Monthly Archives: November 2009

The Other Side of Life

I found these photos from a newspaper blog. There were others, but these two captured me.

A child searches for recyclable material in India.

Child laborers in a balloon shop in Bangladesh.

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Brew Some Good!

I’m not much of a coffee fan. I blame it on my fifth grade Spanish teacher. But we’ll save my emotionally scarring stories for another day ๐Ÿ™‚

So, yeah…I may not like coffee, but I know most of you do! Which is why I want to share a very cool way you can combine your coffeenerdness with a dose of charity.

Let me introduce to you Land of a 1000 Hills Coffee. Their motto is “Drink Coffee. Do Good.” Here is their story in their own words:

When Jonathan Golden learned that the 1994 genocide in Rwanda devastated the coffee growing community, he purchased a roaster and a few bags of green coffee beans, and launched a new coffee experience grounded in coffee, community, and justice.

By paying coffee growers in Rwanda a fair, Living Wage and supporting community projects, Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee invests up to $3 per bag into the Rwandan economy. Engaging redemption through coffee, Rwandan farming communities are becoming a vibrant picture of opportunity and sustainability. Today, Rwanda harvests only premium quality arabica bourbon specialty coffee beans, grown at high altitudes in rich volcanic soil.

The Tutsi, Hutu, and Twa farmers are no longer defined by genocide. Instead, they show incredible displays of reconciliation and forgiveness as they work side by side to produce a commodity of hope that continues to break the chains by which they were once bound. Here, across the world, you can bless them just by drinking a cup of Land of a Thousand Hills coffee.

Every bag purchased provides a rural farmer with a proper Living Wage and the dignity and self respect that comes from providing for oneself. In 2004, Land of a Thousand Hills committed to paying at minimum of $1.26 per lb. to the grower for their finest coffee, more than three times the unjust 40 cents often paid by other coffee companies. Currently, the growers are consistently paid an average of $1.86 per lb. Land of a Thousand Hills also invests one dollar per 12 oz. bag sold to fund micro-finance programs that help Rwandans start small businesses.

Drink Coffee. Do Good.

Very cool stuff. Check out their website (it’s changing in the next week or two) and try a bag or two of their coffee. I’ve heard it’s really good and you’ll be helping folks out in the process. All in all, a great way to Become Last.

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A Secret No Longer

I’ve mentioned before how this blog has begun to change the way I see the world. This past week has highlighted another ugly aspect of our humanity that has been operating in the dark for too long. As you’ll read in this story, there was a five year-old little girl named Shaniya who went missing last week. People from all over North Carolina were alerted to watch out for her.

Unfortunately, Shaniya was not just lost. She had been given over to a horrible and growing problem, human trafficking. Her body was found this week and it turns out they have arrested her mother whom police believe offered her for prostitution. And she’s not alone. According to the article:

Kinnaird said if Shaniya was involved in a sex trafficking plot, she is among other victims in the state. โ€œMany of them are Asian women and children. Many of them are Hispanic women and children. But as we saw to our horror (possibly with Shaniya), they are now homegrown, and may have been all along,โ€ she said. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, roughly 17,500 people are trafficked in the United States annually. Victims are forced into sex and slave labor.

I’ve just begun to read up on this topic so I know very little about the extent of this kind of stuff worldwide. It’s one of those things that you know goes on, but we just become accustomed to sweeping it into a corner of our mind. It’s like when you clean your room as a kid, you just throw it all under your bed and it won’t bother you there. But this stuff is real and it breaks my heart that little children are sold or taken into slavery or for sex on a daily basis. Can you imagine how scared, lonely, and broken these children must feel?

If you want to read more, I’ve begun looking at this website. I’m sure there are others if you google or bing them. That’s just the first one I came upon.

I hope you’ll take time today to read a little on human trafficking and at the least, say a prayer for the kids who are suffering as we speak.

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Toddlerific!

Yesterday, I shared some questions I think we should all ask ourselves as parents. It always helps me to take a step back from parenting and examine my heart and my motives in how I parent. Today, I wanted to share with you a “proud dad” moment.

Every once in a while, he gets in these daddy’s boy moods. He’ll copy everything I do, he’ll beg me to play with him, and he’ll go out of his way to be extremely well behaved. Well, yesterday, my son grabs my finger and guides me into his little play area. He’s got about 30 matchbox cars, cars from Cars, monster trucks, and various other cars (do you see a theme?) all lined up in a row. He loves to do that for some reason! Right now, they are across our whole den (my wife calls it a living room, but it’s a den) floor!

He sits me down and we have this conversation:

E: Let’s play cars together daddy!

Me: Yeah, that’d be fun!

E: O.K. Yay!

Me: Which car can I play with?

E: Ummm…(you can see the wheels turning in his head…he scans over the cars and he lands on one in particular). Daddy can play with this one!

It may not sound like much of a conversation, but my little boy had just made a very selfless, generous decision. He gave me his much beloved Lightning McQueen car. Even better, it was an intentional decision. I love that and it was such a sweet moment to see my little guy sacrifice a little something for his daddy.

I wish it were that easy for me to give in real life. I cling to stuff so tight. Don’t get me wrong. I give here and there, but I give my leftovers. I give what I can afford to lose. My little guy – he gave his treasure. What a great lesson I learned, but such a difficult one to apply.

Have a great weekend!

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Humility as a Parent

Parenting requires a great deal of sacrifice. You pour a great deal of time, money, and effort into raising your children. Not many things could more accurately portray Becoming Last. My little guy is certainly worth it and I’m sure you’d say the same about your kids. But sometimes I find myself forgetting that it’s not beneath me to serve him too. Experts normally say that people best learn when their leaders lead by example. So here’s some questions to ask to see if you are Becoming Last as a parent. Disclaimer: I am not a parenting expert. I just love my kid and have some observations about my own tendencies.

  1. If your child acts out in public, are you consistent with your discipline or do they get the “extra upset” version because you are embarrassed?
  2. When they directly defy you do you care more about their development than your pride?
  3. Are you consistent with discipline no matter your attitude, sleep deprivation level, or crazy long day?
  4. Do you work hard at praising your kids for jobs well done?
  5. How many times do you say, “I love you!”?
  6. Do you give them grace occasionally?
  7. Do you practice what you preach (cleaning up after yourself, washing your hands, saying “please”, etc.)?
  8. Are you willing to say “I’m sorry” when your voice is too loud or you react a little stronger than you should have?

Just a short list today. I think in parenting we (read “I”) can sometimes become domineering. Certainly, we are the adults and they should listen, but I know I can also practice humility and a servant attitude towards my son.

So, for you parents out there today, how can you Become Last?

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Quote of the Day

Teach us, good Lord, to serve you as you deserve :
to give, and not to count the cost,
to fight, and not to heed the wounds,
to toil, and not to seek for rest,
to labor, and not to ask for any reward,
save that of knowing that we do your will.

— Ignatius of Loyola

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Sometimes A Picture Says It Best

Always Remember the Least of These…

 

This post is part of the One Word at a Time blog carnival hosted by a blogging buddy. This week’s theme is Remember. Check out the rest of the posts here.

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