Works For Me: Medicine Spoons

The regular hostess of WFMW, Kristen from We Are THAT Family, is (as we speak!) en route to Kenya with Compassion International. Don’t miss her trip updates at her blog–I know she’s about to experience some powerful things.

This week and next, I’ll be temporarily hosting Works-For-Me Wednesday–let’s see if I remember how to drive this bus!

My tip is a quick one. Not too long ago, I was scrounging around for a measuring spoon. In this house, the measuring spoons all mysteriously migrate to the bathtub or the sandbox, so I couldn’t find one. Instead, I grabbed one of these dealies out of the drawer:

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Thanks to the revolving door of ear infections in this family, we have just a few (dozen) of these spoons. You know what? It turns out they measure spices/oil/etc much better than traditional measuring spoons, because the overflow doesn’t come spilling over the sides, as in a spoon.

(In fact, the last time my mother-in-law was in town, she saw me doing this in my kitchen and said, “You should post that on the Wednesday thing on your blog.” So hi, Gego–this one’s for you!)

Have a WFMW tip you’d like to share? Please enter your link below (if you’re a newbie, you can read the WFMW guidelines here). Please note that this list will be closed to new links after a few days, to ward off spammers.

http://www.mcklinky.com/linky_include_basic.asp?id=19379

Mark Your Calendars For February 27th!

One month following the 7.1 earthquake that struck Haiti, an all-star cast of musicians is gathering for Help Haiti Live, a two-city ticketed concert event taking place on February 27th, 2010 to benefit Compassion International’s Haiti disaster relief fund.

Don't live in LA or Nashville? Watch the concerts for free (streaming live) on the 27th at Help Haiti Live website. Go ahead and bring your wallet, though–at the website you'll be given a chance to donate to Compassion's work in Haiti. If you've not already done so, this will be the perfect opportunity.

One hundred percent of on-line donations through HelpHaitiLive.com will go to Compassion International’s Haiti disaster relief fund. One hundred percent of net proceeds from ticket sales will go to the same place.

Some of the artists participating in this concert include Jars of Clay, Amy Grant, and two of my personal favorites: Dave Barnes (*squeal*), and Alison Krauss and Union Station (*double squeal*). This will be a spectacular night of music for a great cause–I'll be watching live. Join me!

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=9307574&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1

Help Haiti February 27th – HelpHaitiLive.com from Compassion International on Vimeo.

If I Don’t Write It Down I’ll Forget

I'm trying to grease up these rusty brain cells of mine and get back to writing the occasional blog post–not a bad thing to do when one has, you know, a blog. I've been working on a post documenting the vacation we took over the holidays, but as the story involves abject humiliation, I've been understandably reluctant. (More on that later. Maybe.) Instead, here's a few random questions, comments, and general wondering-ments.

1. My daughter got a Puff the Magic Dragon book for Christmas, including a sing-along CD. And never mind that I am 37 years old with a mortgage and four children and a PTA membership card–I am unable to listen to that song without blubbering over my lost childhood and bereft dragons. But what in the heck is sealing wax? (Also, please do not tell me that song is actually about drugs. I-have-my-fingers-in-my-ears-and-I-can't-hear-you-la-la-la.)

2. Thanks to my patient and crafty sister-in-law, I'm learning how to crochet. I can't get enough of it! I'm not exactly good at it yet, but I can stitch the heck out of a rectangle. If you know me in real life, congratulations–you're probably getting a scarf this year. Please act happy.

3. Over the holidays I've been plowing through my reading list. This and this were both outstanding, and this was really good, too. This was a fascinating concept, but I thought it came up short at the very end–it's so disappointing when that happens. I'm reading this now, and this is next on the list. What's on yours?

4. American Idol is back underway, and can I just tell you how much I love the "Pants On the Ground" guy from the Atlanta auditions? Here's a great post about him, including his history marching with Dr. King in the '60's. (On the occasion that A Particular Son Of Mine Who Shall Remain Unnamed thinks it might be funny to try the whole droopy-pants thing, I remind him that I have a staple gun in the garage and I'm not afraid to use it.)

5. Does anyone reading this know anything about chronic headaches (possibly migraines) in children? One of my kiddos is struggling with this, but I'm not finding a ton of resources online.

6. Please remember to consider Compassion when you plan your giving for the Haiti crisis. Follow their Twitter feed for helpful updates. While you're at it, see Ree's great giveaway to help raise some more Haiti funds. Another great effort to raise funds is underway here.  Whatever you do, please give.

