It’s done: I applied to Crafty Wonderland. Included in my whirlwind of effort is a new website! You can visit Carrot Condo (carrotcondo.com) to see pictures of my Storybooks You Can Color and Cards You Can Color. I will continue to add to it as more books, cards, and calendars get completed.
My husband helped me take photos of the storybooks and cards on our wedding anniversary. Maybe this is pitiful, but I found it quite romantic huddled in our dining room on a rainy day trying to get all the pictures taken while our kiddo napped. I thought our set-up looked quite professional:
I’ll know on September 22nd if I got in or not. Crossing fingers until then.
In the meantime, I’ve continued buying and reading Street Roots like I said I would and have two quotations to share with you.
The first I read a few weeks ago before the current refugee crisis became wide-spread news. I’ve always felt horrified by any refugee experience–having to leave your home with nowhere else to go and facing even more dangers and challenges in an attempt to find a safe place. I’m finding hope and courage in the stories of people who have made the journey and re-settled and have gotten on with living their lives.
Apala Barclay, a cartoonist and illustrator, said his plight in Liberia actually gave him the skills and muscle he needed to make it in a new country: “One minute my family had things, the next minute we were at the bottom. It prepared me to come to this country and work from nothing to where I am today.” (August 7-13 Street Roots)
Then, I read about a woman who talks casually and cheerfully about what I think must be one of the hardest roles in the world: being a single mother. She raised three children and attended college at the same time. The dean even told her she should quit school because she’d never make it. She credits the community she lived in “…I had been living in a housing project, and the women in the housing project, we made friends and helped each other. … there was a subculture that helped people (like me) get by.” (August 7-13 Street Roots)
I’m starting to see just how vital community, friends, family, and neighbors are in the world and in my life.
I stepped outside the other day to take a walk with the kiddo, still kind of reeling from the news about refugees, of losing all basic security and comfort, when two things happened.
First, my next-door neighbor came out and asked if we’d like a train set for our kiddo. And then, voila, there she is giving us an entire set of wooden track and trains in perfect condition from her own childhood. It’s just begging to be played with, and we can’t wait to begin.
Second, after tucking the train set away in the house, we started our walk, but half-a-block later, I ran into another neighbor who grows a front yard full of lush, gorgeous plants, like dahlia flowers the size of dinner plates. I asked her for advice about growing tomatoes (because mine have struggled while everyone else’s thrive in this weirdly hot Portland summer). She said, “Just a minute” and left.
When she came back, she gave us a large bag full of perfectly shaped brightly colored tomatoes.
I told her I’d just been feeling scared about life but now realized having awesome neighbors provides a great sense of security. She smiled like she totally got what I was feeling and gave me a fist bump.
It’s not just that two nice people gave us nice things–it’s that they thought of us at all, that they wanted to share something, and that these moments strengthen invisible tethers between us–that “web of mutuality” Dr. Martin Luther King talked about–it’s there, not always easy to see, but incredibly resilient and lasting.
For more evidence of this, check out my friend Deb Johnson Nies’s wishing tree on Facebook. Lightning struck a tree in her front yard, so she made a sign inviting people to write and hang wishes on the part of the tree that remained. Everything that has happened since is quite magical.