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A New Hope

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… or in present time, right here in our own world… injustice seemed to have the upper hand in the lives of women all over the world- held in captivity, worked in sweatshops, and abused in just about every way imaginable.  And all they wanted was a chance to live in health and to provide for their loved ones.  Trades of Hope is a company that seeks to give these women just this chance at dignity, and I’m excited that I will now be part of their efforts as a Compassion Entrepreneur!

I consider myself to be an abolitionist and an activist for justice, and I have found that empowering women is a passion of mine (especially in the area of redemption from human trafficking).  Women are by nature the nurturers in any society; therefore, it is said in many parts of Africa, “If you educate a man, you simply educate an individual, but if you educate a woman, you educate a nation.”

Please understand that I am not bashing men.  I’m just sharing the shocking knowledge I have learned…the knowledge that made me realize one of my heart’s deepest passions.  Two interesting facts I found while reading The Hole in Our Gospel, written by Richard Stearns, President of World Vision:

*Women own less than 1% of the world’s property

*Women work 2/3 of all the world’s labor hours, but earn only 10% of the world’s wages

Stearns believes, “the single most significant thing that can be done to cure extreme poverty is this: protect, educate, and nurture girls and women and provide them with equal rights and opportunities- educationally, economically, and socially.”  I agree.

What I really love about Trades of Hope is that it is not a provider of charity, but it gives women the ability to work in fair conditions and for fair wages in order to support themselves, their children, and their communities.

I once sold Mary Kay, but not successfully.  I lacked a passion for it.  Sure, I enjoyed the products, but cosmetics are cosmetics.  There was no deeper cause.  Now I have a deeper sense of purpose because I am not just raising money for myself, but I’m helping women around the world live a better quality of life… and for the first few months I will be using whatever I earn towards my Guatemala mission trip this summer!

I am so excited to see where this leads and I hope it opens more doors where I am able to minister towards and in defense of  women needing justice.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;
ensure justice for those being crushed.
Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,
and see that they get justice.”

Proverbs 31:8-9

If you are interested in ensuring justice for those being crushed, please support me in my endeavors with this blessing of a company, Trades of Hope.

My Grown Up Christmas List

I was going to write this incredibly inspiring post about realizing there’s more to Christmas than getting gifts and all the material possessions we may desire, and then I realized it’s been done before… on multiple occasions, and by multiple people.  What else could I say that hasn’t already been said?  I guess I could tell it from my own perspective and through the illustration of how I’ve learned this most important lesson.

I’ll keep it short though.

Christmas has always been my favorite time of year, ever since I can remember.  I love listening to and singing along with Christmas music, decorating the tree, making and eating all those holiday goodies we regret later, buying and wrapping presents, and opening my gifts.  But like so many others, by getting wrapped up in wrapping paper and such, we often forget the true meaning of the holiday.

By the way, the true meaning isn’t just the quality time and the giving and loving we do more at this time of year, though that is what creates those warm, fuzzy feelings.  Whether you believe in Him or not, Christmas would not exist if one amazing gift had not been given a couple thousand years ago… the greatest gift ever given, because of what He would give to all of us a little over thirty years later.  Jesus was sent to sacrifice everything for us.  No, I’m not going to preach.  I just think it is beautiful and needs to be kept in mind.

2 Corinthians 8:9 You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich. (NLT)

I certainly do not want to become poor, but I understand the idea behind giving in a way I didn’t for so long.  When Robert lost his job, it sure felt like we were poor, and we were unable to give gifts for Christmas, something that depressed me.  As you grow older, you receive less gifts, so it wasn’t that part that made me sad, but that I wouldn’t be going out in search of the “perfect” gifts for all my loved ones, hoping to outdo what I had done the year before.  Don’t get me wrong.  Robert and I always budgeted for our gift-giving so as not to spend what we didn’t have, but we always budgeted generously, especially for each other.  It became almost a contest to see who could stretch the money we allocated for each other the furthest and still get awesome presents.   It wasn’t as much about blessing the other person as it was about the process.

Somehow in all of that, we lost the simplest joy of Christmas.  Now that Robert is working again, we decided not to change much from what we did the last two years while he was unemployed.  We are buying gifts for the small kids in our lives, and other than that, we are giving to those who are in need, and through charities and projects we believe in.  If the adults in our lives do not understand this, than they really don’t know us that well.

I’m not saying giving gifts to family and friends is a bad practice- just try to keep it all in perspective.  Giving doesn’t have to be material objects either; giving time and love, or something you create yourself should be more important than a reindeer sweater with a puffy red nose someone will re-gift anyway.

Keep it simple.  Keep it heartfelt.  Keep it in perspective, and keep others in mind.