Knotty Musings

Ideas, philosophies, and evil plots to take over the world through love hatched here.

I Am Enough

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people
won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,

we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically
liberates others." ~ Marianne Williamson

Remove the Nots

Remove the Nots

Monday, May 31, 2010

12 Truths About Legislation


1) Any law the electorate sees as being open to being perverted from its original intent will be perverted in a manner that exceeds the manner of perversion seen at the time.
2) Any law that is so difficult to pass it requires the citizens be assured it will not be a stepping stone to worse laws will in fact be a stepping stone to worse laws.
3) Any law that requires the citizens be assured the law does not mean what the citizens fear, means exactly what the citizens fear.
4) Any law passed in a good cause will be interpreted to apply to causes against the wishes of the people.
5) Any law enacted to help any one group will be applied to harm people not in that group.
6) Everything the government says will never happen will happen.
7) What the government says it could not foresee, the government has planned for.
8) When there is a budget shortfall to cover non-essential government services the citizens will be given the choice between higher taxes or the loss of essential government services.
9) Should the citizens mount a successful effort to stop a piece of legislation the same legislation will be passed under a different name.
10) All deprivations of freedom and choice will be increased rather than reversed.
11) Any government that has to build safeguards into a law so that it will not be abused is providing guidelines for abusing the law without violating it.
12) Any legislator up for re-election will vote against a bad law if and only if there are enough other votes to pass it.

Memorial Day Prayer

Memorial Day Prayer

In the quiet sanctuaries of our own hearts,
let each of us name and call on the One whose power over us
is great and gentle, firm and forgiving, holy and healing…

You who created us,
who sustain us,
who call us to live in peace,
hear our prayer this day.

Hear our prayer for all who have died,
whose hearts and hopes are known to you alone…

Hear our prayer for those who put the welfare of others
ahead of their own

and give us hearts as generous as theirs…

Hear our prayer for those who gave their lives
in the service of others,

and accept the gift of their sacrifice…

Help us to shape and make a world
where we will lay down the arms of war
and turn our swords into ploughshares
for a harvest of justice and peace…

Comfort those who grieve the loss of their loved ones
and let your healing be the hope in our hearts...

Hear our prayer this day
and in your mercy answer us
in the name of all that is holy.


As They Saw His Angel Face

"As they saw his angel face"
by Bob Perks
A Memorial Day Message

They were both there the first time he cried. It was
a joyful sound. The sound of life beginning and they
waited so long to hear it. Mom and Dad were proud of
him as they saw his angel face.

But today he lay there in the dirt face down crying
one more time..."Mom, me!" They were
not nearby to hear his final cry.

He grew to be a young man full of hope and pride.
He had dreams and plans for the future. In fact, waiting
for him back home was the girl of his dreams. They
met at school and just like fairy tales and romance
stories this love affair was the kind that was meant to be.

The last time they saw each other they made promises
of faithfulness. They talked about the wedding and a dozen
or more children of their own. He said "I love you more
than anything in this world." She cried and with tears running
softly down her face she said, " I will wait for you and while
we are apart my heart will skip every other beat until your return."

Mom and Dad stood by watching and dreaming of
grandchildren to come and how they would spend the
holidays together as one big family.

They said goodbye and after long "I don't want to let you
go" hugs, they waved one last time as the plane lifted off the
run way and headed away from home.

On the drive back there was silence as each of them
remembered the first times, the good times, and the
challenges of the past.

"Honey, it seems like just yesterday that he took his
first steps." said Dad.

"I can remember holding him in my arms and thanking
God for this miracle in my life." said Mom.

"Mom." said the young bride to be, "I know that feeling, too."

Months pass by and letters exchanged by the dozens. His
time away is coming to an end. He'll be home again soon.

They gather at the airport once more to greet him. This
should have been the joyful return of their son, her fianceé.

The plane lands and makes it's final turn. The propellers
stop with a sputtering sound. The passenger door opens
as the steps are put in place. But this is not for him. The
rear baggage door is unlatched and a small truck rolls
underneath to gather it's contents.

"There, that must him." Dad whispers quietly. Mom bursts
into tears. His fiancé bows her head and cries openly into
her hands.

He is home just like he promised. She was faithful and true.
They didn't hear his last cry. He died face down on foreign soil.

