Category Archives: Hippies Helping Others

The Empathy Way – A Review

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I believe that humans, from an extremely young age, have an extraordinary capacity to be empathetic. I can remember my own children, as tiny infants, being upset when I was upset or calm when I was calm. Of course, the other side of that coin is that we can be very selfish creatures. My preschooler will snatch a toy he has never seen before out of the hands of another person and simply declare, “this is mine!” Having spent more than a few Sunday mornings with him and his peers in the church nursery I’ve seen that that’s pretty much a common trait among the preschool set. So, when I was asked if I would like to receive a copy of The Empathy Way books by Anne Wessels Paris and Marian Brickner I happily agreed to take a look. I love the idea of introducing this powerful word and concept at a young age and incorporating ways to encourage little ones to examine the situations they find themselves in from the point of view of the others involved.

The Empathy Way - A Book Review | LazyHippieMama.com

 

The Empathy Way books tell stories of the every day interactions of the bonobo apes at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens in Jacksonville, Florida. The full page photographs are gorgeous! They show the apes in every day situations that any child would be able to relate to: They are playing, dealing with illness, frightened or meeting new friends.

What do you do when you encounter someone who seems scary because they look different? How can understanding a bully help you deal with the way the treat you? How can empathy help us make our friends feel better in hard times?

The Empathy Way - A Book Review | LazyHippieMama.comThose are lessons that anyone, of any age can benefit from learning!

The book series comes with a teacher’s guide and would be a great addition to any classroom or homeschool program. There are discussion questions and some simple crafts to help children remember to follow “The Empathy Way.”

The material says that it’s appropriate for grades k-3. I thought it was great but I would suggest that it’s more appropriate for the younger end of that spectrum.  T-Rex, at age 3 1/2 thought these books were wonderful. He caught on right away and, pointing at the pictures asking, “is she scared? Is he sick? Are they laughing? They think it’s funny?” The comments he made as we read showed that he understood the concept of empathy, even though he had never heard the word before being reading these books. The language is simple, but never simplistic.

If you have a young child at home or if you are a teacher who works with this age group I would strongly encourage you to visit The Empathy Way website. The books are available there as are some really great videos and resources.

In a society where too many news stories are about children and adults who have been hurt lashing out at the world that hurt them we could all use a little more empathy!

The Empathy Way - A Book Review | LazyHippieMama.com

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

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If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!

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Stolen Woman – A Book Review

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Stolen Woman by Kimberly RaeWhat would you risk? That’s the question posed on the cover of Kimberly Rae’s book, Lost Woman.

If you met a 16 year old girl who was being sold by human traffickers and she was begging for your help, what would you be willing to do to save her?

Ms. Rae sent me a copy of her book for review and I am so happy for the opportunity to share it with you. You should read this! If you are part of a women’s book club they should read it, too – and discuss it at great length. If you have a teenage daughter she really needs to read it.

In many ways I very strongly related to the main character, Asha. She is a young woman who has lived in America for as long as she can remember. One year over summer break from college she has the opportunity to travel to India as a short-term missionary. It is there that she learns a horrifying reality that too much of the world remains silent about. Millions of people, primarily women and children, are stolen from their lives and sold as slaves every year.

When Asha gets to know one of these women she learns some of the horror of what the girls face as well as how difficult and dangerous it is to try to help them escape from the life they’ve been forced in to.

This issue is one that is dear to my heart and one I’ve written about on this blog before (here) so, of course I was thrilled to learn that a talented author had written such a captivating story that helps to raise awareness. This extraordinarily serious problem will never be solved if no one is willing to talk about it!

In addition, though, I found Asha so very relatable! Like her, I grew up in a Christian home, surrounded by Christian people and attended a Christian college. As a young person I had not had a great deal of exposure to cultures or belief systems beyond my own and when I first went into the wider world and saw what was outside my previous little bubble of existence I, like Asha, had something of a crisis of faith. Why would God allow something like this to happen? How can people who call themselves Christian turn a blind eye? What can one young woman do to make things right?

