Go Green

March 17, 2008 at 1:24 pm | Posted in Blogosphere, Culture, Good causes, Issues | 2 Comments
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It’s not just for the Irish! I am not a huge treehugger. I am not a vegetarian and I don’t live a total green lifestyle. But, I think it is important that we all try to help the world just a little bit and do our part. Every week when I take my recycling it reminds me just how important it is to save the few things I can from the landfill. If we all did a little it would help a lot.

Green Earth

Here are a few of my favorite Green resources:

How to Green Guides – Everything you wanted to know about how to go green in everything from your garden to your car.

Method Home Products – We all know Method. We all love it. See how they are doing their part and why we should support them.

Green Living – a great go-to guide on all things green. Here you will find great reads like:

The Green Guide is an online magazine full of helpful tips and tricks.

Of course the easiest thing you can do is go reusable with your shopping bags. It is the easiest and best step anyone can make!

Go Green people! It is not just for the future, but for today!

A Cure for the Blues

February 24, 2008 at 7:07 pm | Posted in Good causes | 1 Comment

It is ridiculous what can make me happy. When I saw this on the Green Gal website it cured my Sunday night blues in a heartbeat. I enjoy my Publix green bag and I love to see other big chains follow. I knew about these great little dittys. The Target reusable bags are cute and easy to find and they are only $1.49! They have made their way from the West Coast here.

target_reusable.jpg

But now, are you ready for this? Wal-mart is now offering their own version. Apparently they beat Target to the punch, but I just learned about these and this make me so happy because I see nothing but Wal-mart bags littering the road all the time! Grrrr.

 Go reusable people, there is no excuse not too!

walmartreusablesisg_3.jpg

They are actually kind of cute too! I will be getting mine as soon as they get here. When they wear out their welcome Wal-mart will even take them back and recycle them. Win, win! We all can We all should.

Invisible Children Roadies!

February 20, 2008 at 9:20 pm | Posted in Good causes | Leave a comment

As I sit here at Panera enjoying a brunch bagel I see the IC roadie van pull into the parking lot! It is very obvious who is in this group. Four young adults who are asking each other things like, “Where are we again?” and “If we were in Georgia we could stay at my aunt’s house and actually shower and do laundry”, and “I miss my dog I haven’t seen her in  months.” Wow, she got me there. She is definitely tugging at my heart strings with that one.

 Yes, these are definitely the IC roadies. I am in awe. I spoke to one of them who was looking for a plug. I want to be their friend, I want to go up and talk to them, but I won’t – sigh. I will simply eavesdrop from afar.  They have to be some of the coolest people I will never know.

Check out Invisible Children. It is one of the best organizations I have ever come across. There sole mission is to end the war in Uganda which survives off of the blood and the labor of small children. The armies kidnap and brainwash these children and make them into soldiers who carry out gruesome and torturous killings. For the girls their fates are not so telling. Those who are not killed are taken as wives by the senior army officers. The stories that these children tell when they defect or are rescued from the war is astounding. It is amazing that in our world of Ipods, Paneras, and wireless capabilities, children are fighting wars and nothing is being done about it.

 Well, that was the case until three fresh out of college friends decided to take a trip to make a documentary. About what? They did not know. Then they found themselves in Northern Uganda. As they watched children hike for miles every night into local villages to sleep they knew they had found the reason they had come. The children hiked to escape. They feared staying in their own homes because during the night the militia armies would come and kidnap them and force them to fight. Now, Invisible Children is an army in its own right. Thousands of people -like me- were inspired by the movie about the night travelers. Recently, there has been great change in Uganda. Now, IC exists to send all the people who have been displaced by the war back to their homes and out of the temporary camps. They are making progress and the stories they tell are amazing.

 If I had on my Grace bracelet I would go talk to them, but I am not that brave. I will regret it later!

 There is also a great book along these lines. Ishmael Beah wrote his memoir about being a boy solider in Sierra Leone. It is called A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Solider. It is a heart-breaking, but a must read.

