Tuesday, May 17, 2016 – Reflections about Simplicity

Carol A. Hand

For the first time I can remember, I awake to a sunny but silent morning. My heart aches with both tender sadness and gratitude for all those who have shared this journey with me. I think of the words I read before falling asleep.

Hold to these principles:
Seek simplicity,
Grasp the essential,
Overcome selfishness
And wasteful desires.
(Lao-Tzu, as interpreted by Diane Dreher, 1990, The Tao of Inner Peace, p. 77)

I remember the song – Simple Gifts, performed by Yo-Yo Ma and Alison Kraus – that I heard a few days ago on public radio, the classical station my birds (now only Queenie) listen to during the day. Like the Tao saying above, I see it as a universal message shared by people from many different cultures and spiritual paths.

Simple gifts – Yo-Yo Ma and Alison Kraus

Simple Gifts was written by Elder Joseph Brackett in 1848 while he was at the Shaker community in Alfred, Maine. These are the lyrics to Brackett’s one-verse song:

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,

And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,

To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.

(Source: Wikipedia)

I don’t know if I will ever really achieve simplicity, but I have the luxury now to keep working on uncluttering my thoughts from distractions and my life from unnecessary things. Awakening to morning silence today gives me a moment to remember what is important in life. From this simple life, this humble home, I send out loving, healing thoughts from a heart that has been tempered by both song and silence, and grief and joy.

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Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Monday, May 16, 2016 – Fly High

Carol A. Hand

Sweet bird, fly high
Taste the wind with your wings
Fly free in the blue sky
while the one left behind sings
of the times we’ve shared
and the joys we’ve known
of the places we’ve traveled
and the places you’ve flown
Almost always caged, now you’re free
Your empty shell at rest beneath the crab-apple tree
as your brave and blustery spirit tonight
soars aloft in your forever freedom flight

bud and queenie 2

Farewell dear and faithful little friend

Note: This is a poem for my little parakeet Bud, the light blue bird on the right. He has been with me for eleven years. Today, he died doing what he most loved to do, flying fast and high. This time, his landing wasn’t gentle. I held him next to my heart and sang the beginning of this song as he gently closed his eyes. I worry that his partner, Queenie, will be lonely, but for the moment he is singing.

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Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Sunday, May 15, 2016 – Reflections

Carol A. Hand

Which reality should we allow to define a life?
A vision that freezes it in time as one of darkness and strife
or one that only focuses on eternal mornings of hope and light
without the power of healing rainbows or the starry, moon-lit night?

stormy sky

Being tossed and blown by life’s powerful storms
Teaches that they often leave a stronger magic that transforms
pruning desires for superficial transitory goals
leaving only gratitude for the beauty, resilience and kindness of other souls

aadi and thom

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Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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For a Friend

Carol A. Hand

Some days, I need to remember peaceful, hopeful moments. I suspect others do as well. Difficult times are valuable teachers, but the peaceful moments help us find the balance and hope we need to process what we learn. I’m sharing a poem I wrote about one of those moments.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

A peaceful mid-day moment
on an early May day
birds singing and children at play
puffy clouds seemingly perched
on the western ridge not far away
the winds gently caressing budding trees
the temperature just right for busy bees
But it’s time for me to get busy too
holding this memory of peaceful beauty as I do

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A recent post by my friend, Silvia Di Blasio, inspired me to reread this poem today and remember one of those moments. Wishing you all peaceful moments.

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Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Differential Power and Indian Child Welfare: Part One

This first installment of a larger work was posted a year ago to deepen the dialogue about hegemony. Some messages bear repeating…

Voices from the Margins

Carol A. Hand

Years ago, I was advised to submit one of my university exam papers for publication even though it was too long to be accepted as a journal article, and too short to be a book (Hand, 1999). I decided to share it here, with minor edits and illustrations added, in hopes that it might be of interest and stimulate thoughtful dialogue.

