The Ornament

Posted: Sunday, December 06, 2015 by Travis Cody in

It.  Is.  Mine.

Pam and I spent Thanksgiving week and the week following with the folks.  While we were doing some holiday decorating, we started talking about holidays past and Mom said I could finally have it.

I have described this ornament several times. Here is the full story.

When I was a boy, before we moved away from the San Francisco Bay Area, we spent the weekend after Thanksgiving and most December weekends at my grandmother's house.

I have so many incredible memories from those years.  Whether she got a real tree or an artificial one...and she would do either depending on her holiday mood, and enjoy both...she decorated it exactly the same way.  She had a blueprint in her head of how the lights should go, and where every ornament should hang, and which side should face the street to be seen through the living room window.

And she would decorate her tree by laying it on the floor.  See, she was about four and a half feet tall.  It was easier for her to lay the tree down, get it perfect, then hoist it up on the table in front of the window.  When my sister and I were old enough, our job was to hand her the ornaments in the order she called for them, from the boxes she had carefully laid out on the sofa.

Except for one ornament. 

The special job, the most sacred honor, was the hanging of the little plastic ornament with the pinwheel thingy.  It had to go on the exact branch in the exact spot, not only because that was Gram's blueprint, but so it could catch the breeze from the heater vent and spin. 

I loved to sit and watch that ornament.  I'm told it caught my eye when I was a toddler.  I'm told I would stand or sit for hours watching it.  My little hand would reach for it at first, catching the admonition to look but don't touch.  

When the heater vent stopped, I would reach my hand out to make it spin again.  I would be told again not to touch, and then Mom or Gram would come and blow on it.  I'm told I took such delight that I learned how to blow on the ornament and make it spin.

I never got to touch that ornament, and it became so special to me.  It became the last ornament to go on the tree, and was not hung while the tree lay on the floor.  Gram made a special show of hanging it.  And I looked forward to it every year...never touching.

I finally got to hang that ornament when I was 8.  I remember it clearly.  The tree decorating ritual progressed as usual.  When it was standing majestically on the table in front of the window, Gram brought out the ornament.  She walked to the tree as I took my place where I could see it spinning for the first time. Gram motioned me over and said I was old enough now.  She handed the ornament to me.  She didn't need to point to the branch.  I knew where it went.  

The ornament felt so light in my hands.  It was just simple plastic with a very light bit of aluminum inside.  But it was so much more than that to me.  Perhaps I'm projecting onto the memory.  But I remember the fascination with that ornament so vividly.  I remember Mom and Gram telling me not to touch.  I remember it always being the last ornament to be hung on the tree.

It was special.

I remember I took the ornament from Gram and held it carefully by its hook, with my other hand beneath it in case it slipped.  I dropped cups and utensils all the time, but there would be no dropping of this special bit of plastic.

I took it to the branch, shielding it from the heater vent that was already blowing warm air.  I didn't want the ornament to start spinning until it was properly hung.  I held the branch steady and placed the hook securely, then I let it go.  I didn't move until I looked at Gram and she gave the nod that the ornament was in the right place.

Then I moved away from the vent into my spot so I could watch it start spinning.  

I don't know what was my happiest holiday, but I do know that this is one of the happiest memories of my life.

Now, finally, the ornament is mine for my tree.

Dona Nobis Pacem

Posted: Wednesday, November 04, 2015 by Travis Cody in

Welcome to the 12th Blog Blast for Peace and my 11th participation.

No, I did not give you 30 Days of Peace Quotes.  No, I did not post my 100 Reasons to Blog for Peace yesterday on the Eve of Blog Blast.  No, I haven't done anything in this space that I intended to do in the last 10 months.

My peace was derailed almost from the beginning of 2015.  Nothing has come easy.  The simplest tasks have been ridiculously complicated.  It's been almost comical, but the relief in laughter has been slow in coming.