I so hope that you will find time to read this book and buy a second copy to share! It would make a great Christmas present for an avid reader. I’m certain that you will enjoy it and be challenged by it as much as I was!

Stolen Woman is available on Amazon. This is not an affiliate link, I just wanted to give you an easy way to get a copy for yourself. Happy reading!

Kimberly-Rae-Stolen-Woman-Info

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

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I Don’t Understand

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I Don't Understand | LazyHippieMama.comI recently overheard a conversation that went something like this:

Elderly, white middle class guy from the Midwest #1, “I don’t understand those people in Ferguson. What does rioting have to do with justice?”

Elderly, white middle class guy from the Midwest #2, “Maybe they think the tax payers will build them all new houses and increase their food stamps now so they can keep on being unemployed and having babies with no daddies.”

Here’s what I thought at first:

How could they even think that way?! I don’t understand!

But as I pondered it I thought, you know… that’s a powerful statement.

I don’t understand.

You see, there are a great many things I don’t understand.

I don’t understand how two well educated, reasonably well traveled men could speak that way about another ethnic group in the year 2014.  I don’t understand because I didn’t grow up in their generation. I didn’t witness the chaos in Detroit in the 1960’s or the changing of the local economies during the time of “white flight.”  I wasn’t raised in a time when black children and white children were not even permitted to use the same restrooms.  I don’t understand.

Furthermore, I don’t know the answer to the man’s question.  I don’t understand what drives a population to riot. I suspect that, in a city of nearly half a million people there are probably only a tiny fraction taking part in such dangerous and criminal behaviors. But the underlying tension, the desperation and frustration, the panic and anger and distrust… it seems clear that those powerful feelings that are the driving forces behind extreme actions are very wide-spread. I don’t understand what it is to be that powerfully frustrated or frightened by the society around me because, whether I knew it or not, I grew up and have lived most of my life under the relative safety and security of “white privilege.”

The trail had been blazed and my thoughts ran wild.

I don’t understand how any woman could ever abort her baby. I don’t understand because, even though they weren’t both planned, my pregnancies were both wanted and I had a kind, loving, gentle man by my side who would go to the ends of the earth to make sure that my children and I have a safe place to live and food on the table. I had medical care and I was finished with school and I wasn’t being abused and… I could go on. But it all comes to the same thing. I don’t understand.

I don’t understand why anyone would choose to drink or abuse drugs every day when the substance in question leaves them feeling sick and miserable and, in time, strips from them everything from financial peace to the love of family. I don’t understand because I’ve been lucky enough to escape the black chains of addiction. My own personal battles lie elsewhere, and so I don’t understand.

I don’t understand why someone would risk their lives and the lives of their children to cross a desert and live illegally in another country. My own country provides unlimited access to emergency medical care, free education for every child, food stamps and community food pantries for those who can’t buy their own food and so much more. So, truly, I don’t understand what drives a person to such a choice.

I don’t understand why someone would ever take part in a plan to fly an airplane into a building killing themselves and thousands of innocent people. I’ve grown up in a land where I was free to practice whichever religion I chose, pursue as much education as I desire, work in whatever field I like and achieve any financial status I set my mind to. I have lived my life free of the fear of one faction or another setting off a bomb in my neighborhood or bursting into my home to drag one member or another off to Heaven-only-knows what kind of torture. I was raised in a time and place where I never really had a real concern that another nation would come in and tell me that my property was no longer my own or that my nationality had suddenly been redetermined. My world is so far removed from the world of the people who commit such acts as to be nearly unrecognizable and so I don’t understand.

There are so many things that I don’t understand. As I get older I realize more and more how very many things in the world I don’t understand. I can strive toward understanding. I can read and research. I can engage in dialogue and ask questions. I can watch and see… truly see… my fellow humans and learn from them.

I can learn to sympathize and I can strive toward justice. But sympathy is not empathy.  I cannot know, with 100% certainty, what I would do in your shoes because I’ve spent my entire life in my own shoes and, while they might have similarities, they are not the same.

