Thursday, May 28, 2009

Buy Coffee...Free Slaves.

A couple weeks ago, my hubby and I were blessed to be able to go hear about some horrendous facts and amazing deliverance stories about people enslaved. Not figuratively...Literally. You may remember when I posted about it here. You may not remember the number of slaves today...not 100 years ago...today. I'll remind you - over 27 million. I was and still am pretty blown away by what that we learned. The man that spoke was the executive of International Justice Ministry, which is a tremendous organization. If it makes you sad to think of children being in slave labor, or women being sold into prostitution, I would urge you to look into partnering with IJM.

However, whether or not you feel led to partner with IJM longterm, I bet you drink coffee...or know someone who does. In May only, Storyville Coffee is having a "Give It All Away in May" campaign, and they are giving all of their profit to International Justice Ministries. Not a tenth. Not a percentage....ALL of their profit this month alone will go to IJM. Maybe you could use it, or give it away, but this is the last week. Think about trying their coffee...and bringing freedom to the captives. But, hurry...there are only a couple days left in May!

Simply:

1. Go to www.storyville.com
2. Purchase coffee or home-brewing equipment.
3. 100% of your purchase price will be donated to IJM. Yes, every dollar of your purchase (including shipping) will be donated to IJM.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

"In Every Person, There is A Family."

We just returned from a great trip to see many wonderful people...some family, some friends, but all loved ones. This morning, while chatting over coffee, with one of these beautiful people, she was talking about how every morning she goes to get her coffee from a little farm store. She greets the employees by name, and even sometimes gets to listen in on their lives. We shared how much we love being a part of others lives, and then she simply said, "you know, in every person, there is a family." And in such a small statement, I felt like she had summed up what I love about knowing people.

Returning from seeing so many in our own family, old and young, and then seeing or meeting other people in other families, I couldn't be more inspired to continue being amazed at how God has made each one of us completely unique. Made to know Him, and made to know one another. We are all such gifts to each other. It makes me sad when silly things get in the way of seeing that. Things like, being too busy, or having too much drama, or being too hung up on all things that aren't right about the person or situation. I like being able to just be. And enjoy the "family" in each one of us.

So hopefully, coming back, I'll be able to enter into this summer a little more restful. Having seen much, and loved many, and hoping to continue on in that journey.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

For the Love of the Game...or Hunt

There are lots of things that I love about going to yard sales. The hustle and bustle of the no-nonsense early birds. The sleepy eyed 'good morning' that you get from the hosts. The wheelin and dealin to get the right price. The finds...oh, the finds that you can find. But I think my favorite thing is the way that I always feel like God reminds me that He knows what I need, down to the simplest of things. Sometimes I feel like He's been eavesdropping on my thoughts, and knows exactly what I was just thinking I needed. And then I remember, oh yeah, He already knows all of them!

Yesterday, I was separating an egg in my fingers for a cake that I was baking, and I thought to myself, I really need to get an egg separator. And I still use my mom's old cheese grater that really should be only kept as an antique because of all the rust on it. But I just never think of getting a cheese grater. Well, I found both of these handy gadgets today at a cute little Chinese woman's yard sale for the grand price of a $1 (for both).

We have all these mis-matched glasses, from different sets, that I love using, but we keep loosing them. My son happens to knock them off the table, or maybe I clank one too hard in the dishwasher, you know the deal. So, we've been down to just a couple, which gets kind of hard when you want to throw a dinner party. I haven't really thought of it much, but then this morning I found a whole set of the glass bubble tumblers, which I love! For $3. Yeah, new glasses!

Having people over is one of my favorite things to do...especially for special occasions or holidays. I went to one yard sale today, and I saw all of these beautiful silver plated antique serving dishes. I knew they would probably be asking a lot, because they're worth a lot. I remember seeing similar pieces on my grandmothers table for holiday dinners and always thinking it looked so fancy. I didn't see any prices on the pieces, so I simply asked the older lady what she was asking for them. She got excited just to talk with me about the pieces, especially when another little blue-haired lady walked up, and said, "Oh, that takes me back." I went to the car and got my checkbook and paid a big $20 for the five piece beautiful set. I can't wait for Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas, I've always loved those old vintage ornaments that are the gorgeous handmade glass of all different shapes and sizes, and all different colors. I was at one sale today, where a WHOLE BAG of them were in the "free pile". I even said, "Are you serious?"

My husband doesn't really get to play disc golf often. Ok, pretty much not at all. But the other day, he was getting the urge to go with all this nice weather we've been having. We happened upon a whole stack of discs for a $1. Now, at least he can play without worrying about losing his only one. Not that he would. haha.

