Usually about this time of year, I am searching the racks of discount stores – for dresses on clearance for the little girls in the village.
As much as it is joyful to bring Christmas gifts around the world – it isn’t a replacement for having Christmas for yourself – and your loved ones around you.
Sometimes joy hides in that happy conspiritorial grin underneath a solemn face as you knock on a door to give a fresh jar of homemade oven-roasted salsa from your own garden, or to leave a still-warm bowl of homemade soup in the fridge before a tired friend wanders home –
-their little dog joyfully lapping up the bacon to be sprinkled on top.
Christmas was meant to be felt around the world – in all of the places that your soul finds good company, all of those small corners and nooks where where gift-giving and meal-sharing matters.
This year, I walked to the discount store,only to pass by the dresses on the racks, only to get a heavy heart by the boy’s clothing – and breaking down to buy the matching Christmas sweaters for myself and my son.
I haven’t been able to spend Christmas with my son for three years.
I haven’t been able to put up our beloved Christmas tree – for almost the same.
I haven’t been able to pull a warm cookie sheet out of the oven, nor smell the sugary icing or play our Christmas carols loud or listen to the sound of my son’s warm socks slide across the warm, smooth wooden floors – for too long now.
There hasn’t been enough mercy for Christmas, but I am ever praying and seeking it’s presence, and seeking hope in each of the small gestures that are meaning more and more to me these days –
– praying for the notes and words that must have been attached to the spiritual chocolate or wine of life.
This year, I would guess that I’ve filled out 8-10 w-2s attempting to work for different companies.
For most of them, I was hired immediately, but lost all positions within about 2-3 months – as there seems to be a movement in a certain geographical location to keep women, especially single-mothers, out of housing – and jobs.
As a missionary-minded young adult, I followed the college degrees that would help me be a good social service representative. I have studied graduate level psychology, I’m multi-lingual, I’ve studied accounting, the bible, human rights, international relations – marketing, art and even medicine – and I hold a ten-year college degree in leadership. What made the cost of the degree relational to the benefits of professional training was that if one could hold the same position for more than ten years at a social-service organization – many if not most of their student loans could be forgiven – and it helped to show that one worked multiple jobs in order to make ends meet during those ten years.
What they didn’t teach me in school was worse than all of the little lessons I learned along the way. As hate groups cracked their knuckles at our very public goodwill PR and burned a cross on my college campus, I worked very hard, two jobs and more at a time, between car-wrecks and lawsuits – to complete my college degree while also responsible for a household full of growing children.
As a girl, they charged me the same amount of tuition, knowing that there were not going to be the same income opportunities for me when I graduated – perhaps even knowingly less because of some of the cards that they hid beneath the tables of giving me a very public degree. They publicized my studies but did not offer any compensation for the threat they knew accompanied the degree.
It was easy enough to work that hard – mentally, emotionally, even physically – for them, to make their lives better and their days more joyful – but it is almost impossible to find the will or the reasonability in trying to work equally hard – without them. Especially not to solve problems that were never a result of my causing – when one’s efforts for friendship and peace and well-being were stronger than one needed to be in order to help more people than any reasonable person should be expected to help.
My mother received phone messages that made her cry. They told her that even if her ‘mentally unstable’ daughter was able to graduate with a degree, they would never allow her to work a job.
Homelessness was never something that I wanted, and that was why I put so much work into a ten-year-long journey of a college degree. I wanted to do the justice and work that needed to be done in the world, socially, culturally and professionally.
Predatory loans are a real thing, and those who work for civil change are even more succeptible to the dangers. If one is constantly getting hired for good-paying positions, yet continues to lose their jobs at suggestions of ‘self-betterment’ it takes every bit of confidence and prayer to keep trying to find a way to be self-sufficent despite all of the steps accomplished – none of them ever being easy.
It may not be this way – but I imagine a fat bad Santa ‘Clause’ waiting for an opportunity for us to cross his desk, so that he can say yes to the giver – only to keep it for himself. Yes! We love to support children, we’ll accept your check on their behalf – only to use discretion to not give the amount over to the struggling company because they ‘found a new way to help’ or just suggesting back to the donors that the girl who ran it was ‘unqualified’ or dare mention ‘three-counts’ in hushed tones, or say that the condition for her to receive the funding was the ‘therapy’ she refused. Only then to be told that others tried to find out why this was happening, an were asked how could I possibly know who this person was? That I must surely have a mental disorder and then boast to have studied psychology. If he did, surely it’s outdated and without, but still subjectable to a HIPPA clause – at the very least. A good portion of our lawyer’s retainer is sitting right here, probably accompanied at the threat of a third police report for solicitation should we dare send a Christmas card to that same address in the attempt of negotiation – and the pretty gold handpainted lining on the envelope also being subject to a report of ‘suspicious activities’ wearing out your police officer’s budget for justice as they follow me around on foot from store to store in their nice warm jeeps, and nightmares of private detectives trying to figure out where this suspicious painting was done – in hopes of our first property damage lawsuit – which they just keep failing to make work in court, despite repeated attempts.
Work is a natural subsequent action of a college degree, for someone doesn’t spend ten years struggling in those conditions for the permission to earn something that they would never be able to use – and so it was for years I enjoyed my positions and took them seriously on a lesser salary and supplementing the income with other jobs that I enjoyed while also becoming confused at the closing opportunities once holding higher credentials.
That said, in the past three years, I do have to wonder what it is – that I have been working so hard – for?
There has been so much damage to our property and homes that it is difficult to want to slave away again to try to make ends meet. There are ways that God could bless my efforts as to help me to achieve even more purpose, but I do not believe that after those experiences of what the power of goodness is, that I could ever find a way to be satisfied with less purpose. As the executive director of a small company, I had three cars. One was hit in a hit-and-run. One was broken into and disappeared, and the third was recently collected from a service center where I had it towed weeks after another hit-and-run, which I am guessing is what cracked the coolant tank, causing the engine to fail.
When one holds the title for three cars – they don’t exactly expect to have to walk to the discount store.
I try to think of how many hours I would have to work at our current rate of nearly zero in order to try to resolve any of that damage – and I realize that I can’t.
I try to imagine how many hours it would take a lawyer in a nice, clean, dry office building to return all of that damage to us – and I imagine the effort wouldn’t be so difficult on the aging face, the aching feet, or the sometimes hungry belly – and I wonder why it is that I would have to pay a lawyer at all – for the effort – if we truly lived in a just society.
At the time that we decided to move from our first home, there was a bacteria that could kill my son in the pool, and a jeering manager joking that my son would be wise not to swim right before that. The phone call from the doctors at the hospital told me that my son would likely be dead within hours unless I brought him into the ER, and the management of the county refused to confirm the lab results for the pool – claiming that I did not have the right to see the paperwork because it was under investigation.
I kept my son close to me that evening, and I probably even cried, and made sure he did not cough or spike temperature – knowing that we would also be blamed for the hospital bill which would surely require isolation and extra security and cost as much as an entire house or a car if we walked through the door – even soley on preventatives.
