Saturday, May 26, 2012

To My Dearest Blog Stalkers, 

I'm on a plane to Peru right now! You of course will read this after I land, but still it's worth noting. What I also think is worth noting is the fact that I have never had to go to the bathroom this badly in my  entire life. Well, maybe once or twice before. The plane captains wouldn't let us get up for forever because there were thunderstorms, and once they finally turned off the fasten seatbelt lights, it seems like the whole plane decided to rush the bathroom. I must not be the only one who drank too much diet coke and coffee before I got on. I could just get up and wait, but I feel that that would be more painful than sitting and waiting. It seriously is painful once you get to a certain point of having use the restroom. But enough about that...

So, what am I doing going back to Peru?  Let me tell you-more of the same. Baby loving. English teaching. Friend making. Possibly interesting food eating, although I'm not sure my stomach will be able to handle the meat since I haven't eaten meat in a pretty long time. And, one of the things I'm most excited about: wedding going! 

Yup you heard me, I'm going to a Peruvian wedding! Lidia's sister is getting married!!! The wedding just happens to be the day after I arrive!

Side note, the guy beside me has spent the whole time drawing Lewis dot structures...I'm guessing he is super smart. Be right back, I'm going to go brave the bathroom!

Ok, so I'm back. I feel wonderful. Who knew a bathroom could be a lifesaver. I did have a moment when I thought I might be sucked down by the toilet. They don't just let all that drop out of the plane right? That would be a rude awakening when your driving. You might actually be thankful it is just a bird pooping on your windshield if you got a window full of stuff from an airplane. 

Too much information? Sorry...I'll stop. 

On another side note, when I got back from the bathroom, the guy I mentioned before, you know the really smart one, had put up the arm rest. I actually like arm rests; they put up a barrier that says "this is my territory, come a centimeter over onto my side and I have full rights to kick you (on 'accident' of course)." Ah well, personal space in Peru isn't given very much thought. I guess I should look at this as a blessing...ease my way into bing prodded and poked by my neighbor's eight bags on the 45-minute-on-a-good-day ride up to Pachacutec.

Lots of love from Peru ( or I guess from the sky's above who knows where)

Love your american,southern, attracts every Peruvian man's attention with her blond hair, super excited to eat potatoes and rice for every meal, positively ecstatic to throw away all her toilet paper in the trash, desperate to see her little naylee and jony, a bit bored of this flight and wondering how she will ever sit through a flight to the land of the kiwis, cookie not biscuit eating, Jesus loving, quite forgetful when it comes to names, cuey and cow heart on a stick eating  before she stopped eating meat) C.S Lewis, hunger games, and harry potter obsessed, oxford comma using,  and not tired because she had a large coffee friend, daughter, granddaughter, former nanny, acquaintance, sister, cousin, and whatever else I may be to you, 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Christ like love

Christ like love is one of the things that I strive for everyday, but fail to reach most of the time.  It's a hard thing, this kind of love.  How hard?  Lay down your life kind of hard.  Jesus literally gave His life for us.  Now this isn't exactly what Jesus asks us to do, it may be, but for most of us in everyday live, it something a little different.  The kind of love I'm talking about means laying down your life moment by moment for those God has put in your life.  Each moment, He is asking us to serve Him or serve ourselves by doing what our flesh desires.

Loving like Christ is hard.  It means putting the needs of others above the your own needs.  This is a completely inhuman thing to do. We were made to serve ourselves, and some would argue that everything we do has some benefit or motive that will serve us.  But I disagree.  I have seen this kind of love in action, and it one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.

This past week, one of my friends lost someone they loved very much, and the Christ like love I witnessed in response reminded me that there is Hope in good times and bad.  I got to watch as people who love this girl dropped everything.  They laid down their lives to support and love exactly like Christ did.

This is exactly what Jesus was calling us to do in the Cross.  He bears our burdens, but He also asks us to lay down our lives and take up the burdens of those around us.  He asks us to forget ourselves and imitate Him.  He breaks our hearts for those suffering on this earth so that we may feel the pain and love He feels.  In the darkness that surrounds these burdens, there is pure love.  This love is one of our highest callings.

Monday, March 5, 2012

but it doesn't say fairtrade in the bible

For you Catholics out there, this shouldn't be a very large road block. We love tradition, and not saying a word in the bible doesn't mean a thing (purgatory anybody?). So yes, the term Fairtrade, like Purgatory, is fairly new, so we're clear; Jesus didn't tell us to buy fairtrade.

But wait....I think he did t.ell us something else
Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me. ~ Matthew 25:40 
Thus says the LORD: Do what is right and just. Rescue the victim from the hand of his oppressor. Do not wrong or oppress the resident alien, the orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place. ~ Jeremiah 22:3

Open your mouth in behalf of the dumb, and for the rights of the destitute; Open your mouth, decree what is just, defend the needy and the poor! ~ Proverbs 31:8-9
I could list so many more. Jesus said to help the needy and to defend the rights of those who can't defend themselves. Jesus, who became man to show us the way to Heaven, says we must do these things. His words aren't a pick and choose kind of thing; they are law. Love your neighbor as yourself; do unto others as you you have them do unto you. These are beaten into us at an early age.

And we do, in many cases, follow this highest rule. We give to the homeless, give money to church, volunteer in the classroom, and hold a door open. But, then there are so many times we do not. When Jesus said neighbor, he did not only mean the person living in the house beside you. He meant everybody. He meant the child making shoes on the other side of the world and the mom to four sewing designer jeans for 12 hours a day as well as the person living next door to you.