Blog Blast founder Mimi Lennox has set a theme of Peace and Love for this 2015 launch.  My Peace Post is about Challenge, Struggle, and Opportunity.  That's been my year.  But if you look closely, you'll find Mimi's theme in my year.  She does have a knack.  Even when I have a thing to relate, even if I think that thing is outside the story Mimi wants from me, somehow she yanks me underneath the umbrella of this movement and my message for Blog Blast becomes exactly what she wants.

Uncanny, that woman is.  I haven't been in contact much with Mimi since this blog went dark.  Yet her theme trumped my own.  I'm ok with that.

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."  
Martin Luter King Jr.

Details aren't important.  Suffice to say that my challenge in 2015, indeed my and Pam's challenge, has been overcoming repeated illness, plus the stuff and nonsense that comes with lousy health.  We have both fought one illness after another since January.  We lost weight.  We became reclusive.  We begged off social engagements.  We fell behind at work, ran ourselves ragged trying to catch up, then missed more time because we didn't get enough rest and caught the dang bugs again.

Rinse and repeat.

We simply could not string enough time together when one or the other or both of us felt well.  We gradually surrendered to the lethargy of not feeling well, which led to a completely overwhelming negativity. 

Pam is an innately positive person.  She can find a bright side to any situation.  I work at being that kind of person, and I've gotten to the point where I usually can find the positive in just about anything, almost without thinking too hard.

2015 knocked us both down, put its boot on our throats, and leaned in for the crush.

"Always remember that striving and struggle precede success, even in the dictionary."  
Sarah Ban Breathnach

It is a hard thing when you can't pick your partner up.  How do you say something to your partner to cheer them, when your focus is gradually turning inward within your own struggle?  We've all done that when we're's only about us.  It's about how lousy we feel.  We selfishly hoard our energy because we want it all for our own struggle to feel well.

You know what they tell you on the airplane, right?  Those safety demonstrations?  In the event of cabin decompression, they tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before you help someone else.  Good safety tip...until you're so focused on getting your own oxygen that you don't look around to see if anyone else needs help.

My struggle to feel well.  Pam's struggle to feel well.  Independent of each other.  Frustrated and tired of feeling awful most of the time.

Except...we're not independent of each other, Pam and I.  We never have been, since that moment in 2006 when our lives met and intertwined.

"Empathy is the most mysterious transaction that the human soul can have, and it's accessible to all of us, but we have to give ourselves the opportunity to identify, to plunge ourselves in a story where we see the world from the bottom up or through another's eyes or heart."  
Sue Monk Kidd

One night not too long ago, neither of us could open a jar.  No matter how we tried, we simply could not get the thing open.  Stoopid pickles.

And we started laughing.

It was a moment of extreme silliness.  A moment of high hilarity.  A moment of such sublime ridiculousness.  A complete tension release.  A reminder that even during those times when we were each mired in our own selfish hoarding of energy to be well, we were together.

She and I.  Us.  We.

With love.  In love.  Loving.

The individual challenge.  The singular struggle.  The shared opportunity.



 Dona Nobis Pacem.

Image credit:  I found the image I used on my Peace Globe at a site called All About Art.  The artist's name is Anna Razumouskaya.

There's no forcing it cause it just ain't happening

Posted: Thursday, August 06, 2015 by Travis Cody in

Hi gang,

A guy can only do what he can do.  Right now, this guy can't blog.  There are reasons.  Maybe some day I'll tell you what they are.

Or maybe not.

I'll see you for Blog Blast 2015.

Be well.


1945 - 2015

Posted: Thursday, May 14, 2015 by Travis Cody in

We've been ill.  First me, then Pam.  Then me again.  I won't get into the details. 

We've been so ill over the last few months that all the plans I had to commemorate the 70 years since the final year of World War II had to be postponed.  We're just now starting to crawl out from under it, finding our footing and getting back to some kind of normal life.

It hasn't been a whole lot of fun.

