Homecoming: A Christmas treasuring what matters

The anticipation of home is upon us all.  There is an eagerness in the air every night at feeling check, but I find myself wondering what are we all looking forward to.  Something familiar?  Something simple we know like the language in the background?   Will it matter that there are no familiar pictures on the walls of our home?  That our kids will not be able to access their beds or their toys or those clothes they tucked away so many months ago?  The ones that no longer fit, but that are missed somehow, nonetheless.  Do they look forward to knowing all of the buildings in that town?  To recollecting their personal histories there?  I wonder what ties us all back to place.  

It is not, perhaps any one thing or person, but the familiarity of it all that we miss.   We are tied to the place and the people, even the strangers back home who now feel more familiar than most anyone we’ve encountered in the past several months...

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A History Worth Learning

It’s hard to put into words the feeling I get watching my children start to truly comprehend the holocaust.  I’m proud of them for diving deep, for a weekend of relentless questions, many of which had no answers.  I’m heartbroken that these stories are still being lived today in a world where the color of your skin or your religious beliefs can find you persecuted in a myriad of ways.  That heartbreak leaves me with an urgency to show them what happens when a nation joins behind a leader in hate.  This was the weekend it began to really sink in....

 

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When Drugs Exhaust Compassion: A Call to Action

Compassion.  That is what threatens to escape me lately, looking out my window at the growing crowd of addicts, as I struggle to understand how this epidemic could have ballooned so quickly into a swarm of humans who have sunk so low none of us seem to know how to help.  I’ve hurried past them not knowing what they will do next, or if I will safely arrive at my destination.  When I am at risk of losing my compassion, it signals the moment I am called to act.  

We have labeled this problem a homeless problem.  When I moved here, I knew each of the chronically homeless people by name.  I knew a little about each of their lives, and I would share a conversation or a cup of coffee with them frequently. Local downtown restaurant owners would let them come in and warm up with a free cup of coffee and a dry, clean bathroom.  We were a community who cared.  Midwestern hospitality.  

The numbers began to grow as those in need of services sought them here, where they could be found.   Many thought just doing a little more of the same would keep pace, but the problem had changed, and we were not ahead of it.  

In the past week: 9 people have overdosed in theimmediate vicinity of the Habitat office, our staff has witnessed multiple drug deals, needles have started to appear in the alley alongside our office, I have been threatened, people have been urinating on our building in the middle of the day, and volunteers have started calling to ask if it is safe for them to come to our office to drop off a donation or show up to volunteer.  While there are addicts who never become violent, the group appears to escalate together on frequent occasion.

This is not a homeless problem, it is a drug problem....

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Mother's Day and the Surprising Gift of Carpools

This Mother’s Day weekend I’m reflecting on how much motherhood has changed for me over the past 13 years.  From the sleepless single mom nights of wanting nothing more on the holiday than to go for a run without having to push a stroller and take an uninterrupted nap until I wake up on my own to the place I am today- looking at my children looking closer and closer to adults and wanting to keep them with me every second I can.  I’m finding those moments in surprising places this year, and creating them when I can.

Several times lately I’ve reflected on how much I love to drive the carpool much to the surprise of others.  A few months ago driving the kids became a near part-time job

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Riches with No Money

The trek to this village was a long one, though the miles were few.  Paved roads gave way to boulder-strewn and rutted paths necessitating all of our 4 wheels to drive though at a pace barely faster than a walk, the steep inclines and descents would have tired us on foot for the day to be sure.  En route, we saw children filling the riverbed with the day’s washing, scrubbing hard on the rocks whose moss will never have a chance to grow.  Just meters away, their homes, 5 simple pieces of 4x8’ corrugated metal tied together.  Some of these children had the luck of living in a place so new it bore no rust...

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