The Long Night

The Long Night

As part of my 36 Hope Expands Series, I am practicing proximity by sharing the film The Long Night by Tim Matsui with other members of The Global Team of 200. The film is free to watch through this weekend.

The film follows lives effected by domestic sex trafficking in the Seattle area.

Seattle. The United States. Human trafficking happens here too.

 

The Parents.

The Runaway

The Addict

The Police

 

The film is difficult to watch. Being exposed to such profound pain is not fun. I almost deleted this whole post, when I realized that part of proximity is hard.

Lisa-mcdsI would like to share two parts of the film with you.

Lisa, a heroin addict and prostitute, arrived at Genesis (a program implemented by the police to help trafficked minors into a new life.) A police officer gave her a bathrobe. She wept at the simple act of care.

Here you can see a photo essay of Lisa’s journey.

The runaway returned home, yet felt she would never be able to win her parents forgiveness. ‘I didn’t need to. They loved me unconditionally.’

 

Tim Matsui has not stopped with just making the film. He worked with The Fourth Act, an organization that brings storytellers and images together to create change and The Fledgling Fund doing the same through filmmaking.

 

There are hard things out there that shouldn’t be. It is so easy to look away.

Our challenge is to look and shrink the distance between us and those in need and respond. 

It’s about proximity. 

Start by viewing this photograph. It is cause to pause. 

36 Hope Expands: Little White Lights

36hopeexpands

Little white lights make everything better. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving break for those who celebrate. I know I am so very thankful for all the wonderful people in my life, especially all of you. We had turkey and cheesecake. I scored a few presents on Black Friday with the spectacular team of my Dad, Mom and Ellie. Kris and I saw Mockingjay, and we finished up with some Sunday puking, because what’s a holiday without someone barfing? Best of all the little white lights are up.

givingThe new expanding hope ideas:

  • Have you heard of AmazonSmile? Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice. Just log into your regular account and they take you through the simple steps. I was so excited to find World Renew the organization Kris works for. Our percentage will go to support their work!
  • I’ve seen Better World Books donation sites in parking lots around my area. When this business was featured in A Path AppearsI definitely wanted to learn more. You donate books which are then bought from the Better World Books on-line store. A portion of every sale goes to world literacy. Over 15 million books have been donated to non-profits, they support grants, and also recycle the books unable to be sold. Read more about their impact here. I’ll be going through our stacks this season!
  • Elf on the Shelf kind of creeped us out last year and I’m really bad at remembering to do it. I also saw on Pinterest an idea for giving elves, or something really beautiful and perfect like that. Our family variation: the kids like the concept of finding the elf. So I have a plan of what to do with him each day, but he will also have a note sharing with us an act of kindness we need to complete. (Will we succeed everyday, or will I remember? No because we are not a pinteresty sort, but we are going to try!)
  • Try this one: go to GreaterGood. On the top toolbar they have nine sections like autism, literacy, and hunger. As you click the cause, a button will appear to support the cause, just click again and you’re set. The advertisers fund the causes. Click nine times and you’ve contributed to nine causes for free. You can give back every calendar day.
  • Rice 2.0 offers 10 grains of rice to the World Good Bank for every correct answer. They offer a number of subjects. I’m loving the spanish vocabulary section right now.

Have you tried any of these? What are your favorite free ways to give back on-line? 

36 Hope Expands: Balancing Giving and Consumerism

36hopeexpands(36 Hope Expands. A series of 36 ways to expand compassion in our daily lives.)

Some people photobomb, my daughter Ellie desk bombs.

ellie bomb

You know this.

We do know this.

How can we go deeper? How can we expand hope in our own lives and the lives of others? We do what we know to be true, love one another, and we seek to never stop learning how to do it better.

Christmas is coming… we’ve had two snow days already!

 

I love giving presents. It is one of my favorite things. This Christmas season I want to learn more about responsible giving. Inevitably we will all be consumers in some form, I want to do my consumerism with love and in ways that make a difference. I want my buying to be balanced with giving.

  • Remember #GivingTuesday? There is Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and #GivingTuesday. They have some sweet toolkits. Mostly, just consider giving on Tuesday. Join the movement to make the holidays unselfie.

#unselfie

 

  • Made in a Free World has a slavery footprint calculator. You take a short quiz and in turn have the opportunity to send companies you buy from a letter of your support of fair labor practices. This is a worthwhile exercise and you make a difference.
  • I also signed up at igive.com here you can shop on-line and different companies will give a percentage to the charity of your choice. I choose Community Action House a local food bank in my hometown.
  • About Proximity is planning a little Christmas giveaway with fun surprises from three of my favorite cause companies Sevenly, Pure Vida, Delicate Fortress Creations.

We know this…

Let’s keep growing and learning together to love with every action.

How do you balance consumerism with giving? What are your favorite cause companies to buy from? What will you give to on #GivingTuesday? 

 

36 Hope Expands: Wearing a Path Thin

36hopeexpands

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.

“HOPE IS LIKE A PATH IN THE COUNTRYSIDE. ORIGINALLY, THERE IS NOTHING – BUT AS PEOPLE WALK THIS WAY AGAIN AND AGAIN, A PATH APPEARS.”

—LU XUN, CHINESE ESSAYIST, 1921

 

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? 

 

 

36 Hope Expands: Bust Up Single-File Lines

36hopeexpands(36 Hope Expands. A series of 36 ways to expand compassion in our daily lives.)

