Monthly Archives: July 2018

Joy and Sadness

 Sunday, we had a guest speaker at church, Karina Barillas. Barillas is the Executive Director of La Casita Center, a Louisville-based non-profit dedicated to supporting and empowering the city’s Latino community, including those who are undocumented immigrants. Barillas emigrated from Guatemala after being a victim of incest and domestic violence. She spoke eloquently of the constant fear, anxiety, and discrimination faced by asylum-seeking families: “We imagine that this is something that is just happening on television or at the borders, but it’s not. It’s happening everyday across communities in America.” She told of mothers and fathers on their way to work or home who were snatched off the streets by ICE officers, leaving confused and devastated children behind.  She talked about kids being bullied at school and told, “Go back to where you came from. You don’t belong here,” and children as old as twelve who were afraid to go to the center’s day camp because they were too scared to be separated from their mothers. Who knew if their parents would still be at home when they returned?             I cried as she spoke, as did many others in the congregation. When we asked her what above all we could do, she said, “You can vote.”  And we will, and many of us will try to do more than that. Yet the horror of what is happening to innocent and vulnerable children and families weighs heavily on our hearts.             When I walked in the door at home from [...]

By |2018-07-25T09:08:04-05:00July 25th, 2018|Politics|0 Comments

Fourteen Years Later…

Priscilla and my grandson Sebastian There’s a reason the wedding invitation simply announces, “At last,” followed by the names of the bride and groom and the date, time, and place. It’s been a mere fourteen years since my younger son fell madly in love with his long-time partner Priscilla, a vivacious, feisty young woman. Three children later (one from my son’s previous relationship and two they share together), lots of bumps on their journey, and the world’s longest engagement, these two are finally making the leap to matrimony.             If it had been up to my son, they would have gotten married years ago. But Priscilla was hesitant. After all, the men in her life growing up hadn’t been… well, let’s just say, they weren’t the most reliable bunch. And she’s always been fiercely independent. In fact, when I asked her why she’d finally decided they could set a date, she said simply: “The idea of marriage has always made me nervous, but he’s the only person I would ever want to be with.”             These two have literally grown up together, and it’s wonderful to witness their commitment to one another for the long haul. Besides, there’s something exciting about all of these rituals and traditions. This past week, I got to go wedding dress shopping with Priscilla. She found a beautiful dress. It brought back such happy memories of wedding dress shopping with my older son’s bride Lauren and her mom. Talk about vicarious pleasure!             [...]

By |2018-07-16T09:55:23-05:00July 16th, 2018|Family|0 Comments

Politics by Bumper Sticker

Driving on the highway the other day, I passed a car with a “Coexist” bumper sticker, the cheerful one with symbols from the world’s great religions. Warm feelings flooded through me.  I love these stickers. To me, they symbolize  open-mindedness, inclusiveness, and respectful appreciation of our differences. I gave the driver a friendly smile as I passed him. Then I stiffened as I got behind a truck with a prominent “Pro-Life” bumper sticker. Because I believed that the decision to terminate a pregnancy was a deeply personal one that should be left up to the individual, I figured this driver would think my car should be adorned with a “Pro-Death” bumper sticker.  The lines of this debate have been drawn so starkly that there is little room for someone like me who would much prefer alternatives to abortion but knows this is not my decision to make for someone else. As I drew closer to the truck in front of me, I noticed another sticker. This one proudly proclaimed, “0% liberal.” Really? There is not even one eensy “liberal” idea the driver could tolerate? Wow. How did our politics devolve into this zero-sum game? Even I, a liberal Democrat, am a fan of free trade, which used to be Republican orthodoxy. I want to be someone who engages in civil discourse, who respects the opinions of others, and who “seeks first to understand.” But truthfully, I’m having a hard time with that. After class one day during this past presidential [...]

By |2018-07-09T09:39:43-05:00July 9th, 2018|Politics|0 Comments

When You Change Someone Else’s Life, You Transform Your Own

We had a guest speaker yesterday at church. His name is David Benson, and he’s the founder of a Southern Indiana-based non-profit called "Dogs Helping Heroes.” As the product of a military family, he’d witnessed firsthand the physical, emotional and mental toll war takes on returning veterans. Many suffer from PTSD and a host of other difficulties that make re-adjustment to civilian life extraordinarily difficult.             Benson, a long-time dog trainer, discovered that training a service dog to be a constant companion for a wounded warrior or first responder, could transform that person’s life and help restore his or her connections to family, friends, and willingness even to venture outside or shop for groceries. After three people suggested to Benson that he start a non-profit to expand his work, he decided the universe was sending him a message, and he founded Dogs Helping Heroes. The operation is a volunteer effort. Rescue dogs are carefully trained, often initially by inmates as part of their rehabilitation, before being paired with their new owners.  Benson showed a video and brought along two veterans and their service dogs to illustrate how life-changing the program has been.             Benson spoke passionately about the program. He teared up when he told the story of being at a celebratory picnic for participants in which a little girl had come up to his father and said, “Your son gave me my daddy back.”             It was so clear that it wasn’t just the recipients of the service dogs [...]

By |2018-07-02T11:27:06-05:00July 2nd, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments