Sunday, April 26, 2015

Girl Rising

I watched the documentary "Girl Rising" with Matt and Maly the other day.  It's one of those movies that lingers with you and won't let you forget.  "Girl Rising" is the story of nine girls from all over the world who suffer injustices from poverty, to arranged marriages, to child slavery.  I was sure it would be a depressing movie and was a little hesitant to watch it, but I have to say that it is also a very hopeful movie.  It's amazing the difference education can make for the quality of life for girls worldwide who are currently denied an education. 

The youngest and most endearing and adorable of the girls is Wadley who lives in Haiti.  Her family, who already suffered from poverty, was devastated by the earthquakes of a few years ago.  She is seven years old and her happiest memories are from the time before the earthquake when her family was financially able to send her to school - at least intermittently.  She loved school and has big plans for her life, but they are now out of the question since her family can't afford to send her.  There is an outdoor classroom not far from her home.  It's outdoors since the school building was destroyed in the earthquake and hasn't been rebuilt since then.  Wadley shows up one morning and takes her seat with the other students, hoping she won't be noticed.  The teacher immediately sees her and reminds her that her parents haven't paid for her to go to school so she can't stay.  This same scenario continues day after day.  Finally, Wadley tells the teacher, "I will come back everyday until you let me stay."  The teacher relents and allows Wadley to stay.  I'm not sure where Wadley is today, but I know that she isn't going to sit back and let her circumstances determine her life.

Another girl I found remarkable was Suma who lives in Nepal.  She was sold into servitude at age 6 while her brothers went to school.  She was moved from master to master, some kinder and some who were so horrible she couldn't even speak of the things they did to her.  One day, after many years of this life, a social worker/activist comes by and tries to convince her master that what he is doing is wrong and that he should free Suma.  She overhears this conversation and is amazed that someone is speaking to him in such a way on her behalf.  The master tells the woman to get lost, but the woman persists and continues to come back and plead for Suma's freedom.  Eventually he gives in and Suma is given a chance to get an education.  Now she is a crusader for other girls who are in the same situation.  We watched this movie Friday night and I read about the horrible earthquake in Nepal the next morning.  My first thought was for Suma.  I'm praying she's safe.

 It seems there is a way to help girls like Suma and Wadley.  It's certainly not easy - requires a great deal of people who are willing to put their lives aside to go do what they can and a great deal of money.  Certainly dauting, but It's possible to envision it happening.  I even found a website created by the people who made "Girl Rising" letting people know how they can help.  But the girl from the movie who had the biggest impact on me was Amina who lives in Afghanistan.  Amina was forced to marry at the age of 11 and had children while she was still a child.  When she goes in public she has to be completely covered and silent.  She has a lot to say but feels invisible and unheard.  Women who speak out are burned, beaten, or killed.  But Amina has had enough and is ready to fight back.  I'm not sure how she'll do that.  And I'm not sure what we can possibly do to help her.  She left me feeling the most helpless.  How can we change a whole society?  And, particularly, one who feels so strongly that they are right and that we are a threat.  Prayer seems to be all we can do.  I almost want to say that it doesn't seem enough, but I'm praying that God sends the right people to touch the hearts and minds of the people of Afghanistan. 

All nine girls were inspiring and had unbelievable stories.  I recommend that you check out the movie and go to the website below to see how you can help.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Thursday Three-fer: The Gut Wrenchers

You know, those songs you feel in your gut, you sing ridiculously loudly, you make a pained face when you sing them, and you often make a fist and pull it toward you when the lyrics demand it.  I'm a big fan of the gut wrenchers, and I'm proud to say that my son is carrying on that tradition.  He has his own gut wrenchers that he listens to over and over again and gives us a great deal of entertainment when he sings them while listening on his earphones.  I have many to choose from, but here are my three for today:

1.  Hold My Hand - Hootie and the Blowfish
Love.  This.  Song.  If you can keep a normal expression on your face when you sing it, you have no soul.

