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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Dona Nobis Pacem ~ A Revolution Of Words

A Changing Queen In An Upside Down World

For the past thirty days I've been fulfilling a promise, one I made to myself and a commitment to my readers. I wanted to bring to this project a bit more - no, a lot more - personal enlightenment on a very painful subject. War. Conflict. What is happening on the globe right now? Who is fighting whom? What are they fighting about? Why are they STILL fighting? It was not easy to condense the facts into nutshell posts hitting the highlights of very complicated sociological and political scenarios, but I wanted to bring a human face and an honest reaction to the page. I wanted to add substance and reality to the Peace Globe movement in a way that affects us personally - wherever we may live.
It was not easy to look at or digest. For me. Or for you.

So I wrote Thirty Days Thirty Reasons To Fly A Peace Globe - day one, day two, day three and so on. I had no idea what I was in for. At the beginning the idea was met with enthusiasm and encouragement. Your comments were insightful and steady. As time passed, the readers had little left to say and comments withered away. You weren't used to Her Highness the Whimsy Queen waxing off into statistically frightful fonts. What did I, Mimi Pencil Skirt, know about jungles and deserts and wars after all? There are no bombs falling in Bloggingham. Landmines do not plague my marketplace. Maybe I should stop all this violence nonsense and stick to intelligent cyber-fluff. Then I began to get emails like this one, "Mimi, I don't want you to think I'm not reading. I am but I have no idea what to say. It is too overwhelming."


So that's it. A few times I started to soft pedal the process out of respect for my audience. I couldn't fault anyone for not following my sorrowful journey. I, myself, admittedly, started to slip into sadness , survival guilt even, as the violent stories turned over and over in my mind day after day and I realized that so many human beings just a plane hop away from me endure lives of horror just outside their doorsteps. Everyday.



Is this too much for people to read, I asked?




Should I stop? But each time I started to do that, someone else would write and essentially say "I want more. I am learning. I never knew this before. It is hard but I want to look. Keep going."

I couldn't stop. The promise you know......

So I decided to soil my skirt and trek through the world's ugliest secrets. One by one........ Sri Lanka, Darfur, Iraq, Pakistan, Ogaden, Myanmar, Colombia, Israel/Palestine, Philippines, Laos, Afghanistan, Peru, Turkey, Papau, Uganda, Somalia, Kashmir, Senegal, Niger Delta, Nagaland, Chechnya, Maghred, Kivu, SouthThailand, Chad, Mexico, Balochistan, War On Terror, Saudi Arabia, and The Sahara Desert.


I learned a lot. A lot about me.
And you.
And them.

It was heartbreaking. And then one day - just when I thought I should quit for my own sanity - I got a letter from Margo Moon at The Starr Ann Chronicles. She wrote,
"Had to let you know that today, I received my third Peace Post preview from a fellow blogger. Just wanted you to be aware that bloggers take their Peace posts so seriously, that drafts get passed back and forth for inspection, then they get tweaked, and sent around again." She called the movement "organic."


Another blogger added soon after, "I am so proud to be in this movement." I never thought I had a voice. Until now."

How could I not be humbled by this? Someone, somewhere, was reading. And they were not turning away.
Whoever heard of serenity in the midst of war? Whoever heard of beauty and bravery on a blog? Whoever heard of reaching across the table, across the continent, and extending a hand of peace to people I don't even know? Citizens - imagine - on a web page whose country might be at war with mine, whose politics seem like a cry for war and where religion is used as violence and hate? Can I cross the blog border and forget all that and just remember that voices of peace can't war?

Unheard of. Whoever heard of such a thing?


The truth is -
Sometimes love whispers and sometimes it screams

but it is always heard.

So my privileged Milanis marched through the mud again.

I changed.

Not my boots.

But my heart.

I learned a lot.
A lot about me.



A lot about you.
And a lot about her.













I found this photo of a marine in the public domain national archives. It was taken by an unknown photographer in Da Nang, Vietnam. The year was 1965.
As much as I deeply respect those who served our country then and those who serve now to keep me free, my prayer is that not one more fresh-faced boy or girl has to die for that freedom.


Not here. Not anywhere.


