A Profile of Racism In Our World

 

I began this draft back in February of 2016 when I first read Kristian Davis Bailey’s account of his horrifying experience in Israel and the West Bank.  I’ve visited this draft several times since, but was never satisfied with it overall.  That is until I awoke this morning to the news of yet another mass shooting/killing in Orlando, Florida, in the “good ol’ us of a.”  Again, I am without words to describe my horror, sadness and grief.  And, saying the obvious, “my thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families” sounds hollow and small.

How can I relate?  How can anyone relate?  Only those who have lost loved ones to hatred, violence, abuse, and death can relate.  I only know that today I cried tears of compassion and solidarity with the many who mourn the loss of their loved ones, their ideals, their innocence, their joy, and their belief in a world where peace and love always conquer violence, hatred and fear.  I still believe in these values and truths, but today…. I’m a bit shaken.

 

At the risk of offending just about everyone I know, I want to talk about the evils of racism {and, after today’s terror in Orlando, we can add to racism:  intolerance, hatred, homophobia, and bigotry in all its forms}.  Not as a white woman, or as a white woman with children of color, or as any label I may be stuck with, but simply as a member of humanity.  Quite honestly I have always been a bit naïve and/or idealistic when it comes to relationships, so I’ve never understood how societies continue to justify racist and unjust laws, racial profiling, and blatantly racist and ignorant speech.  What disturbs me even more is how these advanced and so-called “civilized” countries turn a blind eye to the poverty and violence such racist behavior perpetuates upon targeted groups.

Again, given the tragic events in Orlando today, I am horrified at the numbers.  The US leads the world in the number of mass shootings.  We have more guns in circulation than any other country, and there are about 40 million more guns than people in America.  Appalling!  I do not, nor will I ever, own a gun.  That means that most gun owners in the US must own more than quite a few guns one gun.  Personally, I do not feel “safe.”
Back in February I read an article on Color Lines by activist and journalist Kristian Davis Bailey.  He was on his way to a conference in the West Bank where he was one of the featured speakers on Palestinian and Black solidarity.  Of course he was racially and politically profiled and treated so horribly and unjustly that I simply have no words to add to his own detailed report on the events that followed.  SeriouslyClick the link and read the article. In Kristian’s own words he has “no illusion about what occurred” to him at the hands of Israeli border agents, nor do I.

I am baffled and deeply saddened by the obvious take-away here:  In the last 100 years (and more!) we have learned precious little.  Not only do we still nurture hatred, suspicion, and bigotry in our children, we also continue to support and sanction state sponsored violence and repression against targeted groups and minorities.  What the hell are we afraid of?  Peace?  Love?  The possibility of authentic joy?

I know that poverty is at the very heart of the violence and hatred we see all across the globe, but I’m naïve & idealistic.  I believe that there is more than just one person in every nook and cranny of the world that has had enough.  I want to believe that we can change this culture of violence & hatred into a culture of peace & love.  I want to believe this with all my heart, but today…  I am shaken.  I am truly shaken.

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Discovering My Swedish Heritage

This week at St. Francis School we will participate in a new school-wide tradition (this is the 4th year) called “International Day.”  Don’t ask me why it is done in April (Poetry Month) instead of in October (United Nations Day, the 24th).  Suffice it to say that our boss faced a possible insurrection when she wanted to do it in March during the same week we had Book Fair, Bingo, and Parent/Teacher Conferences. How ironic that International Day of Happiness was on the 20th that same week.  We were NOT happy!  Teacher riot averted, we negotiated for April 27th, which currently has no UN supported international observance.  I am, however, chuckling to myself about April 28th:  World Day for Safety and Health in the Workplace. This year’s theme? WORKPLACE STRESS!!!!!

Back to International Day at St. Francis….

The upper grades (5-8) have to do individual projects and present their chosen country in the afternoon.  The K-4 Unit gets to pick a country and the whole class participates and has their presentation in the morning.  I gave my class three options to vote on:  Morocco, Madagascar, and Sweden.  They picked Sweden.  I must say it’s been fun sharing my Swedish heritage with my 1st graders, but something else has happened that I did not expect.  Along the way I’ve (not surprisingly) made a few discoveries about the country itself, but what I wasn’t expecting was the discovery of an intimate and personal connection with my Swedish roots.

