May 222014
 

Got Chase?

Originally published October 5, 2009.

Last night at dinner, Chase asked for a glass of milk. I, of course, said no because we don’t drink milk in our house since when it spills, it stinks. And we already stink badly enough. But he whined and begged and I started thinking about his last well check, and how our pediatrician kept harping on “the dangers of Vitamin D deficiency, Glennon” even after I explained again how the milk is all the way in the back of the grocery store which is really much too far for us to walk. And how she stood up very straight and said sternly, “Glennon. It’s really not that far. People walk to the milk all the time.” And how I said “Well. That’s probably very easy for someone who gets all her vitamins to say …but my poor, vitamin deficient family is very tired.”

And how she said victoriously,“Exactly.”

To which I responded, “I knowExactly.”

At which point she wrapped her hands around her stethoscope, squeezed hard, and then sat down and sighed. Probably wishing she’d gone to law school.

Perhaps these circular conversations are the reason our family is charged twice what other families pay for well checks. Seems fair.

Anyway, while I was remembering all of this Chase was STILL whining for milk so I sighed at him and said “FINE. But I want you to swear on your baby sister’s life that you won’t spill it. Do you SWEAR?” And he said yes, he swore. Even though he thought we weren’t supposed to swear. And I said it’s okay to swear when it’s about spilling milk and mommy’s really tired. And I poured him a glass of milk and put it on the table. As I turned to put away the gallon that Craig had heroically retrieved from the store, I immediately heard a crash and a waterfall sound followed by terrified silence from the children and husband. I whipped around and studied the pool of milk on the table which was rapidly transferring itself into Chase’s lap and the floor. The rest of the family stared at me, waiting to discover whether this was going to be one of those times when Mommy suddenly leaves the house for awhile. For a good fifteen seconds, all we heard was the drip, drip, drip of milk hitting the floor. Chase nervously watched the baby, visibly grateful that she hadn’t keeled over yet in response to his swear-gone-wrong. Then he looked at the milk mess and said:

WELL. THIS IS UDDERLY UNBELIEVABLE. “

“Get it mom? Get it? Because of the cow?”

His face turned up toward me like hope incarnate.

I have no idea where the boy learned to use humor to distract people from his mistakes but I wholeheartedly approve.

No more milk. And sippy cups till college.



Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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May 202014
 

Woman's Rights Are Human Rights
We have been hearing a heartbreakingly familiar refrain over the last few weeks.

BRING BACK OUR GIRLS.

We’ve hashtagged it, shared images, prayed over the names of the nearly 300 abducted Nigerian schoolgirls, called for action, wept over the feeling of helplessness.  And yet, 37 days after they were kidnapped, these precious children are still gone. Their mama’s arms are still empty.

We ache when we look at those names because of who they are, but also because we know who they represent. We know that the global suffering of our sisters, of women and girls all over the world, is staggering.

In response to the Nigerian girls’ kidnapping, our Love Partners, Church World Service, put out this statement:

“We note with gratitude the grass-roots rallies throughout the world calling for action and showing support for the girls and their grieving families. We note, too, the depth of understanding much of the world has now about the realities and challenges faced by girls and women in many parts of the world. As a humanitarian organization whose work supports the equality and advancement for girls and women, we join our voice to those saying, “Bring Back Our Girls!”

I’ve learned that there is an expression in the development community called the “invisible thread.” When a society should be collapsing, when a country’s situation is so poor and the lack of resources so vast that existence seems impossible, people still survive. Why? Because of The Invisible Thread. A woman will go without food if it means that her children will eat. She will work as many jobs as possible to bring home food or income. In short, she will do whatever it takes to keep her family alive. The love of women is the invisible thread. Women are the thread that holds society together.

Some years ago, the women in a small rural community in West Africa reached out to CWS with a need. The staple food in the region is a grain called millet, and the women were spending hours each day hand-grinding millet to make food.  Would CWS be able to purchase a $5000 millet-grinding machine so that the woman’s days would be freed up for more productive pursuits?

