Jesus loves ALL the little children

March 18, 2016

Remember that Sunday School song we all used to sing “Jesus Loves the Little Children”? For some reason I started singing it this morning as I was getting ready for work. And, I thinking, “Jesus loves ALL the little children in the world including:

22% of all children in the US living below the federal poverty rate

one in five children suffering with mental illness

62% of Hispanic children in the US living in or near poverty

The estimated 679,000 children who were victims of abuse and neglect

All the Syrian and other refugee children, clinging to their parents, hoping for a chance to live in a better world

The children born to undocumented parents in the US who fear they may be torn from the only life they’ve know and deported.

Let’s remind all the “conservative Christian” politicians and their ilk spreading hate and bigotry, Jesus is not selective about who He loves and that is the model we should strive for. Not how much we can cut the assistance and education programs. Not how fast we can round up all the “undocumented” families or build a wall to keep out all those who do not ascribe to the same faith as they claim to follow.

all the children of the world

Jesus loves the little children All the children of the world Red & yellow, black & white they’re precious in his sight Jesus loves the little children of the world

 

Sing that little song several times today to as a reminder just who does Jesus love. Sing it for your family, your friends and co-workers. Sing it for yourself.

 

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Disabled Hondurans — voices for the voiceless

May 15, 2015

On February 26, 2015 eighteen members of the Honduran Association of Migrants Returned with Disabilities (AMIREDIS) began a journey across Central America to the United States. Their purpose to “raise awareness about the perils of riding on top of train cars on the Mexican railroad commonly referred to as “The Beast” (La Bestia in Spanish). AMIREDIS activists also “promote justice and rights for disabled persons” as their distinctive commonality is traumatic injuries incurred while riding La Bestia.

AMIREDIS represents more than 70 of the 700 persons in Honduras who have been maimed by a similar train accident.  For those seeking to escape a country rife with corruption, violence, unemployment and poverty, it is a courageous decision to take the long dangerous journey, across Central America and Mexico hoping to immigrate and/or reunite with family. “We have dreams of a better life,” said Jose Luis AMIREDIS president.

At the end of a grueling journey to the United States border, thirteen of the men turned themselves in and were incarcerated in the Eagle Pass detention center. They were transferred to the South Texas Detention Center in Pearsall where they stayed for over a month until RAICES (Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services) facilitated the release for 11 of the men who vow to continue the journey. “Thank God for RAICES,” said Jose Luis. “The detention centers have no way to care for people with disabilities, so we are thrown in a cell and forgotten.”

Read May 15th NY Times Editorial re immigrant detention.

Last week at the Episcopal Church of Reconciliation, four members of AMIREDIS, accompanied by RAICES attorney/advocate Mohammed Abdollahi, came to tell their stories to a group of interested San Antonio citizens. Abdollahi said, “These men have a credible cause for asylum.” Elaborated in a court document submitted by Attorney Jonathan D. Ryan, RAICES Counsel for the Respondents, the group’s “advocacy has garnered international media attention, effectively exposing the Honduran government for its incapacity to assist its disabled nationals; while the Honduran nation survives on the remittances of migrants who risk their lives travelling, it does little to support or assist those who return disabled. Consequently, these men now confront both the challenge of coping with their disability in Honduras, as well as retribution from the Honduran government for their advocacy.”

Hondurans seeking asylum
“In Honduras there are a lot of gangs,” Alonzo told us. “Because I didn’t want to join, they were harassing me to the point I felt I needed to take my chances to immigrate, or be killed.” “I had ridden the trains for days, been assaulted and was very hungry, thirsty and tired,” explained Alonso, who left a daughter with his mother back in Honduras. “I ran to get on another train, grabbed onto the railing to pull myself up and was dragged behind for several minutes. Finally I pulled myself up onto the train, but had mangled my leg in the process.” After a quick amputation and medical care in Mexico, he was deported back to Honduras.

