6.26.2015 love wins

Love won on Friday, June 26, 2015 when the Supreme Court ruled that all people in the United States are guaranteed the right to marry. It was an exciting step forward and a celebratory day filled with happiness as everyone in the nation was granted a common right. My family ended the day at the home of our President, where a steady stream of hundreds were gathering, to mark the joyous occasion by taking photos and singing patriotic songs.

photo credit for this image: my cousin


weekly photo challenge: contrasts

He looks the same, just less nervous. His smile is more broad. He will now be able to vote in the nation where he has paid taxes and served the country’s citizens for twenty-five years. No more worries about visas before every single trip. Homeland Security will no longer detain him for hours because an agent wrote the wrong code on a travel document. His family will no longer “worry about him getting into some sort of trouble” and if he ever does… his country will help to protect him.

This week my husband became an American citizen. These photos were taken from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, where we ended our day of celebration, after a raging summer storm transformed to a calm sunset.


bring back our girls

As a teacher, I cannot imagine armed people setting fire to my school and surrounding buildings, stealing all of my students, forcing them into trucks before driving far away. Later finding out that the students were sold for $12 each to be sex slaves for strangers and that my government would not act, not even to make a statement to condemn the actions of the terrorists. I cannot imagine the anguish and pain I would feel, as an aunt, if this happened to my niece. There is no way to fathom the anger and pain mothers, fathers and families are feeling in Borno, Nigeria as this is exactly what happened to 234 326 of their daughters on April 14, 2014 (276 are still missing).

The terrorist group, Boko Haram has has claimed responsibility for abducting the (Christian and Muslim) girls. Boko Haram, reflected in their name, is against western education and has attacked girls seeking a future through education before. Oddly these hypocrites, so against western education, use tools created and developed as a result of western education: bombs, automobiles, guns. They use their tools primarily against what frightens and threatens them the most: girls seeking an education.

To think that this is an isolated incident is incorrect. To think it doesn’t matter because it’s ‘not my child’ negates the connections and responsibilities we all have to each other, especially our children. To think this is an event so far away ‘it could never happen near my home’ is naïve. Many Americans believed terrorism was a ‘foreign problem’ until 2001. We already have weekly school shootings and there seems to be little concern about that violence until it comes to our own neighborhood. I have no wish to be alarmist but I have a great desire, when children are taken from their school and sold into slavery, for people to be infuriated, shocked, saddened and ready to act. I know I am.

Americans should contact Congress and urge them to support the Nigerian girls and their families during this international crisis. Ask senators and representatives what their position is regarding the abduction and sale of girls. At the very least, request their support for Senate Resolution 433 (bills-sres433.pdf) so the girls and their families can begin to have more support from the international community.

Gathering in support of the abducted girls and their families on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

Mostly young people gathering in support of the abducted girls and their families on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

Children supporting children.

Children supporting children.

A ten year-old addresses the crowd on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

A ten year-old addresses the crowd on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.




weekly photo challenge: object

pewter leaf box in 2005

Years ago during a summer break I took a pewtersmithing class. It seemed interesting and pewter was a material with which I had no experience. One of the pieces I felt I had to make was a box to hold leaves. That fall I collected some brightly colored leaves that faded, shriveled or broke into fragile bits so they were eventually thrown out. It wasn’t a very practical box but it was one of my favorite pieces so I carefully wrapped it in fabric and stored it away.

I met my future-husband a couple of years later. A year after that I was helping him clean out the room he rented in a house shared with friends. Most of the furniture had been moved out, the floor was swept clean and we went upstairs for one final check. There were a few dried leaves left on a small shelf which he picked up and considered. “These things are so old I guess I should just get rid of them…” but he hesitated. I suggested he keep them if they are important and asked what they were. He explained that the leaves came from a Bodhi tree, and were given to him by his mom as he left his home country over 20 years ago. The leaves had survived a move to California, then Oregon, DC, Florida and a return move to DC. I told him I could find a safe place for the leaves.

I took the leaves carefully to the car and held on to them as he drove to my mostly-packed-up condo. I was able to find the empty leaf box, show him what I had felt the need to make years ago and we decided it was a good place for the well-traveled leaves to rest.

contents of pewter leaf box in 2014