make a difference

36 Hope Expands: Wearing a Path Thin

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I came across this on accident last week, when researching an article.

Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the “Beloved.”

We are made to believe that self-deprecation is a virtue, called humility. But humility is in reality the opposite. It is the grateful recognition that we are precious in God’s eyes and that all we are is a pure give. 

We must grow beyond self-rejection 

(From Henri J.M. Nouwen, Bread for the Journey)

diving board

How would it feel to do this? Grow beyond…

I imagine it feeling like being completely naked.

Like having no idea who I was anymore.

Probably everyone hating my guts.

 

I have to do it, if I want my hope to expand. If I want to be an instrument to expand hope in others, I have to let it go.

I am reading Nicolas Kristof and Sherly WuDunn’s new book, A Path AppearsA film of the same title, will premier on PBS January 26, 2015.

“HOPE IS LIKE A PATH IN THE COUNTRYSIDE. ORIGINALLY, THERE IS NOTHING – BUT AS PEOPLE WALK THIS WAY AGAIN AND AGAIN, A PATH APPEARS.”

—LU XUN, CHINESE ESSAYIST, 1921

 

The enemy wants us to waste our time in self-rejection, worrying in circles, being ineffective.

I want to walk hope, away from my self-depreciation and worry and into life.

I want a path to appear for people because I kept walking it.

What path are you going to wear thin? How can you grow beyond self rejection? 

 

 

poured without restraint

sprinkleExtravagant Sprinkles.

poured without restraint.

 

This season…

May we give extravagant love.

poured without restraint.

ridiculously implausible.

simple and beautiful.

 

I want this. Not crazy busy. Not picture perfect.

Just extravagant love poured without restraint.

It is what God gave us.

cmHow does your family pour out love to others during this Christmas season? 

Students Speak Thanksgiving

Students Speak Thanksgiving! 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFelix- Age 2

Thankful for “mommy, me, and daddy”

IMG_3225Evan 10, Dannan 7, and Kellen 4 with their thankful lists!

thanksAmelia (our friend Diane from Australia’s daughter!) is thankful for everything in the whole wide world!

Bella likes her new wheelsAndrew and Barbara Budek-Schmeisser provide sanctuary for rescued dogs. “One of these is Bella, whom we found drowning in a ditch, her back broken. Now she has a safe place, lots of pals, and a wheelchair. I’m sure she’s thankful, but I am perhaps more thankful for her, because she came and showed life and spirit at a time when my heart was heavy, and my hope dimming. For her – and for all the others – we are truly thankful.”

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A great list from M- age 5!

IMG_20131124_172259Another great list from E- age 7.  M and E’s  Mom is a kindred spirit in teaching families to serve!

Thanks so much for these special reminders of what is important! What are you thankful for?

# Giving Tuesday

tues#GivingTuesday opens up conversation about giving back, giving smarter, and giving deeper, not just during the holiday season, but EVERY DAY!

Visit the #GivingTuesday website to catch up on news and see the stats from last year! Giving Tuesday made a difference in its first year, we hope for it to continue to deepen our call to give.

 

Want to be inspired~ read How We Give a feature of the website, sharing stories of partner organizations.

In the midst of a busy holiday season how do you give back? 

giving tues

Some Groovy, Cool, Tight Stuff

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I was going to call this “cool things,” but I thought I better go with a more hip word. Which led me to all kinds of websites with slang words for awesome… like wicked= not evil, but wicked cool. Instead, I got kind of confused. I still use “cool” a lot and because I am thirty-four that might not be so cool.

Did you know in hip-hop culture if you are “trill” you are well-respected. The urban dictionary is endlessly fascinating to me… I guess that makes me old and nerdy.

Here is your tight proximity stuff:

 

1. Jeff Goin’s Slow Down Challenge:

Jeff Goin’s is a fantastic writer with a heart for others. Join him in his Slow Down Challenge here.  He’s a writer to follow and the reviews of his book The In-Between are fantastic. When you sign up for his newsletter you also get two free e-books Wrecked for the Ordinary and The Writer’s Manifesto. 