One of the beautiful women of advanced experience in my life, who is kind and gentle and extraordinarily loving once told me, “A few years ago I had a moment that changed me forever. It was the moment I realized that there is nothing… nothing… of which I would not be capable given the right set of circumstances. I can never look at another person and say, ‘I would NEVER do what they did.’ I don’t know what I would do. I haven’t ever lived their life.”

This woman has a clear sense of right and wrong. She doesn’t say that every choice that every person makes is a good choice. She has never, in any way, implied that she thinks morality is subjective. She simply acknowledges that the humanitarian, the successful business person, the loving mother, the terrorist, the drug dealer, the murderer, the thief… they are all humans. And, but by the Grace of God go I.

We all need love.

We all need forgiveness.

We are all broken creatures and we all need to acknowledge that, sometimes, we don’t understand and sometimes we aren’t understood.  Maybe, in some way, acknowledging that  will help us be open to knowing one another better and working more meaningfully toward finding solutions to the problems that lie beneath the desperate choices that others make that we just can’t understand.

I Don't Understand | LazyHippieMama.com

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If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!  

 

 

No Child Should Go Hungry!

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No Child Should Go Hungry - The Hunger Is Campaign | LazyHippieMama.comWhen I was a little girl I never knew that my mother was struggling to put food on the table. I didn’t know how painful that must have been for her until I found myself in a similar circumstance several years ago.  The idea of sending a child to school hungry is a nightmare for any parent. I’ve never known a more desperate feeling.

Thanks be to God our circumstances have improved over the years but there are millions of Americans still struggling.

Here in a land where we throw away literally HALF of all the prepared food available, one in five children struggle with hunger.  Not only do these children face multiple health issues, but studies have shown that their education can be negatively affected.

This is not a problem that is happening in another time and place. This is the reality, right here in the Land of Opportunity.

It doesn’t have to be this way!

The Safeway Foundation and the Entertainment Industry Foundation have launched Hunger Is, a joint charitable program designed to raise awareness and funds to fight childhood hunger in the United States.  The year-round campaign encourages individuals and communities to get involved in solving a widespread problem that too often goes unnoticed.

Funds raised through the initiative will go toward programs focused on eradicating childhood hunger and improving health-related outcomes. During the inaugural year, breakfast programs will be the focus, giving children a healthy start to their day and the best chance to excel.

No Child Should Go Hungry - The Hunger Is Campaign | LazyHippieMama.com

Don’t stand by and let this continue without taking action!

Safeway stores are using April as a fundraising month for this initiative. If you shop at Safeway, please be aware of the opportunity being presented to help a child in your own neighborhood.

If there is no Safeway store near you, I ask that you take a moment to visit the Hunger Is website and see how you can help. None of us can solve this problem alone, but a few moments of your time may contribute to helping a child break the cycle of poverty.

No Child Should Go Hungry - The Hunger Is Campaign | LazyHippieMama.com

***This is NOT a sponsored post. I learned of this opportunity to help children and wanted to share it.***

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

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If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve! 

Helping & Getting Help – Domestic Violence

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Domestic violence is one of those issues that people keep so very secret, as though there were shame in being hurt. I am so happy that Elizabeth Wintz from The Formerly Destitute Diva agreed to write on this important issue today. If someone is hurting you physically, emotionally or in other ways or if you suspect someone else is being abused please read this and take action today, before the situation gets even worse!  

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by Elizabeth (Izzi) Wintz

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior perpetrated by an intimate partner against another. It is an epidemic affecting individuals in every community, regardless of age, economic status, race, religion, nationality or educational background. Violence against women is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior, and thus is part of a systematic pattern of dominance and control. Domestic violence results in physical injury, psychological trauma, and sometimes death. The consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and truly last a lifetime.

There are five types of domestic abuse.  Physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, and economic or financial abuse.

The first is physical violence.  This includes, but is not limited to, physically injuring a person by grabbing, pinching, hitting, slapping, etc.  Also included in this category are withholding resources such as medication, food and drink, or forcing someone to ingest chemicals such as drugs or alcohol.

