Monday, June 4, 2012

RePeace & THRIVE

Today, a facebook friend shared a link about "RePeace".  I was unaware of this until a few minutes ago, but it is a great concept and goes along with the issues presented in the Thrive movie. Check out their website:

The 3 primary suggestions for action on their site are choosing to:
*Reward businesses that focus on sustainable, local products and services, not on buying influence.
*Reward politicians who are accountable to me, not to corporations.
*Reward countries that promote and defend freedom of expression.

For more info about RePeace:
From the founder of RePeace, Andrea Tosi:
"Repeace is not trying to push down anyones throat a new symbol of peace, but quite the opposite, wants to create synergy with the old movement, whose focus is to fight against wars and nuclear armaments, while Repeace fights agaist greed and corruption.

I was never an activist... they made it sound like you're a radical or something. I care for others and I feel responsible towards all life forms I interact with. I realize peace. But I was also tired to sign petitions, and give money to non profits. I had it. I gave enough....  But...I didn't want to give up and become a cynic.

I wanted to believe in something. I didn't want to shut down the news about people, animal or environments being abused or exploited. Everybody gets to the point when that becomes necessary, shutting down the rest of the world, and surround him/herself with better news, good people, and love. For almost 3 years I have sifted through the U.S. news, and, while I lived in San Francisco, I saw the nation go down the toilet, thanks to private interests and corrupted politicians selling off democracy.

But now the whole political environment is polluted, and only people can fix it, if it's not too late. Repeace is not here to do the work for you, nor to tell you what to do. Like we need another non profit asking for money, or another political party, right? I came to the conclusion that all the efforts of the world should go towards getting money out of Washington and I believe that all it needs is the right message to bring people together, and use the power of the purse to lure businesses away from buying politicians. That is not just my belief, but apparently it has become an irrefutable fact! Just remember, don't expect politicians to change that! 
Hope is yours if you take it back from politics. Change happens if you change.
Is it a good time for accountability? If the 70s were a good time to Peace, is 2011 a good time to Repeace?

I am a Repeacer. I hold accountable. I realize peace."
The RePeace site recommends this book (which I will be reading next!  It is available on amazon and kindle):
"The Leaderless Revolution" by Carne Ross explains why our government institutions are inadequate to the task of solving major problems and offers a set of steps we can take to create lasting and workable solutions ourselves. In taking these steps, we can not only reclaim the control we have lost, but also a sense of meaning and community so elusive in the current circumstance. In a day and age when things feel bleak and beyond our control, this powerful and personal book will revive one's sense of hope that a better, more just and equitable order lies within our reach-if only we are willing to grasp it.
[description from RePeace site]

Highlights from an article (by Deena Stryker) about Iceland illustrating these ideas in action:
No news from Iceland?… why?

In Iceland, the people have made the government resign, the primary banks have been nationalized, it was decided to not pay the debt that these created with Great Britain and Holland due to their bad financial politics and a public assembly has been created to rewrite the constitution.
And all of this in a peaceful way. A whole revolution against the powers that have created the current global crisis. This is why there hasn't been any publicity during the last two years: What would happen if the rest of the EU citizens took this as an example? What would happen if the US citizens took this as an example.

This is a summary of the facts:

2008. The main bank of the country is nationalized.
The Krona, the currency of Iceland devaluates and the stock market stops. The country is in bankruptcy.

2008. The citizens protest in front of parliament and manage to get new elections that make the resignation of the prime minister and his whole government.  The country is in bad economic situation.
A law proposes paying back the debt to Great Britain and Holland through the payment of 3,500 million euros, which will be paid by the people of Iceland monthly during the next 15 years, with a 5.5% interest.

2010. The people go out in the streets and demand a referendum. In January 2010 the president denies the approval and announces a popular meeting. In March the referendum and the denial of payment is voted in by 93%. Meanwhile the government has initiated an investigation to bring to justice those responsible for the crisis, and many high level executives and bankers are arrested. The Interpol dictates an order that make all the implicated parties leave the country.

In this crisis an assembly is elected to rewrite a new Constitution which can include the lessons learned from this, and which will substitute the current one (a copy of the Danish Constitution).  25 citizens are chosen, with no political affiliation, out of the 522 candidates. For candidacy all that was needed was to be an adult and have the support of 30 people. The constitutional assembly starts in February of 2011 to present the `carta magna' from the recommendations given by the different assemblies happening throughout the country. It must be approved by the current Parliament and by the one constituted through the next legislative elections.

