Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Family ~ Friends and Thanksgiving!

We redecorated our living room this past week and there is one thing we didn't change and that is the horrible air intake at eye level in one of the main walls of the house. It is on the wall that divides the living room and the dining room. UGH! Needless to say we searched high and low for something that would work as both an air intake vent and a decoration. After much searching I saw something that said "Family." A voice inside of me said, "let Steve find Family - he will." I second guessed the voice and began to design something else. Suddenly Steve came walking up with a sign that said, "Family" I was so shocked I couldn't even react. At first he thought I didn't like it but, in actuality I loved it. The voice was right!

Today Steve hung the wall decor and it was then that I saw it - "ami"; "friend" right smack dab in the middle of the word family. On one side of the wall it is clearly "Family" but on the other side through the intake space were the highlighted letters "a" "m" and "i." "Ami" - french for friend. So, two French names come together - Rapier, Champagne and Ami.

When I first met Steve all I really wanted was a friend. Someone to walk with, talk with, sing with, enjoy the world with. Never did I imagine that the day would come when he would identify me as family or I call him family. I thought it took a marriage license and a ring to mean family. Family is what you make of it and so are friendships. But, when you can have both family and friends in one relationship then you are indeed a blessed individual! I look at my family members as friends and there are some very special friends who are indeed my family.

Happy Thanksgiving! Again, have fun and just look at in how many languages friend is in the center of family. God Bless!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Walk In My Shoes = Empathy

There is an old wisdom that paraphrased says: “You cannot really understand another person's experience until you've walked a mile in their shoes."

What this hearkens to is empathy. What is difficult about empathy, compassion, etc., is that it is in the end a two way street. If at anytime you believe your shoes are more important than anyone else's, that is when there is a breach in the empathetic circle of understanding. That is when their is chaos. That is when their is a break. That is when people's understanding of the world changes. To continue to assume that one's path is more difficult than another's, is to abandon empathy and move towards a conditional expectation, and a feeling of failure.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Meet Me At the Beijing International Book Fair!

I am so excited that my book "Flower and Stone: An essay on life" will be one of the many amazing books and authors that will be present at the Beijing International Book Fair.

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Triad: A repost from 2008; Food for Thought

The Triad, what is it and do we need to be concerned?

I have been against the war in Iraq, I have questioned Bush’s and our Bi-partisan congress’ motives, I have pondered the significance of our being there, and until recently I have thought it was a big mistake.  A great part of me still does.  But, recently I have been looking deeper into the global reality of the Iraqi conflict and what it really means.  It means we need to limit the power and control of the Middle East.  It means we need to be present in an area that is unstable.  It means we need to better understand the threat to the East and to the North of Iraq. We do need to be mindful of the past 40 years of unrest in Iraq, Iran and Israel and that relationship as it does indeed affect the entire world. 
Recently Senator McCain was asked about the Iraqi conflict during an interview with George Stephanopolous, and my major criticism in his response is this: When he was asked about concern over political and financial growth in Russia and what does it mean to the United States and the rest of the world I was saddened that he only mentioned concern over Putin.  That when he was asked simultaneously about Iran he only mentioned Russia and the instability in Iran, what I wanted him to say was that he was concerned about the Triad between Russia, Iran and China, that he would include in the conversation regarding Putin’s hand choosing of Medvedev that he would discuss Hu Jintao and Medvedev’s alliance against the placement of missiles on the Eastern front to protect European nations against Iran.  Bottom line is this, and I encourage you to read on regarding my rationale on this topic.  Bottom line: Who is contributing to the buildup in Russia?  Who is strengthening Russia economically, politically?  Who is contributing to Iran’s nuclear growth and military provision? It is not solely Russia and Iran helping the other, there is a third party, a large third party, a communist third party.
Is Russia gearing up for a fight? Is it just acting as the eastern world’s scarecrow?  Why would Russia seek to act the scarecrow for Iran?  What it is the overall purpose of a military buildup and by what financial means is a recently struggling country able to build up a military strength?
Russia is the stopgap between the Western world and China. In order to measure the importance of Russia and its role as either scarecrow or legitimate bully, we must identify what entity is fueling its ability to stand up against the United States in either role. Are the recent investments by Russian billionaires’ (and continued investment) in the rich real estate of Colorado and the recent discussion of drilling for shale oil in the rich terrain of Colorado a coincidence?
Let’s look at Russia from a logistic, strategic point of reference.  It is the provider of a logistic landmass that can protect China by land access as well a provider of the necessary nuclear commodities for Iran.  Example: Russia supplies nuclear materials to Iran, Iran supplies oil (and is a leading energy source) to China, China supplies financial support to Russia, Russia builds up as a “junior power” under China, Iran becomes the dominant power in the Middle East, and China continues to consume the world’s energy resources while it continues to build up economically to become the world’s superpower.
The evidence that identifies a Triad in the East including Russian, China and Iran has grown in significance.  As the United States continues to trade and enable an emergence of a capitalistic mind-set for the purpose of economic growth for a few key United States investors, we begin to see an emergence of a middle class in China and India.  This consumerism extends to the excessive need for precious metals and raw materials found in Russia and Africa.  In order to put these materials into development an excessive amount of energy is necessary to do so.  The triad of Russia, China and Iran is all a part of the “bigger” plan.  That “bigger” plan is to unseat the United States, disabling it and creating an AXIS that can shut down the US. What does Capitalism look like minus democracy?
The United States as a global infant is experiencing what many believe caused the fall of Rome…a disproportionate cost to fuel ratio through "synchronous failure." (Thomas Homer-Dixon, The Upside of Down)
Not long ago Chinese President Hu Jintao and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev met to denounce jointly the US missile shield. This concerns me, as I am confused as to the mixed messages that China is sending the United States.  China wants US citizen’s investment capital, US financial support and recent philanthropic support following the earthquake, but yet if feels as though we are a military threat.  Russia fears our involvement in and around them logistically, all the while supporting the build-up in both China and Iran.  How can we as a nation befriend and support China, at the same time that China is intimately involved with Russia and Iran?
As for this writer, I believe that Russia’s threat should be taken seriously as it has the support of its neighbors.  It is clear that there cannot be a separation between Russia, Iran and China.  Whether it is scarecrow tactics or straight on bullying, it should not be ignored.
What does it mean in relationship to the “end?” Well, the end will first be a systematic end to a few, then the many, then an end to all.  Like dominoes there will be a starting point and then an “end” point.  As China consumes mass quantities of the world’s energy resources, financially builds up Russia to the point that they are flexing military muscle and financially enables Iran to rely solely on Russia and China for its continued strengthening in the Middle East we must identify the strongest point of the Axis.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Michigan City Lake a poem by Mary E.

