Nebraska City News-Press - Nebraska City, NE
Finding the sacred in everyday life
Day 26: A place called hope
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Marketta Gregory never meant to be a columnist. \x34I trained to be a newspaper reporter -- one who tried to her best to be objective. I covered religion for a few years and felt like it was the best job a curious woman like me could ever have. ...
Simply Faithful
Marketta Gregory never meant to be a columnist. I trained to be a newspaper reporter -- one who tried to her best to be objective. I covered religion for a few years and felt like it was the best job a curious woman like me could ever have. Every day I got to listen as people told me about the things that were most important to them, the things that were sacred. But the newspaper industry was changing and few papers could afford to have an army of speciality reporters. So, I moved to cover the suburbs where, as luck would have it, they have plenty of religion, too. Eventually, children came into the picture. One by birth and another two months later by foster care/adoption. I struggled to chase breaking news and be home at a decent hour, so I made the move to what we journalists call the dark side: I took a job in public relations. (Don't worry. I work for a great non-profit, so it's not dark at all.) When I gave my notice at the Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle, the executive editor asked me to consider writing a column on a freelance basis. She didn't want the newspaper to lose touch with its religious sources, and she still wanted consistent faith coverage. I was terrified. It took me about 10 months to get back to her with a solid plan and some sample columns. And so it began, this journey of opening up my heart to strangers.
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By simplyfaithful
March 14, 2013 11:30 a.m.

The cute bunnies caught my eye first, but it was the tag that sold me.
They were made in an impoverished area of Guatemala City called Esperanza, which, when translated to English, means hope. “This has helped them maintain a spirit of HOPE which many in similar circumstance lost long ago,” the tag reads.
Hmmm. Just the naming of their community made a difference. Just deciding to focus on hope, despite despair.
This community of mainly single moms who struggle not to pay the cable bill but to get clean water and to keep their children from being raped or murdered — this community — has decided to work alongside one another to create a better life.
Guatemala2Now, they have a medical clinic, a library and a bakery, a day care and a school, workshops for those experiencing domestic abuse and scholarships for those who need schooling beyond what they can offer. And women like Flori take scraps of recycled fabric and they turn them into tiny celebrations of spring, of new life. Those bunnies and clothes and purses are sold at places like One World Goods in Pittsford, NY — places where dollars make a tangible difference to artisans like Flori. And the cycle of hope and improvement continues.
It took courage and faith to look at that area of Guatemala City, to look at the squatters and the squalor, and to name it hope, Esperanza. Could we take their lead and name the impoverished areas of our souls Esperanza? Could I take the hard things — the ones that look the worst — and nail a sign above them? Label them Hope, too?
To learn more about Esperanza, visit†www.upavim.org.
To buy your own bunnies, stop by One World Goods in Pittsford, NY, or buy them online here.
And the cute little basket in the picture? It came from A Second Thought Resale Shop in East Rochester, NY. The proceeds from that thrift store help support people with disabilities in Guatemala.

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