Monday, June 28, 2010

Text "Freedom" to 20222!! Do it.

This summer, 15 ordinary people will give up 5 weeks of their lives, cycling 1800 miles of the Underground Railroad with one extraordinary goal: To bring hope to the millions of people waiting for freedom.

The team will ride from June 28 to July 30, inviting people to join the fight for freedom online and at events along their route — from churches to concerts to Major League Baseball games. Their journey concludes on July 30 in Buffalo, NY, when we'll invite 1 million people to join IJM's second annual Weekend to End Slavery.

Whether you have a few minutes or a few hours, there is something YOU can do to help us:

Help us reach our campaign goal to raise $1 million: If just 100,000 people text FREEDOM to 20222 to give $10 to IJM’s work, we’ll hit our goal. We believe that if people are aware of what we’re doing, they’ll be willing to part with $10. Please spread the word or direct them to other giving options.

Join/promote our events: If you have contacts in our event cities, I’d love to share our promotional materials with you so they can help us get the word out. Just reply back and let me know.

Follow the tour: Visit our live tracking page and keep up with the riders via daily instant access updates.

Help us spread the word about 5 Weeks for Freedom with online tools.

Learn about other great ways to help by visiting our Get Involved page

This summer's journey on the Underground Railroad reminds us that slavery was defeated once, simply because ordinary people did what they could to join the fight. And it inspires us to believe that, together, we can defeat it again. I hope I can count on your support!

Friday, June 25, 2010


I ventured to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma last weekend to visit my dearest Great Aunt Rosalyce. My paternal grandmother (Mimi)'s sister, she is quite possibly the most adventurous, most interesting person in my family. LOVE her. We have been pen pals since I was 8, and I sadly haven't seen her in about 15 years. I realized I'd never see her again if I didn't take initiative and just GO for crying out loud....and so we settled on the weekend of June 19 .

It was a spectacular weekend. Aunt Rosalyce was incredibly hospitable and just as fantastic as I remembered. I stayed in one of the extra apartments at the Statesman Club, a retirement community in NW OK City. They just had a ton of building damage from the tornadoes that have recently ravaged the area, but were quickly fixing windows, replacing carpet, etc.

Spent the afternoon sitting and talking. The slower pace was quite good for my hurried, frenzied soul. Aunt Rosalyce was in the Women's Army Corps during World War II, and served in New York and New Guinea (more on this later). After she met her (dashing, hilarious, equally adventurous) husband Tom, she spent her career teaching DOD kids overseas: in Japan, The Philippines, and Germany. How COOL is that?! She's convinced I got my travel bug straight from her :).

Our birthdays are very close (mine is June 14, hers is June 18), and this is the first time we've ever celebrated our birthdays together.... she took me to a Mexican restaurant (can't remember the name) along with her friend Susan (incredible woman who looks out for Aunt Rosalyce).

Here we are at the restaurant:

Sunset after dinner - there's a man-made lake the restaurant is near. OH HOW I MISS PRETTY SUNSETS!!!

A lighthouse! In Oklahoma! Reminds me of that George Strait song, "I've got some ocean front property in Arizona...From my front porch you can see the sea....If you'll buy that I'll throw the Golden Gate in free...."

Sunday: we spent the entire day visiting and catching up. She saved shoeboxes full of letters from friends (and her, photos from childhood to present, and COOLEST OF ALL: letters she wrote her family in 1944 when she had just arrived in New Guinea! How amazing is that!?! She explained to me that what she did was largely administrative work, and that it freed up the men to be able to fight in the South Pacific instead of sit behind a desk. She mentioned that the girls were told that they had to follow tradition: the outgoing men needed to get a kiss from the incoming secretaries, so they'd be sent off to war, motivated to fight for their country. She said this was definitely not a tradition, but that she and the other girls were good sports about it, and gladly obliged.

There were stories of old beaus, the trick to getting good food in the South Pacific (dates with the Navy boys), photos of her and 20+ soldiers who saw her walking on campus at Oklahoma State (back then it was Oklahoma A&M). Photos of a guru she and Tom associated with, photos of the guru with the Beatles, and photos of the 300+ children she taught over the course of her career.

Stories of my great-great-grandfather Heidbreder who immigrated from Germany. His father would let him come to America only if he promised to bring a certain trunkful of books with him. He sailed around the world a couple times before settling in Oklahoma. Not long after his arrival, World War I broke out, his home was ransacked, and all his books were burned (so as to not spread German sentiment).
1) What a cool story! My ancestors were pretty spiffy.
2) my people have been oppressed and I've got my rights* (I have more stories on the wrongful oppression of my peeps, but that's for another day);
3) I love stories like this: bad turning into good. Though G-G-Grandfather Heidbreder had next to nothing, he had a family... and if he had resigned himself to the fact that life is hard and there's no point in trying, he never would have attracted a (wonderfully energetic) wife, they would have never had my Great Grandfather, who would have never married Great Grandmother Mary Doze, who in turn would have never had my grandmother Margaret Christine, who would have never had my dad... you get the idea. Survival of the fittest, in this case, if you will.

