Peace in Review

Posted: Monday, November 10, 2014 by Travis Cody in
1


Another Blog Blast Day has come and gone.  Of course, the journey to peace in our lives and the greater world continues.  

As I do each year, I'd like to share a few of the posts that stood out to me as I traveled through the bloggosphere.  These are just from blogs.  My social networking footprint is quite small, since I don't use Facebook or Twitter or anything other than this blog.

Michelle at Crow's Feet told us about sowing seeds of love.

Gram at Goodnight Gram told us about her grandmother's calendar of memory.

Sue at Out of My Mind's Eye told us how a child of war and violence refused hate and embraced forgiveness.

Paula at Smidgens, Snippets, & Bits reminded us that little ones learn from our examples.

Naila Moon at Just the Stuff Ya Know reminded us that life is a journey filled with ups and downs.

Mimi Lennox at Mimi Writes, our dear founder, reminded us once again of the magic in this movement.

Join us again on 4 November 2015 when we'll Blog for Peace again.  Until then, use your voice in the way that seems best to you...every day.

I believe that words have power, so this matters.

Dona Nobis Pacem

Dona Nobis Pacem

Posted: Tuesday, November 04, 2014 by Travis Cody in
21

Welcome to the 11th Blog Blast for Peace and my 10th participation.

Trav's Thoughts went dark nearly a year ago, on 18 November 2013.  I knew when I made the decision to stop blogging that it was the right one.  The time spend was easy to divert to other activity, but I did miss the community.  So it's a treat for me to take Peace Week and reconnect.

Such a treat, in fact, that I ask you to forgive me.  I'm about to go on at length.

On Sunday I posted Peace Quotes.  Did you happen to notice that there were only 29 instead of 30?  Yeah, #11 was missing.  I did that on purpose because the words spoke to...well, they spoke to what I kind of wanted to speak to this year.

"The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock.  The most successful people recognize that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation.

For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday, and along the way, lessen the suffering of others.  You'd be surprised how far that gets you."

That comes from astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.  I'm pleased that I haven't gotten too late in life to get this.  I really get it.

There have been times in my life when I have just drifted.  I didn't put any effort into where I was going or what I was doing.  I settled for what was good enough without considering what I really wanted.  It isn't easy to create love, manufacture meaning, or generate motivation when you don't know what you want. 

Figure out what you want, and life is a go.  Figure out what you want, and you'll generate motivation to go get it.

It's hard to know what you want.  Do you know?  I mean, do you really know?  I was fortunate as a boy to have my grandfather, who always told me that whatever it was I did, I should do it to the best of my ability, even if it was something I wasn't sure I really wanted to be doing.  "My boy," said he.  "There will come times when you simply must do the thing in front of you.  When those times come, stand and do your very best.  No regret comes to a man when he knows he has given all he has to a task."

When I was a kid, I wanted to play football and be a Marine.  My mom and my sister sacrificed and supported so I could play.  Mom took me down to talk to the local Marine recruiter when I turned 16.  She let me visit colleges when I was being recruited for football.  She never said a word about financial considerations, which I knew were problematic.  

Then the Marines and football were taken away by a devastating knee injury.  The thing in front of me was recovery and rehab.  Grandpa said to do whatever was in front of me as well as I could, so I gave everything I had to that.  And I healed physically.

Mentally I didn't recover.  And so a few years later I found myself in Los Angeles in a job that was making me miserable.  My grandma asked if it was really where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do.  Grandpa asked if I was giving it my best.  No, no, yes.  They told me there was no shame in coming home.  I'm not a quitter, said I.  It's not quitting, said they.  It's re-setting the path.

A few years later I was underemployed and renting a room from some friends, and on my way to rock bottom, still not mentally recovered from the greatest disappointment of my life.  "Son," said my stepdad.  "What are you doing?  You're just not going to find anything as good to you as playing football or being a Marine, so grieve for that loss.  Stop trying to replace it.  Give yourself a chance to think about what you can want.  And when you have an idea, let's talk about it and see if we can't figure out a plan to go get it."

Well, when you put it that way.  

It was just a simple little thing I decided I wanted.  I wanted a Monday through Friday office job with weekends off and real benefits, and maybe some vacation time.  So we put a plan together and I went and got one.

Hey!  This figure out the want and put a plan together thingy works!

I authored a string of small successes.  New stereo?  Put together a savings plan and got one.  Weekend trip to the mountains?  Found the right weekend when my friends were free, got a Friday off, got some cash together, and off I went.  New car?  Talked to the bank, figured out cash flow for a monthly payment, shopped around, and got one.

I know what you're thinking and you're right.  Those things were small potatoes.  But I learned playing football that you've got to practice.  You've got to get the technique down.  You've got to do reps to ensure muscle memory.  So I practiced want/plan/execute.

And I began to heal mentally.  Finally.  

Then I got cancer.  And guess what?  Want/plan/execute worked for cancer too.  It started well before diagnosis, when I wanted to be completely healthy, in mind and body.  As I let go of grief for what I couldn't do, I started to work on what I could do.  I worked as hard in the gym as I had when I first rehabbed my knees.  And I paid attention to my health in other ways.  So when I found something totally wrong...a hard mass where none should be...I got it checked out right away.  I found it so early that the lab could barely stage it.  

I wanted to beat that bastard.  So I worked with my family, my friends, and my docs on the plan to beat that bastard.  We executed on that plan, and I beat that bastard.  

Still with me?  

I wanted a better job with a fatter paycheck and some kind of future.  Put together a plan to get out of my hometown where I was going nowhere.  Got down south...I was ready for LA now baby...got a better job that paid for college, bought a townhouse, finished my degree, and you know what happened next.

I sold my townhouse for three times what I owed on it, got out of California, moved to Washington, found my career at the company from which I expect to retire...and met Pam.

OK gang.  That's a lot of rambling.  Let's sum it all up.

My family's hands of love built the foundation that made everything in my life possible.  Grandpa taught me to put my best effort into everything I do.  Grandma and I were connected spiritually from my first days, and she helped me understand that re-setting isn't the same as quitting.  Mom taught me how, when, and most importantly why to sacrifice in the short term to benefit in the long term.  Sis taught me that hugs heal, and let me be to my niece what Gram was to me.  My stepdad taught me how to remake a stalled life.

