Tuesday, July 7, 2015

On Generosity

Last week, some friends were over and one of them slipped me an envelope. Inside was a kind note and a check to cover the cost of one of Monrovia's rechargeable cochlear implant batteries (or any of the extra costs that come along with having hearing loss.) It was so thoughtful, kind and touching. This isn't the first time these friends have shown generosity towards Matt and I. And we have many thoughtful people in our lives, but the times these friends have made an intentional and generous gesture to us it has stuck with me.

It isn't that they are wealthy (they aren't), and it isn't that they have cash to burn (they don't!) They have lots of expenses and they live in the Bay Area, one of the priciest places to live in the entire country.

Here is the thing their (and others') generosity has shown me:

  • It doesn't matter how much money you have. You can always share some of what you have with someone else. We live in such a culture of deficiency; we act as if there is never enough, no matter what our checking account says. 
  • Often the people in my life who have fewer resources are the ones who are more generous with what they have.
  • Generosity breeds generosity. Every time someone is generous with me, it makes more generous with others. It reminds me of how much those acts mean, and encourages me to be more open handed with what I have. 
  • If you make it a habit, generosity becomes a way of life. The more you give away, the more you want to do it! I'm not just talking about money, I'm talking about all sorts of resources: time, abilities, use of your belongings, etc...
  • I want my kids to be generous. So I need to be generous! Because that's where they learn it. As my kids get older, I know all of these activities vy for their attention and time, but we have to prioritize generous acts in that mix to ingrain that value into our children. 
This Sunday, our girls put on a lemonade stand in front of our house! We had read a lot about the string of black churches that have been burned down in the last month, and we wanted to do something to show care for these brothers and sisters of ours across the country. It's important for Matt and I to teach our girls that their "neighbor" isn't just the person who lives next door and who looks just like them. We also want to teach them to do what they can to work against acts of injustice and racism. We decided to donate all of the money they earned to a fund for those churches, to be divided equally between them. (You can find out more about the fund here)


The girls were little worker bees! Scrubbing our lemons:
Making signs:
Juicing lemons:

They sold lemonade for two hours, until our lemonade cups ran out! They raised $98.28 to give away! Most of all, they did something to benefit someone else.

I'd love to hear ways that you teach your own children about being generous? How do you model it for them? What are habits of generosity you've built into your own life? 

Talk to me, I'd love to learn more....

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Best Ever!

A couple of years ago we were at our friends Justin and Danelle's for dinner, and I found Matt in the kitchen, devouring slices of fresh pumpkin bread off of the counter. Our friend Jennifer had brought a homemade loaf of Tartine Bakery's recipe, and I think Matt ate almost the entire thing. It was delicious! Even though we have the Tartine cookbook we'd never made the Pumpkin Tea Cake. (The lemon bars are also incredible and my go to recipe!) After stealing a few slices to eat on our drive home, Matt decided to conquer this recipe at home sometime. Since then he's made this for special occasions, as well as for regular mornings as a treat.

This morning I woke up to the smell of two loaves baking, and I couldn't have been happier. (It tastes even more yummy when someone else does all the work and you get to roll out of bed and eat a slice)

Pumpkin Tea Cake from Tartine

1 2/3 cups (225 g) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp (7 ml) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2 ml) baking soda
1 tbsp + 2 tsps (25 ml) ground cinnamon
2 tsps (10 ml) nutmeg, freshly grated
1/4 tsp (1 ml) ground cloves
1 cup + 2 tbsps (255 g) pumpkin purée
1 cup (250 ml) vegetable oil (like safflower or sunflower)
1 1/3 cups (270 g) sugar
3/4 tsp (4 ml) salt
3 large eggs
2 tbsps sugar for topping
*** 3 tbsps pepitas for topping  (optional: we don't top it with these, but I'm sure it would be good)


Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9×5-inch loaf pan. (You can do this recipe with a stand mixer or by hand.) 

Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves into a mixing bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat the pumpkin purée, oil, sugar, and salt together until well blended. Beat the eggs in one at a time, making sure each egg is completely incorporated before adding the next one. Scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the flour and mix until just combined. You don’t want to overbeat the batter as it will result in a tougher crumb. Then beat for 5 to 10 seconds until smooth. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and tap the pan on the counter to help flatten the batter out. Sprinkle the sugar (and, if using, pepitas) on top and bake for about an hour or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

Remove the cake from the oven and let sit for 20 minutes. Invert the pan onto a cooling rack and flip the cake out. Turn the cake back right-side up and let cool completely. Serve at room temperature. Lasts about 4 days (well-wrapped) on your counter or up to a week in the refrigerator. Serves 6-8.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

How cute are they?


I usually think my girls could care less about what I am currently working on - whether it is my paintings or my freelance illustration. They just like to come into my studio and use all of my supplies and then hang up their art all over the walls. Otherwise they are very blase about it: an artist is about as exciting as a bank teller in their world. 

The other day we were shopping, and as I checked things off of my list I turned around to see my girls hunting for my cards. Monrovia had one in her hand, "Isn't this yours mommy?" Much to my surprise, it was! And my cute little hunters looked through the entire section to find my cards. They were  melting my heart with their earnest smiles (which was a good turn of events, since about five minutes before I had threatened to walk out of the store if they didn't stop bickering!)

Monrovia announced that the store should order more of my thank you cards, and Ruby insisted a card of a popsicle covered in glitter should be one that I made. My two opinionated munchkins! I guess they pay more attention than I think they do. 

Happy weekend!

Life is Messy

I've been thinking a lot about how messy life is.

Sunday was Father's Day and two days ago would have been my parents 42nd anniversary, and both are bittersweet days for me. The pain is no longer acute, but it's funny to me how things will come up out of nowhere - an email from someone connected to the last day I saw my dad, a comment he writes on a relative's Facebook page, running into someone who knew me a long time ago when my parents were together- that remind me of how when relational fracture happens it doesn't just go away. We carry it around with in our bodies and in our memories. It doesn't just affect one person, but it reverberates out and affects small communities of people.

On Sunday, as I was thinking about Father's Day, I thought about good things about my own dad, even though now it is so hard to sift through the past and know what was true and what wasn't. I'll never know how many years ago my dad started lying to me, and what he did and didn't lie about. Sometimes I'll remember something that happened many years ago that didn't add up at the time, and I'll work it through in my mind, wondering if that too was a lie and that's why it didn't make sense at the time. That said, I know my dad loved me. It was flawed, as all love is, and the reality of it versus the projected public version of it feels like two different entities, but it was still love. I know there were things my dad gifted my family that I am thankful for.

Then I started thinking about Matt: what a good dad he is, how he rounds me out, and gives the girls habits and qualities that I wouldn't be able to. I started thinking about all of the other men I know who have modeled good dad qualities to me over the years, and who do the same now to my own children. So instead of dwelling on the messy and the hard, and the parts of Father's Day that feel sucky, I decided to think about and be grateful for all of those people.

On my parents' would-have-been-anniversary I thought of the same thing...the parts of my parents' marriage that taught me, supported me and shaped me, and the marriages around me that scaffold me now, that encourage and inspire Matt and me in our own marriage. I remember before Matt and I were married, we met with a bunch of married couples to get advice and wisdom before getting married. One of the couples we met with was my parents. At the time my parents were still married. A piece of advice that my dad gave me was that you can always learn something from another couple- no matter how much you don't like their relationship or regardless of how different it is from your own. So in the spirit of that, I often try to think of the things I learned from my dad or from my parents marriage, despite all of the pain and disruption that happened towards the end of my relationship with my dad. You can always learn.

The messy isn't going anywhere, and so for today at least, I see the mess and make some mud pies out of it all.

Friday, June 19, 2015

On Growing Up & Growing Old

Dear Little M,

When I first started writing this blog you were a newborn, just hatched into the world. So much was unknown back then; I'd never been a mom before, and as much as I couldn't wait to be a mom- your mom- I also wasn't quite sure how exactly to be a parent. Add on that we'd just found out you were deaf? I felt a little bit like I was doggy paddling out in the middle of a large body of water with no rescue boat in sight. But then, because it's life, you just have to make your way and head into the unknown because the next day is bound to come whether you want it to or not.

I make a lot of mistakes as a mom and in all the other life parts too: as a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend. That's life too: we are human beings and so we mess up a lot, and then hopefully learn enough from the messing up to do it a little better the next time. There are so many days that I want to rewind and change what I've just said to you or Ruby because I know I didn't do it that well. I let my frustration or impatience come out of my mouth instead of kindness, grace and love. Sometimes I hear you scolding Ruby or talking back to me, and if I close my eyes it's my own voice I hear.

