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Monthly Peace Challenge October: I Have a Dream


It’s been pretty quiet on the Yaussiechick wordpress site. I know I have been very silent with my blog for a while now. I always like doing the Monthly Peace challenge that Kozo Hattori puts out and the month of October is almost done. I haven’t written a word about this challenge. I have been grappling with it for almost the entire month though trying to think of something provocative to say but sometimes I strive to do something and fail epically. I do want to write something though so here goes my attempt.

My dream of peace for our world isn’t very original. It has probably been stated before in more grandeur ways. On Sunday I was lazing around watching a documentary that Tom Shadyac had made entitled: I AM. In this documentary he actually made some very valid points about changing our world. It also falls in line with what we peace bloggers are trying to do and that is create a world of peace.

Imagine a world where Cooperation is the normal and not competition. Imagine a world where Compassion spreads across the world like a bushfire and not greed. If only we could make that change happen NOW, then the world could be transformed. In my dream world this is the alternative. In my world, it has happened and I can try and transform the world that I am living in today by remembering that living my life in cooperation, compassionately and valuing sharing instead of striving to be the best at all costs, I will be able to impact the world I am in RIGHT NOW.

The greatest philosophers and religious leaders know that in order for humanity to continue there needs to be cooperation and compassion. Jesus Christ, Ghandi, Martin Luther King, and the Dalai Lama speak of change through peaceful ways. They were seen as radicals of their time but they impacted the world they lived in one day at time and look at the legacy they have given us.

My dream world of peace which I hope to live by in reality revolves around cooperation, compassion, and most importantly sharing love. The following are other dreams of peace:

http://electronicbaglady.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/b4peace-imaginings/

http://fishofgold.net/2013/10/03/a-lesson-in-peace/

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A Lasting Imprint


Sometimes you think that you don’t really influence things around you or impact others but I came to a realization the other day after reading on Facebook about the death of a former coach whom I had as a homeroom teacher when I was in Seventh grade. Coach Causey was a really awesome teacher. He inspired a lot of students. I was really shook up and still can feel the effects of knowing he’s not back in Leesville. I feel so sad for his family because if I feel this bad, I can imagine how much worse it is for them since I have lost my own parents. I have an inkling of  the sense of loss that they are going through at this exact moment.

The role of the teacher is quite important in my eyes. Although I don’t have qualifications as a teacher through university training I have done scripture teaching in Australia voluntarily for a few years. I have stopped for now because I am doing a sort of hiatus on that. I felt strange teaching scripture in a public classroom even though the parents have chosen for the children to attend the half hour course that our parish church provided for the area where I lived. I found it very daunting at times because when I grew up in the United States, it was a no go zone. In the first amendment of the Constitution Thomas Jefferson wrote about separation of church and state. In some ways, I totally get where he is coming from because the government doesn’t have a right to dictate to its citizens how they should or shouldn’t worship God. It’s up to the individual to do so which is another reason why I pondered the decision to continue teaching the children in public school. The government didn’t supply the scripture teachers with any funds. It was truly up to the parents to decide if they wanted the child to go to the classes. There was separation of church and state to the fullest extent but I still felt funny. When I tried explaining my feelings to some of my colleagues they just didn’t quite get what I was trying to say. I suppose it’s because you had to experience living with the concept of separation of church and state. It’s like trying to explain to a natural-born Australian  why Americans think it’s their God-given right to bear arms (not all Americans do but a majority would rather die than contemplate giving up guns because they feel so strongly about this constitutional right.) You just have a mindset that feels ingrained. I know I am making a huge generalization here but if the shoe fits, by golly, I am going to wear it. For me it’s like trying to explain mateship if you have never been to an Anzac Day presentation, you just have to be there to experience the camaraderie that Australians have down to a tea.  One of the things I really treasure about Australia is how relaxed they can be. They know not to take things too seriously but they also know when to be serious. I find growing up in the United States that some Americans can be very narrow minded or think they are better than others because they were born in the best country in the free world. I know I was guilty of this impression myself for the longest time until I decided to move across the Pacific Ocean to be with the man I loved.  It was getting away from the USA that I actually found the scales of close- sightedness fell off of me.

