Recent Posts for the 'Poetry / Quotes / This ‘n That' Category

Unexpected July 4th Message

Thursday, July 4th, 2019

A friend sent me a message via email from Tikkun Magazine that I think is print-worthy. See below the picture. (Also, feel free to go to the website listed below the photo of fireworks to learn how fireworks came to be a symbol of the 4th of July.)

July 4th History -- Great for reading aloud with the family!


Here is the Tikkun Magazine message followed by the list of what we  can be grateful for. I plan to read it with my daughter and daughter-in-law and husband at our picnic later.

On July 4 hundreds of millions of Americans will celebrate all that is good in the history of the United States of America.  Even though progressives know there is much to criticize about America (including the use of the word “America” as synonymous with the United States, thereby ignoring Canada, Mexico, Central and South America) there is also much to celebrate. We liberals and progressives spend so much time critiquing the U.S. that it makes sense to have a day to celebrate what is good. But to do that we switch the focus from “independence” to our interdependence.

That’s why we want to urge you to turn this holiday into something more meaningful than just a picnic watching bombs bursting in air during the evening fireworks.

We have a guide (free) for how to do this. If you click here, you’ll go to Please use it and let us know what worked, what didn’t work, and your suggestions for strengthening it after you’ve used it.

Symbols of July 4th

Here is an excerpt from that guide. (I added the colors!)


  • To the waves of immigrants from all parts of the world who struggled to accept each other and find a place in this country {raise fork}
  • To the escaped slaves and their allies, particularly Quakers, evangelical Christians, and freedom-loving secularists, who build the underground railroad and helped countless people to freedom {raise fork}
  • To the coalitions  of religious and secular people–women and men, black and white–who built popular support for the emancipation of the slaves {raise fork}
  • To the African Americans and allies who went to prison, lost their livelihoods, and were savagely beaten in the struggle for civil rights {raise fork}
  • To the working people who championed protections like the eight-hour day, minimum wage, workers’ compensation, and the right to organize, often at great personal cost to them {raise fork}
  • To the immigrants who fought against “nativist” tendencies and refused to close the borders of this country to new groups of immigrants, and who continue to support a policy of “welcoming the stranger” just as this country opened its gates to their ancestors when they were the immigrants and strangers
  • To the women who risked family, job security, and their own constructed identities to shift our collective consciousness about men and women and raise awareness of the effects of patriarchy {raise fork}
  • To gays and lesbians who fought and won the right to marry and who continue to struggle for full rights in housing, employment, and other arenas.
  • To transgendered people who are beginning a similar battle for respect, dignity, and equal rights
  • To all of those who risk scorn and violence and often lose their families to lead the struggle against homophobia and for the acceptance of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and queer people
  • To those who continue to work for equal access for people with disabilities
  • To those who advocate for sensitivity to animals and refuse to kill them
  • To all of the innovators and artists who have brought so much of beauty and usefulness into our lives
  • To those who fought to extend democratic principles not only in politics but also in the work place and in the economy
  • To those who developed innovations in science and technology, in literature and art, in music and dance, in film and in computer science, in medical and communication technologies, and in methods to protect ourselves from the destructive impacts of some of these new technologies.
  • To those who developed psychological insights and increased our ability to be sensitive to our impact on others.
  • To those who developed ecological awareness and are now building strategies to replace a system that privileges growth and consumption over preservation of the life support system of the planet
  • To those who brought the insights of their own particular religious or spiritual traditions which emphasized love and caring for others and generosity towards those who had been impoverished—and sought to turn those ideas not only into a call for personal charity but also into a mission to transform our economic and political systems in ways that would reflect those values.
  • To those who fought for peace and non-violence, and who helped stop many wars.
Fourth of July Independence Day poster or card template with american flag. Vector illustration Illustration


The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates

Monday, July 1st, 2019

NOTE: Several years ago I posted two books reviews by Nicholas Kristof and his wife/partner Sheryl WuDunn. They feature women in mostly developing countries who do the bulk of the work in their families with few tools to help them. Here are the links to my reviews:…of-sheryl-wudunn…of-sheryl-wudunn/



Melinda Gates’ new book, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World, feels like a detailed updated version of the two books I reviewed (links above) several years ago. However, Melinda Gates’ viewpoint and writing style are different and the book was an excellent chronology of how she became involved with her husband Bill Gates (Via The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) to help and to empower women in developing countries to be able to use contraception in order to space their children better for healthier lives, educate young girls to make better life choices, and work within the culture of the countries she visited to understand how to bring information to them that is acceptable.