I often joke that “I’m 50% Swedish, 25% Italian, and 25% Irish, but the Italian just takes over!”  That’s true, but!  When researching information that I could transpose into cross-curricular lessons, worksheets, and activities for a group of mostly Apache 1st graders, I started to make connections that gave me a bit of insight into my own personality and tendencies.  One of my other jokes is that I have this “latent Lutheran gene” in me that makes me obsess about paper-work and organization.  Soooo true!!!

So my “ah-ha!” moment came while reading about the Swedish temperament on a site that helps train and educate global businesses on culture and etiquette in other countries.  It says that most Swedes find boasting distasteful, and are often soft-spoken.  I have always had trouble with compliments and do not like to call attention to myself.  When I do a good job, it’s enough that I know it and others benefit from it.  I don’t always want recognition; a simple “Thank-you” is enough.  Which leads to the next eye-opener:  TackEven when you are thanking someone for something, they may thank you for thanking them!

When invited to someone’s house for a party or for dinner I never go empty-handed.  Under “Etiquette” on this same site it mentions gift-giving not just for the hostess, but for any children that may live there, too.  When I travel to visit my brother & sister-in-law I always bring something homemade and maybe something special from Trader Joe’s.  They told me that I didn’t have to feel obligated to bring anything, but I said, “It’s my nature.”  Well, now I can see that it truly is my nature!  Yes, it’s always fun to discover something that’s always been there waiting to be uncovered.

My students are excited about Sweden and what we have planned, and so am I.  We are building a Viking Ship, the boys made Viking Helmets, the girls made Swedish Bonnets.  I’ve made little red vests for the boys, blue skirts for the girls, and the girls decorated little white aprons.  Tomorrow we’ll make Fresh Pickled Cucumbers in Science class.  Also on the menu for our little Smorgasbord are Swedish Meatballs, mushrooms, onions, Swedish Pancakes (Plattar) with Lingonberries, and Christmas Crullers.  To top off our virtual tour of Sweden my students will be performing two folk dances they’ve been practicing.  They will look so cute in their little outfits!  I’ll post pictures next week!

One last discovery….

Since I cut my cable over 10 years ago I’ve been out of the TV-Land loop to say the least.  I honestly don’t know half the celebrities I see on the covers of the magazines at the check-out lines.  While google-searching for authentic (that means NO HORNS!!!) Viking helmets I kept seeing pictures of Vikings from a “new” series on the History Channel.

I simply must get caught up on the last 4 Seasons!

 

Triduum Reflections 2016

Everywhere across the globe Christian communities are participating in Holy Week traditions. Here in “mission country” St. Francis of Assisi School in Lumberton has a highly visible tradition: The Stations Walk. At first I wasn’t sure what to expect, but having just returned from this 3-mile walk with Jesus I must say that I was moved and inspired.

Jesus may not have walked 3 miles to Calvary (it was less than a mile by some accounts, and just a fraction of a mile by others), but this 3 miles is significant to this community.  It became significant to me today.  St. Francis Church is in Lumberton, off the Reservation, while our sister parish, St. Patrick’s, in on the Reservation in Dulce.  The praying of the Stations of the Cross begins inside St. Francis Church and ends inside St. Patrick’s with a 15th Station, The Empty Tomb.  Between the two Catholic churches we stop along the way to reflect on each of the 14 Stations.

Along the way I tried to help keep people off the road and kids out of arroyos and ditches.  I also tried to remain reflective and prayerful.  Difficult!  I was reminded of the marches with the CIW that I participated in while in Florida; walk at a slow pace, three-by-three, and pass out water and snacks along the way.  God bless the wise elders in our  Dulce community for the donated water, juice & oranges at Stations 4 & 8!

Our Jesus was rather fit this year.  By the 3rd station many of us were lagging far behind, huffing and puffing, and ready to jump in the “rescue Jeep” leading our procession.  At Jesus’ pace we would have reached St. Patrick’s by 10:30 instead of the estimated noon-time arrival!  With a gentle suggestion, a bit of pace-correction, and a firm teacher gaze, we soon settled into a more prayerful pace that suited the older participants, one pregnant mother, and several families pushing strollers.

