Saturday, May 14, 2016

$40 billion gone unused?!

Not going to lie, that number sort of blew me away. At my house, gift cards are usually blown through rather quickly.

Do you have unused gift cards tucked away in your wallet or junk drawer at home?

Check out

What a cool way to get rid of clutter and do some good. 

Compassion CardFunder from Compassion International on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Mother's Day is a comin'

Just to let you know, I'm writing this while coming out of a 7 day fog. I caught a nasty virus from my foster grand baby and it put me under. She bounced right through it as all tinies should. If things seem a bit off, I blame the virus.

Four companies have come to my attention recently.

If a company catches my eye then that means they offer more than just a product.

The first one is Akola. I first heard of them from my cashier at Whole Foods. He admired my fair trade grocery basket and told me about his friend's company. I, then, found their shop in Deep Ellum and it is so beautiful. If you need a peaceful spot while your strolling through the neighborhood, then I highly suggest taking a look. You can also purchase online. The company has created a sustainable impact model for women living in extreme poverty in Uganda. Their US branch offers an economic alternative to sex trafficking victims through business training and employment.

100% of Akola profits invest in empowerment and wellness programs for 250 women impacting 2,500 lives.

And their jewelery is stunning.

While strolling through the Deep Ellum Arts Festival my friends and I came across the next company.

ellajude make such lovey stuff. They handcraft these chunky, funky, worn, bright pieces. And, of course, it has a reason for existing beyond just being lovely. Five percent of the purchase price of any piece goes to support Casa De Amor in Bolivia. I really liked the 3/4" Word Bracelets. I actually squealed when I saw the one that says "create" 'cause that's my word for the year. You can ask my friend, Jacqueline, about the excitement. Josh and April, the creative husband and wife team, were so sweet to chat with. And I'm thrilled they use their business to build others up.

A company I stumbled on this past week while sick is Sackcloth & Ashes. I'm so glad they really exist and I didn't just dream them up during the fever stages. You can find their blankets at Anthropologie, so many of you probably already know about them. They are ethically sourced and fair trade. I really like the red Socality one. The cool thing about this company is they give a blanket to one of your local homeless shelters for every blanket you purchase.

The last one is Tiny Bee Gift Co. For every book purchased they give a book to the library of your choice. So sweet. So easy. So cute!

Well, there you have it. Four companies that have caught my eye recently. Make your mom happy. Give her something that gives even more.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Compassion in the DR

Today is the beginning of a very exciting week for Compassion International. A team of bloggers are in the Dominican Republic ready to visit the child development centers and learn more about the work being done there.

I'm excited about this trip, because our two sponsored children reside in the Dominican Republic. So, I will be searching the pictures looking for our Gabby and Eury. I don't know if I'll recognize them. They're growing so fast and I've never seen a photo of them smiling. They're always so serious in their official Compassion pictures.

You can follow along on this trip by keeping tabs on these different blogs.

Faith Barista
Our Savory Life
Coffee For Your Heart
Journey With Me
Mike Varel
Living Well Spending Less

Or follow them here.

On Twitter? Follow this stream.

On Pinterest? Follow this board.

Share what touches you and moves your heart.

And consider sponsoring a child from the DR. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Childhood memories

I've started this post more than once.

I've typed and deleted several things.

But, now, I've decided to share one of my fondest memories from my childhood.

I don't even know if the world today would allow this to happen.

Way back in the mid-seventies my family moved to far West Texas, true West Texas.

On our first Sunday in this tiny town we met a family.

They lived on a ranch 20 miles out of town.

We had Sunday lunch with them at the ranch.

It was decided my siblings and I would stay a couple of days while our parents settled into their new jobs.

The next day 8 kids, ages 15 through 6, climbed onto horses, bareback.

We only took 3 horses, which meant a pile of kids on each horse.

Thankfully, for the horses, we were all tiny.

We headed north through the desert scrub until the designated spot to tie-up the horses.

Then, we hiked to the Rio Grande (remember, true West Texas) and waded down the river in water barely covering our ankles.

Until we hit the mud.

Grey, slimy, glorious mud.

At this point in the river the water was about waist deep on me and the mud was knee high.

The mud fight was epic.

Every inch of us was covered in mud.

We got back to the house about the same time our parents drove up.

The mud was so thick they couldn't tell us apart at first.

My mom found a pebble in my little brother's ear.

I tell you, it was an epic fight.

What an amazing day.

8 kids.

Bareback on horses.

In far West Texas.

Screaming, yelling, and flinging mud in the Rio Grande.

Without an adult in sight.

Like I said, I don't know if the world we live in now would allow this to take place.

Those years in far West Texas opened up a whole new world to me. So much freedom to run around doing crazy things. A different culture, a different landscape. I'm extremely thankful for the time I had there.

You might not live in a place where your kids can experience different cultures first hand, but there is a nifty magazine that allows them to explore and a year subscription is free.

It's called Explorer and you can sign up for it here.

Compassion Explorer is full of crafts, games, recipes, devotionals, and stories from around the world.

When I was a kid, I loved reading books and magazines. I still love reading books and magazines. It's such a great way to explore without leaving home.

Explore getting Explorer for the kids you love. Introduce them to a whole new world. You've got nothing to lose and they've got a lot to gain.

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.