On the way home, after all our shopping, my kids were happily playing with all their "new" toys -some of which were just freebies because of how cute and sweet they are...ummm...or maybe because it was almost 12 and people were getting ready to give the rest to good will - either way, they got loaded up with some fun things. My daughter said, "I love yard sales! You get new toys, and people give you stuff!" It was music to my ears.

*sorry for the lack of pictures...our camera was stolen, so for a while you'll just have to invision all the lovliness! ;)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bittersweet Celebration

As I sit here and type, I know that I'm taking a risk. I'm risking that I may not be able to take a shower in a minute, if the little ones wake up early. This is really my one break in the day, and I should be spending it taking care of myself, right? Well, right now, taking care of myself, is sitting down and typing for a bit.

On Sunday, I had a fabulous Mother's Day. I was able to unwrap (literally) gifts of blessings in my life. I was surprised by flowers picked by my beautiful daughter, hugs and kisses galore by my sweet son, a latte made and brought to me in bed by my handsome husband, and then...my actual gift. My brand new red Kitchen Aid stand mixer. Y'all...I cannot tell you how long I've wanted one. But I can tell you how long I used that stupid piece of crap hand mixer - 10 years!!! I guess it wasn't that big of a piece of crap if I used it for that long, but you know what I mean. It was $10, and it started smelling like the motor about 3 seconds after I had it on. So, anyway, you can imagine how excited I was about my gift.

The day went on, and I realized how much I love sharing life. Sharing life with my family. Sharing life with my friends. Sharing life with the Body of Christ. And then, I started to miss her. You know, the one who the day was really all about to begin with. I started to remember how much I loved sharing life with my mama. And how much she would love seeing me as a Mama. Giving her kisses. Using her petnames and phrases. Laughing her laugh. Making her recipes for my children, the same way she did for me. Even using a Kitchen Aid mixer, just like she did. And I just wish that I could pick up the phone and call her. Or see her smile one more time.

It's a bittersweet time for another reason, too. My sister's late husband would have turned 36 yesterday. THIRTY-SIX!!! At his funeral three years ago, one of the songs we sang was "Give Me Jesus". If you know the song, you know the chorus says, "You can have all this world, but give me Jesus." I have to tell you, there have been times that I have wondered if I truly believe that statement. It's easy to sing it when you have everything that you want and need. But, standing in the little white church, with tears rolling down her face, and three small boys all around her, I remember her singing, "You can have all this world, but give me Jesus." I also know that there have been times since that my sister has said, "No, you know, Lord, honestly, I'd rather have my husband. This is just too hard."

In our feeble understanding, we cannot fathom how great the next page of life is. We cannot begin to see how full of a life our loved ones who have gone on before us are truly living. I know in my head how wonderful heaven must be, but what is here is so much easier to be attached to.

So today, in honor of my brother in law, we will go pick strawberries. My sister always made him strawberry shortcake for his birthday, so it's become a tradition for us to go together now. To think of him, and to enjoy strawberry shortcake for him, even though I know the food he and our mom enjoys now is far superior to anything here. We will pick, and we will smile. We will eat, and we will cry. Because that's what this life is about. Being able to still enjoy the celebration, even when it's a bittersweet celebration.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow


Over the last couple weeks I've seen or heard horror stories of girls River's age cutting their hair. I've been so glad that I haven't had to deal with this incident myself, knowing how much I love my little girls long blonde hair. Even though I just got mine chopped, thanks to your good advice, I really love her long locks.

This morning I was excited to go to the Farmers Market for yummy goodies and fresh flowers. So, after an episode of Dora, I told River to go brush her hair to get ready to go. She was only in there about a minute, when I hear...

"Mommy, HELP!!!"

She walked out of the bathroom with a COMB - not a brush like I had asked - tangled and wound tightly all around and stuck in her hair. It was wadded up in a MASS. Finally after I asked several times in a mad voice how this had happened, she confessed that she had wrapped and wound and twisted several times around her hair to use similar to a curling iron. Only without having brushed it yet from bedtime. It was only a couple inches away from her scalp.

Well, Mommy could not help. Her patience were too rattled, and she only ended up pulling and hurting. So Mommy went to the Farmer's Market. Daddy tried to help, with excessive globs of conditioner and two hours of soaking. But still, no progress, even after Daddy broke the comb out of her hair.

Did I mention that we were supposed to be at a Mother Daughter tea party in a few hours...that we were hosting a table at?

I called my salon in a panic. They were booked. I called Great Clips, but then decided not to go that route this time. I called a cute salon for girls that I had seen many times in passing, but never gave much thought. The girl mentioned the situation to the owner, and the owner said, "Bring her in!" Meanwhile, I'm thinking, "Great, Happy Mother's Day to me!!" You know, making it all about me. And comforting my little girl who was clearly not as concerned as her Mommy was about all this.