So in summary of the Icelandic revolution:
-resignation of the whole government
-nationalization of the bank.
-referendum so that the people can decide over the economic decisions.
-incarcerating the responsible parties
-rewriting of the constitution by its people

The Icelandic people have been able to show that there is a way to beat the system and have given a democracy lesson to the world.
(end article)

I hope we will be seeing more and more stories like this and see the changes necessary to THRIVE!

The website also has a section for suggested solutions.

Check-out the "what can I do" link:
Top 10 Actions listed on that page:
1. Get Informed, Speak Up & Connect with Others
2. Bank Locally
3. Buy and Invest Responsibly
4. End the Federal Reserve
5. Keep the Internet Fair & Open
6. Support Independent Media
7. Support Organic, Non-GMO Farming
8. Require Election & Campaign Finance Reform
9. Advocate for Renewable and "Free" Energy
10. Take Part in Critical Mass Actions

My family will personally be making changes regarding our banking as a result of learning more from the Thrive movie and suggestions on RePeace site.   We already support organic, non-gmo farming and have started trying to buy local as much as possible and grow some of our own. When searching for non-gmo corn seeds, I was shocked how difficult it is to find them now (due to
contamination/cross-pollination from gmo corn). We need to be encouraging open pollinated seeds (which actually reproduce from saved seed, unlike gmo seed that will not). Many other countries have banned GMO's due to the threat to food supply.

Especially, we need to end the Federal Reserve and return the control of the nation's money to the public (government) versus the private banks!  I don't understand why any U.S. citizen would oppose this, regardless of political affiliation, if we truly understand the current situation (most people I have discussed this with did not realize who actually controls the Fed Reserve and still thought it was the public representatives in government, myself included until I read Ron Paul's book several years ago and my husband read Creature from Jekyll Island book). If you have additional thoughts to shed a different light on this, I welcome them.
We also need to call our senators and request they vote NO on the CISPA bill to control the internet (
What are you willing to do to defend freedom and seek peace?!?

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
- Nelson Mandela

Saturday, June 2, 2012


Family update... this has to do with my entire extended family - and yours.  My husband and I watched this incredible film last night (called "THRIVE" see link below)... beautiful imagery, informative, at times heartwrenching, and ultimately inspirational with suggestions for a better future.  As much as I sometimes want to be an ostrich [ignorance is bliss?], as a mother, I just can't.  This film does a great job of summarizing what I've taken much longer to learn in the past several years on many subjects (environment, food supply, economics, education, politics, finance, etc.).  There are also a few pretty far out parts that made us react with "okay, now that's pretty out there!"  But if you get past the cosmos theme and if you stick it out to the end when they conclude with a much brighter hope, it is well worth the time to watch and consider the reality.  I hope we will THRIVE together!

Monday, May 28, 2012

In memory of...

Giving thanks to all those who have fought and died for the freedom of others (regardless of their nationality) and devoting time and effort to try to learn from the past and honor their memory. Just finished reading “Anatomy of Peace” by Emery Reves – a very challenging, often uncomfortable read, yet quite thought provoking. May freedom overcome so that those we honor and remember today have not died in vain.
"What you won’t find in most greeting card stores is a Memorial Day Card, because those who would receive the card can’t open it, read it and feel good that someone cares. All they can hope for is that someone remember their sacrifice, perhaps a flower or a wreath on their graves (if they even have one) or a comrade who is now living with a zeal for life in their memory... Try to remember the cost of this day. Some say you can’t count the cost, sadly you can and the numbers are very large. If you want to put it in perspective, just view the US Military Casualties of War Page on Wikipedia."

Posted today by Jack Spirko of
"Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, May 16, 2012



A state of readiness.
readiness - preparation - willingness

Today, I found this great site about preparedness (for natural disasters, economic turmoil, etc.):

and an article about bartering ability (necessary during power outages due to dependence on electronic payments even when cash holds value but may not be available):

Of course, I hope we are fortunate enough not to encounter hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, or economic turmoil (in form of job less or whatever) or major health issues, etc.  Yet, I know from experience that there is no way to control the weather and who knows what else may linger on the horizon.

