Winter Break…

The kids spent the past couple of weeks immersed in books and laptops, studying and writing papers and (Clay) doing research. They drank copious amounts of coffee and stared at notecards and computer screens until their eyes ached…and then they took their final exams for the semester. 

   
    
   
Now they are both finished until January, and both are thoroughly enjoying sleeping in and being lazy. Clay still has ongoing research projects he is working on, and still has work, but other than that he’s enjoying his free time. Paige has been bonding with Jack and reading and enjoying having a room all to herself and being able to shower without having to wear shoes. 
We are all looking forward to Christmas and the quiet serenity of the mountains of North Carolina. 

I’m also excited about a new project I’ll be undertaking in 2016. I am volunteering to help refugee families with World Relief in Jacksonville. I have training in early January, and then after that I will be a “friendship partner” to a newly arriving refugee family. I will meet them at the airport and each week for several months, helping them with anything they need help with; getting a library card, learning to use American appliances, answering questions, helping with English, explaining cultural differences, etc. Honestly, I’m not quite sure what to expect…but I’m very excited about the opportunity to share something of myself and, hopefully, be an example of American generosity and hospitality. I hope that all of the refugee families resettling in America (who, by the way, have usually been waiting to come here for several years) are met with love and grace and kindness. There has been so much hateful, xenophobic rhetoric from certain people in the news lately…I am ashamed for anyone to think that that is how Americans are. 

I encourage you to read about some of the Syrian refugees who have been cleared to come to the United States as profiled on  Humans of New York. I also encourage anyone who feels moved by the stories of unimaginable suffering, to donate either monetarily or of your time to World Relief. (Catholic Charities and Lutheran Social Services are also wonderful organizations helping with refugee resettlement.)

  

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