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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Dona Nobis Pacem ~ Peace and The Power of Love

Welcome to the tenth year of BlogBlast For Peace aka Blog4Peace. We speak Dona Nobis Pacem (Grant us Peace) all over the Blogosphere today.
 I hope you have a wonderful Blog4Peace. Please visit each other on your blogs and see all the beautiful new peace globes flying around. 
Don't forget to sign the Mr. Linky below! We want to read your posts!
This is my peace story for NOV 4.

The Tablecloth

I never know how the story will end once it begins.
I only know it begins.
I get one sentence at a time.
The muse said, "Get your grandmother's tablecloth, Mimi. It's time to set the table."
Set the table?
Yes, said the muse, set the table.
I never argue with the Muse.
 There was something in the way the cloth hit the table as soon as it was laid....

My Papa would come home everyday for lunch from the furniture plant.  We could hear the whistle blow and we'd have exactly five minutes to finish the biscuits in the oven. If my grandmother ever burned the bread (which wasn't often) she'd throw them away and start all over. I saw her do that once and remarked what a waste it was to throw food away. But I knew from the look on her face that perfectly cooked flaky biscuits for Papa with melted butter was more important than spilled flour in the trash can. I remember watching him walk in the door, down the little hall toward the kitchen and being so proud that the biscuits were steaming hot and perfect, brown milk gravy in the bowl, crispy fried chicken, cheese, black-eyed peas, cantaloupe and iced tea. Sometimes we'd have vinegar pie.


From Maya Angelou's kitchen

Do you see this serving spoon?

It belonged to Dr. Maya Angelou. A wordsmith capable of stirring up change in a young girl's heart and one of my heroes.  She dedicated her life to the magic and power of words. When I was a young girl she reeled me in with "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings." I've hung on every word she said ever since. 
Sometime after she passed away, I had the privilege of being able to walk through her estate which was being sold at auction. Being in her home among her books, furniture, paintings and the many rooms and grounds in which she lived was an amazing glimpse into her life. I sat in her den in front of a small bust of Gandhi which was also for sale. A woman of  powerful words and influence whose possessions reflected what she valued most. Peace. Love. The power of words.

But it was her kitchen that drew me in. Opening cabinets (soft yellow paint) and being able to choose a few utensils she'd used on a daily basis was even more important to me than the hundreds of books in the downstairs library.
I chose the serving spoon, a pressed cut glass serving tray, and a whimsical green flower vase sitting on the kitchen island top.  I use the spoon every single day. Each time I use it I'm reminded of the power of words. Her words. My words. Our words.  I explored the greenhouse and found a beautiful tall fluted rose vase.

Outside the potting shed door underneath the garage I found a footed topaz fruit bowl from Poland. I have no idea why it was outside or who might have left it there. It now graces the coffee table in my den. A few other small Christmas items came home with me. I treasure them because they were hers and because her words resonate with me, in the same way I treasure my grandmother's cloth and her white porcelain dishes. Each piece laced with remembrance you see, and meant to be used, not stored away in a display cabinet. 

 My grandmother knew how to set a table. She cooked by instinct, not recipe. She would have the dishes washed before the last tea glass was poured.  She knew what it meant to serve her family. White linen laid lovingly for Papa's lunch. 
White linen laid boldly with love. 

My two favorite quotes of Dr. Angelou's reflect our theme.  She said, "Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope."
 I would argue that peace follows.

Maybe it's the place I find myself at this stage of my life. I know I don't have time to waste being cautious to love; I only waste love being cautious.

The past year of my life has been interesting. I had to knock down some walls.
It started way back in the spring of the year. Something inside me wanted to clear things out and make open spaces. In the yard, in the house, in my soul. I raked. I cleaned. I sorted. I prayed. I threw out piles of regret. Cried over things and people one more time for the sole purpose of being done with the crying. It was a silent and fierce rearranging of me.
Then the joy came.
 I threw open the shutters. I stood with my arms wide open and asked the Universe to notice. I no longer prayed that God would send the "right one" or even resurrect the wrong ones. I started to pray that He would grace me with love - wherever that love came from. That he would mend my relationships. That He would give me chances to settle my scores and dig deep into the reasons I'm still walking solo in a world full of couplings. That He would show me what it is I keep doing to keep it at bay, why I reserve a little corner for doubt and end up unconsciously sabotaging imperfect relationships for the sake of some high-end unattainable perfection. He knew I meant it this time.
And that's when the easiness came.

Some sure kind of surrender happened in me.   I wasn't even aware of the moment it came. But suddenly a long line of wrongs began to right, an unruly crowd of bygones begged one more reflection, and people I never thought I'd see or hear from again in this lifetime began to trip over my corner of the universe and demand my attention.
And Lo and Behold the most holy and unexpected peace swiftly followed.