I am thankful for everyday that we are blessed with fair weather, regular income, quality friends and family, a loving home, good health, etc!  My Dad frequently toasts, "Salud Dinero y Amor" which translates health, wealth and love.  However, he also lives by the boy scout motto: Be Prepared.

Learning versus testing

Yesterday, a fellow homeschooler and very close friend came over with her kids for a playdate.  She brought with her a test prep book as her 3rd grader is required by state law to take a standardized test this year (for the first time).  She was a little stressed thinking about whether they have covered everything that will be on the test.  This prompted a discussion about what we hope our children will learn and who decides when a child needs to learn a specific date in history, topic in science, etc.  My kids love learning about the universe and may know quite a bit more on the subject than most of their peers and many much older children (honestly, they know more details about this than I do!).  However, they likely do not know as much about some other particular subject that someone somewhere may have decided should go on a test for kids their age.  What a blessing for my children to be able to learn what they are interested in when they are interested in it!  I love homeschooling and learning right along with my children.  Their enthusiasm inspires me as we seek to learn about what interests them right now.  I don't challenge the importance of reading and arithmetic.  These are the basics that open all the other doors.  However, once they have discovered how much those basics enable them to learn, why should we limit their opportunities to specific topics chosen by someone else?  While having a snack yesterday, my child said, "it sure is nice to know how to read!" and then read everything on the box of crackers (Annie's cheddar bunnies, which has quite a bit of information on the box).

I recently had a long discourse with my cousin about many concerns (environmental, social, medical, all those big issues brought up in presidential debates) and various political approaches to address such concerns (most of which we disagree on regarding implementation in spite of agreement on hopes for the future).  Here are a few of my comments from the email discussion about education:
I value education and freedom above all.  I trust that most individuals want to learn and will take responsibility when expected to.  On the subject of education/upbringing, what do you think most public schools currently succeed in teaching?  What do you think most important for your children to learn?  What makes people smart, curious, alert, observant, competent, confident, resourceful, persistent, compassionate, skillful, self-reliant, adaptive, inventive, intelligent, independent, polite, kind, patient, generous, forgiving, tolerant (able and willing, not just to stand people different from themselves, but to see the world through their eyes)?  Can a standardized test assess any of these?  What makes a leader? 
“Leaders are not what many people think – people with huge crowds following them.  Leaders are people who go their own way without caring, or even looking to see whether anyone is following them.  Leadership qualities are not the qualities that enable people to attract followers, but those that enable them to do without them.  They include, at the very least, courage, endurance, patience, humor, flexibility, resourcefulness, determination, a keen sense of reality, and the ability to keep a cool and clear head even when things are going badly.  This is the opposite of the charisma that we hear so much about.  Charismatic leaders make us think, “Oh, if only I could do that, be like that.”  True leaders make us think, “If they can do that, then by golly I can too.”  They do not make people into followers, but into new leaders.” – John Holt
I hope to inspire the above qualities with our homeschooling efforts.
I recently read an article that addresses learning versus testing from a public school teacher's perspective:

As a result of our discussion and sharing the above thoughts with my friend, she no longer feels as much anxiety over the upcoming standardized test.  I hope that this may help others to reconsider the focus of education as well.  Life is about so much more than what a test with a scantron sheet for answers can capture!

Monday, April 30, 2012


"A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song." - Maya Angelou

The reason I created this blog!  I hope our right to free speech prevails, and we keep on singing...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Freedom Gardens