Not your child. Or mine.
Shouldn't he be getting dressed for the prom or something? He looks like my own son. All I know for sure is that he is somebody's son.
And he should not be standing in a field with a gun strapped over his tender shoulder.




My war posts are not just encyclopedia fantasies. They are real. And on the page they screamed DON'T LOOK.


I ask that you



LOOK.



I don't have all the answers. But I do know this: Through all the war zones my pencil skirt waded through this month, one message rang perfectly clear.


We all just want to live happy and safe with the people we love.


It really isn't more complicated than that.


How, Mimi Pencil Skirt - as one reader recently asked - can you use the word revolution in the same sentence as peace? "Because," I said with a mouth full of unexpected resolve ..."because I now know the meaning of revolution."



I am turning. Turning. Changing. As I learn to love people who might look like an adversary at first glance, but whose brown eyes match mine a half a world away and seem hauntingly familiar.

I am turning. Changing. As I read.

And walk through jungles
with starving children
with nothing to hide behind
but my words

Now I have yours too.
I thank you for blogging across the globe for the cause of peace in our world
and for whispering, screaming, railing against the suffering we see....
I thank you for looking.
I am deeply moved to be in the presence of such company of caring
and incredible human beings
I am honored to be among the peace-keepers.


Tonight, I have been attacked by the presence of peace -
and a thing called hope
In the midst of a warring world I stumble through
with you
believing that words are powerful
believing that this matters.

I don't know why my grandfather's loving eyes gave me gifts of handmade earth-shaped marbles in a bowl that grace my piano top today, nor why he planned for me, all those years ago, to write about his prayers. I don't know why.
But I do know how.

And so do you.
Let the revolution begin.









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BlogBlast For Peace: A Revolution of Words ~ June 4, 2008

THIS IS A STICKY POST UNTIL THE EVENT IS OVER IN JUNE. SCROLL DOWN TO READ WHAT ELSE IN HAPPENING!!!



Welcome to BlogBlast For Peace - The Fourth Launch! Dona Nobis Pacem is Latin for "Grant Us Peace". The Peace Globe project began in the fall of 2006 with a simple post from this blog. The post ignited a flame in the blogosphere. The flame became a passion. The passion became a movement. It amazingly travelled from blog to blog across the globe until it reached 35 countries and 46 states. BlogBlast for Peace is a semi-annual blog event. It happened on my blog. It happened on your blog. It happened all over the world. It is positively inspiring to watch. The simplicity of three Latin words on a globe and bloggers writing amazing articles on what peace means to them.
Simple. And powerful.

On June 4, 2008 bloggers from all across the globe will blog for peace. We will speak with one voice. One subject. One day.

Won't you join us?


How To Get Your Peace Globe
Here's how to do it in 4 easy steps!



  1. Choose one of the four Peace Globe designs shown below. Right CLICK and SAVE in JPG format.


  2. Sign the globe using Paint, Photoshop or a similar graphics tool. Decorate the globe anyway you wish. You can even include the name of your blog. Click here for hundreds of inspiring examples from previous BlogBlasts.


  3. Return the peace globe to me via email ~ mimiwrites2005 at yahoo.com and sign the Mr. Linky below. Let me know your blog's name and url by leaving a comment here. Your submission will be numbered and dated in the official gallery . Your globe and post will be listed on the Official BlogBlast For Peace website and The Peace Globe Posts page.


  4. On June 4, 2008 DISPLAY YOUR GLOBE IN A POST. Title your post "Dona Nobis Pacem". This is important. The goal is for all blog post titles to say the same thing on the same day. Write about peace that day or simply fly your globe. Click here for examples of peace globe posts from previous BlogBlasts.


If you already have a globe from a previous BlogBlast you may use that one or make a new one. Send in as many as you wish. Be creative!











If I believe that words are powerful -

then this matters.



FOUR ways to help spread the word:


  • Meme it (said the Queen of Memes) from your own blog. Copy this post and throw out a challenge to those on your blogroll. The last time I did that, amazing things happened. There's something about this project that has a life of its own.


  • Fly a banner of a countdown clock on your site. Grab the codes or write me for them.


  • Take this button to your site to help promote the next BlogBlast For Peace.