Have a good weekend, and remember to keep praying for our friends in Haiti.

What We Can Do

"Should we go there?" my eight-year-old son asked me last night as we sat and watched CNN as a family.

No, I explained, we shouldn't–we'd only be in the way.

But I know how he feels. Watching the epic destruction unfold leaves me sitting with a shaking head and a heavy heart, wondering what on earth I can possibly do. Hand-wringing won't help, of course; there is always a course of action, even when the path seems overwhelming.

:: Give. There are people on the ground with access to the tools to help–give to these organizations generously, until you feel the pinch yourself. If you've never been a giver before, let this be a wake-up call and a chance to stretch that part of your heart, and see how your life is changed when you sacrifice for someone else. Compassion has had a strong presence in Haiti for a very long time, and–praise God–their office still stands. You can be sure that your gift will be stretched and used to its very last drop. Here's a great explanation (directly from the Compassion folks) about why their model for disaster relief is so effective:

In
this disaster it is crucial that first responders receive support
quickly. Because Compassion International ministers through local
churches to meet the needs of that church's neighbors, and because
these church partners are respected aid workers in their communities,
Compassion is uniquely positioned to assess and meet the needs of its
sponsored children quickly. This is an advantage of our church-based
model in practice for more than 50 years.

:: Talk to your kids. Don't hide tragedy from them. Their world, unfortunately, is a scary place sometimes. Poverty and disaster should be jarring, and seeing it will help them grow into people who want to make things better. Pray together. Brainstorm as a family about things you can give up together to give more generously. Let them feel the pinch, too.

:: Live with intentional thankfulness. When I came home from Africa, I struggled with guilt–why am I comfortable when so many others aren't? I understand a little better now that I can channel those emotions into thankfulness, and I can teach it to my kids. I don't know why my kids are safe and my house is standing and our water is clean. But I will be thankful, and I will take opportunities like this one to re-tune my heart. So many of the things that occupy our minds are fleeting and unimportant. Let Haiti awaken us to a perspective that is laser-focused on what really matters.

http://farm.sproutbuilder.com/load/kADUtMgfH0EiNN2H.swf

Compassion Bloggers’ Trip to El Salvador

Compassion Another team of Compassion bloggers leaves at the crack of dawn on Monday, headed for El Salvador–a trip made all the more compelling by the massive flooding there over the weekend.  Follow along with these bloggers (Molly, Kelly, Heather, Shaun, Keely, and Patricia) at their own blogs, or at the Compassion Bloggers’ hub site.

Please join me in praying for their safety, their hearts, and their families back at home. Pray that these bloggers will find the words to say what needs to be said and that children are sponsored.

A Few Random Thoughts, Because I Haven’t Had a Complete Thought Since July

Even though this blog is utterly dead silent (do I hear crickets chirping?), I am writing many hours a day on this TypePad book. Many, many hours–hours I should probably be spending feeding my family something other than hot dogs and chips…again. Deadlines wait for no one, though, so hot dogs it is, and my family has been one big, collective good sport about it. While I can't say I'd be an advocate of operating at such a frenzied pace indefinitely, it's been good for my family to pull together for a common cause. They're pitching in, helping Mom get a job done well (and quickly), and I'm thankful to them. When it's all over, I hope we all have a great sense of accomplishment. And may we never, ever eat another hot dog again.

Speaking of the book, we're officially listed at Amazon now. When I learned that, I did not squeal or freak out or call Melanie because I am much too calm and professional to act that way. Ahem.

Let's see, what else. Ah yes, I almost turned into a pancake this week, driving my kids home from school during a massive thunderstorm. We crept along at a snail's pace (zero visibility, but just enough to see the STRAIGHT-LINE WINDS, which is never good). Suddenly, a giant oak crashed across the road, less than 50 feet from our van.

Branches from other trees started pelting down all around us, and it began to hail. Thankfully, I had watched the movie Twister only days before, so I was fully equipped for a Dramatic Weather Emergency. "LEAN TO THE MIDDLE OF THE CAR!" I shouted over the pelting hail, and the kids did just that. I swung that van around more like Jack Bauer than a happy housewife, and I floored it off that tree-lined street, dodging airborne branches the whole time. I glanced in the rear-view mirror to see the 10-year-old hovering protectively his 4-year-old sister, and I thought to myself that since we were surely about to die I was glad I could remember this about him, as opposed to the smell of the soccer cleats he left in my car all day.