So here we are, seven years into life for you, seven years into parenthood for me.

Here you are on the first and last day of first grade.
It feels like this year sped by even faster than Kindergarten! In some ways I just want to freeze time, and keep you at this age forever. It's so much fun to be your mom, even though I still learn every day how to be a good parent to you and Ruby. But I also see how you are maturing, and I can't wait to find out who you become over time. 

This was a year jam packed with emotions- I am trying teach you to be patient, kind and to slow down when you feel all the big stuff coursing through your little body. You have so many feels: the joy, the grief, the frustration, the anger, the impatience, the delight. Lots of feelings, just like your mama. This year those feelings have intensified, and while you practice having those emotions and knowing what to do with them, I'm working on giving you good boundaries for how and when to show them. I don't always do that super well- sometimes I cut you off when you just need to try out your anger to see what happens, or I snuggle you when you really need some space. 

This was also a year full of learning! You had an amazing teacher (and two great student teachers) and every day you came home with new stories spilling out about what you'd learned that day. You are reading so well now, even though it's been a lot of really intentional for you! You soaked up new ways of doing math, discovered history, and loved science. You learned how to write your first essay with a begging, middle and end! You worked hard to speak up when you couldn't hear something in class, and you taught your classmates all about cochlear implants and being deaf. 

What makes me most proud is that aside from all of your growth academically and in the classroom, that your teacher told us how compassionate and thoughtful you are: you stick up for kids when they are being left out, you help others when they are hurt, and that you always include others.  
I'm so proud of who you are becoming as you navigate the world. Grateful for your laughter, your generosity, your sensitivity, your insight, your kindness, your tender heart, your imagination and bravery. 

I love being your mom, even when it's really hard and I feel like I'm botching all of it. There are days, hours, minutes, where I am at a loss because you are pushing so hard and I am reacting to everything you are saying and doing without taking pause to remember that you are a child, and that I am an adult, and that you need me to show you how to push appropriately. I'm sorry for the times I am more concerned with managing your behavior and getting you under control than I am with listening to what you really need, and in being patient, gentle and slow to anger. Forgive me for sometimes wanting the quick solution instead of the better route of compassion and positive discipline.
When it comes down to it, I think being a parent is a lot like being a kid. We are both trying to figure out how to be in this world, and how to take on every new stage with the tools we've got. We move toward each other and then away from each other, in different roles to be sure, but learning from each interaction.
I hope I'm teaching you well, my little one, how to engage life, how to mess up and ask for forgiveness, how to be wounded and still extend forgiveness, how to laugh at yourself, how to try over, how to stick to something, how to work hard, how to pray, how to ask for help, how to love others, how to feel confident in your own skin, how to use your words, how to share, how to know when to keep fighting and when to throw in the towel, how to be vulnerable and how to be strong. You're certainly teaching me all of those things just by being you. 

Love,
Mama

Thursday, June 18, 2015

here, not here

this week my family is here, in this amazing and peaceful place, for a much-needed reboot:
and then this morning, i happened to click on my facebook feed and see the horrifying news from charleston, south carolina of the massacre of nine african american people at a prayer meeting by a racist young man. i can't get it out of my mind - the ugliness of racism in our country. i can't get how nine more human beings have been murdered because of the color of their skin. the beauty of this lake- with water that runs cold and clear, with the sound of lapping waves that lull me to sleep at night- can't make me stop thinking of the cost of lives taken, yet again, of my brothers and sisters who are black. 

i don't have any lucid thoughts. only grief. 

lord, have mercy.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

a little pretty

today was a hard day and a long day.

there's so much of life that doesn't find its way onto my blog, or facebook or instagram feed.
and for good reason! i already feel like so much of my (pretty uninteresting) life is up for consumption just because i am on social media., but then that edited version can come across as far closer to perfection than actual, real, messy life.

anyway, i'm feeling a bit beat down and tired, so if you're in the same boat (or even if you aren't), here are some pretty peonies to remind you that there are bits of beauty everywhere. (and tomorrow is a new day!)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The People Shouted with a Great Shout

Day 6 & 7: Memphis, Nashville, Monteagle, Tennessee and Atlanta, Georgia

One of the things that I was reminded of over and over on our trip was how much history there is in the not very distant past that I don't know, and if I do know that I don't know well enough. So many stories from this era of struggle that are crushing, horrifying, and then those that are also incredibly beautiful. So many heroes and heroines whose names should be known and passed on, whose words and actions are worth our attention.