Pam...well, she is everything in that quote way up there at the beginning of this very long Peace post.  She is the love we created when I smiled at her and she thumped the back of my head.  She is the meaning we generated together when she let me see the pain of the loss of her parents, and when I let her see the pain of my loss of football and the Corps.  She is the motivation we generate every day, to be honest with and to trust each other with everything we are.  

My family's hands of love built the foundation of my personal peace so that Pam and I could build the home that sits upon it.

Don't wait for love...put your love out into the world.  Don't search for meaning...define it for yourself.  Don't look for motivation...be motivated.  When you find yourself drifting...ask yourself if you know what you want and whether you are executing a plan to get it.  

Don't let your life live you...live your life.

I know what I want.  Pam knows what she wants.  Together we know what we want.  If we drift off course...and we will sometimes...we toss pennies at each other.  Pennies for thoughts.  Thoughts of what we want.  Plans to get there.  Execute on the plans.

We are happy.  We are peaceful.  We send those ripples into the world in the way that seems best to us.


Dona Nobis Pacem

On the Eve of Blog Blast

Posted: Monday, November 03, 2014 by Travis Cody in
2

Three years ago, Mimi laid down a challenge to come up with 100 Reasons to Blog for Peace.  The reasons I came up with ended up as something of a story, although that hadn't been my intent when I accepted Mimi's challenge.

I find that to be the standard operating procedure with this Blog Blast movement.

The result of doing this challenge...of thinking every day for over three months of the reasons I should Blog for Peace...was that actions directed toward my own personal peace became habitual.  And that's kind of the point, right?

Words in the hands of love...that's the theme this year.  The more concerted effort I make to get my thoughts about peace into words about peace, the better the chance my actions toward peace take shape, find direction, and have impact.

So here on the Eve of Blog Blast 2014, I present once more my 100 Reasons to Blog for Peace.


Trav's 100 Reasons to Blog for Peace
originally posted
28 July 2011 to 3 November 2011
Reason 100: Because "Words are...the most inexhaustible source of magic; capable of inflicting injury and remedying it." Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.

Reason 99: Because every time I make a new Peace Globe, whether for myself or for a friend who asks for my help, I feel positive energy. And every time I post a Peace Globe on my blog, I feel like I'm spreading positive energy.

Reason 98: Because Peace Bloggers remind me, through their words and images, of the commonalities we all share as human beings.

Reason 97: Because I think blogging for peace can change destruction into construction.

Reason 96: Blogging for peace reminds me that I'm responsible for the way I move through the world and interact with others.

Reason 95: Because putting something in writing, like creating a Peace Globe and writing a post on 4 November 2011, is a great way to start yourself on a path to more definitive action in your community.

Reason 94: Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines willingly risk all for duty, honor, and service. I blog for peace because I want them all to come home from their service to live out and enjoy the fullness of the life they put on hold.

Reason 93: Because I believe that words are powerful, so this matters.

Reason 92: Because each time I blog for peace, I learn a little more about myself.

Reason 91: Because I want to be the kind of person who looks for solutions instead of wasting time assigning blame.

Reason 90: Because I have a voice and this is one of the positive ways I can use it.

Reason 89: Because I want to be who I am and cherish what I have and believe what I will, in peace with others who may be different and cherish different things and believe something I don't understand.

Reason 88: Because revolutions are made of ideas and today's reality doesn't have to be tomorrow's.

Reason 87: Because I am not daunted by those who dwell on what is not rather than find the potential in what can be.

Reason 86: Because I believe what Mohandas Ghandi said, "A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history."

Reason 85: Because a peaceful state of mind requires dedication to achieve and vigilance to maintain. One of the ways I attend to that dedication and vigilance is to blog for it.

Reason 84: Because acting out in violence may get you the attention you want in the short term, but it does not lead to long term constructive solutions.

Reason 83: Because being active for peace builds a wellspring of tranquility that I can tap when I'm feeling unsettled.

Reason 82: Because "you may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one".

Reason 81: Because I want to live in the world that Martin Luther King Jr envisioned, where we all are accepted for the content of our character and not judged by the color of our skin.

Reason 80: Because "Yes We Can Can", song written by Allen Toussaint, released by The Pointer Sisters in 1973.

Reason 79: Because "I'm Here to Love You", song by The Doobie Brothers, circa 1982.

Reason 78: Because I want to be part of a world in which no human being should ever again perpetrate such an atrocity as the Bataan Death March on other human beings, nor have to endure the pain and life long memory of having such an atrocity perpetrated upon him.

Reason 77: Because someone believed in me when I needed it most and showed me another path besides anger and bitterness. Why shouldn't I try to do that for someone else?

Reason 76: Because when you know what you want, all that's left to do is put a plan together and then execute on the plan. You want peace? Start with your own space, put together your plan, and then execute. Make a Peace Globe part of your peace plan.

Reason 75: Because I believe in a collective consciousness that tells me that what I think and feel can impact my fellow man, and I'd like the things I think and feel, and my impact on my fellow man, to be positive and peaceful.

Reason 74: Because even though I cannot know what is going to happen tomorrow, it gives me comfort to know that I'm a Peace blogger.

Reason 73: Because at the Little League World Series, kids from across the globe come to Williamsport to play baseball. They live in dormitories that cater to the things 11, 12, and 13 year old boys like...swimming pools, video games, ping pong tables, foosball, table hockey. They play to win, and that is important. But equally important is the friendships they make with kids from other cultures who, they often find, are the same as they are. I blog for peace in the knowledge that one day, the life in those friendships will overcome the need for war.

Reason 72: Because it is astonishing how much more negative than positive is in the air these days...from news media to opinion journalism to bloggers. Take an hour out of your day and tally up your own negative vs positive behaviors. I try to be honest with myself and when I find I'm tilting toward too much negative, I take charge of my attitude because that's what I control. I blog for peace because it is an inherently positive thing to do.