After several security incidents in our luxury apartment home – which we needed at the time for his illness and included our own washer and dryer- we were charged a bill of nearly $4,000 for doing so, after yet another clause was denied on our rental contract from an agreement we had made with the manager before. They charged the rest of the lease as suggested property damages, which made it very difficult for us to find our next home.
“Why are you afraid to sue?” Asked one lawyer from another state. “That’s the only way you are going to make them stop.”
Still, I managed to find us good housing, until another break in occurred and no one could talk to us because of the ‘investigation’.
They did the same thing to me at college after my arrest, and the head of student’s affairs got involved. “Just ask your parent’s for the money. Or – don’t they love you?” He was sneering.
“My parent’s love me, but they have their own priorities. This is my company, and my degree.” I told him back. Upset that the police still had my car in their possession, needlessly, claiming I had not parked it right when they arrested me.
I couldn’t understand why it was that they would try to charge me hundreds of dollars to get my own property back – when it was mine – bought and paid for. Now I understand that the term is ‘civil forfeiture’ and that I’ve been overcharged and overworked for waay too long.
What made sense to me were the struggles that I went through.
“They aren’t going to let you work a job.” Confirmed another professor, angrily.
I didn’t know who ‘they’ were.
It didn’t seem right to try to study so hard, and be told that a ‘they’ would never allow me to work a job – or deny consistently all of the comforts and the lifestyle that a job a degree of that level could provide.
What didn’t make sense to me were the odd mercies.
Why didn’t they stop donating when I was arrested? Why did they continue to help me to go to school in spite of all of the civil problems and crimes? How was it that the banks – not just one – but many – were able to keep and protect our accounts for years and years – despite all manner of incidents. Why were they letting me share about our work on national radio, on television, in schools – and in churches?
The good has always been hidden from me.
That said, like a good bar of chocolate, I pray that it finds me.
There is one kind of work – which is paid. Where one reports to complete a responsibility and is compensated for the action. There is another kind of work – which isn’t always compensated – but still needs to be done. It’s the kind of jobs that you don’t even know you need or to notice or to be grateful for – when such opportunities arise. For example, the world may be counting out the costs of sending an army, but you find that a few little peacekeepers have been at work trying to negotiate the same injustices for years. Most problems can be solved quite peacefully – with a bit more food – and some medicine. Oh – and by the way – the medicine shouldn’t cost as much as it does because…
Trying to make my way through school, I worked for a children’s organization as a biligunal representative, I worked in customer service at Dillards, I worked for years at a restaurant – but as soon as I got that threat, I lost that job.
It may look like the solution to most that if you need car repairs, a home, and utilities – that someone would tell you to work a job.
I can’t tell you how hard I’ve worked, or how little I had to show for it – and how much harm has consistently come to that little.
If you make $2 a day and someone is trying to steal $80 in the same 24 hours – yet someone could file a class action lawsuit – or just a simple one – and be paid back for the harm they’ve caused – if a 21 year old is capable of bringing in $30,000 a year and didn’t get stupider or more uneducated – ten years later is trying to keep a storage office on foot, feeding her hungry soul with candles and chocolate, and praying daily for the safety of her son and her children and friends and for work – it doesn’t make sense to think she can pay a lawyer $7000 in the next thirty years – but they could probably make twice that in less than 30 days by taking up two of the cases for the large ticket items that she did buy and pay for.
It isn’t reasonable to think that she will have a home, and get her son back before any of this happens. It’s quite the opposite.
Isn’t that why we have lawyers?
Isn’t that why we have civil rights protections?
If she didn’t go to school and graduate, you could suggest that she didn’t have the aptitude.
But after a ten-year-commitment, you couldn’t argue instability, nor that she did not know how to pay – nor that she knew how to negotiate, eat healthy, and keep a reasonable and functional lifestyle.
“I can’t call her!” Cried an angry mentor into the women’s center she dragged another girl into.
“Let me guess,” I watched the social worker think about the girl’s situation and turn back against the mentor -, “she never has talk-time, the companies always take advantage of her and charge her fees relentlessly.”
The mentor looked momentarily taken aback. Yes, that was exactly the problem.
“That’s because if she could call for help, she’d probably get it. It’s not her fault they won’t let her.”
I looked at the $900 utility bill, not understanding why it was so high – when I didn’t even have a television. A donor called me angry and offered to take care of our utilities through the holidays for us. I tried to encourage her to take other actions, but she wanted to take care of our rent and utilities through the holidays to make sure that we kept our stable home. The rentals had already been paid through our savings, but I needed to call and negotiate the utilities because that amount just couldn’t be right, even with late fees that was too much.
As I was sadly moving out, and watching our life go into cardboard boxes, and I watched one of the movers throw my bible across the room – around the same time that a policeman stormed in –
I wondered if our lives would get any better.
For at least three years, it didn’t.
“Get that keyboard out of your truck.” I ordered the mover I had hired. “It belongs to my son.”
“Fine.” He shrugged. Later when they were moving under police supervision I watched him put a rock by the back window.
The police couldn’t charge them for stealing until they stole, and the bible wasn’t worth a small claim.
Or was it?
If we put a property lien on your office,we can just take the value of whatever is left.
The surveyor looks in the window of the storage office.
“You can’t steal our keyboard because they are stealing from us. It’s too much for my soul to bear. It’s like stealing our hopes, and all of those things we worked hard together for.” Is what I can’t say to them.
I’ve begun to not like second-hand stores, or rummage sales as much in this county.
They are galleries to everything that hard-working single women and minority families earned through greater efforts, that were forfeitured on sad days, and purchased for pennies by the less needy.
So much so that the moments when people spout off how beautiful their rummage furniture is, and how little they paid for it – makes me feel sick to my stomach.
Where are our shelves? Where is the bed? Where are the books, and the plates, and the silverware? The pots, and pans and dishes? The spices?
Sometimes in those moments before you wake up on a floor, you think about getting dressed. You may remember the exact drawer your sweaters are in – you may be able to remember which basket the soap is in, or where the light switch is. How many times a day do you reference the lines of your favorite books, and wish to pull them off the shelf to get the words exactly right? How many times do you look at grocery store shelves, and see the foods that require an oven and think of how nice it would be to smell that cooking today?
More importantly – where are our people? Where are our ‘each-other’s?
And why can’t every waking, working hour that’s been done over the last three years sponsor a close conversation, a cup of coffee, a safe place to cry without being analyzed, or a soft kiss on the cheek? A plane ticket to freedom? Or a ride to a grocery store? Or a seat at a table with people gathered together for a meal?
So this year, I wasn’t able to go shopping for the dresses in discount stores.
My mind is only full of the full-bottom lips of hungry little babies scattered into random places for the sole benefit of food, chased from their classrooms and uniforms, with big, heavy tears ready to fall from their eyelashes that have already seen their dollies and bedspreads and tutus and shoes and books disappear,
– wanting to know where their mommy is for this Christmas?
And why didn’t she call us today?
And why didn’t she sing to us like she usually does, to make us feel all better?