We finally got off the Giant Tree-Lined Death Trap and parked in a neighborhood with no trees. I sat there, eyes closed, breathing an overwhelmed prayer of thankfulness. The eight-year-old's quiet voice whispered, "Mom?" I turned to look at him. "That was WICKED cool."

I'm glad I could entertain, son.

Last thing: my friend Scott (my husband's old high school friend, actually, but I've adopted him) is one of the only 3.7 male readers of this blog, and he sent me a link to share with you. It's the Dude Perfect guys, performing some unreal stunts, all in the name of–what else?–Compassion. You've got to see it. 

Revelation

Robin of Pensieve is my blog-friend-turned-real-life-friend, and she's is a fireball of energy, personality and heart.  She is so dear to me, and I have been especially moved, on a very personal level, to watch her passionate participation in Compassion's India blog trip.  She has shared words that are profound, gut-wrenching, beautiful and honest.  Before she left, I asked her if she'd be willing to guest post here at my blog while she was overseas, and she graciously agreed.  Robin's powerful words and photo arrived in my in-box this afternoon, and I can hardly wait for you to read on… 

I'm standing in the shower while a perpetual army of water soldiers fights off the day's sweat and filth and emotion when I notice the shelf in front of me.  I mentally tick off seven miniature bottles whose purpose is to clean, condition, soften and fragrance the top of my head to the bottom of my feet..when I lose it.

It's the second time today the tear dam burst when I didn't even know there was a crack in the dike. 

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I've seen things this week I shouldn't have.

I've seen things this week I shouldn't have because they just shouldn't "be" to begin with.

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Poverty is a wicked assault that seeks to strip away the dignity of those in its path.

January 26, 2009 is a significant date to me; it's when Shaun Groves called me for the first time to discuss the possibility of me joining him on the next Compassion Bloggers trip.   While there's an entire level of insanity for me to leave my husband and children to go, observe and write about a people I don't even know, it was never even a question I had to ask myself.  I said it to him, and in the ensuing months, over and over again to others, "I can think of no better reason to write than to lend my voice to those who have none of their own." 

"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy."

Proverbs 31:8,9

If I'm not mistaken, God's tellin', not askin'….

And yet, less than a week ago I was blissfully, ignorantly living the cliched American dream when God appointed a time for me to fly.

For 18 hours and forever, He's given me wings. 

Poverty is no longer a word defined by Webster's; I've seen its generational reach as it self perpetuates.  It's a Machiavellian assault on the innocents.  I despise the injustices I've seen.  I'm angry at the inequity of life.  And oddly, though the potential exists almost to romanticize the poor, I see God at work in and through these circumstances.  Maybe it's in those who suffer, but maybe it's in those who have the means to relieve the burden. 

If you're a regular RIMD reader, you already know Shannon's a Compassion advocate; now, you've heard some of my storyCompassion International isn't the only child advocacy organization making a difference in children's lives, but it it's the best one I'm aware of.

Look at these kids–they have hope!  Compassion kids are different, you can see it in their eyes (it's always in their eyes…).  We visited four different projects this week and I could see joy…peace…hope in their countenance, something that was noticeably absent in street kids or those wandering villages. 
  

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If you've finally reached the tipping point and are ready to sponsor a child in need and release him from indignity of poverty, please click here and you'll meet children who are waiting to hear from you.  At least click through to learn more.

It might just be the first move in a domino effect that breaks the cycle of poverty in a family forever…

because young girls and old women shouldn't have to bathe in the streets.

Hope

I hope you've heard about the Compassion bloggers over in India this week.  Maybe a little part of you has steered clear of their stories.  It's painful to hear about dying orphans and oppressive poverty.  It might be a little more pleasant to think of that as a problem that is happening Over There, which is certainly Not Here, and it's awful, truly, but there's nothing I can do.

But here's the thing.

Compassion's story is, ultimately, a story of hope.  It's about a problem that is slowly but surely being solved, one child at a time, because people like you opened their eyes to the stories. 

So don't fear clicking on these stories.  When you take them to heart, when you take the plunge and sponsor a child, you've become part of the solution.   

Read on, friends, and do something….

Shaun writes about how the Sparkes family in the UK is changing the life of a 12-year-old Indian girl.

Anne writes about living with less so you can do more.

Robin shows us what real hospitality looks like.

Melissa really delves into what God thinks of the poor.

Pete shares a video that shows you what a Compassion project looks like.

And Angie tells us what it feels like when the Gospel sits in your lap.