Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Quit Wilting!

Several (as in very several) years ago, I attended a small women's college. It was a great time
for self-reflection, deep friendships and becoming more aware of life in general. Last night, I was reading the Mills Quarterly. In particular, I was reading an article on Congresswoman Barbara Lee. In the article Lee is quoting some advice she had been give by a former teacher in response to her concern over racial attitudes. The quote was simple. "The human race is endowed with a spine, and among it's other duties, it is to keep the head erect. I want you to quit wilting."

I couldn't have asked for better timing!
It is time for me to quit wilting.
In the past few weeks we have all had flu's, asthma, allergies (pretty severe ones), etc. I was
also finding myself in quite a funk. I was letting myself get sucked into politics at the Boys and Girls Club, I was worrying about Brian-Scott's declining vision, unpaid bills, blah, blah, blah
I have been completely frustrated and overwhelmed by the ridiculous amount of red-tape effecting the Darfuri families with which we work. Work visa's that expire before green cards can be finished processing, "fee's" (large ones) for refugee's trying to acquire their drivers license, lack of medical care for adults after their original few months, etc. I was really sick of the hateful chain e-mails I was receiving on refugees milking the system. What a bunch of garbage!
I have been wondering how to counter the spread of hate..anywhere..at any time. I immeresed myself in books.(remember, still in wilting mode..not socializing much) I realize that people have to quit picking sides (on any issue) and be on the side of humanity and compassion everywhere. I am intrigued by Elias Chacour (Palestine) as he talks of
countering hate by bringing dignity for all people in our daily interactions.
Are the refugee families frustrated? Of course..but they are more resilient than me..
In this picture 3 year old Sadhia plays with Cody after "borrowing" his t-shirt.
I am humbled in her presence.
I just received a copy of a letter from Kaltoum, a woman I have come to know and love over this past year. She has sent this letter to a camp in Chad, and encouraged me to post it everywhere I can. So Kaltoum, this is for you:)
Salaam alaikum. I am Kaltoum Jumah. I am from Darfur. I love my country, but I left by force in 2004, and I still love my country. I crossed many countries to Ghana, and I stayed in a refugee camp for three years. Then I came to live in San Antonio, Texas, United States of America in 2008.
I wish my country would have peace, and the people could go back to live a better life. I want to tell all the men, women, and children to keep praying to Allah. I want my people to know that people all over the world are trying to help the Darfur people, but it is important for the refugees to continue to pray even more to Allah.
Right now I live in San Antonio, Texas in the United States, and my life is better, but I miss my family, my country, my friends, and my life in Darfur. Although I feel better because I am safe with my children, here, my heart still hurts for my family and friends in Darfur, and it is still hard for me.
I want to say thank you for all the anti-genocide people who are helping my people. You are very good. I wish that my country would find peace and I could go meet all my people in Darfur.
Shokran jazeelan (شكرا (جزيلا El Hamdul 'Allah.
Salaam, Salaam ya Darfur, Salaam, Salaam,
Kaltoum Jumah
Darfur, Sudan
San Antonio, Texas USA

So..in reality, I am being pathetic.
I now physically have the strength I haven't in a long time. I realize how pathetically whiny I have been. I really enjoyed our weekend at the Odyssey of the Mind State Finals. (it forced me to leave the books and computer behind!)
It is time to embrace life. I can't believe I had to read "quit wilting" to snap out of it!
Meanwhile, the rest of the family is having a blast!
Austen and his co-op resumed yesterday. They gave us a list of what they want for co-op next year. We are now planning for drafting/culinary arts (1/2 the kids will do one, the other 1/2 the other) followed by Chemistry/Physics lab (2 year program) for all, followed by another 1/2 and 1/2 split of jazz ensemble or watercolor painting.
And the most pressing news:
Cody's Boys and Girls Club team made it to World Finals on a Ranatra Fusca for their "creative engineering in the propulsion of their water-wheel turn to crawler design"!

The team's problem was to design and build a small vehicle that visits four different environments and changes appearance during each visit.
For those of you who don't know what the Boys and Girls
Club is. We work primarily with disadvantaged youth. Our Club membership is $10 a year and many of our families cannot afford that...rural poverty at it's best. While many of the teams at these competitions are school districts that limit the program to gt and drama department kids. We try to form each of our teams with a combination of special needs, gt, alternative ed, justice department, and plain ordinary kids.
In many ways, we are the Cinderalla story.
So..if anyone would like to help us in our quest to raise $6000 in the next 3 weeks to fund this World Finals adventure, please feel free to contact me!

In this picture,the boys are making last minute changes, 10 minutes before performing.
Okay. Time to wake up Cody. Austen and Devin are patiently listening to my Sting CD while finishing up some math. I need to get Odio moving.


Sardine Mama said...

OK - Well, yes....lots to comment on. Nicole, your family is an inspiration to mine. I can't imagine you wilting and I certainly didn't notice any wiltage at the tournament. All that said - the only thing I really want to comment on - the thing that made me go HOLY COW! is that Austen is doing math at 6:53 in the morning? That is the middle of the night over here.

grillledcheesechic said...

Uh..no. The clock is wrong. I can assure you, he was sleeping at 6:53a.m. ..He does get up early and do this stuff though. I can't imagine why. I thik it was more like 9:53.

grillledcheesechic said...

See..it's off. it is right now 11:37 and this says 9:35. Mystery solved! Blogger time is wrong.

Sardine Mama said...

thank god! i was like, "i thought i knew her and now she is this stranger with kids doing pre-dawn math!"

but because I do know you so well, i have given you the Sisterhood Award. Check out my blog to receive it.