Amazing Grace

. . . in God’s eyes, we are One

I think that President Obama’s address, in So. Carolina, at the funeral rites of Reverend Pinckney, the murdered Leader of the AME Church there, and one of nine killed there, will stand in history along-side Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and will define what 160 years of The Nation’s emotional and physical evolution has brought about.

Lincoln and Obama, both spoke of the same turmoil in our Nation, but after that century and a half of time, and while the core of that turmoil might be the same, the Consciousness of the Nation has grown and matured, allowing Obama to speak from a different viewpoint.

He emphasized, as Lincoln did, that he spoke as OUR President, and to ALL of us, BUT inasmuch as so much has happened to ALL of us during that last century and a half, he was addressing a more mature, and I hope wiser people than Lincoln did.

He was also speaking as one who, at this time of turmoil, was also remembering that he, OUR respected President, is a product of both sides of the tension, and as such, how his heart bleeds with understanding for both.

And with that history, OUR President spoke as a man, who is in the position of political leader of ALL of us, and with his background, to be the one striving to bring understanding and peace to all, no matter from which creed, color or race.

And, with no apology, Obama, asked for the Grace of God to be upon both sides. Tears came to my eyes as I listened and sensed his feeling of understanding and empathy for both. Who could know better? Who else could speak out with such understanding and power?

Torn?   No, and that was the wonderful part of his words. Just as the families of those who were murdered in that So. Carolina Church, were calling upon forgiveness for both the Murdered, as well as forgiveness for The Murderer, so did Obama ask the same of us. Me and you and you and you. 

He spoke of God’s Grace, and knew that God did not separate people and that His Grace fell upon both sides, and that, in God’s eyes, there were not and never had been two sides, and reminded us of that Grace, and – – – suddenly my body shivered as he, my President, your President, with no introduction, began singing. Singing that familiar and wonderful hymn of “Amazing Grace”.  And not to the camera, not to the Press, but only from his own heart, did he sing.

And almost before that first phrase was complete, the congregation, one by one, two , three and then soon, everyone was standing and singing along with him. It was not a rehearsed moment. It was spontaneous, accompanied by claps of approval, different types of voices, but with the same words and emotions.

Our President was not speaking or singing for the Nation or the world, but was  speaking and singing for himself and to you and me and every person, who knows that at the Source, we are all One. And for all  to rise and praise That Source, for the last 160 years of  evolution of the Nation’s emotions, and brave enough to show our true feelings.

Forgiveness. The answer to all our problems, not only this particular  one, but the answer which covers all. Forgiveness not only for those others, but primarily, forgiveness of ourselves. Forgiveness for our actions. Forgiveness for our thinking.

Forgiveness that rises above our pain, our anger, or any justification. Obama, for that hour on June 26th, was more than our political leader, for at that time he bravely stepped forward, and spoke as a Spiritual leader as well.

He rose above all justified resentments, and spoke of the Oneness of All. And asked us to step forward with him. More bloodshed is not the answer, for as the song he was singing says, we are all sinners, “A Wretch like me”, is how the song tells us, and that wherever we are, whatever race we come from, whichever creed we follow – – – –  in God’s eyes, we are One. You, me, those people, as well as any other people,  we all seek Shelter under God’s Grace.

And if our President has the humility to speak and sing those words, in his untrained voice, to the Nation and world, so do I, and You, and You.

And I think, that somewhere, in one of God’s ‘Next Rooms’ Abraham Lincoln also stood, and with tears in his eyes, joined in the song of God’s Amazing Grace.

Our Dreams Bring Messages

. . .if we but listen, for dreams do not come with sub-titles.

And so we dream. Every night you go to bed and dream and every night, I also go to bed and dream.

We laugh and often our first words the next morning are “My gosh, I had the craziest (weirdest, saddest, sexiest, wildest, most puzzling) dream last night” and then tell all about it.

But once you begin to understand the meaning of your dreams, you stop broadcasting them to the world, for it’s most akin to you undressing in public. Rather, you share them with one you can trust implicitly, or save and ponder them in your own private, silent heart.

For the fact is, if it’s a dream we remember, we can be sure it has a message. For us. The dreams that are the result of eating, or drinking too much, a sudden noise, or getting twisted in the blankets, are meaningless and soon forgotten. But pay attention to those you remember. They are you, reaching out to you. 

