Saturday, November 23, 2013

Together, we make a bigger ripple

At 6-years-old, Polina is experiencing her "firsts" in a family. Tonight, it was her first time seeing Christmas Lights. It was freezing....but worth every shiver! If you hang with me, there's more pictures at the end of the blog.

Unfortunately, these celebrations don't come without a heavy heart. Orphans are stuck and kids are dying.
Meanwhile, most of us are wearing rose-colored glasses (that's my nice way of saying we are ignorant and self-indulged.) I used to find it easy to covet for a bigger house, a newer car, the hippest clothes and accessories, and more toys for our children.

Then I held the orphans. While I still have these consumertastic (like my new word?) tendencies, they are much more in-check now.

I'm happy to report I am no longer ignorant. I've realized... even our humble homes are mansions,  our vehicles are excessive, our demand for trendiness is narcissistic and our overindulgence of materialistic items is vainglorious. (no, I didn't make that word up, though I wish I did).

If only I could change the world.  I'm trying to cast my stone, you know, make a ripple? I'm just a little stone in a big quarry, and there's lots of water in this world!

None of us can change the world ourselves, but if we each cast our own stone and make ripples, those ripples will eventually overlap and the world will be changed for the better.

Can I encourage you to cast your stone with me in two simple ways this holiday?

Forget, ignore, avoid the consumerism trap of Black Friday, etc. and shop with a purpose.

At Givington's, the cause of your choice receives up to 50% of your spending. Books, Coffee, Fashion & Apparel, Office Products, etc.  My own organization, Polina's Promise, is on the list. So are many other deserving organizations.

Fellow Russian special needs adoptive mom Tesney Davis is a  Noonday Ambassador. Buy your jewelry and accessories from Noonday who uses fashion and design to create economic opportunity for over 1,000 artisans in 10 countries - helping families stay together and supporting adoption. I dare you to read about their impact.

Admittedly, I'm new at this shopping with a purpose thing. There's many other ways out there to do this. Just Google it. 

I further challenge you to give 10% of what you spend.  I have more ideas in the giving realm as I've been doing that a big longer.

Steps to Sofi - $700 gets this family a court date
Polina's Promise - assisting special needs orphans and families worldwide
Peach's Neet Feet - sponsor a custom painted pair of shoes for a child who is disabled or fighting serious illness.
99 Balloons - providing a monthly night of respite for special needs families
The Johnson's or another Grace Haven Family - Adoption Grants
Ability Tree - growing able families and accessible organizations
Project Hopeful - advocating for orphans with and bringing education about HIV/AIDS

Whatever it is you're going to do this holiday season, don't forget to slow down (okay, maybe I asked you to do three things) and bask in the small things...the truly important things...the family time, awe in the children's eyes, the truth of redemption and mercy and hope that we celebrate. And if you choose to shop with purpose and to give, know that you're bringing some of those things to someone else's life.

Here's a peek at what redemption, mercy and grace at Christmas time look like from Polina's perspective.

Waiting for the lights to come on

Standing in front of the Christmas Tree

Warming up with a hot drink

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