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Talk Justice Together November 2017

Happy November!

A month to pause and take time to talk justice together in thanksgiving for all that is hopeful in our world.

Poverty: Tools for childhood trauma from Sesame Street. A new video series gives children tools for dealing with traumatic experiences whether a natural disaster or abuse, neglect, mental illness or poverty.

Poverty: When a kindergartener secures milk for her entire classroom. #bethechange

Clean Water: 11-year-old Gitanjali Rao invents a better, faster way to test lead levels in drinking water in response to the Flint Water Crisis. Dream big.

Refugees: A Doctors Without Borders exhibit called “Flee from Home” uses virtual reality and 360-degree video to share the story of refugees. A Syrian artist and architect build dioramas out of suitcases to bring awareness to the homes refugees leave behind.

Health Care: A National Geographic Report on the importance of vaccinations for developing nations.

Creation Care: Have you ever wondered how climate change actually affects people? Learn about how climate change impacts women and girls on the island of Fiji. Take time to view these stunning photographs of how climate change affects families around the world.

Access to Education: Lal Chandra Pandey started a rebellion to stop child marriage and open up access to education for girls like herself in Nepal.

Hunger: Food insecurity and health. 

Disability: How Ikea is opening up inclusive play for children around the world with their campaign “Let’s Play for Change.”

Clean Water and Sanitation: Did you know November 19 is World Toilet Day? 

As you plan your Christmas shopping don’t forget November 28, 2017, is Giving Tuesday!

What did your family talk about this month? We can’t wait to hear your insights! 

 

Meet Jessica Ronne

For those wishing for a different answer…

For those who have asked why…

For those who have cradled heartbreak and felt shattered dreams…

For those who hope through pain…

 

Meet Jessica Ronne, author of the memoir Sunlight Burning at Midnight.

As a young mother, Jessica faces the terminal diagnosis of her son. Choosing life, a son Lucas is born with a life-changing disability. His name meaning, “bringer of light.”

A few years later, Jessica’s husband Jason is diagnosed with a Glioblastoma brain tumor.

After six years of marriage, she becomes a widow with four children.

Jessica’s shares her journey with honesty. Her story is beautiful because she allows readers into her heart, the pain and the hope alike. She doubts, wrestles and pleads. She clings to her faith and the God she knows to be good. We are assured that not having all the answers can be a holy response.

In the end, two stories of heartbreak are made into something beautiful, something as unexpected as sunlight burning at midnight.

Isaiah 61:3 And provide for those who grieve in Zion- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”

 

Visit Jessica at Jess Plus the Mess or via social media on Facebook or Instagram. Her family’s adventures and her unwavering faith are an encouragement to all who follow her journey.

Comment below to be entered to win a copy of Sunlight Burning at Midnight.

How do you hang onto faith in hard times? 

A Farewell to Apathy

The last few weeks I have wanted to sink into a bed of apathy and remain there. I would pull the covers over my head and stay quiet, safe and warm.

I think many of us are feeling stress, fatigue, worry, even anger right now. There is so much going on around us. Beyond political strife, there are natural disasters, violence, and hate. All these take a toll on our hearts.

Over the past nine months, I have been a part of a Be the Bridge small group. Our small group discusses racial reconciliation from a Biblical perspective.

The gospel is justice come to life. Latasha Morrison

Founded by Latasha Morrison, Be the Bridge seeks to equip bridge builders with resources, vision, and skills for racial unity. Start here for powerful readings on white privilege, white allies, racial injustice, and education and history.

One of the first things we learned in our Be the Bridge small group is that reconciliation and unity are a hard and messy work.

To reach this goal, we must be willing to remain in tension, be uncomfortable, and not always be right.

A simple, yet powerful way to do this is to listen.

Be kind to yourself- we don’t know what we don’t know. When we do know though, we are responsible for what we do with that knowledge.

I’m excited to share that one of the chapters of Kids Talk Justice is race and our call to be allies of one another.

When we most want to embrace apathy, the greater the time in history to say farewell.

We pray God would guide us in this work. To put over all things LOVE. It is then we have expansive hope.

How can you be a bridge builder in your corner of the world? 

Talk Justice Together October 2017 Edition

Happy Fall! Here are ten ways to talk justice together this month:

Electricity: The difference something as small as electricity makes.

Hunger: Eliminating food deserts with the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network.

