Category Archives: Home Page

The Immigrant Situation

I am by no means an expert in this area, but we have to raise our voices against the horrible conditions illegal immigrants are facing in this country.  I hardly recognize the United States anymore.  It is no longer the place of hope and dreams.  It is becoming a military state, and those in government are not working to improve conditions.  They are letting this President become a despot and semi-dictator without stepping in to stop him.

Donald Trump is a man even his wife doesn’t want to be near.  He throws away people as much as he throws away the last vestiges of the greatness that made this country the best in the world.  The laws and rules of society, the manners of decency and goodness, don’t seem part of his constitutional make-up. Our representative leadership is not doing their jobs and not acting in their constituents best interests.  Sadly, we can no longer lay claim to being the greatest country in the world, and each day seems to bring us further down into the trenches.

One of the greatest issues facing this administration and the peoples of this country is that of immigration.  Illegal Immigrants face hardship and trauma.  My own grandmother was an illegal alien.  She lived under the fist of an abusive man who threatened to turn her in and take away her children if she didn’t behave as he dictated.  She lost her life because of him. She didn’t have a legal leg to stand on. She lived in fear.

Illegal aliens always live under a blanket of fear.  People who have been working, productive members of society, who have given of their lives to this country are being herded up like cattle and shoved back to the countries they no longer know and probably not safe to return to.  They are separated from their spouses, children, friends – often with no notice. They have become members of this society, and have earned the right to stay.  They are bound by not getting their green card, for whatever reason, many times valid.

But just as bad is what is going on at our borders.  Children are being separated from their parents, decimating families, held in concentration camp style settings.  They are isolated from those they love, and even if they are allowed to return to their countries, they run the risk of not finding their parents.  I’m not sure why this is even happening.  It looks like they are being kidnapped.  What is the purpose of holding these children?  We have a large military, we aren’t trying to turn them into soldiers or child brides. It is mean-spirited and malicious. And pointless.

I understand the need to tighten our borders even if I don’t agree with all the reasons why.  There is a problem with illegal aliens entering the U.S. But these are largely people who are escaping terrible circumstances in their lives.  They need understanding and to be given to opportunity to be led through the process of legality.  They have value.  They are not animals.  And their children are not commodities.

This is indicative of the broadening trampling of American values and the lack of rational leadership.  One man, Donald Trump, is dictating egregious atrocities in many areas of government.  We need to hold him accountable and retract the harmful, short-term or long-term, acts he has done.  And we need to hold him accountable for the lawbreaking he has done himself.   Our country’s future depends on it, as do the lives of these children.

Finding the Truth

I have had a lazy mind, I admit it.  It is humbling but the reality is that while I know I am a smart woman, I am woefully inadequate to face the awesome wealth of knowledge and information in this world.

I know I have issues.  Math is a dismal reality of failure in my life.  When I was married, my husband wanted me to get an MBA.  Not that I wanted one…an MFA or a Master’s in Psychology were more suited to my interests and abilities.  However, there I was, with a full force Migraine, driving through dense Fog to a college an hour and a half away to take my GMATs.

When the Math sections came, my Migraine lit with a force beyond reckoning. During Verbal sections, it abated somewhat.  Bottom line, I scored a 5% in Math and a 93% in Verbal.  It’s not a one-shot deal, I vividly remember my Father and I both crying as he tried to help me with Math homework, clutching “The Parent’s Guide to Modern Math”. I wasn’t going to be good at Math as they weren’t.  My parents told me I wasn’t going to be good at Math as they weren’t.  I believed them.

The Internet has awoken my mind to the complexities of the World and its inherent knowledge.  TV hasn’t done that to such a large extent.  Most of what is on it is garbage.  Blogging and its huge sphere of influence have acquainted me with the world in a new and awesome way.  So has research on my book.  I am learning more in my 50s and 60s than I did in the subsequent years of child raising and employment not conducive to learning beyond its boundaries.

I Love Learning.  Exploring the larger world, not just that which stares me in the face, it fascinating.  I can feel my brain prying open, trying to digest and make sense of that which I read.  And I haven’t really moved into the sphere of YouTube yet beyond research.

Perhaps when I reach the ripe old age of 80, I will know the world on a much deeper and richer level.  I wonder what my purpose is in life and whether I will know when I have achieved it.  Looking at all the people who have done so much more than I could ever dream, is daunting.  I will never reach those levels of grandure.  I didn’t start early enough and I’ve hid from so many issues over the years.  For too many years I lived in the shadow world of my bubble.  Depression and trauma transfiguring my world into one of smallness and darkness.  I am no longer trapped in that shell.  What a glorious feeling.