I feel as if I have digressed here but I am hoping to tie this all together because even my generalizations have a lasting imprint. Coach Causey had a great love for the USA. I don’t think he had ever left Vernon Parish but he really understood to the best of his ability about the sacrifice Americans have done to try and protect their country for their future generations. In his own way, he left a lasting imprint on me and I am sure on many others who were fortunate to be taught by him. He instilled pride and respect to me about the great country of my birth. My own father served his country to the best of his ability.

In every life we come across, we do leave a lasting imprint. Sometimes the imprint maybe of love and happiness. Sometimes the imprint maybe of hurt and pain but I really hope that the lasting imprint I leave behind is of compassion, forgiveness, and love. In the end that is what I really want to strive for leaving a lasting imprint of love, peace, and tolerance.

What would you like to leave as a lasting imprint for future generations? 

B4Peace


In the mood I am finding myself in today, it’s going to be a huge struggle to B4Peace but it’s something that I strive for every day. I practically snapped my husband’s head off when he headed out this morning. I don’t think that is very B4Peace and I felt horrible for it.

A saint that I really admire is St Francis of Assisi. He lived his life following Jesus’ example. He loved every creature on this Earth. I feel an affinity with him because of his great love for all things and people. I must say though that I don’t care for snakes much but they are on this Earth for a reason so I will try my best not to bother them and vice versa.

I do know that the only way I can promote B4Peace is by trying to live my life in a most loving way. I strive to be tolerant and understanding. There is one man that I meet here in Australia who exemplified this trait that St Francis had. This man died in 2005 and was my husband’s father. I don’t know if Athol ever heard of St Francis but he certainly was a very peaceable man who would go out of his way to help you. Adam, I think, has a lot of Athol’s wonderful traits. I feel very blessed to have gotten to know Athol Morris as well as be a part of his family. I can honestly say it’s a true honour and privilege. I suppose I should have waited until 25 April to post this on his birthday but I feel the need strongly to do this today at this moment because I want to B4Peace.

The video I decided to use is the Prayer of St Francis which I sang at Athol’s Funeral service but I am not the lady singing. I did it a Capella. I know Adam’s parents are watching over us as well as my own.  Having this thought helps me B4Peace because I want to make them proud they have me for a daughter.

Peace be with you all! Enjoy the song!

 

 

My Heritage: A Hodge Podge Of Cultural Melting Pot



Today’s blog is going to be a bit all over the place but I hope to make my connections in the end which you may understand and if you don’t please leave a comment and I will try to clarify for you if I can.

I’ve been wanting to share this story for a while now but wasn’t sure how to do it. My story is not really that unique but for me, it does form me into who I am. I am quite proud of my heritage but at times, I  feel as if I have missed out on a few things. I can’t compare it to  the stolen generation of Aboriginal Australia but when I hear the stories that they share. I can feel a kinship to it because in some  ways, I have lost parts of my own heritage though I wasn’t ripped from my family in the way they were. The Aboriginal language is said to be  dying and I can say that the Cajun French my father spoke growing up is sort of dying as well. The University of Louisiana Lafayette is  teaching Cajun French now. I never took the course but to me Cajun French is a living language. The aborigines of Australia have a rich  oral history but because the stolen generation was stripped from their  families they have lost quite a bit of it. It’s hard to write down a history when it has been robbed from you or denied to you since it was deemed not worthy of knowing. When my father was growing up, he was  not allowed to speak the language of his birth in school. He spoke it when visiting his family but he didn’t teach it to his children.

I know more about my father’s side of my family mostly due to the fact  that is where they decided to settle once he retired from the Army. Both of my mother’s parents were deceased by
the time I was born. My  father’s parents were still living in Louisiana when he was stationed  at Ft Polk or at least my Paw Paw was. I think Me Maw died right before or right after we moved to Louisiana. I was only about 3 when  she died. I do know a little bit about my mom’s father and mother. Her father immigrated from Naples, Italy when he was 9. My mom’s mother  was born from Irish American stock. My mom spoke very little of her upbringing.

