Wednesday, May 4, 2011

"Talent is Universal, Opportunity is Not"

Even my cold, dark, anti-socialism Libertarian heart can agree with the title's sentiment. People in all parts of the world, advantaged and disadvantaged, have the talent necessary to change themselves and the world around them. Unfortunately, in some areas, these people are struggling to survive and need a little boost to be able to activate that talent. One of my very best friends in the world works for an organization that helps give the people living in the largest slum in Kenya the means and motivation to do just that.

Goodreads is giving away a wonderful Memoir/Social Activism Manifesto (my words) book called It Happened on the Way to War by Rye Barcott. I recently had a chance to see Rye speak and give a presentation on the book and his charitable organization Carolina for Kibera. The book itself costs $26 in hardcover, a reflection of the $26 loan that Rye gave a struggling nurse to start a vegetable selling business. I have not finished my copy yet, but eventually this nurse turned this $26 (along with help from some others) into a health clinic in one of the poorest parts of the world.

I implore all of you to read this book! No matter where you stand politically, I think we can all agree that helping out our fellow human beings with no expectation of anything in return feels good and right and just, and this book and organization provides me with the drive to want to do more, as much as I can, physically and monetarily to help out people in need. Even if you do not have the means to buy the book or donate to this cause, check out this website:  and take the 26-day challenge to find out more about what life in Kibera and other slums may be like.

And if you'd like a chance to win the book, please go here to enter the giveaway, there is only one day left! is an awesome website for anyone who likes to read. You can find new books based on friends and strangers reviews of books they've read, and enter reviews of your own.

Monday, May 2, 2011


Today is quite a day for our American spirit, isn't it?

Last night as we were getting ready to go to bed, just before my husband clicked the power button on the remote, we saw that there was a Special Report coming. Strangely, my husband and I looked at each other as if we knew this was going to be big news. Special Reports come through all the time seems that our media can't get through a regularly scheduled program if something so mundane as Lindsay Lohan leaving a club drunk or the Obamas' dog taking a leak on the South Lawn happens, so typically we just watch with mild interest and little to no expectation that something meaningful has actually occured.

And then we heard. And unexpectedly, tears started rolling. Now, some of my emotional reaction may be attributed to hormones. I am female, I was in that prime week for tears between ovulation and menses, when something as small as the dog deciding to roll in something nasty can send me into a fury that only ends with me crying while bathing her, a sobbing mess.

But the more I mull my feelings over, the more I feel that the tears were an entirely appropriate reaction. I lost no family in 9-11. I have no close family or friends that are active duty military, or even firefighters. But I am American, and I am human. I cried for all of the servicemen and women that have fought for our freedom for so long, and tried to explain to my husband how I felt so proud and happy for them, that they can finally feel as though all of this war has not been futile. We have now killed the mastermind behind the attack that changed so much about our country forever.

And as a Christian, I cried because the feelings of revenge and jubilation at another's lost life are difficult to reconcile. I am not supposed to rejoice over another human being's death, even after hearing him laugh at how the destruction of 9-11 was more than even he had imagined in all of his optimism. This is a man that rejoiced that more lives were lost than even he hoped for. What's wrong with mourning the death of a monster? Mostly, I rejoice because my Faith in Christianity comforts me. It helps me know that when I die, I will not be in the same pane of existence as Osama Bin Laden. Whether he has 99 virgins or the fires of hell, I will not be there with him.

Sadly, a day that all Americans should be enjoying is instead colored by the inane political punditing that follows any big announcement. I prefer to stay out of that fray. To imply any conspiracy theories about this being a political ploy to kick-off President Obama's re-election campaign is ridiculous and asinine. It is also calling our president a liar. That does not sit well with me. Policy-wise, I may disagree with how our President wants our country to be run in 90% of the major decisions to be made, but that does not diminish this important victory that our troops have carried out under his command. And I say shame on anyone who wants to make this about something it's not.

I, for one, and feeling vindicated.