Reason 71: Because I get tired of watching people behave as if anyone who isn't "us" is "them" and "they" must be feared, hated, and destroyed. Peace blogging is inherently inclusive.

Reason 70: Because even though humans may be aggressive by nature, that doesn't mean we have to be warlike in response to every challenge.

Reason 69: Because I believe that the joys in life are the right of every human being on the planet, and not just those who are fortunate in the random circumstances of their birth.

Reason 68: Because there will always be things in life that irritate me, like whistling in a cubicle environment. Being a peace activist reminds me that these irritants are temporary things and not worth fighting over.

Reason 67: Because Easy to be Hard, originally from the musical Hair, circa 1967, released by Three Dog Night in 1969

Reason 66: Because, "Love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful, and optimistic. And we'll change the world." Jack Layton (1950-2011), leader of Canada's New Democratic Party, who lost his battle with cancer and passed on 22 August.

Reason 65: Because we are so much more than the sum of our political opinions or cultural differences. Two people who disagree have disagreement in common. Imagine what other common ground they might find if they looked beyond disagreement.

Reason 64: Because convincing someone that they are wrong is not nearly as important as understanding why you think you are right.

Reason 63: Because I want the trillions of dollars spent on active wars to be brought home and put to work eliminating unemployment, hunger,and poverty.

Reason 62: Because being willing to stand and defend does not mean I condone hitting first.

Reason 61: Because On the Turning Away, written by David Gilmour and Anthony Moore, recorded by Pink Floyd, released in 1987 on the album A Momentary Lapse of Reason

Reason 60: Because it can be challenging enough to make a prosperous life without the added difficulty of slogging through constant conflict.

Reason 59: Because I don't know how to be indifferent to the suffering that goes on in the world. I blog for peace because to be idle is to lend some measure of credibility to the idea that it's enough that I am not suffering in this moment. When one suffers we all are the worse for it.

Reason 58: I blog for peace so that I shall continuously renew the patience and persistence I need to re-dedicate myself every year to a path of fulfillment based in knowledge, responsibility, service, and respect for diversity.

Reason 57: Because we really do live in a nutty small world.

Reason 56: Because I believe that a willingness to compromise is one of the cornerstones of lasting peace.

Reason 55: Because I think that it must be easier to turn the sad faces of poverty into the hopeful faces of contentment in an atmosphere of peace than in one dominated by conflict.

Reason 54: Because acts of terror are wrong.

Reason 53: Because we should never fear to exercise our right to revel in frivolity.

Reason 52: Because I Think About You, written by Don Schlitz and Steve Seskin, released by Collin Raye in 1996.

Reason 51: Because of the permanent stuff.

Reason 50: Because rights come with responsibilities.

Reason 49: Because claiming some kind of superiority over others based on fear and hatred of difference is repugnant.

Reason 48: Because there's a lot of beauty in the world, and everyone should get an opportunity to experience and enjoy it.

Reason 47: Because peace takes work and I am dedicated to doing the work I can in the way that seems best to me.

Reason 46: Because People Make the World Go Round, written by Thom Bell and Linda Creed, released by The Stylistics in 1972.

Reason 45: Because sometimes you have to stop and take a breath to control that first angry impulse to lash out in violence against a party that has hurt someone you care about, otherwise you'll be no different than the bully.

Reason 44: Because in celebrating what makes us different, I think we might find way more to enjoy about each other than to dislike.

Reason 43: Because I'm selfish dammit! There's stuff in the world I want to see. I want to go places and meet people, and be safe while I'm doing that. I want to learn about other cultures, and maybe have other people be interested in learning about my culture. I'm the Dancing Worker Bee for Peace dammit!

Reason 42: I dislike stuff, and I make mistakes, and I get angry, and I lose my patience, and I swear at traffic, and I get frustrated, and I hold grudges. I have some bad habits. But I'm not afraid. I blog for peace because life can be hard, and overcoming the hard stuff is sweet.

Reason 41: Because I'm willing to stand up for the rights of someone else, and not just to make noise about my own rights.

Reason 40: Because I think it is wrong to oppress others in the name of protecting what you claim are your rights.

Reason 39: Because People Got to be Free, written by Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati, released in 1968 by The Rascals.

Reason 38: Because blogging for peace is a community thing, and I like being part of this community.

Reason 37: Nelson Mandela said, "I dream of an Africa which is in peace with itself". I blog for peace because if you can't first dream of what peace could be like, how can you understand how to make it, live in it, and keep it?

Reason 36: Because Share the Land, written by Burton Cummings and Kurt Winter, released in 1970 by The Guess Who.

Reason 35: Actor Betty Buckley said, "Everything good that I know was taught to me by great teachers and I feel like giving back and sharing the technique is the thing to do." She was talking about acting, but the sentiment applies to us all as we move through life. We all learned from someone. And if we're paying attention, we're open to learning something new every day. I blog for peace because it is both a way to keep learning from others, and a way to share some of what I know.

Reason 34: Albert Einstein said, "Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty." I blog for peace because it is an inherently compassionate thing to do.

Reason 33: Dr Martin Luther King Jr said, "An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity." I blog for peace because it reminds me that my choices impact others in ways I can't always see. I want that impact to be a positive one, even if I never see the result.

Reason 32: Because For What It's Worth, written by Stephen Stills, released in 1967 by Buffalo Springfield.

Reason 31: Because everyone in the world deserves to feel the joy of freedom, and to express that joy in the way that seems best to them.

Reason 30: Because blogging for peace is one of the ways that I believe in and work for peace.

Reason 29: Because posting a Peace Globe and sharing my thoughts about Peace is part of my way to try, err, succeed, and never abandon the journey toward peace in my heart, in my community, and in my world.

Reason 28: Because I believe that the future is what we make it. I'm going to do everything I can to make that future bright and shiny.

Reason 27: Because we don't know when the last moment of the last day will be, and I want the time between now and then to be as full of peace and love as I can make it.

Reason 26: Because I think that the best answer to a negative attitude is a positive one.

Reason 25: Because before one can succeed or fail, one must first step forward and try.

