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Friday, October 16, 2009

Packing the Peace Quilt

My name is Lura and I am newly retired.

Teacherholics Anonymous.

I am a reformed middle school English/history/drama teacher of 30 years who is tumbling into a transitional third chapter of 30 more years doing who knows what. I've put off the acceptance of my retirement for a few months since June 13, my last day working for the Bethel School District in Eugene, Oregon. As the October air slightly shifted toward crisper nights two days ago, and Christmas ads jumped out of Sunday newspaper ads this morning at 5:30 A.M. I faced reality.

Okay, I recently had a few teacher dreams too. They probably were of the out-of-control genre where unruly adolescents are squeezing their fingers into the pencil sharpener or sexting their friends. I really can't remember. More than likely, I was going over the classroom rules on an overhead wishing that I had a Smart Board like the weatherpeople on Channel 5.

The time has come to travel for peace. I will carry the originally designed butterfly peace quilt wherever I am invited. I will tell the story of adolescents researching the U.S. Nobel Peace Laureates, internalizing their own individual ways of becoming peacemakers, and then putting their words into actions.

I will tell their stories of teaching peace to classrooms of first, second, third and fourth graders and to parents, siblings, grandparents, and other adults.

These sixth graders commissioned the quilt from a fabric artist, Carol Vanlue, for $35.00 in pennies after donating another $35.00 to the developing American Laureate Peace Park in Eugene, Oregon.

Because of their enthusiasm and hard work, I am moved to spread a zillion visions of peace to the world with the butterfly quilt as a backdrop. The hope is to inspire others to send postcards to Oprah Winfrey and more importantly, to stir individuals to act on their different ways of changing the world into a better place. (Oprah's P.O. Box is still being stuffed with postcards for peace, but no one knows from where they come. 1,000,000 is the goal.)

I will pack my carpet bag with that peace quilt to travel around the world in 80 days. In my mind at least. I like metaphors and teachers exaggerate.

And, I did promise the kids.


  1. Fabulous start. Can not wait for more.

  2. Wow! I wish I learned of your inspiring teaching story of peace much sooner! Timing is everything, of course! :)

    I am a graduate of OSU, with a BS in Liberal Studies (Pre-Teaching). While going to college for 6 years, and raising a teen daughter as a solo parent, I also substituted as an Assistant Teacher for Oregon schools. Like you, I feel I am a natural teacher, often encouraging peace and joy in both ethics and values. This is what some youth have came back to me and told me they remember about me most, besides the way I uplifted them, showed a genuine interest and caring, and the enthusiasm I would bring to the lesson.

    I have a similar peace project, as well, currently in progress, and possibly a non-profit in the future. I have plans of a community good news paper which serves to inspire others all the ways that one can positive difference in the world and it serves to uplift those who need some joy in their life too. It is currently at, pending a domain name.

    I am so glad I found your blog and I look forward to more of the story! If you are interested in meeting me, I would love to get to know you more and possibly sharing your story of joy on the Share JOYS! website (or in an upcoming Good News Gazette, in progress. I am in Eugene.

    Thank you for all that you do to Share Joys! :)

    With kindest wishes and great gratitude,

    Joy Sisto

    P.S. I must add that I love butterflies too! :)


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