Saturday, February 27, 2010

I am

I am a mother
A mother of many
I have a daughter in India
She has been sold into the sex slave industry
So her family can survive
My son, he’s in Africa
Fighting the rebels at age 12
It’s kill or be killed
My baby, he’s starving before my very eyes
And there is nothing I can do
For my breast milk is not nutritious enough to sustain him
My daughter cannot go to school
There is no time, no money, to send her
She is destined to a life of hard work, with no education
Hunger and disease have ravaged her land
My son is a teenager
He is homeless in San Francisco
He is addicted to drugs, living on the street
My children can break free of these circumstances
It is not easy where opportunity is slim
But it is possible
Please pray for them

I am a sister
A sister to many
My sister in the Congo
She was brutally raped
She now has a fistula and is a social outcast
My sister in Zimbabwe
She has lost much of her family to HIV
And is losing her own life to the same disease
Leaving her children to be orphans
My sister in Haiti
She lives in a tent
Lost her child in the earthquake
And eats mudcakes to stay alive
My sister in Bosnia
She just left her husband
Who brutally beat her on a daily basis
She risked her life to do it
Knowing many women try, and fail to get away
My sister in the Bronx
She lives in a one-bedroom apartment with many children
She has turned to selling drugs
As that is what she sees as the only means to get by
My sisters can break free of these circumstances
It is not easy where opportunity is slim
But it is possible
Please pray for them

My sisters, my children, they are all over the world
They are suffering
So I suffer
While some of them give up
Many of them hold fast
They hold fast to hope
To love
They can still see the beauty in this world
So can we
Please pray for them
Please speak up for them


I wrote this poem to try and a capture how I feel we are all connected. As an able-bodied American, I feel that it is my duty to speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves. I do not put that expectation on everyone, we are all able on different levels. Some of us speak up and/or act on behalf of the environment. Some of us speak up and/or act politically. Some of us speak up/act on local issues, some of us world issues. Some of us simply be our best parent, or friend, that we can be. No act of love is too small. Some of us pray, some of us blog, some of us donate our time or money. If you are anything like me, you might read my poem and feel depressed and helpless. Hear me, no act of love is too small. Even if that act of love means a prayer for the suffering of the world. If you'd like to do more, whether it's donate or just putting a widget on your blog, check out this site or this one or this one. There are SO many amazing organizations out there, these are just 3 of my current favorites.

Blessed be.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010

church

I love the smell; that smell of brewing coffee and old carpet. Churches I've attended and/or visited have this similar smell to them. It takes me back. It's one of a few reasons I find church such a comforting place. I was raised a Lutheran in small town Minnesota. I grew up going to church, was baptized and confirmed. When I didn't go regularly through high school and college years, I still went for the major holidays. The smells and sounds and creeds and songs, casseroles and cookies all bring me back to my childhood and give me the warm fuzzies. Stained glass and sun shining through them onto me while I listen to a good sermon fill me up.

Over the past 10 years I have grown much in my relationship with God, but it was only the past year that relationship would lead me back to church. I sort of boycotted organized religion for a while and still struggle with parts of it. I had deemed Christianity (and most, if not all, organized religion) closed-minded, fear-based, and even sometimes hateful. Unfortunately parts of that still ring true, but that's man twisting things for his own ego, not what God intended. I have been on a search for the true meaning, the truth, not what man would have me believe. I have been pleasantly surprised with my church experience in the past year. I found, to my own surprise, that the churches I have attended spread an overwhelming message of love. I have discovered that if I focus on the love, I have an opportunity to grow immensely in that love. I have been validated in my search for deeper meanings in the Bible. I want to know the message as it was intended, not how man has changed it.

I, in the past few months, have sort of picked a church home. It is a small Methodist church in my small town. The congregation is tiny, and there are very few families and children, with the majority being 60+ yrs. old. I started going for convenience. I had been attending the chapel in Aspen, I adore that church, but with service starting early and a 40 min. drive to get there, I decided the boys and I would try the Methodist church down the street, service starting at 10:30.
At first I wasn't that impressed, but there happened to be just one other boy E's age there that E knew from snowboarding lessons. They hit it off, I signed up to cook and serve at the soup kitchen and we were hooked. There are two pastors at this church and the next time I went, it was the other pastor. He spoke mostly of love during his sermon and everything resonated with me. I have worked the soup kitchen every month since we started going there and have gotten to know some of the congregation. Some Sundays I leave there feeling so loved, so like the words coming from the pastor were addressing direct questions, concerns, or fears I have had. The past two Sundays in particular, have really validated some questions that have been in my heart either recently or for a long time.

Yesterday, in the church bulletin, there was printed the Lord's Prayer, like every Sunday, but then below it was printed the original translation from Aramaic into English, rather than from Aramaic to Greek, to Latin, to old English to modern English. It's quite different, and resonates with me quite a bit more than the version we are used to. To be validated in my questioning of the interpretation of the Bible is, well, validating.

Here is that beautiful prayer.