After the stylist spent another hour of tearing and pulling and breaking combs, we decided to make the call.

This is what she cut out of her hair.


Need a closer look?


I mean, ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? The stylist said she had seen some bad tangles in her day, but nothing ever this bad. Great, that's what you want to hear.

So, after about another hour, and lots of clipping and curling...this is what we had.
River is excited to have short (and for the moment, curly) hair like Mommy's. Mommy knows that her long locks will grow back. And thinks that her little girl is completely gorgeous no matter how short her hair is.

And by tonight, we looked like this.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Storm Watching

Rain

The rain is raining all around,
It falls on field and tree,
It rains on the umbrellas here,
And on the ships at sea.
~Robert Louis Stevenson

Last night I awoke to loud claps of thunder and I knew despite my prayers for a sunny day today that we would have our share of rain today.   We have our end of year party this afternoon, and this year we decided to do something different.  Instead of having an inside pizza party, we decided to do an outside cookout - it's gonna be awesome...if this rain would go away.   And as much as I think of the rain as my struggle today, there are much bigger storms that I want to stand against.

I was watching some news last night, something I don't do very often.   And a man that was a tornado survivor said something about the storm that resounded with me.   He spoke of how the tornado didn't care if the people were rich or poor, mayor or beggar.    At the end of the storm, they were all left the same - houses ruined, land torn to pieces, stores destroyed, livestock killed.     Left with nothing.   They all had to start from scratch, and they all had to come together, to decide to rebuild their town.    Even though it was a task bigger than they could imagine, today they have a rebuilt city, that is more beautiful than anything they had before.

Sunday we were able to go to a service that was about slavery still existing today.    How over 27 million people are in bondage to slavery today - not 100 years ago - TODAY.    92% being women and children - and 50% being children.   Women like me...children like mine.    We learned horrendous truths about people being tricked into slavery and amazing stories of slaves being rescued out of bondage.     

The question that begins to be overwhelming is "what can I do about it?"    And the truth is, is that alone, we can not do very much.    But standing together, with Christ, we would be able to.    The church has got to find a way to come together, and stand against the injustices in this world.   We can no longer sit by and say, well, that happens, and it's awful, but there's nothing we can do about it.    

I love how Isaiah reminds us of this...

"The Lord has sent us to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, and release from darkness for the prisoners, and to comfort all who mourn."   Isa. 61:1-2

And this in Micah...
He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?

It is not an option of whether it is our call or not.   The Lord has clearly said, this is what I want!  This is what I require.    So, today I would challenge you to pray for those in bondage - whether they are high school girls in your own town, or children across the globe intrenched in evil against their will, would you join with me to be a part of this storm.   Would you offer up what you have to the Lord, and ask Him, to do something about this so present darkness?  About this dreadful storm.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

In Lieu of National Poetry Month

April was National Poetry Month.   I don't know that because my kids have projects to do at school, or because I'm such a great reader that I just happen to know those kind of things.    I know that only because of my friend.    And because her love for writing seeps into everything she does, and I love that.   

I never had a fun school librarian.   I never got excited about reading, unless it was with my family.    I don't have memories of ever celebrating reading at school events.     The only thing I remember about my elementary school librarian was that she owned a hot air balloon.  I guess that's why Kari's idea sounded so cool to me.    I was so excited about it, that I decided to read more poetry with my children this month.    

About a year ago, my grandmother asked me if River knew all her Mother Goose rhymes.    I thought to myself, "What???  Are you kidding me?  NO!!!"   But, I simply said, "She knows some of them, and loves to read them, but she doesn't know all of them."   I even felt kind of offended, like I hadn't been doing something that I obviously should have.    But something about what she said stood out to me.   I think that there is a part of life that used to be so simple, but with all our things to do and places to go, is lost.   Our weeks are spent going from party to party, and event to event.    We hardly ever just sit and read.     But this month we have opened our poetry books a little bit more, and we have even started learning The Swing together.    River can recite the first stanza already!   Now whenever we go swinging, it's what she wants to say.


I'm thankful for lots of things about my friend - her honesty, her sense of humor, her love for justice, just to name a few.  But this month she not only encouraged me to read more, and to teach my children a newfound love of poetry, she won the hearts of a lot of kids with reading and writing.   Not only that, but to actually use it to make a difference in this world.   Not a lot of people encourage you to do that.   Especially to a bunch of middle school kids to whom a lot of people are just a bunch of punks and gang bangers.     Now, these kids see themselves as readers...and maybe even...poets!    To hear how her celebration of National Poetry Month went, you can check this out.   It's pretty awesome.