The Same Story

Mothering is a prolonged goodbye. For many it lasts 18 years. Others have an abrupt ending at 5 years or 23.

trying to avoid group photos


trying to avoid group photos

My grandma called me a child when I was maybe 22. I defensively retorted I was not a baby. Grandma, in her wisdom, shared what I would learn to be true—7 or 72, I would always be her child.

laughing too hard to run away


laughing too hard to run away

I have a grand selection of fine friends who forgive me my dislike of this day. They forgive my bland vanilla wishes. My mother grieves along with me.

And a little girl who believes mommies are the gift, brings a rose to me for reasons she can’t yet grasp. A mama’s thin smile is all the conversation needed, one that is whispered above the child’s head.

This is my third attempt to fulfill a request to tell a story. Usually I can give it a day to breathe; ruminate a bit. Come at the theme sideways, talking low in an attempt not to startle my memory or the subject matter.

 This is as good as it gets with this crew.


This is as good as it gets with this crew.

Not this time.

I cannot tell a lie, especially not today. Today is not the day to disappoint my mother. So I can’t tell you what it is like to be a mother in extreme poverty. My heart won’t let me walk that road.

Fifteen years ago, I put a tiny baby back in her bassinet and walked out the door of the Missionaries of Charity in Chennai. I called my mother from the deck of the Universe Explorer and I cried. She told me I couldn’t leave the ship and fly home with a baby. She was right.

On that day, I was no more ready to raise a child alone in the US than I would have been to stay in India to serve at the orphanage. Though I wanted both.

I’d share with you the photo of me and baby M., but the snapshot, like most of my life is buried in a storage unit across town. First world problem.

I can’t paint a picture of life as a mother in Uganda or Guatemala, and I can’t tell you what Mother’s Day means to me. I’ll have to believe that my own mother will forgive my failing an assignment and these three will forgive me for not understanding their world.

Jospeh, Uganda

Silvana, Guatemala

Nelson, Ecuador

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Days to Remember

***UPDATE*****

Joy has been sponsored! How is that for an early birthday present? But please, don’t let that stop you from clicking over to my compassion page and see who else is waiting for their own sponsor.

And I must say a BIG big thank you to Joy’s sponsor.

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I’m walking on the beach when I remember that it is the 22nd today.

4 months from today I will flip the calendar of my life over to a new year.

I remember when I used to wait for a birthday. For holidays.

Then I remember someone else who shares my birthday. I spent my breath to blow out the flames on sending the wish out loud and clear over here.

I remember what the streets smelled like. I remember seeing the women sweeping the street with brooms and their too short handles. The beautiful mandalas made each morning.

I remember the baby with the broken legs. She was run over by an auto-rickshaw. Abandoned. It hurt for people to hold her.

These are the images I recall when I think of a number like 22 and a boy named Joy who waits for a gift like you.

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Join in the party?

Now, set your timer, clear your head, for five minutes of free writing without worrying about getting it right.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

#Itsallaboutgiving and grammar and twitter

There are so many things, ideas, people, that are beyond my grasp intellectually. I’m working on my understanding of string theory (and its application biologically in our bodies) but I can’t seem to grasp the hashtag. Is it air quotes all technified?

source: compassion international

Another little something that I don’t understand. Poverty. Children who suffer. Parents who walk away. Moms who have to leave their 2 year old alone to go gather sticks to sell in a market. Choosing who gets to eat today.

Ok. So that is more than one little something. It is a big problem and one that I may never understand this side of heaven. I’m accepting that I can’t understand it. Only because I know that my life was meant to do something about it.

I’ve already sent off my Christmas gift to Joseph, Nelson and Silvana. The three wonders that I have told you about before. Now it is time to choose a gift for someone that I don’t know and will never meet. Grace flung far from my hands to do good simply because grace was slipped into my hands in the first place.

Consider exchanging the chaos of the mall for the comfort of your home, and the ability to provide a small portion of comfort to someone else. Bring a glass of clean water to a child. Help a mom stay home with her children and still be able to feed them. Every choice on every page of the catalog will feel better and last longer than whatever plastic electronic piece of whatever (wrapped in more plastic that is impossible to remove!) you may find on a wishlist.

Know this, there is no guilt or arm twisting here. Getting information is the only way to learn. This is information I  have that I wish to share. Understanding the why of poverty is not required for anyone to take action against it. And until I get more of my grey matter to march on a different path, you are safe from posts regarding string theory and epigenetics. You are welcome.

Now off to twitter to tell all my zero followers about this wonderment. There is grace indeed even in that–the zero followers that is. Kinda of like falling down in public, getting up and realizing no one saw you. Ya. Just like that.

Geography Lesson

Do you homeschool?  Have school aged child with homework questions? Do you discuss world events around the dinner table?

May I suggest a tool for you?

You can teach your children about geography and current events by using the Compassion website. There are children from around the world that are part of the Compassion International program–children from 26 countries now, I believe.

The child sponsorship page can be searched by country, age, gender or birthdate. Some children have symbols on their pictures, each with a different meaning. This could be a good springboard for discussions about maps and map legends. Or, for older children, you could discuss what the symbols means–one of which signifies that the child has lost a parent.

The website can be a way to start many conversations–about poverty, compassion, clean water, hunger, culture, and giving.

t-shirt from the Compassion International store

After the lesson, or the homework, maybe you let your child search for others who share his or her birthdate? This could be a way to encourage your child to pray for others–a simple print out of the page could be a reminder that the child could look at to pray for a child in need, and the child’s future sponsor.

If sponsorship is something you wish to pursue, you can click on any link in this post to direct you to the Compassion site.

A New Way to Give Good Gifts

For many people, September brings back to school and cooler temperatures. Thoughts of fall and all of the upcoming holidays string themselves together like a garland of days.

This is the time of year when I think I should be doing something about holiday shopping. Or I consider how or if I should be shopping. I’ve considered Christmas Change, given money to charities in lieu of gifts and to honor those I love. Each year I evaluate where I am and what matters, how I can make that evident in what I do.

September is going to be a month full of information on one of my favorite charities–Compassion International. This year you don’t have to wait until Christmas for my favorite catalog.

Consider taking another step beyond buying a gift for someone in need? Consider honoring someone you love by sponsoring a child? The cost of child sponsorship for a year ($456) might just be an amount close to what you would spend on birthday, anniversary and Christmas gifts–separately or combined.

Would you consider praying for Compassion whether or not sponsorship is for you? Can you take a minute or two and scroll through the pages of unsponsored children and pray for them and their future sponsors?