We woke up needing a bit of a walk before heading off to another day of soaking in our nation's broken story. We were pretty close to the Mississippi, and so we grabbed breakfast at a great spot and then walked through the quiet city to the river.

A morning view of downtown Memphis from where we stayed. 
 The lovely park and square just outside of our building.
Matt's happy place: biscuits and gravy and hot black tea.
A little mind map processing of the previous day over breakfast...
We walked past some beautiful old buildings on our way to the Mississippi. I loved all of the details in this facade.
We ended up at a park that pushes up against the Mississippi. This, to me, is what is so jarring about our time in the South. There are so many monuments to the Confederacy, and to figures in the Confederate side of the Civil War, and many of these monuments are side-by-side with landmarks, often unidentified or newly marked, from the Civil Rights struggle. This park is named after Jefferson Davis, who was president of the Confederacy. This huge statue is in the center of the park. How can the regional culture that even now honors a movement - the Confederacy/the Civil War/etc. - that was made possible by the labor and lives of slaves not still be influenced by remnants of that past?
Our walk to the Mississippi was a little disappointing. I wanted to sit by the water and watch it rolling by, to gather my thoughts from yesterday and prepare for the coming day, but there was a massive BBQ festival blocking off a huge span. 

And also, I'm not going to lie: Whenever I think of Memphis and the Mississippi, I think of this scene in the U2 documentary Rattle and Hum. If you watch the first minute or so of this clip, you'll see why:

We wound around the perimeter of the festival to get sort of close to the water, but the peace that was resting on the city streets that we'd just walked through was nowhere to be found as all the vendors and tents set up, so we left to head out of Memphis. I downloaded the song Heartland onto my phone to play as we drove away from the Mississippi.

Just as we began to drive to the freeway to Nashville, Matt threw out the idea of going back to the Brooks Museum of Art, which we had passed by the day before. They were having an exhibit called This Light of Ours: Activist Photographers of the Civil Rights Movement, so we decided to stop by to see if it was any good.


First we went through their permanent collection; I always like going to smaller museums to see what they have, especially because they often have less widely known regional artists. It was a nice break to see some art. I liked these two pieces....

The photography exhibit was AMAZING. I'm so glad we detoured to see it. All of these images are also in the book This Light of Ours, and is available on Amazon (or even better at your local bookstore!) 

The photographs captured so well the ordinary people who were involved in the "ground up" movement. I teared up at many of the 150+ images. Really powerful.
I highly recommend buying the exhibit book. Or you can borrow ours! 

At the conclusion of the exhibit, you had the opportunity to respond to the work by making a pledge to act in some way based off of the photographs. 
I was so grateful we'd decided to stop at the museum; it also felt like the photographs honored the lives of so many regular people whose names will never show up in history books. Once again I was reminded of the incredible sacrifices people of all ages and races made to seek equality.
Back in the car we drove across Tennessee to Nashville. The landscape was so beautiful, and most of what we drove through was rural, so it was a peaceful drive. 

We got to Nashville a few hours later, and went to the little church where James Lawson trained so many students and volunteers in non-violent resistance. (You might have seen clips of this in Selma or in The Butler) Among many others I've been learning about, James Lawson was incredibly inspiring to me. He was a conscientious objector to the Korean War, and so was sentenced to three years in prison, and he served over a year. Wow. That's called not just talking about your opinions but living them out! Add him to my growing list of people I want to learn more about and become more like.

