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Dear Friends of Peace Pilgrim - Remembering
Dear Friends of Peace Pilgrim
The short days of winter have brought sleet and snow
to the rough hills of New England, rain to the fertile valleys of California,
and wind to the broad plains of Oklahoma. Our work continues in these
locations and in the many other places around the world where our dedicated
friends continue to share Peace Pilgrim’s message.
We begin 2006 with a mix of emotion.
On January 10 of this year, our dear friend and fellow Friends of Peace
Pilgrim board member Kathy Miller made her “glorious transition
to a freer life” at the home of her daughter Kristin in Willits,
California. Kathy was at peace and embraced by the love of her family.
| On January 10 of this year,
our dear friend and fellow Friends of Peace Pilgrim board member
Kathy Miller made her “glorious transition to a freer life”
at the home of her daughter Kristin in Willits, California. Kathy
was at peace and embraced by the love of her family.
Many of you have been personally touched by Kathy’s warm personality,
heartfelt music, and incredible dedication to our work of keeping
Peace Pilgrim’s message lively in the world.
From 2001 to 2004 Kathy worked full time as director of the Friends
of Peace Pilgrim center in Somerset, California. Her easy smile,
beautiful voice, incredible energy, and organizational talent graced
our work and touched all who came into contact with her.
Her deep desire was to spend the rest of her life doing the “hands
on” work of answering phones, packaging and sending books,
overseeing the center, supervising volunteers, and interacting with
our friends from all over the world. All these were things she did
naturally and with great joy and competence. We wish her well on
her new adventure. Inside this issue you will find additional reflection
on Kathy’s life and contributions to our work and excerpts
from an interview conducted during the past year.
Kathy Miller loved to sing her songs of peace
In November of 2005 board member and webmaster Bruce Nichols
loaded a rental truck with our office furniture, computers and inventory
and set off on the long drive from Placerville, California to Oklahoma
City. Avoiding the interstates as much as possible, he drove east over
the Sierra, then out across the vastness of western America crossing
central Nevada, a corner of Utah, northern Arizona, southern Colorado,
a touch of New Mexico and the long panhandle of Oklahoma over four days
and 1950 miles of driving.
Much of this wild country has not changed appreciably
since Peace Pilgrim trod it three decades ago and it was not hard to
imagine a solitary figure clad in a blue tunic walking briskly toward
a distant horizon absorbed in the great beauty, clear light, and vibrant
spaciousness of these western landscapes.
In Oklahoma City, with the help of enthusiastic volunteers and much
community support, our new distribution office was set up and is now
the location from which our offerings begin their journey to our many
friends around the world. Inside this issue some of our volunteers at
the new office have shared their thoughts about helping with our work.
We are excited about this new arrangement and look forward to a long
and productive stay in Oklahoma City, a town that was a frequent waypoint
on Peace’s pilgrimage routes. We thank everyone who has helped
establish our presence there.
Cheryl Canfield, Bruce Nichols, Richard Polese,
Jeff Blom, Kathy Miller, and John and Ann Rush
The Friends of Peace Pilgrim Board
"I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically
bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright
daybreak of peace and brother-hood can never become reality. I
believe that unarmed truth and unconditional truth will have the
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Remembering Kathy Miller (top)
“Death is a beautiful liberation into a freer
life. The limiting clay garment, the body, is put aside. The self-centered
nature goes with you to learn and grow on the disembodied side of life,
and then returns here into a suitable clay garment and suitable circumstances
to learn the lessons we need to learn. Could we but see a bit deeper
into life, we would grieve at birth and rejoice at death. If we but
knew how short is the earth life in comparison with the whole, we would
be less troubled with the difficulties of the earth life than we are
troubled now with the difficulties of one of our days.”
Free to soar, Our Love Goes with you, Kathy
by Cheryl Canfield
Kathy Miller at the Somerset, CA center
Kathy Miller has graced
our work and our lives with her strong and gentle spirit, her
tireless service, and her inspiring songs. During the past year
she has had a personal struggle with lung cancer, which she ap-proached
with an amazing acceptance and peace. Family, friends, health
care professionals, and hospice workers have been touched, inspired
and captivated by her spirit. She made her departure in her decidedly
“Kathy” way, quietly, her daughter by her side. She
simply stopped breathing. In some way, I think she found release
in knowing that the transition of the work that meant so much
to her and that she was so devoted to, had been completed. The
distribution has success-fully moved into new and enthusiastic
hands in Oklahoma City, and the library and archives is settled
at Peaceful Pathways in California.
