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International Friends School The International Friends School (IFS) has a guiding spirit. This spirt teaches us, ultimately, that consistent renewals of joyfulness and love provide the sturdiest framework for everything we will experience in life. The smallest acts of love and joy – pulling beets, helping someone after a bike scrape, hanging towels to dry in the sun with a friend – are meaningful. Together with other gestures, behaviors, and practices, these have the power to change the world, as they multiply and create a generation of people who are world-wise and heart-strong. This spirit is evident every day at IFS, a dynamic new school that is intentional in design, molded by Quaker testimonies and practices, and braided gently together by love and joy.

On Teachers (September 2020)

A Cuba Testimony Growing up, I was taught to live by and hold high the Quaker testimonies of Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, and Service. But I also always felt the influence of another important testimony – Environmental Caretaking. While this testimony may fall under several of the traditional Quaker testimonies listed above, it also holds a power strong enough to stand on its own. It is important that we as humans – and we as Quakers – live up to these principles and standards. What this means for me in terms of Environmental Caretaking is this: When we begin to see the environment as that Eternal Source sustaining all, we must in turn learn to understand it, and to give back and support the Earth to the best of our abilities.

On Countries (January 2016)

Peace with Frisbees Ultimate Peace, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that runs a summer sports camp, teaching ultimate frisbee to Muslim and Jewish teenagers near Ashkelon, at the edge of the Negev Desert in Israel, about eight miles from the Gaza Strip. For many years, I have helped to manage this organization from afar and have long been inspired by stories of Jewish and Muslim teenagers meeting each other, building relationships, and learning how to resolve their disagreements peacefully. But, after being asked to assume a greater leadership role, I felt that I had to see it for myself. My son, Aidan Murphy, had just graduated from college, and the timing was perfect.

On Weapons (January 2019)

Peace through Pieces Several years ago, a co-worker gave me a little book entitled Things I Learned about God from Quilting. I laughed, and thought I could have written this book. So, here are a few of the things I’ve learned and a story or two.

On Art (March 2020)

Urgency for Peace Dear Friends: Since becoming a Quaker, I have realized the importance and urgency of having peace. We have been programmed to believe that violence is the only way to get someone to stop aggression. But in order to have true peace, we must stop responding in kind. Violence only leads to more violence, and if you go to war to fight for peace, you might win the war, but you’ve only subdued the “enemy.” There will still be thoughts of revenge, so that’s not really peace. (Consider how the Southerners feel about Dixie.)

On Vision (January 2021)