I have always said I am not a matchy person. I do not match my purse and shoes, nor my curtains to my bedspread. It makes me feel like I am stifling my creativity to make things match up exactly - and that may be snooty but it is how I feel. Like a painter using a color-by-number set or something.

I like to think that God holds to this theory too. He mixes up the fall colors so well. I would be very disappointed to see logical patterns in the trees. The randomness of nature is so much better. I can’t stop looking at the side of the road.

But when I drive through this I am not content because I am a close-up person and I need to experience it all with my senses. I want to see the leaves and their colors and shapes and textures up close. I almost want to roll around in them (that’s a bit weird but how else to immerse yourself in the scent? I think it comes most strongly from the leaves on the ground, doesn’t it? At least that is how it seems when you are raking them.) 

I am being sincere when I say that little soothes my soul better than being in nature. Even in the quietest house, the stillness of the outside is quieter still. It is true peace.

I drove up north today. I am in a milk co-op and we take turns driving up to the most wonderful farm. Their milk is delicious and creamy and they love their cows and they know how to feed and care for them so well and it produces exceptional milk.

And every time I go up north, I wonder how it is that I could live so near such a beautiful area but not in it.

We have tried so many times to move to a more rural area. I romanticize the idea: we could have chickens and cows and pigs and butcher our own meat and eat our own eggs and live off the land and chop wood each year to heat our cozy place and oh woudn’t it be wonderful, husband?!

And he nods his head or shakes it or something that lets me know that it’s not reality, even though he would love to live somewhere more rural he would not like to live off the land because in this case that translates roughly to “the creative but tired wife comes up with the ideas and then moves on to new ideas and the extrovert husband does all the work and rarely gets to see his farmer neighbors and the introvert wife thinks that would be amazing but in a few years she would be muttering to herself and canning animal organs and bringing unconventional pets (read:goats, many.) into the house.”

And apparently the husband is not down with that. 

And also, apparently God is on the husband’s side in this matter.

Because it turns out that the will of God (for me at least) is not to can animal organs and have goats as my only friends. Perhaps that is a little too John the Baptist for his taste? The world only needs one of those and he already was. 

Fiiiiiiiiiiine.

I will stay in the suburbs and have natural gas pumped into my house and shop at Costco and have no pets, no canned organs and many neighbors.

Whatever.

Thanks for the fall colors, anyway.

In signing this petition, I am urging the President to deny the EPA’s approval of the 2,4-D and glyphosate herbicide combination developed by Dow Chemical Company. This mix of chemical herbicides known as “Enlist Duo” would mean an additional hundred million pounds of chemicals will be used to produce corn and soybeans across the country, putting families, children and the environment’s health at risk. Communities living downwind of fields and thousands of schools within 200 feet of corn and soybean fields are at risk of inhaling the new “Enlist Duo” herbicide. Exposure to the chemical 2,4-D is linked to an increased risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, thyroid & reproductive problems, Parkinson’s disease and neurological damage. Do not allow the EPA to approve this highly toxic herbicide mix.

I like how scientist are pretending that all this tampering with nature and the ridiculous use of chemical cocktails will have no effect on mankind or the environment.

I $mell money at play here.

Sign the petition and tell them you don’t want MORE toxic chemicals added any crops.

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/demand-president-step-oppose-epa%E2%80%99s-approval-new-24-d-resistant-genetically-engineered-crops/sy38Vm0s

"So I know this doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, but at the end of this will these little girls and boys know that I wasn’t a bad guy?"

He looked at me kindly and shook his head,

"We have to stay undercover. They will always think you were just one of the many bad people in their lives. It’s the hardest part of this job. Without question."

Meg Conley was was asked to join the team of O.U.R on their last mission to Domincan Republic. The story she tells is heartbreaking.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/meg-conley/the-day-i-was-arrested-for-human-trafficking_b_5726822.html

This is where my heart landed.

I started a facebook page called 2 Minutes for Hope. (please join us.)

The goal is to pray 2 minutes everyday for the victims of human trafficking, their families, the investigators, and for all involved. 

Pray for hope.

Pray for justice.

Pray that we can see amazing numbers of rescued children in the days ahead. 

