Things I am currently:
Remembering, Happy about.
1. I am currently obsessing over:
- My need to get a butane curling iron.
- My countdown til summer 2016
- Humans of New York's summer posts from Pakistan and Iran. The pics and stories about the slavery in the Pakistan, AND THEN THE RESPONSE, just got me in the feels. Brandon was hoping to raise $100,000 for Fatima, to equip her financially for the legal battles she has ahead. As of a few minutes ago, $2.3 Million has been donated. I love what that guy can accomplish with his camera.
- The situation in Syria. Sigh. When I first saw this story on Twitter, I read it with a heavy heart. And immediately felt a bit of guilt. How can we read words like this and not respond somehow:
ISIS has burned to death four Iraqi men by chaining them upside down on a swing set.... they soaked the men’s clothing and their hair in gasoline. And then they took the gasoline and made a long line, a fuse, if you will, out to where their cameras were. One of the men took a torch and lit the fuse. Before they were chained up, they had to introduce themselves to the camera, giving their names and brief description in their role in fighting against ISIS. Underneath them, when they had been changed up, the line of fuel had been poured and slight patches of straw it been added to prepare the flames. And the video shows the slow motion footage as the fire begins to burn up the line of fuel, heading rapidly towards the men. Final few seconds of footage are too graphic to even describe. But the men are seen burning to death.
Meanwhile, the rape rooms continue. In warehouses all across Syria, they have taken thousands of children, children as young as one to nine years old. Those are the ones that get the most money at the auction block. The one, two, three, 5-year-olds. And they can be used for rape. They can be used for slave labor. They keep in the warehouses. It’s where they keep the Yazidi women. The Yazidi children. The Christian children. The Christians. The Muslims who are just not Muslim enough are generally killed. The Christians are used for sport.
Meanwhile, our churches, for the most part, remain silent. America remains silent, repeating the exact mistakes we made with the Jews in the 1930s, turning our head, denying to ourselves that it’s really that bad, denying that we could do anything about it. Evil makes itself so overwhelming that you just think you can’t do anything about it.
But did you see what Iceland is doing? One woman got on Facebook. She’s a prominent author in Iceland. And she couldn’t take it. And so she went on Facebook and she launched a campaign after the government said we’ll take 60 refugees. "We’ll take 60," she thought, "that’s not enough." So she went on Facebook and she said, who else will take some? Who will volunteer as a family to take a family in? I’m asking you, which churches — will your church volunteer to take a family in? In the space of 24 hours, 10,000 Icelanders offered up their homes and urged their government to do more. People wrote in, I’m a single mother with a 6-year-old son, I can take a child in need. I’m a teacher, I’ll teach a child to speak, read, write. Adjust to our society. Another one wrote, I have clothes, a bed, toys, everything children would need. I’ll pay for the airline ticket even to get them here. Out of a country of 300,000 people, 10,000 people in 24 hours said, I’ll offer up my home. I’ll offer up my money.
The world has gone mad and is crucifying people. They’re building houses of horror and concentrate camps — What’s the difference between the concentrate camp at Auschwitz that held female prisoners to be used as prostitutes, used as pleasure receptacles, forced to have sex — what’s the difference between that and the 8-year-old girl that just escaped ISIS, who has testified that she was raped up to ten times a day every single day? What is her life like? What’s the difference?
So. What is my response?
What should I do? What can I do? What does God want me to do?
Here's a List Of Suggestions:
and I'll add: Pray
If you, like I, are thinking that "donate" might be your only tangible option, but you're sceptical of charitable organizations, I can wholeheartedly recommend MCC:
Wherever the displaced people and refugees go, they need safety, shelter, friendship, food and water, education and jobs. MCC works with partners in Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria to do all that we can with your gifts to meet those needs in the name of Christ.
I just made an online donation. I challenge you to do the same. Right now. Click here.
The big story in the news today, not only here, but around the world, is this one. About the little boy who's body washed up on shore in Turkey. He and his brother and mom all died when their boat capsized. They were running from Syria. This picture? Was on front pages of newspapers in every major city:
Read 5 year old Alan's story here. This is his dad, leaving the morgue:
Other pics taken by photojournalists:
To see the whole set, click here. Excellent photography. Definitely worth 2 minutes of your time.
So much horror going on in our world. And I'm taking advantage of Cineplex's 50% sale this week, seeing movies with friends. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?
Have you donated yet? Do it here. Now. You'll feel a teensy bit better for having done something.
And pray. We can all do that.
Our Father, who art in Heaven.
HOLY is your name.
Your kingdom come - YOUR WILL BE DONE,
in Syria as well as heaven.
Give them, those families that are on the run, this day, enough to eat. Provide them with shelter. And safety. And peace. Fill them with hope.
Forgive us. All of us. For being complacent, inattentive, unaware, selfish, scared.
Help us to forgive each other. Show us how to extend patience and grace. Make us a better people; Holy, like you.
And show us what our response should be towards the bad guys. Pray for them too? Leave them in your hands? You are just. And we will trust You. You alone are judge, and vengeance is Yours. May Your will be done today. And everyday.
Lead us away from temptation. Protect us from things Satan is using to draw us away from you.
Deliver the refugees from evil. Grant them safe passage to countries that will welcome them. Change our attitudes about displaced people. Stir our hearts to love generously. Show us how to be Your hands and feet. We get so wrapped up in the dramas within our own little families; open our eyes, God, to situations that we need to pray about.
For You are Powerful and Holy and Good And Mighty and Just.
