make a difference

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

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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… 

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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.

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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)

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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].

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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.

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Impact with Crafts

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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? 

Freedom.

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In the United States we will be celebrating the 4th of July. Freedom.

My Grandfather often told us the story of his big brother who died in World War II. Clem was a gentle young man who shared candy bars with the family dog Lady. His payed a deep price for my freedom and my children’s freedom. There are many who have done the same.

 

I blog for The Exodus Road. An organizations that provides rescue for global girls trapped in modern-day slavery through sex trafficking. We can’t travel to these places and snatch these girls to freedom ourselves. There are trained people who can. People who often work for free, tirelessly to save innocent lives and we can make a difference.

The search fuels the rescue. And by investing in our teams, you would be putting boots on the ground, sending eyes to search for the enslaved. 

 

Here is the link to learn more. For the Search and Rescue FAQ page click here. To join a search and rescue team you commit to sponsoring $35 a month. This funds one night of search and rescue a month. You can choice which team you join Alpha, Bravo, Charlie or Delta. Being a part of the team, you will receive up-dates, specific ways to encourage volunteers on the field and a welcome packet.

I’m excited to share this opportunity. It is a way to dig deeper into a cause that needs our voices.

Joining a search and rescue team is a tangible way to bring the freedom we ourselves have to girls that are enslaved.

“Tell me how many kids you want to rescue, and if I have the resources, I think our team could make that happen.” – Exodus Road Coalition Partner

 

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Photo Credit: Ellie Van Engen

100 Ways to Give Back over Summer Break.

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1. Summer Reading to Make a Difference: 5 Ideas.

2. Read The Lorax and Plant a Tree.

3. Gather up your loose change all summer and pick something from a gift catalog to give.

4. Be inspired at amybosma.com. Her son Daniel is raising money to buy a clean water well.

5. Finish up an afternoon of sprinkler with some WaterAid Kids Activities!

6. Prepare ahead of time to complete an Operation Christmas Child Box.

7. Free Printable Activities from Heifer International for kids.

8.  Ideas to care for families with disabilities.

9. Explore Citizen Kid Global: a website that help young minds learn about the greater global world.

10. Fill a sports shoe box through Sports Gift.

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11. Watch The Good Bird’s Club a special Sesame Street Video about bully prevention.

12. Help the kids in your life become comfortable writing their stories! Check out my Student Speak Pinterest Board.

13. Deliver a surprise to someone in need of a pick-me up. Need ideas? Gifts to Give on Pinterest.

14. For the crafty check out all of Leslie’s at Pink Stripey Socks DIY’s!

15. Head over to Operation World and choose a country to pray for together.

16. Keep clipping those Box Tops for when you return to school in the fall!

17. Become a Free a Family sponsor through World Renew.

18. For all those who can wield needles download a free pattern for Knit for Kids from World Vision.

19. Read digital editions of Quest for Compassion and Explorer for kids from Compassion International.

20. Read Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand (digital video)  about fighting childhood cancer.

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21. Read this beautiful photo journey of Children’s Human Rights through UNICEF. (Great for the whole family)

22. Got Teens? Check out DoSomething.org. Participate in the Peanut Butter and Jam Slam this summer!

23. Walk, Run or Bike with your whole family with the free Charity Miles app!  Exercise for a cause of your choice!

24. Support a family’s micro loan through Kiva!

25. Give through Feeding America’s On-line Gift Catalog.

26. Sign up for Milkshake, a daily email with ideas to give back.

27. Take the GROW METHOD challenge with your family this summer from OxFam.

28. Try a new recipe with the kids from the GROW METHOD cookbook.

29. Take the Can You Imagine Quiz through Ryan’s Well about what it might be like without clean water.

30. Try out a Half the Sky Movement mobile game app.

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31. Do you use Diaper.com? You can refer a friend and support Shot@Life, providing vaccines to children.

