Category Archives: Volunteer & Giving

Encounter Meaning Amidst Disaster

Our house sits in a neighborhood nestled in a bustling city. It has a small town feel with the big town amenities. We have started our family in this house. This place that we call our home is where we connect, unwind, and grow.

We grow attached to our homes. They are treasured and maintained in hope that our house is with us for years to come. And, sometimes, taking our house for granted, forgetting how blessed we are to have this roof over our heads.

A Wake Up Call

It was a regular day, like any other day until the tornado sirens sounded. I stopped in my tracks and diverted my glance out the window. I didn’t notice stormy weather brewing. Despite my confusion, I led my son to the basement to wait out the sirens.

I had a hard time sitting still. I returned upstairs for my son’s toys and my purse. If the worst happened, I wanted my cell phone.  Back in the basement, I thought of more items I’d like to bring with me to safety – my laptop, camera, and cash.

Then, it hit me. Are these material possessions what I want to cling to, if this was my final moment alive or in this is house? No. I realized I wouldn’t cease to exist if I lost these material reflections. It would be hard, and I would mourn, but I could rebuild.

Meaning Amidst Disaster

Many have lost their homes and loved ones in recent and previous tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis. How do you rebuild your life and home after loss?

“You can spend your whole life buildin’
Something from nothin’.
One storm can come and blow it all away.
Build it anyway.” Anyway by Martina McBride

Finding faith, hope, and peace to keep moving forward. Being grateful for what we do possess, our lives and days left to live. Reaching out to others. Doing for others what they can’t do for themselves. All are ways that we uncover meaning amidst disaster.

Maybe you  haven’t been impacted by a natural disaster, but you’ve been through some stormy seasons. When facing the storms of life, remember that your skin is your home. No one and nothing can take away your spirit,  values, strengths, passion, or your thoughts.

Be At Home In Your Own Skin

Home is a place you can be yourself.

Worry less what others think of you.

Embrace all of you, the darkness and the light.

In your home, find joy in the tiniest moments,

Comfort for the pains you wade through,

And share in the celebrations and fullness of life.

Be your own reflection of what you cherish.

Hold your memories, ideas, and connections.

Living in your own skin,

Where the home is where you are.

What comforts you in the storms of life? Please share how you rebuild after loss.

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I am writing this post in honor of those who have lost their homes and loved ones in the recent tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri ( 2 1/2 hours from here) and throughout the Midwest and Southern United States.

To donate to the Salvation Army disaster relief efforts, text the word “JOPLIN” to 80888 for an automatic $10 donation, call 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769) or go to www.salvationarmy.us.

To support the American Red Cross disaster relief, text the word “REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation, or call 1-800-Red-Cross (1-800-733-2767).

Photo Credit: “The Day After” by Angelo Amboldi

 

 

Mend Broken Hearts with Love Gifts

heart-in-hand

What breaks your heart? The hungry. The sick. The lonely. The forgotten.

For me, it breaks my heart to know that slavery still exists. To trick a person with a misleading promise. To order them to sell their body or work for free. To give them a number instead of a name. My heart not only breaks, but it ignites.

An organization called, Love 146 is “celebrating broken hearts that change the world.” Love 146 does more than make ripples, it prevents, educates, and restores children sold into sex slavery. Love 146 liberates children.

A child is more than a number

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.”

How do you define love? Saint Valentine’s love was defiant. He secretly performed marriage rituals for single men. These men could stay with their loved ones, instead of going to war for a cause they didn’t believe in.

How do you celebrate love? Chocolate hearts. Roses. Candlelight dinners. Expand your celebration of love to include the broken hearted.

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” -Helen Keller

Share Gifts of Love to the Broken Hearted:

1. Gift a Donation – Honor a loved one alive or deceased with a donation. Be inspired by others. Honor their passion for the broken hearted. Give the gift of a donation with an e-card or a sweetheart gift.

2. Light a Memory Candle – Remember those who have fought to abolish slavery. The lit candle symbolizes a safe place. Join freedom fighters and light the way to safety.

3. Host a Fundraiser – If you are an event planner, host a local fundraiser for your favorite charity. Share your broken heart with others. Raise donations with an art auction, a comedy, or a fast. (More event ideas.)

4. Purchase Survivor-Made Gifts – Survivors of slavery are taught to secure safe employment. Many survivors make their own jewelry, bags, and gifts. Help prevent human trafficking in high risk communities.

5. Educate with Apparel – Share stories of modern day slavery with apparel: Free The GirlsLove 146,  Sales go to free a slave. People will ask. Share the meaning and opportunity we each have to liberate.

