Dear Spring,

You are my favorite season. I’ve always been loyal and loving to you. And yet you are just teasing me…. dusting daffodils in snow, sprouting up the wild garlic while the woods remain brown and somber. Where’s your electrifying color? Your warm breezes?

Did Punxsutawney Phil put you up to this?

My Heart to Your Heart – 8 x 10 Art Print by Leah Duncan via Creature Comforts 



I’ve been enjoying Krista Tippett’s Civil Conversations Projects where she fosters conversation, not debate, on a hot-button topic. We’re talking abortion, gay marriage – the big political, moral and religious issues that folks stay away from at dinner parties because of the emotion and strong feelings they bring out. explains:

The Civil Conversations Project is a series of four public events and media experiences of politically counter-cultural relationship at work… Most of us — wherever we are along the spectrum of liberal or conservative — feel alienated and unrepresented by the hyper-partisan deadlock that distorts and strangles our common deliberation of the truly pressing issues before us.


These conversations are a way of “building political bridges” and you can watch or listen to them at on through itunes.

In the 10/10/12 discussion on Marriage, I was really struck by something David Blankenhorn, the founder and president of the Institute for American Values, said about doubt:

Mr. Blankenhorn: …I think that doubt and civility are friends. They go together kind of like, you know, coffee and cream. They’re partners. Um, by civility, I mean treating the other person the way you would want them to treat you. And by doubt, I mean believing that you may not be right even when your position is passionately held.

Ms.Tippett: You wrote this: “What I need as a doubting person is the wisdom of the other.”

Mr. Blankenhorn: See, because if I don’t have any doubt, I don’t need you. I should be nice to you out of manners, but I don’t need a relationship with you. I may want you to be available to be lectured by me so that you can come to the correct view and I may want to treat you politely for that reason, but I don’t really need you. As I grow older, I grow in doubt and that’s good. And I feel like that that’s a healthier way to be. And if I am not sure that I have the full truth of the matter, I need you.

Civility allows me to have a relationship with you. It feeds me what I need.

Doubt opens the door for widsom, learning, relationships and friendship because we need “the other.” Doubt creates space for change and innovation because we’re not “set in our ways” or 100% positive.  Relationships change people and knowing that I don’t have all the answers encourages me to foster relationships, even those who are different.

As I grow older, I grow in doubt and that’s good.

says Mr. Blankenhorn. And I agree, I’m growing in doubt and I’m seeing the benefits.

Oh happy day!

“We want our children to live in an America that isn’t burdened by debt, that isn’t weakened by inequality, that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.” – President Obama

And Michelle is rockin’ too.

Also all the 2012 election maps and stats from The Washington Post. here.

Dark Days

As usual, I’m way behind the times, but just saw this documentary about homeless living underground in NYC in the 1990s and it’s haunting me. I can’t get the pictures and people out of my head.  The film maker, Marc Singer, had no film experience but made his home among the tunnels too.

Watch the film first, then read this 10th anniversary interview from Anthem magazine.

Abandoned yet occupied

Here in Reston they recently tore down some low to mid-income apartments, along with the old trees that flanked them. They weren’t beautiful historic houses (there’s only about 3 houses that date back before the 1960s in Reston). They weren’t run down either. But they are now going to become bigger and better, shinny and new and unaffordable to those who lived their earlier. It seems here things aren’t built to last, everything is disposable.

Destruction of good to build bigger and better is scheduled to take place at several apartment complexes across Reston in upcoming months and years, each time chipping away affordable housing. We may be in what is the 2nd richest county in the US, but daily I’m meeting people who are without a home or at risk of loosing their housing.

You wouldn’t drive around Reston and say there’s “abandoned building” yet we have plenty of older office buildings, commercials parks, etc that are unoccupied or only partially occupied.  Sometimes I think, “Why not turn them into affordable housing?” I know it’s not that easy, but we’re also not that desperate (at least yet).

In Detroit on the other hand….

The documentary Detropia won a Sundance Award and features those who live in some of Detroit’s abandoned places. I’m excited to see it.

Or the 300 some Spaniards and African immigrants living in an abandoned factory outside of Barcelona, Spain. 

The economic crisis in Europe is frightening because it’s not hard to see that it could easily happen to us.  How will the Greeks respond? Blame immigrants? Demand government services? Band together or fracture apart?

Should the government continue to spend, spend, spend what it doesn’t have to stimulate the economy? Do we have to continue relying on over consumption and consumerism to improve the economy?

Gus Speth, author of America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy, has some innovative and hopeful suggestions. Check out an excerpt from his book here. And I’ll leave you with this quote:

It is time for America to move to a post-growth society, where working life, the natural environment, our communities and families, and the public sector are no longer sacrificed for the sake of mere GDP growth; where the illusory promises of ever-more growth no longer provide an excuse for neglecting our country’s compelling social needs; and where true citizen democracy is no longer held hostage to the growth imperative.