I struggled with this week’s blog. Most weeks I know what I want to say and I say it. But some days, and with increasing frequency, there are many forces churning in me that are hard to “square up”. Perhaps this is just life or maybe it’s a mid-life, but…

I was in South Dakota this week for one of my favorite agriculture conferences of the year. I left there this morning feeling accomplished and thankful for my job, my board of directors and an industry that continues to inspire me. It’s no secret that I love what I do in my full-time profession.

Yet, I am tired. Because despite knowing I had to get up at 3:30 am for my flight, I couldn’t help but stay up past midnight and watch/read the news about what is happening on our border. I am horrified. And getting more so by the day.

I have always been hyper-empathetic and I wear my heart on my sleeve. I remember my mom telling me when I was very young, I think after I cried when I saw a homeless person for the first time, that she could tell I would be a bleeding heart. She didn’t mean it as a political statement though some would say that about me as well.

This “condition” has not always served me well. I am emotional at times. At times I have let emotion get the best of me, including in my professional life. Including on social media. I have been coached about this from people I respect and who I know want to see me succeed. And I think most days I put myself in check when I feel passionately about something or when people piss me off.

Well, my emotions are getting the best of me when it comes to what is happening on our border. I have had a visceral reaction to what is happening to these children. It’s getting the best of me because I know it’s not the first time we have done this as Americans and because I know history repeats itself… yet here we are. It’s gotten the best of me because many people I know and love have had their own children ripped away from them due to their involvement with our justice system. And I know the lasting, traumatic effect this has on human beings. Especially children. It’s gotten the best of me because the Hispanic women my mom “spent time” with in south Texas with took care of her and each other – it is their culture. Family is everything. It’s gotten the best of me because in my work and personal travel I have spent time in many countries south of our border and I love their people. And they have treated us like family.

I do not write this for political reasons. I do not write this for sympathy. And I hope you know I am not weak. But only to say that I struggle with knowing which of my worlds I should operate in some days. I struggle with balancing how much time I spend with my daughter versus time trying to make her world and her future family’s world a little bit better. I struggle with knowing I have privilege in my life and whether or not I am using it for good. I struggle with the idea that one person can make very little difference but also knowing the courage of one person can be all it takes.

(Note: Since I wrote this three hours ago on Wednesday morning, it would appear our president and congress are trying to work on a solution. While I pray it will relieve the suffering, this was a problem 100% created by our current administration. And it will not reverse the trauma already inflicted and the harsh reality is that some of these kids will NEVER see their parents again.)

With Gratitude and Hope for the Future,


Founder, Ava’s Grace Scholarship Program
Mom – CEO – Justice Warrior

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