By buying products that are made by the modern day slaves, we are doing the opposite of what Jesus has commanded us to do. We are taking their rights away.

Maybe just one person buying one product is not going to change the whole system but then again, the shepherd went back for the one lost sheep. Every purchase is only a drop in the ocean, but without every drop there would be no ocean.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

click on this to get a visual explaining my last post! It gets bigger!


Yes, this post is about chocolate.  Everyone loves chocolate!
That is why you are about to be able to make a huge difference in a lot of people's lives.

A few weeks ago, my friends Jade stated that she wants to become an ethical and moral consumer.  I agreed that this would be nice, and we chatted a minute about how easy it sounds, but how in reality, it takes some effort on our parts.  Most of the products you and I buy at the store are after all, not ethically made.  Morally, I cannot say as to how they have been made, because that is a personal preference, but more on that later.

Jade said, that since buying ethical product is a huge change to make, she was going to start small: no more buying unethically made chocolate.

After she told me this, I asked a rather stupid question. The first thing that came out of my mouth was "forever?"

After being told that yes, she was going to do it forever, I decided to do it too.  Now I have dabbled in the art of buying ethically made things, but I really had not idea what it really meant to buy ethically made chocolate when I agreed to this "forever" change.

Through quite a but of reading, I found that the only way to truly know if chocolate has been produced ethically, and by ethically, I mean not using child labor, not using any type of forced labor, and paying the farmers fair living wages so their farm may be sustainable, is to buy products that have been Fairtrade certified.

A few facts:

  • Coco is produced in over 30 developing countries.  This business supports over 14 million people. 90% of coco is grown on small family farms.
  • In the market, companies buy coco in bulk orders of at least 10 tons.  These small farmers may not even produce 1/2 ton in a year.  Because of this, they are forced to go to a middleman who, because of a lack of communication between farmers and regulation enforcement, can give the farmer just about any price he wants.  The prices they receive many times do not even cover production.
  • 43% of the world's coco comes from the Ivory Coast, where there is widespread child slavery.
After reading these staggering facts, I wanted to know what fairtrade chocolate actually did for the farmer.  So I read, a lot. 

I found out that the Fairtrade system alleviates these abuses.  The Fairtrade certified farmer does not use child labor and pays his workers fair wages.  The farmer in turn in paid the Fairtrade Minimum Price, which is calculated to be able to cover the cost of sustainable production.  This allows the farmer to be able to support his family.   If the world market price is above the Fairtrade Minimum Price (which seldom happens), the farmer is paid the world market price.  Fairtrade standards restrict use of chemicals, which encourages sustainable agriculture methods.

Doesn't this sound great?  You're probably thinking what I was, "there must be a catch."  I'm going to lay it out for you: Fairtrade products, most of the time,  cost a little bit more than products that are not made ethically.

There, I've said it.  You have to make a choice.  You can either save a dollar every time you buy chocolate or you can save the 14 million people that the coco industry supports.  

So...what's it gonna be?

Maybe you won't decide now, but next time you're taking a bite into that creamy milk chocolate or that Reeses Cup or drinking some steamy hot coco on a cold winter day, ask yourself who made your chocolate?

(All information gotten from the Fairtrade International Website at and

Saturday, December 24, 2011

a gift for christmas

A few months ago, a family friend, Mr. Hal, emailed and asked if there was any way he could help the kids I worked with in Peru.  I contacted Lidia, the director of the IVHQ program in Lima, and we talked about what we could get the kids.  We talked about getting them toys or clothes, but in the end decided on blankets.  Toys and clothes break and are grown out of, but a blanket can last a lifetime.  And for these people, it probably will.  With the money Mr. Hal donated, we bought all the children in the Wawa Wasis program (a daycare program for working mothers located in Pachacutec,  the shantytown surrounding Lima) a blanket.  

About 100 children received a blanket a few days ago.  These children are  mostly from families that have one parent, whom works many hours every day.  They are put in the government run Wawa Wasi program that provides  three nutritious meals a day, vitamin supplements, and development testing to the children.  They spend almost all of their time in these daycares.  For a mother working to support her children, there is most likely not going to be extra money for presents, new clothes, or even a blanket.  These children appreciate the simplets of gifts.  

These blankets will be used until they are worn to rags (and then they will probably be used as rags).

A sweet caregiver with her little ones.
Proud baby with her blanket!
A group picture of all the kids, caregiver, and volunteers in one of the Wawa Wasis.
Current volunteers with IVHQ giving out the blankets bought with the donation from Mr. Hal.
A happy Wawa Wasi caregiver with her blanket and some of  the little ones she watches.
I am so grateful for those who have donated throughout my journey to Peru and back.  After getting to know these kids, and caregivers, I've come to realize just how beautiful each and everyone of them are.  Each of them is the face of Jesus. Every donation throughout that last year and a half has helped these children in numerous ways.

Friday, December 23, 2011


Tonight, as we got ready to go get our annual picture with santa, I caught my littlest sister Catherine in a room all by herself twirling.  She was in her new beautiful christmas dress, and she felt beautiful.

When she saw me watching, she stopped twirling, embarrassed.  But I got my camera and eventually convinced her to twirl for some pictures.  As a watched her, I realized just how lucky she is.  How lucky I am.

To have someone to rejoice in the small things with you.  Someone to take pictures of twirling.  Someone to buy you a new Christmas dress.  That is something that more than 147 million children in this world do not have.

We have been blessed with parents that have shown us Jesus' love.  So many have not.