With Earth Day approaching and all the work I've been doing on a charity project for Earth Day (link will be posted tomorrow), it seems appropriate to share these thoughts.
We can help reduce our dependence on imported food, big corporations, and the supply chain by ensuring a bountiful and diverse harvest from sustainable personal and community gardens (link tomorrow to the site I've been working on to help foster this).
From an article By Paul Gardener in Grit magazine:
Gardens ARE good for our souls. Not merely because they’re therapeutic or because they provide healthy foods or even because they give us a hedge against lean times but rather because, if you look at the big picture, they offer us that thing that we all crave so dearly. They offer that thing that drove our founding fathers to strike out on their own. They offer Freedom.
As we faced issues of increasing costs of oil (which by the way is the basis of all of our commercial “inputs” like fertilizers, pesticides, etc.), regular warnings about tainted foods in our stores, and economic pressures that were starting to limit our food buying power, the Dervaes family launched a site called “Freedom Gardens” and with it put a name to a movement that was already beginning to form not only here at home, but world wide.
From the Dervaes family “Freedom Gardens” site:
… “freedom” is earned and cannot be taken for granted. In fact, there are forces (lets call them market forces) trying to gain control of the food market for their profit. If they can control the supply of food through hoarding seeds, and the other means of production, we will pay them for their effort with whatever price they wish to charge. On a gut level we know this is wrong… we have the “freedom” to make our own food production choices.”
Join together in a homegrown revolution™ to liberate our lawns and break our dependence on the corporate powers and dwindling fossil fuel supplies, corporate controls, contamination and food miles while creating a sustainable future.
While I give thanks for this amazing planet we live on every day, I like the idea of "Earth Day" to take an extra moment or encourage going above and beyond daily rituals to focus on what more we can do to nurture and protect our home, Mother Earth.

Monday, April 9, 2012

"People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle.  But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth.  Everyday we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, curious eyes of a child--our own eyes. All is a miracle."
-Thich Nhat Hanh
A friend blessed me these words that she shared on facebook today.  I plan to frame them for my wall of inspiration!  They speak right to my heart and soul. 
My father shared this description of his solitary day yesterday (Easter Sunday), which illustrates the point in the above quote beautifully:

Spring is a bit later here in the mountains than the rest of this latitude and much more so than further south.  The leaves are not on most of the trees but some are blooming and some have small leaves.  The redbuds are going strong and some dogwoods are out too.  The crocus, daffodils, and tulips are blooming or finishing up doing so and both the purple and white lilacs are now in full bloom.
All the fields look like well manicured very lush grass lands as the weeds are all still quite small.  However, there are broad expanses of wild flowers, sometimes a sea of yellow, the wild asparagus is just beginning to sprout (had some raw stalks today, yum, an Easter treat).
A few bugs were out at the pond and only a few fish were cruising and feeding.  It is in a deep hollow that is shaded for much of the winter.  The little pond is higher than usual and all the streams are running briskly.  It seems there was a real gully washer recently, so the little creek behind the old house was washed clean to the rock bottom by the previously high rushing water.  There was no damage and only a few trees and limbs on the many roads and trails that traverse the place.
Lovely little flowering plants dot the woodlands everywhere.  There seemed to be little wildlife moving, only the prints of deer everywhere but they were lying low this afternoon.  Did not see any there or en route where twenty or more is typical.  Same for the squirrels.  It seems they all took the day off too.
The wind was constantly singing as wave after wave rolled through the trees.  I saw a few plants and flowers that I had never before seen.  There is water seeping out everywhere.
Yesterday on Saturday, while in the nearby mountains picking up a new portable saw mill, I had the distinct pleasure of spending the afternoon learning to use it while stationed in the middle of a small Amish community in a rather isolated mountain valley.  What a wonderful experience it was to be among gentle but industrious folks.
At every break while looking about, there were teamsters hooking farm equipment to their horses in the paddock nearby or working them in the fields.  An open buggy rushed by with a gentlemen and two children in it.  A young lady in the distance appeared to be tending to rabbits in a line of hutches and crews of women and children were planting gardens or hoeing fields.
When I washed up before towing the saw mill away late in the day, I saw the inside of a building next to where I had been working.  It was a school house built of hand peeled and shaped logs with exposed beams and rafters.  There were benches and desks in the very large room and obvious lesson materials on the walls and such.
All in all, it was a busy well tended industrious and peaceful place of smiling and apparently happy people.  I did so enjoy it there.  I asked about visiting again some time and was told I would be welcome. 

Happy Easter again to all and good night.

Friday, April 6, 2012

It lifts my heart and spirit to learn of more and more families choosing to take the path less traveled these days.  This intimate sharing of the thoughts and feelings one parent experienced while making the decision to homeschool her child reminds me that others have the courage to blaze their own paths.  Thankfully, we are not alone on this journey to raise our children in a natural, loving environment.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

After reading this article about kindergarten, I find myself extremely grateful for the opportunity and ability to homeschool my children.  I hope more and more teachers will stand up for a natural approach to learning and find the support they need to do so.  And I hope that any and all parents who wish to homeschool their children will find a way to do it. 