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INTRODUCTION: THEORETICAL OVERVIEW

Many theories have been formulated to explain child abuse and neglect within what is now the United States. Recently, an eleven-year-old Ojibwe youth won an award for an essay he wrote to explain his perspective as a foster child. (Please refer to Endnote 1 for more information about the request to include this work in my writing.) In his attempt to make sense of his experiences, this young man’s essay expresses both his vision of the future and his theory…

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Farewell for a Little While

Carol A. Hand

It’s time for me to take a hiatus from blogging for a while. On Sunday, May 1 (2016), I plan to begin the editing process for my 48-chapter, 438-page manuscript. (Yes, I counted. It’s more than 200,000 words.) Between then and now, there are six books I need to read.

Although it was possible for me to remain in the blogosphere as I worked on writing the draft manuscript, editing will require a different intensity of focus. I can’t easily transition between cultures. Because I try to listen (or read) deeply in order to understand other perspectives, it often means losing my own language and way of seeing the world for hours or days. And this time, I need to remain “in culture” so I can finish by July. I’ll require some time to develop an updated syllabus for a course on research by August.

Please know that while I’m gone, I will miss each and every one of you. I have learned to look forward to your scholarship, poetry, advocacy, wisdom, photos, artwork, humor, creativity, and kindness. Many of you have become dear friends.

You all do light up my life. Chi Miigwetch (Ojibwe thank you very much).

Ava's 9th birthday

Voices from the Margins will remain here if you choose to visit older posts and I hope to visit your blogs when I can. Until then, I send you all my best wishes and leave you with music – Mahk Jchi (Heartbeat Drum Song) by Ulali.

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Finding Moments of Joy during Challenging Times

Carol A. Hand

I awake with thoughts of my grandson and an ache in my heart
to the sound of chainsaws buzzing, felling a neighbor’s trees
still I arise and find strength to play my part

Although sunny, it’s one of the heavier days
I breathe and listen deeply and hear my parakeets’ song
then I remember I can still sow kindness and love in many little ways

I can celebrate another Earth Day
by letting my grandson know I love him
and by repurposing salvage and old landfill in a healthier way

Washing boards salvaged from an old fence

retaining wall

Digging up buried asphalt and concrete that stifles growth

retaining wall 2

Removing old buckthorn tree stumps

retaining wall 1

Repurposing old materials to build retaining walls to prevent erosion

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And building a movable stand for a grow light

grow light stand

Planting organic seeds

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And celebrating the wonder of life in the first kale plant to emerge

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Even in times of sadness it’s a moment by moment choice
to live in hopeless despair
or give love and new life a voice

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Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Morning Memories and Reflections

Carol A. Hand

This morning, I greeted the day with thoughts about my 17-year-old grandson. He is in the hospital after a sudden and serious onset of Type I Diabetes. Just a week ago, he drove his mother’s car for the first time to take the family out to dinner. Yesterday, he was lying in a hospital bed with IVs attached learning about this chronic condition and how to give himself insulin shots for the foreseeable future.

It’s not a disease I know much about, so today, I had to turn to the internet to learn a little more. I’m posting some of what I learned.

“With type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system attacks part of its own pancreas. Scientists are not sure why. But the immune system mistakenly sees the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas as foreign, and destroys them. This attack is known as “autoimmune” disease. These cells – called “islets” (pronounced EYE-lets) – are the ones that sense glucose in the blood and, in response, produce the necessary amount of insulin to normalize blood sugars.

“Insulin serves as a “key” to open your cells, to allow the glucose to enter — and allow you to use the glucose for energy. Without insulin, there is no “key.” So, the sugar stays — and builds up– in the blood. The result: the body’s cells starve from the lack of glucose.

“And, if left untreated, the high level of “blood sugar” can damage eyes, kidneys, nerves, and the heart, and can also lead to coma and death.” (Diabetes Research Org.)

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“Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that enables people to get energy from food. It occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, called beta cells. While its causes are not yet entirely understood, scientists believe that both genetic factors and environmental triggers are involved.

“Its onset has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. There is nothing you can do to prevent T1D, and—at present—nothing you can do to get rid of it…. Type 1 diabetes strikes both children and adults at any age. It comes on suddenly, causes dependence on injected or pumped insulin for life, and carries the constant threat of devastating complications.” (JDRF Org.)