 

2. Shot@Life’s Partnership with Walgreens:

Shot@Life is teaming up with Walgreens for this flu season. Click here to learn more about Get a Shot. Give a Shot.

Get a flu shot at Walgreens and they will donate a life-saving vaccine to global children.

 

3. A new CausePub Project: 

Couch Rebels gathered stories about making a difference to provide water through Blood Water Mission.

A New Life Within, will gather stories about motherhood that will help new mothers through the Gabriel Network. Learn more about writing a submission and supporting the project here.

 

4. Did you know our friend Amy Sullivan is the SERVE editor over at Bibledude.net. 

She posts on Thursday each week with topics about serving. It’s a great place to be challenged, encouraged, and join discussions about making a difference.

 

5. Thursday Facebook Giveaway’s at About Proximity:

I want to give back to you! Thursday’s are going to be giveaway day at About Proximity’s Facebook Page. I have some great stuff planned; like gifts that give back, kids making a difference and LOTS and LOTS of books! The first four weeks will be Living Simply so you can Give More. If you have friends or family member’s that would like our content encourage them to like the facebook page. I post only once a day and love to widen our community! The more voices to make a difference the better!

This is Why We Love

this is why

The things my heart love, have a way of humbling me.

I don’t know why that is the case, maybe it is the way God designed me to breath.

 

I pick things that are humbling. I don’t mean to do this, it just happens. When I think I can’t be humbled any more, the next facet of my journey arrives and I’m down on my knees again.

Kneel. I had no idea how appropriate my one word for this year would be.

I can get really discouraged and worried. This humbling has a way of softening my heart back up again. It quiets my raging fears, and brings me back to what is important. It must be a way that God speaks to me.

 

And then this passage from The Message in the twelfth chapter of Corinthians:

The body {of Christ} is not made up of one part but many… 

PicMonkey Collage

If anything you have more concern for the lower parts than the higher.

PicMonkey Collage (1)This is why we place ourselves in the proximity of renewal…

To see ourselves as significant, but also a part of the bigger picture,

A bigger picture, where we are linked to every other part.

 

This is why we kneel.

This is why we love everyone, the people that society wants us to see and those it does not.

 

What do you think? You know I LOVE your comments 🙂 

15 Kids Books about Equal Access to Education

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15 Books for you to read with your family about equal education opportunities. The film Girl Rising shines a spotlight on the present-day challenges to equal education opportunities. These challenges have been and continue to be an obstacle for young people around the world.

download (2)

Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afgahnistan. [Jeanette Winter]. Nasreen attends a secret school for girls in Afghanistan. (6-9)

download (3)With the Might of Angels. [Andrea Davis Pickney]. From the Dear America series, a diary about the Civil Rights Movement. (8 and up)

download (4)

Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Maker’s Strike of 1909. [Michelle Markel]. Clara worked in a sewing factory as a child and still fought for her right to an education. [Preschool and up].

download (5)

Miss Dorothy and her BookMobile. [Gloria Housten].  Dorothy brings books to children in rural North Carolina. [4 and up]

download (6)The Hard-Times Jar. [Ethel Footman Smothers].  Emma and her family are migratory workers, she works to purchase her own store bought volume of a book.  [Kindergarten and up].

download (7)Waiting for the Biblioburro. [Monica Brown]. A traveling library through rural Columbia. [Kindergarten and up].

download (8)Walking to School. [Eve Bunting]. A story from Northern Ireland. [Kindergarten and up].

download (9)I Have a Right to be a Child. [Alain Serres]. What it means to be a child with rights. [Preschool and up].

download (12)Virgie Goes to School with Us Boys. [Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard]. Equal access for education between girls and boys. [Kindergarten and up].

download (13)Red Bird Sings. [Q.L. Pearce]. Zitkala-Sa’s struggle in white boarding school and her love of music. [Ages 8 and up].

download (14)Waiting fr the Owl’s Call. [Gloria Whelan]. The story of Zulviya and child labor in Afghanistan. [Ages 6 and up].

download (15)That Book Woman. [Heather Henson]. Pack horse librarians in the Appalachian Mountains. [Kindergarten and up].

download (16)A Bus of Our Own. [Freddi Williams Evans]. Mable Jean wants to know why the black students don’t have a bus of their own. [Ages 6-10].

download (17)Alia’s Mission. [Mark Alan Stamaty]. Saving the book of Iraq, in graphic novel form. [Kindergarten and up].

download (18)The Year of Miss Agnes. [Kirkpatrick Hill]. A teacher is committed in rural Alaska. [Ages 8 and up].