Secondly, there is sexual abuse.  This type of abuse can happen in any relationship, not just a traditional marriage.  This is when partner forces the other to engage in sexual activity against their will.  This can also include criticizing someone’s sexual performance, accusations of cheating, making one partner feel they are less than desirable in a derogatory fashion, and withholding sex.

Emotional abuse occurs when a partner is made to feel as if they have little or no self worth.  This happens when a person is consistently criticized, berated, belittled, insulted, and manipulated.

Physiological abuse.  An example of this is when a person is isolated from their support system, intimidated, threatened, harassed, blackmailed, or stalked.

Financial or economic abuse occurs when a partner is forced to be dependent on another.  This can happen when someone withholds money, forbids employment or schooling, interferes with a person’s ability to maintain employment, identity theft, stealing social security or welfare, or harassing a partner by holding them accountable for every dime spent.

One in every four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.  Eighty five percent of domestic abuse victims are women.  If you think you know someone who is suffering, there are many ways to help.  Be supportive, believe what they are saying.  Often, these women suffer at the hands of the abusers for years before telling anyone.  They are often conditioned to believe no one will believe them.  Encourage your friend to seek help from an agency that helps women in these situations.  These women are often operating with very little support and may be very isolated.

It is also important to note that this type of violence doesn’t occur solely in heterosexual relationships.  Intimate partner abuse is also prevalent.  Certain states do not have laws protecting intimate partners.  You can refer to http://www.womenslaw.org for links to your state.

There are a number of agencies that can help.  I’ve listed a number below, but every county has a dedicated agency to assist women.  You can find these agencies in your yellow pages or online.

If you need assistance or know someone who needs help, there are some numbers listed below.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline:  1-800-799-7233

The National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673

The National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline: 1-866-331-9474

Izzi - The Formerly Destitute Diva

Izzi – The Formerly Destitute Diva

About Izzi:
I am a single mother of four beautiful (and intermittently well behaved) children.  I work full time as a nurse and attempts to manage their schedules.  I love cooking for my friends and family.
At one point, I was laid off, receiving no child support, was pretty depressed, and money became my central preoccupation.  The recipes were developed, at that point, out of my desperation to conserve and feed my family of five inexpensive and well balanced meals on an incredibly limited budget.
 
The decision to share the recipes came when I realized I’m not the only person who was going through tough times.  These recipes aren’t for elitist.  They are simple recipes, for the home cook or someone with no experience, and it’s filled with things I hope your kids will eat.  At least 75% of your kids, that’s my rate of success some nights!
10% of the profits will be placed in a foundation for victims who have suffered from financial, emotional, and/or physical abuse.  It’s my dream to help other women survive, thrive, and give their children a better quality of life.
Thank you for your support of this project!  I believe this will help you save money, time, and help you find the time to enjoy your kids more!
The Formerly Destitute Diva Cooks is the first cookbook written by Elizabeth (Izzi) Wintz.  The recipes cost under $20 for ingredients and take less than half an hour to make.  It will help you organize your meals so you can budget your time and your money.  
10% of profit will be donated to empower victims of domestic abuse gain skills necessary to compete in the work environment.

 

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

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When Kids Get Arthritis (It Happens More Than You Think)

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This week’s “Take Action Thursday” is written by the lady who, quite literally, wrote the book on Juvenile Arthritis.  Kim’s blog is an extraordinary source of information for JA parents, but I encourage everyone to take a look.  Her posts are full of encouragement and information that is useful for any parent.

Kimberly Poston Miller is the mother of two sons with very different cases of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. Over the past decade, she and her family have navigated a number of diagnoses and conditions related to JA.

In the fall of 2013 Spry published her first book Living With Juvenile Arthritis: A Parent’s Guide to help other families acquire the information it took the Miller’s nearly a dozen years to compile.

With a BA in psychology, an MBA, post graduate study in Medical Informatics and several years in the field of medical management, Kim’s perspective is that of a well rounded professional with the realism of a parent who has been in the trenches.