For the Children

November 16, 2007 at 4:42 pm | Posted in Good causes, In the News, TV | Leave a comment

I woke up this morning and turned on the TV. The Today Show is a staple of my morning. I have been watching it since I was 13 and I got my own TV in my room. I slacked off some when Katie Couric left, but my faithful following has continued through the good, the bad, the big Al, and the little Al.

I have always enjoy Ann Curry’s special reports and I catch her on Dateline when I can. She tends to do what I call human stories. They are not about research or science, statistics or politics, but about people who are encountering the horrors that sometimes this life has to offer. Her reports are heartfelt and show the personal side of people who are suffering in this world. This morning I watched as she did a report on mental institutions in Serbia. You can see the video here.

The story was a report on how disabled people are sent to institutions to live out their lives in horrible conditions. It is an astounding display of the human race at its worst. Children with mental and physical disabilities are placed in “mental institutions” to basically live out their lives with no services, no contact from the outside world, and only their basic needs meet. They are tied to their cribs and left for the duration of their lives. Parents are told by the government to institutionalize their children if they are born with special needs. This is done because they have no way to provide support or services in a country where poverty is rampant. These institutions look exactly like I feel the concentration camps of the Holocaust looked. Public showers with people being wheeled in and hosed off in groups, bars and locked doors with children and adults laying on the floor with no care, no therapy, and little or no physical or emotional contact. There are children tied to cribs; their bodies distorted and atrophied from neglect. There was one man who was at least twenty years old who looked like a small child. “Failure to thrive” the government called it. It is not – the term failure to thrive is a legitimate medical diagnosis where children’s bodies refuse to grow but it not a result of neglect or lack of physical and emotional interaction.

My heart literally broke as she moved from child to child. Some with cerebral palsy, some with Down Syndrome, some with blindness and deafness. If these children had been born in our country there would be services, health care, and professionals lining up to help them gain access to a life full of possibilities and limitless joys and dreams. How sad that these children are forced to witness firsthand the evils of a world without understanding, compassion, and empathy. Only God knows what they could have been or accomplished.

I was talking to a friend today and her child has Down Syndrome. She is a first class mom who shows nothing but first class love for her child. Her world, as seen through his eyes, is filled with love, possibilities, and limitless opportunities. The world is wide open for him; if only every child everywhere had support like that. She reminded me that less than half a century ago, forty something years, we, in America, also institutionalized and put away our children who didn’t turn out “just right”. She has told me that sometimes when she is out and older women look at her son she sometimes sees a sadness come over them. She wonders just how many of them gave their children over to a life in an institution and never heard from or saw them again.

Another friend of mine, whose child also has Down Syndrome, was telling me about an article they were recently apart of in a magazine. She told me the story of giving birth to him and learning two hours later that her child had special needs. She said, “You cannot tell me that my child’s life does not have quality or a purpose. I try to give him the tools that he needs so he can can grow to his full potential- not so he can reach a standard I expect of him.”

These women are my heroes, if I can only be half the mothers that they are.

The report gives ways to help. Also, there is a great website I have had posted her for a while. It is Reece’s Rainbow and it has special needs children all around the globe who are in orphanages and awaiting a family to adopt them. Most of the children are under three because when they are three they are placed in institutions just like the ones in Serbia and they are lost in the system. Adoption is not for everyone; there are ways to donate, via Paypal, to buy specific needs for the orphanages. Some need chairs, some need beds, some need windows to keep the cold out and keep the children dry.

Talk about an assignment, talk about a way to change the world.

G4S

November 15, 2007 at 2:31 am | Posted in Good causes, Photos | Leave a comment

My boxes are almost packed and ready to go. . . I am waiting on one more delivery from Amazon and all can be shipped. They are stuffed with Country music and sports memorabilia, video games, Cd’s and DVDs galore, yummy goodies, and Christmas decorations. I have 9 boxes to send. Some of my guys are at Walter Reed Army hospital nursing wounds and waiting for family to come visit. Some of my guys- well most of them – are in the sandbox, far away from their families and in harms way daily. Some are my family, some are old family friends, some I only know through email and a few I never here from. But, they are all important, loved and worth all the time and effort every single month. Our Holiday initiative Operation:Christmas 4 100 quickly grew into a life form all its own. We never would have expected such an outreach from our church, our community, and our family and friends. Thank you to all who made it possible. Some of you gave items, some of you gave cash right out of your pockets. Some of you gave us contacts and allowed us to use your name to the big record labels and companies. Thank you all. You are helping us to reach so many!