I once had a horrible dream, repeated three consecutive nights. Oh, there were differences, but all with the same message, bothered me so much that it finally sent me to a doctor. Yes, and in less than one week, I was operated upon and said TYG many times over.

Our dreams, the experts tell, consist of the unconscious part of ourselves trying to communicate with our conscious part. My dreams are me, talking to me, and yours are you talking to you. Well, except for the ones mentioned above.

They are trying to give us a warning (see above) on some area in our life where we could use help or need some wise advice. And everything, every T-H-I-N-G, in that dream is us. If we see ourselves in a messy, cluttered house, that house is us, and the dream is telling us that something in our life, needs ‘cleaning up’.

And watch which room, bedroom, bath, kitchen, basement, garage, you’re in.  Upstairs? Your Higher Self.  Basement? Your Lower Self.

It all has meaning. Your car is you, and if you are driving up hill, good for you, you’re on the right course, and if going downhill, pay attention, for in some way, you’re headed the ‘other’ way. Bathrooms are clean-up messages, and are well worth pondering over.

Our dreams reflect the culture and thinking of the era we live in. When Freud first dipped into our dreams, he came up with the fact that 95% of dreams were concerned with sex. And he was right, too. For that day and age.

The world of his time was an inhibited place with sex a big unmentionable no-no. So, his clients, in that locked-in-concrete atmosphere, had dreams of sexual freedom. But, I understand, in today’s world, where there is sexual freedom never before known, our dreams are gradually reflecting a desire for change. Of course there are exceptions, but I understand that a ‘home, with a picket fence’ is beginning to be reflected in dreams. Oh, not for you, or me, but that’s what the experts are finding. No fooling.

Not Puritanism. but ’tis said, that when the pendulum goes too far either way, in any aspect of life, our dreams nudge us toward what is ‘normal, or a balance’.

We too are told to look at our dreams, as was Joseph, in Biblical times. And the same as with Joseph, everything is in symbols, left for us to interpret, for dreams do not come with sub-titles. To-day, the majority of our dreams (like it or not), are not of freedom of sex.

But remember, dream symbols are explicit. Terribly explicit. Surprisingly explicit. Sometimes horribly explicit. So if you decide to figure out what ‘You are trying to tell yourself’ don’t hide half your dream as being ‘not nice’, or shiver and say, “I would never do that”. Take a second look, knowing it’s only a symbol, and that every T-H-I-N-G, and every O-N-E-,  in that dream is reflecting some part of you. Don’t toss it aside, for some part of you is struggling with what your dreams are revealing. And dreams do not come with printed Instructions. 

Get your self a good dream book, (not from the supermart), and begin to pay attention to how you are trying to bring harmony into your life. It’s sorta fun, and sometimes, as what happened to me, can be very good for your health. It’s one great big eye opener as to how smart we really are. And that we really are our own best friend.

“The Dream Book”, by Betty Bethards, published first in 1983 and still going strong, is used as a textbook, and highly recommended. I paid about $13.00 for one in the 1980’s, and liked it so much that I gave copies for birthday gifts that year.  So try Amazon and get one for less than $5.00. It’s good stuff and you’ll keep it handy by your bedside from now on.


This is a repeat blog. Vacation time comes and I jump at it.


The Invisible Scar

“Bombardment, barrage, curtain-fire, mines, gas, tanks, machine-guns, hand-grenades – words, words, but they hold the horror of the world.”
Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (hereinafter PTSD) is thought, by many people, to be an outcome of around the last 15 or so years of global warfare. But tales from my family’s history, going back to World War One, reveal it to be an old, old sickness that had not yet been recognized. And anyway, they thought it affected only a scattering of the returning veterans.

However, book after book, following our Civil War also tell the sad tales of men coming home after the War, as changed, and never again the same husband, son, or brother as the one who had left them to fight for either the Confederacy or the Union. Which ‘side’ didn’t matter, war is war and the returning men were ‘Never again the same men who had left’. Call it whatever they might have, we now know it was also PTSD.

Parley Goodall, my mother’s younger  brother, ‘came back’ from France of WW 1, and retreated to his farm fields in the then isolated small town of Santaquiin, Utah, and never again left their peace and quiet. Not even, I understand to go as far as Provo, or certainly not to Salt Lake City. And now I realize he was a lucky man, in that he owned fields that he could retreat to and be able to support his family in that manner.

