Alina’s Dream

“Will you please write my story, V.J.?” fourteen-year-old Alina asked me recently. She and her family have now been living with Ric and I a month. Alina is a striking young woman, calm and poised, and over the past month, I have come to appreciate the strength of her determination. We talked about interests the […]

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Life Story

I can’t focus on what I’ll be remembered for; I am too busy living my best self today.

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War Stories

The stories dwell inside me now, a gift I suppose, for a writer. The young woman, having escaped Russian occupation, who wails for her mother and eleven-year-old sister, left behind. The mother of three, who confesses that the darkness of war has all but consumed her. “My brother’s home was bombed this morning,” she writes. […]

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Something to Love

I met a woman once, so debilitated by disease that my impulse was to recoil. Then I remembered the words of one of my teachers: “There is something to love about everyone”, and I checked myself, and realized that this woman must have an incredibly strong will to live. I told her so, and noted […]

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Plus Five

Arrogant of me to ask you to stop and read while I have been so absent, yet I have much to share. How did this broken woman, debilitated by disease, find herself deeply entrenched in the humanitarian side of war? I ask myself this question daily. It is a lesson for all us, I believe. […]

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Pause for Art

For the first time in weeks, I took a break to create. The volunteering threatens to be all-consuming, but I am determined to find balance. Weeks ago, when I started this venture, I was hoping to connect one displaced Ukrainian family with a host family in my area. Quickly, the requests poured in and soon […]

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Everyday Miracles

Can you help my friend, please? She is 32 weeks pregnant. The text came in mid-morning. I said I’d look into it. Mom, husband, 10-year-old, and baby on the way. Afraid of the encroaching war, they gambled their money on tickets to Canada. I thought of my own daughter-in-law, happily registering for an upcoming baby […]

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Wheels of Kindness

Today is the day to leave, the 2:30 am text read; I’m letting my son sleep in, last day in our home. The message came from Kyiv. I had connected with the mom the day before. Bombing around them had finally convinced her to flee. Stay safe and keep in touch when you can. I’m […]

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How quickly things change…

Last Friday, a friend picked me up to go birding, and I thrilled at the sight of the Pied-billed grebe on our river. Saturday, we glowed in the aftermath of a successful fundraiser, supporting the displaced Ukrainians we offered to host – still having no idea who they would they were. Sunday morning we awoke […]

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