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Monday, November 6, 2006

Dona Nobis Pacem ~ The Silence Of Peace

Today I am sharing the story of my grandfather's marbles as is my custom on November 4 each year. It was the very first Blog 4 Peace, the first Dona Nobis Pacem in the Blogosphere, and the post that began a tradition of peaceful dialogue across continents and countries that continues to this day. Every NOV 4 we blog 4 peace. This was the first. Let's carry on.
 **note BlogBlast For Peace is November 4. Click here to join us **

This is Mimi Pencil Skirt reporting live from the lovely land of the Peace Globes. This post was written just before midnight on the eve of Dona Nobis Pacem in the Blogosphere - quite unexpectedly inspired by a bowl of marbles - and a loving gentle tap on the shoulder by someone I loved and lost. I am still amazed at how the story of the Peace Globes really began. I would like to introduce you to this honorable man.

The Silence of Peace
Papa's Marbles

They've been sitting on my piano for more years than I care to count, on the corner of the Kohler and Campbell my grandfather gave me when I was fourteen years old. After he died, I found them in a tattered and dirty bag at the bottom of a box full of his personal things. He wanted me to have them. His marbles.

Handmade roughhewn marbles crafted from rock by my grandfather and his brothers. The year was 1920 and there was no money for toys.
I often wondered why he didn't leave them for a male member of the family. Honestly, folks, it wasn't until just tonight - the eve of Dona Nobis Pacem in the Blogosphere - that I discovered the answer.

I know stranger things have happened.

I just can't recall when.

I knew this post would not be written until the last moment. I made lots of notes but I just couldn't quite make it happen. It is still a little while before midnight in my part of the United States and I'm supposed to be spinning out a masterpiece of goodwill and peace prose - maybe a stunning poem like those we've already seen. A song, a lyric, a new tune.

Instead, Mimi Pencil Skirt wants to talk about rocks.

So I went into my study and began to polish them. One by one. The bowl, the piano, the granite. How many times have I sat at that very bench and casually glanced into that bowl? Thousands. Song after song. Tune after tune. Lesson after lesson. Tear after tear.

He didn't have a lot of money it seems to me now, my grandfather. At the time though, he was the richest man I knew. And he has been on my mind this week more often than not. Well over six-feet tall and always impeccably dressed, my Papa was the most humble man I've ever met.
When he passed away I met scores of people who told me what he'd meant to them. "He helped me when I needed money....." "He gave me his shoes...." and on and on.

His kindness was not news to me. The fact that a large portion of the town showed up at his wake was, however, a stunning surprise. I didn't know I'd been sharing him all those years.
He made me feel as if I were the only one in the world.

Strange, those marbles. All different shapes and sizes. Colors, too. Yet they've co-existed for years right there atop the long- lovingly- played strings inside my piano - the one Papa used his savings account to buy for me - while he worked two jobs at the factory and made time up on Saturdays when he missed work hours to drive me to my lessons in the afternoons.

I was a bit different. Artistic. Content with solitude. Always writing in endless journals and playing broody piano music. Papa didn't pamper me - even though that's a disputed fact to this day in my family.
What he did was more earth-shattering.

The one on top. That one.
Different... that one. I know that's the very one he made. I'm sure of it.

When I think about peace and what it means to me, I always wander back to a time when I first felt it. Because I know on an unconscious level that world peace cannot - will not - be achieved without inner peace. Adversaries on both sides of the conflict have to have it. You can't weave magical tranquility out of thin air and conferences. Peace is a state of being.

It has a life of its own.

Real lasting peace is born of creative jumble and hard work. Victories are never won by the one who as the most power - wars are won; but not peaceful achievements. Nothing good can ever come of power at play for the sake of power.
It never lasts. There's always a hideous price.

Papa's Marbles. Not a pretty one in the bunch.
Every one brown or taupe.

Almost every one.

I started thinking this week about those times in my life
when I first felt real peace.
For me, it came in the presence of God at an early age. Not because I am privileged or special. But simply because I was loved. Unconditionally.

Sometimes it takes just one person
to unlock magic in someone else.
I watched that kind of magic flow through my grandfather's life. He was in tune with who he was. He knew the simple meaning of love. He knew how to pray. I often wondered how other people sensed that about him - without the benefit of those life-giving hugs he saved just for me.