How many sad little self-soothing Christmas carols are being sung back to themselves on these cold winter nights,
-while we pray for a return to the arms of justice, and each other?
Yes, New Years is coming, and Thanksgiving has already passed us by – but we are still in need of a Christmas this year.
Christmas is when people come together to celebrate the hope and possibilities of the world’s vulnerable children bring to the world.
Sending out wishes for your chocolates, your coffees, your warm cups of hot cocoa will reach your hands – right along with comforting hugs, soft kisses and the general good feelings and comforts which make you fee
l like Christmas this year – and that the holiday doesn’t find you alone without much to feel grateful for. I turned down a video interview opportunity to be broadcasted at our church this year on the basis of gratitude, because I wanted to be grateful on a year that we were really grateful, not seeking gratitude as a way to give compliments to the lesser-moraled sources of the world.
God loves gratitude – I should think, especially more – when it’s real.
This is what a miserable mother is praying for from an attic for Christmas. It doesn’t seem like much to those who have never wished so much for it, nor is it to minimalize the value or kindness of the efforts of those who have tried. Children is too big of a place to fill in the hearts of the mothers they cry out to, and friendships and family are needed for every mother who bears the responsibility for the lives of other human beings – whether they work a full-time job, or struggle to find one. The burden is less when there is a job to work than it is when there is only the space and struggle that a paying position could fill and bring. Ready for a coffee break.
Did you know that it gets cold – almost everywhere in the world – that is habitable for human life?
All people – babies, children, young adults, mature adults – and the aging –
-are all suceptible to environmental conditions – like – the cold.
Even in the sub-tropics, fierce winds or dampness can push the felt temperature down to an unsustainable point for many to operate normally without some form of provision or protection.
The rainy season in Africa brings shivers, wet eyebrows, and eyelashes on the soft heads of babes – and environmental teardrops on the shoulders of the aged and elderly.
The monsoon season in Southeast Asia infects the feet of bare-footed children walking through puddles.
The communities of the Northern Hemispheres above the ‘poverty line’ can’t imagine a life without warm clothes suited for every limb and extremity.
“The little ones in the village are shivering.” Suggested an elder, as I was traveling abroad from the village.
It was between spring and summertime stateside, but in our village, sometimes the temperature drops down to forty degrees – especially at night – which is unbearable for the exposed skin of the hungry children in the village.
Cold is felt more – by those who are anemic. The B-Vitamins and red blood cells that help a human being regulate their body temperatureare missing from their diets, so when they are cold, they also begin to have hormonal, metabolic, and immune system issues – simply from not being – covered.
In a location where more than 60% of the children are stunted in growth due to malnutrition – the simple ability to be warm-and-dry – matters.
So, we set out to find a new way to keep those adorable little village children -warm and toasty.
We did not have a budget to clothe them all – but we found a new recipe – that could help.
You may think I’m kidding. I’m not.
The children in many once-British colonies are used to drinking tea several times a day.
What was our nutritional experiment?
We tried as best as we could against our ever dwindling budget to replace a few of those cups of tea with homemade hot chocolate. Cocoa powder is common in many stores for travelers – and contains more iron and B-Vitamins than most teas.
Drinking a large, steaming cup of hot cocoa is similar to consuming a small serving of red meat – of which there is always a disparity for the poor.
When dealing with a malnourished village -iron pills are expensive, difficult to import – and easy to miscalculate — especially the dosages for malnourished children – even more so for the children suffering from starvation syndromes like marasmus and kwashiorkor.
Even if you give a child a multi-vitamin, they will often eat in the first time, and refuse it the next for the belly-ache that follows – even after proper dosage-ing under the care of a physician – they cry and won’t take them again. The only exception being gummy vitamins. They love the gummy vitamins – but if you knew how smart street children are – you’d realize those are not the safest option – one of the highest causes of child-death is iron poisoning from overdosing on vitamins. In the case that a child were able to get ahold of a tub – you’d have a problem.
However, a regular dose of chocolate can help keep the children warm and address some of those deficiencies – from the inside out. So that they might be able to endure colder conditions – with a better internally nourished physical response.
Most of the world’s chocolate is produced from trees in Africa – yet it is not a common flavor in nearby areas – the result being a steady supply of raw cocoa – but a lack of usage of this natural resource for the nourishment of village children.
The children’s eyes and smiles light up as they wrap their hands around a steaming cup of simple ingredients – meant to comfort – and nourish them.
So the next time you are cold, warm up with one of these cold-seasonal yummy hot cocoa recipes – and other comforting warm drink recipes – and remember the children in the village.
Perhaps we will write about another seasonal flavor – cranberries – soon.
Tip: If you are really cold and miserable – in a damp environment – consider a shot of whiskey. Whiskey helps to oxygenate your vital organs – and is anti-bacterial.
Whiskey is a known rudimentary, non-prescription treatment for asthma – and is a good substitute in the case of not having a doctor or prescription available. It’s economical, is medically effective in small amounts – and can be found in almost every large city around the world – and in some cases – can help heal respiratory infections in the absence of an antibiotic.
Due to spending time in villages, and experiencing malnutrition at times myself, as well as being asthmatic, having an over-the-counter substitute has helped me fight off asthma attacks.
I don’t know about you – but I am oh, so ready and hopeful, and prayerful – for chocolate.
Chocolate is fun to play with in the kitchen. Check out this Chocolate Roll Recipe by Gimme Some Oven:
Have some great chocolate – or hot cocoa stories you’d like to share? Wishing you could curl up together right now and enjoy a cup of hot, hot chocolate – and a warm blanket and movie? Has someone shared a good cup of hot cocoa with you? Share with us:
Welcome to Pinteresting Against Poverty. Share our posts with your friends! Learn more about our work and our village by watching the video below:
I can remember stepping into a mud brick building.
They called the space — the kitchen.
There was a boiling cauldron in the room filled with smoke and coals,
— and pieces of ash flying around as if it were Armageddon.
The cook was trying to boil enough meal to feed thousands of people.
The boat oar swirled with great effort into the big iron pot —
–which once prepared, would be sloshed into bowls where students would line up by the hundreds, before breaking down into groups of three or four, around every prepared bowl,
— to eat the gruel — with their fingers.
The cook knew the students could not survive only on meal alone — they needed nutrition.
So they would pull cabbage from the field, and chop it up, adding it as a relish to the mix.
It seemed they didn’t have enough.
Nobody seemed to notice.
Village schools know that children who worry about where their next meal is coming from — are not able to focus as easily on absorbing the lessons from their academic studies.
To address this, the headmaster created a plan to address the hunger of his students. The students at different grade levels alternated one day a week each to work in the fields which produced the food that maintained them in their studies. Meals like this cabbage soup recipe make a big difference in small villages.
The process seemed to work. The students were better nourished than the children who did not participate in the fields, or have access to the program.
The short tender cabbage roots need only a little soil to be able to produce a decent volume of food, which means — they could even be produced on the rooftops of inner city schools with minimal efforts — and can grow in the hot tropics or even the mild winters with only a bit of environmental adjustments.
What if every elementary school in more developed nations planned a four-hour nutritional production course and field into their curriculum?