June 4, 2008

A little inspiration from my written recollections on the first Dona Nobis Pacem in the Blogosphere. I was moved to record the "coincidences" that took place on eve of the first launch. Written November 8, 2006 in a post titled Endings Make Perfect Beginnings. I was humbled to recall....

"My Papa's prayers became my vision. My vision became your vision. Our vision will see change. How do I know this?

Because up until the eve of this wonderful day my words were only half alive. Unknowingly, I spun them from an incomplete dream and hung them on a half circle of peace. It was not until my dreams were visited by a long-ago prayer.....that the dream became a promise.This is Frank Sirianni's first grandchild
Present and accounted for on the day her Papa spoke for peace.
He sent me this photograph from Canada at almost the exact moment I discovered a little blue marble in the bottom of a wooden bowl - delivered by my own Papa many years ago
A prayer full of peace
and promise."


Note: Frank's little Lily was born in the early spring of 2007 (the globe should say 07, not 06). I like to think she is the youngest peace blogger ever.

What will this year bring?


How To Get Your Peace Globe 2008



Inappropriate submissions as deemed by the creator of this project will not be posted. Copyright 2008 Mimi Lenox All rights reserved.



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Monday, June 02, 2008

The Eve of Dona Nobis Pacem

Somewhere in the world BlogBlast For Peace is dawning. It wouldn't be the same without Annelisa's sunrise photography. Taken in East Sussex, I am proud to call her my friend from across the pond. She has a way of bringing peace through the lens of her magic camera. Though this is her neighborhood in the United Kingdom, it also reminds me a bit of Bloggingham Palace. Blanketed by a gloriously brilliant layer of sky, my world seems a bit closer to hers....and to yours. We live under the same sky. The same world. In fact, we've been sharing this blanket for some time now.


Peace bloggers know how to do that very well.

Dawning anew for me this year is the story of my Papa's marbles, seen here in a wooden bowl that still sits atop my piano. If you are a veteran peace blogger, you have read the story that unfolded, as written below, on the very first BlogBlast Eve in 2006.. It was four hours 'til midnight and I had no peace globe post. Until.........


.......I received a loving, gentle tap on the shoulder by someone I loved and lost. A simple bowl of rocks changed my mind forever about the absurdity of a notion called coincidence. I am still amazed at how the story of the Peace Globes really began. Many of you are posting a globe for the first time today and do not know this story. For you, I shall tell it again. And for those who began this journey with me in 2006, thank you for allowing me to re-introduce you to this honorable man. I am proud to know you. So is he.


The Silence of Peace

Papa's Marbles


They've been sitting on my piano for more years than I care to count, on the corner of the Kohler and Campbell my grandfather gave me when I was fourteen years old. After he died, I found them in a tattered and dirty bag at the bottom of a box full of his personal things. He wanted me to have them.

His marbles.

Handmade roughhewn marbles crafted from rock by my grandfather and his brothers. The year was 1920 and there was no money for toys.
I often wondered why he didn't leave them for a male member of the family. Honestly, folks. It wasn't until just tonight - the eve of
Dona Nobis Pacem in the blogosphere- that I discovered the answer.
I know stranger things have happened.

I just can't recall when.

I knew this post would not be written until the last moment. I made lots of notes but I just couldn't quite make it happen. It is still a little while before midnight in my part of the United States and I'm supposed to be spinning out a masterpiece of goodwill and peace prose - maybe a stunning poem like those we've already seen. A song, a lyric, a new tune.

Instead, Mimi Pencil Skirt wants to talk about rocks.

So I went into my study and began to polish them. One by one. The bowl, the piano, the granite. How many times have I sat at that very bench and casually glanced into that bowl? Thousands of times. Song after song.

Tune after tune. Lesson after lesson. Year after year.

He didn't have a lot of money it seems to me now, my grandfather. At the time though, he was the richest man I knew. And he has been on my mind this week more often than not. Well over six-feet tall and always impeccably dressed, my Papa was the most humble man I've ever met.
When he passed away I met scores of people who told me what he'd meant to them. "He helped me when I needed money"......He gave me his shoes." and on and on.
His kindness was not news to me. The fact that a large portion of the town showed up at his wake was, however, a stunning surprise. I didn't know I'd been sharing him all those years.

