Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Different Kind of Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving was different than many in the past.  Yes, there was perfectly cooked turkey, creamy mashed potatoes and gravy, herb seasoned stuffing, pumpkin pie with pillows of whipped cream ... family gathered together, little voices laughing, hugs, games... but this year my heart was heavy.

I have been deeply grieved over the pain that so many people in our world are going through. 

On Thanksgiving morning I signed a petition to the White House to put pressure on a rebel group (called M23)  in the Congo who are doing unspeakable things to the Congolese people.  I couldn't see my sweet nieces and nephews happily eating, playing with each other, kissing uncles and aunties without thinking of little boys in the Congo being forced to carry guns and shoot people they know and love, or little girls being used as property, children hiding under beds, families split up - parents wondering if they will ever see their babies again. 

I can't eat or put on clothes, or use appliances - or do ANYTHING without wondering about the people who are forced to work as slaves to provide us with such a lavish lifestyle.  I'm looking all the time for ways to purchase fair trade and to not support slavery - but it is hard to find sources and it makes me mad that more people don't care enough to change what is happening in our world.

Closer to home, I am grieved about a dear family who was celebrating Thanksgiving with an empty chair at the table this year, having lost a treasured son, brother, grandson last month.  He was only 21. 

Even closer, I was grieved at reminders how short life is - and how times change and how sad I am that our children will never meet people like either of my Grandfathers.  I am grieved knowing that the possibility of our Someday Babies being out there somewhere grows more every day.  I hate to think of what they might be going through if they are alive already.  Are they in someone's tummy right now?  Are they an unwanted pregnancy?  Is their birth mother drinking and doing drugs?  I am heart broken for the people who will give birth to our Babies .. whatever they are going through is painful and it breaks me.

So, what am I thankful for this year?  Oh so so much.  I'm thankful for the undying love of my sweet Farmer Boy.  I'm thankful that he didn't make me explain when I cried through half of "Fiddler on the Roof" when we watched it on Thanksgiving night.  I'm thankful to my Daddy for wrapping his big arms around me when I felt like my heart would break seeing my Grammie holding her newest Great Grandbaby.  I'm thankful for my little nephew Luke who ran into my arms and was excited to see me.  I'm thankful for Bailey playing Battleship with me.  I'm thankful for my husband's grandparents being close enough to host Thanksgiving this year.  I'm thankful for godly siblings.  I'm thankful for SO so much!  But right at the top of my list is that I am thankful for a God who answers prayers - even when they hurt.  I have prayed more than once in my life for my heart to be broken for the things that break the heart of God.  And He answered.  I don't know what all this means.  I don't know what I can do to make this world better - but I am more determined and better informed than ever before.  I don't want to just go about my life doing things the way everyone else does them.  I want my life to matter.  I want my choices to make an impact.  And I am thankful that God wants that for each of us.

What are you thankful for this year?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Know Better?

Have you ever had a moment in life where time seems to stand still and you know you will remember this moment for the rest of your life? 

Yesterday I began reading a book for one of my college courses called: Not For Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade and How we can Fight it by David Batstone. And I had one of those moments.  This book tells the horrible stories of human trafficking - slave labor, children sold as sex slaves ... just unspeakable things.  It's not like I didn't know this was happening.  My husband and I talk about wanting to not purchase clothing made in India, or chocolate ... bit the truth is it's difficult in our culture to change habits of spending and consumption. 

I read about a little boy and his sister who were sold and became slaves in a garlic factory - peeling tiny cloves of garlic (maybe to make the pre-cut garlic I like I buy because I'm to lazy to peel it myself?!?) hour after hour, after hour, after day, after week, after month, after year ... just peeling garlic and being staved and beaten and abused in every way.

And I could be PAYING the abusers of these children by my purchases and my comfortable lifestyle.

I'm ashamed.

So what can we do?  Well, for starters BUY LOCAL - but only produce grown in the US, work with local companies.  And here are some sites that are valuable resources too.  Is it easy to change?  No - we are so used to being consumers and getting what we want with little or now work - but can we really afford to NOT change?  I feel such a burden that now that I know what is going on I am even more responsible to fight and to be willing to sacrifice so that others can have a life.

Free to Work is a website that gives companies and brands a letter grade for if they are good (using fair trade methods and only purchasing from safe areas) or bad ( support human slavery).  Check it out - you might be surprised!

For items that support fair trade and help people keep their freedom check out: - there are food items as well as some pretty awesome gift ideas for Christmas coming up!

If we all do our part we can help free innocent children, women and men who are being treated horribly while they work to create the lavish lifestyle we live here in the states.

If you know better - DO better.