Kathy will be so very missed by all of us. She is free,
I tell myself, and know that that is true. Still, I will miss her. I
would have loved more time with her. Ironically, the morning that she
died I went to my mailbox and found a package from Kathy. It was an
album for the Peace Pilgrim archives. I opened it up and there on the
first page was a picture of Kathy on the front porch of the PP Center
in Somerset, with two other women – Kathy standing off to the
side and slightly behind the others. Smiling, radiant, and unpresumptuous.
Her smiling face is reassuring – the spirit behind that smile
steady and undisturbed.
Kathy is survived by her three children and their families - daughters
Kristin and Wendy, and son Royce. All three have inspired us with the
tireless devotion and care they gave their mother. Every time I spoke
with Kathy she glowingly acknowledged and felt blessed by each of them.
They have been wonderful role models of family support and I know how
proud Kathy is of them – and they of her. It gives me great joy
to know that she is surrounded by love.
Some Insights from Kathy
During the last year of her life, Kathy was interviewed
by Judy Jones about her music, her work with Friends of Peace Pilgrim
and how her illness had impacted her life. A short excerpt follows.
The full interview can be found on the Internet at – www.ontheroadwithjudy.com
Q. How have you grown from volunteering at the
Peace Pilgrim center?
Kathy: When the Peace Pilgrim Center moved to Somerset,
California, I was the only one there. The phone rang. A woman asked
me, “What are the laws that govern human conduct?” I had
entered a new dimension. I realized that people would expect me to have
answers. What did I know? I am a very simple person.
My first step was to take Peace’s message more seriously and put
it into practice.
Often we look to change the big things outside of ourselves when we
really need to attend to the little things inside and around us.
Doing the work of the Center increased my self-confidence. For instance,
I had not previously worked on a computer and discovered that I learned
The Center daily received mail, phone calls and email from all over
the world. I learned about the wonderful, selfless things people are
doing for peace. There is a huge network of peacemakers. We must be
steadfast, encourage and support each other. Each day we can work for
peace in our own way.
I loved every minute of it.
Q. Kathy your voice is lovely. Your first CD Kathy
Miller Honors Peace Pilgrim absolutely took my breath away in its utter
simplicity and clarity. Could you talk a little about the inspiration
behind that CD?
Kathy: Thanks for the kind compliment. I come from
a singing family and I sing for fun. I have always valued simplicity
and clarity and am pleased that you hear it in my music.
The film producer and documentary crew were in and out of my house every
day. The creative energy was strong. I did some research and I watched
a lot of raw footage, but film is not really my thing. I did not watch
TV or go to movies. My interest was Peace Pilgrim.
The creative energy emerged in me as songs. No one else was interested
in what I was doing. Never the less, I was highly motivated.
“Peace Pilgrim’s Message” came to me when I was walking
in the neighborhood. “Restful Darkness” was written as a
lullaby for my grandson, Devin. As the songs emerged, I began to think
of recording them. But how could I do it?
At the time, I was working in retail sales. Sometimes I was at the cash
register. One day there was a young man in my line talking about his
little recording company. He was a delightful character that I had talked
with on numerous occasions. I made an appointment to see him and he
became my engineer. Serendipity had visited me again.
I started practicing seriously. I needed at least two more songs and
I wanted them both to be Peace Pilgrim’s words. Well, a song about
being a volunteer got stuck in my brain. I tried to ignore it but it
wouldn’t go away. So I composed that one and then “Peace
and Freedom” arrived; almost word for word from the Peace Pilgrim
The CD was first recorded in my home at my 60th birthday party. We had
a wonderful time doing a sing along with “Health is Inner Peace”.
Later I recorded in a studio. I went there after work about 10 PM, sat
down on a stool in a tiny recording studio and sang until about 1:30
am. I took one break. The whole process was magical for me.
Q. And lastly Kathy what do you want people to
remember about your walk upon this earth?
Kathy: I’ve had time to think about this because
my children are very concerned about my health. I tell them to choose
whatever they treasure about me and live it in their own lives. It is
not important whether I am remembered or not. What is important is that
we strive to live to our highest potential for the good of all.
May we all be peacemakers.
Listen online to
Kathy singing Peace Pilgrim's "I Am"
(Kathy’s music is available on CD and audiotape
from Friends of Peace Pilgrim)
Kathy Miller surrounded by her family.
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