Now, at my age, I have little use for how others see me.  I am comfortable in my skin.  I might have more pain and physical issues, but my brain has reawakened to a vividness I don’t remember having before, or at least since college.  Because of my not caring how others think of me, I feel free to explore the world on my own terms.  I don’t feel silly knowing more than my living conditions would seem to project.

If I had the money, I would go on Missions to countries that need helping hands. I would go for an MFA.  Archeological digs and traveling would become a much desired reality. I saw on Facebook a story about a woman who uses cruise ships as her retirement plan.  Instead of paying out the money for an Assisted Living facility or a Nursing Home, she travels on water, having all her needs met at a senior and a frequent traveler discount.  What I wouldn’t give to make that a reality!  But even with that, cruise ships don’t go to the places in the world that need the most help. And they don’t do much to open the mind.  That is where I am most needed.

Should I give up, knowing the money isn’t going to be coming from my account?  Hell no.  If it is my purpose in life, the money will come.  In the meantime, there is so much left to learn.  I remain open to the possibilities.

 

 

Thanks

I want to thank all those who have decided to follow my blog.  It is humbling but reminds me constantly to continue to write even when I don’t think I have time.  Feel free to offer comments.  It is how I learn and keep in touch with what you might prefer to read.  Thank you.

 

Conference Findings

This past weekend I went to the United Methodist New York Annual Conference in Garden City, NY. Why they can’t call it the New York and Connecticut Conference I am questioning, but that’s another whole topic.  This writing is about the issue of gays and transsexuals in the church.

This is my first conference.  A lot of legislative activities go on during the course of the weekend.  I was shocked to find out there is a profound division in the Church.  It is hanging precariously on a thread regarding the LGBQ issue.  The Biblical conservatives in the Church are demanding that LGBQ and other sexually different people, should not be allowed in the Church – whether it be marriage, ministers, or even in congregations.  The Church might divide into two seperate denominations because of these matters.

The other, more Liberal persuasion believe we are all God’s children and everyone has the right to live their lives as they are meant to.  Even the issue of whether Women should be pastors has been a loaded one in many denominations.  The Catholics are also struggling to find their Center.  Everything goes back to Leviticus and the apostle Paul.  Two plus centuries ago.

This issue has come up in my own family, with my children believing conservatively and I believing a more liberal, inclusive approach to Christianity.  This may rattle many cages, but I believe the LGBQ group brings more openness and diversity, obviously.  But they also can bring fresh interpretations and vital ideas to congregations.

This may prevent me from getting into Heaven but I believe all have the right to worship openly.  Jesus had all kinds of people, most being the underappreciated, displaced, rejected members of society, in his circle of influence and accomodation. Not once did I read in the Bible where someone was rejected.  And Jesus had one whom he loved more than all of the rest….what does That even mean?

At the Conference, I saw quite a few gay and lesbian people.  A couple were Pastors.  Depending on the status of the vote in St. Louis in the Fall, what could that potentially mean for them.  “Hey sorry, but you no longer are a minister, don’t have a job, and aren’t welcome to attend Church. ”  What is that?  How can you take people who are actively sharing their Faith and leading their congregations toward a more open, accepting view of the World, and throw them out like yesterday’s garbage?

My children do not consider me to be a true Christian.  I’m not going to Heaven unless I radically change my belief system and values.  I believe God is more accepting…that love is more important than orientation…that the most important thing you can do is Believe in Jesus Christ and the Trinity.  I might not get to Heaven because I question sometimes whether Jesus was the son of God but I wouldn’t really want to be in a Heaven that draws lines, makes distinctions, rejects people because of who they are from the moment they are born.

I pray the Church remains whole in its entirety and those believing diversely get the opportunity to believe in diversity and inclusiveness, no matter the sex or orientation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pollen

Pollen floats down these days of Spring, coating everything, Leaving behind streaks and yellow caking in every crack, on every surface.  Unless, your home is hermetically sealed, coating your furniture.  It’s like a haze in my mind.  Spinning, spinning, self-perpetuating.  I’m getting excited about going to our family cabin in upstate New York in a month.  It is my spiritual center.  I need some centering.  I’m also going to the Methodist Conference in Garden City, Long Island, NY.  this coming week.  I’ve never been.  I’m told it is overwhelming but there is something powerful in being in the midst of hundreds of people acting in the common good and worshipping the Lord.  I could use some of that.