32. Consider bringing TerraCyle to your school. Recycle and earn education money for your school.

33. Host a School Tools Event hands-on service through World Vision for education.

34. Host a Journey to Jamaa Movie Party through World Vision. Connecting Children who Care with People in Need.

35. Send a Wounded Warrior a thank you note through facebook.

36. Use free Girl Rising Curriculum to educate your girl about courageous needs of global friends.

37. Recycle those old running shoes with Reuse-a-Shoe by Nike.

38. Donate your old eyeglasses and sunglasses through Lions Club International.

39. Doing some home improvement donate your home supplies or purchase at Habitat for Humanity Restore.

40. Old Cell Phones? Try these options.

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41. Play some Recycle City at the Environmental Protection Agency.

42. Watch these fun digital shorts at the Story of Stuff, great to teach kids about waste and recycling!

43. Download a free curriculum for faith-based teens about a Spirit-filled Response to a Consumed Crazed World.

44. Explore how your family can incorporate fair trade purchases into your household.

45. Submit your story to CausePub and support Blood Water Mission.

46. Download a toolkit from UNICEF with 20 Ways to Fight Human Trafficking.

47. Download Live58: free ebook about how to live generously in 2013.

48. Watch these videos about clean water from WaterAid family appropriate.

49. The Adventures of Super Toilet from WaterAid. What kid wouldn’t read that on-line comic book?

50. Download this flyer for expectant Mom’s to make sure they get a PulseOx Screening for new babies.

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51. Make sidewalk chalk messages that encourage!

52. Deliver an ice cream treat to a shut-in or someone that has been feeling under the weather.

53. Surprise someone with a full car wash. Kids love to help with this, any excuse to get wet!

54. Remember your local food pantry. Many kids get the majority of their meals from school and when school’s out they experience food insecurity.

55. Use Goodsearch a penny is donated to your cause or school with each search.

56. Goodsurvery’s donates a dollar to your cause for each survey you take.

57. Are you a computer or facebook gamer? Try Goodgaming for every three times you play a penny is donated to your cause.

58. Try one of these 134 acts of kindness from Anna at And Then We Saved.

59. Save your pop tabs for Ronald McDonald House Charities.

60. Check out this great list of items to donate such as toys and games to your closest Ronald McDonald House.

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61. Three places to send a get well soon card to a child that is receiving long-term hospital care.

62. A summer hair cut? Try Locks of Love.

63. 100 tips to conserve water this summer!

64. Try some of the challenges in the book Clean House about youth entitlement.

65. Walk or use your bikes in the nice weather whenever possible. Bench that car! Shut off car pool!

66. Directions on how to make an infant care kit through the Mennonite Central Committee to be used in refugee camps.

67. Adopt a Classroom: Fund a project for a specific classroom.

68. Patterns to make blankets for children and babies through Project Linus.

69. Host or attend a block party for your neighborhood.

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70. Do you know a young person serving at a summer camp? Send a care package.

71. Send pictures and letters to friends and family that live far away.

72. Do you know someone going through a difficult time? Step them up through Take Them a Meal.

73. Watch the video the Power of Ten. Plant trees and employ others through the Eden Foundation.

74. Giving through your coupon skills by moneysavingmom.com

75. Speak up for what you believe in. Our combined voices are powerful.

76. Shut off social media for extended times during the day to be present with your kids.

78. Awesome ideas from the ever gracious Amy Sullivan.

79. Shop with purpose visit pinterest boards from about proximity and Amy Sullivan.

78. Kaboom Playground active body activities.

79. Kaboom Playground active together projects.

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80. Kaboom Playground active mind projects.

81. Follow the non-profits you support on twitter, facebook and pinterest.

82. Donated your gently used coats through One Warm Coat.

83. Ideas for earning service learning credits through The Humane Society.

84. Support survivor care of victims of human trafficking through Love 146.

85. Become a church ambassador for Exodus Road.

86. Use social media for good. Learn more at Social Good Moms.

87. Teach your kids about hospitality by having friends over.

88. Support your local library by participating in their summer reading program.

89. Free lessons for kids about gardening and the environment.

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90. Do you have a history lover? The National Park Service has an enormous list of ideas for service learning projects.

91. 55 Service Learning ideas from Youth Service America with links.