Once I was able to breath again, relax, and observe (I’m getting over a severe sinus infection this week), I noticed amazing things on this journey.  First I found myself toward the end of the 130+ procession imagining myself actually following Jesus on his way to Calvary.  That made me want to cry.  Then, just as we began to climb a slight incline, I realized that I couldn’t see Jesus, but I could see the tip of the cross.  I found myself calling to children who were straying off the path “Keep your eyes on Jesus!  Stay on the path!”  Soon I found that I couldn’t see Jesus or the cross.  At first I felt a sense of loss and even fear, but then I realized something amazing.  We were all moving forward and following Jesus.  I reflected on my own life and what happens so often in everyone’s life.  How often do we lose sight of Jesus?  How often do we lose our way?  How often do we feel lost and alone?  The best thing to do is to find people who are on the path following Jesus, and follow them.  When I feel lost and struggling with my faith and hope, I should always look to those whose faith is strong for help.  Eventually I will find Jesus again and be given strength for the journey.

Another gift I found on this Stations Walk is a woman named Dulley!  She subbed for me so that I could be with my family when my grandmother died in late January.  I love this Apache woman!  What an amazing spirit!  She walked the whole way & brought the oranges earlier on our walk today.  When nature called, she stopped at a gas station in Dulce and picked up a mother and her two young girls from Boulder, CO who were just passing through.  Several others in Dulce joined our procession around the 12th Station.  Again I imagined what Jesus’ actual journey must have been like.  I imagined those who knew Jesus and who had followed him for the last three years following him on this last journey.  Then I imagined people who didn’t know Jesus asking “What’s happening here?”  During the last 3 Stations I saw several faces that I had not seen before; rather like the workers in the vineyards.  It doesn’t matter when we arrive to help, we all are called to do the Father’s work, and we are all invited to share in God’s love.

So, in the end I thoroughly enjoyed the 3-mile Stations Walk followed by this evening’s Holy Thursday Mass.  I think the key to any of the Triduum traditions is to cast yourself in the role of someone who may have actually been there.  Mary Magdalene is my patron saint.  At the end of mass this evening I found myself in church, almost alone, feeling very much like Mary Magdalene at the tomb; lost and uncertain.  As the Gomez family was locking the Sacristy and getting ready to leave, I asked if they were locking up the church or coming back later to lock up.  I said that I would go home if they were locking up, but if nobody was staying with Jesus, I didn’t want to leave.  This was a new feeling.  It was decided to lock up the church, go home and prepare for Good Friday.  I truly felt like Mary Magdalene without her Lord.

This was by far one of the richest Holy Thursday I have ever experienced.

Thank God!

Discerning Again: How I’ve Come to Dread “Discernment”

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I’ve been otherwise occupied by a number of things. To say the least.

The first semester here at school was extremely busy and the work spilled over into my “free time” all the time. If we volunteers weren’t teaching, grading, or getting lesson plans together, we were busy helping with fundraisers, sitting in meetings, or conducting parent-teacher conferences. All part of teaching, but a little over the top.  So, Christmas break was indeed a welcome break.  And then there was the depression that set in somewhere around Thanksgiving, followed by feelings of regret, stupidity, and the usual self-pity party (I haven’t thrown a party like that in years!).  Then my grandmother died January 19th.  So I went home to mourn with my family, clear my head and do some discerning.

Discernment.  I’ve developed a distinct distaste for that word.  I’m not too crazy about the process, either.  It’s hard work, it takes time, and it requires that I examine my inner self, accept it, and then make choices that will change my life.

In 2008 I entered a period of religious discernment.  It led me to the Adrian Dominicans and, after a year of formation, I became an Associate in November of 2009.  This process was emotional, but in the end I enjoyed the process and learned a lot about myself.  It also helped me to deepen my prayer-life, and in turn, my trust in God’s will for me.  In the fall of 2014 I once again entered a period of discernment.  This time the process was not what I would call enjoyable; in fact it was pretty painful.  In the end I totally uprooted myself and moved to New Mexico to serve the Jicarilla Apache children of Dulce.  The kids are great!  The people, the mountains, the environment, and even the snow are all wonderful, but in the end this mission is not a good fit for me.  It isn’t what I’ve found or experienced here, but what is missing here that has caused me to begin the process of discernment once again.

What’s missing at my current stop are not the material things like a local Starbuck’s, high-speed internet, or the beach.  I am missing time for the things that keep my spirituality healthy like regular mass with a priest and access to the sacraments, time for reflection and contemplation, time for my artwork, time for inspirational reading, time for online & on-pavement activism, and time to spend with my Creator.

Is it possible that the more I go through the process of discernment, the more painful it becomes?  Or is it that my past discernments have been false?  Perhaps I’m simply on a journey that requires a series of stops along the way.

