Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee

Queen Elizabeth II

Many years ago, I was outspoken in my absolute disregard for the British Monarchy.  As it goes with many things, years later,  I found myself being rather happily corrected in my assumptions.

We seem to dismiss and disrespect that which we don’t understand.  Living in a “non-monarchy,” it’s very easy to scorn a system that’s seemingly challenging on the taxpayer. Yet, the Brits seem to welcome this challenge with a smile and some form of inebriation!

My outlook completely changed in the spring of 2001, in the charming and quaint town of Windsor, U.K.. My aunt had taken me to the high road, running just along Windsor Castle because a procession was about to take place.  His highness, the King of Jordan, King Abdullah and his wife, Queen Rania were in town and were to be feted and driven through the streets in the Royal carriages.  As a lover of history and international relations, I could not pass up the opportunity to see this Middle Eastern power couple! 

70 years strong


What took my breath away was the number of people who turned out, in the middle of the week, to see the procession! I remember I was wearing new arch supports in my trainers and my feet were not happy at all.  But that frustration quickly turned to awe and reverence when Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth suddenly popped into view and smiled at her cheering subjects.  I melted then and there, and in an instant, regretted every “royal” snub or jeer I had ever uttered!  To this day, I remember that smile more than I remember King Abdullah or Queen Rania or the people on the street or the gold-laced carriage or the horses. I remember thinking she smiled right at me but I suppose this must be wishful thinking.  That smile, in one instant, undid the ridicule and judgement of the previous years.  And in that instant, a new royal fan was born. 

I must let you know that prior to this unravelling, I had met Prince Charles and Princess Diana in person and was even granted a gold level Duke of Edinburgh award from the Duke of Edinburgh himself, the late Honorable Prince Philip.  I was not undone by any of them.  There was a bit of star-struck awe at the sight of Princess Diana up close – she was quite beautiful!

That day, in 2001 in Windsor, I began to understand what an absolute treasure the Queen is; not only to her U.K. subjects, but to her subjects of the Commonwealth.  Her 70 years of service is not matched by many.  In fact, the Queen is the only living monarch to achieve this landmark milestone.  I was fortunate enough to be in London for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations and I was stunned- the fanfare, the pomp, the circumstance, the flyovers and the party- What a party!! It’s a celebration I will never forget and it was a very quick education in the appreciation of tradition.  My only regret is that I cannot be in London today for the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, so I will say only this:


Thank you your Majesty and Congratulations!  You Go old Girl!!

happy new year 2022!

What if you just devoted this year to loving yourself more?

We’ve had an incredible era; living through a pandemic, inconceivable weather events, being disconnected from and losing loved ones, this has been a challenging period.

I was watching a show the other day and the main character was tried with unbelievable challenges, one after the other, to the point of making her incredibly numb.  But she never stopped fighting for her little girl. Because she knew they deserved better.


I forgot I had the same fight in me. 

It’s easy to forget that fight when a frequent traveller can no longer fly; when we’re told “stay home.” It’s gets harder when the airplanes are grounded because we are making each other sick.  Yet more challenging when we were told we couldn’t see our loved ones for fear of infecting them.  Add to that unbalanced vaccine distribution, heat domes, record forest fires, atmospheric rivers, hurricane activity, flooding, supply chain issues, crazy inflation, political strife none of us ever imagined, and cities falling before our eyes, we’ve had an incredulous year!

In the beginning of the pandemic, we kept hearing (and using) the term “unprecedented.”  What else can be used to describe situations that 95% of us haven’t lived through? How do we even begin to understand and make progress through such situations without using words like “unparalleled?”

However daunting all of this is, can you imagine what could be possible if we changed the narrative from “I can’t even do/see/visit/go…” to “could I show myself more love today than I did yesterday?”

So, what if you just devoted this year to loving yourself more?
Can you think of everything that is and could be possible for you?

And if we all did that, we could shift the common wavelengths from negative to positive, because I am sure that we could all use more hope and infinitely more love.

Happy New Year fellow earthlings!


May your 2022 be far better than your 2021 and may it be filled with love.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Oh my Omicron!

We thought we were done right?
South Africa gave us a way to identify a new mutation and we punished her for it.

Yes, we’re still in this.

We could have been out of this, but you know, some of you just have to “Fight” what you don’t agree with, and that my friends, is what keeps us mired in s**t.

Do you ever stop to think about why the world is in such chaos? Tornadoes running rampant, weather systems on steroids, militia groups pretending they have the intelligence to run entire countries, people thinking they have superiority over others because they lack melanin, social media and misinformation becoming the new apocalypse…nurses and doctors quitting because we devalued their care so much — dare I ask what’s next?

What a wonderful world this could be if we learned to just agree to disagree! Have a dialogue rather than a heated argument. Listen rather than blame, try to understand, even if you totally disagree. Don’t be in such a rush to shout about your ‘rights;’ be in a rush to feed someone who’s hungry. It will change your perspective.

With the price of food set to skyrocket even further, let’s all just stop the shouting and see where we can give a meal or two… because there’s a universal law at play here– what you give, you get.

May you give much.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Pexels.com

Afghanistan….

I’m sure all of you know by now, the situation in Afghanistan. So, as always, let me give you my two cents:

Was this a cock-up?  For sure, yes.  But solely by the Americans and allies, no.  The powers that be in Afghanistan tasked with stabilizing internal forces, keeping the Taliban at bay, building and maintaining infrastructure and training military forces, whilst upholding human rights for women and girls, need to be held accountable as well.

Afghanistan was a perfect storm of opportunities; it’s history of being the “graveyard of empires;” of absolute resilience and persistence in the face of atrocities and hardships; its ability to host and hide terrorist elements for very long periods of time and to produce incredible people in the midst of its difficult geography, culminated in the ideal brew of cunning operatives.  Think about the ability of a group of people who have not only “held off” two of the most powerful military groups in the world, but who have, within 11 days, in a bloodless coup, taken over an entire country. This is not a short-term problem. Add long term economic downturn, high demand for drugs and opiates and constant political strife, and you have a recipe for disaster. Not to mention the ‘fluster cluck’ that is the evacuation of Western allies. Top that off with a president who fled rather than remain and reassure his people!

The Taliban will lie to the world because it’s what we want to hear.  They will tell us they will grant asylum to all who aided the U.S. and its allied forces.  However, as of August 19th or 20th, 2021, reports came out of Afghanistan detailing a door to door manhunt for interpreters and other helpers to the allied forces.  In opposition, the new spokesperson from The Taliban cultural group, Abdul Kahar Balkhi talks about those raids as “discipline within our own ranks,” shedding an unwitting light on discrepancy within the group.  And it seems to be this divergence that is responsible for the differing accounts of what the Taliban agenda is and what western media outlets are reporting.

The people targeted by those raids, if caught, will be killed. So if they’re doing that to people to whom they have promised asylum, what is going to happen to the women and girls who depend upon the positive strides made within the last 20 years? The last time the Taliban were in power, they were no different from Boko Haram or ISIS.  And yet, the world stood by and did nothing while Afghanistan witnessed largescale female suicides.  And what of the girls who are dreaming of becoming teachers, doctors, lawyers, advocates, human rights defenders, engineers?  What’s to become of them?

Ali M. Latifi, freelance Afghani journalist, put it quite succinctly:

Now, in the days since Ghani left the country open for a Taliban takeover, people in Kabul are wondering about their personal freedoms. Women are afraid to go to the store to buy groceries for their children, because they do not know if the Taliban will stop them for not having a male companion. Others worry that their attire could draw the ire, and possibly violence, of the group. Overnight, these fears have turned the capital into an almost entirely male city.”

You might be wondering who this group is.  They are groups of men, deeply steeped in religion and deeply skilled in security and control. The western world looks at them as a homogenous group, but they are not.  They vary in belief and practice from region to region.  The one thing they do agree on is that they want power and control over Afghanistan under Sharia Law. (Often with regressive cultural practices.)  Now let me be very clear:  Sharia Law is not, in and of itself, a regressive cultural practice.  In fact, there is historical precedent, where sharia law was in place for 600 years and not a single hand was cut off, nor was anyone stoned.  You see, forgiveness is a huge aspect of that law.  If a crime is committed and it is forgiven, it is seen as a charity or a charitable act.  Islamically, that is more pleasing to God than the imposition of the law itself.  Moreover, there isn’t one strict interpretation of the laws that fits all people.  In fact, the laws themselves seek out justice, not tyranny or terror.  

We only have to look at the Ottoman Empire to realize how “fluid and progressive” their interpretation of sharia law was. Remember that over time, cultural practices are often mistaken for religious belief.  And in countries in which girls and women are denied access to education, those cultural beliefs are bastardized into religious practice – convincing innocent people that ‘tradition’ is law.  

(On the other hand, looking at all states/countries which have a death penalty or policies of hanging people convicted of crimes, or nations which have severe and barbaric penalties for blasphemy, we can honestly say that all of humanity has work to do.)


So, this begs the questions- which “interpretation” of Sharia Law fits the people of Afghanistan? And is this the Taliban of years past? Only time will tell.  And only time will tell how much “disagreement” there is within the Taliban ranks. I have been told by several people, that the Taliban want peace; that the people have been through too much. Though, I have to question – peace at what cost? With dissension within, this writer suspects that this is just the beginning of yet more civil strife in this barren and beautiful landscape.  My heart and prayers are with her people.



Meanwhile, in Haiti…