At the End of My Driveway–Perth, Australia

Blog–At the End of the Driveway–Perth

            The end of my driveway is a marvelous place. The sky is blue, just beautiful sky-blue as it was in Perth when I was there. Suddenly in the news,  Perth is a city alive with new faces. People from around the globe are gathering there to try to solve the mystery of Flight 370.

            It’s my favorite city in Australia. I loved its people, its beauty, and the feeling of welcome that I experienced there. Yes, I loved the great city, Sydney, the uniqueness of Canberra, and the wonderful city of Melbourne. The great monolith, the Barrier Reef, the rain forests, and so much more, were all incredible experiences. They continue to beckon you after you have left. You want to go back.

But Perth–that was different.

            From Perth, a trip in the outback and to the Indian Ocean is to experience the vastness of the outback, the incredible beauty of thousands of species of wild flowers in their season, and the white sand of the Indian Ocean beaches. There I experienced the whitest sands I’ve ever seen.

            And now the news tells me that the vast expanse of the Indian Ocean may now, and perhaps forever, hold the mysteries of Flight 370. It looked vast, mysterious, and beautiful. On the day I was there, it was pretty calm.

            Yes, at the end of my driveway, I can experience the songs of my birds, the beauty of my flowers, and the solid blue of my sky. I can also close my eyes and run the film from my memory bank that allows me to walk the streets of the city of Perth, shop and dine, get in the great vehicle just made for the dunes and variety of the outback, stick my toes in the Indian Ocean, and wonder at the whiteness of the sand.

           Perth, you are still my favorite city in Australia.

 

Ukraine, Freedom, Mexico City, and a 1975 Conference on Women

Ukraine–So far away and yet the memories of Mexico City in 1975 bring it very close to me.  I attended The First International Conference on Women  that was held in Mexico City, Mexico, June 19-July 2, 1975. In front of the conference center each day, women from Ukraine stood in protest against what was happening in their country. As I watch the news each day, I wonder what those wonderful women are thinking and doing today. I wonder more about what happened to them when they got home after the conference. I suspect, if they are able, they are still fighting for the things they believe would make the lives of women, and all people, better in their country.

            I am saddened by the happenings I see each day in the Ukraine ; I wish I knew the names of the women I talked to outside that conference center in 1975. I know their struggle for freedom continued after they returned home. I can’t imagine what it would be like to struggle day after day for freedom that is your God-given right. The risks involved, the barriers to destroy, the hurdles constantly in your path, and the forces of power and control evident to keep you from that freedom must seem stunningly mountainous. I wish I could call you, or text, or e-mail you, dear ladies. I know you will still be doing what you can to secure the rights, privileges, and freedom that you asked the world to help you with those days in 1975.

            I wish I could take your hand and walk with you. I would ask you what you would do if you were in my shoes, watching my “shining city on a hill” lose some of its lights. I would ask you how I could do more, how I could help others to understand that the diamond of freedom must have its facets polished to remain bright. I would ask you to come visit with our young to tell them what it is like not to be free and to be free.

            If anyone reading this knows a Ukrainian woman, would you ask her if she was in Mexico City those incredible days in June and July in 1975? I would love to talk with her.

Proud Label–Made in the USA

 

        My label, Made in the USA, will always be worn with pride. I am the daughter of a long line of proud Americans. I rest on the backs of all of those who braved the storms of oceans and those who assembled around St. Louis to prepare their wagons for the long trip west.

My label reads: Made in the USA

                                    Fabric is tough, but soft

                            Made with American products only

                            Made with all new materials

                            Crafted from old truths

                            Made with love

                            Wear with pride

                            Keep clean for best results      

            I rest on the firm foundation of the great heritage of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I rest on the struggles of those who fought and died to attain the freedom with which I was born. To be born in America is a blessing I will always be willing to talk about and share, not with envy but with gratefulness. I will always want to help others understand how it feels to be free to worship, free to have an opinion and be able to express it, free to write my blogs and say what I believe, and free to pursue my dreams.

            I was taught that work is honorable. Working was the way to get  what I needed and wanted; it was expected. I was taught to use the talents I was given. I felt the joy and exhilaration of accomplishment. To expect others to do my work was not acceptable. The dignity and honor of work are in my fabric. I wear the label proudly: Made in the USA.

            My growing days were spent exploring, finding the limits of who I was,  gaining strength in the things that I could do well, and discovering ways to learn new things. It was a time spent learning problem solving. The threads of self-reliance and personal responsibility are woven into my fabric. I wear the label proudly: Made in the USA.

            I learned to respect and love all people. I lived in rural Iowa, but I had the good fortune of growing up with wonderful diversity–black, Native American, disabled, disadvantaged, Christian and Jewish, and almost any professional person you might name. And the diversity has continued throughout my life. Tolerance, acceptance, compassion, and love add strength to my fabric. I wear the label proudly: Made in the USA.

            It has been my pleasure to travel to many places in the world. I have always believed in the exceptionalism of this great republic. No matter where I have gone, I have always carried gifts of American flag lapel pins with me. I have been told on occasion that American flags were not a smart gift. I have not been able to find anything better to share with new friends. It represents who I am because of where I was born and, a land founded with Divine Guidance and exceptional people at the helm of our founding. No one has ever refused my gift of a flag. Why would they? I always gave it with love and pride. I wear the label of patriot with pride: Made only with American materials.

            The threads of love, integrity, honesty, generosity, and gratitude are woven into the fabric of my being. The golden thread of faith was given to me by my Creator at my birth. The threads of service were as varied as the colors of a magnificent sunset; they changed with the same rapidity. I had to be aware, lest I miss the opportunity to make the fabric stronger. I am proud to wear the label–all threads of this product made in America.

            No, I have not forgotten that my ancestors came from Germany and Luxemburg. It is because they chose to come to this country, that I can proudly say: Made in the USA.