When I tell people my children have Juvenile Arthritis, I rarely get a response that doesn’t include a quizzical look or a question or two. Most people are shocked to find out that kids can get arthritis, and have never heard that certain types of arthritis (rheumatic illnesses) are actually forms of autoimmune disease, not “just” aches and pains.

If these same folks give me an extra minute or two of their time, they can’t believe that JA can be a potentially life threatening illness, and that it is relatively common. In the USA, one out of every 250 children is believed to have some form of the disease, and worldwide, conservative estimates  state 1 of every 1000 children suffer from JA. That’s a lot of children. Chances are, if you don’t know someone personally who struggles with JA, you know a friend, family member or co-worker who does.

Yet it seems like no one knows.(see Sophia’s story)

The Juvenile Arthritis Association recently publicized some interesting facts and figures regarding spending and research for pediatric rheumatic disease.

 

Despite its prevalence, and in spite of its life threatening potential, Juvenile Arthritis continues to be misunderstood, underfunded, and relatively unknown, but you can help change that, and it won’t even cost you a penny.

The Arthritis Foundation has an amazing program for advocacy that is making an impact on all forms of arthritis. In less than 5 minutes, you can sign up to be an E-Advocate, which requires very little time or commitment. As an E-Advocate, you will receive “action alerts” via email whenever there are important arthritis-related issues being discussed on capital hill. Your only “assignment” is to make your opinions known to your Congressmen, via a phone call, email, or correspondence of your choice. The AF will even provide a form letter. It couldn’t be easier. Just click this link to get all of the details, straight from the AF.

If you would like to take a more active role, the Ambassador Program is the way to go.  Although it is similar to the E-Advocate program, being an Arthritis Foundation Ambassador requires a little more time commitment.  Every other month, there is an informative one hour webinar (that you can also listen to as a recording if you can’t make the broadcast) that highlights the key issues, and “assignments” for the coming month. The webinars also give step by step instructions on how to complete the assignment, as well as educate the listener on a number of arthritis related topics.  Assignments typically take 1-2 hours per month to complete, and can range from attending a town hall meeting in your area, to contacting your congressmen, to writing a letter to the editor of your local paper. The AF provides all the training, free of charge.  In addition, after a year of serving as an Arthritis Ambassador, participants who achieve platinum status (completing all assignments) are eligible for an all expenses paid trip to Washington DC for the Arthritis Summit.

Kim's book, "Living With Juvenile Arthritis: A Parent's Guide" is available on Amazon.

Kim’s book, “Living With Juvenile Arthritis: A Parent’s Guide” is available on Amazon.

Last year, my sons and I attended the summit, and this year, with platinum status, we won a travel award, so we will be back in March.  As a homeschooling mom, I felt it was an incredible opportunity on many levels. My children were able to participate in the Kids Summit, and create their own letters to their congressmen while learning about legislation that could impact them. They learned how they could make a difference. They were able to see, first hand, how our government works, and play a role in the passing of certain legislation.  Even though they weren’t voting age, they had the opportunity to visit with their elected government officials, tell their story and make an impact on what is happening in Washington D.C.  It is an amazing educational experience, but it is also empowering. I believe that we get just as much out of participating in the program as the AF gets from us!

But beyond all the perks, the real story is that we are making a difference. We are spreading the word about JA, and fighting for awareness, funds and research. We want to bring it out of the shadows and to the forefront so that the hundreds of thousands of children who are affected can get the help that they deserve. As the number of children with JA grows, so should the number of people who want to help. I hope you will join me in fighting for them.

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

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If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve! 

 

Thoughts About Love on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

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mlk1If you think that Martin Luther King Jr.’s message was about racial equality I think, perhaps, you missed the point.  Don’t get me wrong. He was certainly a warrior for racial equality! Ensuring equality was central to his life’s work.  But his dream was so much bigger than that.

He dared to dream of a day when we would truly love all of our fellow humans.

One of the most powerful sermons I ever heard was preached by Rev. Mark Spaw.  He shared a simple story about buying groceries. He said, “I was at the store not long ago and I put all of my items on the belt so I could pay.  The cashier asked, ‘do you prefer paper or plastic?’

