Tag Archives: service

Help Our Sisters in Uganda!

This is the next post about Trades of Hope to follow up on my previous post! You can support women across the world (including women rescued from human trafficking in the USA!) as they create fair trade, beautiful products! This month, any purchases will also go toward clean water for families in India. Go here to help out!

Today I’m sharing about Uganda and what Trades of Hope is doing there. I was super pumped to hear that Trades of Hope works with an artisan group founded by Katie Davis Majors! If you haven’t heard of her, Katie is an amazing woman about my age who skipped college and followed a call to move to Uganda instead! She ended up adopting 13 girls (yes, you read that right!) and started Amazima, an organization that provides many empowering services to communities in Uganda. She also wrote two books. Over a decade later, she’s still living in Uganda with her husband, 13 girls, and a baby boy!
Ok, back to some background on Uganda: Uganda is a beautiful country in eastern central Africa that faces incredible challenges. Extreme poverty has hindered the government’s ability to stop the devastating effects of the AIDS epidemic on the people of Uganda. Uganda has the third highest birth rate in the world, and Ugandans struggle to provide for their families. Many of these women have faced disabilities, AIDS, and

Ugandan women
Courtesy of Hannah//Trades of Hope

oppression. Through their work as artisans, these women have a chance to be creative, speak their minds, and also earn a living to provide food, education, and medical care for their families. Working in safe environments, completing projects in beading circles, these ladies have left their harmful occupations and are rising above as leaders in their communities.

I was delighted to hear one of the Ugandan artisans, Florence, tell her story! She has such pride in what she is doing! Trades of Hope really benefits entire communities, not only the women. Check out her story below!
Here are a few of the beautiful products handmade in Uganda:
eden wrap bracelet
Eden Wrap bracelet//Courtesy of Trades of Hope
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Help Provide Clean Water to Families in India!

I’m so excited to be partnering with my new friend, Hannah, to help women from many countries! One of my dreams is to serve abroad. Current life commitments are such that it is not possible to do at this very moment. I was really excited to hear that I could host an online party which will empower women in poverty across the world. Not only that, but any purchases made this month will gift a month of clean water to a family in India!

kids in India
Courtesy of Hannah//Trades of Hope

Clean water has become one of our most precious resources in the 21st century. Statistics show that one in every nine people around the world live without access to clean and drinkable water. You can help change these statistics! When you shop Trades of Hope through here in the month of February, Trades of Hope will gift a month of clean water to a family in India! Can you imagine how different your day would have been without clean water? Families across the world live every day without clean water, which leads to sickness and can even lead to death!

The products you can purchase are beautiful: jewelry, scarves, bags, body products, and more! You’re gaining a beautiful, handmade, fair trade product while also helping struggling women throughout the world to support their families, as well as helping to bring clean water to an Indian family! That’s a win win, I’d say!

Now, let’s hear the story of one of the amazing artisans from India: Nayna!

“Nayna is a single mother doing her best to support her family of 4. Her recently deceased husband had left her some years ago for another woman. This left Nayna in a position where she did not know how she and her children would survive. Fortunately for Nayna, her parents invited her and their grandchildren back home.
Nayna’s son has now finished high school and is working in a store, while her daughter is studying in what is 10th grade. Nayna loves working with this group and appreciates how they value her by providing safe working conditions, regular wages and additional benefits. She has already begun making plans for her children’s weddings in the future, as weddings are a big and joyous celebration in India! She loves that she now has the ability to plan and save for these kinds of things. Nayna is excited that working with this group helps to ensure her children have a bright future.

Click here if you want to help!

Thanks for reading along as I journey to help my sisters across the world! I will be posting about 3 more countries in which Trades of Hope is making a difference! You just might be helping one of those countries by your purchase! Next up: Uganda!

Indian artisan.jpg
Courtesy of Hannah//Trades of Hope

Single Sundays-The Gifts of Singleness.