Reason 24: Because I like to see the marvelously diverse ways Peace bloggers use to express their wishes for Peace in their lives. Check out some of those ways in the Peace Globe Gallery.

Reason 23: Because I cannot sit on the sidelines and enjoy the fruits of peace won by others. Joining the Blog Blast is one of the ways I earn a part of the peace for myself and for my community. I just don't want to get to the end and wonder whether there was something else I could have done.

Reason 22: Because a young man named Matthew Shepard died on 12 October 1998 because he was gay and the two men who beat him and left him tied to a fence to die in the Wyoming countryside didn't like that. I blog for Peace in memory of people like Matthew.

Reason 21: Because time is going to pass whether I blog for Peace or don't. So I'm blogging for Peace.

Reason 20: In the Lord of the Rings films, Lady Galadriel (played ethereally by Cate Blanchett, says "Even the smallest person can change the course of the future." I am just arrogant enough to believe that I can change the future by my actions, and so my actions include blogging for Peace.

Reason 19: Because I can't control what someone else is going to do, and sometimes I can't control my own circumstances. The only thing I have control over is my decisions...to act or not. I choose to act as a Peace blogger.

Reason 18: Because I enjoy the process of making Peace Globes...from deciding on a template, to figuring out the design, to manipulating the paint program, to pronouncing the Globe complete. And finally, I enjoy emailing my work to Mimi because she delights in receiving and collecting them.

Reason 17: Because Jalal ad-Din Rumi, a 13th century theologian and poet, said "Out beyond the ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there." Perhaps Peace also lives in that field. Care to join me?

Reason 16: My dear friend Mimi, founder of the Blog Blast, said "The more you align yourself with creative souls, the more creative you become yourself and the more your passion is fed by their energy." I blog for Peace because I believe in the truth of that statement, and because I want to join my creativity and passion for art in all its forms to something powerful and worthwhile.

Reason 15: For my grandpa.

Reason 14: Gandhi also said, "Whenever you have truth it must be given with love, or the message and the messenger will be rejected." Blog Blast began in love. The love of a girl for her Papa, and his love for her, became the spark of love for humanity. Mimi's message is love. The story is about love. And the result of the message is the sharing and spreading of love. I blog for peace to be a part of that message and to help perpetuate that love.

Reason 13: Because everyone in the world isn't going to like me or the way I live, and that's OK. All they have to do, and all I have to do, is respect traditions and cultures that are different than mine. As long as the way each of us lives does not hurt others, then respect on both sides leaves us each living as best suits us, in peace. I blog for peace because I have respect.

Reason 12: Because our troops are coming home from Iraq, and I wish to honor their sacrifice to duty by wishing them peace in all the tomorrows of their lives.

Reason 11: Because our troops are still in harms' way in hot spots throughout the world, and I wish to honor their sacrifice to duty by working to bring them home safe and whole.

Reason 10: Because sometimes you just have to stand up and be counted.

Reason 9: Because there is enough volatility in the natural processes that make up this planet on which we live. There is no need for humans to add to that volatility with unnecessary conflict and war.

Reason 8: Because Blog Blast isn't a fad or a bandwagon. It is a movement. It is a chance for bloggers to spread the word...because peace comes from us as individuals, spreading out in ripples across our own little corners of the world.

Reason 7: Because Peace is a constant and worthy struggle.

Reason 6: Because I believe in the magic I feel in this movement.

Reason 5: Because today's reality need not be tomorrow's.

Reason 4: Because of posts like this one, Write on My Heart with Every Word.

Reason 3: Because of posts like this one, The Doll Box.

Reason 2: Because of posts like this one, Papa's Marbles, The Silence of Peace.

Reason 1: Because I know that the years of involvement with this movement have fundamentally enhanced the person I am and will continue to be.


Dona Nobis Pacem

Welcome to Peace Week, Day 7

Posted: Sunday, November 02, 2014 by Travis Cody in
3

It has been tradition here at Trav's Thoughts to count down the days leading up to Blog Blast for Peace with 30 days of peace quotes.  I didn't do that this year.

But you know what?  I can still share peace quotes with you.  I've told you stories this past week about my family and how their hands of love built the foundation of my personal Peace.  So the quotes I've chosen to share with you are in that theme.


30
"Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation.  The foundation of such a method is love."
Dr Martin Luther King Jr

29
"In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.  I simply can't build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death."
Anne Frank

28
"The thing that lies at the foundation of positive change, the way I see it, is service to a fellow human being."
Lech Walesa

27
"Family is not an important thing.  It's everything."
Micheal J Fox

26
"You leave home to seek your fortune and, when you get it, you go home and share it with your family."
Anita Baker

25
"If you believe you can make a difference, then you will make a difference.  Believe in yourself, your family, and your community and you will win."
Lindsay Fox

24
"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."
Marcel Proust

23
"The world is round so that friendship may encircle it."
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

22
"If man is to survive, he will have learned to take a delight in the essential differences between men and between cultures.  He will learn that differences in ideas and attitudes are a delight, part of life's exciting variety, not something to fear."
Gene Roddenberry

21
"The plague of mankind is the fear and rejection of diversity: monotheism, monarchy, monogamy and, in our age, monomedicine. The belief that there is only one right way to live, only one right way to regulate religious, political, sexual, medical affairs is the root cause of the greatest threat to man: members of his own species, bent on ensuring his salvation, security, and sanity."
Thomas Stephen Szasz

20
“If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal."
John F Kennedy

19
“Wide differences of opinion in matters of religious, political, and social belief must exist if conscience and intellect alike are not to be stunted, if there is to be room for healthy growth.” 
Theodore Roosevelt

18
“Dominator culture has tried to keep us all afraid, to make us choose safety instead of risk, sameness instead of diversity. Moving through that fear, finding out what connects us, reveling in our differences; this is the process that brings us closer, that gives us a world of shared values, of meaningful community.” 
Bell Hooks 

17
“Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.” 
Carl Sagan

16
“Because it’s no longer enough to be a decent person. It’s no longer enough to shake our heads and make concerned grimaces at the news. True enlightened activism is the only thing that can save humanity from itself.” 
Joss Whedon

