Saturday, July 30, 2011

I love this quote from William Morris, English textile designer, artist, writer, associated with the English Arts and Crafts Movement, and our home is a bungalow with some Arts & Crafts style.

"If I were asked to say what is at once the most important production of Art and the thing most to be longed for, I should answer, A beautiful House; and if I were further asked to name the production next in importance and the thing next to be longed for, I should answer, A beautiful Book. To enjoy good houses and good books in self-respect and decent comfort, seems to me to be the pleasurable end towards which all societies of human beings out now to struggle."

-- William Morris (late 1800's)

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Moment of Immigration Reform Reflection -- So Naïve

I just read this excerpt from another article...

"Following the end of the Civil War, President Andrew Johnson worked to piece the nation back together, but it wasn’t easy. Slavery had been abolished, but prejudice had not. In the South, state legislatures were working hard to pass laws that disenfranchised blacks and effectively made them slaves again. Unemployed blacks could be seized, fined for vagrancy, and forced to work for private employers in order to pay those fines. It was a form of slavery without the name."

Naturally, I thought about laws changing, compassionate immigration reform ready to role forward. O, happy day! Then, like a bucket of cold water tossed in my face, I connected the dots from the quote above to that future time. I realized that attitudes cannot be legislated. I felt so naïve to have seen this from only the side of changed laws. I felt a sense of despair, then hope.

Back to the present...on most days I feel frustration that I cannot do more to move legislation forward to fix some of the broken wheels on this wagon. I feel like all I do is inform and influence people to look deeper at the complex levels of this issue. I feel like that is of minor value as we all push this boulder up the hill.

However, this quote above made me realize the quiet yet giant impact I am having with my steady little conversations, Facebook posts, blogs, and living consistently with what I believe in front of others who know me. Those little things can be used to transform attitudes in ways more powerful than any laws that simply legislate procedure.

I will walk with my head held higher today. I realize that we can continue to give others a moment to consider immigration reform with compassion. We will impact and influence attitudes. Day by day, we will encourage others to think differently. Perhaps when legislation catches up, we will be further along than back in the day of Civil War rebuilding. That is a new dream for me, upon which I will continue to act.

[Quote Source: 2011 Copyright Moody Bible Institute •]

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Response to a Friend: Some Thoughts on Immigration

[This was written in response to a friend's challenges regarding an article about the local churches responding to a new anti-immigrant law in Alabama. Article: ]

[AP Photo]

I agree that people with principles usually love others -- so true, thank goodness.

I disagree with "no one is forced to break laws in order to enter another country," though I may not completely understand what you meant. If I was a father or mother abandoned by her husband in Guatemala, who could not provide food for the family because major corporations had displaced me on my farm or because current labor conditions were keeping me in extreme poverty for various reasons, I would definitely be forced to head to another place where I'd have a better chance of providing basics of life for my family, even if it included breaking the law.

I am so grateful because of where I was randomly born that my parents did not have to make that leave everything behind for the chance to be able to feed me or to keep the law. Perhaps if everyone could sponsor children in other countries through World Vision or Compassion, this would be another creative solution that would decrease border crossing.

Regarding California and the nation, the economic contribution from immigrants is significant. Perhaps that is another reason not much is changing very fast. As far as social problems, I am cautious about blaming certain people groups. Makes me very nervous. However, with so many losing their homes through the housing crisis, I cannot even begin to imagine the social problems stemming that, loss of property tax and more, from what many blame greedy banks for doing. Perhaps, some insurance companies are even causing social problems, but I better be quiet because I don't have statistics to back that up.

I have seen and read statistics very well stated and very inaccurate that create more fear and hate of undocumented people. I think if most people would become familiar with Comprehensive Compassionate Immigration Reform, they would really approve. I think a lot of what some people might like to see regarding getting citizenship is in that program.

Thank you for your debate. You speak your perspective kindly and you seem to have a clear perspective. We've both stated these comments before, so I know we are not trying to convince each other of anything or change each other's minds. I just want to be heard. I have heard you, too. Thanks.

From Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform:

Our shared principles include the following:

· We believe all people, regardless of national origin or citizenship status, are made in the "image of God" and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect (Genesis 1:26-27, 9:6).
· We believe there is an undeniable responsibility to love and show compassion for the stranger among us (Deuteronomy 10:18-19, Leviticus 19:33-34, Matthew 25:31-46).
· We believe that immigrants are our neighbors, both literally and figuratively, and we are to love our neighbors as ourselves and show mercy to neighbors in need (Leviticus 19:18, Mark 12:31, Luke 10:25-37).
· We believe in the rule of law, but we also believe that we are to oppose unjust laws and systems that harm and oppress people made in God's image, especially the vulnerable (Isaiah 10:1-4, Jeremiah 7:1-7, Acts 5:29, Romans 13:1-7).

