Currently Browsing: Thirty Days of Light

Excellent, Excellent Moments

Excellent, Excellent Moments
What happens  when I approach survivors to do research for my pending novel, Shadows, who are not used to talking? Survivors are probably not thinking to themselves excellent, excellent, excellent at such a time, I know. Yet somehow it all works out. I receive moments, both of us softening again. Softening that which had been hardened pain for so long. We start like barnacles on the bottom of a ship, seemingly impossible to scrape off, infecting every lake it goes to, risking barnacles on every ship, kayak or boat that enters the new lake. Yet, with caring faith-filled talk the barnacles start to come...
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Open Door

Open Door
Open the Door I grew up with words like this, “It’s too terrible to tell you,  it’s too much. I do not hate the Japanese; they were cruel to each other too.” Those words came from my father, every time I asked him what it was like to survive WWII in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). He never told me. Every survivor of WWII has differences in how they survive and thrive… After. For my father it was never to talk about 1942 -1945,  except occasionally to cousins who also survived, or to a combat-survivor soldier. My father’s “combat” survival was in Japanese...
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Dumb Gratitude to True Gratitude

Dumb Gratitude to True Gratitude
Yesterday I shared how as a child-immigrant I felt and thought, a mixture of sorrow, anger and nobody understands me. I was also an invisible immigrant. Until I opened my mouth, and spoke American with a Dutch accident, I seemed just like other children. I was also an immigrant seeking gratitude for reasons much different than refugee-immigrants. My father, mother, younger sister and I,  had left a country, The Netherlands (Nederland, Holland), which actually had a tradition of offering liberty and freedom to others. For instance the Dutch gave the Pilgrims religious freedom and shelter while awaiting...
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Dumb Gratitude

Dumb Gratitude
Do you struggle with gratitude? I sure do. I have haaated the topic. I have NOT wanted to have an attitude of gratitude. Even in elementary school I was a seven year old gratitude curmudgeon. You know the drill in elementary school. The teacher has you make a list. Every child is grateful for their mom, dad, the rest of the family, being born in a free country like America. And that’s where my seven year old self cynically coughed up toad-thoughts.  I thought I couldn’t’ tell my teacher and class mates. : I wasn’t born in America.  I was born in The Netherlands. Holland was...
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Attitude of Gratitude: Thanksgiving for Dutch-Americans

Attitude of Gratitude: Thanksgiving for Dutch-Americans
Shocking, there is no mention, all over the internet, about how Dutch families celebrate their first Thanksgivings in the U.S.. Nor is there mention  how Thanksgiving feasts evolved for Dutch immigrant families over the years.  So it is up to me to enlighten you about one Dutch family, the Jobsis-DeVries (later Brown family too). There are plenty of internet links to Thanksgiving celebrations IN the Netherlands, as well as international Thanksgiving celebrations IN the U.S., be sure to check those out at the end of this post. However, here is our Thanksgiving story. Our first independent...
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30 DoL Louis Zamperini – Trust 2 in the Depths of WWII

30 DoL Louis Zamperini – Trust 2 in the Depths of WWII
Creating Hope to Survive from Rage, Creating Hope to Survive from Trust The energy that fuels our survival comes from different sources. For Louis Zamperini, he starved but survived on a diet of rage at his cruelest captor, nicknamed “The Bird.” As he went from one terifying ordeal to another, this rage, this battle of not-giving-in affirmed for him, that he had a spirit inside that remained alive. No matter how severe the attack or the deprivation – his spirit remained alive. In Japan in a freezing Japanese prison labor camp, Zamperini remainedd alive with the burning fire of rage...
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30 DoL – Louis Zamperini -Trust in the Depths of WWII

30 DoL – Louis Zamperini -Trust in the Depths of WWII
Louis Zamperini and Trust As I watch this video, (click above) detailing Luis Zamperini’s  ordeal during World War II in Japanese POW camps I wonder, how did he find bits and shreds of hope as he went along? I know some survivors of trauma fared worse, because they had already experienced trauma before war. Some survived because they were tough before World War II — that is Louis Zamperini’s story. NPR describes Laura Hillenbrand‘s biography of  Zamperini- Unbroken as follows: He was a juvenile delinquent, then a world-class miler; a World War II airman, then a POW...
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Your Six Word Life Story

Your Six Word Life Story
Lives lost, lives saved, after-War(d)s This is my entry into the following…. The She Speaks conference is sponsoring a contest to tell your story in six words. The prize is a scholarship to their conference in July in North Carolina. Try entering if you like; I hope you win! The deadline is tomorrow, 4/3/11.     Any time I dare to enter a contest, is  an excellent time to delve way in, to humility.  Irena Sendler, among the most admirable among non-winning Nobel prize nominees, did what she felt was right, during the worst of the shadows of World War II. Irena Sendler was nominated...
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30 D.o.L., The Hand I Would be After World War II

30 D.o.L., The Hand I Would be After World War II
Inside their parents’ eyes and heart, children never grow up. On a TV commercial, a  dad talks to his little girl sitting on the driver’s seat of a car, pretending to drive.  Her little legs stretch straight in front of her, she tries to reach up to the steering wheel. Her Dad talks just like me when my toddler son rolled down our driveway on his Big Wheel tricycle. “Be careful…pay attention…I love you….” Flash on the next scene and we see that Daddy”s little girl,  is actually a mature teenager, trying to take off in her car. I have a little child...
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30 D.o.L. after WWII, Willing to be willing to be willing

30 D.o.L. after WWII, Willing to be willing to be willing
“I don’t want to tiptoe through life just to arrive at death safely.” Cheri Huber Being Willing to be Willing to be Willing to be Willing…. The first time I consciously took a risk for Change,  I sat in my first 12 step group meetings as a teenager. Of all things, part of the purpose was to be straight and sober. Sober? Alcohol was my solution, not the problem. Questions came at me about willingness. Those questions changed my life. A 16 year old girl, with a halo of curly long dark hair kept ducking her head to look me in the eyes. “Are you willing to lead a different...
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