Discernment:  It’s a bitch, and she’s biting my butt again.

Thoughts From “Mission Country”

Have I had a summer?  Oh, boy, have I had a summer!  After quitting my job of 22 years, saying goodbye to my family, friends, students, fellow parishioners, and the many dear people in my life, I sold what I had, packed what was necessary & made my way to “Mission Country” in the high mountain desert of New Mexico to serve the Jicarilla Apache children.  At about 7,400′ elevation I am happy to report NO altitude sickness this time around!  Occasional headaches, but a couple of Tylenol and a gallon of H2O puts me right again.

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St. Francis of Assisi School

I arrived safely on July 29th and made my way to Lumberton where I began orientation on the 31st.  My car arrived soon after, but my art supplies, kitchen & personal items on the moving van did not.  While I was expecting my things sooner than the car, that nightmarish scene from the latest Pixar film “Inside Out” came back to haunt me.  If you haven’t seen the movie, Riley & her family have to move across the country, they hire a moving company but their stuff isn’t there as promised when they arrive at the house.  The usual daily calls are made, but still no stuff.  De ja vu!  My moving truck was supposed to arrive by August 6th, but did not arrive until the 17th!  Some of the boxes looked like they had been crushed by elephants, others exposed to flooding, and a few actually made it here unscathed.  All but three boxes from my sewing room have been opened, and so far I have lost to breakage a butter dish, a pie plate, and a sushi plate that I made myself.  Still, not the end of the world.  That was yet to come.  Seriously.
The day after I finally got my stuff, I noticed a billowing cloud of smoke over the Archuleta Mesa.  We (the volunteer teachers) were told to “get an overnight bag ready & put it in the car; we may need to evacuate if the wildfire jumps the river!”  So…. My things finally arrive only to be threatened with 2 nearby wildfires.  Great!  Is anyone else looking for the icing on the cake?  Once back at the house, the water cuts out.  For two days!  Welcome to “Mission Country” where every day is a new adventure!
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Smoke from nearby wildfires.

I laughed as best I could because the alternative was to have an emotional meltdown.  The sad fact is that this happens on a regular basis, and not in Africa, South America, the Middle East, or some other impoverished, war-torn country.  This happens right here in America; the good ol’ US of A, folks!  What I find almost surreal is the laid-back attitude of the locals.  I asked one resident, “Why does the water cut out?”  Answer:  “Oh, sometimes they’re working on the lines & they break.  Other times the pump stops & they have to fix it.  Other times they’re cleaning something at the plant & they just shut it down.”  That’s it.  No notice.  No warning.  No courtesy notes hung on door knobs.  No public announcement or a “boil water” notice announced on the radio or the local TV News.  There is no local news.  Just local folks guessing & making due until it comes back on.  This is their “normal” and now my new normal.
When I was discerning a call to “mission” I oftentimes imagined going a third world county or a place ravaged by war and poverty.  I never imagined the USA, yet here it is.  Our own backyard!  In spite of all this, I am immediately in love with this place, the people, the culture, and the children.  The scenery alone is distracting enough!  But the people?  They are amazing!
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Rockies, valleys, sky… A painters paradise!

I have been placed in the First Grade, and am the Art Teacher for the whole school, K-8.  My First Grade has capped-out at 15, and I love them all!  One of my four most fidgety children is a real gem.  When I asked her how I was going to keep her in her seat, she suggested I try a seat-belt!  First Grade!  Too much wit for me!
Tragically their needs are great.  Most come from broken homes and experience great poverty.  Some are so far behind academically, I may very well have them again next year (yeah, I think I’m staying.).  Much of the curriculum is outdated, but the standards are not, thus creating a bit of a challenge for us teachers.  I’ve started out by telling my students that I think they are terrific kids, and I am positive that they will all work hard to do their best.  And I believe they will.  I’ve worked them hard this last month.  We planted seeds for Science, worked hard in Reading/LA and Math, I’ve given a lot of homework, and they still think I’m a great teacher!  I’ve got them walking in straight lines & quaking like ducks to & from the playground, yet walking silently like “silent e” when we walk past the Front Office.  Too precious!  And, I think I may have created something of a monster out here that my friends back East will appreciate:  Sunshine Sticks for behavior!  I’ve had reports from parents and other teachers that the hottest dinner table topic is “Who lost a Sunshine Stick today?”
I will do my best to keep posting throughout the school year.  Internet is very sketchy; it cuts out more than the water.  The hours spent at school are more than I care to admit, limiting my “down-time.”   If the Peace Corps is “the toughest job you’ll ever love,” then teaching at St. Francis School is by far “the toughest job I’ll ever, EVER love!”  Yep.  It’s Mission Country, but the people and the landscapes are totally worth it!
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Sunset over the Mesa.