15
“Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.” 
Albert Schweitzer

14
“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. ” 
Dr Martin Luther King Jr

13
“Compassion is the sometimes fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else's skin. It's the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too. ” 
Frederick Buechner

12
“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”  
Dr Martin Luther King Jr

10
“and when all the wars are over, a butterfly will still be beautiful.” 
Ruskin Bond

9
"You cannot find peace by avoiding life."
Virginia Woolf

8
"Peace and trust take years to build and seconds to shatter."
Mahogany SilverRain

7
“When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.”
Dalai Lama XIV

6
“There are more quarrels smothered by just shutting your mouth, and holding it shut, than by all the wisdom in the world.”
Henry Ward Beecher

5
"Your inner strength is your outer foundation."
Allan Rufus

4
“Words never fade away but echo on for eternity. Let your echo ring sweet.”
Richelle E Goodrich

3
"A vocabulary of truth and simplicity will be of service throughout your life."
Winston Churchill

2
"Words are...the most inexhaustible source of magic; capable of inflicting injury and remedying it."
Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

1
Diversity need not be divisive.


Dona Nobis Pacem

Welcome to Peace Week, Day 6

Posted: Saturday, November 01, 2014 by Travis Cody in
2

My family's hands of love built the foundation of my Personal Peace.  I lean on my family every day.

This week I've told you stories about my family.  There is one left to tell.  It's one I told you every year since 2007.  She is my Lady, my Love, my Life.  Her hands of love built the house upon the foundation of Peace my family's hands of love first built.  Together, we make it our home.

Eight years ago this past June.  I guess you might get tired of reading it over and over again.

Not us.

I remember it like it's happening now.  I first posted the story back on 21 February 2007.  Now I consider it a tradition to post it every year on 11 June as a remembrance of our first date in 2006.

And I'll tell you again, it really did happen just like this.  Perhaps I make it a little more romantic with the way I tell it, but this is what happened and how it happened. Sometimes life really is a fairy tale.

It occurs to me that I've been posting original stories and some of my favorite music and answering memes, but haven't really posted all that much about myself lately. I guess I've revealed a few things in Thursday 13 and in other memes. And I've referred to my special lady here and there.

Those of you who know me from Soul Patrol know about me and Pam. Some even know the story of how we met. It was at the gym last May. She made a crack about what a lightweight I was while I was doing leg presses. And she thumped me on the back of the head. When she found out about my knee injury playing football, she was a little contrite - but only a little. She wonders why I haven't done something about my knees in the 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 years since it happened. But that's a story for another day.

We often used the same trainer. But she likes to cycle train, and I prefer straight weights. So we didn't really work out together, just at the same time. After a couple weeks of small talk, I finally decided to ask her out. And she agreed to have dinner with me.

She was so intriguing. All business at the gym. That's where I was meeting her the night of our first date. I was a little bit late getting there because of a last minute thing at work. So she’d already warmed up and was into her cycles. During a 30 second rest she nodded her head at me. So I nodded back and started my own drill. You’d never know we were having dinner afterward.

She finished her work out before I did of course. I was working on lat rows – she walked passed me as I was setting the weight down and thumped me on the back of the head, and grinned over her shoulder as she walked to the locker room. That little head thump has become a recurring thing in our relationship. It makes me smile now, but on that night I finished my lat rows to snickers from everybody around me.

When I packed my kit that morning, I'd forgotten my electric shaver. So after I showered I decided against shaving – I really don’t like regular razors. She was chatting with some people in the lobby when I walked out of the locker room. She had her back to me and I couldn't help but stand there a minute and admire. She's got great curves. I walked up behind her and put my hand gently on her back, and asked if she was ready to go. She smiled and said goodbye to her friends.

That touch - exhilarating.

I put my bag in the car. She pays for a locker, so all she had was her handbag. The restaurant is only a few blocks from the gym – it was rainy that night, so I started to get the umbrella from the back seat, but she said not to bother. She's lived in the Seattle area a long time and the weather is what it is. Never really stops her from doing what she wants to do. I'm still adjusting.

I left the umbrella and I offered her my arm, she looped hers casually around mine, and we walked to the restaurant. It was a little muggy - this was June in the pacific northwest - but it didn’t rain or even drizzle, although the promise was in air. We walked slowly, just chatting. Touching her and being touched by her. . .absolutely electrifying.

(BTW – Her dress was pale yellow, straight cut with thin straps and a flowing skirt. For awhile, peeps on the message board called her my yellow dress lady. She had on flat shoes for walking. She’s not quite as tall as I am – she has to tilt her head a little to look me in the eye. Not much make-up; very natural looking. She’s got great curves, did I mention that?)

Earlier in the day I had cruised by a sidewalk florist and paid for a yellow rose. As we walked by, I nodded to the florist and plucked the rose, never breaking stride. That was a hit. Her face lights up when she smiles. Our reservation was for 7pm, and we were a little early so we sat at the bar. I had JD on the rocks; she had the house white. Again we just chatted – how was your day kind of stuff, you know? I said something inane, and she put her hand on my wrist. She had this way of smiling, and reaching for her glass, and taking a sip, and keeping her eyes on mine over the rim of the glass.

The atmosphere in this restaurant is really something – the tables aren’t close together, and you never notice the wait staff. There are small candle lamps on the tables, and very fine flatware. Our table was sort of in the center of the dining area, but it felt like we were enclosed and alone. It’s a good thing I already knew what I was going to order, because I couldn’t stop looking at her. And she wasn’t looking away from me, except to glance at the menu a couple of times.

She closed the menu finally and asked me to suggest something. I offered a couple of choices and she settled on the pasta primavera with penne in garlic & oregano, and I had pumpkin stuffed ravioli. Neither one of us really wanted to drink all that much more, so we each just ordered a glass of the house merlot. This place serves fantastic bread with olive oil, and I prepared a slice for her.

Our fingers kept touching while we were waiting for the meal. It was very comfortable – we talked a little, then we were quiet, and it wasn’t awkward at all. We found out the things you find out about each other – favorite color, music likes & dislikes, favorite television shows. When the waiter brought our dinner, I realized that I’d been holding her hand across the table for some time. Before she pulled her hand back, her thumb caressed the back of my hand, and then she squeezed my fingers.

