Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Choose Love

I wish there was a window on social media that would pop up before you submit a passive aggressive status update or hateful comment that would read, "Are you sure you want to do this? Would you say this if the person was sitting right in front of you?"

Unfortunately, my requests for such have been largely ignored by Mr. Zuckerberg.

With so much of our lives being lived online, there is this tendency to forget that what you are saying on social media can hurt, demean and cut right to the bone of a real live person. I'd venture to say that if the person at which you are aiming your keyboard arrows was sitting in front of you, you would keep that comment to yourself.


Because you would see hurt in their eyes before you even finished your sentence. You would realize the ramifications of your words immediately and perhaps it would sting your heart just as much as it did theirs when you realized the pain you'd inflicted.

Our Keyboard Courage almost never equals our Real Life Courage.

My heart breaks to see people making sweeping generalizations about a group of people with whom they disagree (insert any particular group here: gay, straight, Christian, Muslim, Cat People) all under the guise of "I'm entitled to my opinion."

While it is true that everyone is entitled to their opinion, what happens when your opinion is delivered in such a way that you cause the immense pain to someone else? Is it worth it?

Do you remember a time when you changed someone's mind on a matter through your pithy Facebook comments? No? Then, why? Why hurt people, cut them down and drag them through the mud when you know nothing good can come of it?

Often, I think our tendency to to make trite statements against another online is because we are desperate to feel important. We chase after those little thumbs-ups to let us know we aren't alone in our beliefs as if somehow, that makes us right.

We spew our opinions in the most hateful way and the only change that comes is in the form of a calloused heart that we wear like a badge of honor and another bruise on the heart of the wounded.

We see so much attention given to cyber bullying in regards to the younger generation, and rightfully so, but from where I sit, adults are equally guilty. We just know how to dress it up to look like it's less bullying and more our inalienable right.

There has to be a better way.

What if we considered another's heart more important than sharing our opinion?

What if we our greatest desire was not to be right, to be heard or to be popular but rather to be loving, kind and giving to others?

What would the world look like if our rants were replaced with encouragement?

I don't have all the answers to my own questions. I'm ok with that. I don't need to know everything.

I do know that choosing to love is never wrong.

When faced with a decision to write something laced with venom or to use your words to encourage a friend...choose love.

Post a passive aggressive rant hidden behind a clever rhetoric or remind yourself that even the most astute words can cause harm...choose love.

Garner adulation from others who are prone to leaving a trail of bloody, broken hearts in the wake of their words or...choose love.

Above all, choose love. It is the best way. It's the only way.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Weekly Chat

This week has been full of ups and downs for our family. Brace yourself for a random chatty catch up.

Jillian went back to the orthopedic specialist for her foot. She'd been wearing the boot for four weeks, missing out on a good portion of her volleyball season and was still in pain. We went back to our GP, who had done two x-rays. The first diagnosed the stress fracture in her foot. The second, four weeks later, confirmed that the stress fracture is still there, not yet healed. So, they referred us to a local ortho. She took one look at the scans our doc had sent over and pointed out that Jillian actually has two stress fractures in that foot and that they had her in the wrong type of boot. So, she's wearing the new boot for three more weeks, at least. This means she will miss her final volleyball game of the season. She's bummed but it's a small price to pay for making sure that foot heals properly.

My leg is still giving me fits. The swelling and bruising are really attractive, let me tell you. I don't know what else to say about it. I'm hoping that the worst is behind me and by the time the weekend rolls around, I'll be able to get around better sans crutches...and sans pain. 

We are headed to Chattanooga this weekend to meet up with our family! I can't wait to see everyone and spend some time with J's sisters and my crazy cute nephews. Good times will be had, for sure. Chattanooga is a great city and every time we go, I find another favorite thing. 

We have to make eye appointments for two of our three children who failed their school eye exam. One of those was with glasses. I'm not sure they weren't just goofing off and not paying attention but we'll see. It's likely that we may end up with three kids wearing glasses. God love them, I had really hoped they didn't their eye sight from me.

I'm so glad fall TV is back. We are watching our favorites from last season: Blacklist (THE BEST), Castle and Modern Family. We also like the new show, Forever, on ABC. We are barely hanging on to Revenge by a thread. It started out so good but I feel like they are floundering for a story now. I lost track of Grey's Anatomy when we moved to England but seeing the commercials for it now, I'm wishing I'd kept up! And, I'm probably the only person who hasn't seen Scandal. What shows do you love? 

Finally, I will leave you with this. Jimmy Fallon is the best. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Sole Hope

Have you ever heard of jiggers? Here in the south, we have chiggers but don't be confused.  Jiggers are not chiggers. Go figger.

Jiggers are tiny parasitic sand fleas that will find a warm body in which to burrow.  Jiggers are a huge problem in Uganda, Africa. It makes sense that if most of the population lives in homes with dirt floors and goes barefoot, jiggers have the perfect place to breed and wreak havoc. Once jiggers burrow in the skin (most often in the feet) of their unwilling host, they lay eggs. Eventually, this leads to painful sores and ulcers. If not treated, the jiggers can cause nerve damage, need for amputation and even death.

Dru and Asher Collie began researching the problem of jiggers in Uganda a few years ago when Asher saw a video online about it. The Collies realized that the prevention and eventual cure for jiggers was simple: shoes. Simple for us, not quite as simple for the children of Uganda. So, they founded Sole Hope. Sole Hope is an organization that aims to eliminate jiggers in Uganda through education and shoes. Eventually, they moved their precious family to Uganda to dedicate their lives full time to the cure and prevention of jiggers. They regularly hold clinics to wash feet, remove jiggers and provide shoes. They also provide an education to the precious people whom they serve to teach them how to avoid jigger infestation in the future.



There are so many ways to help Sole Hope. One way is to hold a "shoe cutting party" with your friends, neighbors, church or other social organization. It's so simple and yet so very helpful. You order a kit from Sole Hope, complete with the patterns for shoes. Gather together a group of ANY size and trace that pattern onto old blue jeans, cut them out and mail them back to Sole Hope.

Do you want to hear the next step in this beautiful process? They have hired locals from their village in Uganda and trained them as shoe makers. They pay them a fair wage and have taught them a very valuable trade that they may now use to support their family. Amazing, right?
So, you mail the shoe patterns that you have cut back to Sole Hope and their shoe makers turn them into durable shoes to keep little feet from being jigger infested. Eventually, this problem of jiggers CAN be solved. We can help.

Do you have a group that would like to get together and hold a shoe cutting party? It's so easy. It's so helpful. It's a tangible way to love your neighbor. Contact Sole Hope today! There are other ways you can help here. If you have questions about how this process worked for us, I will gladly answer to the best of my ability!

*This post is not sponsored by anyone. Sole Hope has no clue who I am. I am just madly in love with what they are doing to serve and love the people of Uganda.