Saturday, August 30, 2014

Back to school

Around here most of the kiddos have been in school for a week. Some private schools and states have been in session for a few weeks and some haven't started up yet. I guess we sort of fall in the middle. And, my guess is that the majority of us, no matter when we start, take education for granted.

In honor of education and its importance I give you some facts gathered by Compassion International.
  • Worldwide, nearly 80 percent of primary-school-age children attend school. In least developed countries, this figure is around 66 percent.
  • The largest out-of-school population is in sub-Saharan Africa, where around 45.5 million children of primary school age are out of school.
  • Of the 67 million primary-school-age children who do not attend school, 53 percent are girls.
  • Worldwide, only 49 percent of children of secondary school age actually attend secondary school.
  • Of the 49 percent of secondary age students who do not attend school, 52 percent are girls.
  • The world’s functional illiterates include more than 130 million children who do not attend school, 73 million of them girls.

These numbers are heartbreaking. 

 I looked up information about the education system in The Dominican Republic where our Compassion kiddos live. I found out it ranks as one of the worst in the world. Heartbreaking. The article by Katie Manning came out May 12, 2014 for Deutsche Welle and states extremely low pay makes it hard to get qualified teachers. Can you imagine trying to live on less than $350 a month? When I taught for a private school I only made about $6 an hour. Teachers there make even less. Hard to comprehend that's possible. Schools are also extremely overcrowded and dropout rates are high. 

At least I know our kiddos are getting extra attention through the Compassion programs they attend. My hope is that education reform will truly take place in their country. 

You can help a child/children reach for the stars and get the educational help needed by sponsoring he/she/them through Compassion.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Patricia Laura of Ten Thousand Homes

Back in July this list came out in The Huffington Post. I was THRILLED, GIDDY, ECSTATIC to see Ten Thousand Homes included.

I know Ten Thousand Homes is a remarkable place. It holds a part of my heart and because of this I've decided to "interview" the ladies of TTH and introduce them to you. These Q & A sessions are being posted in the order I receive them.

First up is Patricia Laura, originally from Brazil. You may have heard of that country. It had some kind of soccer thingy there recently. 

How did you come to be part of Ten Thousand Homes? In 2012, God had revived in my heart the dream of being a missionary and a friend showed me a website with information about TTH. Then in 2013 I came to Africa and had been serving for only 1 month and here God told me that I should return full-time. I was invited to come back and do the YWAM DTS. I came back two months later.

Was it an easy decision to join the staff? No. I had a ticket to go back to Brazil after finishing the school and God spoke to me clearly to stay. The hardest part was telling my parents and friends that I would not return to Brazil soon.

How long have you been on staff? 6 months

What is your role at Ten Thousand Homes? I have been added to the Community Development team and help in all that is necessary. I keep praying to God to tell me exactly what to do.

How do you describe hope? For me HOPE is to see and believe that the situation can change in spite of circumstances.

Why is hope important to you? HOPE brings joy, faith and truth.

What is a dream you have for Ten Thousand Homes or yourself? I have a dream of seeing God's love changing this nation through the TTH family. For myself I have a dream to have my own family.

What is one thing you want people to know about Ten Thousand Homes? TTH is not about food or a house, it is about Love, Hope and Relationship with God and people. 

Thank you, Patricia, for sharing. You are so beautiful. I love your heart. I need to hug your neck.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


I've been thinking about my word for 2014 for a couple of weeks now.

Three words kept bouncing around:


There wasn't a particular order and sometimes I would completely forget one of them and have to rack my brain for the missing word.

Extend was always there.

When I think of the word I picture my hands stretching out from my body and my fingers spreading wide - expanding, ready to embrace. 

I want to extend, reach out to friends I haven't seen for some time, even though we live in the same city.

I want to extend, explore areas of creativity that I've shut down in the past.

I want to extend, stretch my comfort zone.

This year I want to always be extending my hands, reaching out for and with grace and mercy.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Sometimes things get lost in translation

Yesterday we received a letter from one of our Compassion kids.

These letters always make me smile.

This one also made me confused.

Gabriela is from The Dominican Republic and writes in Spanish, so after looking over her drawing and the cute little form sheet she filled out, I went to the English translation that's always provided.

"I thank you for the photo in front of the cannon."

Huh? Cannon? I'm pretty sure I didn't send a photo with a cannon in it. I'm not known for taking photographs of instruments of war.

At 1:30 a.m I woke up and realized it was suppose to say "canyon." I had sent a picture of my kids at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

And sure enough, I went to read the original Spanish and there it was. She had written "gran caƱon."

Now that that is cleared up, Gabriela, I'm so glad you liked it.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Help Children Affected by Typhoon in Philippines

It's hard to read about the horrors the typhoon has churned up in the Philippines.

It's very frustrating to know there are evil people that will try to take advantage of the crisis to make money and hurt already hurting people.

Here is a safe donation choice.

Compassion had people in the Philippines long before the massive storm hit. They've been helping struggling families and children for a long time and will continue.

Check here for how you can give to help people in the Philippines.

Your gift makes possible interventions such as:
  • emergency food and water, temporary shelters, personal items, cooking utensils, trauma counseling and spiritual support
  • replacing clothing, school supplies and household items
  • restoring supplies a family needs for earning income
  • providing continued counseling and support as needed 
Thank you so much for giving and praying.

Monday, October 28, 2013

For Freedom - A Covers EP

For Freedom by Jenny and Tyler drops on November 12, 2013 or 11/12/13 if that's easier to remember. It is a beautiful little album full of a variety of covers. And, something especially dear to my heart, all the proceeds will go to organizations fighting human trafficking.

One of the things I really love about this album is that they stayed faithful to the original works. Their talent shines through, but they didn't do away with the strong frame that had already been created. I don't believe any of the original artists would be offended by these covers. It comes across, to me, as a lovely gift, honoring the creativity of the originals.

I've been a little surprised at my favorite song. For a couple of days I simply could not make up my mind, but I've found myself returning to We Will Become Silhouettes. I haven't really put my finger on why. It just grabs me. I thought it would be I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For because I'm a huge U2 fan and Sara Groves does an excellent job with Jenny and Tyler and a gigantic virtual choir. And, JJ Heller nails Dreams. All the songs are exquisite.

Here's the list:
Tonight, Tonight (feat. Levi Weaver)
The Scientist
Dreams (feat. JJ Heller)
We Will Become Silhouettes (Remastered)
The Sound of Silence (Remastered)
What A Wonderful World
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For (feat. Sara Groves)

I first met Jenny and Tyler a little over a year ago. I wasn't familiar with their music, hadn't seen them perform, but we had a short conversation and I was very impressed with their kindness and sincerity. Immediately, I checked out their music and then saw them in concert a month or so later. I found them to be delightful in recordings, on stage, and in person. And, their passion for the hurting touches me greatly.

So, when For Freedom comes out on 11/12/13, I encourage you to purchase it. You won't be disappointed.