Tuesday, January 20, 2009

“Respect the Dignity of Every Human Being”

By The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire
Opening Inaugural Event
Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC
January 18, 2009

Welcome to Washington! The fun is about to begin, but first, please join me in pausing for a moment, to ask God’s blessing upon our nation and our next president.

O God of our many understandings, we pray that you will…

Bless us with tears – for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women from many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from malnutrition, malaria, and AIDS.

Bless us with anger – at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Bless us with discomfort – at the easy, simplistic “answers” we’ve preferred to hear from our politicians, instead of the truth, about ourselves and the world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.

Bless us with patience – and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be “fixed” anytime soon, and the understanding that our new president is a human being, not a messiah.
Bless us with humility – open to understanding that our own needs must always be balanced with those of the world.

Bless us with freedom from mere tolerance – replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences, and an understanding that in our diversity, we are stronger.

Bless us with compassion and generosity – remembering that every religion’s God judges us by the way we care for the most vulnerable in the human community, whether across town or across the world.

And God, we give you thanks for your child Barack, as he assumes the office of President of the United States.

Give him wisdom beyond his years, and inspire him with Lincoln’s reconciling leadership style, President Kennedy’s ability to enlist our best efforts, and Dr. King’s dream of a nation for ALL the people.

Give him a quiet heart, for our Ship of State needs a steady, calm captain in these times.

Give him stirring words, for we will need to be inspired and motivated to make the personal and common sacrifices necessary to facing the challenges ahead.

Make him color-blind, reminding him of his own words that under his leadership, there will be neither red nor blue states, but the United States.

Help him remember his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination, that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims.

Give him the strength to find family time and privacy, and help him remember that even though he is president, a father only gets one shot at his daughters’ childhoods.

And please, God, keep him safe. We know we ask too much of our presidents, and we’re asking FAR too much of this one. We know the risk he and his wife are taking for all of us, and we implore you, O good and great God, to keep him safe. Hold him in the palm of your hand – that he might do the work we have called him to do, that he might find joy in this impossible calling, and that in the end, he might lead us as a nation to a place of integrity, prosperity and peace.


From: Episcopal Cafe

Monday, January 19, 2009


"Everybody's got to pitch in."
Barack Obama, calling for National Day of Service
to honor Martin Luther King Jr.
On January 19, 2009

Public Service means different things to different people. For some, it is employment for the greater good - a government job. To others, it means giving back in the form of work or money to the government or non-profit agencies that have given so much to them. And yet to some it means helping others when no one else is looking and doing so even if they are not likely to return the favor. Sound familiar?

Auburn University's College of Architecture, Design and Construction has included community service in its curriculum for many years. When most people think about this service-based learning model, Samuel Mockbee's Rural Studio comes to mind. While the Rural Studio is an amazing example, there are many others.

  • The Interiors Master's program has helped design the Salvation Army headquarters in Auburn and a quilt studio in Waverly.
  • The exterior design of these two projects was designed by the Design/Build Master's program.
  • The Urban Studio in Birmingham has designed Master Plans for communities all over Alabama.
  • Design Habitat is a studio at Auburn that won a national award for a Habitat for Humanity home design for rural areas where the volunteer base is small.

These are a tip of the iceberg.

The ethic of service taught at Auburn's CADC was never more evident than Thursday, June 15, 2009 when the college held an alumni reception at the old Farmer's Market area of Chattanooga, Tennessee in the community design studio known as Onion Bottom. The studio, run by Andy Smith '72, is a place where students at UT Chattanooga and practicing architects can gather and help design community facilities such as the police station for the city. The most amazing thing about the design center? It doubles as a homeless shelter at night. The homeless were invited in to take part in the reception after our program was over. It was 10 degrees that night.

CADC has 100 graduates practicing in the Architecture, Construction and Industrial Design areas in Chattanooga - 50 of them came to the event. The Chattanooga AIA gave a check that fully funds their Rural Studio Endowment started five years ago and they are seeking advice on what to do next.

Service, it is in CADC Alumni DNA.

At Onion Bottom, Chattanooga TN, January 15, 2009 from L-R
Thomas Palmer '98
Rural Studio Grad. and practicing architect volunteer
Dean Daniel Bennett '68
College of Architecture, Design and Construction
Josh Cooper '97
Rural Studio Grad. and practicing architect volunteer
Melissa Foster Denney '08
Rural Studio Development
Andy Smith '72
founder of Onion Bottom Community Design Studio
Heather Leigh Adcox '01
Rural Studio Grad. and practicing architect volunteer
Brad Shelton '01
Rural Studio Grad. and practicing architect volunteer
and in front - Craig Peavy '01
Rural Studio Grad. and practicing architect volunteer