Surely — it wouldn’t cost as much to keep them nourished, with all of the efforts and hands involved. From the spirit of Oliver Twist, may every orphan and student whose stomach growls be able to enjoy a second bowl of comforting nutrition.
Learn how to make this delicious meal and more with your own Instant Pot!
We hope that the next time you eat cabbage, you remember the children in the fields.
Have a comment or story to share? Leave a message below.
Every year, I set out to make these Christmas cards, which are meant to be a blessing to our donors and supporters.
The cards are meant to be a gift that shares about our progress, and the needs of the children in our village.
A year’s worth of images flash past my mind’s eye each season progressively as I work on them; tired mothers with health problems and sickly little malnourished babies wriggling in their arms, to the random little orphans from baby eyes that engage to slightly older children that don’t respond to the sound of their names anymore when you call them out, to the boisterous school-children who are so proud of their uniforms, and twirl like little princes and princesses around and around in their beloved little uniforms and shoes, and the frowns and tears of the little ones that didn’t get picked for scholarships that they deserved this year. It’s hard to get that all of those visions and experiences to fit into a Christmas card – but we try.
We work to show the joy that their contributions have given, but still help the receivers to understand how delicate and fragile our operations really are. Within 24 hours of little to no funding, all of those beautiful moments are changed into rooms full of hungry, desperate people. Happy baby coos and grins turn into tears, smiles into frowns, and pretty little tutus, stuffed animals and books on the shelves turn from being joyful gifts – into secondhand values in exchange for food.
We want our greetings to be warm and connecting, and gentle — and it is hard to find the right combination between what we are doing, and what we could do — with a little bit more help.
From simple socks, to more complicated school shoes. For school tuition, and uniforms. For groceries, and backpacks – and extracurricular activities like music classes and art lessons, and baking projects. It’s hard to explain to someone who has never been there – how much those simple therapeutic activities help them to heal.
How do we connect people with their abilities to the needs of the people they could truly save? How do we teach them that they have so much power? That their help makes such a difference in whether a child lives, a child has joy, or suffers? How do we tell them what it is like to plan the burial of a child who would have been sitting at your dinner table every night with a little more help.
For about a week during our Christmas-card season, I become a bit heavy with needs – and take on the persona of a mixture of Ann Hathaway and Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada – through the production of our most important magazine – which just happens to be our Christmas cards.
So much information and experiences have to be “processed” in order to somehow convert our hopes into a visual format that fits on the image spaces of an 81/2 by 11 folded in half – or smaller than that in years when we don’t have enough funding.
It would be a hard job for a publisher — negative the emotional pressure of meeting the needs of children that you love in a really harsh world.
On a good year, I’m that girl – the one that managed to get the copy of Harry Potter before it was published – because that’s about how difficult it is to jump through all of the bureaucracy and hoops that it takes to put food into the hands of the world’s most needy, I managed printing, I managed international trips, and I tuck them in at night with teddy bears – and somehow turn their childhoods into something simple and beautiful again.
I know the difference that can be made saves lives. And it is so miserable to be on the end that has to decide against helping someone who desperately needs it, because pennies are too much that day.
Many of the items that will be purchased and given this Christmas season in developed nations were produced by offshore slave labor. We encourage you to look at your favorite gift – and learn about the people who made it this year. We encourage you to research your favorite companies – and ask if they have a way to give back to their employees. If their average employee sleeps in a bed, if their children go to school, if they eat three meals a day, do they have access to basic healthcare? It does not help any company to boycott their products – but it does help to be the voice that asks the questions that give them the encouragement to do the right thing, against profit margins. You don’t need more – you just need the right things.
Are malnourished children exporting your favorite fruits and flavors for the holiday season? From the poor children in Chile that pick your plums, to the cranberry gifts of the indians to the Pilgrims – there is hope in human rights as soon as one recognizes and addresses each small injustice.
I believe that there is a spiritual reason why Lincoln is on the penny – the smallest valued coin of American currency.
There was once a time when people thought that society could not survive in comfort without slaves. It took many nations several hundred years – and many generations – and education – to convince governments and leadership – that a better way exists.
I pray that this Christmas season, every time you hear a bell ring, you remember children’s rights and children’s labor – and do something to make a difference for their well-being – even if it is as simple as just sharing one of our posts.
In conditions and nations where those laws don’t exist, you find a lot of orphans – because the working conditions of the people are not fit for survival, and vulnerable children who don’t have someone to protect them are the ones most at risk for slavery. So your next question could be – are the rights of the vulnerable recognized? Do they have a way to go to school? Do they have a safe place to go, and to grow – and be educated to be people who can give back to their communities…
Lincoln would have believed in the well-being of these children, too.
…and at Energy of Hope – that’s what you help us do.
You are rescuing the children who are facing a lifetime of injustices, and giving them the protection and the education and the life that honors the original little baby – who was laid in a manger.
Once you help them, their possibilities are endless.
Here is one of the songs that I wish you would include in your own Christmas soundtrack. This song is a Christmas carol that was written during the civil war – and as we currently battle against civil injustices of poverty, slavery, and violations of human rights daily – this is one of the songs of our 2017 Christmas Season soundtrack.
The lyrics of the song were slightly adapted from a poem entitled ‘Christmas Bells” written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1863, during the Civil War – which were later set to music.
I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
and wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”
The children in the village love cookies. Please consider picking up a cookie recipe for your Christmas traditions to remember children’s rights every year. Get your children and grandchildren or students involved – so that future generations will also recognize and respond to the eradication of offshore slavery of their peers of many nations.
As the weather is getting colder, we are going to try to share a few more healing posts – to compliment your healthcare this winter season. Please enjoy this updated post on carrots – with more recipes for you to enjoy – and stay warm out there! More updates coming soon. I am so busy working on cards this year.
One of our little children was sick in the village.
Their childhood illness was wrapped up in an additional problem — the child was also severely malnourished.
A cold, a flu, a cut — it doesn’t matter what kind of ailment a child faces —
— when they are malnourished — the effects are worse.
In a place where there is not enough healthcare — these conditions put a higher burden on responsible adults —
In addition to the stresses of tending a sick child, with few resources, and the possible spread of the illness to themselves due to lack of clean water — there are not always enough beds in hospitals if the child’s fever spikes.
— there may not be enough vehicles to rent one if you need to try to reach a professional.
That means — swollen little eyelids and dry little lips are your business — to moisturize, to comfort — to soothe —
Each tear that falls is a drop of liquid that isn’t in their bodies that you might not know how to replace.
What do you do, when they are this sick?
One of the village doctors, has a solution.
The children hate it — but it works.
In the lines of the sick and afflicted — the doctor calls those who are suffering from certain symptoms — giving the influenza-affected, cold-affected, incontinence-affected children —
Vitamin A is actually cutting edge medicine — providing an economical new solution to measles and other childhood diseases. If immunizations are not present or available, Vitamin A is a second-line defense which helps the children fight the epidemic once infected with their own natural systems.