You see he and tens of thousands of other men and women
returned home that way so that you could be with your family
and friends this weekend sharing laughter, good food and freedom.

War should never be. But as it has had it's place in our
history, young men and women gave their lives for the things
that you and I take for granted everyday. Count your freedoms
and they will equal one for every life lost.

As Mom and Dad stood by the casket and looked at their
son one last time, they wept as they ...saw his angel face."

God Bless them all!
"I wish you enough!"
Bob Perks

I encourage you to share my stories but
I do ask that you keep my name and contact
information with my work.
P.O. Box 1702
Shavertown, Pa. 18708
Contact Bob

If you would like to receive Bob's Inspirational
stories, please visit

and submit your email address.

"I Wish You enough!"
© 2001 Bob Perks
I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear
much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough "Hello's" to get you through the final "Goodbye."

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Memorial Day and Updates

Good morning everyone and Happy Memorial Day weekend,

We haven't done an update in some time so it seems appropriate to take some time during this long weekend to get a little news disseminated.

First things first: David's aunt Catsy is not doing well and is in the hospital in ICU. We are waiting for further updates before deciding when to head to CO. Please keep her and the family in your prayers.

David has been busy with work, lodge and pool league. His duties at work will be changing and he has assumed a team lead role but as yet, no raise has been mentioned. The important thing is that he's working, his bosses are very pleased with him and his clients love him! He will soon be very busy with the Omaha Home For Boys fundraiser and I will lend a hand for that since I am taking Youth Service Worker training through the organization.

I wrote a while back about about the bus pass proposal I was making to the mayor, the superintendent of schools, the mass transit director and the city's community project director. The meeting went very well with the superintendent and mass transit director enumerating all of the ways that the system would benefit our vulnerable populations. I am now partnering with a grant writing for the Metro Area Planning Assn and we're getting the ball rolling. Ideally, the superintendent would like this to roll out in September, but I don't think it will happen quite that quickly.

I have trained for the Neighborhood Accountability Board, a restorative justice program for non-violent juvenile offenders and will begin my duties soon.

I will be filing articles of incorporation most likely in July for the mentoring program and have been working with a local summer program to help their girls and see how the lesson plans are received. So far, so good.

I have a glorious week and a half break before criminal law & procedure class begins. We plan to get work done in the yard and Monday we will head to Prospect Hill cemetery for the observances: they have civil war re-enactors, a 21 musket salute, walking tour, etc.

What are the rest of you up to?

“Do more than belong: participate. Do more than care: help. Do more than believe: practice. Do more than be fair: be kind. Do more than forgive: forget. Do more than dream: work.” —William Arthur Ward
(1921-1994); writer

Sunday, May 2, 2010

When There's Nothing We Can Do

"When there's nothing we can do"
By Bob Perks

"Out of all that you possess, what do you
believe is the most valuable?" he asked me.
"Rich, you know me well enough to know
I put little value on things in my life. So,
this, for me, is a difficult question," I replied.
"It's not the same answer for everyone and yet,
most people put little, if any, value on this," he said.
Rich is a man with more energy than any one
person should have. When he is speaking with
you he talks to everyone around you. When he is
in a room everyone knows it. He is not boisterous,
rude or obnoxious. He is just super happy and
friendly with everyone he meets.
There are times when I see people and wish out
loud, "I want to be that happy." I'm not sure I'd
want to be as happy as Rich. He sometimes
exhausts me.
I thought about what he said for a few minutes
while he scanned the people nearby.
"Hey, this is Bobby Perks. He's a big time writer!"
he said to someone. I, in turn, wanted to hide.
"Well, I would guess I would say I value my home.
It's a simple one, big enough for Marianne and I,
but I would guess shelter would have to be at the
top of my list."
"Good answer. I knew you wouldn't say your car.
You don't drive a fancy one. You don't wear a
watch or fancy jewelry. You're right, stuff doesn't
matter to you."
"So, what's your answer?"
"Your words. Not because you are a writer and a
speaker. I believe that you own your words and
many people don't. You care about what you say."
He gives me more credit than I deserve for I have,
like some people, said things I regretted later.
I thought about "owning my words."
They say that actions speak louder than words,
but people tend to say things without really thinking.
Words build up or tear down.
Words inspire or insult.
The first words spoken have made lovers
out of strangers.
The last words whispered may ease a mourners pain.
Words spoken in anger are often forgiven, but rarely
"Just what I needed to hear!" means God spoke
through you.
You are what you say and how you say it.
Matthew 12:37 "For by your words you will be
justified, and by your words you will be condemned."