I’ve been working hard for my church, usually scratching my head and wondering what I’m doing but that is the nature of the position I am in.  How do you mentor people who have the guts to get up in front of a congregation and share from their hearts?

My mother used to say “I could do that but nobody asked me”.  Well, I could get up there and say a bunch of words but I’m not sure about whether they would be coming from my heart or my head.  I’m a skeptic and analytic by nature.  I still have too many questions which involve more research and prayer than I’m able or willing to give.

Coming to Christ is an awesome responsibility.  You can’t do it lightly.  It comes with thought, prayer, a willingness to accept the unknown, and the will to devote yourself to a belief system knowing you’ll never understand fully or get right.  It isn’t a college course.  It is reaching inside, grabbing your gut, investing your mind, pulling yourself up, and saying with all your heart, “I believe”.   How many people truly can do that?

My children are avid, deeply believing Christians.  It is woven into the fabric of their lives.  My son-in-law’s large book collection completely involves the study of Christianity.  He is going to the seminary in upcoming months.  However, there isn’t a single book other than those involving Christianity in their entire home.

My collection is diverse…history, archeology, mysteries, fiction, non-fiction, women’s studies, biographies, and, of course, Christianity.  And I’m not that diverse in my reading.  There are no books on the Sciences, Mathematics (God forbid), Politics, World Studies.  Those are covered in National Geographic and Time magazines and what I glean from the internet. I am limited in space but even if I had an entire, huge study, some of those areas would be slight. I think about however sheltered I am, how left-brained,  how lazy my expansion into the world of knowledge is.

How can something that fills my life, leave me so short-sighted?  Will my questions ever abate?  There is so much I need to know, want to know, but, in the end, its all about acceptance. And that is where I fall short.  I want to believe with all my heart.  But the skeptic says But.  It has to do with being comfortable in my skin.  About saying Yes, not Yes But. About relaxing and acknowledging it’s okay to have questions.  That not everything requires complete knowledge.  Acceptance is the key.  I need to find the key.

So I’ll accept the Pollen floating inside my brain with its yellow haze, and content myself with continuing to place one foot in front of the other and hope for the best resolution.

 

 

School shootings

“There have been at least 288 school shootings in the US since 1/1/09, 57 times more than the other six G7 countries combined.”   –CNN

These numbers are, unfortunately, no surprise to me. Our culture has been steadily shifting to one of violence and our young people are caught in the crosshairs.  The rhetoric perpetuates, spinning round and round as the NRA spins the mental health issue and our politicians take their sides without paying much attention to what their constituents feel. And here I am, spinning my own rhetoric.

What I can’t wrap my head around is how this perpetuates in such a vacuum.  Parents don’t know what is going on in the minds of their children, don’t check their internet pages, don’t look at those others their sons hang out with, or whether they have friends at all, don’t know if they have guns and don’t secure guns in locked safes.

I don’t mean to be ragging on the parents.  Sometimes their sons externalize very differently than what they internalize, but certainly, parents can determine if their children are depressed or angry or manifesting signs of mental illness.  Perhaps one problem is they don’t know what to look for.  Mental illness isn’t covered in most parenting books, that is if they read those books.

Schools are also part of the problem as are the communities.  The “not in our town”, mentality is a pervasive glitch in our psyche.  There aren’t enough instructors to demonstrate what to look for and how to prepare for it.  Police departments are also not involved enough, although in many towns there just aren’t enough police officers and perhaps not enough budgeted funds to train them adequately, particularly in small towns.

But, I think the greatest problem is that there is a lack of Hope in these young people, and in those who perpetrate mass shootings at concerts and movie theaters, or wherever crowds merge. They lack the foresight to see there are better ways to handle their feelings, that going out in a blaze of rage is not the answer. They are, too often, left to their own devices.  Nobody is wondering why a person is acting strangely or if it’s their responsibility to do something about the warning signs they see.  And young people who see what is emerging in another classmate keep that tight-lipped stalemate of not acting in protection of one of their own, even one who no one wants to be near.

