Showing posts from 2017

Care-Giving from a Wheel Chair Yields Perspective

Last month, my husband Ron found himself facing an even more interesting challenge than the ones he encounters every day, as a paraplegic who navigates through life from a motorized, six-wheel monstrosity known as a “power wheel chair.” His new challenge came the same day I was forced to grab one of his four-wheel walkers that had me scooting around the house from a sitting position, flying around the house backwards for the next few weeks—all because of an injury I self-diagnosed as “only a sprain.”   After all, I'd had a similar injury on the other leg a few years back. When nothing showed on an x-ray, I'd turned to a chiropractor that time, just to speed things along. In short order, I'd been able to shed my cane.   "Not nearly as bad as first time. Nor is being on wheels as terrible as you might think,” I say to friends, minimizing this interesting dilemma the two of us are managing to cope with fine as long as I don't try to venture out. Getting b

A Christmas Party for Advocates

"It's all related," my friend across the table from me at the Christmas party said yesterday. Bob, like everyone at the party has had his own life greatly impacted by disability. Even though four of the seven of us, including Bob, had arrived in wheel chairs, he wasn't referring just to civil rights issues having to do with disability. To him, all civil rights issues are related. And those who suffer do not need to suffer aloof from the other groups. That's the beauty of the advocacy world. While we may not all see eye to eye, we understand oppression from the underside--for most advocates have experienced great losses, either personally or vicariously through a dear friend or family member. Empathy is the connecting piece. Along with courage. Bob was talking about gender issues, racial issues, and the lack of government funding for the most economically disadvantaged families in our society--each an issue requiring a thorough understanding of power dynami

Sister of an Immigrant Celebrating Big Anniversary

It's been over six decades now--December 17, 1956, to be exact--when my status as an only child ceased. Oh, happy day!  I doubt any 10-year-old in America was happier than I was that night, eight days before Christmas. The occasion at Will Rogers International Airport was topped off by a rather unusual event in Oklahoma City, at least for mid-December.  Not a blizzard, but a pleasantly snowy night greeted the little wharf who had come to America, who would likely have been dead within a few weeks if she'd been forced to remain in the orphanage back in Korea. She arrived, weighing fifteen pounds, within days of turning fifteen months old, unable to even turn over on her own, literally packed into an open cardboard box, with scores of other infants in similar states. A photo of her was captured, as she was somehow picked from the lineup for a op-ed in a small newspaper that arrived in our box weeks after her arrival!  It ready "Precious, Little Cargo." The infants

No Collusion! No Collusion! There was NO Collusion! So Says the Trump Almighty

Desperate, tongue-tied people in power end up saying the strangest things.  With the oddest gestures that speak louder than the babble. Repeating oneself, as if to convince "the children" one is addressing. Or, to put it another way, the adults that the powerful would like to pretend are children.....this repetition can be amusing to watch for those with a sense of humor. Having a healthy sense of humor is getting far more difficult these days, however, as reality dawns. Looking closely, the transparency that's so readily evident and becoming clearer all the time holds exactly the same dynamics of  insight into this word, collusion,  which very few even understood at all twenty-five years ago. Collusion operates freely in closed systems of "faith," that are actually systems of fear in many cases, systems filled with paranoia and narcissism that acts only out of immaturity and self-protection, when faced with the preponderance of evidence of serious sexua

Stellar Response of Willie Geist on Morning Joe to Courageous Woman

My husband Ron, up before me on November 29, was still glued to the TV minutes after Savannah Guthrie's shocking announcement , given with amazing poise and heartfelt sorrow. The allegations of sexual misconduct against Matt Lauer, she'd received only moments before. Now, on stage for the whole world to witness her personal shock over the sudden loss of her colleague, this news she was forced to deliver rivaled the coverage of the  frightening news that North Korea had successfully launched its most ominous nuclear missile yet that could easily hit the United States. I grabbed a cup of coffee as Ron flipped over to Morning Joe in hopes of gaining further perspective.  In less than sixty seconds, the two of us sat in awe, discussing the way Willie Geist, unknowingly, had set a new standard, unlike anything we'd ever witnessed in three decades as the two of us have studied the systemic issues of complicity with sexual violence in all its forms and in multiple institu

U. S. Ambassador Haley Double-Speaks in Calling for Women to be Heard

“They should be heard,”  These words, spoken by U. S. Ambassador Haley, appear to be a bold step, breaking ranks with others in the Trump Administration, who have continually denied and ignored the stories from more than a dozen women reporting  gross sexual misconduct prior to the election of President Trump.   So why would President Trump commend the ambassador?  Until this moment, if one journalist has picked up on the double-speak, I've missed it.  Perhaps 90% of Americans never heard the end of the sentence, but I can guarantee you our Twitter-in-Chief certainly did.  So did I. He's thrilled with what the ambassador said for exactly the same reason I'm sounding the alarm.   "They should be heard, and they should be dealt with ."  Anyone who has listened to even a tenth of the stories I have, involving re-victimizing messengers know the rest of Haley's sentence is an ominous sign. These are buzz words for the pathology of collusion --make no mistak

Roy Moore is NOT a Pedophile!

