Christmas Eve

Spending time with family, getting ready to head home for a quiet night, ready for tomorrow.

I hope you have a happy holiday, no matter what it maybe.

May there be peace on Earth. Good will towards all.

Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas.

Lord, make me an instrument of Your Peace, Where there is hatred, let me sow Love; Where there is injury, Pardon; Where there is doubt, Faith; Where there is despair, Hope; Where there is darkness, Light; And Where there is sadness, Joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not So much seek to be consoled, as to Console; To be understood as to Understand; To be loved as to Love; For it is in Giving that we receive; It is in Pardoning that we are pardoned; It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Eventful Week Can’t Even Come Close…

Call this week eventful would be an understatement. Monday was the anniversary of Mom’s death. Wednesday night the Phillies win the World Series, yesterday my friends’s 2 month old son has a successful surgery to address an intestinal issue, and today it is Halloween (wait till you see Emma) and the Phillies parade (which we will hopefully get a chance to attend – we’re leaving now!), all the while, work continues hot and heavy.

And next week, with the election and me seeing a college admissions councilor looks to be almost at hectic.


Be seeing you, memento mori, happy Halloween.

Looking forward to Christmas

It’s hard to write about looking forward to something like Christmas with joy when you know fellow friends and travelers are dealing with sorrow.

Shelley Powers last week summarized some of the tragedies that took place in the online community recently. Of particular note to me was the passing of Anita Rowland, who had been fighting cancer since 2003. Her husband put up a memorial post on his blog.

Jeneane Sessum: For Anita

GarretVreeland One of our own, Anita Rowland, has passed away

Bill Humphries: Anita Rowland

Frank Paynter: Last Dance: Anita Rowland, Rest in Peace

Frank Paynter’s interview with Anita Rowland in 2002: Settled in Seattle… the Anita Rowland Interview

Anita’s family is in my thoughts and prayers.

This will be a Christmas that will best be described as bittersweet for me. Such tremendous ups and downs.

With so much churn in my life, I know I am blessed to look at Emma and be filled with hope.

She is a true blue toddler now. She can communicate very clear what she wants, what she loves, and what she doesn’t care for all that much. That means that Christmas day will be something to behold.

Her Momom will be with her. Laughing, joking, and singing all the way.

As Anita will be with her loved ones.

Happy Father’s Day

I’ll leave you with a quote, an excerpt from Jeff Gammage’s new book “China Ghosts”: Becoming her father:

The lack of control is terrifying. Maybe that’s why parents reduce the experience to banalities. They grow up so fast. You turn around and they’re grown. Where does the time go? Then again, the cliches are cliches because they’re true.

Already I can feel Jin Yu moving forward – and away. I hear the clock ticking. I notice the continuous, minute changes in her looks and size and demeanor. Some days I almost want to shout, Don’t go! Please, don’t go. Don’t leave. Stay here. Stay my little girl, my baby, my darling. Stay the child who adores me always, the one who on Monday mornings wraps her arms around my legs and shouts, “Dading no go work!” And who, eight hours later, jumps into my arms and kisses me as if I’d been gone for a month.

My fatherhood will be too short. That I know. How long before she is off with her friends? Seven years? Eight? Ten at the most.

Still, being a father has already delivered more laughter than anyone has a right to enjoy, and greater satisfaction than anyone has a right to expect. It has taught me – forced me – to become my better, stronger self. And left me in fear that, on too many days, I have not been the person I’d hoped to be, but the one who is too tired, irritable and removed. The person who fails to understand that every day with Jin Yu is a gift, that these moments and days will pass like a summer wind. That too soon I’ll be waving goodbye to my grown-up girl and wondering how it all went so quickly.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Just wishing you all a great Valentine’s Day today and every day.

Lots to share, including photos from Emma’s first birthday party 🙂

Spammers have messed up this blog’s commenting functionality. Sooner or later I will upgrade to the latest and greatest Moveable Type – from what I hear things are much improved – but until then – apologies.

Happy Father’s Day

I wish I could offer my father some kind of tribute today. Let him know of the great job he did and how much I respect him. But I can’t. I didn’t have one. The guy took off as soon as my mom told him she was pregnant.