"You have it easily in your power to increase the sum
total of this world's happiness now. How? By giving a
few words of sincere appreciation to someone who is
lonely or discouraged. Perhaps you will forget tomorrow
the kind words you say today, but the recipient may
cherish them over a lifetime."
Dale Carnegie quotes (American lecturer, author, 1888-1955)
Sometimes words are all we have when there's nothing
we can do.
"I wish you enough!"
Bob Perks
I encourage you to share my stories but
I do ask that you keep my name and contact
information with my work.

If you would like to receive Bob's Inspirational
stories, please visit
and submit your email address.
"I Wish You enough!"
© 2001 Bob Perks
I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear
much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough "Hello's" to get you through the final "Goodbye."

P.O. Box 1702
Shavertown, Pa. 18708
Contact Bob

Only Love Matters

An old proverb says,

"If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap.

If you want happiness for a day, go fishing.

If you want happiness for a week, get promoted.

If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune.

If you want happiness for a lifetime, help others."

Being connected to people, through service, is one of life's greatest joys.

And moreover, offering a helping hand to others can bless us in ways that we never thought possible, leading us to greater joy and fulfillment.

On the road of life, we can encounter challenges all along the way. But I believe if we persevere through life's shadows by doing kind deeds, soon light will shine forth into those darkened places, and we will be lifted up from despair into the glow of the sun.

A wise, long-time friend of mine once said, "I think if you stop thinking about your own situation, and focus on others —along with prayers and faith in God … you can get through anything."

So, instead of sitting around day after day, worrying and wondering how to solve our own problems, we must take the focus off of ourselves by doing something nice for someone else. Let's keep busy making a positive difference in the lives of our fellow human beings.

Extend your hand and heart. Coach a sports team. Help a neighbor with yard work. Take someone who doesn't drive to the grocery store. Tutor a child. Or mentor a young person. Your joy will be full, as love flows out, and brightens the life of others.

I receive letters from people who have lost their jobs and they explain that one way they get through changes and transitions is by volunteering. It may be at animal shelters, soup kitchens or hospitals. They also lend a hand at their children's schools and libraries, and assist the less fortunate.

A dear friend I know from town takes her petite white dog to visit the residents in senior citizen facilities. And I heard about a family who bakes dozens of cookies periodically for their local fire and police departments. They even send homemade baked goods overseas to our service men and women, as a 'thank you' for the selfless work that they do.

Lighten the burdens of another. Buy some groceries and donate them to a homeless shelter. Surprise someone with a small gift. Mail an encouraging greeting card to a person who may need cheering up. Uphold another in prayer. And lend a listening ear.

Often, a person who is sad or frustrated just needs someone who will listen. This will go a long way when someone has lost a loved one or suffered a similar loss.

Every day is a blessing from God. That's why we should make a decision to be generous with our affection, love and praise.

Last week, I saw a sign in a store window that read, "Only love matters." So let us be grateful for those nearest and dearest to us, and let's express over and over again how much we love and appreciate them.

Sometimes, how you say something counts more than what you say. Tenderly and sincerely utter, "I love you" to your spouse, and "I'm thankful for you," "You mean the world to me." Convey to your loved ones frequently, the qualities that you admire the most about them.

Embrace and hug your children daily and watch their eyes light up with joy as you tell them, "You are God's gift to me," "I am proud of you," "You're a blessing," and "I love you so much."

Help build up a young person's self-esteem by genuinely praising their one-of-a-kind abilities, efforts and good works. Encourage their dreams, regardless of how big or small they may be, by declaring, "I believe in you," "Always try and be your best," and "You have the ability to accomplish your goals."

You can also assist in boosting the spirits of your family members, friends, and co-workers, by sincerely complimenting them. Regard all people as important. And don't gossip, be critical or talk badly about others. I like the wisdom that a friend of mine's father always says, "Once the toothpaste is out of the tube, you can't get it back in." Thus, try not to say negative words about anyone. Instead, help improve the life of others by being kind, friendly and gracious to them. Let's make up our mind to be positive, for if we live, think and act positively, we will attract positive results.