The gifts of singleness? You might be tempted to shut out of this post now. Bear with me. I’m on the single journey too. I know there are very difficult days. There are aspects of singleness that are consistently difficult. However, today we will focus on the gifts. Despite the pain, there are always positive aspects to be found. Finding gratitude helps to keep a positive attitude and live in the blessings.

So, what are some of the gifts of the single life?

The single life can more easily be devoted to service/ministry. As a single person, it is

abigail-keenan-27292.jpg
unsplash.com

easier to live a life of service or devoted to ministry. I can think of many occasions where I was able to go help a friend due to my single state. A mother with little ones can’t drop everything to help a friend. A spouse must think about how their service work or ministry will impact their marriage and family life. St. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 7:32-34: “I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife—and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband.” Truly, living single-heartedly for the Kingdom is much easier as a single person! The time and space to build an unshakable relationship with God is a huge blessing of the single life.

The single life provides a degree of freedom that married people don’t have. This can mean travel, more time to invest in writing or other projects, and of course, ministry or easier ability to do mission work. It can also mean greater availability to invest in relationships with members of your faith family, blood family, friends, and even people you may serve as a mentor to. I enjoy the flexibility of singleness. I don’t need to check in with someone else (or multiple people!) about my calendar but can plan as I wish! It is simple. I also find a bit of financial freedom despite the single life meaning only one income. At least in America, many people have debt. Getting married can mean double the student loans, car payment, and credit card debt to manage. (Note: I don’t believe debt is normally a good thing. Unfortunately, it is the reality for many Americans.)

A single life is one with a single person’s problems. One could also argue that marriage is easier because it gives you another person to sustain you in trouble. However, two families bring two different dynamics and two different sets of troubles-plus the troubles within your own home and marriage. Additionally, the stressors of being a parent can be overwhelming for anyone. Add special needs to the plate, helping a child through bullying, or trusting the Lord to provide for the family when the economy is bad–parenting is painful! Learning to love your spouse through the times when they are not at their best can also be difficult–such as if a spouse is diagnosed with a mental illness or facing their troubles from the past. The troubles of a single person pale in comparison to adding a spouse, their family troubles, and children’s struggles as well! (Though I know singles look forward to pouring out love in these circumstances–we have a bit of a break now!)

A longer single life provides more time to attain wisdom, life experience, and clarity about p1030501.jpgyour calling(s) and the direction of your life. Had some of us married younger, we may have missed out on certain aspects of ourselves. These aspects may very well be important to a marriage and perhaps even a shared ministry! For example, during the past decade the Lord has confirmed to me that Africa will continue to play a part in my life. Thus, if I had married someone lacking a love for Africa, I would have missed out on a huge joy and part of my life. I know now that the Lord has someone for me who will be willing to live in countries other than the USA. In His infinite wisdom, the Lord has given me more time to discover these aspects of my calling. I believe it is the same for you, if you have been waiting longer than expected!

Don’t lose heart. There are gifts in the season of singleness, just as there are deep struggles.

Live joyfully in the gifts of today, and you will be able to better receive the gifts of tomorrow.

“I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.”~1 Corinthians 7:7

Have you discovered any other gifts in singleness that were not mentioned here?

Be Kind to Yourself.

There are times when we focus so much on serving others that we neglect ourselves.  Jesus never told us to serve others and forget about ourselves. How can you show love to others if you don’t love yourself? If your “tank” is empty, how can you fill others?

Guard your time with God and make sure no day passes by without it.

 

Forgive yourself when you make mistakes. Ask God for the grace to move forward and to do better next time.

 

Let your body rest when you need to.

 

Don’t be afraid to say “no” sometimes.

 

Give yourself time to heal from emotional hurts.

 

Take time for you and to cultivate those interests that God has given you.

 

Recognize your own goodness and that you are a child of God.

 

Once we learn to love ourselves and glimpse ourselves the way God does, we will be able to love and serve our neighbors even better.

