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Joel’s house


It’s nicer than my bad cell phone photo makes it look. [End]


this and that

  • I am really suffering from not having spiritual nourishment during the week.  The things I used to rely on– my family, my job, my friends– none of them make me happy the way they used to.  Cliched, but there is a God-shaped hole that I am not filling up the way I should.  Sunday is just not enough. 
  • Planning a special day that is coming up before the end of the year.  A little daunting but happy that it will be small and special.
  • Discussed a major change this week with someone.  Waiting on word to see if it will work out, but it will be a big change and a commitment to something that I hadn’t been planning on.  We’ll see how it works out.
  • Need to step up my game with making money.  There are some very immediate needs that can’t go unmet and I cannot be put into a position of debt again.  I have the potential but I lack the drive to go after something because it is solely financially beneficial.
  • I have been spending time with people more.  It sounds crazy, but dinner with co-workers, former co-workers, friends, old college roommates… it’s nice to see people and connect beyond the internet or telephone.
  • Despite spending time with “people,” I haven’t been able to see any of my closest friends in a long time.  Not good.  They are the ones that keep me grounded and that I need.
  • BC’s graduating with her MBA in 2 weeks.  Even though we are only a year apart, I feel such motherly pride, which is especially unnecessary when I had nothing to do with this achievement of hers (not even a paper plagarized from me). 
  • Looking forward to having cousins come over.  This is the first summer we haven’t had the “Family Camp” in session and it’s a bit lonely.  I love having cousins come over, and hope that even as things change, I can have a home that is open to all.
  • Jerry is leaving tomorrow.  It is sad but I don’t know anymore.  These guys are amazing and I am so blessed to know them and my sadness is insignificant in the story of their lives.  I am optimistic that through this crazy internet-world, we will stay connected somehow and pray that God blesses him and his family abundantly.  They have sacrificed much and I know God will honor those sacrifices.

welcome, baby A!



D & P’s baby, born on Saturday, July 25, 1 month early, but weighing a healthy 4 lbs. 

I wonder if he will grow up and wonder how he ended up being born in Kentucky?


dream from last night


We were at IPC at a convention.  I was sitting in the back and there was a small commotion behind the last bench of the men’s section.  Babuuncle, Podiyammauntie’s husband, had collapsed and was having trouble breathing.  They called for medical attention and Nan was there, extremely pregnant, and couldn’t do much that required being on the floor.  I bent over to check if he was breathing and Nan asked me if I knew CPR.  I said, that’s about the only thing I DO know so let’s get started. 

This is the part of the dream that was so real.  I have been teaching CPR for two and a half years and maybe I took all of that to heart, because I really felt like I was performing CPR on him.  I almost always forget to teach folks to take off any shirt or clothes blocking access to the chest, but I instinctively loosened his tie and opened his shirt.  I can see his undershirt there.  I bent over to listen to him breathe and I actually felt the warmth, but my mind was processing– no, that’s not breathing, that’s agonal breaths.  I turned to Nan and said, I have to start CPR. 

Again, although in a real life situation I might have started with the compressions because “it’s the most important part of CPR,” my book learning came in and I did the right thing by giving him two breaths.  When I gave him the first breath, I actually felt the warmth of his mouth and I unexpectedly felt my breath stay in his mouth instead of going into his lungs.  I readjusted his head and gave another breath before jumping to compressions. 

I originally aimed the compressions at the spot relative to where the nipple line is on the manikin, but in a real human, I realized that it was lower, and in my head reminded myself to remind future classes of the same.  And even though I got my fancy new Prestan manikins with the harder depth clicker, it took so much more effort to push down than I expected.  I was also confused because I had been taught (and consequently teach) that if you do CPR correctly you will probably break the person’s sternum, but I didn’t know if that meant I should try to break the sternum or if I should just try to press down as hard as possible.  I pressed down as hard as possible, felt the crush of something breaking under my hands and kept the compressions going.

And that’s all I remember.

TRAVEL TUESDAY: Indian Airport Basics


A series of observations and tips from my recent trips to India.  Feel free to add your thoughts and experiences in the comments, as well as make suggestions for future TRAVEL TUESDAY topics.

Yes, we are still talking about the airport.   