‘Put everything in plastic bags, please.’ I responded.

The cashier began scanning the items and bagging them and then she came to the laundry soap and asked, ‘do you want this in a bag?’

‘Yes. Please put all of the items in plastic bags,’ I told her again.

She put the soap in a bag and continued until she came to the milk.  ‘Do you want your milk in a bag?’

‘Yes, please,’ I told her and I held out my hands to show the belt and everything that was on it.  ‘Please put all of the items in plastic bags.'”

He went on to talk about how we have a very hard time wrapping our minds around the concept of, “all.”

When Dr. King talked about us loving all of the people that share this planet with us I think he meant ALL of them.

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Every. Single. One.

You may think, “But what about that one guy who….”

That guy, especially.

Dr. King showed love toward those who worked with him and befriended him and helped him but he went beyond that.  What made him extraordinary… what was inspiring about him… the reason we have set aside a day to remember his remarkable life was that he loved those who hated him.  He loved his jailors. He loved the ones who mocked him. He loved the people who worked against him. He loved them all.

mlk5One of his famous quotes referenced The Parable of The Good Samaritan.

If you don’t know the story, it comes from the Bible – Luke chapter 10, verses 25-37.

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[a]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]

28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Loving our neighbor isn’t a reference to a warm fuzzy feeling that we get when we see the person who lives next door.  Loving our neighbor means being willing to take action to make a better world for every single person on the planet.

ALL of them.

I truly believe that every person is responsible for the well-being of every other person.

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My greed and selfishness hurt you.  My carelessness and lack of responsiblity put a burden on the shoulders of others.

But when I can show true love and kindness, when I can cast aside my own desires for a moment and put the needs of another in front of my own then I have the power to transform the world into something beautiful… something like the dream envisioned by Martin Luther King Jr.

Love is not a feeling.  Love is an action.

Love is feeding the hungry, and empowering them to feed themselves.

Love is nursing the sick and rooting out the causes of sickness.

Love is comforting the mourning and seeking ways to prevent senseless tragedy.

Love is caring for our planet and finding ways to ensure its bounty for future generations.

Love is taking the time to teach a child and making the effort to overcome our own ignorance.

Love is having the respect to listen with an open mind to the thoughts of others.

Love is asking yourself, every morning, “what can I do today to help someone else?” before you ask yourself, “how can I make my own life better today?”

On this day of remembrance, don’t just think of a man who helped a nation see that people of various ethnicities deserve equality.  Instead, learn from the example of a man who believed that the greatest hope for our human race was for us all to learn to truly love one another.

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***WAIT!  THERE’S MORE!***

In preparing this post I must have read a hundred quotes and speeches and bits of writing from Dr. King.  I found myself especially struck by his views on education and creative expression.  I wanted to share them, but they didn’t fit very well with the theme of this post and so this is a rare two-post day.

I invite you to click here and read 8 Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes Every Educator Needs To Know

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

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If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve! 

 

 

You Can Become the World’s Greatest Philanthropist : Donate to Shriners Hospital

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***I am so thrilled that Marty Preston agreed to join with me for this week’s “Somebody Needs Your Help” feature.  Marty has an extraordinary story to tell and she has a great blog of her own as well!***

“Provide the highest quality care to children with
neuromusculoskeletal conditions, burn injuries and other special
healthcare needs within a compassionate, family-centered and
collaborative care environment.

  • Provide for the education of physicians and other healthcare professionals.

  • Conduct research to discover new knowledge that improves the quality of care and quality of life of children and families.

This mission is carried out without regard to race, color, creed, sex
or sect, disability, national origin or ability of a patient or family
to pay.” ~Shriner’s Hospital Mission Statement

I was born on March 16,1988 in a remote orphanage in Port Au Prince, Haiti to a malnourished mother and unknown father. I was born with several blood related diseases, an unformed spine,and deformed feet. Living in one of the more improvised parts of the world the doctors were not able to do much but wait. Luckily for me they didn’t have to wait long! In June of the same year I was adopted by a single mother out of Ohio which was great news. The bad news is by this point I had only weeks to live! Armed with this information my new mother was determined to save me…luckily she wasn’t alone.

