make a difference

Talk Justice



It’s been a long winter hasn’t it? So long. I’m excited for spring and the new hope it brings to our hearts. I’m also so happy to begin a new series called Talk Justice!

My friend Amy Sullivan, writer of the amazing When More is not Enough, sparked thoughts about talking justice with our kids a few months ago when we were having a phone date. In the right context walking beside children and teaching them about justice issues from a young age, shapes them to be people who understand, empathize, serve, and love others.


I tried to put it off.

if you find this letter


Then a little volume came to my mailbox to be reviewed. If you find this letter, by Hannah Brencher. She was featured in our Craft for a Cause Issuu magazine! As the founder of the World Needs More Love Letters, the book is a beautiful unfolding of her journey to crafting love letters to strangers and leaving them all over New York City. Her little dream grew into something so much bigger than herself, and millions have been touched by the love letter movement. Learn more at her website.


Hannah had this struggle I know well.

She longed for God to use her fully, but she didn’t feel good enough.

God used her anyway.


Do small things. On repeat. And think about other people. ~Hannah Brencher


That is what we are going to do each week.


I hope you will join me here on Mondays, for the next three months, to Talk Justice. Not just for ourselves, but for the generation we are raising up. They can handle proximity.

I’m really excited about so many things. (I’ll keep them a secret for now, but especially about Summer Serve Play Groups with the Citizen Kid Book Series given to About Proximity.)


Also, you are good enough. My love letter to you… I hope every time I write.







Gray Fades


Friday evening, I felt depleted. Oh the gray that builds sometimes, especially this time of year. Laying on the couch, I hit play on A Path Appears. 

The three-part documentary film based on the book of the same name by Nicolas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, shows on PBS. Episode One talked about sex trafficking in the United States. Episode Two covered Breaking the Cycle of Poverty. You can watch Episode 1 and Episode 2 on-line until February 14. The last part will show this evening and takes place at the Kiberia School for Girls.

It was midnight when I finished, and the gray had receded.

Proximity does that to you. You remember who you want to be.


Earlier in the month, Nicolas Kristof wrote an article about a high school friend, stuck in a cycle of poverty called Where’s the EmpathyOh, how we need and long for understanding that leads to empathy, that moves us to act.


I’m excited about A Path Appears.

The IF Gathering where so many women gathered and dreamed this past weekend.

Voices like Amy Sullivan, who remind us that serving is hard, but glorious.

and progress like the Millennium Development Goals.


{Mother and their children at a Mother’s group in South Delhi, India}

The Global Team of 200 is reporting this month with Save the Children and MDG4, reducing childhood morality. The number of children dying from preventable causes decreased from 12.6 million in 1990 to 6.6 million in 2012. Progress… but still 

  • Each day an estimated 800 mothers and 18,000 young children die from largely preventable causes.
  • More than 1 million babies die on their first and only day of life across the world, and 2.9 million in their first month.

Newborn mortality rates can only be reduced through

  • fairer distribution of essential health services
  • universal healthcare access; this means making these more available to the poorest and most marginalized families, as well as to communities living in rural areas.

The world produces enough food to feed every man, woman and child yet 1 in 8 go to bed hungry every night. 

???????????????????????????????{Mother and son in a hospital in Lusaka, Zambia}


Let’s rise up to meet those suffering with empathy and action.

It is our calling, why we breathe.

and gray fades.


A Path Appears~ because of us.


Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn the fearless team behind the book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwidereleased a new book this past September.

A Path Appears talks about transforming lives and creating opportunity. Their reporting provides encouragement and also tells the stories of everyday people making a difference. They teach us to do justice thoughtfully, wearing a path to those in need.

A Path Appears Book Cover

The Film, A Path Appears, will premier on PBS this month in a three-part series on Jan 26, Feb 2, and Feb 9.

You can download discussion and lesson guides here. 


A Path Appears for others~because of us.

Because we walk this way AGAIN and AGAIN. 


36 Hope Expands: Wearing a Path Thin


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.




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! 


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.”


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


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 

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


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?