My Mission Statement

I write to serve, to unite, to educate. I write to share literature and flesh out ideas that may be of interest to others. I write to document an emotion, experience, or a blip in time. My mission is to write in such a way that the reader is reminded that we can find humor in all situations. It's one of the great blessings of life.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Autumn Book Snuggling

Unemployment rate is soaring...poverty rate is highest in years...government leaders act like preschoolers...Has there ever been a better time to escape in a book? In between helping our fellow citizens, of course. There are lots of great books out this fall, but today I'm going to talk about something else.

I have had a busy couple of weeks, and I want to tell you all about it. The past two weeks, we have shared our home with two precious Norwegian exchange students.

Before they arrived, my eight-year-old wondered, "Will we have to teach them about forks? Will they wear animal skins? Do they sleep in beds?" Needless to say, these things weren't issues at all.

They are darling girls, smart and witty and gorgeous. Their homeland has endured the horrific mass murders in Oslo last summer. This terrible incident has played a big role in the lives of these girls. For example, two members of their group scheduled to come to America on this trip were killed in the shootings. Eight young people in their senior class alone died. And one of the girls was there amidst the horror. It saddens me deeply to see the pain these young people have suffered. Yet it has also encouraged me to see the resilience and the courage of these girls. I feel honored that they have told us their stories and shared their grief with our family. What a gift to us all.

Anyway, after hearing all that and their dream to see New York City, you KNOW what I did! Yes, I loaded up four girls (two of my own and the two Norwegians), and we DROVE to NYC. Despite the fact that I promptly lost my wallet, we had a grand time. And I was so proud of myself for driving in NYC for the first time. All you city folks are probably laughing, but I have a giant farm car, and I just wasn't convinced it would fit in those narrow lanes! But it did, and we had great fun.

Tonight is their last night, and we will surely miss them. It has been a great experience all the way around. We have learned a great deal about Norway and heard a first-hand account of the shock and horror of a Norwegian Current Event. Sometimes we see these things on the news, and they don't quite digest. When you look a kid in the eyes who stood in horror before a shooting lunatic, you see the event quite differently.

It got me to know, we all have a story. My neighbors, people in line at the grocery store, the man at the computer at the library...maybe it's not as horrific as her experience, but it's often painful. And sad. And disappointing. I am going to try to have more compassion for my fellow man, especially strangers. It's easy to love the people you know, but not to easy to love the jerk with the radio that breaks the sound barrier. Obviously, he's trying to get attention. And why would he need to beg for attention in that way? Because he doesn't get enough love and encouragement when he needs it.

What's your story? If you don't remember the story of the massacre in Oslo this summer (at a camp), google it now. And say a prayer for all of Norway.

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Isabel by Donna Jones Koppelman

Isabel by Donna Jones Koppelman

Major Bear at the Grove Park Inn by Donna Jones Koppelman

Major Bear at the Grove Park Inn by Donna Jones Koppelman