Sunday, September 11, 2011

This is Our Song - September 11, 2011

We sang this in church today, the tenth anniversary of September 11. I want to share it because to me, it expresses an alternative response to "God Bless America"-style patriotism. It's by Lloyd Stone, written in 1914 and published in the period between the two world wars. The tune is "Finlandia," perhaps known best as the music to the hymn "Be Still, My Soul."

This is my song, O God of all the nations,
A song of peace for lands afar and mine.
This is my home, the country where my heart is;
here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine;
But other hearts in other lands are beating
WIth hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.

My country's skies are bluer than the ocean,
And sunlight beams on clover leaf and pine;
But other lands have sunlight too, and clover,
And skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
O hear my song, O God of all the nations,
A song of peace for their land and for mine.

 I love what this song goes beyond "God Bless America" to acknowledge the hopes and dreams of those in all nations. Even Afghanistan and Iraq. This morning in church I was reminded of the aftermath of September 11 on the world in the past ten years. Of course I am deeply saddened at the losses we sustained and I can't even pretend to imagine the pain borne by those who have suffered personally from that.  But our unnecessary "war on terrorism" has compounded that suffering, caused even greater death and destruction (especially in Iraq and Afghanistan), billions of dollars spent on war instead of a thousand better uses, the revelation of the use of torture and other abuses by our military, and the loss of much respect and credibility in the world's eyes. I found myself wishing I had been more outspoken in the last 10 years about my opposition to more war as our response to terrorism. I don't know exactly what the solution is, but I'm pretty sure this strategy is not it. So I pray for peace, and for justice to be done, and for the courage to speak and act, however I can, for healing and redemption.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

August 2011 MauldenNews

Hello all,

I hope you're all well. Here's what we've been up to...

Alle (the girl formerly known as Alex) turned seven! She and her friends had a great time at the Kangaroo Zoo - a big room full of inflatable slides, bounce houses and glow-in-the-dark mini golf.

We also celebrated Sam's 5-year anniversary with us. We went hiking in the mountains. Even though Sam has a lot of energy, he still needs a ride now and then.

Other hiking snapshots: Albion Basin, at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon. The lower picture shows some glaciers in the distance.

 "Back to school" day was August 22 - Alle is in first grade, and Sam is in preschool 3 days a week. First day pictures:

I saw Sam's teacher the evening after his first day, at the school's welcome picnic. "First he tried to take over the class. Then we sat down and explained the rules. He didn't like them. But then he got into cutting and pasting and he did great. He knew the names of all the sea creatures, even the manatee! Does he know how to read?"

As for me, August meant more marathon training - I completed my longest two runs EVER at 20 and 22 miles. (!) After each long run I've been taking ice baths (helps recovery, decreases inflammation and prevents soreness). I'm not sure which is harder, running for 4 hours or sitting in an ice-cold tub of water for 20 minutes, but I admit both activities qualify me as officially NUTS. Alex watched me entering the ice bath one day and got a great laugh at my screams and gasps. Then she wanted an ice bath too, but sticking her feet in was enough. Overall, I'm really, really happy with my training this summer. I am so lucky to be able to do it - I enjoy the scenery, new friends, time outdoors, time to myself to think and reflect, and tougher legs. :-) HOO-YAH! I highly recommend the Galloway program. Looking forward to running the Top of Utah marathon with Tim, Daniel, and Tammy on September 17.

Bryan took a trip to Kansas City to visit family and check out a job opportunity. We haven't made a final decision yet, but we'll let you know...stay tuned.

And finally - my book report for the month:

Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn - haven't finished it yet - but definitely a gripping read. Written by a husband and wife Pulitzer prize-winning journalist team, it draws a detailed portrait of the issues women and girls face in much of the world - kidnappings, forced marriages of children, sex trafficking and slavery, maternal mortality, infanticide of girls, denial of education, honor killings, etc. It's very hard to read at points, but also enlightening and hopeful in some accounts of progress being made. One reviewer states that it "should be required reading for every global citizen" and I agree.

Writing Down Your Soul by Janet Conner - not surprising that I enjoyed this because I already like to keep journals. But there were some new ideas and writing techniques I appreciated, as well as some stuff that was a little too weird for me.

Collapse by Jared Diamond - explores the question, "Why do societies choose to collapse?" Fascinating accounts of ancient and more recent societal collapses and the factors that lead up to them. Pretty eye-opening! If you're not already concerned about environmental issues, you probably will be if you read this.

And that's our news 'o' the month! Hope you are well and as always, let me know what you've been up to.