Friday, October 28, 2011

Rejoicing in life

Today would have been my Dad's 58th Birthday. Oh how I wish I could call him to say Happy Birthday. Maybe we would be cooking him dinner. Maybe he could read Ian his bedtime stories.

We have been so blessed with life....

One of the most important things my Dad taught me was to pay attention. Whether that was a hawk flying beside the road, even if that meant having to swerve at the last minute to avoid a tree or another car. Or remembering what cards were already played in euchre, even that one great game during the campout in 2005. But most importantly to pay attention to each other . Remembering people's names, a joke they thought was funny, or something important to them - and hearing it all. In our family, John, Ian and I, spend time at dinner talking about our favorite part of the day, then with intention we listen with our ears and eyes while the other person is sharing. It has become something Ian will ask randomly "Mommy what's your part today?" When we ask him he usually says, "Um probably eating dinner to you." My Dad's presence is extended into special parts of our lives. I'm blessed to have learned that lesson long before he died. My hope is that Ian will feel my Dad's love through my actions as a parent, since I have a very special, loving Father who taught me to pay attention by giving me his.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricane Katrina - 6 years later

I heard this six years ago on NPR about a month after Hurricane Katrina. I think it is such a valuable essay on the true lessons we learned, and should keep learning.
"That was a strong wind blew across the south coast. Thousands of Americans opened their eyes and stared in the crevice that's always at their feet. I lived in that hole once. I was a poor single woman on welfare. I know the desperation of looking for a job with an eviction notice in my bag. I stole toilet paper from public restrooms, not because I'm a thief by nature, but because food stamps don't by toilet paper. I lived in roachy apartments on risky streets, rode the bus to mindless jobs, and I worried about my kids in their overcrowded classrooms with their metal detector portals. Struggle is struggle, poor is poor, suffering is suffering. As my Navaho friend put it, 'if you've been to the bottom, you are one of us.' I hauled myself out - went to school, got a good job. But we who are one of us, we know each other when we meet at conferences and in coffee shops. You who are one of us recognize the metaphor that Katrina made manifest. Everyday our people plead for rescue while the water rises up beneath them threatening to swallow them whole. We who are one of us saw ourselves in those faces. Not because of shared complexion, but because of shared experience. If you haven't lived in poverty's hole, you aren't one of us. You don't know how hard it is to dig out. If you aren't one of us you might be comforted by the belief that you're doing something right, and we're doing something wrong. You might believe that's the difference between struggle and comfort, between daily safety and daily risk, between having and wanting, between being one of you and being one of us. If you haven't lived in poverty's hole you might not know how slippery the walls are, how easy you slide down, how close you are to being one of us. I wonder how many of you, you who aren't one of us, looked down on New Orleans rooftops and opened your eyes to the chasm at your own feet. I wonder how many folks in New Orleans who are one of us have just climbed out of poverty's hole, only to be blown back in by the storm. How many more blown down that hole for the first time are just now learning to be one of us. Those of you who are not one of us, wherever you are, did you hear Katrina whisper your name? Did you hear her ask how many pay checks do you have left, how much do you owe on your car? Did your eyes open wide when you looked in the eye of the hurricane? Did you see us looking back? Were we close enough to touch? I wouldn't close my eyes again if I were you - the strong wind can blow you in." - Cynthia Hendrickson

I heard this story today and it makes me sad -

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Drought and Famine in Africa

I heard a story on NPR this morning about the severe famine in the Horn of Africa that has left 30% of children acutely malnourished, and that 4 in every 10,000 children are dying each day. Link to that story.

Then on the Mennonite Central Committee's website there is an urgent request for funds for E. Africa, specifically Kenya and Ethiopia, because a severe drought the past two years has caused widespread famine affecting 11 million people.

I was thinking about my own beloved 2 year old, who has more than enough of everything, especially food. The poor parents of these children, who can't provide enough for any of their kids. It breaks my heart. Say prayers for these children and all the people affected by drought. Also think about donating to your favorite charities who may be doing work in Africa to help bring food to the most vulnerable.

Some links to organizations working in the areas mentioned -

the World Food Program
Save the Children

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

This boy

is doing great with potty training, and he's going to be a big brother! We are expecting Baby Simpson #2 sometime around January 5, 2012.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Friday, January 28, 2011

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