I will bring information, hopeful stories and faces to pray for. I pray that God will use this.

We have already seen God return one girl to safety. (I was over the moon.) And I pray He rescues more. And I pray that more of these people treating people as commodities will have a changed heart. Or be brought to justice.

I also found this organization that goes in and rescues these children. And I put my money where my heart is, after seeing the good they are doing.

These guys will send you updates after an operation and a text every time a child is rescued.

This is good stuff.

This is shining a light.

Always remarkable what some kids have to do to get an education.

children-going-to-school-around-the-world-35

http://www.boredpanda.com/dangerous-journey-to-school/

My Heart Breaks

Warning: Link Contains Upsetting Content
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/02/19/child-pornography-dark-web/5184485/


This story breaks my heart. And I don’t mean it in a trivial way. It explodes into a fire that smolders and I cannot break free of this passion for justice. My heart cannot look away from this. It cannot un-know it.

My heart breaks. For everyone involved.

Obviously for the children. I cannot know how they survive in a world of hopelessness. For them my heart aches and I pray that God would deliver them from this life and that they would be Kings and Queens of the next life, innocence restored. Living in unbelievable peace, free from other people’s absolute evil.

For the parents, it seems an unfathomable state of living. Because when your child is gone, no matter the age - you must feel hopelessness that is unimaginable. What do you hope for? Your heart must be lost with them. Having no idea where they are, what is happening to them. God, hear the broken hearts of these parents.

My heart is broken for the investigators whose job it is to review and immerse themselves in this culture. These things cannot me unseen. God protect their hearts somehow.

For the perpetrators and addicts to these films. Yes. Them too. Because how many of them were victims themselves? How many of them were trapped in this cycle of hurt and evil by someone who broke them as a child? How many of them have families and loved ones whose lives are being turned upside down by this? God give them the strength to break free, to seek help. And to find it.

Those who make, distribute and profit from such films?

I honestly don’t know how to hope for people who live in such a dark place in humanity as this. God is absolutely capable of freeing people from the all-encompassing darkness that resides in their hearts. I believe He is able to redeem anyone. But people who deal in this sort of debauchery and evil…what can touch and break their hearts? What will bring them out of the underworld that comes with this sort of lifestyle? Hurting a child in this way takes a hard heart, the depths of which it seems little can penetrate. God, do as you see fit - it’s all I can muster.

And then the question comes: what can I do about it?

As much as I would love to go vigilante and rescue these children, these young ladies, these boys, I cannot. I sit here, heart aching for them and their mommas and knowing there is nothing I can do to make them safe, to end the inconceivable abuse.

But there has to be something I can do. Something that can help end this cycle. As I laid in bed this morning, half asleep, my head was swimming in and out of consciousness, I thought about this question.

What can I possibly do?

I can teach my sons and daughters that every life has value.

That people do not merely exist for the singular purpose of making us happy, or fulfilling our wants and desires. That is to treat someone as though they have no soul.

That we must all stand up for justice, no matter how hard or uncomfortable it makes us.

I can talk to them about sex and the beauty of it and be certain to not make it something they feel must be hidden. God made sex - it was part of His beautiful plan for us. Plain and simple. 

I can give my money to people who are in the fight to end this epidemic, whether by getting involved or by teaching about the realities of it.

I can spread the word to my friends and family via social media. Statistics are important but faces and names and news stories speak loudly.

I can invite people to come and hear what they can do, what part they can play in ending human trafficking and child pornography.

But this problem seems so big. How can we help children we can’t even find?

As I stood my the kitchen this morning, I thought about it again. And I felt God reminding me that even though I might feel hopeless and helpless, He is not. He is mighty.

What if we, as Christians, put our faith in the God we claim to believe it? What if we committed to praying daily for the victims, the parents, the addicts, the investigators? What if we stopped putting our heads in the sand and started learn about how terrible this is and what it looks like and where it happens (in your city and my city)? 

What if we blow this thing wide open? What if we start looking at statics, stand up for the marginalized, pray that there will be light that shatters the darkness?

This is what I want. This is what I expect from my God. And I believe it is what He expects of us.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?