My hope to expand compassion in my daily life has been taught to me by children this week. (On Monday, my daughter Ellie, and today a student.)

I work in a school with special needs students. Leaning against the wall underneath the white board, I read a Geronimo Stilton chapter book with a student. The going was slow, but we were making progress in an exciting pirate tale. Another little friend scooted closer to us with his Diary of a Wimpy Kid book. As the pages were turned this student progressively inched closer and closer to us. He not so subtly pretended to read his own book as he watched us.

This went on for twenty minutes, until finally, he was knee to knee with us. One student and I reading together, another pressed against us watching over the rim of his book. I dared not question his actions. His eyes conveyed he meant serious business. We sat all pressed together for quite some time. As guided reading ended, he tugged on my arm and waited for my reading buddy to find his seat. He leaned over tight against my ear, ‘I understand now. My friend does not know how to read yet.’ 

Later, the classroom lined up for specials. I watched the two boys stand together. One put his arm around the other, ‘I can read with you too, whenever you want.’ They walked like that for awhile down the hallway, even though they were meant to be in a single-file line.

bust upShow up. Even if you don’t know why.

If you are compelled to draw close to someone, they probably need you.

Bust up single-file lines when appropriate, we were meant to walk arm in arm.

 

 

 

 

36 Hope Expands:

36hopeexpands(36 Hope Expands. A series of 36 ways to expand compassion in our daily lives.)

I saw a project on Pinterest. Thanksgivings have passed, and I never followed through. (I’m awesome at pinning- very not awesome at completing something that looks/tastes normal.) Ever seen this website Pinterest Fail– where good intentions come to die, also Epic Pinterest Fails? This is me, every day.

Yesterday we finally made our thanksgiving tree for the month of November. Every night at dinner each one of us will add one more leaf for something we are thankful for.

I want to live in gratitude.

thanksgiving

No, this is not pin-able. It is our little tree.

I know being thankful has a way of re-shaping our hearts.

What seemed impossible softens. What once went unnoticed becomes meaningful. Mostly, the grace of God becomes a consolation that draws you to your knees.

 

My first leaf was this: Ellie’s art work.

When the kids were little, my writing desk was in the living room. Now that they are growing up, I moved it to our little extra room upstairs. It’s snuggled up next to our guest bed, and that is about all that fits, the bed and the desk. I was so excited for my own space, but something happens every time I enter. Another presence is there watching me edit over my shoulder, laying her magazine pages over the bed, dropping markers, rifling through the desk. The minute I started creating the thanksgiving tree, someone was next to me cutting like a mad woman. Sometimes I come upstairs and find things like this paper clipped to my folders.

IMG_0615

My ingratitude for not having a quiet space softens. I know this is more important. I know that God’s grace has been so good to me… that we have layers and layers of purpose.

What would your first leaf say? 

36 Hope Expands: About Proximity Projects

36hopeexpands(36 Hope Expands. A series of 36 ways to expand compassion in our daily lives.)

I have a hefty list of things I would like to do with About Proximity, including a snazzier design. Also, I promise to never have ads, especially pop up ads, or start saying bad words, or talk to much. Mostly, I just really want to be faithful to God and make a difference, however small, to me that is hope. To me, that is why I write.

requiregive

This one is simple. I’ve been wanting to start a new tab here. GIVE Projects. (See it up there?) There I will keep About Proximity’s projects. I hope the list grows and grows.

Remember Amy Sullivan’s bookWhen More is not Enough. She gave all the proceeds to a local ministry called Transformation Village. First book, she just went all out. I want to go without looking back too. I will be tithing my freelance writing work into our GIVE projects.

First up, a KIVA loan. We will contribute to a microfinance loan. When it gets paid back eventually, we get to pick a new person to receive the same amount.

Our first loan will go to Calixta Elizabeth from Ecuador, a single mom with a small eatery. The loan will allow her to purchase tables, chairs, and a business sign.

What do you dream of supporting if money and time were not an obstacle? 

36 Hope Expands: Food Waste and Hunger

36hopeexpands(36 Hope Expands. A series of 36 ways to expand compassion in our daily lives.)

requirehunger

A 2013 United Nations report: one third of the world’s food supply, or 1.3 billion tons of food, is wasted annually. Research indicates that about half of all food waste originates in households. There is enough food in our world to feed everyone, yet millions go hungry each day.

Hunger and its implications for families is devastating. I want to use what I have with compassion and be mindful of what others lack. Ten steps/habits I am working on this week:

  1. Freeze leftovers instead of forgetting about them in the refrigerator.
  2. Make a meal plan a week ahead of time (before) grocery shopping.
  3. Learn how to serve proper proportions. (I’m terrible at this.)
  4. Take note of what is getting thrown away. Adjust accordingly.
  5. I listened to Seline Juul’s TEDx talk Stop Wasting Food.
  6. I signed the Bread for the World Pledge to End Hunger.
  7. Our family is going to fill our giving bank with change as we save on groceries to eventually raise $264 to work with World Renew’s Free a Family.
  8. I’ll be reading Ellie and Josiah the books The Good Garden, and One Hen.
  9. I will be reading the book a Place at the Table and continue to advocate for important programs like WIC and SNAP.
  10. Work as a family to donate to Community Action House our local food pantry.

How do you minimize food waste in your home?