“There are no jobs for disabled people in Honduras,” Ifrain told us. “There is such competition for work anyone with a disability is left completely out. And, there are no benefits for unemployment or disability. We come to try to find work and help our families back in Honduras.” He was deported back to Honduras after being assaulted and thrown from a train traveling through Mexico resulting in the loss of one of legs.

group at churchThe group is continuing to visit with people to help spread their message and to raise funds for the journey to the Washington where they hope to speak with advocates and policy makers. They have put their faith in God to help them be a voice for the voiceless, advocating reform in a broken immigration process.  “Nothing is impossible,” says Jose Luis. “We want to talk to President Obama.”

Immigration is a complicated issue. And, I don’t claim to know even a tenth of the legal or legislative aspects. But, I do know a compelling human story when I hear one. I also know that except for the Native Americans, we are all immigrants or descendants of immigrants.

 


The Dangers of Facebook–next chapter

June 25, 2013

Please read this news story about my grandson’s plight and sign the petition.

Please watch the video news story and share.

Justin has actually been in jail since February 14. He is now in solitary for his own protection. We are able to phone and I visit. He is also being visited by a Chaplain in the Prison Ministry.

Here is a link to a t-shirt “Free Justin”. Proceeds benefit a legal fund set up by the manufacturer.

My family and I appreciate any help you are willing to give.


Give me your hope, so I will never give up

May 19, 2013

This is an open letter to my grandson who just spent his 19th birthday in jail–for writing a misconstrued comment on Facebook. His bond is $500,000 ( yes, that’s 1/2 a million $). I’ve put a picture with the post, but they don’t allow pictures, drawings, books, or many other things to be sent to inmates. Bird_full bloom_smaller_2

Dear Grandson,
I know it must have been a sad 19th birthday. But, know we were all thinking of you and whenever you get out, we will catch up on cakes and candles.

Here’s a prayer we say at school. I think it speaks to all our needs without being denomination specific. That’s called ecumenical–1.  concerning Church unity: relating to, involving, or promoting the unity of different Christian churches and groups
2.  involving friendship between religions: involving or promoting friendly relations between different religions

O Lord
Grant me your strength, so I will have courage in every situation

Grant me your love, so I will never give up on anybody

Grant me your wisdom, so I will show others the path to success

Grant me your mercy, so I will forgive those who have hurt me

Grant me your peace, so I will find the best in everybody

Grant me your hope, so I will never give up

Grant me your joy, so I will be thankful for all my blessings

And, grant me your grace so you will always be at my side
(David Bennett)

It’s definitely summertime now. Mostly 95+ during the days. I put the AC on for the duration.
Love you, praying for you, Richard says stay strong.

Grandma


Four Dead in Ohio

May 4, 2013

Today marks the 43rd anniversary of the Kent State shootings. On May 4, 1970 as students were protesting the ‘Cambodian Incursion’ and the Vietnam war in general, National Guardsmen fired 67 rounds of ammunition over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis. (read more)

Just out of college and still actively involved in protesting the war, the shootings were horrifying–the worst yet of escalating violence between student protestors and law enforcement.

Here is the still poignant “Four Dead in Ohio” by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.”


Beware the Dangers of Facebook

April 5, 2013

This is a cautionary notice about Facebook–for everyone, but especially for you to share with your children and grandchildren.

My 18 year old grandson, Justin, was arrested in his home in New Braunfels, TX by Federal Marshals and ICE on Thursday, February 14, 2013. He was charged with Federal felony terroristic threats. His bail is $250,000.

This all stemmed from a very stupid comment he posted on Facebook, which he had retracted.UPDATE 2/17/13 I learned this was a post was taken completely out of context. Both parents admonished him for it, acknowledging it was a fictional representation of someone other person’s mind.

As of February 15, he is being held in Bexar County Jail in San Antonio. He was allowed to call me from there and this is how I got some information. My son went completely incoherent with panic–and outrage. Justin, on the other hand, understood exactly what a mess he is in and realized his huge mistake–albeit too late. So far, he sounds calm, and is just waiting to find out where he will be held waiting for trial. We all know that could be a year or more.

Justin is not involved in drugs, alcohol, or weapons. He had a good job. His only vice is video games.

Do I want to say more about the injustice of the situation? You bet! But right now I only ask two things:

Please pray for Justin and his family

Please share this with your children, your grandchildren and any of your friends’ children. Warn them about the dangers of posting rants, bad language, or jokes that might be misconstrued as violent acts.

