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”

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

A Statement on Life

I am pro-life. I love babies and mamas. I love ultrasounds that show us the beauty of that baby, perfectly safe and growing in the womb. Because I am pro-life, I am pro-healthcare. I am a nurse, and I have witnessed first hand what it is to have a patient walk in to a clinic … Continue reading A Statement on Life

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

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

When Pictures Wake us Up

The world grows tired but pictures wake us up. The world is weary of words, but pictures change the conversation. I write about refugees, knowing that there are those shaking their heads "yeah, yeah, we know already." This is coded language for the longer "We know there are refugees, we know there are overwhelming needs. … Continue reading When Pictures Wake us Up

Small Things for the Kingdom

"Long ago, it seemed, I had been ruined for the ordinary."  It was six years ago that I had the opportunity to go to Pakistan, place of my childhood and land that I love, to work with displaced people. Massive floods had uprooted millions of people and Pakistan was feeling the after effects. Villages sat empty, every … Continue reading Small Things for the Kingdom

There’s so Much to Do

I wake up thinking "There is so much to do!" Housework and writing; communicating and catching up; praying and reflecting.  But I'm caught in this trap of media watching. It's a vicious cycle of anger and laughter and sadness - but mostly anger. There's so much to do, but I'm caught. I'm right where the … Continue reading There’s so Much to Do

And Lady Liberty Weeps….

  "Give me your tired, your poor," she says. Ah, but first we must verify income and employability; we must make sure these people fit with "our way of life." We must make sure these creatures are not leeches who steal jobs from those who really belong. "Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free," Make sure the … Continue reading And Lady Liberty Weeps….

Imagine for a Moment…

"Rootlessness — the implied weakness of it — is treated as a failure. That is plainly schizophrenic: In a world where one in seven people is displaced, the failure must be of planetary scale. It belongs to all of us. This is a century of dislocation not merely of body and home, but also of … Continue reading Imagine for a Moment…