Community prayers for Traychon

A few days ago I learned that the community On-Site Prayer Ministry was scheduling a vigil at the location of the shooting of Traychon Taylor, the one that took place practically in our backyard a few weeks ago and that I’ve written about here and here.

Since I’ve been doing my own vigil in my backyard rather sporadically (I’m easily discouraged by weather), this seemed like a next step in whatever might be unfolding. I looked forward to it. Continue reading

Traychon, cont.

When you start out on something that seems promising but outside your comfort zone, you can easily lose momentum, chicken out. You hear the countering voices. What was I thinking? I am making too much of this. I’ve been feeling this about my little Traychon project, about the young man who was shot behind our house, which I wrote about just two days ago. Nevertheless, I have persisted in following my impulses or perhaps the Spirit. Continue reading

Traychon

So this happened a week ago Sunday night, at around 10 pm as we were watching a movie at home: a pop-pop-pop that might have been gunshots or firecrackers. Fifteen minutes later I looked out a kitchen window and saw police cars, lights flashing, crime-scene tape, cops with flashlights behind our long backyard, in the street and in a parking lot that belongs to a business at the back edge of our property. Definitely, it had been shots.

Continue reading

Hunger and thirst for righteousness

I don’t want to go overboard on this Mayor Pete thing but when I examine myself and also look at the extraordinary response he is stirring in others I have to wonder what is going on, exactly. So do many analysts, like Amber Phillips in today’s Washington Post (Why is Pete Buttigieg so popular?). She puts forth the theories she’s gleaned: his novelty, the parts of his resume that appeal to liberals (he’s young, he’s gay), the perennial search for leadership from outside the Beltway, his potential to beat Trump (highly speculative at best but at least he seems unflappable), and finally, simply that he’s got “the intangibles.” Which means that the analysts haven’t come up with a name for whatever it is. Continue reading

A view from the base

IMG_2883Watching Pete Buttigieg’s big announcement with friends yesterday I was struck  with how much he appeals to people just like me. I even saw myself in his description of himself as a nerdy teenage misfit and in his English teacher’s glowing praise. I had teachers who still talk like that about me, though I haven’t done anything spectacular with my life. Like me, Pete is a visionary; he likes the big picture view. His faith, his modesty (if a presidential candidate can be called modest), his calm demeanor are all traits that resonate with me. Where he is different from me, it is in ways I admire: he is smarter, more articulate, more energetic (younger!), potentially more inspiring. Continue reading

My neighbor is running for president

There are a lot of Democratic candidates for president in 2020 so it should not be surprising that one of them is my neighbor. He used to live about a 5-minute walk from my house but recently moved just across the river.

What is surprising is that this neighbor may actually be the best of the lot. I don’t know if my husband would agree yet; he is slower than me to make up his mind about just about everything. And just because I’m for this person doesn’t mean he’s going anywhere. My favorites tend not to get too far, let alone win. The exception was Barack Obama, who also happened to come from the neighborhood where we lived for a while, in a different city. Continue reading

Inspired by Marie

Having invoked Marie Kondo in my last post, I thought I should at least watch her show to see what all the fuss is about. So I started streaming Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix and was quickly hooked. Although I watched the first few episodes alone, I invited my husband to jump at about episode four. He liked it too. Could we try this at home?

We are neither neatness freaks nor hoarders. I like a tidy home, but closets and drawers are usually a mess. I sporadically try to impose order therein but have trouble keeping things properly folded, sorted, stashed. Vic has more tolerance for visible mess than I do and has often been resistant to my requests to sort through his clothing or get rid of old books and papers except when we move, which has been infrequent. Continue reading

Law of Three on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial

I’ve been wondering how to apply the Law of Three in the larger social arena. A series of events this past week showed why it is so much easier to keep it on the very personal level and leave it at that, though I am not really satisfied to do so.

I was one of the thousands (millions?) who weighed in on social media about the kerfuffle on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the confrontation between the Catholic white boys and the Native American elder. I missed the initial video and the elder’s comments after the incident but saw these in numerous reposts, and because many people were commenting by then, I did not. But when the longer video appeared, along with the (condescendingly smirking or uncomfortably smiling, depending on your viewpoint) white boy’s explanation of his side of the events, I thought it worth drawing attention to the fact that the situation might have been more complicated than it looked at first. Continue reading

Our 2018 movie list

Vic and I watch a lot of movies and series on Netflix and now, thanks to pirating our son’s account, a few on Amazon Prime. For the last number of years we’ve been sending out a list of our favorites to friends as part of our year-end letter. Now I do it on this blog.

I see that our list this year is shorter than usual. That may be because we watched less and read more; we wasted a lot of time on series that were ultimately unsatisfying (more about that later); or because Netflix keeps making it harder to track our personal viewing and ratings, so I might be missing some things here. Nevertheless, some patterns emerge. We mostly enjoyed biopics and reality-based movies. This year we majored in race and minored in World War II and horses. And we binge-watched some really good series. Continue reading

One foolish act

Several stories stick with me from my August trip to Congo. I didn’t write during the trip; there was just too much going on and not much solitude. So, like I do with a detailed dream of which I only remember a snippet, I will honor a few stories that have stayed with me. Here is one.

Three fellow travelers and I spent a full week in the dusty outback city of Tshikapa, in Western Kasai province, where the fourth teacher-training program, sponsored by the Mennonite women of Congo and Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission, was being held. Sixty-one people–many of them educators and pastors–were following an intensive course in teaching illiterate adults to read and write.

It was marvelous. It was rigorous. It went well.

Tshikapa is the provincial capital of the region that has suffered the most recent, excruciating violence in that country. Continue reading