Tag Archives: letters

Care Connects WWII Survivors and Syrian Refugees to Bring Happiness

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As of almost 1 year ago, there were more than 4 million Syrian refugees, a number that increases daily as conflict grows across Europe. Babies are being born in refugee camps. Children are experiencing years meant for exploration, imagination and fun in a landscape that is scary, violent and often times changing moment to moment. They’ve experienced loss at far too young an age but they are not alone in this.

Care is an organization responsible for sending care packages to children affected by WWII. If anyone understands even a margin of what modern children in war-torn nations are experiencing, it is the survivors of WWII who are now being recruited by Care to write letters to children receiving packages today. Care was created in 1945

Does he go to school? Does he have a father? Does he have something to play with? I never played as a kid.
-WWII Survivor And Letter Writer

The first 20,000 Care packages reached the shores of France in 1946 and 70 years later, Care packages are still arriving on far off shores. Today those Care packages include letters from alumni who seek to help children feel known, heard and understood in this time of crisis. Watch their story: Continue reading

What Did Flannery O’Connor Pray For?

flannery home .jpgOften when I read, I’m struck by something, but I’m not sure why.

I’ve read The Habit of Being several times — it’s a collection of Flannery O’Connor’s extraordinary letters. O’Connor is one of my favorite writers, but I can hardly bear to read her fiction; it makes my head explode.

On July 1, 1964, O’Connor (who was a devout Catholic) wrote to Janet McKane:

Do you know anything about St. Raphael besides his being an archangel? He leads you to the people you are supposed to meet…It’s a prayer I’ve said every day for many years.

A week later, she wrote McKane a follow-up letter, with the prayer, which reads in part: Continue reading

Get involved: Your Holiday Mom

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I went to high school in North Carolina. Being located at the heart of the United States Bible Belt, my home state isn’t known for it’s hospitality towards the LGBTQ community. However, my last two years of high school I went to a public residential magnet school which became sort of a liberal bubble set apart from the conservative influence of our outside community. Our head of residential life actually made a promise that he’d lose his job before he ever made a student come out of the closet to their family, so besides being a place where nerds could actually live at school, it was a safe place for those teens who felt persecuted or unsafe identifying their sexuality in their home schools. Thus, we had a much more vibrant LGBTQ teen community at our school, with alliance clubs and leadership positions created specifically to create healthy dialogue for students questioning or coming to terms with their sexualities.

It created a unique experience that most southern kids don’t get to have. Of course, growing up in a “Will & Grace” era I did horrifying things like try to collect gay friends like Pokemon cards – because to my 16 year old mind having gay or lesbian friends was a novelty and I hadn’t fully figured out that people are people, no matter who they like to sleep next to at night. I am so thankful for the experience and the open mindedness it provided me going into adulthood and that I now have many great friends that just happen to be gay.

However, we still live in a world where that kind of attitude isn’t adopted by everyone. And the other day when I was scrolling through my own blog dashboard I was reminded that there are thousands of kids out there who don’t have a home or school to go to that encourages, and embraces, them to be who they are. Each year we hear of teens who feel so outcasted and lonely because they’re LGBTQ that they self-harm or worse – take their lives. The pressure and depression over this can get even worse around the holiday time when these young people don’t feel safe or welcome in their own homes.

Then I discovered “Your Holiday Mom” – an outreach effort by moms and supportive LGBTQ allies from the internet who are trying to give those teens something to make them feel warm this holiday season. The virtual support group collects letters from moms and allies alike from the internet with messages of love, acceptance and hope and publishes them for anyone struggling this holiday season around family members or friends who don’t support them. The letters each remind the reader that they are loved and they have the place in more progressive hearts, so they’ll know someone is thinking about them and caring about them during the season.

I love this idea because it’s a small thing that can mean the world to someone in trouble. Sometimes charity or giving isn’t always about dollar bills, but opening our hearts to help others. Last year the campaign posted over 40,000 letters. This is the second year and they hope to get even more. Will you help? Here are the submission guidelines. Tell a stranger that you love them this holiday season and you could save someone’s life.