He chose the color himself. Papa.....he must have spent hours honing that rock.

I often went with him to backwoods church services. Informal revivals, formal services, anywhere there was special music and a spirit of God - he was there. I can't explain it really. We would visit churches and the minister would ask him to lead the invocation or say the benediction - even though they'd never met. How did they know he could pray? I knew he could pray......but how did they know?

Taking his hat off and bowing his head, he would very quietly hold audience with his Maker. It didn't matter how many people were listening. His prayers always began the same way......"Dear Gracious Heavenly Father......"
No matter where. Or with whom. Or in front of whom.

Hat in hand. Head bowed. He knew how to reach God.
And people sensed that when they met him. If peace can be worn like a garment then he was always finely clothed, my Papa.
One night he took me by the hand and led me to the altar with him. He knelt down on one knee, elbow resting on the other and silently voiced his heart. I was right there! I heard the whole thing and he never said a word.

He made them with his own hands. He molded them into shape.
Created them and lovingly took care of them. He chose the color.
Not a sonata or a novel. Certainly nothing brilliant or fancy.
Just ordinary marbles.

Tonight I'm sitting at my table writing stories on an electronic device that sends messages to a guy in Canada about globe graphics and insomnia, making pots of endless coffee to stay awake, answering emails from Germany, London, China, New York , Oman and beyond.
Could Papa have ever imagined such a thing?
Did he?
What was he praying about all that time anyway?

Papa's marbles.....There's something odd about them.

Oh forget about it. They're just a bunch of rocks. You've got a story to write. Can't you think of something brilliant? It's past midnight and everyone has their peace globe up but you.

I struggled. There's something missing here, I thought.
It's about Papa. I can't stop thinking about him.

What would he say to me tonight? How would he pray?

The marbles.
Look closer.

When it hit me, I was way past the point of arguing with myself about miracles and such. I've seen too many come through my mailbox today to argue with God about that.

Do you see it?
The blue one on top.

It looks like a globe.

Dona Nobis Pacem did not start with Mimi. It started in 1920 when a little boy in the rural southeastern United States decided to shape a small blue marble - for his granddaughter.


Annelisa said...

OMG! it so does like a world! One world nesting amongst others - simply beautiful!

Thanks Mimi, that was just such a lovely, moving post - worth waiting for :-)

Anonymous said...

It does look like a globe, mimi. Amazing. Beautiful tale, beautifully written. Thanks for the timely reminder where peace starts. Peace to you always. May you always know peace in your soul.

Anonymous said...

Peace to you Mimi.... what a wonderful post!

I only discovered this today through Chookooloonks but I would be honoured to join in

Carolina Cats said...

I saw it right away but the story gave me a warm glow. Thank you for sharing Papa with us.

Nora, Finny & Buddy

Anonymous said...

Beautiful...simply beautiful.

I got my post up...I don't know how to get into your gallery tho...


Anonymous said...

well miss mimi that was just beaautiful my dear, the very perfect sentiment for today, and thank you......bee

Cherry Popcorn said...

I like your post! Thanks for starting this! =) Cheers!

Bazza said...

A nice thought provoking post, thank you. Dr John sent me.

Mother of Invention said...

What a perfect timely revelation! Some message from your Grandfather beyond for sure. Full circle..I love when that happens!

I just e-mailed my short post to case you don't receive it, please visit. (It's Globeless, I know but the spirit pervades the technology defeat!)

Louisiana said...

good morning. peace to you.

i thank you for the intention behind today's movement. i am glad so many were interested. any positive change starts with just the one person.

the story of your grandpa brought a huge smile to my face. it seems we had similar experiences. my great-grandparents were my first source of peace and love. and their gifts have lasted me all my days. the seed of anything good in me that i may have, was planted by them, back then.
you and me are most Blessed to have such memories and to have had such example.

Emma's Kat said...

Wow....I am in tears right now. I'm speechless...

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful story!
I totally agree that we all must achieve inner-peace first...and that has been my life's journey for the last year. :-)

Anonymous said...