Still, for someone who still has to hold and rock the sick little babies — who hate those pokey- needles —
I had to wonder — for the love of God —
— could someone just try planting some freaking carrots around here?
One of the benefits in education of living in areas that have food insecurities — is you learn what each food has to offer by the diseases and effects the deficiencies have on human bodies, when certain vitamins and minerals are lacking in the diet.
I was so tired on my feet, that nice food didn’t seem possible.
“Cómetelo.” complained a friend, looking at my soup bowl.
It was filled with small fresh shrimp, in a red chipotle-ish flavored broth.
We were sitting outside near a beach and a small village with traditional indian music –
-not where we thought we’d be.
After a car accident, we ended up in a different town,
-and exhausted, we found a hotel,
-the only one available being a very expensive vacation resort.
-that was still serving it’s customers, on the beach, under the stars-
-fresh fish and soup.
After all of the confusion and the police, we had remained awake for nearly two days,
-and after a Costco hotdog that I was afraid to eat in a police station,
-after learning how poverty affects even up to the road signs, emergency responses, and legal systems in developing nations,
I was starved, hungry, exhausted, hurting, and it felt like no amount of food could fill me up.
Yet, this steaming bowl, was full of protein.
And daring, I dipped my spoon into it and tasted the broth.
All of a sudden, fireworks erupted over the water – and the same thing kind of happened – in my mouth.
There was a burst of fresh flavor like no other.
A small group was celebrating a wedding reception by the waterside.
The stars over the ocean waves were glimmering,
-and I realized how lucky I was – to be alive.
And mostly un-injured.
It was one of the best soups I’ve ever had in my life – full of flavor that I never learned how to replicate – but have a feeling some of these recipes might come very close.
I thought that I didn’t really like shrimp, until I dared to taste it in a village. My driving companion insisted all of the resorts chose the best recipes directly from the people who lived in the poverty and the streets.
“You’ll have to look around again.” Said a business executive, that had encouraged my schooling there.
“There are countries where the people are suffering, and poor. And there are countries where the people are happy. Few starve here.”
It wasn’t possible to think of anyone starving – in an established seaside village.
Everyone knew how to eat there.
I wish I could share that same bowl of soup and pepper-s with more people around-the-world today.
This warm bowl of comforting soup is very similar to the one I tried in the village resort, and shares a lot of the same ingredients, and flavors. Click below for the recipe.
Love comforting soups? Have a good shrimp story? Feel free to leave us a comment, today!
Tourists come to visit – and never know what kind of life or personalities exist beyond the safely-marked roads — or what kind of poverty exists there.
That said, amongst the poverty – there is also abundance.
If you can make it past the hippos and the crocodiles — you can eat the fish.
The girls will refuse to throw lines and dread the canoes, fearing the water’s edge for the aggressive animals that find their home there, just beyond the large crops of fresh sugar cane that poke their reeds shyly out of the river bed.
Even the boys will hesitate — for it is dangerous.
But the men – will smile – and whistle. Fishing isn’t for just anybody. There’s a reason why they are brave.
The men, and older boys will make their own fishing lines, and sometimes climb into a canoe that perhaps they’ve even made — themselves.
Once, we filled an entire canoe with village children – it is not easy to keep the vessel from tipping without extreme and concentrated balancing effort.
Women wait at the water’s edge — or buy from the more corporate fishers, a bulk amount at a cheaper rate —
– and then women and girls will wander through the hills with the dead fish balanced on hats that look like sombreros —
-or they stack them up on blankets in rows on the ground in the markets –
-shouting out their fresh food for the day.
Fish provides great amounts of protein and vitamins for the children in the village, so long as the people are allowed to be near the water’s edge.
Without refrigeration, some types of fish can be dried and stored for long amounts of time, although the smell is not not the most friendly, they are safe to eat.
It is important to have clean water sources for healthy fish. Pollution anywhere, such as in factory-condensed areas – have effects on all of the wildlife – and the people – who live in the nearby environments.
Fish ponds rarely work for extended amounts of time without a budget set aside to repair the pumps when they fail. Rivers and large bodies of water are much more dependable, but often, the poor are not allowed to be on those properties. Some suggest that they bother the tourists, and others – the landscape. Owners of large areas of property frown on gleaners and are known to burn the gardens and crops of widows and orphans that try to plant there.
It is important that people have the right to fish, and licenses and regulations help ensure that all have an equal opportunity to natural resources.
We hope that you enjoy fish, and pick up a few fish recipes today to share – and when you do, you remember the children in the village.
Each post is designed to give our readers a different vision of world poverty in each 30-second narrative. Subscribe today!
One of the first things that I noticed about children in poverty-stricken villages…
— despite the hunger which was so evident in most of them,
Was how fun… how delightful, it is…
to feedthose little bellies.
A family member bought a cookie decorating kit, hoping I could take it to the children in the village. I somehow managed to bring all the way across the world, through ALL of the international checkpoints – due to the fact that it had all dry ingredients – no liquids. That was when I discovered how much village kids liked – cookies.
I woke early one morning, and headed to the center where we do our work with children, just as the sun was rising. I took full advantage of the few moments of holy silence, before the children arrived, and made my way around the table and desk, setting out the ingredients from the boxed package for the children to decorate cookies as they walked through the arch in the clean walls.
The first little girl walked in the sunlit room. An eight –year-old. She heard me moving around quietly and her sleepy, tousled head took in the sight of the prepared craft table.
“Can I show you something?” I asked, taking her by the hand.
I showed her the bright yellow icing, which had been powder in the box, which I had prepared with fresh butter,and the little cup of rainbow sprinkles. The cookies were flat and straight, like cardboard puzzle pieces cut into the shape of butterflies and flowers.
“What is it, Aunty?” She asked, looking at the stack of packaged butter cookies, in the shape of butterflies and flowers.
“It’s an art project.” I whispered.
She sat down and I showed her how to ice a cookie.
She thought it was paint. She took to the decoration of her piece — thoughtfully — in her little pink nightgown.
The next little boy wandered in. He was only six-years-old. He had been living on the street with his brothers until just about six months before. Now he was in kindergarten. He took his new school responsibilities very seriously.
He always wore a solemn, worried expression. He had learned that school and church — were the factors which made his life comfortable, and separated him from the way that he lived on the street.
I sat him down, and put in front of him a cookie.
I watched him begin to decorate his treat. He watched the first girl carefully, to make sure that he was doing this right.
More children filed in. Graciously, it happened almost one-by-one that they silently took in their surroundings and took their place around the table.
I was able to show them their tasks individually, not as a group, although they were all together.
They loved the sprinkles. They loved the bright color of the icing.
But none of them – knew – that this was an edible treat.
“Don’t eat it.” I had told them. And they had listened.
I suppose Crayola markers and tempera paints, and glue also appear edible — to someone who doesn’t know what they are.
The kids had gotten used to this command not to eat the educational supplies they created with.
I have no idea how much paint had been tasted, nor plastic that had been chewed before they finally gave up trying.
Finally – near the end of their quiet decorating, one of the girls – a very bright child – asked – “What is this, Aunty?”
