Tag Archives: women

Life in a Jar

Heroes do extraordinary things. What I did was not an extraordinary thing. It was normal.

-Irena Sendler

For an aged woman of 91 at the time of her death, Irena Sendler had seen firsthand more despair, hatred and injustice than most of us can see in a lifetime. A polish woman growing up in Warsaw and the surrounding areas Irena was submerged in the anti-semitic culture of Europe during the Holocaust. Her life was normal from the outside looking in, and she seemed to be the average young polish woman who just wanted to pursue a nursing career so she could follow in her father’s footsteps by being part of the medical field… she was anything but that.

Her father not only passed along his love for medicine but also a deeply rooted belief that all person’s have dignity and that if you see a person drowning, “must try to rescue them, even if you cannot swim.” Irena took that wisdom to heart and as the Holocaust raged more and more inhuman each day she decided she would no longer stand against justice by doing nothing.

Irena’s fight for the Jewish people started in 1939 when she and her tiny army of fighters created fake documents for many Jews living in Poland. Her fight did not end there though, by the end of 1942 Irena had successfully smuggled 2,500 children out of the Warsaw ghetto either by traveling through the sewer systems or hiding the very young ones in her medical bag.

The life of this polish woman is not just a story about doing what is right or even about finding justice for others, it is a story that drips with a desire to see all of humanity live with dignity. She did not see the Jewish people as a lesser race, she did not find them distasteful or deserving of death- she saw people, in need of what she could offer.

Irena speaks about her experiences during World War II as if she were not a hero, many quotes you find from her talk about how she is just the opposite. A person who did not do something extraordinary, but one who did something that should be very ordinary.

How are we, as ordinary people, doing ordinary things… make an extraordinary difference? Irena saved the lives of thousand of children, careful to write down their names, their parents names and where they were going and then protected that information, she buried her jars of thin tissue paper under apple trees. This allows to look back on to see the impact… the lives of thousands and thousands of people are now changed forever… because someone did something ordinary.

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Life in a Jar

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Filed under Human Interest, Women's History Month

“I wanted to see dignity.”

Today was a great day.

This is true for a number of reasons, least of which was my being 3 hours late to work as a result of very mysterious pains that are still plaguing me. It’s fine, it leaves me with two options… get better or die, I’m not ready for the latter so it’s apparent to me that I’ll just lock it up and eventually the mystery pain will go away.

However, my reasons as to why today was a great day DOES include a certain phone call Suzanne and I had with Becky and Jody from The Adventure Project.

What. Phenomenal. Women.

Continuing our topics revolving around Women’s History Month it’s time to point out what is happening here and now amongst women to shape the face of our futures. Suzanne asked Becky and Jody why and how they decided to step out on their own and start this project that is much bigger than life-size and Becky answered with a very simple phrase that speaks beyond itself.

“I wanted to see dignity…”

Becky and Jody both took some of their time to tell us their journey and how they decided to create something that would impact people around the world. The Adventure Project takes things like coal-burning stoves for people in Haiti and education for well mechanics in India as a way to promote personal dignity. Becky saw the need during her travels and found a way she could change these things and give these people she was encountering a way to not only have a need met but then provide for themselves by creating self-sustainable opportunities. Jody took account of her life and said “Where can I use the talents, time and energy that I’ve been given?” She is a mother to 6 beautiful children, a wife and the founder of an incredible organization. I have no idea how she does it, and I am consistently in awe of her dedication and desire to change the world using her skills.

As I said before, I wanted to write about where I see our generation of women now and where I would love to see us in the future. Here are two women who are inspiring myself and my friends to be not only women that are investing in the future but women who see their purpose and want to honor God through that.

Be inspired. Take action. Transform lives.

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Filed under Human Interest, Projects, Women's History Month

Freedom from Fear

It would be difficult to dispel ignorance unless there is freedom to pursue the truth unfettered by fear.

-Aung San Suu Kyi


It could be partly due to the fact that I’ve been to Burma, or that I have a deep connection to the fight against oppression that I consider Aung San Suu Kyi to be one of the most important and influential women to be recognized in the last century. But, I would say beyond my own personal bias there is a deep reverence and respect for this woman who has battled hardship and prejudice for most of her life simply because she has decided to fight for something she believes in.

Aung San Suu Kyi is the daughter of Aung San who founded the modern Burmese army and is responsible for liberating Burma from the British Empire when Suu Kyi was just 2 years old.  Following in her fathers footsteps she pursued politics after obtaining very reputable degrees and returned to Burma to fight for independence.

Burma is buddhist country that is still enveloped in the darkness of spirituality, political oppression and military rule. Their approach to socialism has been described as  ‘an amalgam of Buddhist and Marxist illogic’ by Newsweek. Overall the country has lived in severe poverty, unrest and a superstitious mentality that rules even their government.

Suu Kyi recognized the oppression that the government placed on its people and she decided that she did not have to remain silent about her desire for a democratic country, but instead speak out for it. One of her most recognized quotes is:

“You should never let your fears prevent you from doing what you know is right.”