2.  Hold On - Kansas
I'm not sure that I would have paid much attention to this song, Kansas wasn't really one of my groups.  But then I'm driving around with a boy I had a mad crush on in high school and it came on the radio.  He cranked it up and told me it was his favorite song by his favorite band.  Then he proceeded to belt it out in pure gut-wrenching fashion.  Suddenly, it was my favorite song by my favorite band.  Wow, what I would have missed out on if not for that fateful night.

3.  She's Gone - Hall & Oates
Oh, this song.  It makes my gut tighten just thinking about it.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Awesome Mix Vol. 2 and the Introduction of 'Thursday Three-fers'

I've spent an embarrassing amount of time thinking about the follow-up to my vol. 1 mix list.  Way too many awesome songs, how do you pick twelve?  Or twenty?  or fifty?  Too big of a task.  So I came up with a brilliant idea - break my list up into tiny lists of three.   So, I'll be posting a list of three songs every Thursday.  I know, I know, Thursday's already a busy day with the throwbacks thing, but  Thursday Three-fers will be an extension of that - three songs that I love that have something in common.

This week's three-fer is in honor of Rod Stewart.

1.  Do Ya Think I'm Sexy - This song was so taboo for me, a naive little Christian school girl who was no where near real sex, or anything close to it, happening.  This song also seemed an afront to my religious beliefs.  Then why did I love it so?  I can't explain it or justify why I still love it today, and I'm not going to try.  Yes, 70's, androgynous, freaky, Rod Stewart - I do think your sexy!

2.  Tonight's the Night - The 70's was a time when singers had no problem telling us pretty blantantly about their sexual exploits and desires.  It was the time of 'Chevy Van,' 'Afternoon Delight' (ok, not so blatant, but we all knew what it meant), the Pina Colada song, and the like.  Not the obnoxious, in your face kind of sexual (ala 80's hair bands).  More the creepy, "lover" kind of stuff (ala Will Farrell's Professor character from Saturday Night Live).  This song was neither of those.  No doubt what's gonna happen tonight for Rod.  Still makes me swoon everytime I hear it.  And it has a killer opening riff.

3.  Maggie May - Matt always poo poos this song.  I don't even know what to do with that, but shake my head and love him anyway.   It is one of my all-time favorites.  Although this song isn't completely about sex, it is about a strong desire that I couldn't even imagine as a sweet and innocent junior high girl.  But I was intrigued and moved by it, and so wanted to be Maggie May.  Also, just a great, catchy song.

Friday, April 10, 2015

My Awesome Mix Volume 1

I've been inspired by "The Guardians of the Galaxy" Awesome Mix Volume 1. For those of you who don't know, the premise of the mix tape in the movie is that the main character's mother made it on a cassette tape and gave it to him before she died. It's his connection to her and Earth throughout the movie. So, I started wondering what I would put on my awesome mix to give to my kids. And, of course, at that point I had no choice but to make one. The criteria was tough; do I go for pure awesomeness or songs that are meaningful in some way. I decided to combine the two - awesome songs that are meaningful. There were 12 on the Guardians soundtrack, so I decided to stick with that number as well. Unlike the soundtrack, in which most of the songs came from the 70's, my list spans five decades. 

1. I Got You Babe
2. Respect
3. Take it Easy
4. You Can't Always Get What You Want
5. Piano Man
6. Here Comes the Sun
7. Sara Smile
8. Back in Black
9. Small Town
10. Closer to Fine
11. Friends in Low Places
12. Without Me

I'm pretty pleased with this list. But, wait a minute, you say. Where's Stevie Wonder? Madonna? Johnny Cash? Where's the perfect dance song? All legitimate questions. That's why the makers of "Guardians of the Galaxy" were so brilliant when they called the tape volume ONE. Lends itself quite nicely to a volume #2. Hey, we all need a hobby. Making frivolous lists is mine.