspection) wisdom alike to be gained from books; I found bunches of both in another of the books I picked up on Saturday.

When you and I read, listen, and seek information no matter the obstacles, we are mighty.

Sunlight & friends

Something delightful happened after I deleted my Instagram account last month: I stopped thinking of my friends as the two-dimensional representations they share there, and started remembering them as who my heart knows them to be.

I hadn’t even realized I’d been boiling them down to their most superficial selves until I was no longer doing it.

Since then, I’ve had a growing longing to be with friends in person.

My heart’s shouted at me that human bodies are meant to congregate.

Yesterday morning, my family and I joined several friends for brunch at Long Beach’s The Social List.

As I opened the restaurant door, I almost started crying to see Ra, Emily, Mike, Amelia, and Kris sitting together, illuminated by mid-morning sunlight. Actually seeing my friends live, in all their glorious, full dimensions, instantly did my heart wonders.

Two hours sitting with them was fuel that’ll keep me running for a while.

Today I’ll be planning my next outing to refuel with friends.

You might want to do the same with yours, for:

We’re meant to sit with each other in body, as
confirmed by the fullness in my heart
when I recall sitting in the sunlight
with my friends
yesterday.

ra-and-d

 

The Cutting Wrench

Yesterday morning, I smiled as I typed a tweet:

My 2yo can’t remember the word “scissors,” so he calls them “the cutting wrench.”

“Could you open this with the cutting wrench, peez?!”🙂

I’ve loved Littler J’s way of describing scissors since he first used it.

This morning, I snipped in two a paper wristband I’d been wearing before tossing it in the trash.

“Get the scissors out the trash can!” Littler J demanded.

“Oh, no, they’re not in the trash can,” I said as I pulled them out from behind the sink. “I just threw away my wristband.”

Satisfied, he turned his attention elsewhere as it dawned on me what he’d just said.

“Hon,” I called to my husband, a couple rooms away. “He just said ‘scissors!'”

“Noooooooooo!” Anthony called back.

Littler J may now know the correct word for scissors, but I’ll have–forever–the memory of giggling with a full heart each time he asked me to use “the cutting wrench.”

The truth of what others feel

I have so much to say, I know I can’t possibly say it tonight. Below is the shortest form.

My seven-year-old, Li’l D, shone during his first quarter as a second grader. My husband and I were concerned about the school’s super-strict second grade teacher, only to discover she was exactly what our little boy needed to thrive. (Like his mom and her siblings’ teachers before, Li’l D’s teacher exclaimed about the kindness of his heart.)

Instead of telling me I was a jerk for taking so long to figure things out, my husband thanked me for trying to figure them out. I was delighted when I found Michael Graham, a guy of Anthony-like-but-more-progressive mind on Twitter. Instead of bashing me for taking decades to decipher readily available fact, Michael welcomed me for joining where and when I was.

Thanks to Michael, I published my first article on Progressive Army today:

progarm

Many years ago, I dreamed that my just-younger sister had only three days to live. I stood in a church and screamed, and screamed, and screamed until my throat was raw from it. I had the same feeling when I read an article today, but was heartened by the expressed love of another bystander. Together, we will change the world.

It is lovely to feel happy. I know this, because I’m basking in happiness’ glow right now.

But it’s also lovely to see the truth of what others feel and join them there.

So I sit with dissonance tonight: the joy of being here,
and the sadness of knowing this glad “here”
cannot (for now) be shared by all.

Pennies together

A month ago, a dino I know talked me into joining Nano Poblano, her November daily blog post challege.

“No problemo!” I told her around roughly a half-dozen birthday beers. “I could write eight posts a day with everything I’m learning now!”

It seemed like a great idea, because beer.

image

Soon after starting the challenge, I discovered that writing about politics every day is exhausting.

It’s especially exhausting when you’re reading about all the very terrible things you never realized were being done with your tax dollars and votes.

I was wiped out by mid-month, so I started writing shorter posts. It was an improvement, but I was still tired.

By the end of the month, I was so very ready to be done … but I was grateful for the challenge all the same.

By forcing myself to write every day, I had to face a lot of questions and issues I might not have faced otherwise.

I had to face burnout, and to face the implications of burnout.

Something really, really good came from that: I stopped trying to obtain perfection. I sought “good enough” instead.

Seeking good-enough in my posts helped me understand the same approach is invaluable as a citizen approaching political change: There will never be the perfect moment or perfect information, so I must begin by doing what I can now!

I understand much of what’s led us to here and now. I understand you and I must band together now if we are to stop potentially cataclysmic climate change accelerating right now.

I don’t have time to keep reading depressing tomes on everything done wrong to date.

image

Depressing tomes read as of mid-November

I must begin pursuing solutions that might improve the future, since every second I waste stewing over what’s done is a second I’ve lost to change what’s ahead.

I can’t wait for perfect solutions. None of us can.

We must do the best we can with what we have, and trust we’ll gain more understanding and tools as we go.

I’m casting my pennies–my ideas, my hopes, my passion–into a save-the-world fund.

My pennies won’t go very far alone, but you know what? If we each cast in a few pennies, there’s no telling what we might buy together.

So, please: start casting in your pennies, even the ones that don’t look very shiny at first glance. Maybe shiny isn’t what we need, after all.

As our pennies amass, take stock of the totality of what we’re gathering and know: alone we can do a little, but together, we can and will change the world.

Thanks to Nano Poblano, coming posts on Learning to Speak Politics will be focused on seeking and building solutions.

Enough ruminating. There’s work to do!

image

Reject a Syrian No-Fly Zone! Please call these senators pronto.

On November 15, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the inaptly named Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2016 “with forty minutes of debate.” If passed by the Senate and subsequently signed into law, this will establish a no-fly zone over Syria. Establishing a no-fly zone is an act of war, which would (1) kill many Syrian civilians and (2) dramatically escalate probability of U.S. war with Syria’s ally, Russia.

If you’re interested in actual peace, such as is obtained not by bombs but by legitimate diplomacy, please call the members of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and demand they reject this bill.

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