Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Just Be It

This morning, I read about the chemical attack on the mosque in Dayton, Ohio, during a Ramadan prayer service. News story here. More here. More here.

"Will our disbelief, confusion, and fear only be activated toward change when we hear the sound of killers at our own door? We must rouse ourselves, awaken to our predicament as humans, as people who know there is goodness in all of us." -Alice Walker

Please FIND A WAY to make some portion of your time, energy and money go towards creating peace and justice in this world. Somehow. Pick something to support. Pick some group of people to encourage. Pick some issue that moves you to action. Do it. Be Love. Be Justice. Be Peace.

The slide show below is Alice Walker reading her preface to the book "The Other Side of War: Women's Stories of Survival and Hope" by Zainab Salbi, available at Women for Women International.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Break In

Yes, I am trying to embrace my default status as a once-a-month blogger. I fantasize about daily pithy posts; for instance, I would have loved to give you a wonderful Happy Equinox and Happy International Peace Day bulletin full of inspiring words. Getting on my computer just didn't seem to be the way to honor such a day. And it would be fun to be writing about the Bible study I am doing called Hungry for Justice. It is a radical look at conversion, and I am being transformed. And the news for today, well I should have been shouting it all over the place last week.... but I have seriously entered into nesting mode because of it, and have been whirling through the house cleaning and getting rid of things we don't need and making plans for projects that will streamline the mundane and facilitate the fun of having three more kids in the house. I'm thinking and writing in run-on sentences because of all the energy I have towards this huge undertaking: Get This Home Ready. I tell you, freecycle is my new best friend.

YES! I said three kids. We have received and accepted our referral for three wonderful kids who live in Addis Ababa. Yes, we are crazy! Crazy in love with life! Crazy happy we get to become parents together! Crazy excited to be welcoming Blessings, Shining Light, and Breath into our home. Those are the meanings of their names. And there is a whole lot of all that shining out from their picture. They are 9, 9, and 8, all in third grade. They have been waiting for a family for two years. The same two years it has taken us to (1) mentally prepare to adopt and then (2) take the many steps to make the adoption happen. I'm sorry they had to wait this long for us to be ready to find them. And I'm sure it will take all of the next four or five months of waiting for our court date and travel date to get the house ready. Not to mention learn how to make injera and to braid hair. But, we are so glad the time is getting closer. We can't wait to get them home and head down to Positive Spin to get them bikes. Problem is, they'll be arriving here in the midst of winter, so we'll have to wait on the bikes. We hope to travel in February or March. We also hope we won't have to miss World Party 2009, but if we do, we think our guests will understand.

We've been learning a lot along this journey towards our kids, and one thing we have been learning about is HIV, because so many families in Ethiopia have been affected in some way by this virus. Along with poverty and war, it is a major reason there are so many children who need families in Ethiopia. Yet, there is such a stigma against people with HIV that people fear losing their jobs and homes if others find out they have the virus. About 6,000 children a day in this world lose a parent to HIV, because not everyone is able to get the medicine they need to manage the virus. And it can be managed! There is somewhat of a stigma here in the U.S., too, but things are getting better. Here, HIV+ people can get health care and medicine and are protected legally in many ways. I think it is really important for everyone in the world to understand HIV so I have added a gadget to the left with the basic info and a link to the CDC website. And, if you want to make a difference in the lives of children with HIV, so they can get medicine and education and create a happy life, here are some ways to help.

Lisa Qualls and her family offers beautiful AHOPE t-shirts to raise funds to support AHOPE for Children, a home and outreach service for HIV+ orphans in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

They are now also offering bracelets like the ones in this photo.

Or you can sign up to sponsor a child at AHOPE or simply send a donation directly to AHOPE here.

There is also a new organization whose mission is to help families adopt HIV+ children. They have a great website with some cool ideas for getting your whole family involved in helping a child come Home.

May you be at peace.
May you be at peace.
And may you be transformed!

"Change your hearts and mind, for the reign of heaven is about to break in on you." -Matthew 3:2