O cosmic Birther of all radiance and vibration. Soften the ground of our being and carve out a space within us where your presence can abide.
Fill us with our creativity so that we may be empowered to bare the fruit of your mission.
Let each of our actions bare fruit in accordance with out desire.
Endow us with the wisdom to produce and share what each being needs to grow and flourish.
Untie the tangled threads of destiny that bind us, as we release others from the entanglement of past mistakes.
Do not let us be seduced by that which would divert us from our true purpose, but illuminate the opportunities of the present moment.
For you are the ground and the fruitful vision, the birth power and fulfillment, as all is gathered and made whole once again.

AMEN!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

V-day

With Valentine's day approaching, I thought this post would be appropriate.

I have never been a big fan of Valentine's day. I mean, I love love, but I would prefer flowers and chocolates because my love is genuinely wanting to give me those things, not because society and this one day requires it of a good partner. Aside from making single people feel extra lonely, the idea of picking another day to eat sweets and spend money has never really captured me. No judgement here, lovey dove away if you're into it on this particular day, never a bad time to celebrate love, it's just not a holiday I have ever been overly excited about.

At least not until Valentine's day was transformed into a powerful day of awareness (that hopefully can last for many of us throughout the year, throughout our lives) by this woman.
This I can get into.

Eve Ensler is an inspiration to me and many others. Her work on this earth is truly amazing. She is making a difference for women all over the world with her organization V-day.

Here is V-day's mission, copied from the website.

V-Day is an organized response against violence toward women.

V-Day is a vision: We see a world where women live safely and freely.

V-Day is a demand: Rape, incest, battery, genital mutilation and sexual slavery must end now.

V-Day is a spirit: We believe women should spend their lives creating and thriving rather than surviving or recovering from terrible atrocities.

V-Day is a catalyst: By raising money and consciousness, it will unify and strengthen existing anti-violence efforts. Triggering far-reaching awareness, it will lay the groundwork for new educational, protective, and legislative endeavors throughout the world.

V-Day is a process: We will work as long as it takes. We will not stop until the violence stops.

V-Day is a day. We proclaim Valentine's Day as V-Day, to celebrate women and end the violence.

V-Day is a fierce, wild, unstoppable movement and community. Join us!


This year's concentration for V-day is especially close to my heart, because they are focusing on the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Rape is such an enormous issue there. In some villages it is estimated that 40 women are raped daily. Many women are infected with HIV or go on living with chronic fistula (tears that cause incontinence) causing them to be social outcasts. The DRC does not have much in the way of health infastructure. To educate yourself more on this issue, go here. To learn more about V-day in general, to donate to this cause, or to host a V-day event in your city (super fun! highly recommended!) go here.

Blessed be!

Have a happy V-day.....and Valentine's day!

xoxoxoxoxoxoxox


Sunday, February 7, 2010

help the world's children, buy some truffles!



Each year, our local chapter of Mother's Acting Up, makes truffles for a Valentine's day fundraiser. I was so happy to be a part of it this year. I love the national Mother's Acting Up non-profit and am passionate about advocating for the world's children, so I am thrilled to be a part of our local chapter!

Check out the MAU website and see how YOU can get involved. Can you get a group of women to make truffles once a year to raise funds for local activism benefiting children in need?
Can you organize a once a month letter write to your congressmen/senators about issues involving children?
Can you spread the word about the Millennium Development Goals?
Busy mama? How about just signing up for MAU's daily action, it's as easy as taking 5 minutes each day to educate yourself about the state of the worlds children and small, easy steps you can take to help.

Oh, and if you want to order truffles (they sell out FAST) just let me know and I'll hook you up.
Boxes are $20 for a dozen (mostly) organic truffles.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

betrayal

I have been betrayed, a lot, on a daily basis actually.
Mostly by this one particular woman.
She's close to me, very close.
She comes in, looking and feeling beautiful and fills me up with hope and inspiration.
Then she tells me I am not good enough to make reality out of them.
Often, she gives me a pep talk, tells me that today is the day, this moment is the moment, that I can leave the things that plague me behind and harness my power to start over.
Then she sees me fall, the very day I start over, and she says "I told you so, you are not strong enough."
When she sees me fall in front of my children, she encourages me to talk to my children, to be open with them about my faults and to apologize for yelling, or for not being present with them.
But all the while she is whispering in my ear, "You are a bad mother."
She reiterates that certain foods make me feel yucky, they make me feel bad and they are unhealthy for my body, she reminds me that it's not worth it to eat them.
Then she makes excuses why it's ok to "have a little" , to "start tomorrow."
Only to later shame me for not having more self discipline.
She encourages me to pray, to ask for help and bring me just the right reading material when I am really questioning things.
Then she rags on me about not putting more effort and discipline into an actual practice.
She wants me to be perfect and then she berates me for not being perfect.
She's dangerous, and she needs to get out of my life.
But, you see, she's so close.
I cannot tell her to leave, I have to defeat her.
I have to listen to her inspiration, her encouragement, but when she starts with the other side of things, I have to make her quiet down.
I have to use her negativity to inspire me rather than shame me. I can use her, she can be beneficial to me if I only let her.
After all, she is me.