When The World Moves At a Faster Pace

Is it my imagination, or do things happen so fast that one can hardly keep up?  So many good and bad things are happening locally, nationally, and internationally, it’s hard to find time to reflect on any of it.  As soon as I start to reflect on one issue, or event, another one of equal importance occurs.  It’s what I call “emotional whiplash,” or just a simple case of social/news media overstimulation.  What I rail against at my teaching job (now “former” teaching job) is not unique to educational institutions; it’s endemic throughout Western society.  We are in constant motion. We go from one activity to the next with little or no consideration given to the people involved, or how it affects us.  If we are to grow and learn we must have periods of contemplation, reflection, and prayer in between the events that fill our days.  I mourn the art of “down time” that has been lost; time alone with our thoughts, our God, and time spent in conversation with the people in our lives.

As I consider the recent SCOTUS rulings I am troubled by our reliance on a group of 9 women and men to tell us what is just and right.  I am troubled by those who praise the Supreme Court when a particular ruling supports their point of view or way of life, and then damn them all to Hell when they don’t.  I am also troubled by the way so many narrow-minded members of various religions apparently feel so threatened that they find it acceptable to speak and behave in such hurtful ways.  As a Catholic I understand Christ’s message of love to be about relationship; our relationship with God, with each other, and with our planet.  That’s it.  Relationship.  And, I’m pretty sure that if I delved deeper into every organized religion out there, relationship would be at the heart of these faiths, too.  To be clear, I am pleased with the courts ruling on marriage equality, but very disturbed by their ruling on the use of the controversial drug midazolam being used during executions.  Also, while I do not need the SCOTUS to spell out for me what is just and right, I certainly understand the important part the high court plays in our society.

Fr. James Martin, SJ posted (as usual) a terrific piece on his Facebook page, and also Tweeted in response to the marriage equality ruling.  Of course he got a lot of heat and verbal abuse from several followers.  Here’s what he wrote the other day:  “How can Catholics and Christians respond to the Supreme Court decision? First, of course by remembering to love their LGBT brothers and sisters.”  I am constantly amazed by people who think they have the moral authority to pass judgment on others when they themselves clearly have a plank in their skull! eye (Matthew 7:1-5)!  He followed up with a post reminding his “erstwhile” friends about how the “un-friend” and “un-follow” buttons work.  I love this Jesuit!

But, Fr. James wasn’t the only one who got dumped on.  Imagine my surprise when I opened up my Facebook to find a hurtful message from someone who is not even “friended” on my page, and who I consider only an acquaintance.  Apparently she was “shocked” at my profile picture (with rainbow filter), and she just “felt she needed to share that” with me.  Pretty bold for someone I hardly know, and who obviously knows nothing about who I am.  When Pope Francis says that he will not judge, and Jesus himself refused to pass judgment on a woman about to be stoned, who does she think she is?  I believe in healthy dialogue when it comes to important topics, not petty “bird-dropping” online.  Sharing ideas is important to building relationships.  Compassion, love, and understanding are at the core of Christianity, and it’s all relationship.  What this woman did to me, and what many others are doing on social media, serves no useful purpose, and does not reflect the light of Christ or God’s overwhelming love for us.  In fact, this kind of negativity only tears down relationships and the kingdom of God.

It’s troubling.

The other thing I find troubling is the lack of outcry from these same people over the court’s ruling on the use of midazolam to execute prisoners on death row.  What’s even more troubling are some of the comments I’ve read below the news reports on this latest ruling.  How do we manufacture such insensitive, aggressive people, some of whom profess to be “Christians?”  The bottom line for me on lethal injection and the death penalty is this:  Don’t.  All life is precious.  All life!  Murderers need to be locked up, not killed.

As I ponder how I should respond to my “friend” (if at all), I will struggle to practice what is always necessary when confronted by opposition and hurtful speech….  I will quietly, gently hold her in prayer.

And to my Facebook friends who are upset or offended by my rainbow filter profile picture:  Thanks for being respectful and loving by not posting anything hurtful!  I noticed that, & I love you all!!!!