"Through non-violence, courage displaces fear; love transforms hate. Acceptance dissipates prejudice; hope ends despair. Peace dominates war; faith reconciles doubt. Mutual regard cancels enmity. Justice for all overthrows injustice. The redemptive community supersedes systems of gross social immorality.” ~ James Lawson, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

We drove up and saw someone inside, so Matt went up to talk to him. He told us we'd just missed a church member who had been around forever and knew a ton about that period that would've answered our questions. Then, of course, he invited us to church the next morning! Another church member was doing some maintenance inside the church so he let us come in and walk around and talk for awhile. 
Just as in many of the places we stopped there was nothing special about the actual church building, but it did feel as if we were stepping into a space that was holy. Not because it was a church, but because the holy actions of putting others before yourself, of loving others more than your own safety, of living the way Jesus would have.
It is incredible to me how those practitioners of non-violence were able to resist acting out in anger when they were being mocked, taunted and hurt.
Rev. James Lawson- a mug shot from the Freedom Rides in Mississippi
This is a great clip, less than five minutes, with footage of the non-violent trainings that Lawson did
It was a beautiful Nashville afternoon!
Down the street from the church
The original NAACP building is still a block away from the church, in a building owned for a long time by an African American businessman.
We went to nearby Fisk University, where many of the students who were the foot soldiers for the lunch counter sit-ins attended.
I loved this little factoid:
Then we drove a few miles to the seminary where many of the young civil rights organizers attended and planned non-violent actions.
Nashville at night! We went to an amazing dinner that evening. 
The next morning before leaving Nashville we walked over the river and to downtown
In April 1960, the Nashville, Tennessee home of African-American lawyer (and later city councilman) Z. Alexander Looby is destroyed by dynamite. In response, students from Fisk University march silently to the county courthouse. All I could imagine as I walked up to it was this entire grassy field filled with thousands of silent, mourning marchers.
The Mayor at the time came out to the protestors. College student and leader Diane Nash went up to him and boldly asked him about whether he thought it was ok for the lunch counters to be segregated. (Below: Diane Nash)
Diane Nash speaking to Mayor
When the mayor responded no he didn't think they should be segregated, he quickly attempted to back peddle, saying that it should be up to the business owners. Whoops! He had spoken too quickly- the next day the newspapers reported that the Mayor had declared the lunch counters should be integrated. And so they were.
 Diane Nash went on to be very active in the Freedom Rides and as a civil rights organizer.

"Traveling in the segregated South for black people was humiliating. The very fact that there were separate facilities was to say to black people and white people that blacks were so subhuman and so inferior that we could not even use public facilities that white people used.” ~ Diane Nash, Freedom Rides Organizer

Many of the locations where the lunch counter sit-ins where held have been remodeled into new businesses and are unmarked, but we visited all of the addresses even though they were just buildings or remainders of buildings. It was powerful to imagine the same spots 50 years ago, and the bravery it took these students to sit as people relentlessly abused them.
The Walgreens is the only building that is still the original business:
Right across the street was another lunch counter and is now a Dollar General.
We spotted a yet-to-be unveiled historical marker to these sit-ins. Crazy to me that aside from this brand new (and not even visible) marker there is nothing to honor the sit-ins.
We left Nashville and headed back to the country roads to our last stop in Monteagle, Tennessee before our final destination, Atlanta.
We were trying to find the original site of the Highlander Folk School, a integrated training school for many in the civil rights movement. Today it is also unmarked, and the only way we found it was by stopping at the local police station (a random little building which smelled like it was inhabited by chain smokers.) They waved their hands in a general direction and gave us some roads to turn down, with an apologetic, "I think that's where it might be." 

We drove in the direction they sent us, while I also speed-read an article our friend Keith had sent us about the Highlander Folk School. It gave us the landmark of the adjacent cemetery, and a small photo of a low-slung white house. I put the cemetery into my phone and it led us down this road...
To this! We turned down the lane, and drove down a couple of houses where we discovered a house that looked identical to the one in the online article.
We found it! (Thank you, Keith for sending us that article! Otherwise we would've never found it.) The building is now empty, and my guess is that it will likely fall apart unless the state or a private donor rehabs it. There is nothing to let you know how this space once operated, and a next-door neighbor does the upkeep on the exterior and surrounding grounds. I'd never heard of the Highlander School before this trip, despite the fact that it was so instrumental to so many in the movement.

The interior- I snuck this photo through the window. I imagined all of the conversations that happened in this room.
One of the billboards saying King was involved in a Communist school (while at Highlander in that room) in order to discredit him. 
The same article Keith sent us mentioned a log cabin where King stayed while at Highlander. This log cabin is just two house away from the Highlander School, so I'm guessing this is where MLK stayed.
We walked down the lane to the cemetery where we read that Myles Horton (you can read more about him here), was buried with his family, even though the Highlander School was moved to Knoxville (where it still is today). 
We walked all over the cemetery to try and find Horton's grave. I finally found his family's plot: a group of small, plain stones.
One of my favorite stories that we read in the Rosa Parks' Museum (which I am realizing I didn't even write about, but we went there in Montgomery) is what Rosa said about the Highlander School when she came for a ten day inter-racial workshop: "One of my greatest pleasures there was enjoying the smell of bacon frying and coffee brewing and knowing that white folks were doing the preparing instead of me. I was 42 years old, and it was one of the few times in my life up to that point when I did not feel any hostility from white people." 

I thought about that as I looked at Myles Horton's grave, and I thought about how much resistance and fear there was to what he was doing in that little spot in the mountains of Tennessee. I thought about how the state used ridiculous means to shut them down, and yet undeterred,  he started his school up in a new spot almost immediately. I thought about how his religious faith guided him to do what was surely unpopular and dangerous. I thought about how his entire life was made up of fighting for the poor and the left out. I thought about our friends' son Myles, who is named after Myles Horton, and I said a prayer that he would also be brave and committed to justice and equality.
As we drove out another way, we actually found a marker out along the main road.
We hopped in the car as fast as we could to go to Atlanta, driving South through the remainder of Tennessee back into Georgia. We were trying to get to Atlanta to visit Dr. King's childhood home. As we raced the clock we passed gorgeous country.
Sadly we got to Atlanta in time...kind of! The time change between Tennessee and Atlanta meant we arrived just as they closed. Even though it was close to when the King Center closed down for the day there were so many people everywhere, taking pictures, touring the different areas (the entire city block is devoted to King, Ebenezer Baptist, the parsonage, exhibits, etc.) It was in such sharp contrast to many of the places we stopped, where they were little blips on a town's landscape. So many people of such different backgrounds stopping to honor King's life...it was quite striking.

We went into Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Dr. King's father was a pastor, and where King briefly pastored. 
Sermons by MLK Jr are piped throughout the church sanctuary. Unlike the other churches we went to, which are all still operating congregations, this church building is now a historical site run by the National Parks Service. The operating church is across the street.
 
 The parsonage where King grew up is just down the block, and although it was closed inside, we looked at the exterior. One of the tidbits of information in the adjoining gift shop was that King's room that he shared was always messy growing up. I mistakenly sent that in a text along to my children!  Now they will forever have an excuse for not cleaning up!
 Our last stop, the eternal flame which is in front of King's tomb. The inscription reads, "The Eternal Flame symbolizes the continuing effort to realize Dr. King’s ideals for the “Beloved Community” which requires lasting personal commitment that cannot weaken when faced with obstacles."
 And the final resting place for Dr. King and Coretta Scott King.
In many ways this trip leveled me in the very best ways. I remember as a teenager I had a big poster of MLK Jr. up in my room (along with James Dean and U2. Ha!) His ideals inspired me, even though I knew of them only in broad strokes. This week of taking time and space to honor his vision for a beloved community only made me want to examine my own life. How am I parenting? Am I modeling sacrificial love to my children? Am I teaching them to be brave? Am I showing them what it means to name hate and cowardice? Am I willing to use my privilege to benefit others? Am I willing to name the ugly parts of our country's history and actively work towards justice? What is happening in our world right now that is as blatantly wrong that I should stand in opposition to? How can these radical stories of love and action become engrained in me? 

In the beginning this trip was for Matt, because he is the one who has done all of the study and the reading. But in the end it was also for me, because it is almost impossible not to be transformed and challenged by these stories. Somehow the choices that people made over 50 years ago made me consider my own choices. I want to know how to weave goodness and justice and courage and love into my own story, how to seek these things in my own city and on my own street. I hope you will too.

With much gratitude for joining me on this journey.

"The end is reconciliation; the end is redemption; the end is the creation of the Beloved Community. It is this type of spirit and this type of love that can transform opponents into friends. It is this type of understanding goodwill that will transform the deep gloom of the old age into the exuberant gladness of the new age. It is this love which will bring about miracles in the hearts of men." Martin Luther King, Jr.