Why We Choose Hate

Recently the tragedies have felt non-stop, right?

We've been hit from the left and the right, at home and abroad. And I've been amazed at how difficult it is for our society to offer a humane response. Someone dies and there are shouts of "He deserved it!" People are hurt and others respond, "Told you so!"

The week that Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and the Dallas police officers were killed, I felt an overwhelming desire to light candles, to gather with others and grieve. But I didn't. I felt somewhat uncertain about how to proceed, how to enter in to a collective mourning.

I think a lot of people feel this way. Or at least that's my assumption based on social media rants.

When I worked with college students in L.A., we visited worship centers for major religions every semester. I accompanied these trips half a dozen times, and one takeaway has always stayed with me. I was intrigued by the ways physicality was a player in so many of these services.

With the Buddhist monk, we sat on small cushions on the floor for the duration of his entire talk. (I was always inwardly very dramatic about my inability to sustain this posture.) There was genuflecting at Catholic mass, and I watched women in brightly colored clothes bow on their rugs at the Islamic center prayer service.  

I tried to find similar physical rituals in my own Christian tradition and couldn't land on any. Sure, we might raise our hands during a worship song or stand and sit when asked by the pastor. But overall, rituals do not seem to play a major role.

I see our lack of ritual emerge again when our country or our world experiences tragedy. There does not seem to be a collective outlets for grief and sorrow. So when left to our individuals devices, we turn to anger and hate.

Why? This quote from James Baldwin hit me square between the eyes: “I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.”

Who really likes dealing with pain? No one I know. So when we can avoid it, we do. And so we ignore grief and sadness and stay in our camps, clinging to hate and anger. It feels easier sometimes. But the pain is still there.

No doubt more tragedies will find their way to our doorsteps or to our news feeds. And while anger and outrage can certainly be justified, may we also pay attention to the pain and sorrow present in our hearts. May we allow ourselves to grieve together as one step on our way to healing.

The Ups and Downs of Raising Bilingual Kids

Someone recently commented on this post from January about goals for raising bilingual kids. Remember January? That magical time of year when we think we can do anything?

And now it's July, and I'm like, "Oh, are we still raising bilingual kids?"

In just over two weeks, my oldest will start kindergarten. Everyone is hyped. (Except Isaac because he already senses he is being left behind, and he promises me, "I can be 5!" I had to tell him it doesn't work like that.)

At her new school, she will take an hour a day of Mandarin Chinese. One hour a day! For the next nine years.

On the one hand, Billy and I are totally amazed and psyched at this unique, global education. On the other, we bemoan the eventuality that her Mandarin is going to bypass her Spanish. Suddenly, there's a twinge of failure in the air.

Do you ever feel like that in raising bilingual kids? Or parenting in general? Like this has not unfolded the way I expected. 

But then yesterday, I overheard Gabriella carry on an entire back and forth conversation with Billy in Spanish. It was simple and short. But it was coherent, and she was making the effort. And then I felt suddenly proud. It's never too late to learn a language, and apparently five is too early to throw in the towel.  

Probably every 6-8 months I write some version of this same post. Realizing for the gazillionth time how hard it is to cultivate the minority language in our kids' lives. Celebrating wildly the glimmers of hope and language success. And acknowledging once again that this is the long game - like most aspects of parenting - and we must recommit, refocus, and journey on. 

So last week when my daughter asked if she could watch her cartoons in English, I was like nope. Because we're revisiting our New Year's hopes and dreams, and if there's one we can definitely do it's watch TV in Spanish! 

In an effort to make watching Spanish TV even easier, I've put together a list of 101 Spanish Shows on Netflix. It includes cartoons, sitcoms, drams, and movies for all ages. You can get your copy of the list here.


Big cheers to all those raising bilingual kids or becoming multilingual themselves. It's a long game, but we can do it!

A Few of My Favorite Things {June 2016}

It's been a few months since I've shared some of my favorite things. We're at the beach this week, which is certainly something I'm into, so I thought I'd compile a June list of fun! I hope you find something you can enjoy as well (seriously, these apples...), and I'd love to hear some of your favorite things in the comments. Here we go!

An Apple A Day

They say it keeps the doctor away. They don't say the apples can't be slathered in almond butter, dotted with chocolate chips, and sprinkled with coconut! This is my latest obsession. The kids love it. I've decided it's a health food. Even if the Pinterest recipe calls for dark chocolate chips and unsweetened coconut (which I can't seem to find), and I'm taking liberties. It's practically like eating raw kale.  

Fizzy Delight 

Let's be honest. It was only a matter of time. If you've followed my "What I'm Into" posts over the last year or so, I've been inappropriately obsessed with sparkling water. To the point that people sometimes tag me on Instagram when they drink it. I really should be getting paid from these companies, right?

Anyway, Billy felt our "sparkling water budget" was getting a little much. So he bought a Soda Stream. Personally, I don't add any of the flavored syrup thingies. Just fruit. Lots of lemons and limes. A couple raspberries. It's a bit of a learning curve to get the carbonation just right, and I thought I was going to lose an eye or a hand the other day when I "overdid it" a bit. But I'm getting there!

Favorite Instagram

Because June has been all about Copa America. Also, I keep getting messages "we just saw your family on TV" thanks to Fox Sports 1 plucking this gem out of the interwebs to add to an Argentina highlights reel. Billy was certain this twist of fate would mean he'd get to meet Messi. So far, that has not happened...

A video posted by Sarah Quezada (@sarahquezada) on

Road Trippin' Reads

I've spent a lot of time in the car in June. Gabriella and I went on a "Girls Road Trip" to North Carolina to visit my dear high school friend and her sweet babies.

Then, we drove to Kentucky to frolic with family and check "Trampoline Park" off my bucket list. Which, by the way, was incredible! I thought I would be sore for days, but I wasn't at all. Only happy. After that, it was on to Chicago. Because Copa.  

All that driving means lots of Audible for me! (If you want to try it, click here and get two free books to get started!) I listened to I Let You Go, which is a suspense novel. There's definitely a surprising twist that shifts what you thought was happening throughout the book.

And now I'm in the middle of Enrique's Journey, thanks to many of you recommending it to me! It is the story of a teenage boy who travels from El Salvador to the U.S.. I thought I knew quite a bit about child migrants and some of the challenges they face. But the book has painted a much deeper and more nuanced portrait of a family than any news story has the time or space to capture.

It was written by a journalist and unpacks this real family's experience. It's not an easy book because of the subject matter, but it's been eye-opening and important for me to read.

Next on my list is Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes and Seeking Refuge to understand more about the global refugee crisis.

Favorite Posts

Here's some terrific articles I've read online this month:

When Charity is just a Band-Aid - I tend to feel rebellious when people refer to something as a "must-read." So I'm just going to say don't read this one at all.

#IAmAnImmigrant - This video highlights Immigrant Heritage Month and the challenges of mixed status families. I'm sad to report that the Supreme Court decided not to decide, which means DAPA stays frozen. 

A Unified Church Is Gospel Witness - Christena Cleveland writes, "In a society rife with racial conflict, US evangelicals are in a unique position to build cross-cultural bridges." I believe that's true, and I hope evangelicals step up.

Here's some things I wrote in June:

My Marriage to an Undocumented Immigrant - I shared some of our story on Christianity Today's Her.menuetics blog, as well as how the American Church is a mixed status family.

Seeking Shalom for the Immigrant - If you're into podcasts, I did an interview with Osheta Moore at Shalom in the City. She asks some great questions about immigration, and it was a joy to speak with her. 

2016 Multicultural Summer Reading List - I put together a free download of multicultural books for you to check out this summer! You can download the list here

As always, big shout out to Leigh Kramer for hosting this monthly link-up. I'd love to hear some of your favorite things from June!

A Life with Subtitles. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.