Holiday Messages

One of the pleasures of the year-end holidays is catching up with friends who live near  and far, some even continents  away.

Here are great messages from a few of those friends:

Rebecca, Kundalini teacher in Bali, says, “Open your heart.  Bow to beauty, bow to truth, bow to love.  Whatever doesn’t serve you, shake it off.”

Harvey, 80+ year-old  Servas and Quaker Friend from rural Minnesota, sent along these two quotations that seem particularly apt for 2017:

“Power concedes nothing without demand.  It never has and never will.”

– Fredrick Douglass


Frederick Douglass: African-American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman; died 1895.


“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”

– Benjamin Franklin


Benjamin Franklin: American scientist and politician, Founding Father;  b. 1706 d. 1790.

Kristine from Chicago reports, “So–things are good here . . . in fact, I have moments of unbelievable happiness . . . I bet you do too!”

May 2017 bring many blessings to you and your family and community – wherever you are.  May you feel unbelievable happiness, work for justice, and open your heart in 2017 and beyond.


There is room for everyone under the branches of justice and love. Photo by RR.

Aloha, Renée


Nalu and Kailani – looking forward to 2017. Photo by Sigrid


Douglass image:

Franklin image:


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About reneeriley

Our blog was begun as a way to share our experiences in China. From August 2010 to July 2011, my husband, Barry Kristel, and I were at our University of Hawaii Maui College sister school, Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University in Lin'an, China, a city considered rural because it has only 500,000 people! We had a wonderful time. Then in February 2012, we returned to teach this time at our other sister school, Shanghai Normal University, in a city of over 21 million people. We've made many discoveries. Did you know that now Chinese girls, at least the ones who go to university, for the most part feel they are luckier than the Chinese boys? Did you know that Shanghai saved over 20,000 European Jews during WWII? Do you know how Chinese university students would deal with problems that come up in Dear Abby letters? What's it like to be on the Great Wall of China? Do you know how many Chinese girls had their feet bound and why? And we have recipes from many of the places we've visited. Among others, you can find instructions on how to fry cicadas from one of my ZAFU students and how to make chocolate-Kahlua waffles from my brother Mike in Gainesville. You can also look back to our earliest entry to see what we experienced in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2006 during the mainly peaceful six months of protest until the Mexican government sent in the troops. Between our stays in China, Barry and I have been on the Mainland U.S. visiting family, friends and Servas hosts as we traveled home to Maui. We share those experiences too. Welcome to our blog! Aloha and Zài Jiàn, Renée and Barry

2 responses to “Holiday Messages”

  1. Rosita says :

    Aaaaaaaawwwwwwnnnn, wha’ a heartwarming post! Beautiful (and profound) quotes. The pic of Nalu and Kailani is a very funny one. Yuu’d be happy by knowing I’m having some fun with Bintang, even thought she isn’t technically my dog 🤣 I’m kinda sponsoring her, although she lives with grandma LOL and she do free roams the kampung (it’s how I call a compound neighborhood), as local dogs (BSDs, as I call them, and my family is increasingly doing, ’cause local term – vira lata – sounds offensive) do. And I’m wondering about traveling either to other Bahamian isles (we’ve been just to Freeport last year) or to Hawaii. How is Maui like? And Oahu?Which are some typical Hawaiian food and desserts, if yuh don’t mind me asking?
    Yuh Brazilian friend,

    • reneeriley says :

      Hi Rosita: I knew you would love the photo of Nalu (means “wave” in Hawaiian) and Kailani (“heavenly water”). Hawaii is expensive – but beautiful. We say, “Maui no ka ‘oi” – Maui is the best. Not only do the Hawaiian islands have the aloha spirit of the native Hawaiians but also the diverse cultures of those who settled here: Chinese, Japanese, Pacific Islanders, Filipinos, Haoles, . . . The traditional Hawaiian food included much fish and poi (a root starch); a pudding made of tapioca is a popular dessert. Have fun with Bintang and your dogs too. Aloha, Renée

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