But we seem to be recovering.  Enough so, anyway, that my mind is turning back to all those essays I had intended to share with you from February, March, April, and now into May.  A lot of special dates were missed.

Missed, but not left behind. 

Stand by.  I'm going to catch up.  It's too important not to go back and explore.  So I shall.

Cheers gang.

Dean Smith (1931 - 2015)

Posted: Sunday, February 08, 2015 by Travis Cody in

Former University of North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith has died.  He was 83.

I had a like/dislike relationship with Coach Smith., that's not the right word.  I never met the man.  I coached youth basketball as a high school volunteer.  My philosophy was shaped and most heavily influenced by John Wooden and Bob Knight at that time.  As I learned more and more about the game and became more passionate and dedicated to it, Mike Krzyzewksi became more of an influence.

But the very first offense I taught my very first team was a version of Coach Smith's four corners.  It was the absolute best way to teach kids basic fundamentals...ball skill, passing, floor balance, and spacing.  The very first book I ever read on the technical aspects of the game, and how to teach them, was Basketball: Multiple Offense and Defense, written by Coach Smith and published in 1981.  It still stands for me as the best book ever of its kind.

Coach retired from the game in 1997.  At the time he was the winningest college basketball coach in the history of the game with 879 victories and a .776 winning percentage (879-254).  He was named National Coach of the Year 4 times and ACC Coach of the Year 9 times.  He is in sports Halls of Fame for the states of North Carolina and Kansas, for the NCAA, and for FIBA.

Coach led UNC to 11 Final Fours and 2 national championships.  He led the USA to a gold medal in the 1976 Olympics.  He won 17 ACC regular season championships and 13 ACC tournament championships.

He was a tremendous teacher of the game.  His philosophy emphasized team over individual.  He cared about the whole young man, not just the basketball player passing through his program.

He was not a perfect man.  Who is? 

Dean Edwards Smith
28 February 1931 - 7 February 2015
"If you make every game a life and death proposition, you're going to have problems.  For one thing, you'll be dead a lot."

1945 - 2015

Posted: Monday, January 12, 2015 by Travis Cody in

It was 70 years ago that World War II came to an end.  I want to write selectively and strategically throughout the year in commemoration.

My goal with this first essay is to give you a quick idea as to how the world has changed since 1945.  One way to do that is to line up some basic statistics.  First we'll look at population.

In general, this can often be difficult to do over long periods of time because the composition of the world can change.  Also, all countries don't use the same census methods.  I don't really want to get bogged down too much in statistical variation and such...the information is more for flavor than to make any political or mathematical point.

So, here are population figures for 1945 and 2015 as pulled from a site called WolframAlpha, a computational knowledge site.  Obviously 2015 is only a couple of weeks old, so the values listed are live at this point in time as calculated by the site.  These are the main countries that made up the Allied and Axis powers.  I have included China, which has steadily emerged as a world power during the 70 years since WWII ended.
  • Global: 1945 = 2.35 billion; 2015 = 7.28 billion
  • United States:  1945 = 140 million; 2015 = 326 million
  • United Kingdom:  1945 = 49.2 million; 2015 = 63.9 million
  • France:  1945 = 39.7 million; 2015 = 64.4 million
  • Russia: 1945 = 99.2 million; 2015 = 142 million (not Soviet Union or Russian Federation)
  • Germany: 1945 = 69.3 million; 2015 = 81.5 million
  • Japan: 1945 = 72 million; 2015 = 126 million
  • Italy: 1945 = 45.4 million; 2015 = 61.2 million
  • China: 1945 = 533 million; 2015 = 1.37 billion
OK.  Clearly there are a lot more people in the world.  Duh...understatement much? 

What else can we review to see how the world has changed?  How about money?  We know that WWII began amidst global economic depression.  We know that economies in general are dynamic.  They are volatile in the short term, expanding and contracting in reaction to all kinds of factors.  But over the long term they typically grow. 

