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 

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

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

For Sale Cheap: Kidneys and Children

"An entire criminal infrastructure has developed over the past 18 months around exploiting the migrant flow." Brian Donald, Europol Chief of Staff to Observer   It was five in the evening and we had just returned from South Lebanon. We had an hour before our evening appointment and so we collapsed on the bed, drained. … Continue reading For Sale Cheap: Kidneys and Children

Scraps from the Table

"Pity and what it offers are scraps from the table. Justice is a seat at the table."* Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan. Three vastly different countries with different histories and different politics. They don't even speak the same dialects of Arabic, but they are lumped together in the two-dimensional view that the Western world has of the Middle … Continue reading Scraps from the Table

It’s a Baby!

  I have several friends who have had babies in the past year. These babies are beautiful -- a couple of them boys, a couple of them girls. I watch in amazement as they grow week by week - one week soft, sweet-smelling lumps that look around at the world they came into in wonder; the … Continue reading It’s a Baby!

“Days of the Week”

Like most things, the refugee crisis is complex and three-dimensional. And one of the things that goes along with this work are the moments and times of extraordinary joy. This is one of those times. The children in the video are Syrian refugees living in Lebanon. They go to a school that is run by … Continue reading “Days of the Week”

And We’re Back…

Last night we arrived back to Terminal E at Logan International Airport. The trip began early morning in Lebanon and by the time we arrived we had been up for 24 hours. A wet snow was falling as we made our way out of the terminal, a contrast to our 60 degrees and sunny in … Continue reading And We’re Back…

The More I Learn, the Less I Know

I have the extraordinary privilege of being in Lebanon and just returned from a trip to Bekaa Valley.   There are thousands of refugees in the valley and we are with a group called Heart for Lebanon. Heart for Lebanon is working with 1300 families in 13 different camps. We visited the largest camp today.  … Continue reading The More I Learn, the Less I Know

His Mercy Echoes

  Yesterday my mom wrote a comment on my post that is worthy of a space of its own. Here it is:  From my mom - Pauline Brown:  I recently read the story told by a Vietnamese American woman. Her grandparents, her mother and two aunts escaped as Saigon was falling. The woman had worked … Continue reading His Mercy Echoes

#FighttheFear

Today it struck me that we haven't even been able to grieve the attacks in the world because the rhetoric so quickly changed from grief for Paris to finding a scapegoat. So today I pause to remember, love, and fight fear. You are more than welcome to use the picture but you must give credit. … Continue reading #FighttheFear

Refugee Facts & Resources

I thought it would be helpful to compile resources here for those of you who are looking to know more about resettlement and how the refugee process works. The resources are a mixture of those found in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand. Refugee Information: Federal Office of Refugee Resettlement … Continue reading Refugee Facts & Resources

Welcoming the Refugee – Choosing to Walk Away from Fear

The road may be long and full of our blood but we will go back waving olive branches. Love is stronger than hate There is little that I feel more passionately about than refugees. The refugee problem has my heart and my mind all the time, and my body when possible. I write about refugees, … Continue reading Welcoming the Refugee – Choosing to Walk Away from Fear

A Short Video Explains a Crisis

Tonight my husband and I will be at our church, sharing some stories and pictures from our trips this past year to Turkey, Lebanon, and Iraq. In the spirit of that talk, I offer you this short and challenging video. It will take six minutes of your time and it is the clearest explanation I … Continue reading A Short Video Explains a Crisis

Self-Sufficiency in 8 Months – How to Settle a Refugee

It came to my mind yesterday that most of us have limited knowledge of the refugee situation in the United States alone, much less the world. The purpose of this post is to give a few important facts about refugees and resettlement. Because I am in the United States, I have focused on the process … Continue reading Self-Sufficiency in 8 Months – How to Settle a Refugee

Trauma-Informed Care

In recent years, trauma-informed care has been a front and center topic in healthcare. Trauma-informed care "is an approach that aims to engage people with histories of trauma, recognize the presence of trauma symptoms, and acknowledge the role that trauma has played in their lives."  At heart, this means that I, as a nurse, need … Continue reading Trauma-Informed Care

Will a Dead Toddler Wake a Sleeping World?

He's in a red shirt and blue shorts, his little body still chubby with the best kind of toddler fat. He has his shoes on, their brown soles pointed toward the camera. This strikes me as odd -- because he's at the edge of the water on a beach. The waves care not that he … Continue reading Will a Dead Toddler Wake a Sleeping World?

To Iraq

The text came on an Ecclesiastical day - a day when I was despairing that there was nothing new under the sun. Especially nothing new in my immediate vicinity. And then came the text: "How would you like to go to Iraq? Call me!" It was from my husband. I called - immediately. The organization … Continue reading To Iraq