Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Ok, a rare mid-week post.
I stirred up some discussion over on facebook about the Love146.org cause and raising som funds for them as part of "210 in 2010". Many folks were asking about Love146 and how to donate or get involved. So I figured one place to put all the info might help.
The organization is Love146.org and you can find out all about them at http://Love146.org/
The quick scoop is that they are an organization dedicated to stopping human trafficking, getting victims out of slavery, and restoring their humanity once rescued.
Love146 is involved in main different areas of the abolition movement but one that really sets them apart is their dedication to the aftercare of victims. Their "Round Home" in the Philippines is a safe haven for survivors of child sexual exploitation and trafficking. It is"uniquely built and designed to facilitate the restoration and holistic health of every child entering its doors." (More info here)
As for how to get involved, it's pretty simple:
1) Let me know how much you wish to pledge/donate. This can be public or private - totally up to you. I won't be sharing names/info of the people pledging. Only the grand total of pledges. You can email me, send me a message on facebook, write or comment on my FB wall, @ or direct message me on twitter, or leave a comment on this blog.
2) Go to http://love146.org/donate/usa (this is for donating US dollars - to donate in other currencies go here) and make your donation directly to Love146.org before the end of the year.
There are a couple of optional steps:
3) Browse the online Love146 store and purchase some cool swag. This helps fund the cause and raise awareness - the cool factor is just a side benefit...
4) Become an abolitionist - visit http://love146.org/get-involved to find ways to get involved. You can also check out End Slavery Now to join the fight.
So there you are. If there is anything else you might like to know, please let me know and I'll do my best to help out.
See you on Friday...
Friday, September 24, 2010
Encouragement. Accountability. Education.
These are some of the key things that come to mind when I think about a "community of believers." I use that phrase deliberately instead of saying "church" because, unfortunately, those two terms aren't always synonymous.
I attend a church where I often get education in the form of sermons or Bible study curriculum. I am finding that I am missing a good bit of the other two items I mentioned: regular encouragement in my faith and accountability.
I don't say this to lay a bunch of blame on this church or the folks attending or working there. Just about every church where I know people that attend have folks that say the same about those churches. I say this because I think there is A big hole left in the spiritual life of many people that their church just isn't filling.
I have had different "communities of believers" over the years. Most of the time these folks tied in with where I worked. That's mainly because my non-family time for most of the past 20 years has been spent working. It's a little sad, perhaps, but it's true.
I often got incredible encouragement from the folks in these small communities. We would have Bible studies but most of the time it was in the everyday interactions with each other that this really happened. Also because of these interactions we could feel comfortable sharing with and confronting each other when necessary.
That thought might scare some people but it is really a good thing. The people in my life that have had the most positive impact on me are those with whom I could share who I want to be. This allows them to help me through encouragement (there's that word again) and accountability. When they see me acting counter to what they know I want to be, they can offer insight and correction.
This comes from love and not from an authoritarian position or a "I'm better than you" kind of thing. It's a pretty rare thing, though, I'm finding...
Why am I writing about all this? With the switch to the small start-up company back in May I went to a schedule where I work at home or in a place like Starbucks most of the time. That tends to be somewhat isolating. Paired with a very small company, I don't have the same level of interactions that I used to have that helped build that community.
And I miss it. And I haven't found a good way to get it back...
On to the reason that most of you stopped by... the numbers.
We traveled last week so I didn't have access to my "official" scale for a weigh in. I did step on the scale this morning. The numbers were:
Half a pound in 2 weeks. 4lbs in about 6 weeks. Kinda discouraging compared to my earlier progress and my upcoming goal deadline (210 in 2010). Also a bummer when I feel like I've been doing well with the nutrition side of things (less than 1700 calories per day).
But, I've completely slipped off the running routine. I need to get back to regular exercise to make progress, I believe. Looking for tips and encouragement for running motivation.
We are up to $174 in pledges for Love146.org so far. Still trying to get to $210 and then to $420 to get the matching funds. Please give if you can. Every little bit helps and gets doubled.
Until next time...
Photo credit to slagheap.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Yeah, I can't count it would seem. I know last week was #50 but this week marks the one year mark from when I started this whole deal. So that makes this the 52nd weigh in...
One year. Wow. So fast and yet so slow. Big changes and little ones too.
An example of a big change is the 90+ pounds I've lost in that year. Another big change in these 12 months is the move from the "steady as she goes", 40 hour work week of a government contractor back to the fast-paced, change on a dime, way over 40 hour week life of a start-up technology company.