“Everybody,” I announced. “Stick your finger in this… just a little bit.”
We passed around the icing bowl – and everyone placed a bit of the “yellow paint” on their fingers.
“Now,” I smiled… “Taste it.”
As they all began licking their fingers and their eyes went joyful and wide.
“What is THAT, Aunty!?” One child demanded.
“This is a cookie.” I held up an example.
“This is icing.” I held up the icing bowl.
The children all took their treats out to the sunny porch and we took pictures of their beautiful treats that they were so proud of.
The kids began to nibble on their treats, but not one child ate the whole thing. For nearly a week, I watched them sneak into the kitchen and take small sugary bites out their cookie.
The children knew of scones, they had heard of cakes, they were learning — how cooking on a stove was different than cooking over am open fire. And how an conventional oven is completely different than that.
–– but until that day… they didn’t know cookies. And icing.
They loved these things called “cookies” and wanted them to last forever.
Notably, this treat – that the village children really like – is a luxury made out of a few simple ingredients that can almost always be found in just about every corner of the world.
Wherever you happen to be in the world, chances are, you are not very far from a tray of cookies. They don’t have ot fit in your suitcase.
Since that first cookie day in the village, we’ve worked with many different cookie recipes, with the many different ingredients we can access in the village.
We’ve been baking cookies ever since, and are sharing some of our favorite cookie recipes with you today. Click on the pictures on the left side of your screen for the recipes and ideas by Gimme Some Oven. (See video at the end of the post.)
Hopefully we can post more about those — including ingredient substitutions for commonly missing supplies, soon.
*The pictured cookie was made by a wonderful group of people in an adult daycare center to bless the people of our church.
— but children in villages — with an internet connection —
— love to check out beautiful foods and cakes online.
Food photography and blogs, as well as cooking shows —
–have taken over the media in the past few years.
Children watch through window displays, glassed in televisions, or phone screens —
— hunger makes them look a little bit dreamy — when they view beautiful foods on empty stomachs.
Ideas hug and comfort them with an inspirational touch — that maybe someday they will also be able to eat something like this.
For a recent holiday, the children chose to make a Rainbow Cake.
They didn’t have enough funding for several layers, but instead decided to paint it beautiful with food coloring and icing.
This was their result.
This is a great cake idea for birthdays — especially if children are helping to make the celebration special.
Bright colors — and extra sugar — bring hope to the children in the village.
Here is a link to our color wheel experiments which make Rainbow Icing possible even if a whole spectrum of food dyes are not availalble: Color Theory
Click on the pictures on the left side of your screen for the recipes and ideas by Gimme Some Oven.
If you would like to support our projects in the village – please mail a check to *Pinteresting Against Poverty, PO BOX 26074, Overland Park, KS 66225. Donations are tax-deductible if you file your return in the USA.
Check out the gallery on the right side of your screen to learn more about Rainbow Gardening and Village Nutrition.→
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— is one of the reasons why there are so many orphans
— in the village.
Sometimes barefoot isn’t an option.
Did you know that there are viruses in the soil, which damage children’s health?
Help us to raise awareness by sharing this post on your social media. Also, you are welcome to contact any of the companies below on behalf of PinterestingAgainstPoverty to restore any or all of these functions.
Note: Our link our online donation center is disabled and we are struggling to find a company to process our donations online. We also struggle with affiliate marketing, while many companies have agreed and approved us, we don’t get our earnings, they seem to disappear after we have earned them. We created an volunteer affiliate marketing link with buttons and images that others could add to their sites, but that also failed to work properly. We used to have a button where people could and make a general donation to support children’s rights – including shoes for their feet, and we are disappointed with several companies for not keeping their promises to our NGO. CJ, Content Ad and ShareaSale and Abebooks.UK (not US, which explains a shortage of sales – yet our website has been offered a trustworthy certificate from the UK, and I am not sure if that applies to the USA.) and Ratuken. All required w-4’s and approved some of our posts for affiliate marketing income but that never worked. We were set to recieve a commission from sales at Better World Books, which would also provide reading materials to the United Nations in exchange for the referrals. As many of you know, building libraries in villages has been a long-time passion of mine. Intermedia phone lines had trouble for weeks connecting us with international calling but eventually did so, but when we were unable to keep up the phone bill because of the failure of the online processing. Sprint and Verizon could not connect us to international calling- to be fair. T-Mobile couldn’t give us our phone number back, and several other pay-as-you-go services were not able to meet our needs. Evalon services by Costco failed, although there was great efforts put forth by the customer service team at Costco to encourage stable services. Evalon approved our financial application and insisted that 3DCart Store or another online plugin must be added to process online, but then the plugin service claimed Evalon’s services were not needed after we chose a company. When we were not able to processs donations, we lost our contract. 3d Cart representatives were interested in discounting our donation services and noted that extra code was added to our item processing which stopped donations from going through. We also purchased identity theft protection and also struggled to keep the contract when we were not able to protect my son’s identity, which was a part of the package and benefit offered by the company, but did mysteriously manage to regain access to a lost email account after also making police reports for the safety of children’s information associated with the account. We lost the identity protection when we could not collect online support. We lost our bank cards after a hacking and security incident, which made it difficult to pay for the online services, but fortunately another service was offered to accomodate the loss of that. We have a discounted Photoshop subscription, but are mysteriously charged about $2 extra per month. Photoshop is necessary to protect the images and identity of the people we serve. We do not have social media pages at this time associated with this blog, because of the difficulty in monitoring false accounts and due to the overpricing and underserving of advertising charged to our company bank accounts by Facebook, as well as disturbing messages on profiles and comments. We do not use Amazon because pinging made our important expenses bounce. To be fair, several people clicked on the links to donate, and complained when they couldn’t. On the first day that we accepted subscribers we had databases full but then subscriptions somehow seemed to become disabled and never received a subscription again to our knowledge. Our paid gallery services by Supsystic seem to work mysteriously every other time they are opened. We were informed by others about legal threats and dissolving of assets letter that we were never able to read as soon as it looked like we might have gotten this human rights project off the ground after receiving a generous product grant by Google. We are aware that our posts are screened for medical advice and drug-information as well and have agreed not to share medical advice as professionals on our blog, as advised by Google. One of our trusted volunteer developers was offered a huge deal by another company at the same time as we were getting ready to start this blog and did the work ahead, and then could not collect from the company, causing him great financial distress and leaving less time for volunteer projects like ours. We entered a grant contest for a web-development grant opportunity, but did not get approved or chosen. Sometimes the cursor goes crazy on the edits and the writing of posts, and we lost about three weeks of content when we upgraded our hosting account, that the children put a lot of effort into. Media on WordPress takes a generous amount of time to load, and sometimes there are grammatical mistakes that might take an hour to fix just because of the revolving gears on end for no good reason. We have been unable to fund any developers, and struggled to sort through several mixed messages as soon as we referred to online sites for web development, so please bear with us as we are learning and doing the best we can to share projects and ideas that will benefit human rights in third world nations, and are struggling to present content that will hopefully be able to somehow support us eventually.