VOD: Twin Brother Asks Santa to Save His Sister From Bullying

Screen shot 2013-10-07 at 11.15.25 PMAre you already thinking about what you want for Christmas? When 8-year old Ryan’s mom asked him and his twin sister to write their letters to Santa early (so she could get a head start on saving up for it) the only thing Ryan asked Santa for was to stop the kids at school bullying Amber. “She doesn’t do anything to them,” he says before adding “I’ve been praying for it to stop but God is busy so he needs your help.”

His sister is overweight and suffers from a few mental health issues, their mother admits to “Good Morning America.” So the kids at school taunt her to get her to do different things. “They call me fat, and stupid, and hideous,” the little girl confesses to cameras in one heart breaking part of the video. To make things worse she’s admitted to her mom she sometimes wishes she could die to make it stop.

Luckily for Amber, she has a family that loves her unconditionally and reaches out for her benefit. Her mom had a meeting with the school principal to see about stopping the bullying, and “Good Morning America” surprised Amber with one early Christmas miracle thanks to her brother Ryan’s good will.

Warning: This video will absolutely cause tears, but is definitely worth it.

Share this video if you know of any special child being bullied. What do you think of Ryan’s selfless request for his sister? Tell us in the comments below! 

Elephant in the Room: Will He Ever Marry Me?

shutterstock_79607809Dear Cora,

I’ve been with my boyfriend for over five and a half years and I love him so much. We’ve been through a lot together, including a clingy ex and a pregnancy scare. We live together now and we are on the same page about wanting to stay together long term – but I want to get married and he doesn’t seem as anxious about it as I am. There’s always a reason to put it off – we need a new car, or a new place, or he wants to go back to school. These are all legitimate reasons not to talk about a wedding, but if we know we want to spend the rest of our lives together I don’t understand what we’re waiting for. I’m starting to wonder if he’ll ever propose, and what do I do if he never wants to marry me?

Sincerely,

Ringless Finger

Dear Ringless,

Sometimes the best thing to do when you get wrapped up in a singular issue is to take a step back and look at the big picture. Five and a half years of commitment with one person is no easy feat – and it sounds like the two of you have gotten over your fair share of hurdles together which I commend you for. It shows you two know how to handle undesirable situations that come up with any long-term relationship and see it through to the other side. That gives me hope you’ll make it through this as well.

The great wedding debate. That’s what you’re in the middle of my dear and many of us, especially those who used to pretend to walk down the aisle with pillowcase veils over our heads when we were five, have also been there. I’m not saying there aren’t men out there who also look forward to getting married, but women tend to take it to a whole other level. Both my brother and my uncle are serial monogamists. They are at their most comfortable in long-term relationships, but say the word marriage and they go white in the face. We’ve had many debates about it because it doesn’t seem to make sense that if they are willing to make the commitment, why not have the party to celebrate? For some people, both men and women, the idea of making it legally binding scares them to the core. That piece of paper adds a level of responsibility they can’t wrap their minds around.

It’s possible your beau falls into that camp. It doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love you or that he isn’t in this for the long haul, but he has a mind block around marriage.

It is also possible that it’s the financial burden of the situation that is causing the “delay.” Weddings are expensive, no matter how intimate they are. You’ve had some legitimate expenses come up in your time together and maybe he’s right – there hasn’t been a right time to spend that kind of cash on a ceremony.

Or there could be something you’ve been overlooking. The key to finding out is laying all the cards out on the table. I know that sounds “so not romantic.” It isn’t, but it’s how adults in committed relationships deal with problems. The two of you need to sit down, face to face, and have a long conversation. This is not a chance for you to beg or coerce him into proposing, but an opportunity for both of you to tell each other what you want, what you’re afraid of and look at the obstacles together. It’s also a chance for you to ask why do you want to get married? Is it just because it’s something you think you’re supposed to do or because you want to legally commit yourself to this person forever? Being open and honest without pressure will allow him to open up to you as well and share his reservations.

Don’t fret, Ringless. This isn’t a sign of the end but merely a chance to grow closer. You and your love just need to get on the same page. I wish you the best of luck!

Best wishes,

Cora

PS. I’d love to hear from you all on this one, especially those that have been in long term relationships. What’s your take? Tell us in the comments below! And remember if you need any advice or want to share a trouble you’re having email your letters to editor@intent.com!

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