Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Random Thoughts on turning 40

I am a bicentennial baby. I was born today in 1976. I like so many of my friends I have grown up alongside have no generation we belong to & none that we fully connect with. I & we are lost souls caught between generations. I/we embrace many ethics & values of generation X while loathing & embracing so many things of generation Y aka “the millennials” we love & hate social media, we send SMS more often that we call. We are possibly the last of a generation that kind of knows how to connect with& have relationships “in real life”. I have learned on a professional level to lead & manage the youth that is rising behind me. However I was born in a year where I am young enough to fully embrace & understand technological advances but old enough to remember card catalogs & microfiche.

I have been a first adapter of tech since as long as I can remember. I got my first computer when I was 6. But I find myself hating the way social media has shaped society. I find myself living in a world where the baseline of human emotions is through facebook & only acceptable when all of life is #Epic & #Awesome & anything any type of feeling expressed in negative to epic & awesome is viewed as drama or possibly categorized as #depressive or #suicidal even though a decade ago the feelings of life would have been acceptable as feelings people sometimes have... feelings are what separate Humanity from the animal kingdom? Also, George Orwell talked about this in his #Epic book 1984

Turning 40 inspired me to look back on my life. This is never easy. There are times I wish I would have made different decisions & I have lived a lot.... if I had to do it over again.. there are a few th9ng I might considering changing....

For the most part... I would not run from feelings, I would dive into everything that reflects humanity more no mater what the emotional cost might be. I would have allowed myself to accept a whole lot more of love in the ways of romantic love a la 20s randomness even of my 40 yr old self might say this is irresponsible...

In my 40 years of being human I have lived a life that many never have had the opportunity to live. I've been a vagabond in Europe & an expat in 2nd & 3rd world countries. I have lunched with a tyrant or two.... I have learned the art of diplomacy....

I have learned what humanity is.... I have fallen in love with the idea of family in whatever the concept is morphed out of. I have learned that family has little to do with what I in-vision and has everything to do with what God sees as family & I fully embrace my family from bio to internet.

I once fought for children & learned to fight for parents. I have seen the best & worst that humanity has to offer. I know I am repeating myself, but I want YOU to understand that I have learned family takes many shapes & forms.

I literally have wrinkles & gray hairs to solidify what I have learned about love & family. EVERY gray hair & every wrinkle I have has a story attached to it. I admit I want to tell everyone about the stories attached to the visual aging I have taken on through the years.

Turning 40 is a new chapter in my life, the rest of my life for the next decade....“Society” tells me that I should hide all the things that have shaped me into the human I am.... hide all the is wrinkled & all that is gray. But I reject that and am entering into The “40s” with an excitement that this is a new chapter in my life a book mark marking the time I stepped into another place where I was to become fully me... I embrace every wrinkle & every gray hair that I have, each one has taught me something & I refuse to hide them.

In my 40 years of living I have “hopefully” learned to dive into all the life hands you... I think I have learned to make lemon aide with the lemons lie sometimes serves. Many of the women I have walked alongside when I worked with families in a state of crisis through Safe Families are the most amazing mothers who taught me how to make lemonade when you are handed milk that is spoiled.

In many ways turning 40 is actually freeing... makes me ponder all that this life has taught me. When I was 18 I though I knew everything. The 40 years I have of life have taught me everything I need to know.

When I think I know everything, I really know nothing. #40Years

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

About a year ago I wrote this as a note on FB to several moms I know who have trusted me with their lives..... 

This started as a 140 character tweet... to a tweep that was listening to Emo songs.... so for my rambling I am #SorryNotSorry

This note is for all of the mothers I who trusted me to find a safe place for your little ones during your most vulnerable & dark times....

I've had this song on my playlist for awhile. I think I finally just heard it... or at least I just realized how much is resonates with when we met.


You all know who you are you =) & you should know you fit seamlessly into my Facebook stream =) I enjoy seeing where you are & what you are doing.  This song just reminds me a lot of when I met you & somewhere in the midst of your personal tragedies we became friends. We've laughed, cried & celebrated & I appreciate you for sharing your life with me.

This song just reminds me a lot of where you were when we met & how far you have come.You may or may not be with your little one(s) right now but i know that you are a mom who loves her children fiercely.

I hope you all know that... We have all been in a place where we just need to hold on for a night, we've been displaced, & that we feel like no one survives. you amaze me because not only have you survived you are thriving.  I know it always doesn't feel like it but everyday that you wake up & face life every time you say hey I need some help here you are winning.