 

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.”~Luke 6:31 (The Golden Rule)

Spiritual Wellness-Part I

Welcome to Part I of the Wellness Series! Today we will be focusing on the spiritual side of ourselves. Of course, though we cannot see our soul, it very much affects who we are–including our actions and what we think and believe. As I stated in the introductory post, each aspect of our beings affects the other aspects. (As I am a Catholic Christian, this post will come from that perspective. I hope that, wherever you are on your journey, you can find something that resonates with you.)

P1000266Our soul is the only part of us that will live forever. It’s amazing to think that a part of us is immortal! The choices we make today, in these mortal bodies of ours, affect our eternal futures.

There are a million things I could write, a million ways in which we can pray and grow closer to God. Obviously, I’m only a simple lay person, like the majority of humans. However, I do know that these are some avenues that all of us have access to (although some of our brothers and sisters around the world struggle to access the Sacraments because of persecution or lack of nearby churches–pray for them!).

1. Receive the Sacraments. God, being our Creator, knows that we are bodily people. The Sacraments are concrete ways we can experience God through our senses. God is so good that He wants us to be able to experience these things with our whole selves, in ways we can relate to! Think about Holy Water, the Eucharist, the awing beauty of a cathedral, the loving gaze of your new spouse as you exchange vows on the altar, or hearing the kind voice of the priest on the other side of the confessional. These are just a few examples of the experiences that come with receiving the Sacraments. Of course, attending Mass on Sundays and Holy Days is the way to start. What about adding another day each week to attend Mass? Don’t forget about the Sacrament of Reconciliation! The priests have heard it all–so don’t be afraid! Christ is healing you of your sins, forgiving you, through the priest! Pretty amazing, to have your sins wiped away and have a clean slate again. We don’t realize how much our sins pile up–much like a messy room. “It’s just a pair of socks,” a person shrugs as the socks are discarded onto the floor. Later, they will be astonished as “just one pair of socks” has also turned into a pair of pants, a shirt, a belt, papers, and anything else one can think of. Confession cleans out the dirty room and makes space for you to welcome Jesus!

2. Do the Examen. St. Ignatius of Loyola came up with this simple prayer. It allows you to reflect on your day and ways in which God was present. It is great for discernment, especially in finding patterns. It can also be a great examination of conscience and help you to realize areas of strength and weakness in your spiritual life. If you would like to learn more about the Examen, go here.

3.  Pray the Rosary. Many people love the Rosary; many others struggle with praying it. One thing can’t be denied: it is a powerful prayer. (To my Protestant brothers and sisters: Catholics are not worshipping Mary when we pray the Rosary. We are looking at the life of Jesus through the eyes of His mother, the one who loved Him so dearly and was closest to Him during His earthly life.) If you struggle with praying the Rosary, this blogger also has a hard time, but has some good reasons to keep on prayin’ it anyway.

4. Serve others.  “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12) Christ also reminds us that, when we do an act of service for another person, we are doing it for Him! There are so many needs in the world, including in your own home or neighborhood. Perhaps someone that you live with needs some extra attention, or there is an elderly neighbor you could share conversation with. There are numerous places looking for volunteers, including soup kitchens, crisis pregnancy centers, or nursing homes. There are also many needs worldwide, which you could contribute to financially or by going on a short or long-term mission trip. Ask God where He is calling you to be His hands and feet today.

5. Talk to God, always. Just as with our family members and friends, we must be in conversation with God in order to build a closer relationship. “Pray without ceasing; in everything, give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess 5:17-18) Giving thanks to God is so important. Yet we must also be honest with Him and learn to confide in Him our deepest thoughts and needs, and the needs of the ones we love and the world as a whole. We can talk to Him silently throughout our day, in the car, while washing dishes, and when we need to speak a word of truth to another person. These are just a few examples. God is never far from us.

I hope that you can hold onto these tips and find a closer, stronger relationship with God! One huge aspect of wellness is your relationship with God–which affects your mental/emotional health, can affect physical health, and even your relationships with others!

Next up: mental/emotional wellness! (Here is the introductory post to the wellness series.)