When you choose to be vulnerable, you choose courage.  You stand in your truth and you own. Whatever that brings to my life is enough.  Enough!  Not good enough, not settled-for-enough, not hammered-out-and-negotiated enough, not just enough, but in twice-baked biscuits good.  
That good.

I'd been holding onto a whole batch of burnt biscuits you see...not wanting to waste what I'd put into them. I had my reasons. I thought if I held onto them long enough and stared at their imperfections, it would remind me that I didn't need them after all. They would serve as a warning that scorched manna is painful to the touch, therefore, I'd never want to make another batch. That's a nice safe way to live, isn't it?

 But love cannot abide in the same kitchen as fear. 
Fear will choke the life right out of every biscuit you try to make.

So I took Maya's things and put them side-by-side with my grandmother's dishes on my grandmother's tablecloth on my own imperfect table close to the heart of all I am. Beautiful things from a world-renowned poet beside everyday white porcelain tableware from a kitchen of brown chicken gravy stains  spilled on woven cloth that once bore perfectly delicate biscuits. My kitchen merged with Maya's kitchen merged with grandmother's kitchen and before I knew it we were cooking up a storm.

Dr. Angelou leaned into the batter bowl and said,
"Have enough courage to trust love one more time. And always one more time."

So go ahead...
Burn the biscuits, mess up the gravy, tousle your hair in a wild tangled love. Then start all over again.
Be brave in the unraveling and retelling of someone's truth. Be brave and bare in your own. Open yourself to hear forgiveness and then forgive. Because strong love can only rest mightily and sure in the arms of a vulnerable vessel. And don't we all want strong love?

 Walls are built for keeping out.
And I don't mean brick by brick, year by year, tedious by tedious conversation.
Knock them down
all. at. once.
Then stand back and watch what comes to you.

Now serving in the kitchen of Bloggingham. 
A spoonful of peace

Are you hungry?

Please sign the Mr. Linky below if you are participating in Blog4Peace! We want to find all peace posts so that we can visit each other.  If you post on Facebook or Twitter, you can still paste the link below.

UPDATE! A first look at some of the new peace globes...
Sanni Jansen ~ Honduras
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Nanna from Honolulu, Hawaii

Join us for BlogBlast For Peace Nov 4
Like Our Facebook Page

Blog4Peace Participants
1. Jamie White
2. Goodnight Gram
3. Akelamalu
4. Animal Shelter Volunteer Life
5. Clooney's Num-Num Fund
6. Paula
7. The Gal Herself
8. Gemma's MP Daily
9. Gemma's Greyscale
10. Juliana RW
11. Mimi Lenox
12. Gifts For All Seasons
13. Brian Frum
14. Pam and Sam Kimmell
15. 15andmeowing
16. The Meezers
17. Jennie Marsland
18. Chrysalis
19. Zoolatry ~Dona Nobis Pacem
20. rose
21. Stunning Keisha: Dona Nobis Pacem
22. Sweet Purrfecti0ns - Dona Nobis Pacem
23. Travis Cody
24. The Island Cats
25. Ferd
26. Michelle of Crowsfeet Blog
28. Christy Paws
29. Random Felines - Dona Nobis Pacem
30. MrJackFreckles
31. Pipo & Minko
32. Savannah Paw Tracks
33. Loulou
34. Jan's Funny Farm
35. Sherry Blue Sky
36. Speedyrabbit
37. Friends FurEver -Dona Nobis Pacem
38. Kathy Duffy Thomas
39. Broken Teepee
40. Laurie Blackhall
41. the PDX pride
42. Kitties Blue
43. Lui
44. Julia Phillips Smith
45. Sanni Jansen
46. White Dog Diary
47. The Creative Cat
48. Moments of Introspection
49. Kely with One L, Life with a Lovely Lady Cat
50. CATWISDOM101: Bloggers for Peace Day
51. georgietwee
52. Coco, the Couture Cat & Teri
53. Zoolatry
54. Ann Adamus
55. Sunshine Sunshine Bing Yap
56. Beautiful World from India
57. Driller's Place
58. Michelle Culp


Gemma Wiseman said...

A mesmerising, magical post. I hear you. I feel you.

pilch92 said...

Excellent post, clearly Maya Angelou's pieces are inspiring you.

The Meezers or Billy said...

very beautiful post

Anonymous said...

Happy tenth peace anniversary! Such an amazing celebration. And you set the table perfectly for your peace guests! What a lovely story. I am serving my traditional dessert at my place again today. ;-)

ChrysalisAngel said...

You always do such a wonderful job, Mimi. It's been a long time since I've popped in, but I do try to participate in something so important. Peace is important and so needed in the world.

