Saturday, September 06, 2008

current address

Hey friends!

I have been blogging at another address for a few months, but I was scared that the mean virus-posting device would continue to try to sabotage my sacred blogging space, so I didn't post the address here. But now I'm ready to take the risk and post it.

I hope you will join me at


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

BLOG is moving

Hey friends!

Good news: I am still blogging...and I'm in the process of creating a new, more user-friendly, better looking, more comprehensive blog page...


I will post the site on here in the next week, so check back in!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Evil tricksters trying to sabotage my blog!

To all those who peruse my blog, please use caution when reading the comments that others post. My blog has been littered with links that contain viruses. Users whom I do not know have been posting comments. They usually say something like "click here" or "see here" and when you open the link it automatically starts downloading some suspicious somethings onto your hard drive. Not cool, eh?

Here's what you need to know:
1. IT IS COMPLETELY SAFE TO READ MY BLOG. There are no viruses on my blog page.
2. I try to catch these tricksters as soon as possible. I delete their comments with rapid speed. There is very little time between when they post their comment and when I delete it.
3. Use caution when opening links on anyone's page. If you do not know the person who is posting a link, do not open it.
4. If you have a Mac, this really doesn't apply to you because you are really cool like me and you have a system that those viruses don't know how to take down. (Yay for Mac people!)

5. Finally, and this is to the evil tricksters that are trying to poison my blog space:

It is rude and conniving and just plain mean. You know who you are. Stop it. What's the big idea? Why can't everyone just play nice? C'mon people!

That said, I have to say that if you have posted viruses on my blog, I am working on forgiving you. Please stop attacking my blog and you'll make it a little easier.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

BEACHES!!! ....I'm dreaming of beaches...

I'm in finals week right now. I have a lot of work to do for my European Union class. One problem: I repeatedly find myself losing focus on the European Union and how it is contributing to world peace. Where is my focus going? I'll tell you. BEACHES.

I want to go to the beach.


I miss palm trees.

And warm sand. There's a enormous difference between cold sand and warm sand. I miss the warm, dry sand and how it feels under my feet.

...Well, now that I'm thinking about it I kind of miss the wet, muddy sand too. You know, the kind that gets in between your toes. . . It can be found right at the edge of where the tide comes up. You stand at the tide's edge, just close enough to where the ocean comes up over the top of your feet, maybe it gets your ankles too, and when the water receeds, you can feel the gooey sand under your feet rushing back out to the ocean with the fast-moving water. I adore that feeling.

This morning I even put on my swimsuits before got dressed to go to our Evergreen gathering! I think I was conviced that it would make me feel a little more connected to the beach. It just made me realize how much I look like a Pacific Northwesterner - I'm so pale!!! :) I don't think that we Italians were meant to have this little exposure to the sun. It doesn't look good on us. The Mediterranean people - Greeks, Italians, Portuguese, etc. - we just look better when we have gotten a little bit of sun. All of my friends of Northern European descent look great pale. Not me. And my dark-skinned friends, well they just look great all year long!

Ok, enough dreaming about soaking up back to the European Union...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I'm inviting you into the conversation - about conflict, that is!

Hey there friends,

Over the past few weeks, I have come to realize that I do a very poor job at letting the fascinating things I'm studying trickle over into the rest of my life. I'm learning some pretty amazing things. It doesn't do anyone much good if I take in all the fantastic things I'm being exposed to and keep them for myself. So, I'm going to try to make an effort to blog more about Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies. You are invited to the conversation. Get your conversation bubbles ready!
AND, I'm going to try to post more photos. I think that they make my blog pretty. Don't you?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

My Work: These Numbers Have Faces

What's new with me?
Well, one of the most significant changes in my life has been joining the team of people who work for a non-profit called These Numbers Have Faces.

