Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hi Michelle!

A couple of days ago we went to Super H – a huge Korean grocery store with a good food court. We had bulgogi and crab cakes and it was great. A woman sitting at our table went out of her way to make us feel welcome, so it was more than just a good meal. We went back today for sushi (crunch roll – fried shrimp, avocado, cucumber, crab, “made crunchy”) and some spicy Chinese chicken and soups. It was a good lunch and grocery store trip and something wonderful happened.

I ordered the sushi and went over to where Leslie was ordering the Chinese food. She was saying that what a young man sitting nearby was having looked better than what we’d planned on getting and when I looked over at his food, the young woman sitting with him said, “Mr. Kemp.” It was Michelle, a former student who had done a really good job working with Karen refugees. Having an understanding about these things, she was able to touch people’s lives and she was willing to give self to people. Nice.

Things like this happen, connections, memories, things that affirm us all – Michelle, Leslie, me. Photo: Karen woman holding Michelle's hand as they walk

I had a student once, who had worked at the edge for quite a few years – a missionary in Latin America, liberation theologist. She said to me (old Marine, hospice worker, refugee worker), “You know, you and I are the oldest and least cynical people in this room.”

Thursday, March 17, 2011

More dreams and sparkling realities

Voting: Below is a link to voting for Gardeners in Community Development, AKA, "The Garden" - the people and effort that have meant so much to our East Dallas community and the refugees who found refuge with us. Each vote takes GICD a step closer to $5000 for walk-ways and other improvements for elderly (that's me) and handicapped (not just yet) gardeners.

Visit to view videos from nominated gardens. GICD's entry is next to the last, Center for Growing People. Thanks!

To Phyllis: I taught and practiced that what we do should make a difference. If we weren't there, would it have happened? If the answer is no, without us it wouldn't have happened and if what happened helped or lifted people up, then we’ve done well. I saw Phyllis, my former Dean today and it was a lovely reunion. She said (or I think she said) something about challenges in working with me and later I’m thinking, thanks to her being able to let me do the work, which wasn't always easy for her to do, and me doing the work, many students had life-altering learning experiences and many people were healed, helped, informed, lifted up – mercy was given and received. If you think about it, it was an amazing thing we did.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Our House

Our house was built in 1931. We bought it in 1979 and have lived here ever since. We’re talking about moving for several reasons:

  • David will be graduating in a few months and wants to live in a more progressive place than Dallas (and so do we). Our plan all along has been to live close to one another and we intend to be where he is.
  • We’re getting older and less willing to do the upkeep on this house vs. what we think a condo would involve. It would be interesting (though I'm sure, expensive) to live in a house with climate control, with central heat and air for example.
  • We like to travel for months at a time. Living in a place where we can just lock the door and go has enormous attraction to us.

Thinking in real terms about leaving the house, I thought I would put together some of the photos I’ve taken of the house, the garden, and living here. Looking at the photos clarified that it’s not just the house, but our life in this house – what we see when we look out the windows, what we bake, the neighborhood, the birds singing, and so on.

My Mom lived for several years in the little house behind ours. She died there and we took care of her through months of cancer. Our son grew up here. Oh, there are joys and treasures and memories beyond measure in those happy times in our little family ... all the Christmases, the tent in David’s room, cooking, baking, snow days, ball in the hall, Grandparents living with us (3!), Christmas tree forts, playing in the front yard – back yard – field – railroad tracks, the babies, homework, eating at DK’s little table in the kitchen, Goldy, Judo, Chris and David playing in the mud – building fires – playing up and down the street, Katy, Laura, Chuck living out back, making the couch into a boat, the tree fort, the garden, Little Wolf, not to mention Running Bear! It just goes on and on through countless happy days in this house. Leslie and I being in love, making love, being parents, sharing life, working together, lying in bed and having coffee and a back rub almost every morning, now growing old … and so

Here are some photos of our house and life