Make no mistake about it.  The majority of journalists have it wrong. Roy Moore is NOT a pedophile. Nor are the allegations against him merely about sexual misconduct. Roy Moore is an ephebophile. That's a word I find harder to spell than to explain. Apparently, the same with Newsweek Magazine, where the spelling was recently inconsistent.  Spelling it with a "d" instead of a "b" is no big deal, though I do find it annoying that spell checks do not routinely recognize the word anymore than many educators. In this day and age, for average citizens not to know the difference between this term and pedophilia or sexual misconduct, however, is something I consider huge. For a full explanation, I encourage you to  check out Newsweek . While at least one of Moore's accusers was, at the age of her assault, only fourteen years old (one year under the strict definition of the term), an ephebophile is an abuser of minors who are still in their teens--a fact that

Wise Mama with Dementia Gives Political Voice and Laughs

We needed some comic relief last week, after I'd traveled from Kansas on Monday to help celebrate my mother's 92nd birthday in Dallas.  By Tuesday, things had turned into a disaster of gloom. For only three hours of my arrival, she began getting sick with an ordinary sore throat, followed by a urinary tract infection, that always plays havoc with cognition and agitation level in Alzheimer's. So, I'd been forced to postpone all plans for celebration and feared I'd be cancelling the celebration entirely.  By Friday, we were back on course. The week ended up gloriously, with TWO parties--Mom's birthday plans carried out the day before I left her, and a large, lively Christmas party with "ordinary" folks outside her care facility the next day, hours before I left. Meantime, it wasn't just Mom's condition, but my own, that made our success at getting her to see her cardiologist on Wednesday into a small miracle. I'd come with a leg injury

Stop Listening to the Noise

"That's all noise, Mom. Just ignore it," my son advised this past summer when I was in the midst of trying to sort out benefits for my mother, listening to one government official, then another--seldom with two of them agreeing about what was really about to happen. I tried to take his advice, and it worked. At least, helping me get a better night's sleep. As it turned out--the outcome, that is.....well it was better than I could have imagined. Despite all the naysayers, telling me I was spinning my wheels for something that was impossible for me to win on the part of my mother, I succeeded.  Got the money coming in each month to meet her needs while I am able to sit back and sigh with relief, only concentrating on making trips to the airport, as I am today, going down to see others who are providing TLC and some who will help me celebrate her 92nd birthday!  What joy!! My daughter, who is at the bottom of the totem poll economically, in many ways, as an under-val

Thanks for the Encouragement, Roy Moore

Never in thirty years, studying complicity with abuse in the faith community, have I had more encouragement and interest in my work than now.  All thanks to Roy Moore and the State of Alabama. Not in my wildest imagination could I have imagined that such encouragement would come from a southern state.  Of course, this encouragement isn't particularly intended by Alabamans--so many of them that I know read some of my work in 1995. That's when, published in the popular, young Baptist "tabloid," known as Baptists Today. What was published back then was both detested and devoured by the critics of the Convention's traitors, such as the rebel Jimmy Carter, who was speaking his own truth back then, too, though it would be years before he would throw in the towel on the Southern Baptist Convention. The struggling paper, published every three weeks, had an extremely courageous editor, Jack Harwell, bruised and beat up because he'd dared to speak truth already in t

#MeToo Plus a LOT More

I cannot keep up with all that's going now, bearing fruit from the seeds planted twenty-five years ago!  I find it totally exhilarating, empowering, yet exhausting as I look back and ask why it has taken so long. On the other hand, I am in awe at what's happened in ONLY 25  YEARS.  Considering the centuries of groundwork done to keep patriarchy so entrenched that the evil of sexual abuse still remains so awkward and taboo in so many circles to even speak about.  Many times I've asked myself why this should be so awkward, and always I find the same answer after searching the "data base" of my soul and experience. I'm totally convinced it's because we see this problem as SEXUAL abuse, rather than sexual ABUSE.  Same as we see DOMESTIC abuse rather than Domestic ABUSE.   I keep going back to the illustration Rev. Elizabeth Stellas gave in a retreat I attended to help women work thru the trauma of whatever type of sexual violation had been experienced by a