Food for thought...

Would you pay an income tax if it was optional?!?  Or would you prefer to select exactly where that money goes even if you chose to give it all away to charity or for commonwealth? 
[Can you tell we are working on our tax return today?]

This was the first question that popped into my mind after reading the following article about various forms of government and "leadership":  The Zero Sum Games by Stephen J. Heaney

Now I find myself wondering what our country would look like if our leadership elected to "inspire, not require" the people to live in accord with one another and help those in need.  Could that be the basis of a libertarian utopia?  Could such a concept actually flourish?  Were the founders of the United States of America thinking/hoping the same thing?

I recently saw an interview with Ron Paul on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno in which Ron Paul stated that issues, such as abortion, have more to do with the morality of the people than with the laws. 

Have the laws worked to stop injustices?  How many people are currently in prison in this country?  How many of them are there due to intent to harm another person?

These questions led me on an internet search for a particular quote by Thomas Jefferson regarding the proper role of government.  As a result, I found several statements worth contemplation today (all by Thomas Jefferson):

"A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."

“Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have. The course of history shows us that as a government grows, liberty decreases.”

“I sincerely believe that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies, and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.”

“We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.”

“The end of democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed incorporations.”

“Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”

“The Democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”

“I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of Constitutional power.”

“To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude.”

“Experience has shown, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.”

“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent they conquered.”

“If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as a sorry state as the souls who live under tyranny.”

“A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.”

“That government is best which governs least, because its people discipline themselves. If we are directed from Washington (heads of an organization) when to sow and when to reap, we will soon want for bread.”

“If once the people become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors, shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions.”

“To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”

“Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations...entangling alliances with none”

“The care of every man's soul belongs to himself. But what if he neglect the care of it? Well what if he neglect the care of his health or his estate, which would more nearly relate to the state. Will the magistrate make a law that he not be poor or sick? Laws provide against injury from others; but not from ourselves. God himself will not save men against their wills.”

“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

“If the book be false in its facts, disprove them; if false in its reasoning, refute it. But, for God's sake, let us freely hear both sides, if we choose.”

Find more words of wisdom from Thomas Jefferson here.

Saturday, March 31, 2012 Interesting discussion about introverts and extroverts and working together.  We are all unique and beautiful in our way.  Namaste.

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
My mother's life was the ultimate example of living the golden rule.  She sought to teach her children and grandchildren to do the same and I hope to pass on her legacy of love and respect.  My life was blessed by her presence and I miss her dearly.  Thank you, Mom, for the unconditional love you gave to your family and for teaching us to love others and love life!
Namaste: The gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another. In Sanskrit the word is namah + te = namaste which means “I bow to you” - my greetings to you. "The spirit in me respects the spirit in you."

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Because laughter is good medicine... I watch Raising Hope.  The family's lifestyle is about as far from my own as I can imagine yet, we have many values in common.  What beauty I see in diversity!  :-)
My children are already aware of the roll of government and wish they could vote! 
Did you know... as President Ron Paul would take a yearly salary of $39,336, equal to the average US workers salary, instead of the current President's $400,000 salary?

Information from
Since this is an election year and political decisions directly impact our lives, I've been doing lots of research to make an informed decision.  I found this list of questions on another mother's blog ( and will be asking these questions myself from now on! 

I’m also learning to ask these questions about candidates for elected office — and this will apply far beyond this election cycle. I will ask:
  • Which of all these candidates has demonstrated both Liber and Public Virtue?
  • Which one has read, lived and studied history and causality?
  • Which one consistently compares issues to the Founders’ yardstick?
  • Which, through his or her actions, has demonstrated his or her self-view as a servant of the public, not a master of such?
  • Which one has made the sometimes hard and unpopular choices to defend liberty and national sovereignty?
Note: Liber is the quality of being able to think, speak and reason.
Books Read in 2012:
Dinotopia 1 & 2 by James Guerney
Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell
Declaration of Independence
The Secret Destiny of America by Manly P. Hall
Teach Your Own by John Holt
Vanish by Sophie Jordan
Heartlight by T.A. Barron
The Ancient One by T.A. Barron
Treegirl by T.A. Barron
A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L' Engle
Revolution by Ron Paul
Unschooling by Sara McGrath
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger