Just wanted to offer a little update on good things, since the last entry was a bit grim. Six weeks have passed by now, and we’re much more chill. It wasn’t meant to be. Moving on. Something will be, and it’s out there, and I smile, wondering how it will happen.
(I’m reading Nia Vardalos’s book Instant Mom about foster adoption. Loving it! More than 100,000 kids in the US are legally emancipated and in foster care awaiting adoption. Just FYI.)
Meanwhile I’ve been focusing on finishing a novel called Sinai Moon that takes place in New York, Kansas, Croatia, Switzerland, Beirut, and the Sinai (among other locales). I’m hoping to have it finished by the end of the year. The book has made me laugh and helped me through some tough times, and I hope it will do the same for others.
My husband and I are glad to be together again in Tulsa, living a few steps from the Arkansas River. Most nights we walk along it and watch big sunsets over Turkey Mountain as geese and herons fly overhead. (Oklahoma has awesome clouds.) Ahmed is doing great with his web design business (referrals welcome!), and I’ve been doing Palestine-related freelance work and a book talk here and there (one is coming up at UMass Amherst). We’re still playing lots of soccer and recently adopted a wild, sweet grey kitten named Mateo.
In May we did a 6000-mile road trip to the Grand Canyon, LA, Big Sur, the Bay Area, the Lost Coast, Oregon, Montana, and Yellowstone. Ahmed had never been west of Denver, so it was a treat for him. He liked the Grand Canyon best, while I most enjoyed watching sea lions play in the mighty current of the Klamath River as it flowed into the Pacific Ocean.
Least favorite part was hitting a deer outside of Yellowstone. But many good folks in Montana (and from Geico) took good care of us, and we were on the road again with only a two-day delay, followed by ten days of repairs when we got home. (The deer was not so lucky.)
And of course there’s another time-tested way to get your mind off your own worries: Helping others.
My Palestinian friend Rania (a major character in my first book) does incredible work for her community in the West Bank town of Tulkarem, including counseling for victims of trauma and abuse, activities for children in refugee camps, programs for the disabled, and training for other counselors and community leaders. The number of lives she touches is truly staggering and humbling.
Sadly, there is no funding for this work. So each year I raise funds to pay her a small salary of $300 a month, which not only helps her family survive but also helps her community live healthier and more colorful lives.
The fundraiser just went live on Generosity.com (powered by IndieGogo), and it offers great rewards for your kindness. Even $5 or $10 makes a huge difference.
The fundraising site is full of awesome pictures of Rania’s kids and all the other kids she helps with her work. It really makes a heart feel good.
These are her kids, Karam and Lusan. How cute are they?
Check the site out if you like. Shares and contributions, however big or small, are most appreciated!