PS:  I sat on this post for more than 24 hours & I’m glad I did, since it has given me time to find a podcast worth sharing.  My mentor, Sr. Helene Dompierre, OP, once gave me a book by Fr. James Martin, SJ.  I forgot about that until I came across it today while packing.  What an insightful and joyful man he is!  In December of 2014 Krista Tippett spoke with him on her show “On Being,” and I think this 50 minute discussion beautifully sums up what I believe, and what I aspire to become as a child of God.  Enjoy!

Discerning and Answering A Call

I’ve been a very silent blogger for these last few months, and I am sorry for that. Hopefully what I share here will explain my silence and provide a little something to look forward to. I have been busy at school (nothing new this time of year), and also busy with CIW and TCFF actions. Just last month I organized and helped lead a Prayer Vigil at a new Publix store opening in my area, and also created a little “Fair Food performance piece” for a Chautauqua at the Ground Floor Farm’s Spring Festival. All that writing & organizing was time consuming, but that’s not why I’ve been absent from blogging.  I’ve been away from blogging because I’ve been discerning a new path for my life.

Discernment is relatively new for me. In 2008 I was in discernment, but was unfamiliar with what discernment truly meant.  I had often heard God calling me to serve in one way or another, but usually found some way to ignore the call, always feeling unfulfilled in the end.  So, after a year of prayer and study with my mentor Sr. Helen Dompierre, OP, in 2009 I became an Associate of the Adrian Dominican Sisters.  For the last several years I’ve been feeling angry, overwhelmed, unsupported, and unfulfilled at my job.  Although I know I make a difference in the lives of so many children, the pace, the stress, and the politics has been killing me physically, emotionally, and (most importantly) spiritually.  In August of 2014 I again entered a period of discernment triggered by a series of disappointments, new road-blocks, and a few possibilities.  This time, however, I was having difficulty hearing God’s voice. I thought I had it figured out, but when I didn’t get the job that I thought God was leading me to, I felt depressed and defeated.  After a week of feeling sorry for myself, I regrouped and started to search for a bolder, more adventurous social justice path.  That’s when I discovered St. Francis School in New Mexico.  Quite literally, I searched for and found “a road less traveled” (Frost and Peck).

The more I looked, the more I prayed, the more I contemplated, the more I realized that this school and these children where calling me to come to NM!  So, I inquired with the principal, sent in my resume, and had my first phone interview in over 20 years.  She loved me!  My future boss, Madeline (I love her, too!), asked me what was giving me pause, so we talked a while more.  She said that she was going to send me an acceptance letter immediately.  I said I had some more praying to do.  [I also had to talk to my mother!]  After 3 days I sent in my letter of acceptance.  So, at the end of July I will be leaving for Lumberton, New Mexico to teach art, and (probably) language arts, and social studies at St. Francis School.

The school is 3 miles off the Jicarilla Apache Nation lands, and the majority of the students are Apache.  There are many Hispanic children, too, so I am brushing up on my Spanish!  I don’t know if this is where I am meant to be for the next 20 years, or if this is just a stepping stone toward something else.  What I do know is that I am excited to truly follow the Gospel message, and serve among the poorest of the poor.  I look forward to sharing my gifts with the children, and I look forward to learning even more from them.

I got a new computer that will serve me well in the coming years.  I hope to be able to post pictures from the “Land of Enchantment,” and blog about my experiences once or twice a month.  I will be in the middle of nowhere, and I am told that internet, cell phone service, electricity, and H2O are “sketchy” at times (OMGosh!!!!!), so keep me in your thoughts & prayers even if I occasionally go “off the grid!”

I want to give a nod to Skywalker Storyteller.  Over three months ago she began a series called “100 Days of Gratitude.”  I decided to participate, downloaded the journal and began receiving daily gratitude questions.  I never commented on any of the questions, but always read them and thought about them.  As I was discerning my new path in life, Skywalker, your questions became a kind of life-line to what really matters in life.  Here’s my comment on this experience:  I am grateful to you for your commitment to fulfillment, happiness, and balance in life!  In the final days of “100 Days of Gratitude” I realized how grateful I am for the many gifts I have, and how grateful I am for my trust in God to take this leap of faith.  Questions #94 (thinking creatively/outside the box) and #96 (helping others/acts of service/helping others be happy) were especially timely as I made the decision to sell my belongings and go to serve the children at St. Francis School.  Thank you!

It’s time to pack now!