Her book has so much excellent information and written with a great deal of humility, that the best way I can review it is to list some of the quotes I took from the book:

“If you want to lift up humanity, empower women. It is the most comprehensive, pervasive, high-leverage investment you can make in human beings.”

“Poverty is not being able to protect your family. Poverty is not being able to save your children when mothers with more money could. And because the strongest instinct of a mother is to protect her children, poverty is the most disempowering force on earth

“As soon as we begin to spend more time understanding how people live their lives, we saw that so many barriers to advancement—and so many causes of isolation—can be traced to the limits on the lives of women.

“It hadn’t come as a revelation to me that women want contraceptives. I knew it from my own life, and it was one of the things we supported at the foundation. But after these trips, I began to see it as central, as the first priority for women.

“Contraceptives save the lives of mothers and newborns. Contraceptives also reduce abortion. As a result of contraceptive use, there were 26 million fewer unsafe abortions in the world’s poorest countries in just one year, according to the most recent data.”

Concerning women’s rights:  “I hope… that the fire that drives this defense of family planning fuels a campaign to advance all rights of women, all around the world—so that in the future, in country after country, more and more women will be in the room, sitting at the table, leading the conversation when the policies that affect our lives are made.”

“The lift that comes from sending girls like Sona to school is stunning……Sending girls to school leads to greater literacy, higher wages, faster income growth, and more productive farming…(only a few of the benefits es)

“Love is the most powerful and underused force for change in the world….For me, love is the effort to help others flourish—and it often begins with lifting up a person’s self-image.”

“When women can reduce the time they spend on unpaid work, they increase the time they spend on paid work. In fact, cutting women’s unpaid work from five hours a day to three boosts women’s participation in the labor force by about 20%.”

“Economist Diane Elson came up with a framework in order to help shrink time men spend on unpaid work compared with women. She calls is: recognize, reduce, redistribute.

  1. recognize the unpaid work being done
  2. reduce number of unpaid hours using cook stoves, washing machines, etc.
  3. redistribute work we can’t reduce so that men and women share it more equitably.”

Re: Equal partnership- “Ask this question: Does your primary relationship have love and respect and a sense of teamwork and belonging and mutual growth?”

Quote on p. 149 by her friend Killian, who runs the Recovery Café. “ To be known without being loved is terrifying. To be loved without being known has no power to change us. But to be deeply known and deeply loved transforms us.”

“So the goal for me is not the rise of women and the fall of man. It is the rise of both women and men from a struggle for dominance to a state of partnership.”

“Until the day we end all gender-based violence, we need stronger efforts to protect women ans girls. There is no equality without safety.”

“We started out thinking that poor farmers just needed better technology…..But the potential …was not only in the seeds; it was in the power of the women who plant them. This was a huge missed idea….If we want to help farmers, we have to empower women….”


I hope this sampling quotes will inspire you to read this book. Melinda Gates title came from two sources. One is that fact that her father worked in the space program in Texas and took his children to see lift offs into space. The second source was the phrase “moment of lift” from a book by Mark Nepo, which he uses to describe or capture a moment of grace. Additionally, this moment of lift is, according to Gates, a moment of wonder and curiosity, and her book shows her eagerness to know how lift actually happens, in this case, to women when they are empowered.  Excellent metaphor! Excellent book!

(Published by Macmillan Publishers, The Moment of Lift is available at bookstores and online.)