so most of you know the story, saw the pictures, read the scary Facebook posts and prayed for Nadia last week. you might want to skip this post. i am journaling it all out since i don’t really keep a … Continue reading
So yesterday I got an email about one of our sunday school teachers from Arizona… She had a sudden heart attack and died. She had three sons (one married, two in college) and a loving husband. Just like that. Gone … Continue reading
my parents used to joke with people as far back as i can remember…. they would say “chelsea, yeah, she was born with her bags packed!” everyone laughs. but everyone who knows me knows how true this statement is. (ha! … Continue reading
when the grandparents have to ask for more pics of the grandkids, you know you have failed on three fronts: mom, photographer, blogger. sigh. i really do want to keep up this blog. i long to journal life with the … Continue reading
How the Leaves Came Down by Susan Coolidge “I’ll tell you how the leaves came down,” The great tree to his children said, “You’re getting sleepy, Yellow and Brown, Yes, very sleepy, little Red. It is quite time to go to … Continue reading
Dearest Firstborn Daughter,
Like thousands or millions, perhaps, of others, I just finished watching the 2 part PBS documentary, Half the Sky. I lost count of how many times I cried. I am still fired up in the depths of my soul with inspiration and zeal.
And I can’t help thinking about you. God gave me three girls. Why? Its simple. To change the world.
I don’t say that arrogantly. I don’t say that with a sense of entitlement. I say it with urgency. I say it with fervor and conviction.
Dealing with gender based violence and exploitation and slavery IS the unfinished business of our century. And you and I are here, in this century, for such a time as this.
Sex slavery is gender based violence.
Female circumcision (genital mutilation) is gender based violence.
Exorbitant female maternity mortality is gender based violence (when its the mutilation and lack of freedom to seek medical attention or help that contributes to the death rates).
Child sexual exploitation is gender based violence.
AND IT HAS TO STOP. This isn’t a “cultural sensitivity” issue. This is a fundamental human rights issue. There is no cultural norm that must simply be accepted out of “respect for the culture” if it leads to widespread exploitation and enslavement of an entire gender population.
If I was a mother in Cambodia, I would have been congratulated when you were a girl, because that meant I would have financial security in the ability to sell her body to foreign sex tourists. When I would have had THREE daughters, I would have been considered the luckiest mom in the village… this is a cultural norm that must be aggressively and tirelessly resisted and reversed. (*find out more about parental complicity in child sexual exploitation in Cambodia in the film NEFARIOUS)
If I was a was a prostitute in India, and gave birth to you, I would believe I now have a companion in my “old” age once I couldn’t sell myself anymore. I would not want you to go to school, because even I knew that if you were educated you would leave me and look down on me… this is a cultural norm that must be challenged and reversed.
If I was a wife and mother in Somalia, not only would I arrange for the brutal mutilation of your genitals, which I knew would lead to a lifetime of pain, complications and quite possibly death, but if I had a son, I would not allow him to marry a girl unless she was “cut” as well… this cultural norm must be exposed for what it is, VIOLENT OPPRESSION, and courageously fought against.
You know me, you know my love of all things cultural. You know I would be the first to step up and try to educate others about cultural sensitivity. But this is where I draw the line. This is where I say that its not cultural ITS EVIL.
You have said you want to be a missionary. At six years old. This is your dream. I pray to God it is your reality as well. You are wired and created uniquely to care for others… to bind up, heal, and comfort those in pain and distress. I pray you will be a champion of women and girls in your lifetime and beyond. I hope I can model that for you in my lifetime. Victims of gender based violence are voiceless. You and I are not. Victims of gender based violence are marginalized and hidden in the darkest recesses of our globe. We can go to them with the Light of the love of Jesus… the only Light that can and will defeat and dispel the darkness. I painfully but excitedly release you, you whose middle name means SHINING AND LUMINOUS, into those dark recesses. You have the Light within you, and with that, my daughter… you can change the world.
My dear Adelaide Zahara, its not by “luck” that you were born as a girl into the West. Its by design. With great privilege and wealth and opportunity come great responsibility. I don’t even have to tell you this, though, because you were born to give, to love, to comfort, to heal. And you know this already, even at the ripe young age of six years old. I see it in you. Others see it in you. This world will be blessed, will be better for you being born in such a time as this. We have sisters and daughters and mothers in the world that need us to be their voice. Need us to cry for their freedom, their empowerment, and their opportunity. I hope we can and will use our voices for GOOD together. I hope your voice goes further and louder than my own. I hope you will always “let your light so shine before men [and women] that they will see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” This was the verse God gave me for you… I am starting to understand that is was to prepare me to to let you GO and shine in the darkness, where His Light is needed most. I love you so much. I am so proud of who you are. I am already learning so much from you… May you always know you were born for a purpose, you have a magnificent destiny, and you are loved immeasurably. May your arms, your life, be full of those who need your love, your light, your comfort and your voice. Open them wide. Give freely. Love fully. Shine brightly. Speak loudly.
