The Paris Promise

earthMonday begins the Paris Summit on Climate Change. Click here for The Guardian’s video on why they believe that the world’s leaders WILL strike a deal to limit climate change. Many believe this is the world community’s last chance to limit the worst impacts of climate changes already set in motion. Scroll down to Links on this blog to find sites keeping track of climate change. One that I frequent is NASA’s Vital Signs of the Planet.

Also, see this article from the Washington Post on the recent surge in global temperature that refutes the notion of a global warming “pause”.

Priceless Videography of Albert Schweitzer

This film about Albert Schweitzer’s life and mission is a rare documentary with opportunities to see Schweitzer in his home town of Gunsbach, Alsace, rare footage of the master playing Bach on the organ at the village of his youth.  The film won an Academy Award in 1957 for Best Documentary:


Schweitzer’s life and writings have been a major compass direction for my own life and work. His autobiography, Out of My Life and Thought, is a book I reread every few years. Schweitzer lived out his convictions and all the while searched for the ethical basis for living.

Blue Heron Book Works

Songs of OurselvesAn anthology of journal entries, blogs, and letters from authors exploring the landscape of what it means to be an American.

Published by Blue Heron Book Works, the anthology includes 10 blog posts from that are memories of my life in nature, and of the incredible experience of being part of a military family whose nearly annual trek to new assignments led us back and forth across the American landscape.

I am truly honored to be among many fine authors whose life experiences are rich, humorous, poignant, and as varied as the colors of sunrise.


How Quickly We Forget

FreedomThe cries for boots on the ground in Syria, for retribution, and a growing “fear of other” are not new. In fact it is a predictable response to perceived threats to Americans.

I remember so well the face of George W. Bush as he declared “Mission Accomplished” after the first few rounds of that administration’s “Shock and Awe” campaigns. Did it make Iraq safe, did it stamp out terrorism? Is Al Quaeda wiped out?

No, in fact the opposite is true, and many analysts now target the Iraq War as the beginning of the rise of ISIS.

Another pernicious behavior among Americans is the “fear of the other” – of anyone perceived to not look like “us”…us being white, Anglo-Saxon, Christian immigrants. Americans are and never were of that description though the people in power for so long could be described that way. Of course, over nearly 3 centuries of grieving their rights, Americans begrudgingly are accepting that the “face” of the United States is multi-ethnic, and religiously diverse.

Let us not forget these ugly facts that are a part of our history: genocide of Native Americans; enslavement and persecution of African Americans; internment of Japanese Americans during WWII, and so on.

Now the cry is to keep out Syrian refugees who might harbor terrorists. The fear is understandable in light of the bombing of a Russian jet, killing all aboard; the Paris shootings and slaughter, and the Beirut attacks on civilians — all claimed by ISIS as retribution for our way of life. This is a threat no doubt. But let it not push away our better angels to respond in an equal force, BECAUSE WE HAVE RECENTLY BEEN REMINDED THAT THE STRATEGY DOES NOT WORK, IN FACT IT CREATES WHAT IT PURPORTS TO STAMP OUT.

This is a time for calm, for prudent decision making and for our humanity to be strengthened. The Syrian refugees are fleeing the forces that have destroyed their homeland. Just as the Irish fled to America under the brutal oppression of the English in the nineteenth century. Our relatives were refugees fleeing from brutal forces, poverty, and oppression. Let us not forget who we are and extend a helping hand to people who are without country, without the basic resources to live.

We can keep our humanity and also keep our country safe.




Beverly and Jennifer Acierno Special Education Scholarship

Please help us build this fund. The first scholarship was awarded to Brittany Piper who is studying for an MA in Exceptional Student Education with an emphasis in Applied Behavior Therapy.

Susan Feathers

Veterans' Day 2013 062In 2010 my sister Beverly Acierno passed away unexpectedly. She had recently retired from the Escambia County Public School District where she served as a Learning Disabilities teacher (the county’s first) and later helped develop and manage the program. For so many years we heard about her students, about her advocacy for students and their families in court, and the trips and presentations she made on behalf of the ECPSD. My family and I met many colleagues at her funeral and listened as they remembered Beverly’s passion for kids. One said, “It’s an end of an era; they just don’t make them that way anymore.”

My Niece, Jennifer Acierno Theisen, spent many of her schools days in the same school building as her mother. They were a pair. Jenny was an excellent student, eventually graduating from Washington High School. She earned a scholarship to Florida State University to study performance art, and later transferred…

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Veterans’ Day 2015: A Watershed Moment

Ed and Milly at the BeginningThe 40s, when my parents experienced WWII, and the 70s my former husband and I experienced during the Vietnam war, are barely discernible. Each of those wars formulated its own set of military principles, shaped by technology and political realities of the day. Even the era of 911 fades with our increasingly interconnected lives through the Internet and 24/7 communication. Yet each of these periods of history and perhaps others, influence our thoughts and feelings about war.

The popularity among American viewers of British and American  war biopics, (my sisters’ and my recent search for photos and memories to recreate our parents lives) are part of a national search for the soul of the nation.

We understand, then forget, that wars are endemic to human culture due to the dark side of the human behavioral continuum. There will always be evil-doers among us, and some gain great political and military power to threaten others.

Every war creates its own rationale for waging violence, destroying each others’ land, and commerce, and optimism–lives and physical and mental wholeness. It’s a pernicious part of our human potential.

Every Veteran’s Day must be to stamp out that part of our psyche, and to cultivate the other potentials of the human accoutrement. 

Today I honor my father, my former husband, and all the Veterans of War. But, I will not celebrate the greatness of war. I see each one as a failing of our human potential to love, to befriend, to trust, and to act to strengthen every other nation’s desire to provide its people with the resources and freedom they need to develop their full potential as human beings.