I hope for this blog to bring encouragement to those who read it.
Here is a little Saturday extra. I encourage you not to be afraid to take risks.
For many weeks, I have had this blog ready to go. I have dreamed about writing my entire life. I held my writing close, like most things in my life. It took all the courage I could gather to send an email and facebook invitation one week ago to friends and family. I felt so exposed and so worried. I barely slept Saturday night and again on Sunday night. Every day this week I have contemplated taking this all down and pretending it was never here.
That is what I do, venture out small and then scurry back to hiding.
Only now, I realize that would be a life lost. God asks more of me. He asks more of all of us. Not as a burden but as a gift. He has special things for each and every one of us. I love meeting people and listening to their stories. It never ceases to amaze me. God is so creative and so far reaching. He has something unique for all of us, more than we can ask and imagine.
I want to share what God did in my life this week. Every time, without fail, when I felt like going back, someone would write me a note, make a comment, or share something with me that they liked reading. God used you in my life this week.
He is using all of us. That is an exciting life, when we are being used for great things without even knowing it.
Do not be afraid. God is with you.
Leaving the grocery store yesterday, my son, who is four and half, leapt into an enormous puddle. The rain puddle soaked him from his feet all the way to his knees. His jeans were sopping wet. “Oh, man buddy, we still have to pick up the kids from school and you are so wet.” Then a question came to my mind. “Josiah was it worth jumping in that puddle even though you got so wet?”
He gave me a giant smile. “WES!” (He can’t say y’s clearly.)
Some woman’s clothing ties us to memories. They have sentimental value and summon emotional response. These articles of clothing can be difficult to part with. When considering letting go of this type of clothing, consider the need it might fill in someone else’s life.
Giving so others can have the means to make memories or move forward in life is something worth pondering.
Woman who are entering the workforce sometimes need assistance in acquiring professional clothing and accessories. Donating clothing provides woman with the confidence and professionalism to tackle job interviews thus finding work to support their families. Some programs additionally support career development services to equip woman with interviewing skills.
Professional clothing that is often accepted:
Briefcases and portfolios
A good place to begin might be www.dressforsucess.org . Specific guidelines for donations can be further explored.
Prom and Formal Dresses
Donate prom and formal dresses to youth that might not get the opportunity to attend otherwise. www.donatemydress.org offers a directory of local chapters by state. Areas also host dress drives to donate. Different options may be available in your area. Some organizations also host prom and formal dress resale to benefit specific causes.
The cost of having a wedding makes a formal ceremony out of reach financially for some couples. Donating a wedding dress can open a door for a woman that might not be able to otherwise experience that memory. www.bridesagainstbreastcancer.org also provides care and education to families dealing with breast cancer. www.donatemyweddingdress.com features other options for dress donation. Again, opportunities specific to your particular geographic locations may also be available. Having the wedding dress professionally cleaned first, is encouraged. Some non-profits may ask for a donation to cover preparation and processing fees.
Book Reviews: Literature that draws readers into the proximity of renewal.
Jonathon Kozol’s stories remain in readers thoughts long after they are read. His words are sometimes uncomfortable to take in and nudge readers from complacency. His writing is also deeply moving because the stories are authentic. Kozol has traveled the city streets, sat in homes, classrooms, and immersed himself in the people whose stories he tells.
Each one of Jonathon Kozol’s books draw readers into the proximity of renewal. These books are life-changing to read.
Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools focuses on the disparity of resources in public schools in East St. Louis, New York City, Camden, Cincinnati, and Washington D.C.
Rachel and her Children touches on families that encounter homelessness.
Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation looks closely at the Mott Haven district of the South Bronx in New York City.
Other titles by Jonathon Kozol:
Ordinary Resurrections: Children in the Years of Hope
Death at an Early Age
The Shame of a Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America, Letters to a Young Teacher
The Night is Dark and I am Far from Home
Prisoners of Silence: Breaking the Bonds of Adult Illiteracy in America
The Christian Reformed World Relief Committee provides exciting resources for families and children’s groups.
Free-A-Family Giving Project:
My kids really enjoyed this project. A booklet with seven lessons is available.
The lessons talk about family life in developing countries.
Children can learn about how work is being provided for clean water, education, schools,clinics, and churches around the World. A community poster is also included. After each story children can add a sticker to the poster that illustrates the story. We have been adding up money in our giving bank and hope to adopt a family soon.
There are a number of other resources for family projects that cover the topics of clean water, living in hope with AIDS, and literacy.