We pray YOUR WILL BE DONE.
2. I am working on:
- Repairing/cleaning my camera equipment. (I took 3 lenses and my camera body in yesterday. Had to endure much ridicule about how dirty and used my equipment is. Also how broken. Sigh. Two of my lenses don't auto focus anymore.)
- Not stomping on every black spot on the floor. This morning I shattered a small hair clip convinced it was a spider just waiting for me outside my bedroom door.
- Making peace re: not having a TV hooked up. Could be another couple weeks before a certain son will have time to connect cables.
- Summoning up the will and courage to go shopping for fall footwear. Arrrrgh.
3. I am thinking about:
- The power of one picture.
- Refugees. And how my dad was called "DP" (Displaced Person) as a teen, and how it hurt. Even 60 years later.
- The entertainment industry. And how many good people are involved in it. And how God is using it. And how much we are impacted by it.
- Syria. This comic has helped me understand, a little bit, what happened.
- My kids. And their futures. And
4. I am anticipating:
- This coming long weekend at the lake. Tis supposed to be sunny. And one or more of my kids might make it out for one or more nights.
- Seeing this:
next weekend in the YUKON! I'd just booked my flights on Air North (who knew?) and tweeted about my excitement when AirNorth's twitter person tweeted back wondering what I was most looking forward to.
I mentioned that I hoped to see the northern lights, but wasn't sure if I was going to be there at the right time. They sent back the above photos, taken this week. And assured me, that YES, I am definitely going at the right time.
I am SO excited.
My friend, Karm, is a border crossing guard, and together with her husband, they've agreed to a 3 month contract to work at the border crossing point between Alaska and Yukon. I'm going to visit them next weekend.
She has planned many fun adventures for us to squeeze into 72 hours (including a tour here and taking a ferry here!) And now you know why I'm getting my camera equipment serviced.
- I am also looking forward to book club starting up again. I love September for this. And maybe only this.
- I am anticipating a fun wedding this month.
- And some birthdays.
- And a haircut.
- And a movie night or two. And hopefully some walks along seaside shores.
5. I am listening to:
- Sad face. (No that's not a group. Haha. It's the state of my face. No new music this month.) ALTHOUGH ... on Facebook the other day, a fella I follow (Matt Walsh) posted this in response to the VMA awards:
Let's make this a thread where everyone can suggest a current artist or band who, though brilliant and gifted, doesn't get the recognition it deserves.
Part of this is self serving, because I'm always looking for new music to check out. But I also think music is very important, culturally speaking, and great musicians can really make a difference -- if people actually hear them in the first place.
and the comment section just exploded. Thousands of suggestions. I've made a note of the names of the bands and will explore the most often named ones in the coming weeks. And may I add that I was delighted to find that Need to Breathe as well as Rend Collective were suggested more than any other bands in the top 500 comments? And I saw them both in concert this year, and TOTALLY AGREE? And I feel so hip right now.
6. I am eating:
- I am at the lake, so I'm having a hotdog and grapes. But that's not what this section is about. I was going to list the new foods that I'd tried. And I have no memory of trying a new food this month. Although there was much talk of trying beets. Maybe some other day.
7. I am praying for:
- Well, the Syrians, as noted above.
- People I know, and even those I don't, who are struggling with addictions.
- AA/NA meetings, sponsors and counsellors who sometimes are the first in line to offer hope.
- My kids. Their future wives. Their eventual children. And their spouses.
- Students and teachers heading back to schools this week. Our education system. Our classrooms. How are we equipping our students/children for the(ir) future?
- Folks and friends who need work. Meaningful, life-giving, confidence-building, jobs that makes use of their gifts, talents and experiences.
- Families that are grieving.
- Upcoming election.
8. I am reading:
- A Breath of Snow and Ashes. (Book 6 in the Outlander series.) I bought the newest book (8) in this series last summer, but wasn't going to read it until I'd re-read books 1 through 7. IT IS TAKING ME FOREVER. Seriously. In my defence, the books are each over 1400 pages long (which is like reading 3 - 4 'normal' novels...) plus I'm keeping up with book club readings and so on... (Can I mention something here? It's a little weird to be reading about Jamie and Claire, who in book 6 are in their early 50's, while watching them on TV, (and I'm watching the Outlander series on DVD on the TV in my bedroom at the lake, which is where I am right now.) On TV they are young and meeting each other. In Book 6 they KNOW each other. (I may be a little jealous of that.)
9. I am remembering/happy about:
- August was a month filled with events - a wedding, a 21st birthday, two funerals, a shower, Each one part of the circle of life. Each one tugged at my heart.
- I was planning on attending three concerts at the PNE this year (Beach Boys, The New Pornographers and Styx). But the rain (grrrr. After a record-breaking summer in terms of NO RAIN - it finally came just as the PNE opened.) So while we danced and sang along with the Beach Boys, I never did get to the other two. Instead, I took advantage of the 50% off at Cineplex Theatres and saw a bunch of movies:
- We had an epic power outage, which left us without electricity for 35 hours. So thankful that we were barely inconvenienced.
- And this weekend? The kids came to the lake, late on Saturday night with a brand new game they wanted to try out. Dungeons and Dragons. Haha. We played for two hours, and I'm not sure I catch on.
SO much reading.
Not sure if anyone'll ever play again.
But having them here.
And all of us learning something together?
Was the perfect way to officially end summer.
Three things I'm thankful for:
1, My kids. This place.
3. Snack foods