For the past year I have been in the humblest spaces. Places where no echoes, pathways turn into dead ends, and the silence is never-ending. Somehow in the midst of all those questions and rejection, God gave me the biggest surprise.
I am so excited to share this journey with you. So many of you have supported me from the very beginning. I could not be more thankful for your voices, hearts, and encouragement.
My heart is so happy to be writing something that means so much to me.
And I would love to ask for your voices!
Would you be willing to lend your voices? Here’s how you can help!
Help your kids answer the Kids Talk Justice Questionnaire! You can print it off in PDF, or let me know you are interested and I’ll get a copy to you! You can access them here: elementary/teen questions and young kids questions.
You can lend your voices with one simple question. How do you talk justice with your family?
Sign up for the Talk Justice quarterly newsletter for updates on the right side bar of the website or let me know and I’ll sign you up.
Here is my encouragement to you:
never give up- for God is able to do immeasurable more than we could ask or imagine.
Happy September and start to a new school year. Praying you feel the beauty of a changing season. Here are some talking points for your family to talk about justice together.
Loss and Hope: The children of 9-11 and what they can teach us. More than 3,000 children lost their parent that day. Their stories of loss and hope.
Refugees: I am Syria. A gentle, illustrated look at the reality of Syria and the needs of refugees. Perfect for children.
but in my heart I look ahead to the rebuilding of our cities.
Poverty:Landfill Harmonic a coming documentary about a recycled orchestra born out of a slum alongside a landfill in Cateura, Paraguay. Hope. Watch the trailer here. Ask the members of your family what they are thinking!
Kindness and Innovation: A teen the creates an app called Sit with Us, so no one has to sit alone in the cafeteria.
Our Global World: Follow the Out of Eden Walk from Paul Salopek, a reporter who has set out to retrace our ancestors global migration on foot. He will cover 21,000 miles. The photographs and stories are striking. Follow his travelogue together.
What happens when you become a war refugee? You walk.
Literacy and Education: Emma Watson interviews Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, authors of Half the Sky and A Path Appears.
Today, I want to offer you encouragement. Someday soon, I can tell you about the past six months, all the closed doors, false starts, waiting, questioning, being humbled again and again… and the open doors. The ones that move the slightest bit and leave you stunned.
This is what I know, God cares for us with a gentle, careful love. He always has and always will. Even if we don’t at all see clearly what he is doing in our lives. That in itself is a tremendous thing.
To call you friends is a tremendous thing.
I want to give away three books I read over the summer- as we all free fall into a new season where our calendars expand and responsibilities pile up.
Hand Free Life: 9 Habits for Overcoming Distraction, Living Better, and Loving More by Rachel Macy Stafford
Present-over-Prefect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist
Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time by Brigid Schulte
I pray for you all to be able to slow down this fall season and see the cracks of light streaming through the doors God opens for you.
Leave a comment to be entered to win. Or direct someone over to our Facebook Page if you think they might be encouraged there, let me know to be entered.
How do you practice being present over being perfect?
The kids painted Olympic rings and completed an obstacle course. My parents prepared Olympic gold medals for all our participants.
We were able to support Kids’ Food Basket by decorating one hundred lunch sacks, Holland Rescue Mission with a trunk load of clothing, and $31.00 to The Flint Water Fund. As hard as it is to believe, people in the state Michigan are still struggling to have clean water. It’s a great reminder that when initial news stories die down, there are still people living in that reality.
Refugees: Who loves the Olympics? We sure do! Make sure to keep your eye out for the Refugee Olympic Team. Ten athletes from Sudan, Ethiopia, Syria and the Democratic Republic of Congo will be competing to shed a light on the refugee crisis. Click the link above to watch a short video.
Hunger: To combat food waste Walmart announced it will sell ‘damaged’ fruit at a reduced price. Whole Foods has also offered this to some retailer. Walmart recently estimated that U.S. consumers throw away $29 billion worth of edible food each year. Would you eat fruits and vegetable that did not look perfect, but were still healthy?
Sustainability: One the topic of food waste- a great infographic to break it down and give ideas for making a difference. What can your family implement?
Access to Education: Read this article and talk about opportunity gap with your kids.
Homelessness: Look at the photos of the finalists in the Through Our Eyes photography project, giving voice to the homeless through the lens of a camera. What surprised you?
Living Wage: Check out this infographic about affordable housing on minimum wage.
Kindness: The construction worker who hides a life-size Waldo for children at a nearby hospital to spot each day.
Education: #iwishmyteacherknew started as a project in Kyle Swartz’s third grade classroom. Her book by the same title just released and it’s beautiful encouragement, gives voice to our children and hope to all of us to support students and our teachers.
The kids took their 1st night bags for Hope Pkgs very seriously! My favorite part of this playgroup was how so many kids wanted to take time to show me everything they chose for their bags. Their items were carefully chosen and packed. They understood how special the items inside would be for kids in foster care.
We celebrated kids with bubbles, glitter play dough and we made fabric heart bookmarks to remember to pray for kids in foster care. After we read On the Night You Were Born, the kids also had some parachute and sidewalk chalk fun!
Learn more about the work of Hope Pkgs at their website. Lisa Hoeve and her team are doing amazing work and gaining more and more traction everyday to support kids, organizations and families within the foster care system. You can also follow Hope Pkgs on Facebook and Twitter.
Don’t forget our last summer playgroup coming Monday Evening, August 8 from 6:30- 7:30 pm at Kollen Park. We are going to celebrate the world coming together for the Olympics with three local service projects. We will be supporting Holland Rescue Mission with clothing donations, decorating lunch bags for Kids Food Basket, and donating dollars to The Flint Water Fund. There will also be an epic Olympic obstacle course!
Refugees: Displaced people now surpass 60 million. One in every 113 people have been driven from their home due to violence, persecution, or human rights violations. What do your kids think of that number? Where should those families go?
Girls: #LeanInTogether is a new initiative to encourage leadership in girls. When women support one another great things happen.
On Monday evening we celebrated ACTS! A local ministry led by Jaime Blom who opens her home to kids of the Westcore neighborhood for meals, art, and a giant doses of love. This is the beautiful artwork they brought along to share.
We read the story The Dot about how we all have something beautiful to offer.
The kids made watercolor hearts to remember to love each other.
They also completed a collaborative art project by making a home. The homes were put all together by my friend Janyre. Then we gave the project to ACTS so they can remember it takes a village of love and that we care about them.
Next up: This coming Monday, June 27 at Kollen Park from 6:30-7:30. We will supporting Hope Pkgs which provides first night bags to kids in foster care. We hope to see you there!