"He has showed you, oh man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8 NIV

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Love Thy Neighbor

I have been thinking a lot about this word, compassion.

I have been thinking about how it seems to sometimes be easier to be compassionate from afar

than it is within our own 1 mile radius.

I have been thinking about those in our lives that are tough to love - those that hurt us, annoy us, offend us, wrong us.

The thing is, I believe compassion is really a discipline. And as such, it means that it is something that takes work, takes time, and is something we need to be actively practicing on a regular basis.

And most likely, it is going to be tough. It is going to require forgiveness on our part sometimes. It is going to require courage, as we are going to find ourselves feeling uncomfortable.

If I am going to sustain my heart for social justice and have an active role in advocacy, for a lifetime, I must be able to first and foremost show compassion to those I encounter in my daily life. And as a mom, it is even more important that my daughters see this compassion flowing out of me onto others.

So, as we head into a season of Thanksgiving, consider offering an olive branch. Consider reaching out to someone in your life that is not easy for you to love. Consider doing it with humility, showing compassion freely without wanting anything in return - even if you "deserve" it.

Think of a very tangible way to act on it between now and Thanksgiving.

Let's do it together.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Halloween and the Cocoa Bean Industry

Halloween is upon us. And as such, the chocolate industry is banking on the fact that Americans are going to buy their weight in Snickers, Butterfingers, Mounds, Kit Kats, Reeses peanut butter cups, and on and on we go.

Now, if you love these chocolate bars and do not want to part with them, you may not want to read any further.

But I am guessing, that if you have come to this blog, you are most likely someone who would rather know the truth, act compassionately in response to that knowledge, and come up with some creative alternatives for changing the way you "do" Halloween.

The International Labor Forum states the following:

Thousands of children in West Africa are forced to labor in the production of cocoa, chocolate’s primary ingredient. The West African nation of Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) is the leading supplier of cocoa, accounting for more than 40% of global production. Low cocoa prices and thus the need for lower labor costs drive farmers to employ children as a means to survive. The US Department of State estimates that more than 109,000 children in Cote d’Ivoire’s cocoa industry work under “the worst forms of child labor,” and that some 10,000 are victims of human trafficking or enslavement.

Here are a couple more articles I recommend reading::

The first article gives you some great ideas for how to seek out some alternatives for what you purchase to pass out on Halloween, as well as very tangible ways to take action against child slave labor.

This is what my family has decided to do:

1. We are going to go to Trader Joe's and get what our budget can afford of organic lollipops. We will pass them out until they are gone, and then we are done and the porch light goes out.

2. We are going to let our daughters trick-or-treat, knowing full well they will be getting candy that is a result of child slave labor. My daughters will then trade that candy into me for either a toy, or they can pick out some Fair Trade candy at the store.

3. We will take their candy to one of our local businesses who send it off to our soldiers. And the money they make off this candy by trading it in goes into their "give to charity" envelope.

This is a realistic game plan for my family. Is it perfect? Certainly not, and there may come a time when my family might choose not to trick-or-treat and instead, throw a party.

I am sharing our family's game plan because I am aware that being committed to social justice issues as a family can be daunting, and as Gary Haugen of IJM says, as Americans, we go from "oblivion to the paralysis of despair."

The purpose of this blog is to encourage and empower families to make a difference in very informed and tangible ways.

We wish you a safe and slave labor-free Halloween.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy Interdependence Day!

My friend, Shane, wrote this article below. It is beautifully written and even has some concrete ideas as to how to implement this idea of Interdependence Day.

I encourage you to read it, maybe even twice, and see which one of the ideas listed might be something you and your family can do together.

Hope you all have a wonderful Interdependence Day weekend!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Back-2-School Pack

I know, I know. It is summer. Why in the WORLD am I talking about school?!?! Well, let's just say that in this case, I think it is a great idea to start early.

World Relief (whom our church does collaborative work with in the form of World Relief NEXT) is ramping up a very cool program called "Back-2-School Packs".

The concept is probably not that unfamiliar to a lot of people who have participated in Operation Christmas Child (http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/occ/) and since we all know how meaningful that is to do with our kids, here is yet another fantastic way in which to engage in compassion WITH your children!

Here is an excerpt from the web site::

Fikret was 6 when men with guns came to his home and loaded his older 
brother and father into a truck. He never saw them again.

Farah was 8 when a bomb blew up next to her and her Mom as they ran. 
Farah survived.
Her Mom did not.

Joseph was 5. He remembers the refugee camp most of all, but he also 
remembers waking up in his mud hut to the sounds of distant gunfire and 
the cries of his Mother as she ran into the bush with him on her back.

Refugee children like these arrive in the United States every 
year-seeking safety, peace and a new place to call home.

They come from very different places and cultures. They feel different 
than the other kids in their neighborhood and schools.

You can give them the tools they need to succeed AND help them fit in 
with their classmates.

The gift of one backpack for one refugee child can make all the 
difference in the world.

You can change the life of one refugee child, one backpack at a time.


I don't know about you, but these stories affect me




And perhaps you, too, are learning as I am that as a parent, I need to not only be affected emotionally, I need to be affected right into action. The best gift I can give to my children is a legacy of love in action through compassion.

So, I am marking my calendar, starting the beginning of August, to start hitting up Target and Wal-Mart for their back-to-school sales. My goal is to put together 10 backpacks to take down to CA at the end of September, where a local drop off center is. World Relief's web site gives you step-by-step instructions as to how to go about preparing a pack. Make sure you follow the instructions, as packs that do not follow the guidelines will not be sent. Click here for the information you need: http://worldrelief.org/Page.aspx?pid=2524

And if you live here in Bend, join me and I will drop off yours as well. Or better yet - let's BECOME a drop off center ourselves. More to come on that...

And if you do not have the time to put together these packs, or you do not have access to a drop off center, you can still be involved! Click on this link to donate: https://worldrelief.org/SSLPage.aspx?pid=2522

Lastly, here is one story I am sure you are not likely to forget.


Enjoy your summer!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

World Cup in South Africa

Thousands of women and girls (as young as 6 years old) are being trafficked to South Africa, as we speak, to "serve" tourists who have arrived for the World Cup, which kicks off today.

It is so disheartening. It is so frightening and despairing, that many of us do not even want to go there - we do not want to think about it. I get it. I have two daughters.

And as people of faith, this is where our title as such comes to bear - do we really have faith? Do we really believe that we can each make a difference? An impact? Anything?

Here are some suggestions:

1. Start praying in a knowledgeable fashion. What I mean is this: start reading some articles, as difficult as that may be, and stop and pray as you read as the Spirit leads. And follow up with reading Scripture as well. Pray over the verses that God leads you to as a follow-up to those articles, and again, let the Spirit lead you in prayer. Do this somewhere where you are not distracted by kids. Even if you can do this just once a week, I believe, in faith, your prayers will make a huge difference.

2. Check back at this blog every few days. I am going to continue to post links to articles myself, as well as any other relevant ways we can take action, such as writing to leaders of influence in South Africa, or other agencies that can make an impact based on our participation collectively.

3. Do NOT allow yourself to succumb to fear...especially those of you who are mothers. We worry enough already, but this topic alone brings up so much angst and fear in relation to our families - especially in relation to our daughters, nieces. Fear is NOT of God. Being aware, talking to your children about how to be aware themselves - that is responsible parenting. But do not let yourself succumb to fear. Again - is is NOT of God.

4. Share. Take the time to share this information with others. Pray for these women and children in your small groups, over coffee with a friend, at a men's breakfast. Get the word out.

Here are some articles to get you started. May God reign over the World Cup in South Africa.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Kyron Horman

A boy has gone missing in Portland, Oregon. As most of you know, Portland is currently ranked #1 in human trafficking in the United States.

PLEASE, please help in the following ways:

1. Post his information on your social networking pages - Facebook, MySpace, email.

2. Consider posting fliers.

3. Should you see a child you think might be Kyron, DO NOT engage him or anyone with him and DO NOT try to intervene. Instead, please call the hotline at 503-261-2847 IMMEDIATELY.

4. Pray, pray, pray and get others to pray for the safe return of this boy.


Get Involved This Summer!