It’s not a joke or a rumor. It happened.

UPDATE: February 21, 2013

Justin was transferred to Austin for jail. He will not get bail and must reside in the Del Valle complex until he goes to trial. He has not seen or been appointed a lawyer. This kid is not a terrorist. We do realize just writing what he did is a crime, but it seems it would have to be tied to real intent somehow.

We can write and talk on the phone.

UPDATE: March 2, 2013

Justin was finally appointed an attorney. The attorney’s assistant has been to see him. There appears to be no clear cut idea of what the evidence is or what law enforcement plans to do with Justin as far as charges. He is not yet indicted and, is in fact, slated to be moved once again to Hays Co. or Comal Co. jail to be indicted. Why?, because he was actually living in New Braunfels at the time of the post and the arrest.

What a travesty this whole thing is turning out to be, what a miscarriage of justice and waste of taxpayer money. What a waste of time for law enforcement who should be trying to avert real threats and catch real criminals.

Justin is hanging in there but sounds more and more depressed every time we talk.

Udate: April 4, 2013

Justin has now been incarcerated for 45 days without an indictment. He was transferred to the Comal County Jail last week. As of yet, he does not have a new court-appointed attorney. The jail administration has not offered to get him one. I told him to be more pro-active and ask. His new charge is “Terrorist threat with intent to disrupt government services.” Again, that was not his intent. Bail is the same $250,000. He does sound like he’s hanging in there, bored and unsure of the future for sure!

Continue praying, please.


Wade in the Water

January 21, 2013

This is from the bible verses of John 5:1-10.  There was a pool in Bethesda surrounded by five colonnades.  A great number of diseased, lame, or otherwise afflicted persons lay by the pool. At certain seasons, an angel of the Lord would go down and trouble, or agitate, the waters.  Those who made it into the waters as they were roiling, would be healed.

There was one paralyzed man who had lain by the pool for 38 years.  His physical state did not allow him to ever make it down to the pool in time to be healed. When Jesus asked him why he had been there so long without being able get in the water on time to be healed the man said, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Now sometimes this verse gets the negative treatment. What’s wrong with this guy he can’t drag himself down to the water in 38 years. Everyone else can get down there. What a whiner, he expects someone to help him down to the pool. After all “God helps those who helps themselves.” Those people on welfare and food stamps, they should just get off the couch and go get a job. They’re just lazy and looking for a handout. All those kids with no health insurance. So what if that single-mom is working two jobs just to provide the basics. We shouldn’t have to pay for those kids healthcare. Certain politicians think the way to balance the budget is by cutting all human services programs.

Everyone needs a little help sometimes. After all, Jesus didn’t berate this man, he healed him. It’s hard to pick oneself up by the bootstraps if you don’t have boots. Sometimes it’s hard for us to ask for help as it can be interpreted as a sign of weakness.
The platitude that states “God won’t give you more than you can handle” doesn’t mean you can’t ask for help from your fellow humans as well as the spiritual implications.

It’s ok to give help–joyfully, and without judgment.  It’s ok to ask for help without guilt or supplication.

OK, that’s my rant for the day.


Why Girls Matter

December 11, 2011

Over the past few years, I’ve read some pretty enlightening and emotionally heavy books about the treatment of girls and women in some cultures around the world. It started with Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi, A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seirstad, and finally, Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn. I had the pleasure of hearing both Sheryl WuDunn and Isabel Allende speak in person about their advocacy of empowering girls and women to bring about more equitable treatment and socioeconomic advances for their communities.

Along the way, the difference girls and women can make in a society is confirmed again and again. Some of the how that happens is by working to bring an awareness to the causes that fight to end sex-trafficking and genital mutilation; provide basic education, job training and micro-lending. It’s absolutely amazing to me that there is still so much gender inequality in the world. In many countries females just don’t matter. Even though, the truth is, that not only do girls and women matter, but often hold the key to the entire community’s prosperity, their family’s well-being, the socioeconomic evolution of subsequent generations.

This video by The Girl Effect lays it right out for you!