Hope v. Reality


Just a few weeks before the news lit up with stories of Whitney Houston’s life and death, I had read in a letter from someone that an acquaintance of ours had died of a heroin overdose. While my mind instantly pulled out the “ that can’t be, someone just saw him a few days/weeks/months ago” denial speech. I knew logically that it wasn’t far fetched. No surprise here. He is not the first, and unfortunately unlikely to be the last. I can think of at least four funerals off the top of my head that I have been to which were celebrating lives that were taken way too soon, and in some way drug related. While I have never heard of an incident of someone overdosing on methamphetamine, I do know people who have gotten shot because of someone using it. Sleep deprivation and chemical cocktails make for unhappy endings. … Continue reading


Love and Money

Money in a Heart

Another holiday season has come and gone. This year I had the chance to notice something, and not for the first time. I see how we attach our own value to money, belongings and gifts both on the receiving and giving ends. It was easier to see and call out as ridiculous in my roommate, of course but that made me look in the mirror and reevaluate. My roommate was raised by parents who are Jehovah’s Witnesses, whose religion requires that they not celebrate Birthdays, Christmas, etc. So my friend never had the Christmas experience that so many of us grew up with and does not observe those practices as an adult. She admittedly tries to make up for what she feels she missed out on. She buys an outrageous amount of presents for her children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews etc. Her sister does the same thing. She has gone … Continue reading

Stephanie Harvey


This past Monday, Stephanie Harvey’s body was found in a dumpster around N. Lamar and Rundberg. My supervisor at the Travis County jail emailed volunteers to let us know that a woman who’d been involved in our program had been killed; she wanted us to know who it was before we heard it from the media. My Facebook has been inundated with friends mourning the death of Esme Barrera these last couple of days and it has been horrible and heartbreaking to read about. I did not know Esme but wish I had – she seems like the kind of smart, caring woman who I would admire. I did not know Stephanie either – maybe she didn’t come to my class or only came once or twice – but I think I would have admired her as well. The women I meet in my class have endured such hardships and … Continue reading