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Best Friend's Friends

Hello, My name is Shooter Wall. I am a 12 year old Labrador Retriever. I have a 10 year old brother, Tracker, a lab and Chesapeake Bay retriever "combo." Recently our world was turned upside down when our mom, Cindy Wall, left for work one morning, and we have not seen her since. There was a lot of activity at our house for a while, with many people coming and going. They were very upset.
We heard someone say that Mom had died suddenly (we are not sure just what that means.) Our veternarian, Dr. Mary Smith, came and took us to her office and we have been staying here ever since. We are very well cared for here, but it is not the same as being at home. (Who wants to live at a hospital?) Our friend Belle's mom is trying to find a family who are willing to adopt us and give us a new home....or even two families, each taking one of us.
We have been described as sweet, loving and well mannered. Dr. Smith does not know of any serious health issues. Tracker has some arthritis, so he likes to sleep on a cushioned bed; he takes medicine for his arthritis and thyroid.
At 70 pounds I have allergies that I take antihistamines to help; I also do not like thunderstorms, but have gotten more used to them... don't hear as well as I used to! (Just like my mom's friend Melissa! - the allergies, thunderstorms & hearing that is - she only wishes she looked like me!)
We miss Mom Cindy so much!! We want a family to love and share our time with. Please, if you know of someone who would like to adopt us, have them call Dr. Mary's office at 821-7810 and she will tell you about us. Thank you for any help you can give us.
---Linda Bayse, Shooter's Secretary
P.S. Cindy died in September and her dogs are boarded at the vet since then. Unless we can find a place for them, they will be put down on Wednesday, Jan.14th. Her brother can't keep paying the fee to board them ...... they have to go. Please, think hard. Cindy had such an impact on our community in so many ways, and I am certain that if we can just make more people aware of this situation, a home (or 2 homes) can be found. Perhaps someone can provide a foster home until an adoption can be arranged. Do you know of a foster home?
They do not have to go together; they can be fostered separately. These are such sweet, old dogs; we know that Cindy's wishes were that her dogs not be killed. Linda can be reached at 334-728-1500.
Thank you sweet Linda for taking this on. I'll help all I can to spread the word.
With my love,

Friday, January 2, 2009

Makin' a List

I live by lists. I have a list-style notepad that stays on the kitchen counter for me to jot down things that I need to do or remember.

Today as I scratched through the last item and tore off the page, I was surprised with this little ditty written by my eleven year old niece while she was here for Christmas vacation~

I'm saving this one.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Obligatory January 1 Post~

2008 was a mixed bag for me - it ended on a high note, but had one of the lowest notes of my life. My dear BFF died in September. She was my anchor and I'm learning to live without her guiding voice each day. One of our closest couple friends divorced. That rocked our world and totally blind-sided us.

I completed a long-time goal of getting a graduate degree. It's not for myself that I'm most proud, but for the example that it set for my children. I hope they take from this experience that we went through together that education is valuable, perseverance pays off, high goals are attainable with hard work, and it feels good to sacrifice for someone else's benefit. My oldest told me with a wink and smile - that what he learned was to get your graduate degree or degrees as early as possible because it's a lot harder when you're old. That's a good lesson, I think?!

One of my other dearest friend's son was diagnosed with a scary life-threatening disease. He is also a dear friend of my youngest. They'll need and get lots of support from us this year.

My mother blew through lung cancer like a hurricane. She came out the other side healthier and happier. She busted a 60-year smoking habit and hasn't coughed in months. I'm SO proud of her.

Tom's nephew made a perfect 36 on the ACT and is waiting for early decision at MIT. We're proud of him and all of his accomplishments - it seems unreal that he is a senior.

My nephew announced his engagement to his long-time girlfriend. We're so happy for them and can't wait to start the festivities.

My niece got married this year and is expecting her third child.

Both our boys made it through the first half of this school year with all "A" averages. At the little one's counseling session, I learned that he has perfect "A" end-of-year averages since he's received grades. I didn't realize they did yearly averages - I knew he'd never made a "C" but that was beautiful to see, but not as fun as seeing his face light up! Dang, I can't believe we set up his Junior High schedule. Time is passing by.

The passing of time brings me to 2009.

Any one who knows me knows that I am a goal-oriented person. I have to have concrete and specific goals and objectives. I rarely set resolutions on Jan. 1, but turns out that this is a good time for me to do just that.

I always look at my family and see how the three of them are fairing before I set any goals for myself. They need better nutritional habits. I hope to make more fruits and vegetables available. Santa already put vitamin supplements in their stockings. They are all three very active and in excellent shape. The youngest could use some extra emotional support while navigating the perils of seventh grade. I'll make sure he stays high on my radar this year. The oldest is putting too much pressure on himself and I'm having what I call "shorts" with him a lot lately. "Shorts" are quick but meaningful discussions. I've found that if I talk too much, it's less effective.

Tom's research and advancement is in full bloom and he's glowing in it. I'm proud of him and always look to him for encouragement and a good example for time management and work ethic. We're working together to find more time for each other and using it to keep the fires burning.

When I decided in 2001 to get a graduate degree, I stopped several other activities. I quit quilt guild, my vestry term ended, I stopped volunteering for PTA, I missed several study club meetings (they wouldn't hear of my resignation), and I stopped going to ECW. I hope to re-connect with some of these people with the goal of renewing their friendships. I miss them.

The goal that I'm most excited about is quilting. I hope to complete at least a quilt a month, maybe more. I've been making some connections with my quilting buddies and feel their compassion and enthusiasm seeping in already. I'm re-joining the guild in January, and have already joined the evening birthday group. I smile thinking about it.

~A goal here was deleted. I decided not to make it public afterall.~

Meditation and calming thoughts are skills that I hope to better develop this year. I know that I feel better when I practice centering prayer and calming techniques.

I want to join the beginners biking group. My objective is to work toward a goal of a more healthy lifestyle and I know that means being involved and connected to people with the same goal.

I want to continue with my online self-help course "Shrink Yourself." It's helped me recognize and work through my emotional eating habits. I highly recommend it to anyone who feels they have that issue.

I want to continue to focus on my weight as a source of unhealthiness, however I'm going to rethink how to do that. Right now I plan to use resources and challenges available to me to help set short-term goals. I'm changing my focus from weight loss to lifestyle change. Most importantly, I'm going to seek out supportive people who have healthy lifestyles to hang with.

Other things that I'd like to do, but am not setting as concrete goals - start or join a book group, start or join a meditation/prayer group, plan a regular girl's night out, plant more perennials, take a photography class, learn to swing dance, join the scooter club

AND spend more time condensing and rewriting my blogs so that they don't go on so~

Happy 2009! It's a good year.