Why am I so excited?
There are several reasons:
1. We work in post-apartheid South Africa. I am learning a lot about South Africa as I'm pursuing a Masters in Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies. I have a great admiration for all that the Rainbow Nation has overcome, AND I recognize that the country has a long way to go before blacks in South Africa are truly free.
2. I'm passionate about social change in post-conflict areas. There is a lot of "cleaning up" to do after a society has been ravaged with violent conflict. In the case of South Africa, nearly ninety percent of the resources are still in the hands of about ten percent of the people. This means that the resources available for black South Africans are not always adequate for them to meet their basic needs. Resources are even more lacking for those with the ambition to earn a college degree.
3. TNHF is based on individual relationships and partnerships. The idea is that we are friends with the people with whom we partner. We work on small-scale projects. Our work is deep rather than broad. Our partnership works to provide a small group of youth in the township of Gugulethu with AIDS education, mentoring, character development, sports training, and educational resources. We know these kids.
4. Even though TNHF has only been established for a little over a year, a lot of great things are happening! TNHF's partnership in South Africa is with a high school-age soccer team called JL Zwane Football Club. The team has had a great season, and they are being cared for and mentored by Coach Eric. The MOST exciting part for me has been that our first student, Anda Sozawe, has graduated from high school, gotten accepted into college, and is now in his first term at Northlink College in South Africa. Anda is studying Sports Management at Northlink and hopes to return to his home community of Gugulethu better equipped to mentor other future leaders through soccer.

This photo was taken of Anda while he was practicing.

5. I'm going to South Africa this summer! Yeah, that's right. I'm going to Capetown this summer with TNHF. We will check in with JL Zwane FC and Coach Eric to reassess what comes next. I might explore some opportunities to bring young South African women into TNHF. :)

I just started working with TNHF, but I'd appreciate your prayers and encouragement for what lies ahead for me and for us. Check out the website. It might get you excited too!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

its ok to be fact, it is worship

I have a bad habit. Well, the truth is that I probably have a lot of bad habits. One that I have become aware of lately is that I think that I have a fear of being extraordinary. What I mean is that there are times that I realize that God has made me very special and wonderful and he is changing and growing my heart in beautiful ways. The unfortunate thing is that often I want to downplay the ways in which God is doing a great thing in me. SI mislabel it 'humility'. I don't want to seem too extraordinary to others and when I am blown away by the good work God is doing in my inner being, I shy away from celebrating it.

I spent this past weekend gathering with a group of women who have quickly become some of my heroes. We gathered together because we all share a relationship with Jesus and a desire to come alongside others in our faith communities to lead them in the way of Jesus...whatever that means in each of our contexts. I found that it looks profoundly different from woman to woman and from community to community. The retreat/conference was called Convergence. It was encouraging.

The women who surrounded me at Convergence were extraordinary. There is something indescribably alluring about women who celebrate the ways in which God's image is manifested in them. I found that although the women who attended represented a wide spectrum of backgrounds, appearances, and interests, so many of them had a sort of glow that comes from being yourself and being treasured for it.

Let me just say that I am thankful and proud to be a woman!

I found myself feeling treasured. I felt an appreciation for being me. And I realized that I am extraordinary, in my own way. And acknowledging that I am extraordinary does not mean that I'm not humble. Rather, the acknowledgment is celebration of how extraordinary God's love is. He chooses to take silly and ordinary people like me. And he does things. Within us. And that makes us extraordinary.

I turn twenty-four tomorrow. I'm ready. I want to begin living my life in a way that celebrates how wonderful it is to be myself. When I downplay the beautiful things that God is doing in me, I am taking away from an opportunity to worship him.

This is my hope: Twenty-four will be about thanking God for how he has made me, trusting that he made me the way I am for specific reasons and that I will be able to love others in unique ways as a result. I think that the twenty-four year-old Dominique will be courageously obedient to the person she is becoming, despite how much she might want to blend in with others.

I'm ready to be extraordinarily and courageously true to the person God has made me. May God be glorified.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

public attention to this "great awakening"

There is an interesting little op-ed article that I read in the NY Times. In the article, the author draws special attention to how evangelicals are caring for the poor and oppressed. He calls them "Evangelicals A Liberal Can Love" - which is funny to me because although I understand the seemingly great divide that exists between people who stringently adhere to the labels "evangelical" or "liberal" I feel like I flirt with both evangelicalism and liberalism [for different reasons].

I think that following Jesus in some ways has less to do with political categorizations and more to do with critically thinking about how, as followers of Jesus, we are to engage with the world in which God has placed us. Jim Wallis is coming out with a new book called, "The Great Awakening." The book discusses trends with an emerging generation of Christians and how [they/we] are taking the teachings of Jesus in practical light and doing remarkably creative things in order to serve and care for the poor. I'm looking forward to reading it.

If you can, read the NY Times article and let me know what you think. It is brief. I found it refreshing to read an article by an author from "the American coasts" (more liberal-minded, like my neighbors here in Portland) who is trying to build a conversation of sorts between these often opposing religio-political camps.

Check it out. Enjoy. :)

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Temporarily In Need of A [Fake] Husband.

I am in no hurry to get married, but every now and again, I get in situations where I realize how useful a husband would be. I have a fun-filled and satisfying single life, so these occasions are rare. Nonetheless, being married has its advantages over being single in some situations.

More specifically, yesterday I went to have my car looked at. Let's face it. Car dealerships and auto mechanics treat women differently than they do men. They treat men better than they do women. And, as we know, I am a woman.

In January, when I returned to Portland, the radio in my car had stopped working. I turn it on and can change the radio channels, but the volume won't go up or down and the CD player is unresponsive. When I took my car in to get an estimate, they asked me to sign a paper saying that they would charge me $100 to examine it. I paused and asked the man behind the counter if the fee was nonnegotiable. He then dropped the fee to $50, explaining that it probably wouldn't take an entire hour to check it out, so they would charge me half. (Initially, I was proud of myself having knocked off half the price. I later found out that my male friends get these sort of estimates for free.)

After waiting over an hour in the waiting room, I went back into the office to see about my car. They assured me that they would know details soon and asked me to continue waiting. Keep in mind that they are just checking on the radio. After about twenty minutes of waiting by the service desks, the man finally came out to talk to me. My radio was broken. When I asked questions, he said that he did not know the answers to my questions. Ten minutes later, he returned with a sheet, a bill, detailing what it would cost to replace the radio. In it, I was given no options for upgrades, used radios, or recommendations.

I have to admit, I felt very alone. Was I asking the right questions? Was I receiving the answers that I deserved? I felt very grown up in a way that I kind of resent. How am I supposed to know what to do with my car if my mechanic, who I trust to diagnose the problem, will not fill me in on all the significant information. I think that one has choices in how to replace a car radio. And I think that I should also be educated by my mechanic on exactly what he has found after AN HOUR of examining the radio.

I decided to get some more opinions. I'm not even sure if it is indeed my radio that is broken. When I think about the symptoms, it seems to me that instead it is my speakers that need to be replaced. Mostly, I wish I knew how to find out more information. I wish I knew a good honest person who knows about these things and can diagnose my car. I wish that I had a fake husband so that when I go into situations like these, I will have an advocate of the preferred gender. And I wish that I lived in a world where one gender did not receive preferred treatment over another.

For now, I'm driving around town with no radio. I think that the silence is good for me. I'm not ready to fix the radio. It is too exhausting. Maybe a good fake husband will come along in the meantime. One that likes silent car rides.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Remedies for S.A.D. days

Part of life here in the lovely Pacific Northwest, especially here in the valley, is the soggy, gray days. The climate is such that on days when it is sunny, Oregon is gloriously beautiful. However, when the soggy days go on, one after another, one begins to forget how beautiful Portland is and how it looked when the sun was out. After a beautiful sunny day, a couple of gray and wet days are not too hard to bear. When three or four - or even ten - soggy days happen in a row, one's temperament tends to be affected. Some people even develop Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.). It is a real fact of life here. My dad seemed to be concerned about it when I visited Texas in December.

January has turned out to be a bit more soggy than my previous months in Portland. So, I've decided to take on preventative measures. There will be no S.A.D. days for me, if I can help it. In order to prevent the onset of S.A.D. I have developed a few of my own remedies to ensure that I'm getting my quota of S.A.D.-defeating joyfulness each day. Here they are:

1. Eating lots of hot soup. I have been collecting soup recipes and making lots of new soups. Maybe it is true what they say about chicken soup.
2. Cooking great meals. Delicious food adds greatly to contentedness.
3. Spending quality time with friends.
4. Meeting new friends. There is something about meeting new people that adds a nice amount of unpredictability to my day, and I just get a kick out of some of the really quirky people I meet.
5. Prayer and quiet time to consider the important things and people.
7. Working out! My body's circulation is stimulated and my heart rate goes up and it feels great!
8. Eating oranges in the shower.
9. Looking for ways to bless and serve others. This does much to add joy to each day!
10. Laughing.
11. Taking advantage of every opportunity to enjoy the days when the sun does come out. Go for a walk, or, if it is too cold, sit by the window. Take a mental note of how beautiful everything looks in the sunshine.

So, I spend my January (and now February) days eating tasty soups, laughing with my new acquaintances, and eating oranges in the shower. Oh, and I think that my new galloshes (or "rain boots" as they call them here) help counter the S.A.D. as well. Aren't they incredible? For now, I think I have this S.A.D. thing beat. I am sure with the coming seasons that I might discover some other great secrets to Northwest winters - something else I am looking forward to.