And yes, of course, CWS agreed to purchase the machine, because they are in the business of strengthening thread. And with that machine’s installation the millet-grinding process went from taking the women hours each day to taking only a few minutes.

Now, instead of days spent grinding millet, the women of the community are invited to take part in CWS-funded literacy programs.  Income-generating projects are paired with education, and the women are learning reading and math as they are coached about how to start their own small businesses.

Suddenly these mamas have life-giving choices to make, all due to a simple machine and some training classes. To raise animals to sell milk? Or to grow watermelons or to make soap?  Freedom and choices and life.

The women are proud of their progress and love to share excitedly about their work with community visitors.  And as they share their children gather round and listen close, taking in their mothers’ accomplishments. The invisible thread is suddenly VISIBLE.

Outdoor Classroom

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Tonight I am going to tell Chase and the girls about that West African community and ask them to imagine it with me.  What it would be like to spend most of our days occupied with tasks of survival?  What would they want me to do if I was one of those mamas?  And what do Tish and Amma think it would be like to grow up on a place where some people believe that they are less valuable than their brother?  I have a feeling my little firecrackers are going to have A LOT to say about that one.

And tonight I am also going to tell my kids that there are thread strengtheners all over the world, and that we can join them. That despite All Evidence to the Contrary, All Will Be Well.  And that, as Dr. King has taught us, the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

That Love Will ALWAYS Win.

We will keep chanting to #BRINGBACKOURGIRLS.  We will continue to pray, and advocate, and gather our strength and our voices to speak for the millions of women and children who cannot speak for themselves.

We are not helpless. We are not hopeless. We, too, are in the business of strengthening thread.

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** As part of an awareness campaign to recognize the equal humanity of women, the CWS Office in South Asia put out a poster with these words- “Women’s Rights are Human Rights.”  As soon as the poster was released, regional CWS staff members were in danger. The South Asia Director and his family received death threats and demands to rescind such a radical statement.  But CWS staff members are thread strengtheners. They would not be moved.

Click here for more stories about CWS’s work to educate and empower women.



Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
Join the Momastery on-line community on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest


May 152014
 

Lana

You guys. You did it. Together, We Did Hard Things.  

$100,000 in 6.5 hours.  $150,000 in 13 hours.  Total in 24 hours:  $162,952.53.  

More than 8,000 donations. Average donation: roughly $20.

All five families will get what they needed from us.

So here’s the truth: We live in a world where people believe that We Belong To Each Other. We live in a world where people give away hard-earned money to strangers. We live in a world where Love Wins. And we have PROOF. Right here.

I still cannot stop crying and I will never, ever forget this day for as long as I live and I love you. I LOVE YOU.  Liz gets to call the five families from yesterday’s essay and tell them that YOU CAME THROUGH for them. She gets to call them and tell them that Help is Coming.

You guys. THANK YOU. I cannot believe I get to do this life with you. I CANNOT BELIEVE IT. HOW DID WE GET SO LUCKY???? TO FALL TOGETHER AND THEN WALK THROUGH LIFE TOGETHER?? TO BECOME MEMBERS OF THIS CRAZY, UNBELIEVABLE, GRACE-FILLED CREW?? All the tears. I cannot believe I have any tears LEFT.

When I e-mailed Amy about the Love Flash Mob results, she wrote back this: “G, I have no words. Actually, I have one word: Mindy.”

Yes. That’s the word: Mindy. Thanks for your help today, Min.

Yours Forever and Ever and Ever and Ever-
G and Sister and Allison and Amy and Liz

The love that you pour out in these Love Flash Mobs continues year-round through the life-giving work of Monkee See – Monkee Do. Because MSMD is run by an all-volunteer Board, we have no overhead so all of your donations go directly to families.  If you would like to to the MSMD general fund that supports families throughout the year, you may do so by clicking the button below.  Your gifts help us sprinkle more of your radical, wild love all over other warrior families. As always, we will tell you ALL ABOUT IT. Because, of course, you ARE it. We can do hard things, Monkees. Together, We Can Do Hard Things. We DID hard things.






Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
Join the Momastery on-line community on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest