Thursday, March 29, 2012

Trayvon Martin Case

(Image Credit: ABC News; Orange County Jail)

Deep feelings and reactions have manifested in response to the Trayvon Martin Case.

For those not familiar, 17 year old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed while walking home from a convenience store on the evening of February 26th. The shooter, George Zimmerman, was the neighborhood watch captain. Zimmerman, a 200 pound 28 year old with a history of violence, claimed self defense although Trayvon Martin, with no criminal history, had nothing more than candy and an iced tea in his hands. George Zimmerman remains free.

My hope is that love, growth and unity will result from this tragedy. Not necessarily from the Sanford police, or even from the shooter, but from the rest of the world watching.

My friend, Erica Pastore, and I have each blogged about our reactions to these events at our shared blog, The You are Love Project. Feel free to read her thoughts in Eyes Open and mine in Oh My God. And please, share your point of view with us and the world.

Share your voice,

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Do you See What I See?

The passengers deboarded the plane and I hurried to the women's restroom.  The moment I entered, a middle-aged woman slumped on a couch asked, "Do you have any food?"  I shook my head and entered an empty stall.  After using the bathroom, I washed my hands and remembered that I had some change in my pocket. 

I approached the woman and handed her five dollars.  "I don't have much, but hopefully this will help."  

She jumped to her feet, a wide grin spread across her face.  Her wrinkled clothing hung loosely on her tiny frame.  "Thank you so, so much.  God bless you."

"You're welcome."  I smiled.

"My name is Shawna.  Airport security lets me sleep in here.  Don't know where I'd go if they didn't.  Thank you so much.  God bless you.  Please keep me in your prayers."

I hugged her tight.  Tears streamed down her face, washing away caked on grime.

"Life's so hard.  But I'm trying to do right..."  My heart melted as her face crumbled.  She told me how she gave up her parental rights and turned her children over to the state.  How every time she passes the nearby church, Miss Lucy always says hello and allows her to take a nap on the lawn; the pastor, however, has never said a word to her.  That her sister verbally attacks her but never offers any form of help.

Two ladies entered the bathroom, their hair, make-up and clothes looking as if they've walked off the Basketball Wives reality show.  "Hey ladies, looking good," Shawna said.  Neither responded, nor looked in her direction, but continued primping in the mirror.  Shawna and I locked eyes and shared a knowing look.

Those ladies were blind to Shawna's very existence and choose to not see what I saw...a fellow human being struggling in life, just wanting to be acknowledged and loved like anyone else.

How many times have you walked past a homeless person or someone begging for money or food?  After moving to DC, I became immune to the vast numbers and walked past without any acknowledgement, as if they were never there.  Not just one can afford to give all those in need money, but how much does a smile cost?  We're so quick to judge, but you may never know the rest of someone's story unless you say hello.    

Smile at a stranger,

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

We are Family

We all need a reminder that despite our differences, there's nothing better than family (even when there's no blood relation!).

On my first trip back to the east coast since moving to Portland.  Was able to spend some time in Baltimore with my brother, girlfriend Libby and the kids pictured above - Niebieski (dog down in front), Ms. President (orange cat in charge) and VP (black cat holding up the rear).

Now in DC with my NACHC family - reuniting and reminiscing.  And, of course, lots of eating, drinking, laughing and yawning.  And looking forward to this Sunday to spend time with my "DC family" of friends for my girl, Jin's bridal shower.

So nice to give love.  And so nice to be loved.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Project Writeway Challenge #4

Olga gripped the basket. She tiptoed into the woods as ordered by Miss Magda. No one disobeyed Miss Magda, even though Gustav and Erich had always warned her that the Boogeyman lived in here. The trees towered over the five-year old, swallowing the fall sky whole. A branch snapped. Olga shrieked and fled back to the farm.

“What is dis noise?” Miss Magda stomped over to Olga. Olga shivered. Magda snatched the empty basket and turned it upside down. “Where are de mushrooms?”

Olga shrugged unable to meet the Polish woman’s eyes. Miss Magda tossed the basket and snatched a large stick from the ground. Olga crouched, wishing she would have braved the Boogeyman. As Magda swung the switch in her direction, Olga shut her eyes. She hummed the lullaby Mama tucked her in with every night. Guten Abend, gute nacht, mit Rosen bedacht…

Monday, March 12, 2012

Lunafest: Raising funds for breast cancer

Went to Lunafest this past weekend, which is a showcase of short films by women, for women, about women.  100% of the net proceeds go to various charities, with 15% to the Breast Cancer Fund.  If the festival is coming to or near your town, I highly recommend attending.  Check out the website for locations and details on the films.

The nine shorts were amazing, thought provoking, heartbreaking, funny and definitely spark conversation.  I Am a Girl peers into the life of Joppee, a 13 year old girl born as a boy.  Every Mother Counts: Obstetric Fistula documents this deadly yet preventable birth complication that impacts between 50,000-100,000 women each year through interviews in Bangladesh and Tanzania.

Enjoy one of my absolute favorites, How to Be Alone, below or on YouTube

Show women your support!

Friday, March 9, 2012

And the Winner Is...

The winner for the best story in the Rare Children's Storybook Project is...

When the Lights Go Out - by The Pletcher Family 

The ten videos submitted (including my video, I Wish) collectively received more than 15,000 views on YouTube.  And the best part is that MarbleRoad sent checks for thousands of dollars in financial assistance to families who demonstrated need related to health care costs.

I'm so honored that I was a part of this project and am so inspired by the fighting spirit of all the families dealing with rare diseases.  They all embody strength, passion, joy and creativity and remind me to be grateful for the abundance of love, family and friends in my life.

There is light within the darkness.  

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Loving LA

Visiting my sparkly friend in LA and loving every minute.

Crazy characters in Venice Beach. Heavenly coffee at Intelligentsia.

The most AMAZING savory crepe at the farmer's market in the morn.   Fat tire and jukebox fun in the eve.

Rockin' raw food at Cafe Gratitude. Noshed on "I am Peace" and "I am Luscious" to set the tone for the day.

Miss E's belly dance performance tonight.  And then one last day of fun.

Soaking in sunshine.  Living inspired.  Laughing, loving, and tuning in.  Isn't that what life's all about?

be a friend,

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Will the Madness Ever End?

March 2012 is here. Woke up to snow dusted cars, but the spring sun made a quickie appearance. I finally feel like I'm coming out from under my latest dark episode. This one spurred on from two very emotional writing projects...

The first was a historical piece submitted to the Project Writeway Contest based on an actual event my mom experienced growing up in Germany after WWII (read the piece here). The second was documenting a three minute video about my dad's losing battle with multiple myeloma. That same weekend, I received 3 rejections and spent an evening "indisposed" with the most excruciating abdominal cramps from food poisoning.

A week later and the dark cloud has lifted. Then, BAM!