Dad’s sister, Dolly would come up and help us slaughter pigs or we  would drive down to visit PaPa and Aunt Dolly who lived about an  hour’s drive south-west of us near Hathaway.
We might go down for a  cousin’s wedding. Oh, the fun we’d have watching our parents dance or dancing with each other.

One of my dad’s favorite recording artists was Doug Kershaw. My father  said that Doug was a cousin. I am not sure if this is actual fact but  one of my fondest memories of my dad is him singing “Louisiana Saturday Night” or “Jole Blon” or “Louisiana Man”. Jole Blon was  definitely Dad’s all time favorite.

Certain things bring back memories to me. Just as the Boab tree in Western Australia moves me. Looking at Bald Cypress trees in the Atchafalaya Basin can move me especially if a great white egret is perched on or near it. I am not sure why but I have always loved Southwestern Louisiana. I know it’s partly to do with my father’s heritage. I know when we would drive down to Lafayette my heart would always skip a beat when I spotted the spanish moss strewn cypress trees. I am really thankful that we got to take a swamp tour with Judy and Margaret back in 2006. I am not sure if it holds good memories for them but it sure did bring up some nice ones for me.
I took Adam down to look at Vermillionville when he came to meet me  for something to do as well as try to let him get an idea about my heritage on my father’s side. I learned more myself with that visit.  If you are ever in Lafayette, Louisiana, I highly recommend spending  some time exploring the venue. I know if I get to return back to  Louisiana, I would go again if I can fit it into my schedule.
http://www.bayouvermiliondistrict.org/index.cfm?active=1

It sort of baffles me how humanity can keep making the same mistakes when it comes to prejudices. I have come across bigotry and prejudices while growing up on my father’s side of the family. I look also how people who believe in God can look down on other believers because  they don’t use the same rituals to praise Him. I am not sure why some  people believe they are better than some one else because of skin  colour or religious belief. I have seen it occur in films which were  made all over the world. It occured in my own ancestory. It has happened in Australia with natives being taken away from their  families for the greater good. Children who should have been with  their families were taken to be taught how to serve or be educated to  be better. These people survived thousands of years before white men  came along and decided that they were the savages. When I look at it,  I can see who the real savages were.

It’s not just the white people though who have this twisted sense of  righteousness. I know of people who look down at their fellow countrymen because of their religious belief or because they were not born on the right side of the track. Lies can be told a thousand  different ways but the truth can be only told only one way. In my heart, I feel as if we are suppose to live with tolerance. I strive to  honour our differences and learn to respect others beliefs even if they aren’t my own. Money doesn’t make you a better person or  education can not make you a better person if you can’t discern the  truth from what you are being taught. Blind acceptance of things will  not protect you but shedding light on situations will help you find  the truth of what is being told.

The pieces of information I get from my heritage have helped form me.  I walk with the knowledge of where I come from in hope of spreading  love and tolerance to others that I touch in my lifetime.

Walking In My Shoes


Depeche Mode is in my top 10 of groups that I love. This song is a great reminder to me not to cast stones or be too judgemental. I have been wanting to do this post on this song for a while now. I suppose the catalyst that made me do this was finding out about one of my aunts dying yesterday.

Aunt Dolly had lived a long life. She would have been 92. She grew up and stayed in Acadiana for her entire life. Acadiana is  a region in southwestern Louisiana. She was a loving mother and sister. She was from a large family herself and had a large family.

Her childhood wasn’t easy which is why I think she had such a tough exterior. Inside though she was very kind. She was an awesome cook. If she knew I was coming to visit, she would always have a pot of chicken and sausage gumbo ready because she knew it was my fave thing that she made.

My husband listens to lots of podcasts. This morning he shared this link with me about Marlon Noble. His story is only one that is often repeated in Australia and perhaps even through out the world. He was jailed for something that he did not do for 10 years. He has an intellectual disability and was released last year but he is still under supervision.

I know that these two people aren’t similar but just think what the world would be like if we tried walking in other’s shoes. There could be a lot more understanding and tolerance. I wanted to use this song to not only help myself but to raise awareness of others. I can act hastily about others but if I were to walk in someone else’s shoes, I’d probably stumble or not be able to accomplish what they have accomplished.