Category Archives: Volunteer & Giving

Help Me Make Liberating Choices More Useful

I created this blog for you in 2010. At the time, blogs were used as journals, hobbies, communities, and income producers. I had a different goal in mind. After writing an email newsletter for years, I loved the idea of providing a venue for exchanging ideas with my readers.

While I originally started this blog for my counseling clients, it has been exciting to reach people all over the world. In 2012, Liberating Choices had 13,000 visitors from 136 countries! While I am grateful for the positive feedback I hear in my office about my writing, I would love to hear from all my readers.

Thank you for visiting, reading, and engaging with the ideas I write. The most popular posts read at Liberating Choices in 2012 were:

#1. Rekindle Emotional Intimacy in Your Relationship

#2. 5 Ways to Free The Loneliness Trap

#3. 5 Ways to Raise More Confident Kids

#4. Are You Tired of Being a Doormat?

#5. Treasures Discovered After Natural Disaster

Many of these articles were written in previous years. In order to stay relevant and useful, I would like to learn more about you and what you want to read about on this blog. Please help me make my blog an engaging place to visit and exchange ideas: Click to answer the 2013 Liberating Choices Reader Survey.

As a thank you for answering my reader survey, you will be entered into a drawing to win a $100 Amazon gift card. (You must be 18 years or older and reside in US to enter the drawing. One winner is selected  each week at random by Survey Monkey. Complete survey by January 31, 2013 for chance to win!)

Treasures Discovered After Natural Disaster


“The storm blew in more than it blew out.” ~Joplin Tornado Survivor

On May 22, 2011, a tornado 7 miles in length ripped through the town of Joplin, Missouri. In a community of 49, 024 people, Joplin lost 160 people and nearly 8000 structures in a few deadly moments.

joplin tornado

I recently spent a day in this southwest Missouri town helping rebuild homes. While most of the debris has been cleared, there are many homes, schools, and trees that are vacant. Despite all the loss and destruction this town has endured, I was blown away by the strength and gratitude I encountered.

I left that day saddened yet awestruck, wondering how this community could be grateful after such a deadly disaster. I was gracious to hear one woman’s story of how she survived after the tornado left her home with only one wall standing.

A Treasure to Find Something Positive Amidst Something Horrible…

As I listened to her story, I heard her resilience, gratitude, and the determination to live in spite of great obstacles in her way. Here’s what she shared about what’s helped her see the treasures along her path of rebuilding her home and life:

  • Be grateful for what you have. Your loved ones that are still living. And, the memories and the time you were given with the loved ones you’ve lost.
  • Hold onto your faith. Know that you are not alone. Lean on the strength your faith brings.
  • Accept help. Watch for people to step up and help you do the things you can’t do by yourself.
  • Allow grief to come and go. Let the mourning flow. It will pass, but first it needs to flow.

Her house has been completely rebuilt in 7 months by volunteers donating their time. She freely opens up her home to these volunteers and has made lifelong friends. Among the volunteers are people like you and me from Missouri and surrounding states.

The debris is mostly cleaned up, but there is still a lot of work to do. While some homes and businesses have been rebuilt, many more homes and schools are still in the process of cleaning up and rebuilding. Life has gone on for these Joplin residents, but they still need our help.

How can you help this community rebuild?

Volunteer by calling a Joplin church to schedule a work day. Donate money to help with building materials and even school textbooks. Help in anyway you feel called to lend a hand. It is literally taking a nation of volunteers to rebuild this community, so every hand makes a difference.

This town has lost a lot, but it has found treasures in the memories, the strength, and the volunteers. They may have lost their homes and loved ones, but the tornado has not taken their resolve to rebuild and live in spite of the destruction.

A story of survival, healing, & hope told by the people who lived through it.


How do you hold onto positives in spite of difficult times in your life?


Related Posts: Encounter Meaning Amidst Disaster; 5 Ripple Making Steps to Liberate a Life

Love, Care, Donate: Joplin still needs our help rebuilding. Donate Here.


Photo Credit: “Under the Rainbow” by Hartwig HKD; “Absolute Destruction” by John Daves

Imagine You Can Make a Difference


Imagine, a girl who wants to help her family after her father dies suddenly. She leaves her home, looking for work. A man promises her a job, and she excitedly runs home to share the news with her family.

When she returns to work, she is shown a training video and given a shot to relax her. This drug alters her defenses, leaving her powerless to the line of men, waiting to purchase her for an hour.

She loses track of time, as days and weeks turn into months. This young girl doing grown up things against her will almost loses herself completely.

That is, until an organization like Love 146, frees her and offers her a safe place to heal. Here, she finds her way back to her self, her family, and her community.

Stories That Move Us To Action

Does this girl’s story move you? This nameless girl is not the only one sold into slavery. Love 146 reports:

“Two children are sold every minute.”

“Over 1.2 million children are trafficked annually.”

Love 146 responds to child sex trafficking

With this many children impacted by sex slavery, it is easy to assume we can’t make a difference in such a huge problem. But, we can. Any contribution we make multiplies when combined with others’ gifts.

Your Gift Multiplies to Make a Difference

I began my journey as an abolitionist from a distance a few years ago. I started by making a monthly monetary gift to Love 146, an organization who protects, defends, restores, and empowers children sold into sex trafficking.

I am a hands-on person, so I was starting to doubt that my monthly contributions were making a difference. Then, I received an email newsletter from Marilyn de Gueney of Love 146 Communications Team. She shared how gifts multiply to help create:

  • “The building of ten wells along the border of Thailand and Cambodia that prevents children from being trafficking on their journey for water.”
  • “The construction of three homes for survivors transitioning out of the care of a safe home in Thailand.”
  • “A safe home built just for girls under 12 in Thailand, a therapy room floating on a river at a safe home in Cambodia, and on and on…”

I may not know which of these projects my gift impacts. But, I know that it is making a difference in a child’s freedom, education, therapy, and health.

Women Turning a Ripple Into a Wave of Kindness

If you are moved to action but unsure where to start, check out the research and programs that Love 146 develops and supports. And, read how everyday women are pursuing a passion to make a difference in the world:

These woman don’t know it, but they inspire me with their waves of kindness. They inspire me to keep making ripples in the problems I feel drawn to smash.

I imagine doing my part to be an equalizer in this world. I strive to be a tough match to those who are committing crimes against humanity. Join me in taking small steps to make meaningful change in our world.

“Throw a pebble in the water and make a wave. A simple act of kindness can stir the widest ocean.” Demi Lovato, from Make a Wave

Imagine a world where each of us is making waves in an area we feel passionate and called to make a difference!


Related Posts:

5 Ripple Making Steps to Liberate a Life

Mend Broken Hearts with Love Gifts

Photo Credit: “Arrive” by Alice Popkorn