Also, check out the G4S articles which we were apart of recently. We all agreed we ALL hated the photos!

Operation: Christmas Child

November 5, 2007 at 3:13 am | Posted in Good causes | Leave a comment


We have completed our boxes and they are on thier way halfway around the world. I was telling a friend today that the only thing I don’t like about this project is that it KILLS me that I don’t know who my child is. I wonder where they live? What country are they in? I want to see her face, imagine her getting her box, playing with the jump rope and dressing her doll. For hubby’s boy I wonder if he will like his cars or the dinosaurs that really roar. Do they know what Play-Doh is? Will he like the candy and the coloring book? What will be their favorites? Are they loved? Are they safe? Do they know God loves them? Like my Mom says, “Only eternity will tell.” It seems so long to wait to find out. I guess I don’t have a choice. God smiles as he again teaches me a lesson in patience. It is a life long proccess.

http://www.samaritanspurse.org

Buddy Walk 2007

October 21, 2007 at 8:34 pm | Posted in Good causes, Photos | Leave a comment

Buddy Walk Prep!

October 6, 2007 at 4:00 pm | Posted in Good causes | Leave a comment

The Buddy Walk is an event sponsored by the Down Syndrome Association of Middle TN. This is an organization that is near and dear to my heart. They do so many great things in raising awareness for people with disabilities. http://www.dsamt.org/
Saturday, October 20, at ten at Centennial Park is this year’s Buddy Walk. I will be walking with one of my kiddos on his team this year and hubby and I are so excited about it! If you would like to walk with me or one of my kiddos let me know and I will get you a very cool T-shirt supporting and celebrating the life of a very brave little boy.This will also give you the ability to become aware and involved in the life of a person with Down Syndrome. If you want to make a donation I know a few great teams who are in the running to be the top fundraiser and they would love your support!

Ana’s Story

September 30, 2007 at 11:55 pm | Posted in Good causes, Inspirational | Leave a comment

Last Friday I was actually home to catch Diane Sawyer’s interview with Jenna Bush, daughter of Pres. Bush, on 20/20. Hubby and I sat riveted to the whole show as she talked about her personal and private life and her latest internship with UNICEF.http://www.unicef.org/Diane mostly wanted to talk about what most people would think a journalist would want to talk about: her dad, her mom, her life as the President’s daughter, her famously tough grandmother, and her new engagement. But she brought light to an issue that was near and dear to her heart, working with children who have been stricken by AIDS and poverty.
I think hubby said it best when he said, “I had no idea she was doing such good things, if you left it to the press I would have thought she was just another drunk party girl.” It is interesting to me that if she had not come forward herself to talk about her work with UNICEF that infamous picture of her sticking her tongue out at the press might have been our lasting image of her. I would not have known she has devoted the last few years of her professional life to inner-city school kids as a teacher. In a world of Lindsay Lohans and Paris Hiltons it is nice to see young people using their stature in this world to actually do some good by bringing to light issues that we need to change.

I was most proud of her because she went to work with UNICEF as an intern with no stature and no agenda-she just went. She went through the same process I would have gone through as an intern, she received no special treatment, she did not use her dad’s name- she went on her own merits. When Diane Sawyer asked the families she had worked with for months if they knew who she was, they only replied, “Ms. Jenna”. When she informed them that she was the daughter of the President of the United States they were awestruck. She went, she got her hands dirty, she did the work she was called to do and she wanted no fanfare except to bring light to the situation she wanted to see changed. How inspiring. Shouldn’t we all be challenged to do more in this world? To pass on some of the blessings that we have been given? Isn’t that the best way to spend our time on this earth?

She has written a book, Ana’s Story, about a young teen mother living with AIDS who especially touched her heart. I have already ordered her book – it should be excellent. Bravo to her for making a difference in this world! Bravo to her for setting a good example. Bravo to her for being a responsible human being!

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