92. Check out Learning to Give a curriculum division of Generation On compatible with Common Core Standards.

93. Family Service Ideas from Generation On!

94. 65 ways to get started through Generation On!

95. Resource Database of Service Learning and Community Involvement from the New York Times.

96. Check out Faces Magazine from your library ages 9-14.

97. Teaching Tolerance Magazine is free to educators and youth directors.

98. Book list for Anti-Bullying and Conflict Resolution.

99. Spend time together.

100. Take time to do nothing at all 🙂

 

I’ d love to hear what you tried off this list. Guest post? I love your voice. 

Dear Anna

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Photo Credit: “Kay Chernush for the U.S. State Department” 

a mother in Mumbai, India, who is looking for her lost daughter.

 

My monthly post for Exodus Road from the perspective of a mother.

Read Anna’s Story here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

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Image courtesy of  papaija2008/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Dear Anna, 

You have been gone for 365 days. I have watched the seasons pass over the River Neva. The waters are ice-covered again and all around lies in winter drab. This is how my heart feels, dear Anna. We ate a tula gingerbread on your sixteenth birthday. 

I stand on the water’s edge at sunset and sunrise and pray that you might return to us. Pray is not the right word, I plead. 

You left for me, for Pavel, for Pyotr, for Petya to help us have a better life. 

There are whispers on the streets that the people you left with were dishonest. That you may be in great hurt and danger. It’s like the ice cracking across the river through me. You were only trying to bring us hope.

I did not know. I am so sorry I did not know. 

Pavel has began telling the story of the Firebird and the Grey Wolf to his brothers as you used to each night. In the end when Prince Ivan regained all he had lost. This is what I plead, that you might regain all you have lost. 

If you could read my heart, you would know I would come for you if I knew where you were. I would trade spaces the very second I could. I would give everything to go back and not allow you to board that bus. I hope you are not cold.  I hope you are not alone. 

So I will continue to plead as the river changes. I will keep telling mothers, to hold their daughters close. No matter how bad it becomes, we cannot let this happen anymore. 

Love, Your Matushka

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Sometimes a family can lose their daughter to human trafficking under the veil of the promise of work.

Other times family’s find themselves in the position of selling their daughters into slavery. This seems beyond our imaginations.

Read the following story by Laura Parker How Can a Mother Sell Her Child? 

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Understanding that truth places us in the proximity of making difference.

That First Moment

That first moment:

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Dear Ellie and Josiah,

We hoped for you. We prayed for you. Then you were there with us.  All amazing hope and grace flooded our hearts. You looked up at us like we had known one another forever. A new life and suddenly our lives had the most amazing purpose. All you were and would become was wrapped up in that single moment. Our hearts cracked open because we knew we could never love anything like we loved you. 

Love,  Mom and Dad. 

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I remember feeling so scared. The weight of the responsibility of bringing a life into the world did not fall short on me. But, the moment I looked at my daughter and then my son all my fear faded away. They looked at me like they knew I was their Mom. All my insecurities and inadequacies seemed small in that moment.

I am so thankful we had good health care to guide us in those first moments. I was completely awkward that first day (and honestly, the awkward parenting moments keep coming.) Neither birth was without its challenges, but I knew we had the assurance of amazing health care to guide us through.

 

We received a chance to make it into the world together.

That was a blessing I don’t take for granted.

It is a blessing many Mom’s in this world do not receive. 

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The Global Team of 200 is working with Save the Children to bring awareness to maternal and newborn health care.

  • Watch this touching video about celebrity Moms and their love at first sight moments and our global needs. Video
  • The State of the World’s Mothers (SOWM) report is Save the Children’s signature annual publication, which compiles global statistics on the health of mothers and children. Here is the infographic for the report. I’ll be pinning it on my Pinterest Causes board.

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Maternal and Newborn Health is a cause we can get behind. We have all been mothers, or daughters, or aunts. 

How can you be involved:

Beautiful Images from Save the Children: 

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Liberia: Newborns

Newborn daughter of Wilma Francis, in the Mvolo Primary Health

What was your first moment like? How do you support maternal and newborn health?