Mimi..what a moving tribute to your he imprinted on your soul, what he has given you has no price..only the unmeasurable value of a beautiful life..and hope, hope that you share with us, with the world..I do believe he is looking over you and today as all days he is proud of you, however today his pride is in sharing your beautiful soul with the world..thank you for all your hard work and encouragement to us all...the message is is out there..Mimi..your the best and your Papas' gift to you from all those years shines brightly today..m

Margaret said...

Thank you for a beautiful post. You could have been talking about my very own Grandpop in so many ways.

(sent here via Dr. John.)

Anonymous said...

My Lord, and my God! What a beautiful, beautiful post. Thank you, dear Mimi. Dr. John sent me...and my peace post is up!

Christine Boles said...

What a great man~ I'm so glad you told us about him ~ And what came from him, inside you.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely beautiful. There is really nothing more I can say. Very powerful and moving.

My globe and post will be up later than most today, but I WILL be participating!

Anonymous said...

Hi Mimi.
Once again, you've moved me to tears.
Not only do I have my Peace Globes up on all 5 of my sites, but I have a dedication to you, listing links to Peace Globes also at
It’s A Blog Eat Blog World

pax vobiscum

with love

Anonymous said...

What a touching post, my dear friend. How he would be smiling now, filled with pride and love for you!

Tom Atkins said...

A lovely, thoughtful post. I hope, after today, you will find rest, and joy in what you've grown with this.


Anonymous said...

What wonderful thoughts and memories of your Papa and what a blessing to have had him in your life. Thanks for sharing.

Here from Dr. John's.

Emma's Kat said...

This was on my Starbucks cup this morning:

The world is smaller than you think, and the people on it are more beautiful than you think.

--Bertram van Munster Emmy Award-winning executive producer/director

The funny thing was, it wasn't what I ordered. I got someone else's order. Wow.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post! Hope you have a peaceful day!

CountryDew said...

Thanks for starting Peace Day. I participated. I came to you from Tom's site. I hope everyone takes a moment to make peace a priority.

B.R.L said...

Very moving post. You are Dr John's post for today so others may read.

B.R.L said...

Very moving post. You are Dr John's post for today so others may read.

B.R.L said...

Very moving post. You are Dr John's post for today so others may read.

Jules said...

It's not very eloquant, but I've got mine up there. Gotta run!

Linds said...

I accidentally ran across your site - and how glad I am that I did! Your writing is absolutely wonderful and the post was moving and inspiring.

Thank you for adding a smile to my day. =)

Anonymous said...

OH MY Mimi.... brilliant...You spun the heartwarming tale of Papa into this Special Day

I am thrilled I found Bestest, which allowed me to find Cathy...which brought me to you!

Thank you Pap for the inspiration to your grand-daughter....And thank you Mimi for your inspiration to all of us.

Anonymous said...

Hi Again Miss Mimi:
Instead of NaNo-ing today, the linkies bug has got hold of me...
I now have SEVENTY Peace Globe Sites linked to my Dona Nobis Pacem post at
It’s A Blog Eat Blog World

Peace to us all ~ Morgen

Anonymous said...


Elaine said...

What a beautiful story - thank you!


Anonymous said...


I got your blog through Irene's pregnant pauses. It is a good idea of starting the global peace.

Victor Tabbycat said...

That's a lovely tribute. Peace to you today and every day.
Purrs for peace,
Bonnie Underfoot & Victor Tabbycat;
Sean, Jennifer, & Ryan L.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everyone else, your post is moving and that top marble is surely a peace globe.

You did good today, my lady.
You should be proud of your work.

We certainly are.


Bazza said...

What a great piece of writing, Mimi. You have surpassed yourself with this project. Go to go now, I'm welling-up!

Anonymous said...

Hey Miss Mimi you done jes great. You set my spurs ajanglin'and thets for sure! I see'd you got yourself another Bazza paying you some attention. I think my friend, the reel Bazza is gonna hafta escort him off the ranch!

Lily said...

First time here, came via Karen at Chookooloonks, don't know how to link that. But I wanted to say, thanks. Thanks for the starting this and thanks for your story, your Papa sounds like an amazing man.

Anonymous said...

Stopping by Mimi to wish you Peace. Beautiful words.

Blessings for you always

Sunflower Optimism said...