Christy Paws said...

Pawsome post. I am participating for the first time in this ever so important event.

Meezer's Mews & Terrieristical Woofs said...

We are purring and pawyering fur peace. May Peace fill the earth with gentle breezes and waft its way into every soul.

Michelle said...

Oh Mimi... you have outdone yourself! How do you manage to get better each year? It's like vintage wine. :)

This one was deeply personal for me and made me cry.

Bless you, dear friend.


Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh, Mimi, what a gift of story you have! I so resonate with your words.....being one in a world of two.......surrendering. Learning to just Simply Love. You know what I think? I think you need to string some of these wonderful stories of Papa and your grandma and the blogblast stories into a book. And we will buy it!!!!!!!!!

Sherry Blue Sky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Florida Furkids said...

We're purring for peace today too. That's a great story.

The Florida Furkids

Clooney said...

Wow. Mimi, I am truly touched by your words, they went straight to my heart and soul, such a beautifully and powerfully written post, I so appreciate your vulnerability and sharing. We join you again this year in blogging (and purring) for peace, we look forward to this every year...Happy 10th Anniversary!

Mimi Lenox said...

Gemma - Thank you so much. I am glad you enjoyed the story and I will be by soon to read your Australian post. It's been up longer than anybody almost! Peace to you.

Pilch - Welcome to the peace globe movement! I hope you felt the peace vibe throughout the day.

The Meezers (Billy) - Meezers have been blogging peace forever and a day! I remember from way back. I don't know a lot about felines and getting to know the cat blogosphere has helped me tremendously. I will be by soon to see what you guys are purring about. Peace.

Mimi Lenox said...

GoodnightGram - I have already devoured one (maybe two) of your green cookies. They were so moist, sugary, and beautifully decorated with peace signs. I know your co-workers and granddaughter's classmates look forward to peace day and your marvelous cooking.

Thank you for always surprising us with your creativity and spunkiness!(Is that a word? Well, it is now...)

Peace to you and yours,

Mimi Lenox said...

Chrysalis Angel - I appreciate your friendship and peace blogginess (is that a word? It is now...)

Your support is always appreciated.
We have to keep plugging along with the peace vibe, no don't we? Peace to you and yours.

Mimi Lenox said...

Christy Paws ~ Welcome!! I will be over to hear your peaceful purrs very soon. Thank you for stopping by.

MeezerMews - I can feel that peaceful breeze now... Yes...

Mimi Lenox said...

Michelle - I don't want you to cry (unless it's the good kind of tears) then by all means, have a good cry. It's good for the soul. I can attest.
I'm glad you were touched by my post and I am over soon to read yours. Which will most certainly make me cry (!) You always do.... xxooo

Sherry - That is high praise coming from you. My intention IS to do just that. From your mouth to God's ears. Nothing would make me happier than to finally get these in book form. Thanks for the encouragement. I need a swift kick in the pencil skirt to get this accomplished.

Going to read your peace post soon.
Peace to you and yours,

Mimi Lenox said...

Clooney - What is George up to today? I'm about to go read and find out. I went earlier but your peace globe wouldn't load. My connection is slow. I shall return soon.
Thank you for the kind words and for blogging for peace. You do make a difference.

Mimi Lenox said...

Furkids - I KNEW you would be purring for peace today.
Peace to you and yours...

Judy said...

Beautiful ... all of it.

ShannonW said...

This post is beautiful, wonderful and awesome. I expect nothing less :)

Peace to you and yours Mimi! Thank you for all you do.

Ferd said...

Wow, ten years! You have reached SO many people! Truly awesome!
Peace and love, Mimi!

Mimi Lenox said...

Judy - Your peace globe is wonderful! Thank you for participating.

Shannon - Thank you so much. It took awhile to get in the flow (yesterday was crazy for me and today not much different lol) but I knew I had to start with the tablecloth and the rest just followed. I am glad you are here on this day.

Ferd - Where did the time go? Peace globes are so much a part of my life. It always thrills me when I hear folks talk about their peace globe evolution....we've come a loooong way.
Thank you for blogging for peace, my friend.

Going soon to read your blog post.

Travis Cody said...

Another beautiful essay. Fascinating how so many old things can be put together and bring something new...a new attitude, a new outlook, a new sense of being. I'm happy for you.


Lui said...

. . . there is so much wonder, and joy, and meaning, and peace in the things and stories we own, re-own, and shared. After all, what is peace if not a slice of everything joyful in us! Namaste!

Mimi Lenox said...

Travis - Life is full of bumps and bruises. Fortunately, love heals all of them.

Lui - The things we own hold memories and power too. As long as we don't hold onto them for the wrong unhealthy reasons, they can teach us much.

Thank you both for being a part of my peace family.

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