         “The World’s Greatest Philanthropy” known formally as Shriners Hospital for Children have helping families in the United States and around the world for almost 100 years  and they have been a part of my family for 25 years!

                                 How Does it Work?

At first glance Shriners Children Hospital looks like any other hospital but unlike most hospitals it has one significant difference….its free. Yes I said free! Shriners Hospital provides specialized care to children under the age of 18 . These patients must be referred by the child’s family/primary doctor according to the specialty that needs to be treated. Shriners hospital is a network of 22 across the United States and they specialize in orthopedics, burn care, cleft lip and palate, and of course spinal injuries.

Burn Care

The first Shriners Hospital focused specifically on burn care was built in 1963. I first became aware of them when my adopted brother went there for emergency burns that he received as teenager . He is now fully recovered and lives a complete and full life. Their patients receive advanced care for burn injuries and related
scarring, along with physical rehabilitation and emotional support to
help them cope with re-entering their school or community after their
injury.You can read a full list of conditions they treat and services provided  HERE.

                                                   Orthopedics

Shriners hospital has been caring for children with orthopedic injuries since it inception. They treat a variety of pediatric orthopedics, including scoliosis, clubfoot, hip dysplasia, cerebral palsy, spina bifida (which is what I have), as well as neurological conditions that affect ambulation and movement. To learn about the long list of injuries they treat please go HERE.

 

                                                    Cleft Lip and Palate

 

Children with a cleft lip and/or
palate are treated by a group of experts who work
together to improve the child’s ability to eat, communicate, breathe and
even feel good about their looks. Each patient’s unique treatment plan
may include surgery, orthodontics, and hearing, speech and psychological
therapies to restore them to their best! Discover all the of the wonderful after care and rehabilitation services for cleft palate HERE

                                    How Can You Help? 

 “Unless we do something, the clock is ticking and within five to seven
years we’ll probably be out of the hospital business and not have any
hospitals.” ~ Chairman of the Board of Trustees Ralph Semb
The sad news is that with the uncertain economy the number of donations a charity receives declines and Shriners was not immune to this problem. But I am firm believer that every little bits helps. Here are a few ways you can donate and help a child get much needed care today! 
Basic Donation : Donations can be made to benefit a specific hospital or be given to where most needed. This form is for general donations.
 Become an Annual Giving Program Donor! By making an annual gift, you help ensure that Shriners Hospitals for
Children® can continue to deliver expert care, conduct ongoing research
and educate future generations of care providers
 Honoring those we have lost is one of the best ways to make sure their memory never dies. Upon completion of your gift, you will be given
the option to send an e-card to the honoree or next of kin.
Shriners understands that not everyone has money to give and that’s okay! There are many ways to give back including volunteering,hosting events,and more

It has been almost twenty six years since that fateful day where those around me didn’t know whether or not I would live to see another day. I cannot say that it’s been easy but I can say that I made it! I just hope that together we can give other children the same chance that was given to me so many years ago.

About Martha Preston: My name is Martha Preston but my  friends just call me Marty! I host a  blog called “Marty’s Thoughts on Life and Money” where I talk about family,college,and the stress of growing up. I spend my time helping others fill their piggy banks and hopefully we all learn something about life along the way.

I
spend my time helping others fill their piggy banks and hopefully we
all learn something about life along the way. – See more at:
http://www.thoughtsonlifeandmoney.com/p/about-me.html#sthash.ntVKMPqb.dpuf

 

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow Lazy Hippie Mama  by emailFacebookGoogle+Twitter or Instagram to get all the updates?

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve! 

My
name is Martha Preston but my  friends just call me Marty! – See more
at:
http://www.thoughtsonlifeandmoney.com/p/about-me.html#sthash.ntVKMPqb.dpuf

 

Someone Needs Your Help! – Ridge-a-roo and the National Kidney Foundation

Standard

content_twohandsI realized, recently, that I have this amazing platform available to me where kind, generous, loving, giving people from all over the world on visit on a regular basis.  We all have causes that are so important to us. We long to heal the earth, feed the hungry, house the homeless, encourage the lonely and speak up for those who have no voice.