But Parley left us words that, a century later, remain part of the family lore and vibrate with his emotions. His words were: “If there’s another War and they ask me to serve again, there will be two men who will never go. Me and the man who tries to make me.”

My Uncle served in the French Trenches, which faced a similar line of German Trenches.  Neither progressing, but neither giving up. A yard ot two won today, with a yard or two lost the next, but either way, thousands of lives were lost in that back-and-forth futile maneuvering.

After WW 1, both France and Germany built over 3,000 concrete Bunkers which faced each other and became known as the Maginot and Siegfried Lines. And no matter how well built to protect, and to even keep the men’s feet dry, those Lines were found to be utterly useless when Hitler began WW 2 and thousands of airplanes flew over those expensive, supposedly uncrossable lines,  as if they were not even there.

But getting back to PTSD, those early vets never recovered from what finally became known in WW1, as Shellshock, and also from Trench Foot, caused by living weeks upon weeks with wet feet. It was said, there were no dry feet in the Trenches, giving those men a condition that would be theirs for the rest of their days.

One man I know served in that most horrible final WW2 Battle of the Bulge and has lived a very full and productive life, in all ways, of home, family, church and business, but is only now able to allow small phrases and words of that time, to be spoken or appear in his writing.

The veterans of Vietnam and the Korean wars were for a long time almost ignored or forgotten, for they were the leftovers of LBJ’S most unwise and unpopular decisions, but that did nothing to alleviate the post war sufferings of those men. Aromas of gun powder, sounds of explosives, whether back yard fire crackers, Fourth of July celebrations, or even certain foods that were brought back and made their way to our own tables. A man I once knew  from Magna left his own family dinner table, trembling and crying out in utter terror when such a dish innocently appeared at a family meal.

But today, the men and more and more women, are returning and their suffering is now recognized. Our hospitals are full of them, and Kenneth, a most likeable, busy, man I’ve known since his childhood, is battling his way back from Afghanistan, to a normal life in Arizona, with as much help as the overcrowded hospitals are able to offer.

If I, in my really sheltered life, can know of at least one veteran from the last century of wars and suffering, I flinch at how many others there must be. Let’s be kind, loving and understanding of anyone who has served and then blessed enough to return home. Whether it shows or not, each suffers from what has become known as The Invisible Scar.

They received those scars as they fought for me, you, and those who have never even heard of those old fights. So, for all who will carry that The Invisible Scar, plus the additional thousands whose  scars  are very visible with lost arms, legs, and upon their bodies, May God Bless Every Single One Of Them.

Education Funding In Utah

The rest of the story . . .

We all flinched at the headline on the lower left corner of the front Page of a recent Salt Lake Tribune issue which read: Utah Last Again in Per-Student Spending, telling the world, or at least implying, how little we really care about our children’s education..

But although we cringe to see such words, we also know  that they’re not exaggerated. They are proclaiming the facts, for Utah is and always has been among the lowest, of all 48 and then 50 States. in how much we pay yearly, for each of our children’s education..

The point, however, is that we most certainly care deeply about our children and the above headline , is only the tail end of the story, for all that headline told is the Result, while the Cause of why we have such low funding, per student, is seldom, if ever, mentioned.  

There’s so much  more behind the words in that headline, and it takes a brave (gutsy?) (stupid?) soul to dare tell of the whole thing. And so, Ethel being Ethel, I speak out.

We all know the reason for the problem, seldom spoken about, for the answer comes in how many students that money must be divided amongst. And here is where the half-told and twisted news stories come about.

In any manner of reckoning, Utah is not a Poverty State, and yet those headlines make it seem as if we are poverty stricken, or worse still, and more untrue, is the implication that we care little about our children’s education.

The truth, of course, is that we are far from being a Poverty State, and we care deeply about our kids, and the solution is both simple and obvious. You can take $100.00 and divide it among ten students and each one gets Ten Dollars. Divide that same $100.00 among twenty students and each gets $5.00. But divide it among 50 students and each poor kid gets only $2.00 each.

We happen to be among the States with the most crowded classrooms, and so our tax dollars must be divided among the greatest number of students. Ergo, we’re among the highest in percentage of money received for education, but among the lowest in how much can be allotted to each child.