Stepped out for a bit to see dear friend Lindsey Leissner Johnson, who lives in OKCity with hubbie Kyle. SO great to see her and catch up. She is an awesome Christian example, and I thoroughly enjoyed the time with her.

Sunday night, I picked up Macaroni Grill for dinner. After finishing dinner, we sat outside on the patio and watched the sun set. We sat out there for about two hours, reading letters, sharing stories, and eating Blue Bell Strawberries and Vanilla ice cream. I got completely eaten up my massive Oklahoma mosquitos, but it was SO worth it. What a lovely way to end the trip. Check out these sunset pictures:

Here is my elegant, beautiful aunt:

Got up bright and early the next morning and joined Aunt Rosalyce for coffee before she was off to a dr's appointment and I was off for a super quick tour of the town. By an act of providence, I wound up in Stockyards City. Adventure follows.

Downtown is on the horizon. That's where I was headed before I got distracted by a great country song (there were at least 17 country radio stations!! There's only one here)....

Thar she is:

I'm obsessed with this edge of OKCity.

I thought about seeing if they had any job openings here just so I could stay.....

No, I didn't venture in the gates.....

And then.....LEGIT MEXICAN FOOD!!!! I went in for a bacon, egg and cheese breakfast taco, and iced tea in a styrofoam cup. I was not disappointed. It was SO good. Both the taco and the tea portions were enormous, and the whole thing cost $3. It was then that I realized that a) I love food and b) I especially love Sonic, Chik-fil-A (yeah, yeah, don't judge) and Mexican food. DC/VA is severely lacking in all three categories. It was then that I had no real reason to justify staying in VA.

But I pulled myself together, and drove in my rental Hyundai Accent to the airport. Along the way, I was again enamored by the massive sky.

Interesting cloud formation behind the flags....

Will Rogers World Airport... and there he is!

What a weekend. What a heart of gold Aunt Rosalyce has. So blessed to a) escape DC for the weekend and b) to spend such quality time with such an amazing person.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Philly Part III

Part III. Our time has come to a close. Here's part III of III:

Happened upon the World Cup block party!! England vs. USA! Ridiculously fitting after a day centering on liberty, fighting the Brits, and revolutionary ideas:

"USA! USA!! USA!!" ~the crazed patriots

Thugs Guy, Nate, and Alex....

These guys had their own TV out on the street... smoke was from a massive grilling party. Very awesome.

Annnnnd we tied with England... which I hear is a great thing during the first round. Apparently the rules of soccer (football) are much more complicated than I originally thought back in 6th grade when I had to play soccer every day for "off season" because I didn't want to play basketball and get pummeled by the mean bullies in junior high (that and I was a pansy and didn't like to fail at things I was grossly uncoordinated in). The end.

Cool old building.

Jumping photo #1....

Jumping photo #2....

Philadelphia skyline... this is right before we left for DC.

Austin being creepy

So Rocky is a big deal in Philly. I should see this (don't judge, I haven't seen any of them... and also got the Rocky movies confused with Rambo...uhmm...)

GREAT weekend! Great new friends. Had a Philly cheesesteak ordered "wiz with" (cheezwhiz and onions).... (sorry Texadelphia, your cheesesteaks are dead to me), water ice (snow cone), and other food here and there.... most fun was laughing with my peeps. Good times.

Philly Part II

Where the Constitution was signed, yes?

Standing in line to see the Liberty Bell


This is cool.

The human liberty bell!

Little Big Chief!

Hey, what's up, MLK, Jr and Rev. Wright?

The Dalai Lama

Nelson power.

Annnnnd there's us!

Discussing important matters...

Thar she is....

Welcome to Philadelphia. God bless America.

The oldest street in America!

I don't know. I like taking pictures of sewer plates.

Philly Trip Part I

Two weekends ago, I went to Philly with 10 friends from IJM and thereabouts... and it was fabulous. Sad how seldom I venture out of the state.. even though it doesn't require driving for 12 hours just to cross the state line. Andrew is from Philly and was a grand tour guide for our whirlwind (24 hour) trip. Here are some of my favorite photos:

City Hall... with wee little William Penn at the top:

Caught Guy conducting his own private orchestra...

Annnnd the first thing that comes to my mind?? Monopoly!

It was at this time that I realized I take photos that you find on Sesame Street. The "what is this a part of?" sort of thing.....

This is magical. LOVE it.

Fabulous fire escape stairs...

Made me wonder... was this seen as shameless advertising back in the day? "Would you believe that clothing store over there? They took out a window and put an advertisement up." (For the record, I think it's nifty).

Hard Rock Cafe across the street from our hotel


Lychee. One of the highlights from my time in Mexico.

Artsy statue

Artsy statue in detail

Action shot of Andrew and Guy... crazies... be continued....