During dinner we had an animated discussion about football – she’s a Seahawk fan and I’m a Raider fan. She knows the game – she knows the history, too. And she wouldn’t let me get away with any of my old Raider laments. But I wouldn’t let her whine about the officiating in the Super Bowl, either. Did I mention she has a great laugh?

She had her hooks in me real deep by then, and I don’t really know how it happened. I didn't have any complaints then, and I don't now. She's still got me hooked.

We weren't interested in dessert. As we were leaving the restaurant, naturally it had started to rain. Not a drizzle, but a downpour. I looked sideways at her, because it had been her idea to leave my umbrella in the car. She just shrugged. It’s really not fair when a beautiful woman shrugs like that. Women already have enough power – but that extra weapon, even used innocently. . .

I borrowed an umbrella from the restaurant. As I opened it, I raised my arm over her shoulder and she walked close to me. Touching her again, and being touched by her. . .we walked slowly back to my car. She lives downtown, just a few blocks from the gym. It was still raining hard so I drove her home.

There’s a small cutaway curb and an awning in front of her building. We stood under the awning for a few minutes, listening to the rain splash around us. She thanked me for a wonderful evening and I asked if we could do it again soon. She was standing very close to me. And then she leaned toward me, with her hands on my shoulders, and our lips met. My arms circled her waist.

All she had to do was tug a little and I would have gone upstairs and it would have been her idea and I would have done whatever she wanted me to do, and a few things she didn’t know she wanted me to do but wanted me to repeat as many times as possible.

Instead, she stepped back. I took her hands in mine and kissed her once more, and we said good night.

Best first date ever. And last first date I ever want.



My Lady's hands of love built the house upon the foundation of Peace my family's hands of love first built.  Now we share our home of Peace.  It is our refuge, our retreat, our strength.  I don't think of it that way every day.  But that's what our hands of love have made of this place.

I believe that words have power, so this matters.  Join us as we speak on one subject with one voide on one day.


Dona Nobis Pacem

Welcome to Peace Week, Day 5

Posted: Friday, October 31, 2014 by Travis Cody in
4

My family's hands of love built the foundation of my personal Peace.  I lean on my family every day.

This week I've told you some special stories about my grandparents.  Today I want to tell you one about my sister and me.  I first told you this story in 2011.

My bed time changed when I was 8 years old, from 20:30 to 21:30.  Part of that was because I was playing football and Mom wanted me to have time for homework and a little more down time in the evenings with the family.

And when I was 8 years old, I had to start taking out the garbage.

When I was 11 years old, my folks got divorced and it was just me and my mom and my 6 year old sister.  I was still playing football and my bed time was 22:00.

And when I was 11 years old, I still had to take out the garbage.  I also had to empty the dishwasher, and run the vacuum once a week, and a few other chores.  And I had to pick up my sister after school every day and take her to football practice with me.  Mom picked us both up after practice.

When there was no football, I just picked my sister up from school and we both walked home together.  Latch key kids, we were.

I don't know why I thought about that last night.  It's a good memory.  My sis and I had our differences, every once in awhile.  We had chores and we had curfew.  We didn't have a lot of cash, but we had enough allowance.  We could yell at each other and slam doors and hide stuff from each other.

But none of that was permanent.  That was just being siblings.

The permanent stuff...the real stuff...that was every day when she ran out of her class with a big grin and traded her little book bag for my helmet so she could wear it while we walked to the practice field.

The permanent stuff...the real stuff...that was when I could hear her yelling "Go Trav" whenever I did something.

The permanent stuff...the real stuff...that was when she lugged my pads out to the car when Mom got there to drive us home.

The permanent stuff...the real stuff...that was knowing she was always in the stands yelling for me, and when she knew I was in the stands yelling for her.

The permanent stuff...the real stuff...that was when I waltzed with my sister at her wedding, and when I got my first look at the little person she made a few years later.


The permanent stuff...the real stuff...that's my family's hands of love building the foundation of my personal Peace.

I believe that words have power, so this matters.  Join us as we speak on one subject with one voice on one day.


Dona Nobis Pacem

Welcome to Peace Week, Day 4

Posted: Thursday, October 30, 2014 by Travis Cody in
4

My family's hands of love built the foundation of my personal Peace.  I lean on my family every day.

I first told you a special story about my grandfather back in 2011.

I love my grandpa.  And I miss seeing him.

He just made a major life change.  After more than 60 years in the house my mom grew up in, he has moved into a retirement community in San Mateo CA.

My mom and my sister helped him organize and downsize the stuff in the house.  Pam and I couldn't make it down to help.  I'm sad about that.  I have so many memories of that house.  I know it's just a place.  It's the memories that really matter. 

We had a great evening last night.  We met the gang downtown.  We ate and laughed, and ate and laughed, and drank and laughed some more.  Then we came home and my grandpa called me.  He doesn't do that often.  He says he intends to call me, but then he gets a little side tracked and by the time he remembers, it's late and he says he'll do it tomorrow.

Last night he wanted to tell me that he got my check and my monthly note.  I had sent it to the old address and the post office forwarded it to his new one.  He wanted to tell me, so he took advantage of a perk at his new home...he asked the front desk to call him at one bell at evening watch and remind him to call his grandson. 

Grandpa worked ships.  He often lapses and calls time by ship's watch.  One bell at evening watch is 20:30 hours, or 8:30pm.  The gal at the desk who entered the reminder for him knew that!  Grandpa was delighted that he didn't have to explain.  Grandpa has a clock that rings the bells of each watch.  It used to sit on the mantle.

I remember having a struggle learning to tell time correctly when I went to school because I thought in watch bells. 

He's 89 years old and has had only two addresses for his entire adult life...either aboard ship or at the house in South San Francisco.  The last time he moved was out of his parents' home and onto his first berth as an ordinary seaman.  He was 16...lied about his age.

