Friday, 8 February 2013

So, everything went just as expected?

February 5, 2013

So everything for Super Bowl Sunday everything went just as expected.
Yeah, Right!

Just as Kathy and I were leaving for church on Sunday morning the phone rang. It was Dirk. Something had come up and it needed his immediate attention and there was no way he and Barb would be able to come. Dirk is a neighborhood activist as well as a leading business man in Anchorage, AK. A neighborhood problem had arisen because of unwarranted cutting down of trees destroying the beautiful landscape that nature has provided for their neighborhood in Stuckagain Heights, one of the most gorgeous places in Anchorage, Alaska. Dirk will not rest until it is solved.

Since Dirk couldn’t come I decided to keep the Alaskan King crab legs for another time. We had plenty of food without them. Dirk loves crab legs. We will just have to have another party.

Okay, four for dinner, Dale and Joan, Kathy and I instead of six. I talked to Dale at church and we agreed to start at five thirty instead of five. Right at five the door-bell rang. I was still in my sweatpants. I thought Dale and Joan had come early. It was Rich.

He left the other party when the lights went out in the Super Dome. He figured that was a good time to leave, since he would not miss any of the game while they were waiting for the lights to come back on.

Dale and Joan came about 40 minutes later. We watched the rest of the game. It was a close game and the 49ers made a good comeback attempt. Congratulations Baltimore Ravens.

Reece came after the game was over with a delicious pastry fruit pie.

Reece and Dale were finally able to meet in person. I am so happy. What a joyous occasion it was to introduce these two wonderful people to each other and to be able to do it at my house, on behalf of the Journey of Hope.

It is now Tuesday evening and I leave tomorrow for South Carolina where I will be mom sitting while my sister takes her grandson to look at a college in Florida. And she needs a vacation. This was scheduled even before my father died last month. It has been years since Dottie and Frank have had a vacation where they could be away from responsibilities for a while. They both need it.

I arrive in South Carolina on Thursday, several days before they leave. As fate would have it, I will be in Columbia the same time as the final taping in production of a documentary called "There will be no stay" takes place her in Columbia. It is being produced by Patty Dillon and she has asked me to join them for an interview to talk about the Journey of Hope. Many members of the cast will be in Columbia for the final filming. There will be no stay is "A journey of compassion and consequence through a process shrouded in secrecy. Two executioners’ lives intersect on a path to discovering freedom from their own personal prisons." My interview takes place on Saturday, shortly before my sister Dottie is scheduled to leave for Florida.

It is exciting to me that the Journey of Hope will get some national exposure from this film.

Then after about 10 days with my mom, I will leave her once again in the hands of my sister Dottie.

I will be flying to Paris, France on behalf of the World Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. The Journey of Hope is part of the program planning committee for the 5. Congress Against the Death Penalty conference in Madrid, Spain in June.
I will spend two days in planning sessions for the congress on behalf of the Journey of Hope.
The planning committee is led by Sandrine Ageorges Skinner of France, who has joined us in Texas for the 2010 Journey.
Her husband is on death row in Texas and we are fighting to save his life.

On Feb. 20 I leave Paris and head to Indiana in preparation for the Feb 22-March 10 Indiana Journey of Hope.

The Journey planner for these events should be fired.

Sometimes I wish I could fire myself but …the Journey of Hope must go on.

We have some really good events, but not as many as I had hope for yet. I have put out a desperate plea for help and know there will be some help in getting more events. There are many who believe in love and compassion for all of humanity and in the healing power of forgiveness and want to help us get the message out.

Our journey continues.

I still want to blog about the 20th annual fast and vigil coming up in June, the 5th World Congress in Madrid, the upcoming Indiana Journey and Paula Cooper’s release in July and about my dreams and hopes for her.
Stay tuned, we have a chance to win the $25,000 Fetzer Award

Judging for best video ($5000) prize takes place Feb 14-28. We should know by the first of March what nonprofit group win both the $25,000 for the Tell us world award and the most loved video.

Say a prayer and keep your fingers crossed.

Peace, Bill

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Life goes on for the living...

February 2, 2013

And life goes on for the living.

It is not really a Super Bowl Party, but friends are coming over tomorrow during the Super Bowl game. In fact when they come the game will be halfway over, the set will be on and but I am not so sure about the volume. I don’t most of my friends coming over even care about the game. The two who do care about the game will start out watching it at other venues. They both have traditions of going somewhere else on Super Bowl Sunday and watching the game. Journey of Hope board member Reece Roberts will be watching the game with friends and is coming over after the game and meal with desert. We wanted her husband Michael to come to but he with his son in Arizona this weekend. Rich Curtner, Federal Public Defender for the State of Alaska will be here too. He is also coming a little late because he watches the game with a group of friends each year at another friend’s house.

I know that Reece is a long time San Francisco 49er fan and is really pulling for them.

When the 1985 Chicago Bears won the Super Bowl I knew that it would probably be the greatest sports thrill of my life. I continue to cheer for the Bears even though my heart has been broke a few times. Again this year I had high hopes for the Bears and as the season progressed my hopes got higher. I was in California when the Bears played the 49ers on a Monday night football game. I was able to watch it on a huge movie screen for free in the theater room of our timeshare. When I went into the room, the game was about to start. There were less than ten people in the room so I had a great choice of seats. This was the first time I ever watched a football game on a movie screen. It was beautiful, the game was so much clearer than the small screen I am used to. I felt like I was in football heaven.

Heaven did not last long that Monday night. The Bear’s let me down again. Not only did they lose to a new and inexperienced quarterback; they lost in a horrible fashion. At that point the Bears went from a shoe in for the playoffs, to not even getting there. When the Bears missed getting into the playoffs on the last day of the season, head coach Lovie Smith was fired.

I liked him. He was a popular coach. He was a good coach and well respected. He had a winning record, and even took them to the Super Bowl once.

So right now football is not all that important to me but I would like to see San Francisco win. I actually picked the 49ers at the start of the season to win the Super Bowl. Then the Bears came on strong, oh well, we have been through that.

Another thing the 1985 Bears have been and will always be: Healers

So why would I have a Super Bowl Part on Sunday?

I want Reece Roberts and Dale Kelley to meet. Dale is one of our newest board members. She recently retired as a pastor of a neighboring church here in Anchorage minister and moved to the Seattle, Washington. I think she spent about 17 years in various cities here in Alaska as a pastor. She was the director of Alaskans Against the Death Penalty before I moved here. In my 13 years here I have only known her as a preacher.

Dale is failing her retirement. She was called by the Alaskan United Methodist Church Conference to come back to Alaska for 3-4 month to fill the pulpit as interim pastor at First United Methodist Church of Anchorage, AK.

That is my church.

Dale Kelley is coming to my city and to my church. What an opportunity this is for the Journey of Hope. From the moment I heard Dale was coming I have been overjoyed. I pray a lot a lot over the years and I think Dale is an answer to many of those prayers.

What is one man’s blessing can be another man’s pain.

Our pastor, Ron Myers was in a horrible car accident a few weeks before Christmas. It happened on the second Sunday of Advent.

I will always remember that because Ron had asked Kathy and me to light the candles and do a reading during the morning service. After the service Ron gave two homeless people who had been hanging around the church, a ride to Girdwood, a beautiful 45 minute drive from Anchorage. They asked Ron for a ride, where they claimed would be on the way to a new start.

Ron, who is a Good Samaritan, tried to help the people, gave them a ride and as a result was involved in a horrific head-on collision. Ron is lucky to have survived. It took a long time to extricate Ron from the totaled car. He broke his right hip in two places and crushed the bones in his right leg. I didn’t know about the accident for about four days.

It was mentioned in the paper but no names were given. . I went to see Ron the next day the hospital and he was a real mess. I called Kathy as soon as I walked into the hospital lobby. Telling her what I had just seen brought tears to my eyes. But each time I see him now he looks much, much better. More about Ron later.

Dale Kelley, new Journey of Hope board member gets a call from headquarters, and now she is my interim pastor. I have been trying to get Dale and Reece together for the last month. For one reason or another each of the three previous attempts always found someone not being able to make it, usually last minute stuff.

I leave Alaska for 5 weeks on Wednesday and I wanted them to meet before I left. I asked my great friends Barb Hood and Dirk Sisson to join us too. They are the greatest. They are the greatest Journey of Hope supporters in recent years. We are going to have great company and great food. Since I will be gone from Alaska for so long I am making it also a bit of a bon voyage gathering. Chilled Jumbo Shrimp, Alaskan king crab legs, filet mignon, deviled eggs, smoked salmon and other culinary delights, not to mention my famous macaroni and cheese.

It will be a royal meal for royal people. I love them all.

Super Bowl night highlight will be when Reece meets Dale. Two wonderful people, who are Journey board members, will meet each for the very first time. I want that moment to be memorable occasion for all of us.

The Journey of Hope is getting ready to spring forward and we have in place the board we need to keep us on course. Dale and Reece are part of that team.

I can’t wait till tomorrow, not for the game, but for the Journey.