None of us can do it alone.

Once a week I will provide a forum for others to share the causes that are important to them, in the hopes of connecting like-minded members of “the tribe” so that we can work together in making the world a better place.

I hope that you are inspired and encouraged by the stories that are shared here.  If you would like to write about something that is dear to your heart please contact me.

This week’s story is Ridge-a-Roo and the National Kidney Foundation

Ridge was born early.  He faced all the challenges that preemies face and finally his family got to take him home.  However, it wasn’t long before he stopped breathing and was rushed to the hospital where he would spend most of the next 3 years.

Tiny, sweet boy would face so many challenges with so much strength!

Tiny, sweet boy would face so many challenges with so much strength!

Doctors eventually determined that Ridge had Resessive Polycystic Kidney Disease.  His kidneys had become so large that they were compressing his lungs and he couldn’t breathe. His body was retaining fluid.  His prognosis was poor.

He underwent surgeries:  So many surgeries.  And so many complications.  Each surgery and every round of powerful drugs had their own side effects and consequences.  His kidney’s were both removed.  One leg was partially amputated.  His father was approved as a kidney donor… until further testing proved otherwise.

Eventually Ridge’s mother was able to give him one of her kidneys – the gift of life, given a 2nd time from a mom who would fight to the end for her son.

Ridge is in preschool!

Ridge is in preschool!

It was a miracle that Ridge was still alive but then he started getting better and better.  He was able to be off the ventilator at times. He learned to crawl.  He pulled himself up in his crib. He is learning to sign and to walk with his prosthetic leg.

Not long ago Ridge’s parents celebrated the fact that he got a regular old cold.

What’s to celebrate?

He got better again without the use of steroids or a panicky trip to the emergency room to deal with serious breathing issues.

His fourth birthday is just around the corner! So many wondered if he would even make it through that first year.

Ridge has a very long road ahead of him.  He’s only recently received the gift of hearing through a cochlear implant. He is still intermittently on a ventilator.  Nearly four years of drugs have been harsh on a preemie-born’s developing liver.  He has never eaten real food – he is feed through a feeding tube.

But this kid is a fighter! He has defeated every odd.  He has overcome so many obstacles.  He has been an inspiration to countless people who have fallen in love with his chubby cheeks and big, bright eyes and indomitable spirit.

Through all of these trials the National Kidney Foundation was a massive help to Ridge and his family and care providers.  They have become passionate supporters of NKF.

ridge

“The National Kidney Foundation is the leading organization in the U.S. dedicated to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease for hundreds of thousands of healthcare professionals, millions of patients and their families, and tens of millions of Americans at risk.” – From the NKF website

Ridge’s story has been so close to my heart.  His grandma is my step-mother’s dear friend but, beyond that, I am a survivor of childhood kidney disease and I, too, was given a poor prognosis.  I did not face nearly as many challenges as Ridge, but just like in Ridge’s story, my doctors were baffled and my parents and loved ones spent far too many hours helping me have a normal childhood despite many, many days in the hospital.  Every fever was cause for panic.  Telling my mom I was tired would cause a look of worry to shadow her face.  Every milestone was a celebration and yet here I am, all grown up with children of my own and my kidneys have been just fine for a very long time now.  Thanks be to God and those he provided to care for me!

If you would like to donate to NKF in Ridge’s honor, you can go to the Ridge-A-Roo NKF walk-a-thon page.  

I understand that not everyone has extra money to give, but maybe you have some time to share. Volunteers are needed too.  For more information about that you can click here.

If you would like more information about NKF, please visit their website.

For more on Ridge’s story, check out this great article that one of the local papers wrote about him and his mother and their journey together.

ridge's family

Ridge with his big brother and parents.

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow Lazy Hippie Mama  by emailFacebookGoogle+Twitter or Instagram to get all the updates?

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!