None of you need to comment. I just wanted to remind you that you are all courageous & strong. Never forget that you have a community to support you so that you can continue to survive. You have home & are no longer displaced.

I have been spending some time writing out the last decade of my life & have been thinking about you & your life. I have been thinking about where you have been, where you, & where your life is headed. I have been doing the same for me. If we are friends here on the Facebook it is becuase we are friends & you have taught me much about life. (Yes I am practicing what I preach you know how I am always telling you to write it out =) if you need a journal let me know)


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Storm Outside

Growing up in California I have never experienced much weather.  I know how to duck and cover in a quake and I know a lot about water conservation, the result of the lack of weather. I really don't know what to do with weather. Sure I lived a couple years in New England, and a few years with the fog of San Francisco. One of my favorite things to do is watch the fog roll down the street instantly taking the warmth out of the air. I've watched lightening light up the sky over lake Victoria while sipping wine in the dark, sheltered by balcony. None of my limited experience with weather prepared me for a Spring Storm in Texas.

The initial worry started with a text from a volunteer, "Welcome to Texas, you're about to experience a spring storm. Sit back and enjoy the show." After that first text I started receiving others, they went from watch to warning to instructions to take cover. Inching along the freeway that was turning into a river. I walked into my apartment just as the sirens started to blare. It was so noisy outside I could barley hear them A friend called, a Texan Native. In a calm voice she told me exactly what to do. With brief hesitation, my blinds rattling, my heart gripped in fear and I moved into action.The next thing I really remember is laying curled up in a ball underneath my sofa cushions sweating in the warm wet air my back angled awkwardly against the cold hard prociln of my tub. I did what any experienced Humanitarian would do, I bawled my eyes out crying for my mommy. After a few minutes my tears turned to laughter as I realized how ridiculous I was being. Yes the thought of a tornado forming on top of my tiny little no wall apartment scares me. I've lived in some of the most challenging and personally dangerous places in the world and I am scared of this? I could hear my friends voice, you are going to be fine, just stay covered in your tub, you aren't going to die tonight.

I am so grateful for my friend who in the midst of a storm put her own safety on hold to calm me and walk me through the storm. I cannot help but think about the families I work with that are in crisis. Their lives spinning out of control just like the wind that had been turning against my building. They must feel the same way. Scared to death. They don't know what to do. My volunteers are the ones taking the time to step into the storm, a calm voice soothing them. The whisper into the phone saying, do this, do it now, you are going to be ok.

Monday, February 25, 2013

I Dreamed a Dream

Since moving to Dallas, I have lost my face to face processing. I have been writing. A lot. I wrote this shortly after seeing Les Miserables a few months ago. I thought I would share it today.

I recently saw Les Miserables for the first time. I sat in the theater weeping during Anne Hathaway's I dreamed a dream scene. Her character, a single mother, is fired unjustly from her job. Being a single mother with no means she does what she has to in order to provide for her daughter.

I could not help but see the mothers we walk with in her, onscreen I watched as Ann sold her hair, her teeth, her possessions; witnessing the raping of her innocence and body through prostitution. In my mind I saw the pleading eyes, the cries of the vulnerable, the scars on her arms, the bruises on the others thighs, seeing through their explanations, so desperately wanting to hide in the embarrassment and shame of the hell they are living.

The women I meet through work live in a perpetual state of crisis of a life on a downward spiral, living under a shroud of shame and embarrassment. One day they were young in spirit and vibrant, they dreamed a dream. Their lives twisted into a downward spiral of circumstances and regretful choices that leads to isolation and the devaluation of their lives.

These beautiful hearts of broken women share their deepest darkest secrets, they share their greatest failures, and they expect judgment and condemnation. Rarely am I able to meet these expectations, I willingly offer my hand to hold, walking with them into the embrace of a community that will love them just as they are offering the hope to dream again.

There was a time when men were kind
When their voices were soft
And their words inviting
There was a time when love was blind
And the world was a song
And the song was exciting
There was a time
Then it all went wrong

I dreamed a dream in time gone by

When hope was high
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving
Then I was young and unafraid
And dreams were made and used and wasted
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung, no wine untasted

But the tigers come at night

With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hope apart
As they turn your dream to shame

He slept a summer by my side

He filled my days with endless wonder
He took my childhood in his stride
But he was gone when autumn came

And still I dream he'll come to me

That we will live the years together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms we cannot weather

I had a dream my life would be

So different from this hell I'm living
So different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed the dream I dreamed.