Hunger: Using coalitions, strategy, and thoughtfulness to bridge the hunger gap in NYC with culturally appropriate foods. What do you think of these innovative ideas?

Climate: Seventeen questions and answers worth a read. Learn more about the changing climate and creation care.

Education and Girls: Thanks for this great find Amy Sullivan! An eight-year-old entomologist– with access to education we can all reach our dreams!

Disability: A theme park designed for people with disabilities. Gordon Hartman created the “world’s first ultra-accessible theme park” for his daughter Morgan. What parts of the theme park stand out to you?

Refugees: Thirty-seven photographs of the refugee crisis. The most striking part? These are from a 2015 article… they could just as well be from 2017. The refugee crisis stretches on with further suffering. How can we make a difference?

Literacy: The Echo Refugee Library– a mini-van bringing access to the displaced.

Film: Three documentaries that will change the way your children see the world. Have you watched any with your family?

Race: A photographer recreates the 1,400-mile route along the Underground Railroad. Through Darkness to Light. 

How will your family Talk Justice this October? 

Proximity

 

A week ago, I submitted my rewrites for Kids Talk Justice. I wrote and edited like a madwoman for the twelve weeks of summer. Everywhere. It was the hardest work of my life. In the late hours of the night, I wrestled with words.

These topics are not easy, made more complicated by the difficulties facing our nation.

I expect the next round of edits to be equally hard. This is my promise and prayer, I will not give up.

Proximity is essential in our lives.

We need it now more than ever. So much has happened.

There is so much hurt and unkindness. So many fractures.

I promise to keep listening. Wrestling. Struggling. I would do it over again because sometimes the most important things are the hardest.

Like this photograph, sometimes the most important things are simple too.

A response.

A drawing close.

A prayer for changed hearts.

A seeking of justice.

A call to never give up.

Summer Talk Justice Events

We are so excited for Summer Talk Justice 2017!

Tuesday, July 25 from 6:30-7:30 pm
at Benjamin’s Hope (located at 15468 Riley St.)

Benjamin’s Hope is a community where everyone belongs. The residents will be welcoming us to learn about the mission of Benjamin’s Hope, play lawn games, show us their garden and barn, and share popsicles.

This is a wonderful way for us to support adults with developmental disabilities and build community.

We can bless Benjamin’s Hope by bringing:
*Paper Products (toilet paper, paper towel, Kleenex)
*Bubbles
*Simple Puzzles (50 pc. less)
*Coloring Books and Crayons

Tuesday, August 1 from 6:30-7:30 pm 
at Kollen Park (area east of the public restrooms) 

Supporting Health Care and Childhood Cancer through
Alex’s Lemonade Stand and Ronald McDonald House of Western Michigan. 

We will read about Alex’s Lemonade Stand’s story, share lemonade, make a community prayer braid and play together!

We can bless these organizations by bringing:
$1.00 per family for Alex’s Lemonade Stand

for Ronald McDonald House of Western Michigan
(most needed items)
*paper towels
*Clorox Wipes
*children’s toys

We would be so honored if you would join us! Grab a group and come make a difference!

Keep updated at our Facebook Event Page. 

 

Kids Talk Justice May Edition

Let’s talk justice together as we move into summer! Congratulations to all who conquered another school year, not for the faint of heart!

Hunger: When a Grandmother’s gift multiplies. How does educating others play a role in the success of this business that gives back? 

Clean Water: Have you checked out Use it Wisely with your family? Over 100 ideas to conserve water in your home.

Education: In Pakistan, 88,000 child brick laborers are given access to school. What do you think of that number of children working in harsh conditions?

Refugees: The refugee crisis in Europe is reviving churches. Are those that fear refugees missing an opportunity?

Human Trafficking: Children on the move as unaccompanied refugees are at a heightened risk for being trafficked. #childrenuprooted

Restorative Justice: A modern day Harriet Tubman. A truly extraordinary story of redemption and a call to look at the prison system through new eyes.

Poverty: Check out this photo essay of the women and children of Chad. How does exploring a new place and culture expand our sense of justice?

Homelessness and Sustainability: A refugee makes homes and provides jobs from recycled plastic bottles. What do you think of this creative practice?

Creation Care: Mangroves in Madagascar, what do you think of their ideas to protect the new trees?

Poverty: The real people facing budget cuts to Meals on Wheels, homeless shelters, and rural water development. Everyone has a story.

How did you talk justice this month? 