While many people will find quaint ways of saying what they believe, rarely will you find a person that puts their life behind their words. Suu Kyi has done just that, spending 15 of the last 21 years under house arrest for speaking out against the governmental powers and asking for democracy and freedom for her people. She is looked to as a national hero by the Burmese people, a model of inspiration for those who still suffer oppression, a picture of dignity who does not use her gender as an excuse for women who don’t have a voice, and an activist that has not stopped in the face of threats, hardships and dangers for those who desire to see change.

A Nobel Peace Prize winner, a daughter, a wife, a mother, a politician, an activist, a woman… she has changed the world through her commitment to action against oppression.

“I don’t believe in people just hoping. We work for what we want. I always say that one has no right to hope without endeavor”

 


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Filed under Causes, Human Interest, Women's History Month

Strange Assumptions

There are a few assumptions that I’ve developed through the course of my life that are extremely inaccurate. With some of them I wonder how uniquely my mind must have functioned to rationalize these…

  1.  I used to believe the light in the refrigerator was always on. I distinctly remember standing in front of the fridge carefully opening and closing it to see if it actually did turn off when I closed the door. I was never quick enough… so I just assumed the light was always on.
  2.  I remember asking my Dad what his favorite animal was,  he answered “Wolverine” which made absolutely no sense to me as I was certain wolverines did not exist. I have never seen one and had no knowledge of X-men, I just assumed he was making up various mythical animals just to be mean.
  3. I used to believe I could never have straight hair. That no matter what, all the days of my life I would have curly hair. Which did not settle well with me; as my sister had beautiful, long, blonde straight hair. (I also remember thinking it was very unfair that straight people could curl their hair, because I of course would never have these options)

I’ve come to realize the error of my ways with these assumptions, that I can have straight hair and wolverines really do exist… although I’m still not sure what one looks like or where to find it. But I’ve grown, matured and realized a few things about they way life is and the way the world works.

There is one assumption that I continue to battle with though…

I assume there are a number of people in my life that “have it together”. From the outside looking in, I really do think that they live the charmed life. I mean, I know what my life is like; and I’m sure there are people who think I probably have it together somewhat– but they are so wrong. As am I.

We seem to have developed this art of maintaining a manicured appearance that is picture perfect. We don’t expose our weaknesses, we don’t get vulnerable and we never allow people to see that we are running on empty.

But, how does that proclaim the glory and might of the Lord? I can think of very distinct conversations with people in my life whom I respect and love very much that have exposed their weaknesses and emptiness to their very core… and each time I catch a glimpse of God’s beauty and grace. Each time it has only led to encouragement, deeper friendship, more love and greater respect within that relationship.

We are so afraid to expose ourselves– I know I am. I don’t like it when people see my life out of control or seeing me be completely empty and trying to regain my spiritual footing. But the Lord’s redemption speaks of a different plan. Sarah Young puts out a daily reading book each year, and each year that I go through it I find more treasures. This is her entry for Today in her book Jesus Calling– take note… you don’t have to be ashamed of emptiness:

Let me bless you with my grace and peace. Open your heart and mind to receive all that I have for you. Do not be ashamed of your emptiness. Instead, view it as the optimal condition for being filled with my peace.

 It is easy to touch up your outward appearance, to look as if you have it all together. Your attempts to look good can fool most people. But I see straight through you, into the depths of your being. There is no place for pretense in your relationship with Me. Rejoice in the relief of being fully understood. Talk with me about your struggles and feelings of inadequacy. Little by little, I will transform your weaknesses into strengths. Remember that your relationship with Me is saturated in grace. Therefore, nothing that you do or don’t do can separate you from my presence.

 I Sam 16:7– But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

 Romans 8:38-39- And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Happy Friday 🙂

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Filed under Reflection

1.11.11

There are 4 times this year that the date will contain all 1’s. This is monumental people… it only happens one year every century.

However, the date 1.11 comes every year; and with it comes a day of awareness that I think everyone should broadcast in some fashion.

National Human Trafficking Awareness day comes about every year and each year I’d like to think a few more people have become intently aware of just how massive this issue is. Let’s chat… according to International Justice Mission;

Trafficking in humans generates profits in excess of 12 billion dollars a year for those who, by force and deception, sell human lives into slavery and sexual bondage. Nearly 2 million children are exploited in the commercial sex industry.

27 million men, women and children are held as slaves. (Kevin Bales,Disposable People)

The total market value of illicit human trafficking is estimated to be in excess of $32 billion (U.N.)

The heartbreaking realization is that there is only a small percentage of our world’s populous fighting against this raging beast.

It’s tragedy.

So what are you doing now to combat the evils of this world? Are you concerned about the welfare of your fellow-man, woman and child? What will it take to get your attention? How many children have to suffer the pain and disgrace of sexual exploitation before we step in?

Here is just a small list of ways you can do something in your realm of influence. Pick just one for now and do your part.

11 Practical Ways

I’m taking on 1, 4, 7 and 8.

This is how change starts.

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Filed under Human Interest