My Hope for Ferguson and Our World

Today my heart goes out to all the people in Ferguson. The community as a whole is hurting and I’m praying for them.  I pray for peace, communication, cooperation, justice, for hearts to be mended, and a rebuilding of trust. I see so many hateful comments in the media and social outlets and I believe with all my heart that individually we all have a responsibility to be the peace we want to see by reflecting it in our thoughts, actions, words and deeds. May God bless everyone and may an awakening come soon that will heal our communities so that we can see one another as human beings wonderfully created by God put here to do his will and love one another regardless of our differences. Go out today and reflect the peace you wish to see and pray for everyone without discrimination.

 

redlea

Unimaginable Tragedy

Tonight was my daughter’s Christmas performance at school. It was beautiful. She was so proud to play the Virgin Mary and she and her classmates did a wonderful job. I was beaming with joy watching her, but as I sat there I couldn’t help thinking about the 20 children and the adults whose lives were senselessly robbed from them. 20 children who had just gone to school like any other ordinary day. They probably kissed mom and dad goodbye, talked about Santa visiting, and thought they’d be coming home after school to have fun over the weekend. Perhaps they were going to be in a Christmas pageant like my child was this evening.  But instead the unimaginable happened, they were gunned down and killed. All those dreams and hearts blown away leaving a hole to big to fill.  My heart is breaking for this community, for the parents, the children, and the teachers. My God, why would someone shoot these innocent babies? Why?

I can’t fathom the grief these parents are feeling. I can’t comprehend the horror these children felt and the scars that have only begun to surface.  I just can’t understand. None of these parents ever thought their day would end in this horrific way.  No one would. That is why we should never take one day, one hour, one minute for granted with our children. Hug them tighter, kiss them more, and let them know every single day how much they are loved. This is too big and honestly I can’t write anymore about this because I can’t do this justice, it is bigger than I can comprehend, then I can wrap my head or hands around. I can’t articulate how I’m feeling because words can’t describe the fear I feel for my own child and her safety in this world that is so uncertain. The only certainty I have is that we have to have faith in God and that we  must pray for our children every day, every morning, every night and whenever we can.We must pray for our society as a whole more than we ever have. These wounds are too deep and only God can heal them. Only God can get these parents through this unspeakable tragedy. Please, please, please pray for this community. May God bless all of you and keep you and your family safe and sound and surrounded in his protection and love.

Allow Your Heart to Break Open and Read, “The Global Orphan Crisis, Be the Solution, Change Your World”

 
 
 
Psalms 82:3-4

“Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hands of the wicked.”

Years ago I wrote an article to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette about the atrocities that were occurring in Sierra Leone. I was appalled at the human suffering that was taking place and how the world seemed to have blinders on. I did a fundraiser and had hopes of visiting Sierra Leone to help the many orphaned children and the women who endured unimaginable abuse…but my dream didn’t materialize. It is one of  my big regrets. I had intended to write a book, it would be titled, “Unheard Cries of Terror, Testimonies From The Woman of Sierra Leon.” My aspiration was to bring awareness to the crisis and then to raise money to help these woman become independent and to eventually start an organization that would care for the many children left behind. I am so happy though that Diane Elliot has done something I had only hoped to do that was write the, The Global Orphan Crisis, Be the Solution Change Your World”a beautifully written book that brings awareness to the orphan crisis from a viewpoint that is based in the teachings of Christ.

Diane’s book is thoroughly and thoughtfully written. She covers the global orphan crisis with hard facts while diving into the complexities and problems that orphans are challenged with daily. Diane gives you an understanding of what an orphan is and the often times tragic factors that lead to them becoming orphans. She talks about the orphan crisis in developed, emerging and least developed countries and gives the reader an inside look at the dangers that are these children’s realities.  These realities include poverty, human trafficking, AIDS, lack of education, child pornography, sex slavery,  forced child labor, being forced into becoming child soldiers, rape, and child abuse, is your heart breaking yet? Most of us hear of these things happening to children and we think it is awful, but because it doesn’t happen in our backyard it can be very difficult if not impossible to grasp the devastation that occurs in a child’s life in so many countries when they become a orphan. Diane makes these faces and lives come alive through the pages of her book.

She isn’t just writing about statistics. She is writing from the viewpoint of being a follower of Christ. In every page I can feel Diane’s heart and her eagerness to help the 153 million orphans globally. As a Christian she views this ministry as a calling from God, as a responsibility to help the fatherless children and she articulates this so beautifully. When you read this book you begin to understand that you too have a duty as follower of Jesus to reach out your hand and open your heart. Diane stresses that no contribution is too small, and that it all leads to the greater goodand imprpvement of these children’s lives. Whether you give your time, money, words of encouragement, or become a parent to one of these children it all MATTERS! She gives you practical ways on how to become involved and change a child’s life and she shares stories of those who have changed their lives by becoming involved. These stories will warm your heart and make you hug your children a little tighter. If you believe in scripture and Jesus then you know these are our children too, regardless of the borders that seperate us.