My grandmother took care of the move into the house in South City because Grandpa's ship was on a 2-day turn in port...just long enough to sign the papers to buy the house.  When that tour ended and he was able to take extended leave, Gram picked him up at the harbor and drove him to the new house, which had been completely furnished and made ship shape.

That was in 1948.

So he had to tell me that it was nice of the post office to put a big yellow sticker on his mail, not just to make sure the mail got to his new home, but to remind him to tell the sender that he has a new address.

Mom had already sent me an email with that and his new phone number.  But my grandpa is a responsible man.  He said that it was the right thing to do to follow the instructions of the post office, and be sure to notify anyone who might mail him something to send it to his new address.

And I have dutifully written down the new address and phone number, even though I already have it in my yahoo contacts and in my phone.  After all, my grandpa called me specifically to tell it to me.

"My boy," he said.  "This yellow sticker on your letter says that the post office will forward all my mail, but that I should remember to advise my contacts and associates that I have moved.  I forget things, so it's good that they do that.  While I have your letter in front of me, I decided to call to give you my new address and telephone number."

He says telephone.

Nobody else calls me that, by the way.  Only my grandpa calls me "my boy".  It's comforting.  So I write him notes and call him every so often so I can hear him say it.  "My boy, I enjoy those notes" and "My boy, it's good to hear from you".

I'll miss that old house.  It's just a place, but it's the place where my mom grew up.  It's the place where my sister and I spent summers with our grandmother.  For half of my life I lived within 100 miles of that house and I could go there whenever I wanted...or needed.

Gram is buried less than 5 miles from that house.  Grandpa's new home is about 10 miles from it.  It's the place where my grandpa taught me to grill a steak, because a man should know how whether he does it every weekend or only a few times in his life.  It's the place were my grandpa told me that whatever I was going to do, I should always be determined to do it well.




I have photographs of the house, and so many memories of my grandparents' hands of love.

I believe that words have power, so this matters.  Join us as we speak on one subject with one voice on one day.


Dona Nobis Pacem

Welcome to Peace Week, Day 3

Posted: Wednesday, October 29, 2014 by Travis Cody in
3

My family's hands of love built the foundation of my personal Peace.  I lean on my family every day.

Yesterday I told you a special story about my grandmother.  Today I have another.  I first told you this in 2007 and then again in 2011.  It's about memories, and home, and family...my family's hands of love.

When I was about 10, my parents divorced and my younger sister and I were raised by our single mom.  We lived about an hour and a half from my grandmother, and so we made lots of weekend trips over to the San Francisco Bay Area to visit.  They were like mini vacations for us.  We would laugh and sing in the car during the entire drive.


I remember the time we tried to take a short cut through Hayward to get to the San Mateo Bridge.  We ended up lost!  If there was a way to lose a large body of water like a bay and a huge bridge...we found it!  But such were our little adventures.

Editor's note:  I have inherited that trait.  Just after the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, while driving late at night in downtown San Francisco, I managed to lose the Bay Bridge.  But that's a story for another trip in the Wayback Machine. 


Anyway, that shortcut turned out to be the best thing because we passed right by a 7-Eleven convenience store on a side street.  Once we figured out the short cut, we almost always used it and Mom would give in to our begging and stop for Slurpees.  Not always, but more often than not.  If she didn't, we'd have to wait until we got to Gram's.

My sister and I were Slurpee-holics in those days.


Gram was the best.  She was a fireplug of a redhead and she was so much fun when I was a kid.  She'd take us down to Tanforan Mall in San Bruno.  We'd have adventures in parking.  She'd drive and drive around the side lot next to the Sears entrance to the mall, waiting for "her" spot to open up right near the front.  My sister and I would play scout from the backseat, keeping an eye on the entrance and watching for people heading to their cars.  And then, just like that, Gram's spot would open up and she'd swing the big Caddy in like a pro.

Honestly!  Can you imagine a woman all of 4'9" wrangling a huge 1970's model Cadillac around a parking lot?


After our triumph in parking, we'd walk into the mall through Sears.  This was my first experience with any large shopping mall.  Gram would always take us to the toy store and the pet store.  Sometimes she'd need to stop at a shoe store, and she always picked the one next to Waldenbooks so we could browse while she got her shoes.  Sometimes we'd get a prize for being patient...a new Hardy Boys book for me and a Trixie Belden or Bobbsey Twins for my sis.

Then we'd head over to the Walgreen's.  Now back in those days at Tanforan, the Walgreen's was more than just a place where Gram could get her necessaries, as she called them.  Once in awhile we'd get new coloring books and the small boxes of new Crayola crayons.  Of course we'd lust after the big box of 64 with the built-in sharpener, but that was always reserved for a holiday or birthday gift.


But the Walgreen's...it was a drug store like it is today, but it also had a cafe/restaurant!  My sister and I were always on our best behavior with limited fidgeting and whining during the shopping phase of our outing, because we knew that after all that good behavior we'd get grilled cheese and hot fudge sundaes at the Walgreen's cafe/restaurant.

The best thing though...the ultimate...the grandest thing about going to Gram's was that she lived around the corner from a 7-Eleven.  Can you imagine anything better for a couple of Slurpee-holics?  After a day of racing Big Wheels down the big hill, or building Legos and Tinker Toys in the backyard, or drawing and coloring on the big dining room table, Gram would hand us a dollar and send us around the corner for Slurpees.

Yeah...back then you could get 2 Slurpees for a buck. 

My grandmother has been gone for more than 28 years now.  My grandfather just sold the house in 2012 so he could move into a smaller place with more immediate onsite care and attention.  I'm a little sad about that, but all things change.

My aunt and uncle still live one block over from that house.  So now it's a two block walk to get to that same 7-Eleven. 

So what feels like home, now that the old house is no longer part of our family?

Memories.

Memories of my redheaded spitfire Gram, and Caddy wrangling in a parking lot, and Walgreen's grilled cheese and hot fudge sundaes, and Crayola crayons, and getting lost as an adventure, and Slurpees.


Memories are always home.  And home is family.  And my family's hands of love built the foundation of my personal Peace.

I believe that words have power, so this matters.  Join us as we speak on one subject with one voice on one day.