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Information about Prevalence (Diabetes Org.):

  • In 2012, 29.1 million Americans, or 9.3% of the population, had diabetes.
  • Approximately 1.25 million American children and adults have type 1 diabetes.
  • About 208,000 Americans under age 20 are estimated to have diagnosed diabetes, approximately 0.25% of that population.
  • In 2008—2009, the annual incidence of diagnosed diabetes in youth was estimated at 18,436 with type 1 diabetes, 5,089 with type 2 diabetes.

The rates of diagnosed diabetes by race/ethnic background are:

  • 7.6% of non-Hispanic whites
  • 9.0% of Asian Americans
  • 12.8% of Hispanics
  • 13.2% of non-Hispanic blacks
  • 15.9% of American Indians/Alaskan Natives

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Some credible sources suggest that the high prevalence of diabetes among Native Americans is yet another legacy of colonialism. An important documentary about the Pima and Tohono O’odham Peoples of southern Arizona, “Bad Sugar,” describes how diabetes, once unknown, evolved into an epidemic that affects “half of all adults” in these communities. (Unnatural Causes Org.)

Here are links to episodes of the 29-minute video:

http://www.unnaturalcauses.org/video_clips.php?vid_filter=Episode%204%20-%20Bad%20Sugar

http://www.unnaturalcauses.org/video_clips_detail.php?res_id=71

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How quickly children grow, and how quickly life can change. What I can do as his parents spend the day with him is learn more about how to manage this chronic condition in healthy ways as I keep him in my heart and thoughts. As I do so, I’m reminded of an earlier post.

Events like the shooting of a teenager in Ferguson, Missouri and the declaration of yet more “military action” (a euphemism for ongoing war in the Middle East to control oil and protect U.S. world hegemony) cause me to worry about the future my grandchildren will inherit. I am particularly concerned for my grandson’s safety and future. I witnessed his birth – with the neonatal crisis team on alert to make sure he survived. I made a silent promise to the tiny, blue six-pound infant I held gently in my arms soon after his birth: “I will always be there if you need me, my little one. You are my heart.” By age 11, he was taller than me, and now at 15, even more so.

 

288739_251502248221224_100000843525245_703533_1556408388_o

2010

I worry about the future of a handsome young man with a darker complexion in a country that fears difference. Can a gentle young man survive in such a world? I treasure the memories of him as a toddler gazing with wonder at flowers,

aadi and crocus

2001

as a little boy laughing as we blew bubbles,

Aadi & bubbles

2003

or gently and patiently holding his great-grandmother’s hand when he was seven.

Aadi 7

2006

I realize now, though, I can’t always be there to protect him. I can only hold him in my thoughts and my heart every day. I can also do the small things within my modest life to let him know I care, to build a kinder world in my tiny sphere of influence.

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I hope those who read this post will send my grandson and all children loving healing thoughts today and every day.

As an Ojibwe elder once told me, “The children are our future. We all need to care about them.”

Aadi, Mom, me 2015

Fall 2015

10557033_10206868716693608_7062923847045612722_o

December 2015

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Some Additional Information:

For an Infographic: A Snapshot of Diabetes in America, click here.

For current Research Highlights for Type 1 Diabetes, click here.

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Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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THOUGHTS ON THURSDAY – HUMILITY

I would like to thank Bernadette for publishing this on her lovely blog, Haddon Musings.

Those of you who regularly follow this column know that I use today to introduce the woman that I am going to write about in depth on Friday.  Since April’s theme is Celebrating Diversity, I …

Source: THOUGHTS ON THURSDAY – HUMILITY

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Carol A. Hand

Kneeling on earth planting seeds
And playing in the dirt
Envisioning new life emerging
to help heal a world of hurt

DSC00882

Duluth Garden – August 2015

These clumsy gnarled hands
sowing each seed with care
hoping that winds of war and weather abate
allowing life to once again bloom everywhere

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Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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