I had a dear friend who had an arsenal of over 200 weapons, including cannons he had built himself.  Everyone looked on it as a quirky obsession and hobby.  He grew depressed and was so hateful to his family that they avoided dealings with him – left him to his devices.  I can’t blame them, dealing with his rage and depression filled them with despair. I talked with his wife about the possibility of therapy but he wouldn’t hear of it.  In the end, he blew his brains out. In front of a son. The guns are his sons’ legacy.  It makes me crazy thinking about it.  They should be sold and the money’s used to start their adult lives with.  I mentioned it to my friend, but that is where my advice ended.  Guns are just part of her reality even though she doesn’t touch them.

Hope is strangely lacking in so many of our lives.  We huddle in masses of despair.  Those who have church may find comfort there; therapy is a God-send to many. But to those who have no real support in their lives, whose lifestyle and decisions seem to have no awareness in those around them hope is just 4 letters strung together.  And they are already strung too tight.  And we stand by, hands dangling at our sides, vacant expressions on our faces, saving “Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa.”

 

 

 

Sticks and Stones

A child lies screaming in an improvised tent in a refugee compound. Her arms and legs are sticks, the femur and tibia bones on display for any to see.  The skin on her head is etched to her skull, no cheeks or even flesh on the lips, dysentery, and measles having stolen away her health.  She cries for food, her mother attempts to feed her from shrunken breasts.  The child was healthy once, flesh full.  Her mother says she thinks the worst is over.  The girl has stopped loosing weight. Perhaps there is hope, but it seems unlikely.

In Gaza, Palestinians look like makeshift Davids, slingshotting stones at the Goliath Israeli troops with powerful weapons.  Hurling their bodies at the border wall, thinking themselves as heroes trying to take back land they haven’t owned since 1948.  Even in mass, they haven’t a chance to overwhelm such well armed and trained enemies. The Israelis’ tenaciously holding on to land bequeathed them after the Holocaust.

In Syria, the White Hats cast rubble aside looking for survivors and bodies in the remains of what was once homes and shops.  Their heroism speaks for itself.  They sacrifice for the sake of others, bright spots of hope in the ruins of war.

The Middle East is by no means isolated in their violence.  It spreads throughout the World, sometimes insidiously, sometimes with brutal force. Our own country is filled with terrorist activities – our school children bearing the brunt of wounded souls’ rage.  I know God gave us free will but what type of World is this when the mightiest beings are intent on destroying both their own races and what others might call lesser beings.

The child’s screams echo in my ears, warning me that war and horror can be lurking close by.

Nadia Murad

In our Me2# time, it seems particularly important to examine the women who have gone before us or are with us now for the great achievements they have made and the cost it took to get there.  One woman who has made a quick leap from obscurity to fame is Nadia Murad.

A quiet, country girl in Iraq, she is of the Yazidi faith and lived in Kocho, a small village in the northwestern province.  The Yazidi are a people who have been practicing their religion since before Christianity or Islam.  They are not vocal about it; they tend to keep to themselves.  On May 4, 2016, ISIS attacked the Yazidi, forcing many to flee up their sacred mountain, Sinjar.  However, estimates of 10,000 were killed.  Being somewhat out of the way, Kocho’s attack didn’t start until the 16th.

The village’s residents watched as the town was blockaded and large trenches were dug on its outskirts.  They were scared, the men continually calling people of prominence elsewhere to try to get support.  The images on television made them panic.

At 19, Nadia was the youngest of nine children.  Her father also had a number of children through his second wife.  On the day ISIS made their move on the village, all residents were instructed to go to the high school. There the men were sorted out from the women and taken away.  They were lined up in the trenches and shot.  Two of her wounded brothers managed to escape.  A younger one was forced to become a soldier. Six died.

The women were then sorted out, older women separated from their daughters.  It was many months until they found out the women had also been shot to death, including Nadia’s beloved mother.  Younger women and girls, some even with young children, were herded upstairs at the school until they were corralled onto buses.  From there they were driven to Mosul where they were placed in a large room with many other Yazidi women.

They were to become sexual slaves, or “sabia”, to ranking ISIS officials and men who had proven their worth to the cause.  The women were traded like baseball cards, sometimes staying with a  man for a week, sometimes only a day or hour.   They were brutally treated by the men, but also by the wives if they saw them at all.

Nadia was held captive for two months until her “owner” forgot to lock the front door and Nadia made good her escape.  She found a family willing to help her, eventually getting her to the border at great risk to their own lives.  While Arab, they could not, in good conscience, reject Nadia.

