Archive for the ‘Courage’ Tag


How beautiful it would have been to see our nation draw together with courage, cooperation, and compassion to defeat this coronavirus enemy. How proud we could have been to make our contribution to life-saving world leadership.

With sadness and regret I awake too early in the morning to mourn our missed opportunity.


Writing is a tough job, but even tougher when my topic is so personal. I’m working on “My Father’s House,” wanting from the bottom of my heart to convey the character of the man so many admired. To me he was my father – aren’t all father’s like that? But to my High School boyfriends, as they confessed to me later in life, he was the reason why they wanted to date me. “I wanted to take you out because I admired your father.” One of them who became an architect, added his admiration for our house.

I suppose I should wonder what that says about me. But I do know what it says about my father. He was a special man in the eyes of some who saw him from an outside-the-family perspective.

So why do I get discouraged? Because I want to convey his character and I’m having trouble doing that. Right now I want to help the potential reader know the hurt and challenge he felt when people laughed at him for his Swedish accent and ways. I want them to appreciate his determination to overcome that while improving his career position by saving income from less-than-desirable work to pay for college. I want them to understand his ultimate pride in his perfect English. Except for the Swedish lilt, his accent became perfectly American. I want people to rejoice with him in the small victory when he used the word “nuance,” and was laughed at for using a foreign word. Picture the satisfaction when he opened Webster’s Dictionary to point out the English word.

I want people to recognize and feel the presence of specific folks in their own lives as they read this phase of my father’s story. (My Italian father-in law’s story was of the same kind of courage – the kind of courage so many immigrants brought with them.)

There’s a whole lifetime I want to convey as the writing goes on, but this is what my heart and head are working on right now.

I get discouraged, but I’ll be digging in today to work on it. I guess I’ll have to invoke my father’s spirit and know that the thing to do with a problem is to do something about the problem.

So now, in my imagination, I’ve pulled in encouragement from many of you. Thank you.




Posted June 13, 2016 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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As with every stop, the folks in Cambodia chose to show with pride some of the best they had to offer. In Cambodia the total devastation of their country limited the sites available to show, but the spirit of recovery shone through.

By the way, I believe you can enlarge any of these photos by clicking on them.

Our first stop was at the Intra Ngean Pagoda, nearing the end of a 10-year process of reconstruction. It was basically a series of buildings and statues around a partially enclosed square. Entering the square, we were met by signs of poverty in the begging children who approached us, and signs of entrepreneurship in those selling objects, especially suitable for the Chinese New Year that was being celebrated everywhere during our trip.

I first met Emily who was selling lovely decorations which, I am quite sure, she had made herself — skilled and lovely. I promised I’d come back to her later to purchase some. She was the first of the two future business leaders of Cambodia I met that day.

But first I wandered around seeing the sights – especially the reclining Buddha.
Reclining Buddha

In my explorations I was met by Tia, also selling the lovely hand-made New Year’s decorations. (I’m sorry. I have no photos to show you of the decorations. I realized I bought too few and ended up giving them all away, so I have none of my own to photograph.) Tia, a super salesperson, tied a braided bracelet around my wrist to wish me happiness and good fortune. Of course I bought several from her.
Tia (1)

Then I went back to Emily and purchased some, but she wouldn’t let me take her photo, because I’d bought more from Tia than from her. (I really hadn’t realized that under the pressure of purchase.) At any rate, I’m sure I have met two very powerful women of the future in Cambodia.

The next thing they had to show us was the beach with its many chairs and open-front restaurants, obviously waiting for their evening customers. And the folks selling wares. See the banner at the top of this blog presentation.

On the beach

We also saw a fishing village — pretty quiet on the day we were there because it was the New Year’s holiday. I did get a shot of the village street.
Fishing Village

And the resting (and very expensive) fishing boats.
Resting Fishing boats

As in everyplace we visited, we saw the markets. Here in Cambodia it was a crowded market carrying all kinds of wares, including TVs, fresh food, and even a hairdresser cutting a customers hair.
at the market

What a courageous and delightful group we met. How I want to return in 10 years to see what they have accomplished.

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