Monday, May 23, 2011

random thoughts

i have been getting so many crisis calls lately that my head is spinning. every call i take makes me think about life. my life and the life of the caller and my volunteers. each of us has our own story, each story is epic, sometimes our stories intercept one an others.

i have learned that there is no rhythm or reason to crisis. it seems to come in waves. what causes this? is it weather patterns? the moon? a change in oxygen levels? the stories are sometimes so similar they are difficult to keep straight. i find my self saying no that was the girl that is pregnant, i am talking about the one that...

i can see how each job i have had and each way that i have served has prepared me for what i am doing right here, right now. each step god has directed me to take is a step to what is next. so i wonder what is next?

when i lived in uganda i felt isolation for what may have been the first time in my life. i felt alone.desperate and needy. yes needy in one of the most economically depraved countries in the world. experiencing isolation helped me understand why people make the decisions they do in life. isolation can drive you to make decisions in a way that under normal circumstances you would respond different.

comfortable and in community i know that i am not alone. i have people who i can count on in my life. they make me laugh and smile and love me where i am at.

the common thread with all the families who call me is isolation. they have no one to call, no one to turn to. when judgement starts to seep into my mind when i think of them. i think about how it felt to be alone. i think of the suffocating feeling of isolation. i think of how if one thing had wobbled in my world i could have made some really poor decisions simply out of a need for connection. i think of the sadness and desperation that comes with being alone.

i try to reach out a hand and i try to not let go.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

daily grind

Most days I just go through the motions at work. Coffee. Check. Email. Check. Phone calls. Check the infinite and always growing to do list. Check. Check. Check. Sometimes I forget that I work in the third sector. I forget that what I am doing is for the greater good. I forget that I am not selling cosmetics and alcoholic beverages in a marketing firm. I forget that my work has little fiscal value and that I actually do not contribute to the GDP. I forget that I am in the business of people and this business impacts the lives of everyone involved.

On occasion I hear back from one of our volunteers or a family that is caring for children in crisis. One of my coworkers passed this along. A tiny celebration amongst the hectic holiday season.

If there is ever a time of year which points us to God’s love revealed in unexpected sources, it’s during the Christmas Season. The story of two children of poverty, homeless travelers, dependant on the fickle hospitality of strangers, they make their place in a dwelling appointed to them by God for His purposes. We still peer into that scene of sacred space in Bethlehem to see the Savior revealed in human form.

“There is a castle on a cloud, I like to go there in my sleep. Aren’t any floors for me to sweep, Not in my castle on a cloud”

A Grandmother in San Clemente, California is drawn to a bedroom in the home of her Safe Family daughter. Her daughter and husband and 3 children have opened their home to two homeless sisters, temporarily orphaned. The Grandmother is drawn by the singing of her three grandchildren. They are singing along with the CD of the opera musical Le Miserables.

“There is a room that’s full of toys, there are a hundred boys and girls, nobody shouts or talks too loud, not in my castle on a cloud.”

The two grandsons leading the singing know the musical because their sister Cosette, was named for the young girl main character in Le Miz. If not for this connection of the story to their own sisters, they would have little inclination to pay any attention to the story that Le Miserables tells. These are aggressive, rambunctious boys of 7 and 9 years singing with the young, forgotten orphaned girl on the CD also named Cosette.

“I know a place where no one’s lost, I know a place where no one cries,”

The Grandmother gently opens the door and peeks her head around the door and sees the 5 children in the a circle, arms wrapped around each other’s shoulders singing as best they can with the song,

“crying at all is not allowed, not in my castle in the sky.”

Her grandchildren are singing the wordless fears and dreams of these new companions who they want to love. The Grandmother closes the door, unable to look too long on this holy scene. The purity touches too deep inside and she can not even bear to linger long outside the now closed door. Altered by the beauty, she can only mutter the prayer for God to hear, “now I know why they came, now I know why they are here”

There is a castle on a cloud….. which sometimes comes to rest and express in the most unexpected places in the most unexpected ways. This is the Safe Family story.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Life's Lessons

It has been to long since I have written my ramblings here. I have been busy learning all the lessons that life has brought my way. Mainly learning not to judge. I have been working for a year and a half with families in crisis. It is both a struggle and full filling. There are time of complete sadness and utter joy. I have learned that I am capable of accepting people for who they are and where they are in their life. I celebrate each time a family is reunited. I have discovered that "we" try to force others into the lives that we think they should live. We try to get them to conform to our prescription for perfection without really examining the negative effects that has had on our own lives. Daily I ask God for wisdom and to continue to let me see the world and its people through his eyes and not my own. I am almost appalled at what I am able to accept but embrace each family as they come hurting and broken just as we are, just as I am.