That Woman

The words you’re about to read come from a dear friend known mostly as “The Peace Dragon Lady.” A survivor of a terrorist attack and cancer, Linda Garrison Ragsdale spends her life teaching kids about making peace and she has an uncanny way of saying what so many of us feel. Especially now. It’s an honor to share her words with you.

In light of the world turning in a direction I’m unacquainted with,
I find as always, my heart leads me back to the place I need to be.
In a world so undefined and filled with illusion, I want to be very clear what kind of American I am.

I am the grown up child
Who forever feels her hand over her beating heart
And hears herself pledge, “indivisible with Liberty and justice for all.”
I meant it then.
I mean it now.

I am the American woman, who would not choose abortion as a young woman,
But know that it is a choice for me to make for me- not made for me by someone else.
I respect the decision of every person to reconcile their choices with themselves and their spiritual or non-spiritual nature, as I would hope they would respect mine.
I cannot imagine the weight of that decision, but would never force a sentence for anyone finding themselves there.
It is never a choice taken lightly.
It is a choice that is never forgotten.
But as women, we have to make choices.
And we do.
I am a woman who believes in owning her choices and their consequences.

I am the American woman who is angered by the hypocrisy of those who profess their pro-life stand, and openly deny the rights of those standing next to them, sharing the same air, but different enough to somehow be deemed unworthy of their passion of support for life, but readily offered the wrath of their limited love and compassion.

I am the American mother, who sees no boundaries for the children I am to called to care for – all children.
I ache for the child who came to speak to me with a gun, and the child who died by my side.
But I am the woman,
the mother,
the American,
who’ll hold the child who comes to me after being bullied, ignored, frightened or ill.
And for those children who are searching for who they are and where they fit in,
I am their home.
My welcome mat is rolled out, and soup is on the table.
I will whisper words of strength to them and like the Iron Lady whom I’ve admired from afar, I will spread my iron skirt and hold them in my lap.
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
Yes- I am that American lady too.

I am the American who sees her neighbors on every continent, and wants to hear their stories. I want to know my neighbors and make sure they’re okay. I want them to be able to call on me, and me on them.

And I am the American who loves this land, this lady earth who has graciously held space for us all, while we are learning how to clean up our acts.
I believe in our parks, our sacred lands
And protecting our resources from those select few who seek a buck over a body – a living breathing body of land, water and air and us.
Yes, I am the tree-hugging, animal loving, protect-every-specie, sweetie.

I’m the American who believes we have the right to use our voice, but know only the right voice can create change.
I am the American who will not fight, threaten, trick, lie, or manipulate a fellow human being. I am the American who puts people before the party, and wouldn’t sell my values for a gun, a piece of land or a drop of oil.

I am an American who holds her word as a bond to her very soul.
Words matter.
Actions matter.
What I put out into this world creates the world I live in.
I choose love.
Unconditional love because that is what my spiritual text calls upon me to do.
Those I are the words I choose to empower.

I am the American who sees a darkness on the horizon and will use every ounce of my energy into being a light, and keeping that light bright, dispelling that darkness with truth, honor and compassion.

Because I am the American, who now sees a bit more clearly the dreams I was drawn to as a child,
the America I believed in, hoped for,
wished for,
IS possible
if I keep my human heart beating to that rhythm.
I am that woman.
And I believe in that America. 

For more about Linda’s work and links to her marvelous children’s books, please click here:

MOTB – 3

Monday evening, we arrived home from a great weekend with our kids. Well, except for the whole flying thing! (I’m improving, but still not thrilled with sitting!)

I wasn’t thinking about my Make One Thing Better list when I wandered through the back door and glanced into the kitchen.

There it was!

A huge better thing we’d accomplished before we left. Actually, Bill did the accomplishing. I just did the international sign language thing for two inches to the left.

One day, a month or so ago, a plan sprouted magically in my head. I’ve learned to pay attention to those.

In this case, the plan was for re-arranging the part of our kitchen the early 1960’s builder would have referred to as the breakfast room. In our case “breakfast room” means the place where the refrigerator and two upright deep freezers rub elbows with our antique oak dining table.

We did a great job with the kitchen reno about 15 years ago, given the fact that we couldn’t change the footprint. I’d still choose most of the things we did, which is kind of a miracle.

The big exception for me was the way the multiplying major appliances had worked to close off the space by my favorite, free-standing wooden butcher block.

Our very sexy glass door fridge used to sit butted up against the left side of the butcher block, headed into the breakfast room. A stainless fridge, with black sides. It felt like this massive wall, sucking up all the light. And I spend a lot of time standing at that butcher block.

So, Furniture Yahtzee. Or, in this case, Appliance Yahtzee!

The fridge went where the smaller freezer was.

The smaller freezer went where the metal shelving was.

The metal shelving went where the fridge was.

Bill, who believes we can’t move fewer than seven things in one of my MOTB games, was amazed. We moved three things and made a huge difference. As in, let there be light!

Light from the french doors to the deck. Light not soaked up from the black sides of the fridge.

And sight lines through to the wall murals I worked so hard to paint back in the day. Along with a couple more inches of traffic pattern.

Perhaps best of all, my treasured stock pots, even the biggest one, are much easier to reach.

Would I double the square footage of the space if I could? You bet!

Does it feel bigger and more open and more welcoming? It does!

There’s more room for chopping since I moved the knives.

And, it makes me happy.

I’m still sorting what goes where on the shelves. That really never ends around here.

And setting some stuff aside for donations.

There are also some changes in our routine coming up which will probably require more adjusting.

Seriously, though, it’s a whole lot of better for a couple of hours and no money.

And, since I’m thinking about money in terms of investing, rather than spending, these days, I’m pretty excited.

What’s tickling your mind in this moment?

It might be worth paying attention!




Sue Boardman, Certified Intentional Creativity®
Color of Woman Teacher & Coach