Thank you Mimi! I just put my globe up with my post, but have no clue how to sign it. That's ok. Also, my thanks to Dr. John and Quilldancer, for telling me about your peace globe project.

Thank you for sharing your beloved Papa with us - truly a man of peace.

Anonymous said...

Peace, Mimi.

Here's my post. -- Star

Unknown said...

Dear Mimi!

I´m in tears... what a lovely and warm-hearted tale. I´m sure your Papa is with you - not only today, but maybe at this moment more proud then ever before :-)

Thank you so much for your inspiration!

Peace from Germany,


Anonymous said...

Oh! Mimi!
I now have ONE HUNDRED Blogs linked for Peace at
It’s A Blog Eat Blog World

(and I must add, out of the 100, thirty of them are cat blogs! Cat Bloggers rock!!!)

This was a fun project for me today (it kept me from checking the poll results every 5 minutes!) -- but tomorrow I must NaNo NaNo my little fingers off!!!!

Thanks for letting me be a part of World Peace Day!

Purrs For Peace from the Cat Bloggers!

love ya,

that frolicsome kid said...

Thank you SO SO much Mimi for continuing this splendid idea for your Papa =).

Reeholio said...

Hi Mimi,

Beautiful post. Wishing you peace today.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mimi :) He!He!He! peace to you my friend."If there is light in the soul,there will be beauty in the person.If there is beauty in the person,there will be harmony in the house.If there is harmony in the house,there will be order in the nation,If there is order in the nation,there will be peace in the world."
Peace to you Mimi this is beautiful.Thanks for sharing.
Wish you well

Annelisa said...

Hello again Mimi - It's midnight here in Sussex, England and the day has been just beautiful. I'm not talking about the weather (I'm not sure I even noticed it! :-) ) I'm talking about that little warm globe I carried round in my chest all day! It's been lovely!

Now, I e-mailed you earlier, to tell you something strange also happened to me today... Not like your experience, but weird... I was in the kitchen, cooking and talking with the kids, as is my wont, when a book flew out of the bookcase on the wall.

Without thinking about 'why?' or 'how?' (there was a lot else going on at the time! :-)), I picked it up to return it to it's place. Looking up, I couldn't see any space it would fit in. I then glanced down at the book...

The title was 'Peace'!!! (by Gene Wolfe)

- I think I'm getting the message! :-D

Enjoy the rest of your / our Blogblast for Peace Day! It's been a good one!

Yaxlich said...

Yaxlich is so pleased to see so many globes on his favourite blogs today and that he has discovered so many more.

Mimi - you are a wonderful person.

molly said...

Sent here by liz. What a beautiful story. Just the other day I was quoting the prayer of St. Francis to myself...."Make me a channel of your peace ...." You, Mimi, are a channel of His peace.

Giggles said...

I read your post in the wee hours of my morning…on a time crunch I was unable to post.
It evoked many tears, as I read about your dear grandfather, beautiful my dear. You have made such a difference. Thank you for founding this wonderful idea!

Love and Peace to you……Giggles

The Audball said...

Peace to you. That was amazing.

Anonymous said...

Mimi.. great thing you did yesterday.

Meowers from Missouri said...

thank you. thank you from my heart, which at this moment, and for many prior moments, has been overflowing with peace and the beauty of your words. so overflowing, it had nowhere to go but out my eyes.

yes. g*d still speaks, and still speaks through papa. how blessed we are by him.

the meowers' mom

Me said...

Such a beautiful song.

Mimi Lenox said...

Annelisa...Thanks for all your encouragement on this project. I am so glad to have discovered your artistic blog. You are a precious gem in the blogosphere.

Mimi Lenox said...

Gem....Peace to you and yours. Love, Mimi.

Mimi Lenox said...

Birchsprite...Thanks for participating. I'm glad to make your cyber-acquaintance.

Mimi Lenox said...

Nora, Finny & Buddy...Thank you. It has been awesome to discover so many new wonderful blogs. Peace to you as well.

Mimi Lenox said...

Peg...Thank you. Peace to you and yours on this first ever Dona Nobis Pacem in the Blogosphere. Mimi Lenox

Mimi Lenox said...

Empress Bee...Thanks for the kind words. I can't wait to read about your lovely trip to Italy.