Have you read any of these books? Which ones spark your interest for family reading? 

#impactwithcrafts

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Last week Amy Sullivan and I revealed the first issue of our quarterly ezine Impact!

Impact with Crafts: Click Here to check it out. 

 

I would love to feature you on About Proximity as you try any of the ideas in our ezine!

Get crafty, get giving, and drop me a note about it! We’ll work together to put into a post.

 

This weekend, I tried the project from More Love Letters.

The World Needs More Love Letters

Now that is a true statement.

At the above website, I clicked on love letter requests. This describes nominated people to receive a love letter bundle. You write a letter, mail it, and they are bundled together to be delivered to the recipient.

 

Such a simple act to a stranger, an act of love.

We choose a girl who is struggling and has been dismissed from school. Nominated by her Mom, she is hurting and scared she’ll never “be” anything, but she’s already good enough. The love of a mother humbles.

I wrote a love letter to a stranger. Ellie included one of her duct tape hearts.

My words were personal. I have struggled with feeling like I’ll never amount to all I know God longs for me to be. The struggle is real, but it is not rooted in truth.

 

This is truth about her. 

This is truth about you.

You will touch the world in a way no one else can. 

 

I will be writing more love letters. I hope you will too. I hope you will try others projects from the ezine too.

Every act of love is gift of hope.

impact

Impact with Crafts

impact

The first issue of Impact, a quarterly ezine collaboration from About Proximity and Amy Sullivan.

 

Impact others with crafts!

Make a difference by being creative!

Use your gifts to offer hope! 

 

I can’t wait for you to meet our amazing contributors. Do you like their work? Show them some love by stopping by their blog or following their social media. They all have huge hearts willing to share their work freely.

There is something for every one to try here, even the crafty challenged like myself.

Presenting {our labor of love} Impact with Crafts… this is our cover. I’m having technical difficulties embedding the ezine directly into this blog… so click the link to view.

Here is the direct link. Click over and take look! 

Si, se puede. We Have a Voice.

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Kris and I were in Washington DC all of nine hours, six in meetings and three speed walking through the monuments before darkness settled in. I am so thankful for those little moments when you are afforded an opportunity to see the world a little more deeply than you did before.

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What I know more deeply:

I’m really proud of Kris and the work that World Renew and the Office of Social Justice does to speak up for the most vulnerable.

Regardless of your political positions, those that make decisions on Capital Hill work incredibly long, difficult hours. They truly do care about making a difference.

We have a voice. Every piece of mail you send or phone call you make indicating your heart about issues is recorded and filed. It really makes a difference. I think I did not grasp that before I witnessed it first hand. Knowing who your congressional representatives are and communicating with them is important. This is a directory to find the contact information for those in government positions.

Everyday their are powerful people {because they have money} lobbying for their causes. The most vulnerable in our society do not have these resources and we need to work so hard to give them equal voice.

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Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a little timid. I was able to speak at the meetings we had by God’s grace. I hope those we talked to were able to better understand the vulnerable place immigrants find themselves in. I hope we can grow to extend grace to those that come to fill jobs no one else much wants in our society.

When we first arrived as part of the Evangelical Immigration Table, we faced a huge crowd of families. They came on six buses as the National Alliance of Evangelical Latino Christians. They are our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Si, se puede they chanted.

Yes, we can.

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There we are after two hours of sleep and six hours of meetings.

And wait for it… right after I dive bombed the cement in my heels smack dab in front of the Capitol. The knees of my pants ripped a little, there was a small amount of blood, and I realized I had fulfilled my awkward moment. But, it didn’t matter. I was just thankful for the opportunity to see deeper.

Where have you traveled that inspired you?