Gold Star Posts

Immigrants Get the Jobs Done

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I stopped at the concierge desk. It was nearly 8 p.m. and we had not yet had dinner. “Where’s a good place to get pizza?” I asked.

“Giordano’s,” he replied.

“Is it far?”

“No, easy. Three blocks up to Michigan and then three blocks up to Randolph.”

“Where are you from?” I asked, responding to his thick accent.

I ask everyone in Chicago where they are from because almost everyone has an accent. The Uber driver who picked me up from the airport was from Kakistan. He’s earned his Bachelor’s degree in Moscow and is currently working on his Masters degree at DePaul.  The Lyft driver who took us from the library presentation to our hotel grew up in Mexico. “I was homeless as a child,” he said, explaining that he had a troubled mother. It is for those reasons, he has never smoked, never drank. His Muslim faith enables him to heal from all that childhood trauma.

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Our Brother Terry McGregor

DaNang, Vietnam with Sons & Daughters in Touch.

DaNang, Vietnam with Sons & Daughters in Touch.

Every now and then there are people we meet who change the trajectory of our lives in the most unexpected but eternally astounding ways.

Terry McGregor was that person for me.

There were others, of course. The poet George Venn who first declared me a real writer. Patsy Ward, that beautiful young woman who helped me find my way to Jesus, after years of abandonment. Judge Rufe McCombs who asked me to write her memoir. Marc Jolley who agreed to publish my first book and is still publishing my books.  I could probably spend all day writing about the people who have shaped me into the woman I am.

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The Danger of Nationalism & the Complexities of Grace

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I’ve been working through the topic of forgiveness all year. It is the theme of the upcoming book – Christian Bend (Fall 2017, Mercer University Press). It’s one of those God poetry things. I knew when I began writing this Appalachian tale that takes place in Tennessee and France that the last book would address the topic of forgiveness and redemption.

What I didn’t know when I began writing the first of the three books in 2005 was just how much personal & national forgiveness I would wrestle with as I concluded the books in 2016.  There are things going on in all of our lives, deeply wounding things, about which we don’t speak. We gather during the holidays, or other times throughout the year and put those hurts aside in the interest of everybody just getting along. I’ve done it. I’m sure you have done it, too. There are many in this nation who are suggesting, some even demanding, that we do that now. For the sake of the country. Because we are all Americans. Or so the admonitions go.

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GET OUT THE VOTE

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Vote. People died fighting for that right. Don’t waste their bloodshed. Quit your whining & Vote.  This isn’t a popularity contest. You don’t have to “Like” the people you elect. You have to elect people who can run the country, who won’t heedlessly send our soldiers into war.

dads-casketVote. It’s not just your right – it’s your obligation. Vote.

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Book Karen

Not the Most Important Election of My Lifetime

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I voted today. Checked all the boxes. Signed the outside of the secret ballot. Put a 4th of July stamp on it with fireworks exploding and drove it over to the Post Office and even went inside to mail it, just to be sure that there was no voter fraud taking place. I want my vote to count.

I hope you vote, too.

Everyone keeps saying this is the most important election of our lives. I’ve said it myself. But in reality, at least for me, this is probably not the most important election of my life. The most important election of my life took place in 1963 when Lyndon B. Johnson was elected. Johnson promised voters he would not be sending any “American boys” to wage war on behalf of South Vietnam.

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