William Shakespeare once wrote, "How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world."

Today, the world needs your light to shine brightly to make it a better place. Therefore, ask God to provide you with a way for His light to shine through you.

And, one little step at a time, by acts of helpfulness, kindness, and as you give to others, you will have … a lifetime of happiness.

Write to Catherine Galasso-Vigorito c/o New Haven Register, 40 Sargent Drive, New Haven, CT 06511.

I Am There

I Am There

Do you need Me ?
I am there.

You cannot see Me, yet I am the light you see by.
You cannot hear Me, yet I speak through your voice.
You cannot feel Me, yet I am the power at work in your hands.

I am at work, though you do not understand My ways.
I am at work, though you do not understand My works.
I am not strange visions. I am not mysteries.

Only in absolute stillness, beyond self,
can you know Me as I AM,
and then but as a feeling and a faith.

Yet I am here. Yet I hear. Yet I answer.
When you need ME, I am there.
Even if you deny Me, I am there.
Even when you feel most alone, I am there.
Even in your fears, I am there.
Even in your pain, I am there.

I am there when you pray and when you do not pray.
I am in you, and you are in Me.
Only in your mind can you feel separate from Me,
for only in your mind are the mists of "yours" and "mine."
Yet only with your mind can you know Me and experience Me.

Empty your heart of empty fears.
When you get yourself out of the way, I am there.
You can of yourself do nothing, but I can do all.
And I AM in all.

Though you may not see the good, good is there, for I am there.
I am there because I have to be, because I AM.
Only in Me does the world have meaning;
only out of Me does the world take form;
only because of ME does the world go forward.

I am the law on which the movement of the stars
and the growth of living cells are founded.

I am the love that is the law's fulfilling. I am assurance.
I am peace. I am oneness. I am the law that you can live by.
I am the love that you can cling to. I am your assurance.
I am your peace. I am ONE with you. I am.

Though you fail to find ME, I do not fail you.
Though your faith in Me is unsure,
My faith in you never wavers,
because I know you,
because I love you.

Beloved, I AM there.

- James Dillet Freeman

Building Community

Hello friends,

It's been some time since I've done an update here so I think it's overdue. Some would say that I'm over-committed while others would say I should be committed. I'll let you judge for yourselves.

Hmmmmm, where to start? School is going well and is nearly done for the quarter. I took Intro to Human Services this quarter, which has truly challenged me to look at myself, my biases, the value of my life experiences and their wounds. It is mightily uncomfortable at times but very valuable. Next quarter I'm taking criminal law and procedure. I am on the final stretch and should graduate the spring of '12 if all (math) goes well.

The nonprofit is coming together slowly but surely and small scale outreach will occur this summer at the farmer's market. I am writing the program now and will be working with a friend of mine to craft a formal proposal for funding. We'll see what happens.

I have thrown myself headlong into the efforts to reclaim our youth and our community from gangs and gun violence. We have had 16 shootings so far this year and they are only blocks from where I live. It is no longer a matter of "if", but rather when it will occur on my street. I feel it is my responsibility to be a part of the solution. To that end, I've done a number of things:

I am taking Gangs in Our Community training next Friday with my elected officials, gang interventionist and the Omaha police department. The class will help me to recognize gang colors, posturing, signals, graffiti, etc so that I can be proactive in identifying at risk or hardened gang members.

I have become a certified member of the Neighborhood Accountability Board, which works with non-violent juvenile offenders who are sorry for their crimes. The board members, parents and child work together to identify the child's interests, risk factors, areas of strength in relationships, etc and then work up a contract for the child to repay his or her community for the harm done. I'm excited to be a part because it allows me to use my youth service worker training and my family mediation training.

That's what's up with me. How about the rest of you?

Native Divide

Native Divide by Paulissa Kipp

America has long been viewed as a melting pot, a place where the world’s tired, poor and abused sought refuge and a better life. The weaving together of diverse cultures into a shared heritage is often thought to be what makes America great. The main principle that “all men are created equal” as stated in the Declaration of Independence is still a draw, over 200 years later.

