Friday, December 28, 2007


It has been over a month since my arrest at Fort Benning. I had lots to do with the busyness of Christmas, but still moments of anxiety and sheer fear about going to prison hit me. Nagging doubts about my strength to see this through, and the waiting, waiting, waiting.

Christmas was wonderful. All the family and friends together. I had Christmas greetings from old friends who remain so supportive after all these years. My new friend, Diane, who was arrested with me and my mentor, Sister Sheila in Florida, who was arrested last year have been a big positive part of this waiting time. Both have added depth and perspective to the act and action I am now a part of. Besides trying to make this time a learning experience about SOA/WHINSEC for people around me, I am constantly more aware of the joy of freedom, in making choices, of options, of movement, and of living the moment my way.

Even though I feel weak and frightened, and look at myself as "scared as a chicken", I remember the poem by Teddy Roosevelt, and I feel better.

It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out
how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena
whose face is marred by dust and threat and blood
who strived valiantly, however errs and comes short again and again.
Who knows great enthusiasm, great devotions,
the triumph of high achievement and who, at worst, if he fails
at least fails while bearing greatly, so that his place shall never be
with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.

And with those thoughts in my head, I continue to wait. My trial will be on Jan. 28, 2008 in Columbus, Georgia. Pax Tecum

Friday, November 23, 2007


While attending the demonstration to close the SOA at Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia the week-end before Thanksgiving, after a year of prayer and discernment, I joined ten other activists and "crossed the line".

We were arrested and charged with federal criminal trespass on a military reservation in connection with an act of nonviolent civil disobedience. Since 1990, 226 activists have spent 95 years in prison as a result of nonviolent direct action to close the SOA/WHINSEC. They have put their bodies and freedom at risk in an act of solidarity toward victims and survivors of human rights abuses and those who are forced to live under SOA/WHINSEC sponsored violence on a day to day basis.

My trial will be on Jan. 28, 2008 in Columbus, Georgia. I will be sentenced to federal prison time. I ask for your prayers.

You can read about the School of the America's/WHINSEC in detail on the SOAW website. Their link is on this blogsite. They are a school the Pentagon funds with taxes we pay. They train soldiers from Latin American countries to torture, kill, and victimize their own people in an attempt to keep their countries unstable, allowing the U.S. and their corporate partners to control valuable resources such as the oil rich areas of South America.

Ugly? You bet. The government likes to keep the program as quiet as possible, and that's why you have probably never heard of it. But the word is getting around. There have been thousands of demonstrators at Fort Benning since 1990 demanding the school's closure, and one of these days, it will happen. If I can help make that happen, it will be well worth the fact that I'm soon to become a "prisoner of conscience".

Pax Tecum

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Since my retirement one of my projects is to re-read some of the classics I read while in college. I just finished REPORT TO GRECO by Nikos Kazantzakis. What a gift that book is. He writes of his tumultuous life "wrestling with God" and when talking with his friend, Zorba speaks of the universe following a "divine rhythm. Seeds in the ground, birds, stars,--all obey. Only man lifts his hand in rebellion and wants to trangress the law and convert obedience into freedom. This is why he alone of all God's creatures is able to sin. To sin--what does that mean? It means to destroy harmony." I think the world is full of sinners today.

I travelled to Torrington (a town in southeastern Wyoming) to visit Heartland Biocomposites ( where they re-cycle plastics to make fencing which is stronger then wood and has a lifetime warrenty. What a neat thing! We would like to start a recycling project here in Casper to supply Heartland with the plastic they use, and are doing the research to get that done.

I attended a book signing at Casper College over the week-end. The author is Lynne Cheney, the wife of the vice-president. The book title is BLUE SKIES, NO FENCES. It is about her life growing up in Casper in the 40's and 50's. I was one year behind her in school and our lives are similar in that regard. I remember Dick and Lynne in high school. Dick was Darth Vador even back then, quiet, surrounded by his group, not reaching out much and powerful behind the scenes. Lynne was always friendly and felt comfortable talking to everyone. I went, feeling I was at a conservative love fest, mainly because I love Wyoming history. Her book brought back many memories of a simpler time. All of us are connected, even if we don't much want to acknowledege it.

Pax Tecum

Monday, October 15, 2007


If you ever wondered what Fall is all about, (you in Houston or Phoenix might question it), you need to be in Wyoming now. This morning the sun looks crisp, frost covers the roofs of houses, and the mountain sends her message: get ready, things are about to change in a big way. I love October. It's a transitional month, taking our hand, leading us from the heat of summer into the stark coldness of Winter. I love Wyoming. This beautiful place where nature speaks to you in the warmth of the sun, in vivid colors, in falling leaves, and in crisp fall mornings. You know that days ahead of searing cold winds and blowing snow and harsh sunlight will be here all to soon.

This special place speaks to us and prepares us for what's ahead. It's comforting to know that despite the hard winters, nature is predictable in the changing of the seasons. We know what's coming, so button down the hatches, stock-pile the pellets and get ready! Were that man made situations could be as comforting. Issues of our making such as war, injustice, poverty and the many other problems we perpetuate change in a heart-beat without warning or preparation.