We recognize that the current U.S. immigration system is broken and reform is necessary.

The biblical principles above compel us to support immigration reform legislation that includes the following elements:

· Enforcement initiatives that are consistent with humanitarian values;
· Reforms in our family-based immigration system that reduce waiting times for separated families to be reunited;
· A process for all immigrant workers and their families already in the U.S. to earn citizenship upon satisfaction of specific criteria;
· An expansion of legal avenues for workers and families to enter our country and work in a safe and legal manner with their rights and due process fully protected;
· Examining solutions to address the root causes of migration, such as economic disparities between sending and receiving nations.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Small Group Grace

A good small group is my sacred safe place. I am grateful for such a gift throughout my life. Changes me in ways a sermon never will.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Pro-Cycling: Crashes, Crushed Dreams, & Character

This has been a tough week for the Tour de France. Too many accidents, injuries, and mishaps. Many of my favorites are out of the Tour already. I am disappointed and sad for the injuries. I am confused by the frequency of trouble. I've watched the event many years and do not remember anything like this before. This has been troubling for me.

Today, Stage 9, was possibly the worst. A media car sideswiped Juan Antonio Flecha, one of my favorites, and obviously sent him to the ground which knocked another young cyclist from the Netherlands, Johnny Hoogerland, into the air. He landed on a barbed wire fence. They both survived and finished the race. It was heartbreaking and I was angry and sick-to-my-stomach.
Image source:….
Image source:

I got the following information of the official Tour web site. I was impressed with Hoogerland's grace in such a painful situation. The character of this young cyclist is inspiring.

Johnny Hoogerland – “We can still be happy that we’re alive...”

Forgiveness is a wonderful trait. It’s hard to understand how, only moments after weeping on the podium after receiving the polka-dot jersey for his efforts in stage nine, Johnny Hoogerland refused to lay blame on anyone for an accident that sent him flying off the road and into a barbed wire fence… but the Dutchman has a remarkable attitude even when his future in the race is uncertain.

“We can still be happy that we’re alive. It’s horrible. I can blame everyone but I don’t think anyone does this sort of thing on purpose. I think the people in the car will have a very big guilty feeling and they will surely apologize to me and Flecha.
“Juan Antonio came to me an he apologized.
“It should not happen but it’s always possible that this sort of thing happens.
“Nobody can be blamed for this. It’s a horrible accident and I was in it. But I said to Flecha, ‘We’re still alive and Wouter Weylandt died in a crash.
“Cycling is getting more and more hectic which is also nice because more and more people are watching but, for sure, some people will say that it may be like this because… well, I can’t explain it – but I think most people feel very, very bad about this sort of thing.
“I have three cuts that are about seven centimeters long and quite deep too. I’ll go to the hospital now and I think I’ll need about 30 stitches at least…
“I did what felt like a few somersaults. I don’t know where the car came from. Before I knew it, Flecha was on the ground and there was nothing I could do. I landed on the fence and I looked at my legs and thought, ‘Is this what cycling is about?’ “I have the polka-dot jersey but I’m going to spend the rest day in a lot of pain.” Source:

Another crushing blow came to Chris Horner yesterday. It seemed he did not even know how bad he'd hit his head and face. He broke his nose and finished the stage, asking over and over if he'd finished, clearly dazed. He is a really great cyclist, 40-years old, and has a great attitude every time they interview him. Sad to see him go. Here is a great photo after his visit to the hospital.

Zabriskie is out, too. He is one cool, very funny, talented rider. Ugh! Bradley Wiggins had a tough spill. He's gone. Sad, sad, sad. I can't even think of everyone who has crashed out.
Frederik Willems of Belgium, left, and David Zabriskie of the US, right, are being treated by Tour de France doctors after crashing during the 9th stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 208 kilometers (129 miles) starting in Issoire and finishing in Saint Flour, central France, Sunday July 10, 2011. Photo: Christophe Ena / AP

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Thursday, July 07, 2011

Cindi World - An Amusement Park?

I've discovered that Cindi's World is perfect. Unfortunately, I don't live there. Thus the tension between expectations and reality. If only tension was weight-bearing exercise. Sometimes it feels like it should count.