6. Support Safe Jobs – For Ladies Only. Your underwear draw can give a rescued slave a job. Donate your bras to “Free the Girls.”

7. Make a Monthly Donation – Set up an automatic donation out of your checking account. Just $25 a month will help a liberated slave have a safe home, therapy, medical care, nutrition, and an education.

8. Blog About Your Passion – Create your own “Broken Heart Club.” Ignite your heart. Pursue your passion. Share your story on your blog.

Link back to this post, so we can start a wave of love. Share small steps for world change. Together, we can give someone a temporary home to mend their hearts and bodies. How many can we reach with our love gifts?

This is my temporary home

Text to Give a $5 Donation to Love 146 Via Your Phone

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To receive more liberating choices, follow Marci’s blog by subscribing via RSS or by Email . And, if you have a love gift to share, where small steps create world change over time, link back to this post.

Photo Credit: D. Sharon Pruitt

There are so many ways to give and receive love. Over 40 bloggers have shared their thoughts on love at the Love Sparks Blogging Festival.


5 Ripple Making Steps to Liberate a Life

feet-make-ripples

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

A year ago, I wrote a check to support the care of  an orphan child. For only $35, an orphan receives meals, housing, education, and healthcare. As I sealed the envelope, my daughter asked me why we were only helping the orphan for one month. I was stunned in silence – I didn’t have an answer for her.

My young daughter, at 5 years-old, has the heart of a giver, unchained by budgets and Christmas shopping lists. I regret that it took me another year to discover how to give money to an orphaned child on a more regular basis.

What is my hesitation? I struggle to realize the power we have in a small act of kindness. I focus more on liberating myself. I get lost in all the great causes. But, what if I can find a way to sustain my giving?

I have discovered how to take small steps to liberate a child in need – Discover, Include, Invite, Enjoy, and Know.

Step One – Discover a charity that ignites your passion:

For my daughter, it is orphan children. She cannot bear the thought that some children don’t have parents to care for them. For my husband, it is families who lost a loved one while serving their country or community. And for me, it is children and women who are forced into labor or sexual exploitation.

After watching the movie Taken, I was outraged that young women were coerced, drugged, and defrauded to sell their bodies for others’ pleasure. I know the movie isn’t based on a true story, yet I knew there had to be some truth hidden in the movie’s message. I investigated the truth, and found some startling facts about modern day slavery.

My passion was ignited. And, I briefly considered changing my career to become an international, law enforcing, slave busting, crime fighter. Instead, I decided to find a way to make a ripple in this problem.

Step 2 – Include the cause in your monthly budget:

Once you have discovered your passion, the next step is to find an organization that competently addresses the problem you want to help. For me, the organization is Love 146, who’s mission is to abolish sex slavery through prevention and aftercare.

I can help a child liberate themselves from human trafficking with one small step. My donation is automatically withdrawn from my checking account each month. What did I give up? Going out to dinner one less time? I don’t know, as I don’t miss whatever I gave up.

Step 3 – Invite your kids to get involved:

As my family is growing, so are the passions that ignite us. How do we find a way to help more than one child in our family? I don’t want to be in silence anymore. I want to include my daughter in the giving process. If I simply write another check, she misses out on making her ripple.

I am borrowing this idea from another ripple maker, Catherine Newman. I read about her collection jar in Family Fun Magazine this month. Catherine shares how her family puts money in a jar for their charity whenever they go with out. At my house, we are just getting started, giving up an extra movie, bag of popcorn, and portions of allowances. I’m excited to watch the giving process grow, as we are all more mindful of what we could give up so someone could have more choices.

Step 4 – Enjoy your life guilt-free:

While we are making these small choices each day, be sure to care for yourself and your family’s needs too. Still do what is important to you and your family.

Even though I am more aware of our giving challenge, I want to give out of joy and passion, not guilt.   As a result, I am more grateful for the small things and realize I don’t need all the big things.

Step 5 – Know that you are making a difference:

Remember, it doesn’t matter how big or small your donation of time or treasure, it all matters. In our family, we are working on making room for all of our passions, instead of choosing one charity.

And, when I think about how our family can now give two children (other than our own) more choices in their life, I am amazed once again by the liberating power of choices. When two, passion honoring people come together with two great organizations (Love 146 and Samaritan’s Purse), our small choices can create big changes.

I no longer hesitate in silence. I am excited to watch our giving grow, as I have many more ripple making steps to take.

“Your tears are my prayers.” – Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love

What passion ignites you to make ripples? Share links to organizations that liberate others from ocean-sized problems.

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Photo Credit: AussieGall