Mimi Lenox said...

Princess Shin...Another great blog I've discovered! Thanks for participating in Peace Globe Day. Mimi Lenox.

Mimi Lenox said...

Bazza27...Very nice to meet you. Peace to you and yours. Mimi Lenox.

Mimi Lenox said...

Mother of Invention....Yes, it was an amazing and timely revelation. I was deeply moved when I wrote this piece and feel him with me.

Mimi Lenox said...

Chana....So, we have something in common - our wonderful Papas. What would we have done without them? Peace to you.

Mimi Lenox said...

Emma's Kat....Thanks for commenting and I'm glad Papa's story meant something to you as well. Peace and blessings to you.

Mimi Lenox said...

Twyla...peace to you on your marvelous journey.

Mimi Lenox said...

Madd..Thank you for all the support and encouragement you've given me through this busy and wonderful time. Peace and blessings to you and yours.

Mimi Lenox said...

Andrena...Thank you. Peace and blessings to you on this wonderful day on reflection and miraculous dreams.

Mimi Lenox said...

Christine.....Yes, he was a great man. The honesty in his life influences me still. Peace to you and yours. Mimi Lenox

Mimi Lenox said...

Michael C....thanks for participating. May peace reside in your heart today and always.

Mimi Lenox said...

Candy...Weren't our grandfathers wonderful? What a rich heritage they implanted in us. One I hope he can say he is proud of.

Mimi Lenox said...

Morgen....Your enthusiasm for this project has encouraged me. Thanks for all you've done for the cause of Dona Nobis Pacem in the Blogosphere. You are a true freind.

Mimi Lenox said...

Lizza....I am so proud of him and all of us.

Mimi Lenox said...

Thank you, Paul. Glad you joined in. Peace to you and yours.

Mimi Lenox said...

Thank you, Tom. I consider that great praise coming from a poet such as yourself. Peace and blessings to you and yours today and always.

Guanaguanare said...

Only just read this post. Wonderful, just wonderful.

Unknown said...

It's amazing how much symbolism can be derived from little things like those - things that a person with less thought might even label as garbage. This speaks volumes about humanity and the quest for peace - thank you for sharing.

Vinny "Bond" Marini said...

I commented when you first wrote this. But I enjoyed rereading it very much.
I just went to look for my comment and could not, until I went slowly. It shows up as an anonumous comment which is odd...

Came over from THE CARNIVAL

Barbara said...

Hello Mimi,
That was so touching.
Yes, the best things that our parents and grandparents can give to us are their inner riches.
What a labor of love to fashion those marbles. Your Dad loved you a lot to want you to have them.Already, that blue one had your name on it...

I'am looking forward to Nov 7 ( I was even out today working on a project, but shhh !)
Peace to you :)

lady macleod said...

A lovely post and a fabulous website. I will post your link over at my place. I'm pleased to have found you through Nobody Important.

Maude Lynn said...


debio said...

The blue stone - so beautiful and yes, so like the world.

Beautiful gripping post.

Found you through lady macleod - will be back - and back again....

Garden State Kate said...

That was lovely, and I will join in on your blog for peace.

Ferd said...

I missed the June 2008 gig. I didn't know you yet then.
I won't miss the next one in November.
This, and you, are special.

Mimi Lenox said...

Ferd - What is special my friend is the way the blogosphere comes together on that day. The peace vibes flow from blog to blog. I am always overwhelmed.
You are gonna love peace globes. I'm so glad you're on my buddy list now!

Real Live Lesbian said...

Beautiful story. He sounds like a lovely man.

Michelle said...

What a miracle of peace your papa was. You've got me thinking about my special grandparents who had a hand in raising me and my sister. Yes, this was the last time I actually felt peace and safety, with them as a child. Thanks so much for this beautiful story. You've really touched my soul.

Hannah said...

All things are possible to those who believe....amazing and miraculous...I'm so grateful for this entire production that has brought forth peace in such a manner...branching out and out and very far-reaching.

Thank you so much, Mimi for sharing with such an honest touching.

Peace ♥

Sherry Blue Sky said...

It is a tradition for me to read this the evening before every blogblast, Mimi. It is beautiful, as was your Papa.

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