  • Entering the airport.  Warning– if you are on a departing flight, you MUST have some kind of printed travel itinerary or ticket to ENTER the airport.  If you are an obnoxious Western traveler who is used to walking directly in and going to the check-in counter, think again.  Fortunately, if you don’t have a printed itinerary, the airline counters are usually open nearby, so that you can have them check your name and print a paper for you to enter, but the wait is unpredictable so if you don’t have a paper with you, ARRIVE EARLY.  These external counters also sell tickets for those last minute trips, although you might want to check online for space before you get there. 
  • Luggage carts.  Luggage carts were FREE in all the airports I went to, and some airlines (like Kingfisher) have their own porters to help with luggage, who are not supposed to accept cash (but you sneak them a 10 note anyway).  FREE luggage carts– awesome!  Warning to all travelers to the United States– luggage carts cost money at most aiports, and you have to have American bills to pay.  As of two months ago, JFK charges FIVE dollars.  Ridiculous!
  • Language.  Most of the security that are guarding the external entrances are actual Indian military, who prefer to speak in Hindi.  Since I don’t speak Hindi, I found English to be far more effective than Malayalam, which they completely ignored (even when I suspected that the guard was actually Malayalee).
  • Family at the airport.  I didn’t really understand the system, but for the most part, you say goodbye to your family outside the airport doors, and get picked up outside the doors as well.  I heard rumors that if you park your car and get some kind of token, you are allowed to wait inside, but I couldn’t get that confirmed.  In the Delhi airport, taxi drivers are allowed inside near the gate area.  In Cochin, they also don’t allow passengers who have checked in (not security gates, but just checked in) to go back outside.  Of course Ididn’t know this and almost got arrested by the Indian military who are standing at the door, because I insisted on going out and saying goodbye to my family had patiently been waiting for 50 minutes.
  • Check-in Luggage.  In most airports in the US, you first weigh your luggage at the check-in counter and then bring it to the security area where they run it through the machine and then send it on its way.  In India, when you walk in, you walk directly to the scanning machine, where a few men hoist your luggage on the conveyer, wait for it to come out on the other side, and secure a band around each piece.  This is fine if your luggage is all under the maximum weight and you don’t have to shuffle things around.  But if you are like me (see last week’s post), you might end up losing time going back and forth between the check-in counter and security machine, because you are trying to switch things around to stay under weight.
  • Pre-paid taxis.  In the Delhi and Chennai airports, Arathi taught me how to use the pre-paid taxi counter, where you tell the person where you’re going and how much luggage you have, and he writes you a slip to take to a taxi stand outside, with a pre-set amount that you have to pay.  If you tried your luck on the outside, you might possibly find someone cheaper, but this was much safer, since the info was logged and legit and there was a less likely chance of being cheated.  I didn’t notice if they had these counters in the smaller airports, but next time I travel, I will keep my eyes open for them.

I’m sure I’m missing some things I’ll think about, but look out for next week’s post on “Airport Security Lines.”

What’s the difference between a bad job and human trafficking?


No, this isn’t a legal definition, but it makes the point.

Well done.

prayers needed today

  • Mom & Dad – strength, tolerance, joy in face of adversity
  • Me & J – wisdom, the never-ending presence of the Holy Spirit, strength
  • Those alone in Basile tonight and the WC staff who are supporting them
  • P & D – P is going into for an emergency C-section in the morning.  The baby is only 36 weeks old, but is not getting enough nutrients, and there isn’t enough fluid in the sac.  They are in a foreign country with no family, scared, nervous and about to become first-time parents.



P & D, May 2008

The Ethicist

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One of my favorite features in the NY Times is “The Ethicist” with Randy Cohen.  Here’s your chance to be “the ethicist”:

Is it ever unethical to give an anonymous gift?

I have a friend who is a supervisor at a small non-profit agency.  One of her employees made an unauthorized purchase (less than $25), in what she deemed was an urgent situation (let’s say she took a cab to work in order not to be late for an important meeting), assuming that she would be reimbursed for the purchase.  Company policy does not allow staff to be reimbursed for travel to and from work.  When the employee requested reimbursement, she also explained that she was in very dire financial straits and if she didn’t get the money, it meant that she would not have money for food.  The supervisor explained the policy, discussed some steps she could take in the future in this circumstance, and denied the request.  The supervisor later, anonymously left an envelope with cash on the employee’s desk.  If the company found out, they would not be happy with the supervisor’s actions, so there was some deception involved.

Ethical or not?  Any solutions for this supervisor?


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Thank you scorps for finding this gem.  Watch the video and tell me if anyone else got a little teary.  (BC, I’m afraid to show this to you, because I know you’re capable of anything!)

sometimes you have to choose…


The words of God do not justify cruelty to women

Discrimination and abuse wrongly backed by doctrine are damaging society, argues the former US president


The Observer, Sunday 12 July 2009

“Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status …” (Article 2, Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)

I have been a practising Christian all my life and a deacon and Bible teacher for many years. My faith is a source of strength and comfort to me, as religious beliefs are to hundreds of millions of people around the world.

So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when the convention’s leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be “subservient” to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service. This was in conflict with my belief – confirmed in the holy scriptures – that we are all equal in the eyes of God.

This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. It is widespread. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths.

Nor, tragically, does its influence stop at the walls of the church, mosque, synagogue or temple. This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women’s equal rights across the world for centuries. The male interpretations of religious texts and the way they interact with, and reinforce, traditional practices justify some of the most pervasive, persistent, flagrant and damaging examples of human rights abuses.

At their most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.

The impact of these religious beliefs touches every aspect of our lives. They help explain why in many countries boys are educated before girls; why girls are told when and whom they must marry; and why many face enormous and unacceptable risks in pregnancy and childbirth because their basic health needs are not met.

In some Islamic nations, women are restricted in their movements, punished for permitting the exposure of an arm or ankle, deprived of education, prohibited from driving a car or competing with men for a job. If a woman is raped, she is often most severely punished as the guilty party in the crime.

The same discriminatory thinking lies behind the continuing gender gap in pay and why there are still so few women in office in Britain and the United States. The root of this prejudice lies deep in our histories, but its impact is felt every day. It is not women and girls alone who suffer. It damages all of us. The evidence shows that investing in women and girls delivers major benefits for everyone in society. An educated woman has healthier children. She is more likely to send them to school. She earns more and invests what she earns in her family.

It is simply self-defeating for any community to discriminate against half its population. We need to challenge these self-serving and out-dated attitudes and practices – as we are seeing in Iran where women are at the forefront of the battle for democracy and freedom.

I understand, however, why many political leaders can be reluctant about stepping into this minefield. Religion, and tradition, are powerful and sensitive area to challenge.

But my fellow Elders and I, who come from many faiths and backgrounds, no longer need to worry about winning votes or avoiding controversy – and we are deeply committed to challenging injustice wherever we see it.

The Elders have decided to draw particular attention to the responsibility of religious and traditional leaders in ensuring equality and human rights. We have recently published a statement that declares: “The justification of discrimination against women and girls on grounds of religion or tradition, as if it were prescribed by a Higher Authority, is unacceptable.”

We are calling on all leaders to challenge and change the harmful teachings and practices, no matter how ingrained, which justify discrimination against women. We ask, in particular, that leaders of all religions have the courage to acknowledge and emphasize the positive messages of dignity and equality that all the world’s major faiths share.

Although not having training in religion or theology, I understand that the carefully selected verses found in the holy scriptures to justify the superiority of men owe more to time and place – and the determination of male leaders to hold onto their influence – than eternal truths. Similar Biblical excerpts could be found to support the approval of slavery and the timid acquiescence to oppressive rulers.

At the same time, I am also familiar with vivid descriptions in the same scriptures in which women are revered as pre-eminent leaders. During the years of the early Christian church women served as deacons, priests, bishops, apostles, teachers and prophets. It wasn’t until the fourth century that dominant Christian leaders, all men, twisted and distorted holy scriptures to perpetuate their ascendant positions within the religious hierarchy.

I know, too, that Billy Graham, one of the most widely respected and revered Christians during my lifetime, did not understand why women were prevented from being priests and preachers. He said: “Women preach all over the world. It doesn’t bother me from my study of the scriptures.”

The truth is that male religious leaders have had – and still have – an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter.

Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world. This is in clear violation not just of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses and the prophets, Muhammad, and founders of other great religions – all of whom have called for proper and equitable treatment of all the children of God. It is time we had the courage to challenge these views.

• Jimmy Carter was US president from 1977-81. The Elders are an independent group of eminent global leaders, brought together by Nelson Mandela, who offer their influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering.