"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

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.