So let's look at how incomes and prices have changed since 1945.  These values are from the US only.
  • Annual median income: 1945 =  $2,600; 2014 = $53,891
  • Hourly minimum wage: 1945 = $0.30/hour; 2015 = $7.25 to $9.32/hour
  • Median price of a new home: 1945 = about $8,600; 2015 = about $311k
  • Average price of a new car: 1945 = about $1,220; 2015 = about $30k
  • Average cost of a gallon of gas: 1945 = about $0.21; 2015 = about $3.18
  • Average cost of a loaf of white bread: 1945 = about $0.09; 2015 = about $1.41
  • Average cost of a dozen eggs: 1945 = $0.64; 2015 = about $1.95
  • Cost of a postage stamp: 1945 = $0.03; 2015 = $.49
  • Average cost of a movie ticket: 1945 = about $0.32; 2015 = about $8.12
I don't know about that $8 movie.  Pam and I saw The Hobbit Battle of Five Armies over the holiday and paid $11 each for a matinee showing.  I guess there are less expensive theaters around the country that drive that average.  Makes sense, right? 

What did you pay the last time you went to the movies?
In 1945, there were only about 10,000 TV sets in American homes.  Radios, however, were ubiquitous around the world and often a lifeline to freedom outside war ravaged occupied territory.  The cost of owning a television was about $100, close to half your monthly salary if you're making $2600 a year.  The cost of a radio was about $36.  In 2007, there were about 285 million TV sets in US households, costing anywhere from $200 to several thousand dollars depending on screen size and type.  Digital music and satellite radio also have added significantly to our entertainment and information choices when we step away from the TV. 

In 1945, there were 6 types of operational jet aircraft in the world.  On 20 July 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon.  And late in 2014, an international space probe landed on a comet. 

Computers in 1945.

Computers in 2015.

I could go on.  Of course, we're all aware that the world is different than it used to be.  Change is constant and inevitable.  You can pick up your smart phone right now and access more information than you could find on your bookcase in a set of Encyclopedia Britannica in 1945. 

One could argue that things were simpler 70 years ago.  I recall a scene in the film The Longest Day, which depicted the Allied landings at Normandy on 6 June 1944.  The scene was of a US 82nd Airborne trooper dropping on an unsuspecting French woman in the town of Ste Mere Eglise.  She had been going to "the little house" when he dropped out of the sky, told her "shhh", and moved on about his business.

"The little house" is a euphemism for outhouse. indoor plumbing at her home.  Simpler time, but surely not easier or even desirable. 

For my part, I'll take today's conveniences over the mythical simplicity of a bygone era.

Thanks to my pal Debra for sharing a terrific find as she researched family history and her father's service in WWII.  Check back with me once in awhile through 2015 as I share my thoughts with you about 1945.  I'll check in with you too, and maybe you can tell me something about 1945.

Cheers gang.

1945 - 2015

Posted: Thursday, January 01, 2015 by Travis Cody in

Happy New Year and welcome to 2015.

This is a commemorative year gang.  It was 70 years ago that World War II came to an end.  I'll be writing about that, not often but certainly strategically throughout the year.  I'm going to spend time with each subject I choose to ensure that my essays are informative and thorough, and above all respectful.

I encourage you all to schedule some time to find out a little more than you previously knew about the era.  Not just about the war, although those events probably should take precedence to any research you do.  But I find it equally important to understand the times.

If you have parents or grandparents that are still with you who experienced the times, ask them to tell you stories.  If you lived in that era, tell your stories.

Above all, please remember that our current times are shaped in large part still by the events of the 1940s...the early war years, the middle years that began the baby boom, and the last years of the decade that set the stage for momentous social change.

Check in here once in awhile through 2015 and I'll share my thoughts with you about 1945.  I'll check in with you too, and maybe you can tell me something about 1945.

Cheers gang.

Peace in Review

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

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

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 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 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 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

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 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