To act justly 

and to love mercy

and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8 

It seems especially difficult to encourage some Christians to learn about Human Trafficking or child pornography. It seems we have difficulty understanding how we could learn about it without subjecting ourselves to that darkness. 

And to an extent, that is true. But we do not need to see images in order to have our hearts broken and the passion for change ignited. Stories of hope, of victims rescued, are a powerful catalyst for change. 

We can’t expect to do anything about this if we don’t acknowledge it, educate ourselves and actively seek justice.

(Ideas. They are brewing in my head…)

 

This is here to remind me that I am still me, you know?

Because this journey that I am on has a way of putting blinders on me and making me feel like I am this…whatever the heck it is, with fatigue and moodiness and words that come out in the wrong way. 

But we all see this life mostly through the lens of what we are going through at the time, right? Except for the times where we are startled awake with someone else’s reality. And it feels awful and wonderful at the same time. Because it breaks through our sadness with more sadness but oh! There is solidarity in that, isn’t there? It does not diminish our troubles, but helps us see things in a different landscape  - which we may judge as better or worse than our own. But mostly it just is a different landscape. And our compassion is heightened because we see we are not the only ones. Not at all.

For a while it felt like I lost that creative part of me and I was mostly a robot, shuffling through life. And that was very sad for me because I love to laugh. But for a while, I just didn’t remember how to do it very well. The part of me that wondered if tribes, in cave-man days, were recognized by the shape of their nostrils rather than last names - that part of me lay dormant. For so long I assumed that it was gone for ever. 

But last month I saw it. And not just for an hour or a day but for a whole month! And I made myself laugh again and I wondered where I had been and I welcome myself back. And I was wonderful and I greeted everyone by name and I didn’t shrink back like I do sometimes and I made grand plans and dreamed up big ideas out loud.

And then it all crashed again. And then it was the me that cried in the Women’s Ministry meeting that young girls are trafficked and we are planning luncheons and I wondered how Jesus felt about that. And wondered out loud if we really are called to arrange Prayer Meetings and then I felt like just dropping out of life in general. Not dying, just being a hermit.

How do you blame hormones or bacteria for sudden weirdness in a grown-up, responsible, mature way with out seeming like a flake? Are there rules? Do I meet with someone, fill out a form? “This isn’t me. This isn’t who I normally am.” I just want a button or a sign or something.

Today I met with a Dr who told me that it was “probable” that I have Lyme Disease. She can’t say for certain because there is no good test that is covered by insurance for people that have possibly had Lyme for years. 

And just like that, I found myself at the foot of a mountain I suspected was there for a while. 

But that is all I know right now. Probably. 

Getting up the mountain is next. Or across, or around or whatever. And seeing if I can laugh a bit as I go.

I’m not scared. I’m not looking for pity. I just need to remember that sometimes I write things. Sometimes I am creative (or something that could pass for creativity.) I hope I find the old me, the one that throws her head up and laughs uproariously at absurdities. I hope I find myself in the journey around this mountain.

That’s beautiful, isn’t it?

I should print up a bumper sticker or an inspirational poster…

Tumblrs, you are the right people for this job. I am helping plan the women’s retreat for our church. Trying to find some games that haven’t been totally done to death. I want to play one that I call “In Other Words”, where we take the titles of movies, books and songs with a maritime theme (theme for the weekend is “Anchor For My Soul.”) and then swap them for synonyms and see if the ladies can guess what the are.

Example: Liberating William…the answer would be Free Willy.

Get it?

Your turn.

We need well-known/classics with a maritime theme so everyone can play.
You can give me just titles or if you enjoy a challenge and have a little time on your hands, you can swap them as well!

Any takers?
You guys are the best.

Is there anyway to block someone from following your blog? Some of these things that pop up following me…I’m rather dubious, and I would rather they not follow me.

I swear there was a “block” button before but I can’t find it now.

I know…I’m like a 90 year old. Who let me on the internet?

I’m thinking about changing the name of my blog to something that more aptly describes my life these days.

Because honestly, what we are headed toward is not even in the same country as simplicity.

I think wholeftthisraisinonthebathroomfloor  has a nice ring to it, don’t you?