It is beginning to look a lot like summer around here. I love summer. I love the IDEA of summer - lazy days, water, picnics, vacations, more sleep, no schedule. The REALITY of summer hits me about July 1st. All of the sudden, there is a lot of planning happening. All of the sudden there are swim lessons, play dates, packing for vacation, unpacking and laundry after vacation, kids who are "bored" and want to be entertained, and the list goes on and on and on...

Summer is also a time of great opportunity for families to get involved in local and international missional work. Now is a good time to get that built into your summer, if you have not already. Here are some ideas:

1. Family-friendly mission trips: It is typical for a parent to send their teen/college student on a mission trip in the summer. One thought is to consider going WITH your child. Yes, there is the whole embarrassment factor, but this is such a great way to see your child in a very different venue and vice versa. It is a great way to set up a lifelong love of compassion for others and for you both to learn about another culture and how we can be a voice and advocate on the behalf of those who need it.

And if your children are younger, this does not mean you cannot be involved. Find out what your summer missions teams need. Get your children involved in creative fundraising on behalf of your missions team, host a mission team meeting in your home and have your kids help prepare snacks, find out if you and your kids can shop for any needs (like first aid items or school supplies) to gather for the missions team to take with them. And then, use these times as teachable moments to engage your kids about missions, about the geography and culture of where the missions team is going, etc.

2. Homeless: There are numerous ways to get involved with your local homeless community with your kids. Here are just a few suggestions, but it is always a good idea to check in with local organizations who work with the homeless (shelters, food banks) to see what specific needs can be met.
a. Brown bag lunches: Prepare brown bag lunches with your kids for the homeless, put them in a red wagon, and head for a local homeless hangout to pass them out. Have your kids color a picture or write a note and stick it in each lunch.
b. Cook a meal as a family for a local shelter. Oftentimes shelters welcome meals being prepared and delivered for dinner one night. This is also a great one to do with your small group, or another family or two. Just make sure you check with a shelter first.
c. Neighborhood canned food collection: Call your local food bank and see what they need. Have your kids create a flier stating when they will come back and collect the canned foods the shelter says they need and pass it around the neighborhood. Come back to collect and have your child leave a thank you note.

3. Ronald McDonald House: Our family knows from personal experience that summer is an extremely busy time for Pediatrics at hospitals. Most major surgeries, organ transplants, chemotherapy sessions happen in the summer when kids are out of school. Check with your local Ronald McDonald House and see what their needs might be this summer. If you live near a hospital, you might even want to call and see if you can reach the person in charge of activities for Pediatrics to find out if there is a need for art supplies, children's books, DVDs, etc.

4. Toy & Clothing Drives/ Garage Sales: Summer is also a great time for instigating a local drive of some kind - again, very fun to do with multiple families. Check with local charities and see what their needs are, and then go for it! :)

If nothing else, I hope this gets you thinking about how you might be able to use this summer as a time for your family to grow together in compassion for others.

Enjoy your summer together!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


If you have not already heard, Craigslist is right on schedule to increase its revenue by 22%. And do you know where that revenue comes from? Sex ads, and even more specifically, the prostituting of minors.

So, here are some ways you can take action::

1. Facebook and twitter this article:

2. Go here and complain:

3. Or here (or both):

4. Boycott Craigslist and let them and others know why.

5. Start praying for Craig Newmark and others at Craigslist - that they might understand the ramifications of such ads and instead, use their site to bring about justice (as happened to the Gambino family).

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

It is always good to see attention drawn to the atrocity of human trafficking so that we collectively can do something about it.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

What to Do, What to Do

One statement I often hear from parents of young children is as follows: " I am so overwhelmed already. I watch the news and it all seems so hopeless. I can barely keep up with my life as it is! I am exhausted and do not even know where to start to find ways to help my children learn compassion and how to truly 'Love Thy Neighbor' ".

Our hope is that this blog will be such a resource for you and your family. Our hope is that this blog is a resource for anyone who wants to put social justice into practice.

It is kind of like a one of those all-inclusive TravelStop Centers when you are on a major highway. I always love to stop at these places. In one stop, I can use the restroom, grab lunch, purchase a new CD of all my favorite 80's hits, and procure some gum claiming to bring mountain-top minty freshness to my mouth.

To start, here are some very tangible, real ways you can incorporate compassion-minded practices into your home.

1. Purchase the book, Operation World. This book is updated and published every year. It contains 365 days' worth of information on what is happening around the world and how you can pray for that particular country or city's issue that particular day. It also contains many facts and figures on countries which help you and your children to be able to pray more effectively and expand your Biblical worldview.

2. Oatmeal Night :: I received this idea from a friend, Dave McIrath, who runs the Ethiopian Guest House in Addis Ababa where we stayed while picking up our daughter. He and his family have oatmeal every Thursday night. And while doing so, they talk about what is happening in the Third World - Ethiopia in particular. And then they pray - as a family - for the particular needs for that week.

3. Homeless kits :: We keep kits in our car. They are usually a large ziploc bag, or a backpack that we got on clearance. Inside, we shop as a family and put the following:: small toothpaste and toothbrush, coupons for McDonalds, soap, socks, powerbars, bandaids, wipes, etc., a business card for a local shelter, and Bella draws a picture to put in. When we see someone on the street, she or I hands this kit to the person.

4. Meals:: Often, we come across people in our community who need a meal. And often, we moms are the ones to prepare the meal! Next time, include your children in the shopping and preparation of the meal. When it is ready, have your child(ren) add some artwork and pray together for the family and their needs. then, deliver it together.

5. Humane Society:: This may seem like an odd one, but one piece of social justice is Creation Care. One very tangible way for children to learn about their responsibility in caring for this world God entrusted to us is in relation to animals. Kids love animals. Often, the Humane Society welcomes kids coming and volunteering to help with their furry patrons.

6. Your Neighborhood:: In this day and age, we know very little about our neighbors. Start thinking and praying about how you might, as a family, reach out to your neighborhood. Some ideas: a spring/summer backyard BBQ, baking cookies together for neighbors that are on your heart and perhaps are particularly difficult, inviting a neighbor for dinner or Saturday brunch, putting on a neighborhood garage sale for a local charity, and on and on it goes...

7. Become Familiar with Your Local Charities :: I just know this one sounds tiring, because it requires doing some research. Again, no pressure, here. But most often your kids' schools and your place of worship are involved with charities and NPO groups. Most often, there are ways you as a family can help these organizations. Talk with them. And get creative! :)

Hopefully, those are some places that you can begin to explore in your journey to rise compassion-minded kids.

Perhaps with all that is going on in the media right now, you are wondering what in the world this term SOCIAL JUSTICE is all about.

Stay tuned.

Our next post is going to explore this term and how stinkin' Biblical it really is!


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Half the Sky

Tonight, two of my girlfriends and I are going to see the film based on the novel, Half the Sky. I am really excited about it. This novel was very empowering to me - especially as a mom of daughters-more on that later.

This movies is showing today only at local theaters throughout the U.S. If you can possibly make it, I really believe you will not be sorry you did.

In the meantime, here is a link for you to get acquainted with the novel, the cause, and the authors.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

"Thanks for Understanding"

A couple of weeks ago while at Disneyland with my daughter, I stood behind a lovely mom and her son. They looked like any other family at Disneyland - laden with backpacks, sunglasses, tennis shoes, sunscreen, and smiles. However, I noticed the son had a large green circular sticker just under his left shoulder blade on his back. The sticker read as follows::

" I am Autistic.
Thanks for understanding."

This really made an impression on me.

To be quite honest, my immediate reaction was to feel sorry for this poor kid and I thought of a few parents I had met that very day who should have had stickers on them that said something to the effect "I am an impatient a-hole. Thanks for understanding".

As I have mulled it over more and more, I wonder if we should not all be wearing stickers such as this boy's.

Perhaps if we admitted those things that keep us from being in community, those things that are our very own social "hang-ups", then perhaps we could move forward more quickly.

And in thanking one another for undrstanding, we might very well encourage extending grace to one another.

So, welcome to my blog.

My name is Carrie.
I am opinionated.
I am stubborn.
I am sometimes more abrasive than I mean to be.
I am emotional.

Thanks for understanding.