This is my first father’s day.

In days past I have offered well wishes to the father of my wife, Richelle, and to my little brother, who in many ways, is someone I look up to, a great dad of two bright, amazing boys.

I hope I follow the examples they’ve set for me.

Emma and Grandpop
Today I’d like to offer thanks to all those fathers who stick around and try their best to be a force in their children’s lives.

And to shout out at those who have run from their responsibilities – your children need you.

Senators Evan Bayh and Barack Obama have a piece in the Inquirer on legislation they are proposing that will help those trying to do the right thing and punish those that don’t:

Today, too many men seem to think that fatherhood ends at conception. These men, so many of them still so young, leave mothers to bear the brunt of being both mom and dad, forcing them to face the challenges of raising a child and providing for the family on their own.

These women often perform this role heroically, but the statistics tell us what so many of them already know – that children are better off when their father is also involved.

Children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime. They are nine times more likely to drop out of school, five times more likely to commit suicide, and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, to run away from home, and to become teenage parents themselves.

So the question is: What do we do as a nation to solve this problem? How do we make sure that these boys start acting like men?

First, we will need a change in attitude. We will need to realize that government can’t legislate responsibility – that change can’t come just from Washington. As fathers, we need to teach our boys that having a child doesn’t make you a man – that what makes you a man is having the courage to raise a child.

But what government can do is to make it easier for those who make that courageous choice – and to make it harder for those who avoid it. The legislation we are introducing, called “The Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families Act,” will provide support for fathers who are trying to do the right thing in making child-support payments by providing them with job training and job opportunities and expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit. It also stops penalizing marriage in the tax code, and makes sure that children and mothers, not the government, receive every penny of child support.

At the same time, it cracks down on men who are ignoring their parental responsibilities by increasing child-support enforcement to $4.9 billion over 10 years, a measure that will collect nearly $20 billion in payments that can help raise, nurture and educate children.

On Martin Luther King and The Other America

Jim Gilliam: Martin Luther King

It’s as if he was standing in the rubble of Bush’s Katrina debacle. Masterfully, and inspirationally, he ties together race, war, poverty,values and the military into one sweeping narrative that defines the best of what liberalism could be.

“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.” Amen.

If he were alive today, King would be chewed up in the right-wing character assassination machine, but things were more straightforward 40 years ago… they just straight up assassinated him — one year to the day after giving this speech.

Read or listen to it. Even the parts about Vietnam — they are eerily appropriate in the context of today’s Humvee democracy.

Related: Newsweek: The Other America:

It takes a hurricane. It takes a catastrophe like Katrina to strip away the old evasions, hypocrisies and not-so-benign neglect. It takes the sight of the United States with a big black eye—visible around the world—to help the rest of us begin to see again. For the moment, at least, Americans are ready to fix their restless gaze on enduring problems of poverty, race and class that have escaped their attention. Does this mean a new war on poverty? No, especially with Katrina’s gargantuan price tag. But this disaster may offer a chance to start a skirmish, or at least make Washington think harder about why part of the richest country on earth looks like the Third World.

“I hope we realize that the people of New Orleans weren’t just abandoned during the hurricane,” Sen. Barack Obama said last week on the floor of the Senate. “They were abandoned long ago—to murder and mayhem in the streets, to substandard schools, to dilapidated housing, to inadequate health care, to a pervasive sense of hopelessness.”

The question now is whether the floodwaters can create a sea change in public perceptions. “Americans tend to think of poor people as being responsible for their own economic woes,” says sociologist Andrew Cherlin of Johns Hopkins University. “But this was a case where the poor were clearly not at fault. It was a reminder that we have a moral obligation to provide every American with a decent life.”

Memorial Day in Philly: Not just another cookout

Read Howard’s post at Philly Future.

Thank you to all the soldiers and their families who have sacrificed so much to secure what me and so many of the rest of us take for granted – our freedom.

It occurs to me that the greatest way to honor that sacrifice is to use our freedom to the fullest: Have you made a life altering choice in the past year? Have you voted in the past two? Do you read the news to stay informed (this one is easy considering my readership!)? Do you take part in debate over the course of the country, of your town?