This book is an invaluable resource for anyone who reads it. If your church is involved in an orphan ministry please have them order this book in bulk! It will enhance and reaffirm to them the importance of the work they’re doing for God’s Kingdom. Or as a single mom if you have a heart to make a difference in a child’s life pick up this book. s a single mom, I feel extremely blessed at the resources I have available to me and I can’t imagine my sweet girl enduring a life with such uncertainty and insecurity. I think as single moms we have the power to impact the lives of  the children of our sisters that we have never met. These women, strangers to us who have children left behind as a result of any number of circumstances, don’t we have a responsibility to them as our sisters in Christ? As mothers don’t we share a bond with them and their children? I applaud Diane Elliott for writing this book with such an open heart and soul. She did what I didn’t. I am so thankful for this book that will inspire the reader to extend their village and reach outside of their backyard into the hearts and lives of children globally. You will thank her too.

Purchase Diane’s Book- http://www.moodypublishers.com/pub_productDetail.aspx?id=41830&pid=88689
Read Diane’s Blog-http://www.globalorphancrisis.com/

A Prayer for Everyone on 9/11



I just wanted to take a moment to pray for all those who lost their lives in 9/11 and for the families and loved ones who continue to miss them every day. That day it wasn’t just the buildings and planes that were blown apart but people’s hearts, families, and futures.Today, remember that life is fragile. Hug your kids tighter, smother them with kissed and just be kind. I had to remind myself that today when I hit a few bumps in the road. Yes, life can be overwhelming with all its’ curves, but isn’t it still good? Isn’t a blessing to walk outside in the sunshine, to hug your kids, and to just be. God heals and he gets us through what appears to be the impossible. On 9/11 and the days after we were shown people at their best even in the midst of unbearable tragedy. Today show your best. May God bless all you and keep you and yours safe and sound.

Alicia Silverstone Literally Puts Her Food In Her Son’s Mouth

Alicia Silverstone caused quite a stir when she posted a video of her feeding her son Bear breakfast. So what everyone feeds their kid, right? Well, what has so many in a tizzy is the fact that she chews the food up and literally transfers it into his mouth from her mouth. The comments range from to each’s own to CYS should be called. Alicia is known for her super healthy vegan lifestyle. In the video she is eating a breakfast of miso soup, collards and radish steamed and drizzled with flax oil, cast iron mochi with nori wrapped outside, and some grated daikon. She wanted Bear to try the mochi and some veggies so she probably thought chewing it up was a good way for him to be able to digest it and was most likely a natural thing for her to do.I’ve actually seen mom’s do this and it doesn’t offend me. Would I do it? Probably not. Could she have used an extra plate for Bear? Sure, but is it really that big of a deal? Do we really have the right to criticize how she chooses to feed her child? Check out the video and tell me what you think.

http://www.thekindlife.com/post/home-video-breakfast-with-baby-bear

Sending A Prayer for Those in The Swiss Bus Accident

My heart went out today for all those affected in the Swiss bus accident that killed 28 people in which 22 of them were children. I ask that you take a moment today and say a prayer for all those families who lost a loved one in this horrific bus accident. Be intentional everyday about telling your children that you love them, hug them tight, and let them know how special they are, because sadly enough regardless of age, each day isn’t guaranteed. I’m sure these parents were eagerly awaiting their children’s return from a fun ski vacation in Belgium, ready to hug them in their arms and listen to all of the many stories they surely would tell and just like that their lives are forever altered. Let’s pray for these sweet babes and anyone who lost their life in this tragedy.

Read More:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/14/switzerland-bus-crash_n_1343824.html?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmaing9%7Cdl6%7Csec1_lnk3%26pLid%3D143408

Two Year Old Kicked Off of Plane for Throwing A Tantrum- What Are Your Thoughts?

Source

The Stolk/Vieau Family was flying back from a vacation on JetBlue Airlines, when their toddler a 2 year old began throwing a tantrum about being strapped in her seat. The family says the tantrum last all of 3-5 minutes but apparently that was enough for the pilot to have the family removed from the plane. This is an interesting story and raises some questions on flying with young children. The mother said even after the child calmed down they were still asked to leave and all she was hoping for was a little humantiy in this situation. The airline said the customers didn’t comply with crew member instructions for a prolonged period of time. Who’s right and who’s wrong in this situation? What are your thoughts? Watch their interview on Today at http://todaytravel.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/12/10651930-family-removed-from-plane-due-to-unruly-toddler-wanted-a-little-bit-of-humanity and chime in!

Personally, I think if the situation was under control in the amount of time the parents stated (3-5 minutes) I believe they should’ve been given a warning and been allowed to fly. I’m not condoning  disruptive behavior and I think it is important to prepare your child as much as you can before a flight on what is expected of them, especially when safety is involved. However, toddlers are not adults and don’t always understand what is expected of them, or even when they are told beforehand on how to behave may have a different reaction when put in the situation. If your a mom most likely you’ve been in  a situation where your child wasn’t behaving as you pleased, and yes it is embarassing, but we also have to remember our children are children. Do you think the airline should have been more compassionate?  Shockingly 71% of more than the 68,049 voters sided with the airlines in a Poll that Today issued.

Memories of 9/11 -The Resiliency of the Spirit

 It’s been ten years since 9/11 occurred. It’s hard to believe so much time has passed, yet the wounds are still there. On 9/11/2001 I was actually working on Pennsylvania Ave in DC very close to the Capitol. My phone rang and a friend asked me if I was okay, “of course I am,” I replied, thinking why wouldn’t I be? I was completely unaware of the chaos that was taking place in NY and in my own neighborhood. When I finally realized what was going on, I couldn’t really comprehend it. I knew I wanted to get out of that building. The boss I worked for actually made us take a personal day, nice guy huh? All the phone lines were busy and I went outside to try and use a payphone, people were frantic, some running a few crying and it was all confusing and terrifying. My friend Ronnie and I walked to my house which was a few blocks away and stayed glued to the television with tears running down our face. The destruction was unbelievable. I finally did speak to my family and friends and they were all experiencing the same shock, fear and anger I was.

The next few days I read the paper, and came across a photo that has stayed etched in my heart and mind  ever since, it was a picture of a woman named Mary Duff-Ortale, she was hold a picture of her husband Peter Ortale, it was their wedding picture. Her mother Kathi Adlum was holding her anguished daughter from behind. I stared at that photo and the heaviness of 9/11 hit my heart like a ton of bricks. When I read about Peter Ortale, I was deeply saddened for his loved ones and his wife. See, Peter was a guy I would’ve been friends with. He was intelligent, funny, loving, caring, well travelled, and seemed to love his family and friends. He and Mary were only married 16 months before terrorists took his life (he’s remains were never found). Every year I’ve written in his legacy book and have wondered about Mary. The sorrow in that picture resonated so deeply within me.

I”ve often wondered how do people go on when something of this magnitude happens, how do they live? How was Mary? Well, Newsweek caught up with Mary and I’m thrilled to say she has a beautiful 5 year old daughter named Kate and seems to be moving forward. She said she searched for Peter and then held out hope, after that she basically went to bed for the next two years (can you blame her?). Then she had a baby to a long time friend of hers and currently resides in New York. When I saw this article it made my day! I’ve been having a not so good day and then  Mary made me think about how life does move on, even through the worst of tragedies the resiliency of the human spirit will still push through. I’m sure she still has hard days, but she’s celebrating life. When asked about this Sunday she said, she’ll cry for an hour and then take her daughter to the park. God bless you Mary Duff and the family of Peter Ortale. I pray that all of us take time not just on 9/11 but every day to cherish our seconds, our minutes, and love one another like it is our last day. Read more about Peter Ortale and Mary Duff.


9/2001 Source



9/2011 source

An Ordinary Man Does An Extraordinary Deed During The Attacks In Oslo

Source CNN

The recent attacks in Oslo have left 92 people dead. I’m sadden by the callous murder of all these innocent people. Events like this remind us all that evil is alive and kicking. Out of this terror a country will pull together and rebuild, although the lives loved one’s of those lost will never be the same along with those who survived the attacks. When something horrific like this occurs I’m always in awe of those courageous people who decide to intervene regardless of the personal risk to themselves. Yesterday, Kasper llaug watching television in his summer home in Storoya Island became aware of a mad man shooting people on Utoya Island. He ran to his 18 foot fishing boat and headed to Utoya Island. He then preceded to make three trips to the island rescuing youngsters at the youth camp under siege. Mr. llaug is a hero and although he said he doesn’t think he did anything special he certainly did. He unselfishly saved lives and was a beacon of hope to all those terrified children hiding behind the rocks staring death in the face.. Mr. llaug an ordinary man did an extraordinary act and is a true example of what it means to love your neighbor. God bless you Mr. llaug. See the interview on CNN here http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/europe/07/22/norway.rescue.worker/index.html