Blue Flash

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Questions

The Questions
A bicycle? How far? Why? Is your husband going too?
Are you ready? How long will that take? Are you ready?
Are you nervous? When do you leave? When do you get
back? Are you ready?
The anticipation in the Power household is growing for
the start of The Ride for World Health. It seems like
forever ago that I found the RFWH website and started
following the rider blogs from 2007. It didn’t take me
long to start imagining myself involved with this
The fundraising
It seems like time has taken off since Christmas.
Asking people for money is never easy. Having a
well-established hard working beneficiary like
Medecins Sans Frontieres has made this easier. My
fundraising has included everything from selling
gourmet desserts to organizing a solidarity ride. My
sister was the first to make her generous donation.
The members of my local cycling club Polk Area Bicycle
Association have not only been donating money but also
many training tips and opportunities. They also
flattered me by nominating and electing me as the new
vice president of the club.
The training
When I first started cycling I thought 20 miles was a
long ride. Now 80 to 100 miles is not a problem. But
living in Florida I have had limited training on
hills. I am more than a little anxious about the
mountains. My daughter Alison and I have been stair
climbing as a way to prepare. I hate the cold so I
think the weather will be another challenge.

Riding and training for the ride was not enough. I
thought I had to organize a solidarity ride as well.
The ride takes place in Thonotosassa just on the out
skirts of Tampa. Springtime here in west central
Florida is beautiful. The riders will be treated to a
mostly flat ride past country homes and fragrant
orange blossoms. Last Sunday my friend Kathy and I
marked the road. We started at 12:30 and finished at
6:00. Riders can choose from 3 rides. Two road rides
54 and 41 miles as well as a 7 mile fun ride on the
trail at Flatwoods Park.

Riding a bike across the U.S. cannot compare with the
challenges endured by people around the world just trying to meet their daily needs.
I am excited to meet my team mates. I feel very lucky to
be participating in this project.
See you all in San Diego. PEACE, Marianne Power

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The neglected blog

So much for a monthly post. So many good things to report since my last post. the Mosswood Center Mind Body Spirit series went very well. It started with Qigong with Greg Hicks. We transformed the nursery rooms at the church into a Zen studio. Two weeks later we had a full house for introduction to yoga with Jody Reese followed by mindful eating with yours truly. After 90 minutes of yoga we enjoyed a lunch of spicy lentil soup, brown rice, fresh raw veggies with homemade humus, and an assortment of fresh and dried fruits. The final work shop was the Mandala art with Claudia Vanhorn. The group explored their inner child or hippie, by creating art with found objects. I am sorry I missed this one. We have received much positive buzz and excitement about this project. Plans are in the works for the next series. Also Jean Cooley has generously donated $2000 to jump start the center.
Simultaneously Kathy has the ground work set for The Lakeland Youth Alliance,the first GLBT youth group in Polk County! Westminster has given the go head for the group to use the fellowship hall for meetings. LYA will operate under the umbrella of The Florida Youth Alliance. This will have many benefits including a web site, insurance and fundraising.

With April 1st fast approaching I have been getting ready for The Ride for World Health. Many thanks to all of you who have donated to this worthy cause. To those of you who have not yet donated please visit the RFWH website and click on the "team". You can donate by Pay Pal on behalf of each rider. PEACE and Blessings to all!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Begin Again

It has been many months since I paid attention to this project. So many things have changed and evolved since May. the Diversity Link was invited to join The Mosswood Center for Spiritual Life. Pastor Jean Cooley from the Westminster Presbyterian Church invited me to lunch to discuss the Diversity Link project. She had read our mission an vision statement and felt we had similar goals. The Mosswood center has since co hosted it's first series. This was an Interfaith Dialaogue. Pastor Jean along with the Peace and Justice committee from Westminster brought together leaders from the Jewish, Muslem, Hindu and Christian communities for a four week series to learn about our similarities and differences. When we know each other on a personal level we are less likely to judge each other unfairly. The final evening was a forum and panel discussion. This was very well attended and left people wanting to plan furrther projects. We are currently in the midst of planning our next series. The focus this time will be Mind, Body and Spirit. This will be several weeks offering workshops on Yoga, Meditation, Music, Art, Qigong and possibly Sustainable Living. I will be leading a food meditation focusing on mindful eating in February. Kathy Connelly is organizing a youth group for the GLBT. She has done her research through contacts with Equality Florida and PFLAG a support group for parents of gay, lesbian and bisexual children. (I would like to see a day when support groups are not necessary!) In the mean time we are excited to see this project prosper and grow. I hope all of you who were involved with the meetings for the Diversity Link will consider being involved with the Mosswood Center. We need your creativity and passion.