A few years ago a national weekly, (Newsweek?) pointed out the above truths, in a two-page spread,  by naming every one of our 50 States, and showing the rate taxation for schools; and again, State by State, the number of students that money must be divided amongst.

It shocked me with its matter-of-fact telling of the situation for ALL States, and I vividly remember how clearly it showed, for uninformed ones, such as Ethel, why the rate of taxation for education ranked Utah among the highest, yet how we ended up among the lowest in what each student was ‘given’.

I am, I suppose, a slow learner, but I doubt if much has changed since I saw that graph which outlined the ‘why’ of where every State ended up, and Utah was not the only State to shiver over where ‘they’ each ended up.  But for us, it showed that Utah is high in rate of taxes, but low only when that money gets down to each child.

And now when I read of how little Utahns spend per student, I no longer flinch, but become angry. The news ‘stories’ are giving people only half the story, and should either spell out all the details of the difference, or leave the story alone. We’re often given the ‘Result‘. but the ‘Why’ is slurred over, or seldom or ever mentioned.

This dichotomy, I’m sure, is one of the biggest causes of the escalating number of requests for Home Teaching and Private Schools. They can’t get away from being taxed, but they can control the kind of education their kids get. 

And that’s not bad. We should look at the whole story,  and then, perhaps begin helping the Private Schools, too.


Indian Stories

Whose moon is it, anyway?

I tell you an old story this week. But, no,it’s really two stories, and while the first one is well documented and included in odd happenings in our Nation’s History.  The second part I can find no official words telling of it, but just the same, I’ve read about it from places where others have thought it true.

It’s a good one, came from a good source, and rings true for its time and space. So, here’s the first story. The one nobody questions, and tell of it with pride.

During World War 11, the Allies, England, France, United States, Canada et al looked long and hard for some language or code to use for their private and terribly important plans for the War. A Code that wouldn’t be routinely broken by Hitler’s people, within a few weeks. It took time, but finally they found one, and it was purely American and was our own Navajo Indian language coming from centuries back, that did the trick. Notes, in that language, went back and forth during the entire war, and far longer when needed or wanted.

It was never once broken, but now, since the ‘sacred secret’ is well known, they no doubt have other methods, but who knows and who would tell, anyway?

But now for the second story. It was a couple of decades later, when, in the 1960’s, we were making our first steps in exploring Outer Space, and there were many who wished to send a message to be left on the Moon, or whatever Planet we might land upon.

And when a Navajo employee, asked if he could add a message along with other messages being allowed, and was told “Of Course” but also told that all of the messages had to to be checked and okay-ed by those in charge, before finally accepted.

So he wrote his note, but in Navajo, and after going from desk to desk with no one able to decipher it, was routinely sent, with all others, to Code Headquarters in Washington DC, to see what it said, and if allowable. Or if it was something that just might need deeper investigation.

The letter, in Navajo, of course finally reached the desk of a Navajo who just happened to be one of those who had worked The Code during the War years, and recognizing his own language , he read it and then laughed.

When asked what was so funny, he told them that the message was to whoever in Space it might end up with, and that they were advised to treat the visitors very well, for they were likeable people, but to be careful, for, in the long run, they could not be trusted.

He told that they (You and I. All of us.) would make promises upon promises, but their Goal, and their (our) ONLY ultimate goal, was to gain control over the land and all of value upon, under or over that land and when they finally accomplished that, they would kick the original people out to wherever they could go, but just to get out.

Everyone laughed, but every one did so with guilt, for, again, everyone well knows  what happened to the Indians when ‘their’ land was being ‘explored’. And we also know  how many empty promises we made, but which, as soon as something valuable, such as oil, farm land, timber, railroad rights, became suddenly of great value, the Indians, were pushed back and back and finally forced into reservations to live solely upon what ever we doled out to them. And, of course, a thousand excuses for our broken promises.

The Navajo man who wrote the letter, was speaking from his people’s long experience with us. He wrote from our true history, and his one wish was to warn others of such amiable, friendly people.

I don’t know if the last story is true, but it is supposedly well documented and was well passed around during the early days of our Space Exploration. And if not true, it should be.

I hope the ‘right’ people read and are keeping it in mind, for our reputation concerning our early explorations has not always been as pure and honest as we, today, might like it all to have been.

Good stories, both of them, and to me, the very truth and oddness of the second one, makes both of them worth keeping. And heeding.