We are grateful for all of the services that are available for use, and just don’t know how to explain how sometimes those services don’t work for us the way they do for other people and pray to have the same respected rights someday, soon.
She sat with her hand in the air, in the quiet sanctuary.
“They’ve already taken questions.” Explained a woman a few columns away from her. “You can put your hand down.” And another nodded over her shoulder, pleadingly.
The girl didn’t speak out loud, but didn’t take down her hand either. “I think they need to know that I have a question.” She whispered back to them.
Older women shepherd the younger women in the church – fearing their own voices might not be respected – if they don’t respect the forces that silence their gender.
People around the girl’s raised arm shifted uncomfortably, and the people on stage turned away. She couldn’t tell if they couldn’t see her – if her question was too much in the shadows of the awning – or if they felt like her question had already somehow been previously represented.
She knew she wasn’t the right form of personality to demand attention, but she also somehow did not feel unnoticed.
The people around her who cared about her were holding their breath, and the ones that huffed were the ones who would keep her silent and unknowing forever if they could.
It was like God wouldn’t let her take her arm down. Too much leadership training, and being the primary caregiver of so many little babies from all over the world kept her arm in the air. Did they know what they were doing?
Above them had hung a vision – which was as ugly as a black man hanging on a Southern Baptist Cross.
She looked at the faces of the white men on the stage – and realized they didn’t see the demon in it. The stained glass shone brightly behind them over the ill-fated sample of hopeless impossibilities.
She was going to try to keep my question short, God-willing.
“Can you put that picture back up for a moment, please?” She wanted to ask them. They wouldn’t have expected her to make a request like that, but the graphics guy was high-tech, and probably wouldn’t have refused either.
She needed them to put the ugl-y-ness back on the screen, to call it out, and get it from hanging over their own heads – unaware of what they were talking about – there was a second layer to the visual aid that hadn’t crossed their experience. What – wasn’t being said – was more dangerous and looming – than the silent speakers which loomed over the heads of the musicians – and which blocked the rainbow prism on the floor.
The picture was a devil’s reasoning – with devil’s images. How much suffering went into the production of cane sugar? Only if you’ve ever worked on cane would you know how it shreds your hands and beats your body, how it burns and glazes – to get the ‘perfect’ ‘pure’ refined product that destroys your body, causes dislike to the sweet taste of fruit – and ruins your teeth, your appetite – and your words. There was no hope in any of their reasoning or their chosen representation of the church.
It was like an infant Jesus was lying in a manger and Herod himself was leaning over looking with doubt – and premonition – upon the child – trying in a worldly way to wonder what was so special about this little holy creature – and wouldn’t it be better to starve him or exile him – than find out? To decide whether the rumored child could be allowed to live – or serve – by easy identification of his parts – or much more difficult to see inside of – spirit? The only way Herod could maintain control was to trouble Jesus by creating blockages – like laws, which were the only commands within Herod’s power. You could argue with Herod all day long – but Herod wasn’t meant to give the permission they were meant to demand the freedom of their neighbors, it wasn’t by dis-invitation, but rather by love that the church was meant to be solidified and purified in the presence of the holy -one- a holy solidified one.
Fortunately, the glass was above it, and it wasn’t the slavery – or supremacy that the panes were representing.
On the picture were four scenarios:
“So, this is what they fear.” The girl thought to herself.
And the speaker explained with fine language the destruction of all four scenarios.
The Progressive, Non-Compatible-ists want to break – – think inclusion is worth fighting for – so much so – that they would break – to be included. There were only a few grains scattered amongst them, but those grains would change the color of the group if added, like the rainbow shards in the window, they were already in pieces. Next to them was a sugar packet that was broken open as if it were somehow impure.
The Progressive-Compatiblists wouldn’t break to include them, they want the church to be united. Next to their – was – a broken sugar packet packet. They were not whole until they decided to leave or stay – or would break individually – or at least, that’s what the devil convinced them was their scope of decision.
The Traditional-Compatiblists wouldn’t leave to break, but they wouldn’t stop others in the church from accepting promises from the people to God in front of their congregations, but they wouldn’t unite them in holy matrimony – either – which was the same as not inviting them to the Christ vision as God created them to be. The former categories besides theirs – were also broken open.
And… Herod… didn’t want to come, didn’t want to live that way, and threatened to leave if he couldn’t look under the sheets and ensure in all of the worldly commands his mortal power and reign for the future. But Herod sent emails disguised from every good person he convinced to leave with him – which were painful to the pastors, because – they were invited and loved the same community, too, to maintain Herod’s privileges and power, and didn’t know of a better way. The leadership had to make the decision isolated because the crowds weren’t presenters when – they did not feel welcome, but needed to be included.
“That cannot be the vision of a church that calls themselves united and is supposed to be a representation of the Kingdom of God on Earth.” She wanted to say. “The people from every option are all bleeding and they are not united – some merely because they are wishing for permission they will never receive from Herod, but – like Ruby Red Slippers – have always had it – in Christ. There are so many references in the green-background of the black-and-white example – to slavery and supremacy and oppression – that’s spiritual assassination any way you go. That is only a vision that the devil would want you to believe. Each projected possibility is… bleeding – white.”
“There are fourteen percent that wouldn’t be able to move forward if we let these people in.” Said the speaker. The girl imagined a geriatric ward trying to roll their way out of the church if the balances of the youth were allowed in the door. Most of that division would probably stay and enjoy the company, and not notice any major differences in their worship anyways.
Those fourteen percent would still be invited. And the people who were being fought for were already welcome and loved.
How could they be so confused? She wondered.
Then she remembered the comment about the emails – and knew how the devil would make them think that they were kicking out those who were blocking the gates – not guarding them. If leaders only speak to leaders, nobody leads and everyone fears. Those emails don’t represent the opinions of the future. Is that what they are taught to believe – that the complaints of one who takes the time to twist a heart for love – is the one that matters more than 100 people who quietly huddle in support of the rejected whose voice is denied? The ones who short of laying their loved one’s naked bodies out on the stage and publicly shaming them – could only represent them with confusing metaphors – loving them like mothers, when they needed to be loved like neighbors. Anyone who’d ever changed enough diapers – around the world – would have been able to know that diversity works – and can only be explained by God. A wise spiritual teacher wouldn’t disrupt those blessed partnerships when they come – they would celebrate them. Isn’t that what God made clothing possible for? God has no problem with nakedness – but men have problems with judging – and shame for what they don’t understand. Not enough men change diapers, and not enough women are allowed to speak in church to make up the difference in their knowledge, babies are innocent, and cannot represent themselves or their differences – the same as these children of God.
Did the church belong to the intentionally rainbow-faced Christ in the window? Or did it belong to the vision of the impending spiritual-assassination below them?
“Can you raise the image of the Book of Discipline?” She knew that even when they raised the book, it was still going to appear below the Christ figure.
“What was the most important rule we were given?” She wanted to ask. “If the text doesn’t honor that, then why use it to judge anyone’s freedom of actions? Wouldn’t it be more dangerous to our faith to keep them out – than to allow them in, and to make and keep their promises to their partners, their children, and to their creator, Himself?”