On a personal note our family remains heathy and grateful for the abundace in our lives. December finds us busy once again with the Christmas craziness. Our favorite brother in-law Andrew is visiting from the UK. He is enjoying our warm Florida weather, although today is in the 30's. James will be traveling home this week from New York, Ian is in the Navada desert with his friend Jackie. He also hopes to be home by Christmas. Alison has a severe case of senioritis. She is looking forward to a break from school. She is working hard at our favorite Mexican resteraunt, Chicano's. Mom has been keeping very busy. She is recovering well from her shoulder surgery last summer. She attends yoga once a week, visits with friends and has joined a knitting group at the Presbyterian Home, knitting peace shawls to send to Afganistan. The past week we have been busy with the Christmas cookie extravaganza. We will be hosting a Christmas brunch on the 23rd for family neighbors and friends. Keith is busy with work and finds time to enjoy cycling, swimming and running to keep fit. I continue to train for my upcomming cross country bike ride with The Ride For World Health. The fundraising is going well due to generous support from family and friends. I am working on sponsorships for a local solidarity to happen in March. My good friends from our local cycling club PABA have been helping me with my training. The energetic group rides on Monday Wednesday and Friday lead by Barbara Kelly as well as the Saturday group rides have helped me clock up my miles( 2,436 since August). I have also done some serious hills in Lake Wales with the "fast boys" Rob DiPardo and Bill Abbatoy. The biggest accomplishment so far was riding 100 miles in one day with Jack Emerick. This is only a fraction of what Jack rides on a weekly basis.

I will bring this to a close with a promise to update monthly and wish everyone peace, good health and happiness in the new year. Your Friend in PEACE, Marianne

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Meeting Agenda for June 10, 2007

Once again we are preparing for a planning meeting for The Diversity Link. With the help of Marge Cunningham, Kathy Connelly, Peggy Campbell,and Tom Carroll we have nailed down the mission statement.The mission statement is probably the most important part of this project. It will define our purpose to potential benefactors, volunteers, and other groups and organizations we wish to be affiliated with. First and foremost at this meeting we must come up with a plan for a fund raiser involving the sale of Mr. Bark's books. Second we must file the incorporation papers. Third we must file 501c3 application. Fourth we must establish an annual calender. Thanks to all of you for continued interest. This is a worth while project.
The Diversity Link

The Diversity Link is a bookstore and library dedicated to
reading materials and art
with a focus on
diversity, equality, peace and justice.

The Diversity Link will serve the community by sponsoring speakers, discussions, films, fundraisers, readings and cultural celebrations, as well as
providing a meeting space for groups promoting social change.

Here are some real and imagined groups
that may take advantage of this space!

(a group supporting local artists looking for a home to display their art)
Polk County Citizens for Peace and Justice
Feminist Theology Study Group
Moms Mentoring Moms
The Green Link
Sunday Morning Yoga and Meditation
Knitting 101
Family Movie night and Pot Luck Supper
Birth Network
The La Leche League

(you get the idea, the possibilities are only limited by our imagination)

Sunday, April 29, 2007


The following is the original Mother's Day proclamation written by Julia Ward Howe in 1870. Julia was a Unitarian, poet,writer, and activist working for peace, equality and the right of women to vote. Julia was inspiered by Anna Jarvis an Appalachian woman who started Mothers work Days in1858 as an effort to get better sanitation for the soldiers on both sides during the Civil War. Anna's daughter, also named Anna having been influenced by her mother and the words of Julia Howe, founded a Memorial day for women. In 1907 the first Mother's day was celebrated in the West Virginia church where Anna's mother taught Sunday school. Most states celebrated Mother's Day in some way for several years before Woodrow Wilson declare it an official holiday in 1914. The words of Julia Ward Howe resonate for us once again in this time of war.

"Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts, whether our baptism be that of water or of tears!

Say firmly: 'We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.'

From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says 'Disarm, Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.' Blood does not wipe our dishonor nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after their own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace."

This plea has been transformed by our free market consumer obsessed society into a buying frenzy. Please visit for an alternative to the "Hallmark" Mother's Day

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech Tragedy

The Following letter came to me from The Peace Alliance.