so the girls and i hopped in the car one Sunday morning to head north to rhode island to meet up with their cousins. the road trip started out great… especially after a little stop on the NJ side of NYC. we stopped at Liberty State Park to stretch our legs, eat and gear up for the rest of the drive. it was such a fun place… beautiful views of NYC, ellis island and the backside of lady liberty. i had a blast taking some much needed pictures of the girls here. i want to remember these moments forever.
of course the rest of the drive was a total nightmare… complete with someone peeing in their carseat while we were stuck in yet another long line at yet another toll booth. then a freakish storm that made all the other drivers on the road C R A Z Y ridiculously slow. i practically begged my sister in law, rebecca, to have a tall glass of wine ready for me when we arrived. and she did. and all was well in the end.
i had been hearing about my niece and nephew’s grandparents’ place for years now…. basically 13 acres of paradice for kids (and adults).
and it was SO true. Casa Pelegro was all of that and more. the pool was an instant hit, of course. but then there was the pond, the rolling “hills”, tire swings spread throughout the place, the “hazzard county jail: for time out sentences” which was a log cabin playhouse (on steroids) complete with climbing wall, gardens of fresh produce, fruit trees, fire pit patio complete with charades stage, golf carts to ride around on….. need i say more?! sue and walt have spend years perfecting this space… and their grandkids have made some lifelong memories there. each summer, walt and sue’s three daughters and their families and kids come out and “play” for anywhere from 2-4 weeks at a time. it really is like a summer camp of sorts. they make “camp” t-shirts each year, and a summer yearbook. i love it!
the girls and i had such a lovely time with my sister in law and her parents, sisters and their families. we celebrated my nephew’s 10th birthday by attending the Paw Socks baseball game (an annual tradition now).
speaking of baseball… the following story illustrates how NOT into sports the hudson girls are… when i told adelaide we were going to see the paw socks baseball game, she looked at me, kinda sighed, and put her hand on her hip and said, “well, i am not playing in it.” i then realized they have never really been exposed to sports… especially professional sports. right. so i tried to explain what a professional baseball team was. she nodded thoughtfully and then asked if Gordon (her 10 year old cousin) would be playing in it. right. i am pretty sure she still doesn’t really “get” it even after attending the game. she does know you get lots of junk food at baseball games, though.
Liberty State Park
welcome to case pelegro!
serious fort and playland fun!
the campfire and charades stage
aunt rebecca and cousin greer!
happy birthday Gordon!
uncle Vic and nadia~
such a FUN place!!!!
the girls and i road tripped it up this last weekend…. more on that trip to come.
for now, check out my friend Devi’s blog. she asked me to be a guest blogger today, and i feel very honored to be able to share my thoughts and heart on her blog about motherhood and justice issues.
and because i just love this picture, here is a taste from one of the many stops on our way to rhode island….
i have not missed you and your constant triple digits. yeah, it was 111 when we landed on june 1.
adelaide and i made a special trip to phoenix together. i was hired to shoot a wedding in phoenix, and brought adelaide along (as a surprise to her) to visit and stay with our dear friends the bertolinis. adelaide and lidia were both born in Berlin. adelaide’s first friend was Scout, robin and alex’s first “baby” before lidi came along. we had some awesome times together in Germany and were very fortunate to move to phoenix together as well. the girls hadn’t seen each other since we moved, almost 2 years ago.
but they picked up right where they left off…. but with more sass and more independence. and a lot of dancing. i just love these girls. it was a super short visit, but we so enjoyed reconnecting and reminiscing. i hope we all live in the same town again sometime… somewhere in the world.
early morning flight. i don’t do mornings. she does, somehow.
so this is a DREAM piece of wall art for me… saw it in starbucks in the airport. classy. i want this image on my wall… except i want the people in the photo to be my kids… on our around the world trip i dream about taking with them. someday. its going to happen. and when it does, it is going on my wall.
and the posing is after just watching “barbie fashion show”…. good times.
i L O V E this shot of Lidi dancing… can’t decide between black and white and color….
sad to leave….
and just for fun…. pic of them 2.5 years ago.
yeah, i was a bit sentimental. on another note, when did they start the cap and gown and pomp and circumstance for kindergarten graduations??!
she looked so grown up. this is the picture of her i am going to see in my mind when she is 18 and looks over at me from her high school grad crowd. it will be a steve martin moment (a la Father of the Bride)… “dad, i met a man in rome, and he’s wonderful and he’s brilliant and we’re getting maaaarrriiieeed.”
adelaide did great this semester at Forcey Christian School. her teacher, ms. powell, was a perfect fit for her. her love and care of adelaide meant the world to me. oh, and her teaching was awesome too.
my favorite part of the night? each child was pulled aside in the previous weeks and asked, privately, what they wanted to be when they grew up. during the graduation, each of them came to the mic and said, “when i grow up, i want to be_______________.”
Adelaide: When i grow up, I want to be a missionary!”
i am going to water that seed and cultivate a little world changer in this family. she has a heart of gold. so full of love and care for others. i anticipate seeing all God has uniquely created her to be in the years to come.
“when i grow up i want to be a missionary!”