2020 Year of HOPE

It is the first evening of the New Year, with some snow on the ground of southern Wisconsin and a bit nippy out in the cold air.  We have to believe that behind the dark night, there is LIGHT. We have to continue to hope and believe that love and compassion will win.  We have to believe we can build bridges instead of walls…we have to believe that deep inside each person there is good…and that GOOD will prevail. We owe it to all those who have gone before us– those who struggled through the conflicts and injustices of their time. We owe it to them to keep believing in one another.  We have to believe in the higher truth and not give in to frustration or despair. We have to fight for the rights of all to live and breathe on Mother Earth — and forget the lines of nations -those imaginary lines that actually do not exist. We have to breathe life into our children and hope despite all the savagery that blurs the reality of what it means to be truly human. We have to respect nature and the plants and animals we share the Earth with and do all that we can as individuals and collectively to save this beautiful planet. We have to replace our sadness with joy and truly believe that change is possible — never give up!

The sun is brilliantly rising somewhere on our planet…and in the night sky the stars are there to remind us…that as long as we seek the LIGHT we will find it and we will save each other as we walk on our tender Mother Earth.

This is my New Year’s wish for all in 2020:  keep HOPE alive!

Federal Judge Rules That The Public Has No Right To Know About Dakota Pipeline Spills

BlueFeatherSpirit

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As most of you reading this most likely know, America was inhabited by several million indigenous people prior to the arrival of European aristocracy. Scholars have estimated that, prior to the ‘discovery’ of the Americas by Europeans, the pre-contact era population could have been as high as 100 million people. American anthropologist and ethnohistorian Henry F. Dobyns, most known for his published research on American Indians and Hispanic peoples in Latin and North America, estimated that more than one hundred and twelve million people inhabited the Americas prior to European arrival. He approximated that ten million alone inhabited an area north of the Rio Grande before European contact. In 1983, he revised that number to upwards of eighteen million.

What ensued was a massive genocide, the biggest one in the history of our planet and the loss of spiritual teachings and values that must return back to our planet today if…

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Acceptance

“Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation.  It means understanding that something is what it is and that there has to be a way through it.” Michael J. Fox

Michael J. Fox is an inspiration to me and to many and I am so happy to see the thought he added to the phrase: “…it is what it is,” –THAT  “there has to be a way through it.”

That phrase, “it is what it is,” has irritated me since about 2010, when it seemed to permeate many conversations that I was either having or topics that were being discussed by others. It seemed so definite and defining and I guess I am the type of person that cannot readily accept things as permanent or without possibility.  I would say I am not one to follow the “status quo.”  It doesn’t mean that I cannot accept some things, such as the manner in which the sun rises or set. It does mean that when something seems to be an irritation or an injustice, it bugs the hell out of me that I can not do something to improve it or that we cannot at least discuss possibilities. I do not think that makes me a “negative person” because I get so upset with that idea of “it is what it is.” One reason I get upset is that when someone says that to me it expresses a finality and that I “should just get over it and move on.”  Ignoring an injustice is not something I can do easily.  If anything, I am hopeful that things can be better!

“There has to be a way through it” expresses to me that there are countless possibilities. No matter how bad a situation, no matter how difficult the experience, there is a way out or forward. If one approach does not work, we can try another. Not giving up on possibilities is being hopeful and optimistic. Not giving up on others, no matter how many times they have done every possible thing to drive you down into the valley, there is always the hill that can be climbed to new heights.

Lately, our country is experiencing many soul-stretching boundaries. We have to look at our beliefs and what we actually live and breathe. With every spurt of growth there is a little pain. We have to keep on hoping in ourselves, in one another, and in the common good of humanity. I know I fail at this many times. but each day I wake up and have to try again and not give up or say “it is what it is.”  No, I must add, “there is a way through it” and continue with HOPEFUL ACTION.

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“Your Bright Eyes” by Nadia Krenn

Written by my Granddaughter, Nadia, when she was 4 years young! (January 12, 2014 at 17:39:32)

I love this photo of her! The love glows in her face…such a beautiful, free soul…such a whimsical gaze!

With your eyes so bright on me

You will be my Sweetie

We will swing on a star

And you will be my car

Photo Credit: Unknown Artist

i look upon your face

for Lily Elizabeth Brooks

My New Granddaughter
5 Months into this world!

 

“Mrs. Cardinal”
Winter, 2018
Copyright Photo Credit
©Jane H. Johann

 

i look upon your face

your gentleness does not escape

warmth and kindness in your grin

lovely, lovely welcoming in

 

your eyes follow my every move

my love for you I will prove

soaking in the tone of my voice

love from me is the only choice

 

the touch of your tiny finger to my hand

sends a message deep for all I stand

Lily, you are gift beyond measure

In my heart you will always be my treasure

 

 

 

 

Wordless Wednesday

Bellingham, WA
Photo Credit:
Copyright
©Jane H Johann; Jan 1. 2019

Copyright
©Jane H. Johann
Bellingham, WA. 2017

Copyright
©Jane H. Johann
Bellingham, WA. 2017

 

Copyright
©Jane H. Johann
Bellingham, WA. 2017

Copyright
©Jane H. Johann
Bellingham, WA. 2017

Copyright
©Jane H. Johann
Bellingham, WA. 2017

“Bird Alley” #1
Bellingham, WA
Photo Credit:
Copyright
©Jane H Johann; Jan 1. 2019

“Bird Alley” #2
Bellingham, WA
Photo Credit:
Copyright
©Jane H Johann; Jan 1. 2019

“Bird Alley” #3
Bellingham, WA
Photo Credit:
Copyright
©Jane H Johann; Jan 1. 2019

Horsehoe Cafe
Bellingham, WA
Photo Credit:
Copyright
©Jane H Johann; Jan 1. 2019

“Welcome Turkey”
Bellingham, WA
Photo Credit:
Copyright
©Jane H Johann; Jan 1. 2019

Bellingham, WA
Photo Credit:
Copyright
©Jane H Johann; Jan 1. 2019

Bellingham, WA
Photo Credit:
Copyright
©Jane H Johann; Jan 1. 2019

 

“Cabin Tavern”
Bellingham, WA
Photo Credit:
Copyright
©Jane H Johann; Jan 1. 2019

Copyright
©Jane H. Johann
Bellingham, WA. 2017

A Brand New Bridge

Copyright
©Jane H. Johann, 2016
Walkway along Whatcom Creek.
Bellingham, WA

 

We woke up today to a brand new bridge

Offering our hands to help them make the leap

Days and days on the road with no sleep

We knew they had walked through  too much grief

          

The elderly man held his wife’s wrinkled hand

Their grandchildren clung to them as they sat in the sand            

The young married couple looking for hope

Their son and daughter with an adventurous scope

They hadn’t eaten for several days, no water passed to their parched lips

Their thirst for freedom was their drink and their trust in God their sailing ship

 

Their grateful eyes filled with tears

Man of La Mancha dispelled their fears

We finally were at peace with ourselves

We stopped the war placing it on the shelves

We no longer had a hollow heart

Living humanely initiated the start

We sat on the hillside and by the beach

We laughed and smiled and made the reach

We were proud to say there is enough for all

We leapt for joy and tore down that silly old wall

 

We woke up today to a brand new bridge!

Picket Bridge 1886-2019 Bellingham, Washington

 

old Picket Bridge, built sturdy and strong

many moons ago is the history’s song

with Whatcom Creek rushing below

the soldiers marched to and fro

 

Copyright ©Jane H. Johann, 2016 "Whatcom Creek" with Pickett Bridge build in 1865 offering a path above the water.

Copyright
©Jane H. Johann, 2016
“Whatcom Creek” with Pickett Bridge build in 1865 offering a path above the water.

 

different feet from various walks of life

trod upon it day and night

the years flew by as did the time

still the bridge stood ever so sublime

 

today its purpose is doublefold

the only home for the humble-souled

the pavement is laid and so are the planks

people  using it without asking their rank

 

sheltering the homeless safely underneath

in the cold they sleep with shattering teeth

progress they say has come our way

yet so many are left with no place to stay

 

Copyright
©Jane H. Johann, 2016
“Shelter for the Homeless”

 

 

 

What Can We Do for the Homeless?

“Bellingham Cares”
Whatcom Creek
Photo Credit:
Copyright
©Jane H Johann; Jan 1. 2019

Poverty in the USA is growing quickly and we are fast becoming a Third World Country, though few want to acknowledge it. Yes, we have many more safety net programs than most countries. This is a true fact. But the number of homeless is growing more rapidly than are the solutions to help people feel like productive human beings.
Recently, I read that France has made it illegal for their grocery stores or supermarkets to throw out food. Instead they must donate it to a shelter, charity or place that needs food for the hungry. (https://www.foodnavigator.com/Article/2017/03/24/France-s-food-waste-ban-One-year-o)(https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/04/french-law-forbids-food-waste-by-supermarkets) Of course, with this new law, there are the pros and cons. But overall, the principle of the idea is sensible and it should be kept and utilized in all countries! Waste is a terrible thing, especially when we know children in Yemen are starving to death, when someone in Togo jumps into a well because they have no money to feed their family, when people are emaciated and starving! How can we dump the food into a garbage container. I vividly recall the scene from the film, “Dr. Zhivago,” which portrays the upper class dining, drinking and having a ball, while the people below are marching on the streets asking for bread.

Why are so many people on the streets? Why are there families living in cars?

The answer to this dilemma is more than the simplified answer: “They are too lazy to work.”

Yes, there are people on opioids, there are people smoking pot–yes, these are real people who end up living on the streets. But NOT everyone is a drug addict or a pot smoker. There are people who are mentally ill. People who have social anxiety, people who talk to themselves, people who are lost, people who do not seem to belong to anyone, people without family. There are people who for one reason or another, lost their job, and he/she or both parents and their children live in cars or under bridges and are without nothing. There are people living in the sewers of Las Vegas!

What has our world become? A world of have and have-nots. And NOT every fault lies at the feet of those who are without.

No one is going to tell me that a person would rather sit on the cold cement, as I saw on the streets of Bellingham, Washington, because they like the rain pouring on them and the cold wind biting at their bodies!

I have visited Bellingham on four different occasions because my youngest daughter now lives there. While there, I spend my day time walking on the streets, because my daughter is working and I need to do something with my time. I walk and I observe. Occasionally, I engage in conversation with those who are homeless. Yes, they think I am one of them because I am walking everyday. I write as though they are someone from some distant planet! My God–they are people with red blood running through their arteries–just like you and me! I suppose they are observing me too.

One particular day, four women were huddled together drinking coffee and one shouted to me, “Hey, I like your jacket.” I took this as an opportunity to interact with them. There I stood with them and spoke with them for over an hour. I learned a lot. Each woman had a poignant story to tell. Elizabeth lost her trailer because she had been with an abusive man and the police came and confiscated the trailer (yes, I am sure I only got some of the story). Another said she had no family. The third woman said she had been in a hospital but they discharged her and she had nowhere to go. Still another woman said she had been living with her daughter and her two children in a low-income housing project, but she had to leave because she was not allowed to remain with her as the housing stipulation said only her daughter and children could live there. Never mind, that the woman experiences social anxiety, is over 60, and had only a shopping cart filled with her belongings and a cat on a leash. She expressed that she feared going to a shelter because of the men who also stay there. There are no separate facilities, I presume.

There are as many reasons as there are homeless people on the streets.

I saw one person’s attempt to help. One day I was walking along Whatcom Creek and along this creek is a walkway with posts and a guard rail overlooking the waterway. I noticed that several posts had bags on them and one post had a jacket. I have attached the photos below, but I will write what was on each bag in each photo.

Photo #1: “With Metta…for you or a friend, may you be safe. May you be well. May you be warm. May you be happy. 3x”

“Bellingham Cares #1”
Whatcom Creek
Photo Credit:
Copyright
©Jane H Johann; Jan 1. 2019

Photo #2: This (a jacket) was my brother’s. He traveled the world with this, was smart and talented. I miss him. Let it serve you well!” Peace Sign

“Bellingham Cares #2 Jacket for the Homeless”
Whatcom Creek
Photo Credit:
Copyright
©Jane H Johann; Jan 1. 2019

Photo #3: “With Metta. May you be safe. May you be well. May you be warm. May you be happy. 3x”

“Bellingham Cares #3”
Whatcom Creek
Photo Credit:
Copyright
©Jane H Johann; Jan 1. 2019

I have also seen people come down Holly Street and stop their van and hand out sandwiches to those on the streets. Others have given out water and juice bottles. Each day I see the generosity of the people of Bellingham.
And, I also see the dark side. Entrance ways that would provide shelter for the homeless overnight are sealed with an iron gate and lock.

“Locked Entrance”
Bellingham, WA
Photo Credit:
Copyright
©Jane H Johann; Jan 1. 2019

There are many challenges facing us as a society. We have much work to do!

What can we do?  Unlock our hearts!