An original poem by Mary E. Rapier
a memory

In bright golden afternoon sun
I laid my wearies down
Imagined that I could run
and jump and be
as 5 or 6 again
No time to feel the pain of growing older
No time, but now to feel
the presence
of time as it ticks, ticks, ticks
nothing but splashes
of love and laughter
Dancing sunsets upon the waves
hands firmly clutching as if to say
please, don’t let go, never go away
dune scapes scaling,
dragon flies darting
mountain climbers climbing,
reaching up to
brand new heights, towering above
soaring, gliding like a dove
as the ruby red sun sets
and disappears,
but never lets
the world grow colder
so it, as my love goes.
As the circle ever grows
And now the room is empty
and summer silence falls
in golden streams upon my walls
I seek to make sense of it all
by capturing wordscapes of
water color landscapes held by
magnets firmly to my heart
reminding me that never
are we completely apart
as tears slowly trace the place
where only hours before
sweet angel kisses
touched my face.

watercolor pastel by 6 year old Bella

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Returning Me to Me

Returning Me to Me, a poem by Mary E. Rapier 
I’m returning back to me, 
the same ole girl I use to know, 
The one I used to be, 

not much has really changed 
it is just the last step in letting you go 

letting you know 
that you never earned 
the right to share a name 
letting go of the pain 
the pain 
the pain 
a name is a name 
and labels seek to define 
no more losing, no more 
wasting my time 
we aren’t connected, 
we never really were, 
the children that my womb bore 
are mere cellular connections 
and nothing more, 
 mine to determine, 
mine to share, 
mine to grieve, 
 I am returning back to me, 
 the same ole girl 
I used to know, 
the one I used to be 
not much has really changed 
Just the last step in letting you go, 
letting you know that 
you never had what you never cared 
for you are not my kin, 
not my birthright 
not my home, 
my sister said it, 
I am she, 
I’m returning back to me 
and taking back my dignity, 
all you stole from me, 
taking me down off the shelf, 
reclaiming familial place. 
No worries, 
the same My face, 
No longer a stepchild 
in a borrowed world 
in foreign terrain, 
letting go of the pain, 
the pain, 
the pain 
you’re so disconnected 
from my reality. 
I’m returning me to me, 
finally this hummingbird 
is free. 


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Few Thoughts to Ponder On Marriage Equality

Okay, so here is the many people are using up good energy on arguing about marriage equality. You see, it isn't about you, or is it? You see, people love as they love. They live as they choose to live. It is not your responsibility to try to change people into the way you believe they should be. That is not your responsibility. People who are taxpaying law-abiding citizens of the USA or any country that they are citizens of have the right to love as they wish, live as they wish, and if it involves marriage, then marry who they wish to marry. It is a legal contract. One that ensures quality of life afforded two people and their potential offspring. Don't give me the, but, they cannot produce children, and God produced man and woman to produce children...well, sorry to tell you there are a lot of people who because of a variety of reasons cannot produce children biologically. If they want a family, then they will seek adoption, or yes, sperm donors, or whatever else they can in order to raise children in a family surrounded with love. So, are you suggesting that a woman past child-bearing age should not be allowed to marry? Should marriage only be afforded those who can produce children biologically? Yes, in the Christian church there is a belief that man and woman shall marry, and produce offspring, yada, yada...But, we are not talking about the church, we are talking about the constitution, the law, the citizenry, taxpayers, people who are afforded equal rights. All men are created equal...(I am still waiting for clarification on the womanhood aspect of that quote!) and yes, the legal rights of two people who choose to share a life together with all the trappings of marriage. Please do not waste another election year arguing that which is not arguable. The Jewish do not eat pork and the United States trades in pork should the United States force Jewish people to eat pork, Should the Jewish faith fight to have pork removed from the stores? If you go to some restaurants they do not serve pork, so, shall we force them to serve pork? No, if i want pork, I will go to a restaurant that will give me my fill of bacon! Because we have a nation that is founded on the separation of church and state. Let's find common ground, but, let's get focused on those things that really do impact the entire nation, like the debt crisis, children with no food, shelter adequate schooling. Let's focus on elimination of the student debt crisis, housing crisis, domestic terrorism, racism. Personally, we have joined together with 20+ other countries who support marriage equality. Let's learn from them. I appreciate the right lo live and love as I choose, I think everyone should...