 

 

Hold Fragile Hope

I love Susie Finkbeiner’s writing, because her stories don’t portray life to be glossy perfection.

The endings do not tie life up with a fancy bow.

Her characters struggle. They navigate difficult times. Answers do not come easily. Faith is tested.

Somehow her words continue to hold fragile hope.

Seemed to me the God who hung the stars and spread the waters over the earth could do something so small as that.”

We live in a time that could be looked back upon as a trying period. I think we can learn so much from the voice of Pearl.

Hers was a song of hope.”

A Trail of Crumbs is the sequel to A Cup of Dust. Narrator Pearl Spence, knows enough loss to fill a lifetime. Her family has lived through the Dust Bowl and now navigates The Great Depression. In the midst of loss they leave Oklahoma for Michigan. As they establish a new home, everything Pearl knew shifts and settles uncertainly.

The storyline follows all the members of her family and how they face grief, transition and change differently.

 

Learn more about her work and previous books at susiefinkbeiner.com. The third book in the series A Song of Home releases February 2018 and takes place during the Swing Era.

If you love book recommendations, follow Susie’s ever-growing bookshelf on Instagram.

Leave a comment to win a copy of A Trail of Crumbs.

How do you hold onto hope during hard times? 

When Facebook Disappears

About three months ago, in a matter of minutes, everything changed. My Facebook account was hacked, a steady stream of messages poured into my inbox. As I went to report the security breach, my account was suddenly disabled. Three months later, I still have no access to my personal or writing page. Despite filing numerous appeals and contacting the Better Business Bureau I am still locked out.

I was in the midst of finishing my manuscript and threw myself into that work. Now, that I have met that deadline I am left considering what I have lost and what I have gained since Facebook disappeared.

What I have lost:

Facebook has become such a huge part of our lives, there is a pervading space of disconnection I feel. I wonder what announcement I have missed and what I don’t know. I miss encouraging others. I like affirming others and caring for them through struggles. I can still do this, but I am missing a large group of loved ones and friends that I don’t get to see on a daily basis.

I have lost a number of sweet friends that have supported me in my writing journey through my writing page. Something so valuable I fear it’s forever lost. How will I find them back? For a writer, that page is essential and mine is gone.

So many groups find their home on Facebook. We communicate through the group feature and that connection has been lost as well. The learning, supporting, and communication is very missed.

What I have gained:

A great deal of headspace. I feel open. A steady stream of information is not constantly entering my mind. I’ve had freedom to focus on things intentionally. Something that can be a great distraction has been completely removed.

I have been spared a great deal of heartache. Watching people argue makes my heart hurt. I hate conflict and watching it play out online makes me terribly unsettled. After the election, I had been feeling a great deal of sadness. There was so much unkindness emerging in new and surprising ways. Largely, I was able to miss much of that.

Facebook is perhaps like so many other things in our lives good in moderation and when used to affirm, uplift and connect. In the days ahead I have to decide whether to begin a new account, essentially starting over. Or I can continue waiting, praying and hoping what was taken will be restored. I pray that no matter what happens, God will protect what has already been build with About Proximity and our important work with Kids Talk Justice.

Know that I miss so many of you that I primarily interacted with in that space.

I would never abandon you, I just don’t quite know how to find my way back yet.

Kids Talk Justice April Edition

How can you talk justice together this month?

Hunger: Take the Waste It or Take It Quiz with your family. For every quiz taken a meal it donated through Feeding America.

Education: Scroll through pictures of girls attending school all around the world. Access = Hope.

Innovation: In Lagos, Nigeria tricycles provide a vehicle for recycling and income for wecyclers.

Literacy: Explore photographs of readers around the world because literacy opens up doors.

Conflict and Refugees: The pebble artwork of Nizar Ali Badr depicting the war in Syria and the journey of refugees. What makes these images so moving? What do they teach us about war and displacement? 

Creation Care: Practice the art of enough. Read the article together and pick one of the challenges to try as a family.

Elderly: Sign a petition to save funding for Meals on Wheels fighting hunger for the elderly. Talk about why the elderly are a vulnerable people group.

Health Care and Recycling: Unused hotel soap bars are recycled into new soap used by NGOs and organizations like the Red Cross to promote health care globally. What do you think? 

Conflict: Photographs out of Syria continue to break out hearts. Consider the work of The White Helmets and The Preemptive Love Coalition.

Restorative Justice and Everyday Heroes: An everyday hero fighting for hope and justice that restores.