Dona Nobis Pacem

Welcome to Peace Week, Day 2

Posted: Tuesday, October 28, 2014 by Travis Cody in
3

I got virtually hugged so hard last night by some blogging pals who were happy to see me out and about in the old community again.  It's good to be missed!

Of course, there's a reason I'm here this week.  Blog Blast is exactly one week from today.

My family's hands of love built the foundation of my personal Peace.  I lean on my family every day.

I first told you a special story about my grandmother back in 2008.  I shared it again in 2013.  She's been gone more than 28 years now, but her impact on my life remains strong.

My grandmother died on 21 April 1986.

I had been living and working in southern California at the time, a long way from home.  When she went into the hospital for the last time, I took a long weekend and drove up to see her.  It was difficult for me.  I wanted to come home.

She told me to hang in and do my best.  And she told me that if it was what I really wanted to do with my life, then everything would work itself out.  Of course it wasn't what I wanted to do with my life.  I wanted to be a Marine.  But that wasn't going to happen no matter how much I wanted it.

I felt selfish for bringing my own problems like that.  But she told me she was at peace and there was nothing she would rather do in her final days than help her grandson figure things out.

Yeah...I cried.

Gram was always such a presence in my life.  The story goes that just after I was born, they couldn't get me to make much noise.  I didn't cry or fuss much...just a few random grunts.  And one little fist kept escaping from the swaddle package.  No matter how many times they wrapped me up tight, that little fist kept working its way free.  And my eyes were open and wandering from sound to sound.

They tell me that when Gram came into the room and spoke, my head snapped to her and my eyes fixed on her.  These are the words my mom has always said Gram spoke to me.

"Well hello there.  I'm Grammy and of course you must be Travis."

And that was when I started to make a lot of noise.  If Gram left the room, they say I "looked" for her and fussed until she came back.  I had a bond with her. She was one of the three women who raised me...along with my mom and my sister.  They made me who I am.

Now this is a story about ghosts, and I promise I'm getting there.

I knew the moment Gram left.  I knew she went peacefully after such a long and draining battle with emphysema.  I called my supervisor and quit my job.  I knew I was on the wrong path and I knew I needed to go home.  I wouldn't be able to get through my grief without my mom and my sister.

And even going home, I struggled for a long time as I tried to get used to the idea that I couldn't get in my truck and drive 90 miles to see Gram anymore.

One night about six months after she died, it got to be too much.  I got in my truck and drove to her.  She's in Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno CA.

I'm not a religious man and I don't accept the concept of any god or supreme being.  I wasn't raised with any kind of belief or study in that kind of thing.  I am spiritual in my own way and it doesn't have anything to do with any ideas about religion or heaven or angels.

I believe we all come from a well of energy, and when we die our energy returns to that well.  I believe that we are all connected to the energy in the well.

I'm not looking for a debate or discussion.  I simply state the way I think so you have a context for what I experienced.

It was after midnight when I pulled to a stop on El Camino Real.  Golden Gate National Cemetery is huge.  But I knew where she was...almost as though I was being guided to the spot.

I got out of the truck and walked to the fence.  I was looking down the row of headstones, and her place was about 75 yards from where I stood.  She's buried there with my baby Uncle Joey who was stillborn in 1954.

It was oddly peaceful to be standing there.  A lot of stuff was working itself out in my mind.  I could feel her with me.  And so I asked out loud, is it ok with you now?  Is it better?  Are you at peace now?

When I was little, Gram used to play a game with us.  Every time she entered a room, she'd flick the light switch off and on three times.  So just as I finished asking my questions, the lamp post over my shoulder flicked on and off three times.

And I knew she was ok.  She was better.  She was at peace.  And I could be too.

When I got back in the truck, I felt light.  For the first time since she died, my thoughts were clear and I wasn't sad.  There was an overwhelming presence in the cab with me, but it wasn't oppressive at all.  It was warm.

As I drove away from the cemetery, the presence coalesced and Gram was there in the passenger seat.  I felt her there, and I saw her there.  I told her I loved her.  She rode with me for awhile.  We had our real final talk about where my life was headed, until she started to fade as we approached the San Mateo Bridge.

Her ghost faded away, but her presence remained.  She has been in my heart every day since then.

I've seen her ghost return twice since that night.  She was there when my sister got married, and she was there on the day my niece was born.

I swear I heard her say, "Well hello there. I'm Grammy and of course you must be (my niece's name)".


My family's hands of love built the foundation of my personal Peace.

I believe that words have power, so this matters.  Join us as we speak on one subject with one voice on one day.


Dona Nobis Pacem

Welcome to Peace Week, Day 1

Posted: Monday, October 27, 2014 by Travis Cody in
5

What?

You didn't think I'd let Blog Blast go by, did you?

Of course you didn't.  And so I won't.


I am a Peace blogger, even if I'm not actually an active blogger at the moment.  I still believe that words have power, and so this movement matters.

Last year, Blog Blast founder Mimi Lennox of Mimi Writes asked Peace bloggers what they wanted the world to look like.  I put my answer on my Peace Globe.  I did and do want the world to celebrate diversity in all its forms, and for everyone to have the opportunity to pursue his or her purpose with intent.

I think that's a good way to live, and I've always tried to follow that path.

This year, Mimi asks us to explore how we translate the words we convey about peace into our day to day bricks and mortar actions.  After all, what you put down in words should translate into behaviors, don't you think?  As Mimi says, these are words in the hands of love.

These days I'm finding so much peace in my family, friends, and colleagues.  I always enjoyed my interactions with my blogging community.  I've missed that since Trav's Thoughts went dark.  But what I've gained is more time to look into the eyes of others, and to have them look into mine.  There is a reason they say that the eyes are the windows to the soul.  A person's eyes reveal personal truth.

So welcome to Peace Week 2014.  Leading up to Blog Blast day on 4 Nov, I want to hit the Wayback Machine to share some stories I've posted in the past about my family.  That's where my personal Peace begins.  That's where it grows.  And that's the safe place from which my Peace ripples flow into the world.


Dona Nobis Pacem