Yet the nation’s 4.9 million American and Alaskan Indians might beg to differ. (US Census Bureau, 2009). Equitable social services, strong families, and the pursuit of happiness through economic independence have largely detoured around reservations. A predominant reason is the importance placed upon retaining the Native American cultural identity, which has been a mixed blessing. The social worker who wishes to work with the American Indian and Alaskan population must have a good grasp on the proud traditions and tribal law that keep tribes rooted in poverty.

Lila Downs discovered a renewed connection with her cultural identity while completing her Census form. A member of the Mixtec tribe, one of 16 tribes residing in Oaxaca, Mexico, Lila has experienced a crisis of identity depending on who’s asking about her hometown. Downs explains that due to societal bias against Native Americans and Mexicans, she would deny her Mexican heritage in the U.S. and her Indian heritage in Mexico. Mixed ethnicity has proven both a curse and a blessing. The denial of heritage, Downs believed, opened more doors and prevented awkward moments with others. While studying anthropology in college, Downs experienced Oaxacan weaving and found her identity. When Oaxacan women weave, they weave a symbol of historical significance into the fabric. The realization that she was on this earth to make a mark has led Downs to embrace her multicultural heritage. (Downs, 2010).

Cecelia Fire Thunder, the first female President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota, can attest to cultural challenges that exist even within the tribal unit. “The arrival of the Europeans to this land was the beginning of the end of Native people’s way of life and the destruction of their culture. They insisted on converting Native peoples to Christianity, often forcefully, which resulted in changing the structure of the Native family and community.” (Cox, 2010).

It could be argued that Native American marriage customs have further contributed to the disparity in gender equality and the overrepresentation of American Indian children in the foster care system. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in 2007 there were 537,500 American Indian and Alaska Native families in the U.S. While sixty percent were married-couple families with children, less than half of those parents live with their biological children. A higher share of Native American births is to a never-married mother (58.4% compared to 33.2% for the US as a whole). The Native American teen birthrate is twice the rate of non-Native American teens.

While Native American culture places great emphasis on family, the expectation of marriage is not a cultural norm. Likewise, the definition of what constitutes “marriage” differs from tribe to tribe. The Navajo, for example, use the clan concept which could best be described as “it takes a village to raise a child”. In the Navajo tribe, elders engage in child rearing and pass on traditions to the young. As a result of ambiguous definitions of marriage, it is hard to measure the rates of out of wedlock birth rate. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2007).

Angela Fasana, director of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde CASA Program, points out that governmental policies intended to change the Native American way of life have contributed to poverty, unemployment and other ills. According to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, American Indian/Alaska Native children experience a rate of child abuse and neglect of 16.5 per 1,000 compared to 10.8 for Caucasian children. They also account for 1.6 times the non-Native American rate of child abuse cases.

From the early 1800s through the early 1970s, policies which aimed to “tame” American Indian children resulted in nearly 35% of Native children being placed in foster care by the 1970s. Placements were not made with the cultural identity of the child at heart. The Indian Child Welfare Act, passed in 1978, mandated that children be placed in homes that keep the cultural customs alive and safeguards citizenship within the tribe. Yet nearly 4 decades later, the act is unfunded and tribes are largely responsible for enforcement. Many tribes, however, fight lack of resources. Because tribes are considered sovereign, they can pass their own laws. Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA, has recognized the need for advocacy in the tribal courts and volunteers receive the both standard and additional cultural training. The ability to build relationships within the tribe and to understand the tribe’s policies, as well as open-mindedness and a willingness to learn is one of the strongest benefits a child can have besides a sense of belonging.

The American melting pot has long accepted many nationalities and expected assimilation in return. The cultural genocide of the Indian culture has existed over many generations. Racism, poverty, incarceration and abuse have contributed to the genocide. Social workers and other helpers, through understanding and advocacy can help return these proud people to their right place of honor.


Austin, Lisette. (2009, winter). Serving Native American children in foster care. The Connection. Retrieved from

.Cox, Dolores. (2010, March 31). Native women fight to reclaim equality. Worker’s World. Retrieved from

Downs, Lila. (2010, April 13). Identity is about leaving a mark, a sign, a sound. CNN. Retrieved from

Infoplease. (2009). American Indians: Census Facts. Pearson Education, publishing as Infoplease. Retrieved from

National Healthy Marriage Resource Center. (2007). Marriage in the Native American community. Retrieved from