He made me feel as if I were the only one in the world.

Strange, those marbles. All different shapes and sizes. Colors, too. Yet they've co-Existed for years right there atop the long-lovingly-played strings inside my piano - the one Papa used his savings account to buy for me while he worked two jobs at the factory and made time up on Saturdays when he missed work hours to drive me to my lessons.

I was a bit different. Artistic. Content with solitude. Always writing in endless journals and playing broody piano music. Papa understood me but he didn't pamper me - even though that's a disputed fact to this day in my family.

What he did was more earth-shattering.


The one on top. That one.
Different... that one. I know that's the very one he made.I'm sure of it.

When I think about peace and what it means to me, I always wander back to a time when I first felt it. Because I know on an unconscious level that world peace cannot - will not - be achieved without inner peace. Adversaries on both sides of the conflict have to have it. You can't weave magical tranquility out of thin air and conferences. Peace is a state of being.

It has a life of its own.

Real lasting peace is born of creative jumble and hard work. Victories are never won by the one who has the most power - wars, yes - but not a state of peace.

It never lasts and there's always a price.

Papa's Marbles. Not a pretty one in the bunch.
Every one brown or taupe. Almost every one.

I started thinking this week about those times in my life
when I first felt real peace.
For me, it came in the presence of God at an early age. Not because I am privileged or special. But simply because I was loved. Unconditionally.

Sometimes it takes just one person to unlock magic in someone else.

I watched that kind of magic flow through my grandfather's life. He was in tune with who he was. He knew the simple meaning of love.
He knew how to pray.


I often wondered how other people sensed that about him - without the benefit of those life-giving hugs he saved just for me.

He chose the color himself. Papa.....he must have spent hours honing that rock.

I often went with him to backwoods church services. Informal revivals, formal services, anywhere there was special music and a spirit of God - he was there. I can't explain it really. We would visit churches and the minister would ask him to lead the invocation or say the benediction - even though they'd never met. How did they know he could pray? I knew he could pray......but how did they know?

Taking his hat off and bowing his head, he would very quietly hold audience with his Maker. It didn't matter how many people were listening. His prayers always began the same way......"Dear Gracious Heavenly Father......"
No matter where. Or with whom. Or in front of whom.

Hat in hand. Head bowed. He knew how to reach God.
And people sensed that when they met him.

If peace can be worn like a garment then he was always finely clothed, my Papa.

One night he took me by the hand and led me to the altar with him. He knelt down on one knee, elbow resting on the other and silently voiced his heart. I was right there! I heard the whole thing and he never said a word.

He made them with his own hands. He molded them into shape.
Created them and lovingly took care of them. He chose the color.
Not a sonata or a novel. Certainly nothing brilliant or fancy.
Just ordinary marbles.

Tonight I'm sitting at my table writing stories on an electronic device that sends messages to people halfway around the world about globe graphics and insomnia, making pots of endless coffee to stay awake, answering emails from Germany, London, China, New York, Oman and beyond.

Could Papa have ever imagined such a thing?

Did he?

What was he praying about all that time anyway?
Papa's marbles.....There's something odd about them.

Oh forget about it. They're just a bunch of rocks. You've got a story to write. Can't you think of something brilliant? It's past midnight and everyone has their peace globe up but you.

I struggled. There's something missing here, I thought.
It's about Papa. I can't stop thinking about him.

What would he say to me tonight? How would
he pray?

The marbles.
Look closer.

When it hit me, I was way past the point of arguing with myself about miracles and such. I've seen too many come through my mailbox today to argue with God about that.

Do you see it?
The blue one on top.

It looks like a globe.


Dona Nobis Pacem did not start with Mimi. It started in 1920 when a little boy in the rural southeastern United States decided to shape a small blue marble -

for his granddaughter.


And that's how it started.

With a visit from my grandfather and a bowl of handmade marbles. Now it's time for you to continue the story and spread the message of a peaceful world from your own places of rest, in your own voice. Tonight, from every corner of the globe I see little blue marbles....I mean globes.......and they are a beautiful, beautiful sight.

This is Mimi Pencil Skirt reporting live from the lovely land of the Peace Globes.
See you tomorrow.

Dona nobis pacem

Grant us peace



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