Lessons in Empathy

I'm a reluctant caregiver. That makes me an oddball in my profession of nursing, I know. I sense that some of my colleagues have seen this as a problem, or even a character fault.  Maybe it is. Now, don't get me wrong. I do care. Immensely.  About many things, and about people who are interested in changing lifestyles or attitudes or endemic psycho-social issues or family issues to improve quality of life and health for all. Otherwise, I detest care-giving. Some say I should have been a teacher, a writer, or a lawyer. I've got a low tolerance for resistance to change, though I am capable of accepting things that cannot be changed if every last option for change has been explored before reaching that conclusion. That's why I suggested a new way  to pray The Serenity Prayer several years ago--something that's also included in  Enlarging Boston's Spotlight: A Call for Courage, Integrity, and Institutional Transformation . There's a lot of room in the nur

Nothing Political. This Is Convoluted Heresy!

Yesterday Jim Zeigler, the Alabama State Auditor speaking to the fact four women had come forward to accuse the much-older Roy Moore of sexual abuse in their teen years,  told the Washington Examiner : “There is nothing to see here … the allegations are that a man in his early 30s dated teenage girls.” Zeigler also defended Moore by citing Biblical examples of men involved with younger women. “Take the Bible. Zachariah and Elizabeth for instance. Zachariah was extremely old to marry Elizabeth and they became the parents of John the Baptist. Also take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus. … There’s just nothing immoral or illegal here. Maybe just a little bit unusual.” These allegations are being called a smear attack by Republicans, even though one of the accusers was a Trump supporter!  The recent groundswell of evidence to show the long-standing, wide-spread problems some of us have been writing about for years

Marching Forth Following KPR Interview

Anybody out there got connections with KCUR (the regional NPR station in Kansas City)? Just had an empowering 45-minute interview with the manager of Kansas Public Radio. Will let you know when it's aired, where it will be available on line, and how you can help get it (or something similar) into the larger NPR arena in the weeks to come. Dan Skinner was great to work with. Definitely not like a couple of challenging characters I encountered in 1993-94--some so right-winged with ulterior motives than mine--which I "wrote up" in Enlarging Boston's Spotlight . He'll have to edit out about 2/3 of the content, including a time or two when I got deeper into sub-topics than I intended, like collusion in the publishing industry. That's the beauty of not being live, though, as I usually was in the scores of interviews I did over twenty years ago. I spent a lot of time talking about issues with Protestants not having big enough pockets, about the gender oppr

Gifts from Strange Places

A few weeks ago, I got a box from the mother of a convicted felon. This box was full of belongings of my mother.  Keepsakes from her past high school graduation reunions that she'd attended with such joy for decades. Photos went as far back as 1990.  Letters galore from some of her friends, too. So how did it end up in the hands of a convict?  Long, long story.  Like so many of mother's stories, some that would make your hair stand on end. Suffice it to say that the felon's mother found it among other items he'd left in her home that he'd managed to take from my mother's after he invaded it under the guise of being a legitimate craftsman, a fact that people in the community who knew him years earlier vowed was true. His mother figured out the stuff belonged to my mother and that he'd somehow gotten it into his pile of belongings "by mistake" after Ron and I succeeded in getting this crook and ne'er-do-well out Mom's old run-down house

When Choices are Slim

There is still SO much more work for us to have an equitable world for those with accessibility issues. Most of us who are able-bodied take a hundred things for granted every day, believe me. I now see many that others do not see. I was oblivious to the barriers myself until 6 years ago when my husband was suddenly spending most of his waking hours in a power wheel chair. Like yesterday, one of the most frustrating days we've had in a long time. First, in our lovely South Park here in Lawrence, KS. You'd think it would not be a problem. Well, think again. A great international event, right down our alley. Except we were totally frustrated. Back home, Ron said it was just another "mistake" he'd made in trying to go. Every two feet, I had to tap somebody on the shoulder because we couldn't even get down the sidewalks due to the groups of folks in conversation who stood way above Ron's head. We understand why they weren't looki

The Problem with New Music

Since I live in Kansas, while most of my family still remains in Texas or Oklahoma, my opportunities to connect in person with extended family are rare . Like all families, sometimes those rare connections are very positive. Other times, not so much. My most recent was one of the most memorable of my seven-plus decades. This may well have been my elderly aunt's final interchange with me. It came after Sharon, my mother's very congenial personal caregiver, tried to open a conversation that could have pulled together a few meaningful moments we'd just experienced, doing exactly what our family has done for generations--sharing music, that is. In this case, around an old rickety piano in my aunt's living room. Days earlier, the hostess had initiated the idea with my mother. in their odd way of loudly whispering something they are afraid to say "out loud." When Aunt Jo suggested that day to Mom that they try to persuade me to give the group a little conce