Virginia Tech
Our Hearts Go Out

April 17, 2007

Dear Department of Peace Campaign Supporters,

We write to you today with heavy hearts. The devastating events at
Virginia Tech affect us all. Shock, outrage, anger and deep sadness
are present as we recognize the great loss suffered, in truth, by all
of us. We face yet again another painful reminder of the urgent need
for a comprehensive approach to reducing and preventing violence in
our nation and the world.

In dark moments such as this, shock, anger and denial are natural and
normal reactions that can camouflage our deep pain and sadness. Grief
takes a variety of forms, unique to each individual. The important
thing is that we take the time to grieve--whenever we do it, however we
do it.

Many of you have already asked how our local grassroots members have
been affected, and what is being done to provide support in the area.
We have supporters who live in Blacksburg, VA, the town neighboring
Virginia Tech, including Congressional District Team Leader for
Virginia CD-9, Tom Marano. At this time, we have no reports that our
grassroots members have friends or family directly involved in this
devastating event. Virginia State Coordinator Christine Johnson is
working with the local team to define ways to support the Virginia
Tech community. When the Virginia team identifies ways for those of us
living outside the region to help, we will let you know. In the
meantime, they know we stand with them in loving support.

This event also has direct implications to our work in the campaign
for a U.S. Department of Peace. Many of you have asked for guidance on
communicating the vision of the Department of Peace in light of these
tragic events. It is entirely appropriate--in fact necessary--for us to
speak in this time of heartache, to address the ongoing question of
how we prevent this type of violence from ever occurring again.

We know that as a nation we have concrete tools to resolve conflict
before it escalates into violence. The bipartisan call for a moment of
silence in the House and the Senate yesterday to acknowledge the worst
mass shooting in U.S. history indicates our elected leaders' desires to
put aside political interests and become part of the solution. We can
help our government leaders understand the need for institutions that
address the root causes of violence so that we never suffer another
Virginia Tech.

We encourage you to respond to this tragedy thoughtfully and
compassionately. Please consider calling your members of Congress
today and reminding them that we can take a fresh approach to dealing
with violence. Share with them your deep concern about the shootings
at Virginia Tech, and remind them that violence is a global and
national public health and safety crisis that is preventable. Help
them see, as you do, that we currently have the programs and practices
needed to resolve conflict before it escalates into violence. If
you've previously met with specific staff members, be sure to share
this vision directly with them.

You can reach your members through the Capitol switchboard at
202-224-3121. You may also find your members' direct contact
information at

Thank you for your commitment. It is our privilege to walk in
community with you, holding the shared vision of a world in which this
kind of violence never need happen again.

In the spirit of peace,

The staff of The Peace Alliance

IMAGINE: A U. S. Department of Peace

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Lets start with love and see what happens!

On Saturday April 14th my family and I attended a vigil for a young man we did not know, his name was (is) Ryan Keith Skipper. This is probably the first time we have done this kind of thing. From my perspective as a mother I can feel the pain this family has. But my pain will be short lived because my loved ones are safe for now. When I think of my children I always first think are they safe? This protective instinct was born with them. It took me by surprise when my first child James came to us 27 years ago. There are so many things we as parents do to keep our children safe; put them in car seats when they are babies, we teach them about strangers when the are young children, we tell them not to put harmful substances in their bodies when they are teens and young adults. When they go out on their own as adults we hope and pray they use good judgement and keep themselves safe. This was not to be for Ryan, he was attacked and brutally murdered because of his sexual orientation. There are people in our society who believe Ryan provoked this attack simply by being who he was. I read a quote this morning from a woman commenting on Ryan's vigil, this is what she had to say among other things " No homosexuals means no homosexual haters". Does this also mean no Blacks, Hispanics, Jews, women, children, homeless people etc... you get my drift. Violence committed against another person simply for being who they are is the lowest place for humans to go. What was particularly striking was the small number of community and religious leaders present at this gathering. Are they so fearful of being associated with a "Gay" event that they cannot come and speak out or at least show their support for this grieving family. The silence is deafening! We must all speak out and not tolerate this kind of violence but also the casual remarks and slang we hear every day. We must educate our chidren in an atmosphere of mutual respect and acceptance. Let's start with love and see what happens. Your friend in PEACE, Marianne

Sankofa "Return and Get It"