Sunday, August 26, 2018

pets help

This crazy cat.  Sammi.  What would I have done without her over these past several months?  Sammi has been a snuggly companion in the midst of my becoming an empty nester and a single person all at about the same time over the course of the past year.  Whether you're a dog lover or cat lover, pets undoubtedly help in the healing process.

"A cat purring on your lap is more healing than any drug in the world, as the vibrations you are receiving are of pure love and contentment." ~St. Francis of Assisi

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

an example of systemic racism

Several years ago, I attended a 3 day "Undoing Racism" workshop taught by People's Institute for Survival and Beyond.  It was such an enlightening workshop, and it has helped me so often to identify situations of internalized, systemic racism where I might otherwise have overlooked it.  

During the workshop, I remember one of the instructors, a Hispanic woman, talk about one of the ways that systemic racism manifests. She said that when there is a crime that gets national attention, she prays that the perpetrator will not be Hispanic.  She went on to say that when the perpetrator is a minority, then it is part of systemic racism's nature that the dominant culture will paint that entire people group in the light of that perpetrator.  Yet, when the perpetrator is of the dominant culture, then he/she gets viewed as one individual who did this very bad thing.  

We are seeing an example of that this week in the national spotlight.  Yesterday, law enforcement was led to the body of Mollie Tibbets, a 20 year old college student, from Brooklyn, IA, who disappeared on July 18.  I am heart sick for her and for her family.  I have a wonderful, beautiful daughter the same age, and I cannot imagine the pain and grief of family and friends.  Mollie's life was cut short by a man named Cristhian Rivera, a 24 year old male from Mexico who was undocumented.  Rivera was sick to follow, abduct, and take Mollie's life.  He needs to be brought before the courts and to pay for such a tragic crime.  He, however, should not be viewed as a representation of all 24 year olds, males, Mexicans, or undocumented people in the United States.  

This week, the national spotlight is also on the murder of 34 year old Shanann Watts, 4 year old Bella, 3 year old Celeste, and unborn Baby Watts, by the hand of Chris Watts, their husband and father who is a white, 33 year old middle class male.  Chris Watts was sick to take his wife and children's lives.  He needs to be brought before the courts and to pay for such a tragic crime. No one in dominant culture, however, will paint all white 33 year old males as dangerous, bad, or evil.  Heck, this news story doesn't even want to paint Chris Watts in that light:  Dominant culture will, because of the entrenchment of systemic racism, naturally see this criminal (Chris Watts) as an individual while seeing the criminal above (Cristhian Rivera) as an entire people group.  

After being told this, I see it often.  We saw 64 year old white male, Stephen Paddock, as an individual.  He killed 58 people in Las Vegas out of his hotel window while they attended a concert.
Statistics show that mass killings are committed predominantly by white males (, but we will continue to view each of these criminals as an outlier rather than to create a general stereotype. Dominant culture will not afford that to minorities, however.  This is a characteristic of how internalized systemic oppression holds on to the superiority/inferiority dynamic.  Sometimes people have trouble getting a grasp on the systemic, internalized nature of racism, so I thought I would share a pretty visible example of it at work.    

Have you seen examples of this? 

Sunday, August 12, 2018

books help

Books help

I am a reader.  Books inspire me, challenge me, instruct me, and they often offer language that helps me identify, clarify, and process emotions, questions, experiences that I’ve not fully understood or processed.  In the midst of much grief in 2018, God has faithfully provided gifts and graces daily; books included.  Alongside Scripture, here’s a reading list that has helped me in this season of divorce:

The Furious Longing of God  Brennan Manning
Option B  Sheryl Sandberg
Braving the Wilderness  Brene Brown
Married but Not Engaged Paul and Sandy Coughlin
The Disconnected Man Jim Turner
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Pete Scazzero (emotionally healthy podcasts, too)
Rising Strong  Brene Brown
A Grace Disguised by Jerry Sittser

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

oh to get fun snail mail

Fred Burton took snail mail to artistic brilliance when he sent his friend, Steve, more than 2,000 unique art pieces via letters, envelopes, and postcards over a 30 year period.  Steve kept every treasure received by post, and currently this art exhibit is at the Waterloo Center for the Arts until August 26.  

The Youth Art Team core group of artists spent part of the morning at the WCA checking out this exhibit; even doing a scavenger hunt that allowed them to search Burton's envelopes for a multitude of objects found in his work.  

I LOVE THIS EXHIBIT SO MUCH!  I grew up writing letters back and forth with my cousin, Kate, my Aunt LuDean, and I had several pen pals across states.   This display brought back fond memories of letter writing, and it inspired and thrilled me.  Makes me want to get shelves full of art supplies again (like we had in our basement when sh and nh were young) and to send some fun and love through the United States Postal Service!  

More than kisses letters mingle souls.
~John Donne
Or don't you like to write letters. I do because it's such a swell way to keep from working and yet feel you've done something.
~Ernest Hemingway
To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart.  ~Phyllis Theroux