Why can't we take a lesson from the seasons?

Pax Tecum

Monday, September 24, 2007


There is a wonderful poem I have treasured since college days. It was written by Mary Jean Irion. I want to share it with you.

"Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, savor you, bless you, before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it will not always be so. One day I shall dig my fingers into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky, and want more than all the world your return."

Our lives were suspended from the middle of August until the middle of Sept. My husband's sister, Cathy, developed a massive infection and literally fought to her death. She existed in ICU units in two cities for a month. Spending a month in ICU as an observer is an education in itself. The heros were family members who found out they could become advocates, effective and vocal, for their loved one. And nurses. I am one. But the profession I spent 40 years in reinforced my commitment to it. They were strong advocates for patients unable to speak for themselves.

But more important than all of that was the dignity of the human spirit. We, who were allowed to be present to the most important journey Cathy ever made, marvelled at her strength, at her presence in the moment, and her final total acceptance. I am not the same person I was last month. My gift in that time lapse was the stark reality of that glorious normal day!

Pax Tecum

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Camus: "I should like to be able to love my country and still love justice." Is that possible? I just completed reading a book entitled BROTHERS by David Talbot. It's about the Kennedy years. I'm old enough to remember the impact they had, and the heartbreak I felt when they were both murdered.

And I think most Americans realized that the Warren Commission findings were just a bunch of CRAP. We knew then and have always known they both died of a conspiracy. They were killed by forces in their own government. Pretty sad, huh? And here we are 40 years later, still unable to get the straight facts about their deaths from that same government, which by the way, is our government, in essence is US.

I thank David Talbot and people like him who think it's important to keep this story alive. Personally I remember that the Kennedys put the spark of passion for public service in me. As a result I trained for the Peace Corps, and worked the the public sector for 40 years as a public health nurse. To this day, I am active politically and work for social justice causes.

I am sad that my children did not get to know their passion, or understand their vision of a just world where peace is more important then war, and governments can be noble. I worry about who their role models will be, and if justice will be a priority in their lives.

CAMUS: "I should like to be able to love my country and still love justice."

Pax Tecum

Monday, July 30, 2007


The word "green" used to be all about St. Patrick's Day. It has more meaning these days, and rightfully so. Combating climate change and gaining "energy security" often has me wondering what kinds of things I can be doing to help our old polluted earth.

I do most of my grocery shopping at Albertson's. It's close to my home and is smaller then the big box stores I get lost in. Going there this week led me to a great discovery. 10 sturdy canvas green bags for sale for 10 bucks. I bought three and carried my groceries home in green bags I will use again and again. Congratuations and thank you Albertson's! You are doing something to stimulate responsibility, and I'm responding!

Plastic bags have bothered me for some time. Did you know there is enough petroleum in 14 bags to drive a car one mile? It takes 12 million barrels of oil and 14 million trees to make all the paper and plastic bags Americans use each year.

A plastic bag needs 1,000 (yes, that's 1,000) years to decompose, according to the EPA. while a paper bag takes a month. Yet, paper bags generate more pollutants in production than plastic counterparts. Reuseable cloth bags solve the problem.

I applaud my daughter's friend, Adam, for completing plans on building a "green" house. Talk about being environmentally conscious!! As for me, I'm taking baby steps. Today, green bags, and light bulbs. Tomorrow, hopefully more. And how about you? Are you in the loop?

Remember to care and be aware...........Pax Tecum

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Difficult Discernment

I consider myself a peace activist, but it is a hard road to travel. Where to go, what to do, when to do it. How involved to get, not only with your money and your mind, but all out acts of civil disobedience.

Discern, by dictionary, means to perceive by the sight or the intellect, or to distinguish mentally. The decision to attend demonstrations, to be visable and vocal is fairly easy for me to do. I am good as part of the crowd, one of many making up the whole. I find it a very effective way of getting the message out, one of many, who understands the power in numbers.

But individual acts of civil disobedience puts you into the arena alone. The stakes are definitely higher, and the reasons for doing it must be clear in your head. This is heavy stuff, involving arrest, confinement, and notoriety. Why in the heck am I even talking about this???

I will tell you why. House Bill # 1707 was defeated again this year by a few votes. The bill was written to eliminate funding for the SOA/WHINSEC. That notorious combat training facility for Latin American security personnel located ar Fort Benning , Georgia. It is a school of torture and failed U.S. policy, and you and I are paying for it with our taxes.

Every year in November, at the gates of Fort Benning, thousands of the little people who value justice gather to demonstrate against the schools human right abuses. I've been there and demonstrated, and am now discerning if the time has come for me to do more.

It's hard when family and friends think you're crazy for even considering it. One member of my family stated "why in the world would you do that? It wouldn't make a bit of difference, and it sure would not change a thing". I think of the solidarity that would unite me with all the people who died and whose families were torn apart by this program. Am I crazy? Maybe.

I remember something Robert F. Kennedy said, and I think it addresses the little people like me. "Few will have the greatness to change history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation."

Pax Tecum

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Women in Black

Women in Black is an international movement of women for peace. It began in Jerusalem in 1988. It is a movement of women who hold silent vigils across the planet. They stand dressed in black to honor those who have experienced the devastation and tragedy of violence. This simple action is a unifying commitment to justice and a world free of violence.

It is an opportunity to participate in promoting peace within your sphere of influence: your heart, your home, your workplace, your community. By cultivating peace in our own lives, we can change the world, leaving a legacy for those that follow.

In Casper, Wyoming Women in Black meet on the first Wednesday of the month (rain or shine, blowing wind, or deep snow) . We stand in silence in front of the County Court House from noon to 1:00. We stand in solidarity with each other for peace, and create an awareness and energy for all who pass by, reminding them that peace is the ONLY answer.

Pax tecum

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day, 2007

This Memorial Day in Casper, Wy. is a beautiful day. Perhaps summer is coming to stay awhile. It's time for kicking back and cooking outside and reflecting a bit on the ways and the whys of our lives. My oldest daughter, Tara and her friend, (my friend too) are running the Boulder-Boulder today, so I wish them well, and hope they improve their times considerably! Middle daughter, Katie spent the last couple of days in the Jackson Hole area, right in the heart of true Heaven country! And youngest daughter, Lisa has just moved back to Casper from Billings. We (hubby Tom and I) went up to help her move. I thank her for doing it at this time, because the country between here and there is absolutely beautiful. Wild flowers abound and everything is so green. Please, let us take care of it forever! We truly felt a kinship with this gift of space on the trip.

After returning from the Washington Peace March, I came home to Casper, and we had a peace march here on Armed Services Day. About 50 people marched to the Veteran's Park where we found a number of angry veterans shouting at us and invading our space, telling us to get out of their park and calling us communist losers. It was a confrontation we had not expected and it was a little frightening. We kept our cool and walked slowly through the Park and marched back to our starting point. It was a stark reminder of the way this war has impacted all of us, and strong feelings about it are not only displayed in Washington, but in our very own neighborhoods too. Remember: War is not healthy, ever! Pax Tecum

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Mother's Day in Washington

These pictures show Roxie and me at the CodePink activities in Washington over the Mother's Day week-end. All I am saying, is give peace a chance.....

A Mothers Day Unlike Others

Mother's Day was different this year. I was not with immediate family, didn't receive flowers, and didn't go out to dinner. Instead I opted to be in Washington,DC visiting the Pink House and the White House. I hung out in Lafayette Park and walked in the "mother of A March" through the streets of Washington to the Capitol. Cindy Sheehan led us. We numbered about 350 people strong, all of us committed to make a statement that war is not acceptable to mothers and is not healthy for our children and other living things.

I went because I had to. After all I have learned in the past year about the injustice in the world, I have become accountable to use my spirit and strength to protest the powers that are able to lead us into chaos. How does one person from Wyoming influence the world stage? One way is by putting yourself on the stage with other like-minded people and making noise so loud that it rattles the walls of the rooms the elected ones sit in. That is the way we become the deciders.

And so two people from Wyoming, Roxie and I, went to witness with other peace loving men and women, the power of the people. The women we met were focused and extremely courageous. Many were arrested for civil disobedience, willing to face jail to nail home their message: End This War Now! And a mother's plea: WAR, NEVER AGAIN!!!

Our trip was possible because of the wind beneath our wings. Our families, Gene David"s hospitality in Baltimore, our friends who were unable to go themselves but encouraged us, and prayers that were felt throughout the entire experience. Thanks to you all. Pax Tecum

Monday, May 7, 2007

Into the Second Week

The second week of retirement has started. It's strange to think I won't go to work tomorrow or the next day or the day after that. I'm trying to get used to the freedom but must admit I am a little scattered.
Peace and justice? You bet. This past week-end was spent at the Come and See Conference that the Diocese of Cheyenne sponsors every spring, and this year discussions focused on social justice. There were many fine speakers, but I especially enjoyed Sister Helen Prejean's talk entitled "Dead Man Walking--The Journey Continues" She told us her story about her journey that took her into the heart of prison ministry and how that led to a national dialogue about the death penalty. Where she started out is not where she ended up. The lesson in that? She advised that we must be acutely attuned to the sneakiness of God. Amen to that! The Universe has great plans for all of us, only they may not be our plans!
This week will bring more activity. I (along with Rox, my friend) will travel to Washington D.C. in solidarity with all mothers. We will demonstrate against the War and be witnesses that War in any form is not healthy for children or other living things. Pax tecum

Sunday, April 29, 2007

2006 School of the Americas Demonstration

This is the Wyoming delegation to the School of the Americas demonstation in Columbus, Georgia At Fort Benning, November, 2006. I am on the left of the picture with my black peace cap on.

The first day of the rest of my life

Yesterday was my retirement party, after 40 years of working. Now I'm jumping off the cliff into a new realm. Join me as I explore the hard core realism of justice or lack of in this ever living moment. Ready???