#WorldRefugeeDay 2018

"you have to understand, that no one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land"  "Home," by Warsan Shire In the past few years I have had the privilege of meeting and hearing stories from many refugees and displaced people in different parts of the world. From the Sindh … Continue reading #WorldRefugeeDay 2018

God of the Displaced and Exiled

Oh God of the displaced and exiled, Hear the prayers of those in limbo. Wipe the tears of mothers who parent children without a home. Feed those who are hungry; keep safe those who are in danger. Give strength to the helpers and the healers; to those who work tirelessly for justice. Give us the … Continue reading God of the Displaced and Exiled

International Women’s Day 2018

Every year I write about International Women's Day - the day set aside to honor women, to highlight the critical role they play in all of life. From nurturing life at its earliest stages to nurturing families, communities, and countries, women are critical to human survival. Not only do women change the world within homes … Continue reading International Women’s Day 2018

Immigrant Families – A New Report

In the last two years, the immigration debate has become louder and arguably less civil. Political platforms and decisions based on fear have dominated the conversation, but behind the conversation are approximately 23 million people. The number includes those lawfully present as well as those who are undocumented. It includes around 12 million children who … Continue reading Immigrant Families – A New Report

Lewiston, Maine – It’s a Good Story

“The way they play together, the way they get along, that’s the future of our cultures together..." - Coach Mike McGgraw The story of Lewiston, Maine is a good story. It's a story of integration and resilience and how a group of refugees and immigrants can revitalize a dying community. It all began in the … Continue reading Lewiston, Maine – It’s a Good Story

World Refugee Day – #withrefugees

Every year, June 20th is a day set aside to remember the millions of refugees and displaced people in our world. But it's not just a day to remember - it's also a day to think about what we can collectively and individually do about the refugee crisis.  So in today's post I want to … Continue reading World Refugee Day – #withrefugees

When Learning to Swim is a Privilege 

It was mostly toddlers who drowned off the coast of Libya.* Toddlers who had never paddled chubby legs in YMCA pools; who had never learned to hold their breath under water; whose last, terrible moments have to be given into the arms of God - because if not, life could not go on.  I only … Continue reading When Learning to Swim is a Privilege 

Refugee Quotes

  “Unless the world finds compassion for this new communality, learns to make sense of one another’s voices, its humanity will perish.”* I have been a stranger in many places around the world. In those places, I slowly found a place and a home. It hasn't always been easy, but there are many times and … Continue reading Refugee Quotes

The Days We Never Laugh

I am holding my grandson as my daughter enters the room. I watch as he shrieks and lets out a belly laugh. He loved his mama even before he has words to express it. And there's something else - he already knows how to laugh.  A few years ago I was working on a project … Continue reading The Days We Never Laugh

New Lives and Portable Memories

Every time I leave home, I'm struck by the fact that I have that choice. I'm not being forced out by violence, persecution, or a crooked landlord.  I choose when to go. I choose how to go.  I choose what to take.  An article in the NY Times called "In a Refugee’s Bags, Memories of … Continue reading New Lives and Portable Memories

Lenten Journey – “I was a Stranger”

What is our first reaction, our spontaneous response, when we meet the stranger?  "Who let's these people in here anyway?" asked the man. He was agitated, shaking his head in complete dismay. "I mean" he paused "The woman who served me coffee the other day was Moroccan!" His voice was raised in incredulity at the … Continue reading Lenten Journey – “I was a Stranger”

When Your Fear Goes Through the Roof–A Repost

I've worked for hours on a piece that isn't ready yet.... I'm trying to wrangle some of my heart's response to the past couple of weeks into words. It hasn't gone smoothly. So until I get it done I give you this piece I wrote in November 2015. The situations have changed. Perhaps the fear … Continue reading When Your Fear Goes Through the Roof–A Repost

Caution and Compassion: A False Choice

On Saturday night, my husband and I sat in the small kitchen of an apartment in a nearby city. This apartment is now 'home' to seven refugees - all young men. The apartment is heated solely by electricity, an expensive option in our cold northeast winters. All of the appliances are also electric. The electricity … Continue reading Caution and Compassion: A False Choice

An Appeal to Choose Fact over Fear 

"Including those murdered in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 (9/11), the chance of an American perishing in a terrorist attack on U.S. soil that was committed by a foreigner over the 41-year period studied here is 1 in 3.6 million per year. The hazard posed by foreigners who entered on different visa categories … Continue reading An Appeal to Choose Fact over Fear 

The Travelers

“Time was passing like a hand waving from a train I wanted to be on. I hope you never have to think about anything as much as I think about you.” ― Jonathan Safran Foer The picture of the sculpture is so remarkable I think that it cannot be real. It must be a photograph, digitally … Continue reading The Travelers

1500 Olive Trees

Friends, I wrote this back in January, but I know many of us have been hurting over what is going on in Aleppo, so I am reposting. There comes a time on any trip where you feel overwhelmed, when tiredness and lack of control of your surroundings can creep into the journey. I think it … Continue reading 1500 Olive Trees

Refugee Sunday – A Day of Sharing

Each year, the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America set aside the Sunday before Thanksgiving as a time to specifically remember refugees and highlight the humanitarian  work that they do through International Orthodox Christian Charities. Today is the day set aside for 2016. It is hard to get our heads around the … Continue reading Refugee Sunday – A Day of Sharing

The Loneliness of Immigration

My husband and I repatriated to this country many years ago. We came from the city of Cairo, Egypt and arrived at Dulles Airport with five children, 26 suitcases, and an Egyptian Siamese cat. It was the sum total of everything we owned. The first two years were excruciating. We didn't know anything about living … Continue reading The Loneliness of Immigration