She made her way to a refugee camp where she found some relatives still alive.  After a time, she was accepted into a program where 1,000 women and children migrated to Germany.  A group called Yazida encouraged her to speak to the UN Advisory Committee.   From there she has spoken in the Americas, Europe,  and other countries about the plight of the Yazidi. Amal Clooney has become her lawyer to support her and give more authority to the condition of her people.

Nadia is eloquent and doesn’t pull any punches.  Rarely does she smile but her words speak volumes.  She has a message to bring to the world and she is doing it one word at a time.  To date, she has spoken in America, the United Kingdom, Germany and Europe along with other countries. She speaks of her own people but also of Genocide in general.

There are many places in the world where genocide is taking place…South Sudan and Myanmar are just two more.  Even though it has been happening since time immemorial, it is a vital issue which must be halted if we are ever to become a civilized world.  And Nadia’s voice is bringing the world to greater attention to both her people and those who also need a voice crying out of the wilderness of violence.

#Me Too

Yesterday I was at work, watching a talk show with my boss.  The subject was the New York Attorney General of New York and his peccadilloes.   Later in the day, the new shift worker came and the topic was brought up.  My boss was of the persuasion that the women now declaring the brutality during sex with the Attorney General had to be willing participants to have 1) gone so long without reporting it, and 2) must have enjoyed it to have stayed in the relationship with this barbarous man.

The two of us, both women, tried to explain the concepts of fear and shame to him.  As it was not going to happen we diverged into talking about how passive and jaded our society has gotten to continue to hear one instance after another and numb our brains to them.  It is overwhelming and heinous, these acts perpetrated by men (or in some cases, women) again and again.  We can’t stand to hear about it so jokes are made to neutralize hearing about the cases and knowing it is not just the power brokers but the garbage man and the local pastor, the insurance man and that nice man who just fixed your plumbing, inside the sanctity of your home. Jokes raw and harmful in that they serve to anesthetize us to the horrors of what humans perpetrate on each other, and in so many cases, get away with.

I want to rise up and do something but lack the funds for donations to the cause and the wherewithal and physical ability to attend rallies.  My voice is drowned in a sea of angry people – those coming from one point of view or another. And, furthermore, I don’t have anything new to add to the subject.  Why even write?  I’ve wondered whether I should for weeks now because of the redundancy and that there are many far more eloquent than I.  Coupled with the fact that I offer no new solutions.

But, in the end, I choose to write because I am one more voice begging for solutions, for restitution and acknowledgment of terrible wrongs.  Of feeling betrayed by all those power figures who I looked up to and admired their integrity, and who committed acts of lewdness and violence against innocent women.  How can I forgive Bill Cosby for acting as a bastion of goodwill and integrity, knowing he probably won’t serve a day in jail.  Or Matt Lauer, a man who interviewed other men accused of sexual misconduct knowing he was still in the land of innocence and getting away with it.

If the government is really watching all of us.  And it is positive they are. Then perhaps my one little voice will be registered on some server somewhere, stored for posterity, but possibly amounting to nothing.  Still, I must write, #Me Too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nonny land

Yes, that is my new name. . . Nonny.  Doesn’t mean anything but I like how it sounds.  When I was going to make my name Nana, my sister said I couldn’t take my Grandmother’s name since no one could be her.  Turns out she wants to be Nana.  That’s OK because I really like Nonny better, it suits me, just a little, or a lot, off track.  However, all bets are off if Emmitt chooses a different name for me.

That’s my grandson’s name, Emmitt Samuel.  After 5 days of labor, 4 hours of heavy pushing, resulting in a c-section, Dani finally gave birth right on his due date.  It was a very hard delivery.  Pre-eclampsia developed the last two days. After the cesarean, she hemorrhaged a liter and a half of blood and had to be opened up again.

Emmit developed jaundice and lost 10% of his birth weight.  They were in the hospital for five days. But he looks like Dani, covered with a full head of almost black hair. There isn’t too much of Kendall in him as of yet.

I know I am giddy with delight.  Being a grandmother is beyond my expectations.  That little boy is a miracle.  The birth of a family where a couple was before.  Both Kendall and Dani are wonderful, exhausted parents.  It was a truly nurturing, loving experience where we all enjoyed being together and tending to the constant needs of this little man.  He should take comfort in it….he will have to share time with others as he grows.

But one thing is for sure – I will be visiting California much more often from now on.