Did we need to divide in order to make a space for these people? No, the beauty of their representative broken-ness was already represented in the face Christ above them. Nobody would be forced to stay, but all were welcome.
“Where is the hope in this situation?” She wanted to point out that it could not possibly be contained possibly be contained in the starch-white slavery-produced sugar packets – she had been to enough leadership conferences to know that the hope was in the fused shards of above them. Four broken sugar packets could not possibly be God’s hope for the world.
The leaders seemed to need permission from each other – or some silent non-present presence – more than they needed permission from God.
Yet, it was a brave Pastor, who turned to the others, and explained, “I’m kind of in fear for my mortal soul… [if we don’t let these people in]”
She waited for someone to be brave enough to say – “Nobody left. Everyone’s welcome. That’s the way it always was. Can I introduce you to my neighbors? And remind you how we all fall short every day? And these are not the promises they made to the pastor – these are the promises that the pastor recorded in their community that they openly made to each other and God.” Was what she felt like the true representation of Christ would say in regards to the Herod’s that would keep them out. Thank God there was a pastor who understood how important this issue was.
The girl was looking up at the shards that made the rainbow in the holy face above the leaders.
But they wouldn’t accept her hand, and the light from the glass protected her heart from their rejection.
It is the colors in the glass that will protect the church and enable it to make the right decisions. Were they really discussing this on the raised platform where the people sing,
“Nothing can separate – even if you ran away – cause your love never fails.”
A celebration of diversity is what this sanctuary was meant to stand for. The healing of the broken fused together into a vision everyone is welcome to participate in. All of those little shards of glass that want to be neighbors and be treated with the dignity and respect with which they were created ought to feel invited to come to Christ’s church. None of them are perfect as a whole – but together and baptized by fire they fuse into a spirit that fills the room – and is meant for a greater kingdom with fewer boundaries and more freedom.
God already made those design decisions – of what would be beautiful when he made the people by the head of the hair. Do you want stained glass when you go to church? Or are you trying to fit your faith inside of a paper packet of slave sugar, hoping that someone will serve you disproportionately?
It was never the church’s decision. It was the God who designed them fearfully and wonderfully. Their inner workings and chemistry were never meant to be judged by a crowd – only celebrated by their goodness and promises kept, and loyalty to values which allow others to be accepted and blessed as well.
She had about as much ease in leaving the sanctuary as she did taking her hand down.
It was a question that needed to be asked, the same kind of spirit that caused her to fail a college ethics class years ago. (Subscribe – I might have a chance to write more about that, later.) She felt like her question could not be answered – until it was asked in a more supportive atmosphere where light could enter.
You don’t have to be black to care about civil rights in your world and nation. You do not need to be a woman to care about women’s rights. And you do not have to be LGBTQ to care about their rights – or inclusion either. You do not need to be Jewish to uphold their religious freedoms, or be Muslim to care about their well-being – or old to care about the young. Or respected as a leader – in order to feel the call to lead, and protect spiritual values unapologetically. Some of the most powerful advocates in the justice movement – are not the people who are oppressed in our societies – but the people God called to love, protect, and support them.
I feel like everyone in the world who wants to live as Christ commanded us to live – should be invited to our church and given the choice to be fully-embraced members.
And everyone – in the world – who prays for social justice – should feel like neighbors, there.
And so does our Pastor.
(I’d feel a bit rude to post the picture of the sugar packets but I modified it – so it’s legal, but I’m going to try to get permission of the artist – to be fair, although I need to point out that the speaker didn’t seem to take any pride in the example and it does seem to accurately present the fears of each group. The speaker was using the permitted example that someone else synthesized down into a visualization that explained the groups and the topic on the church’s table. The Elders felt like the visualization accurately described the arguements of all sides – and the future of the church. The elders approved and raised this example of their condition – without seeing the demon in it, or their responsibility to change it. It describes what they see and understand. The Elders couldn’t build a monument or a Sistene Chapel to attract the youth of the world, based on green posterboard with black and white scenarios where everyone dies, so they wanted this poster to be carried around the world as an example to raise over the heads of the church leaders – to let them know what kind of thoughts they are willing to consider. Small churches may only face one or two in a generation – but the point of having united church is for the world view, wisdom and perspective that a far-reaching and wide congregation of believers is supposed to be able to provide. I’d feel the freedom of Christ to boldly post the making of the face of Jesus in the window – without permission, with a link to the creator.)
Pinteresting Against Poverty is a Human Right’s Blog Teaching Readers How To Become Better Advocates For International Mission – uniting the world through fun projects and meals. This post is categorized under human rights, discrimination, justice and faith.
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When good seeds are added to the blessings of natural environmental compatibility, one eventually learns that there are many types of food and nutrition that are not available in an area — which could be made available — if the people knew what they were, and how to produce them.
Hence, the term ‘introduced’.
During a trip, far, far away from our usual dust —
I saw celery for sale in a grocery store.
Confused — it occurred to me —
If this food is here — someone grew it — here. The celery had to be produced nearby. Surely no one flew it in, for refrigeration is a challenge in the developing world, and water-intensive veggies don’t fair well without it.
That led me to the question, “Why don’t I see celery growing the village?”
During the rainy season, the conditions would have to be near perfect for this anti-cancer, immunity-boosting — anemia-annihilating vegetable — that needed to be grown —
— near the children — who can benefit fromit.
Celery has natural properties which fights both viruses, and influenza.
Not only that, celery seed is often sold — as a spice — in many world markets. That said, in traditional Chinese medicine, or Ayurveda, celery, celery seed, and celery seed essential oils are used as treatments for both gastric ulcers, and influenza – as a massage oil, and aromatherapy, as well as ingested in soups, teas, and other meals. If you are feeling under the weather, give this Skinny Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe (celery included) a try from Gimme Some Oven.The children make a similar meal, even in the village.
We decided to attempt growing celery during the rainy season.
Nearly a year after the first initial planting experiment, one of our kind staff members chewed on a stick of celery, claiming the wonderful merits of this good and flavorful food that the people crave.
As soon as people in the village became familiar with the plant, which they could recognize by the leaves, they began to integrate it with their supper. “Oh!” Exclaimed on special widow, touching the leaves lovingly, “I just really like the flavor of the leaves, and the smell of it, when it’s cooking.”
We’ve found that the people crave the foods their bodies need to reverse their malnutrition.
If they crave it, they need it. If they crave it, and can identify and produce it, then they can heal their bodies with it.
Inspired by the Pinterest ads for ‘Foods that Re-Grow‘ we picked up some whole celery on our next trip to the capital city.
They really regrow. The children and staff huddled around our little experiment one afternoon, looking at the new chutes growing out of the old bulb. We knew how to do this much now. The same celery stalk could feed us again and again if we were careful with it. It was a good feeling to see the new little shoots coming out of the plant without any further effort.
“I did not know that it could be that easy.” Stated one man, shaking his head, who looks out for many children in the village.
If you know of anyone working on projects in tropical areas — encourage them to pick up some celery seed for the rainy season. It helps.
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