Perhaps one of the biggest changes for me is what I've learned about the plight of some 27 million people that are enslaved today. The fact that, yes indeed, there are people in our advanced, enlightened world today that are held in shackles of slavery. Women, children, and men that are being used and abused daily and denied basic God-given rights.
A year ago I didn't know anything about the human trafficking going on. I didn't know that it was happening right under our noses here in the US and many times in plain sight.
As the summer of 2009 came to a close, I didn't know a thing about Love146.org and their work for abolition and restoration.
I didn't know anything about End Slavery Now and their New Underground Railroad.
I hadn't talked with John or Aaron a year ago to know about their hearts for ending modern day slavery.
In general, I didn't know anything about human trafficking and I was definitely not trying to do anything about it.
Now, a year later, I don't think I've done a whole lot but I'm in the process of doing something. With help from friends and strangers, we've raised several hundred dollars for the cause. I know it doesn't sound like much and, on its own isn't going to change the world.
But, to borrow a phrase, no raindrop ever feels like it is responsible for the flood. That is, very big things are often made up of lots of very small things. And a couple hundred dollars can turn into a huge resource if we can multiply it by getting more people involved.
And that's where you can help with some big changes for the upcoming year. Please find a few dollars that you can part with to help fight slavery. I'll help get you started on the multiplying part too.
If you can give at all, just let me know how much you can pledge to give to Love146.org this year. When I get to $210 in total pledges, I've got someone who will match it and multiply the total to $420.
If I can raise a total of $420 in pledges to Love146.org, then another wonderful person will multiply it again so that the $420 in pledges totals $840 that will go to fight slavery and help restore those freed from it.
So, please think hard about what you can do to help "the least of these" that are enslaved and suffering today. Leave me a comment on the blog, email me, talk to me on twitter, or hit me on facebook to let me know you can help and how much you can pledge.
Onward and downward. I weighed in today, of course. I've been getting wrapped around the axle a bit about only losing about 2 lbs in a month. I got used to the progress and now the plateau is eating at me.
So, in an effort to cut down on Friday morning disappointment, I had convinced myself that there wouldn't be much change this week. I stepped on the scale and saw
Wow! Wasn't expecting that. Dropping 2 pounds this week definitely exceeded my expectations. Here's hoping that the plateau is behind me now and it's back to heading down the hill again...
Photo credit to Scott Robinson.
Friday, September 3, 2010
You ever wonder why you feel a certain way about something? Or why certain things make you react a particular way?
I do, too.
For example, as I was leaving the neighborhood this morning, I stopped for the school bus that was picking up kids. It was sitting just inside the entrance to the neighborhood with it's sign out and red lights flashing. I pulled to a stop facing it in the pre-dawn light.
One little girl (2nd grade, maybe) was running towards it with a huge backpack on. I watched as she got to the bus and climbed on board. Then I sat looking at the bus.
And it sat there looking at me. Red lights flashing. Doors closed. Just sitting there. I was across an intersection from it waiting for the lights to go off and for it to go ahead. Just sitting there.
As the seconds tick by, I started wondering what was up with the bus. The red lights are flashing. The doors are closed. No kids in sight. What's up?
I think I hear something so I turn the radio down. Was that a horn blowing? Don't see any other cars around. Is it the bus? I peer through the gloom but can't make out the bus driver. Is he honking at me? Does he want me to go ahead? But the lights are still red....
Then the lights go off and the bus pulls slowly forward. I start moving and passing the bus. I glance up and see the bus driver is very animated. He's pointing at me and, as far as I can tell, yelling at me.
What?!?! I didn't do anything wrong. The lights were flashing! Why are you yelling at me? You are the one in the wrong Mr Bus Driver!
So, for the next few minutes of my drive, I kept going over why I was right. Then I started wondering "Why does this bother me so much?" Seriously, why was I so worried about whether I was right or not?
I mean, it really bothered me to think that some person that I don't even know accused me of not doing something he thought I should have done. What is that? It doesn't make any sense when I looked at it like that.
I still don't really know the root cause of the feeling (am I really that neurotic?) but I do know it happens more often than I admit or am even aware of at the time.
Ultimately, it is an identity issue, I believe. Craving the approval of other people that much reveals the struggle to really believe that I am the person God says I am instead of the person that other people, or even I, say that I am.
I'm believing a lie. I don't like that. And I don't have to accept it.
If all I am is what the lies say I am then why in the world did the King and Savior of all die on a cross for me? If Jesus chose to pay for my sins, then I must be more than what the world tells me.
I'm not saying that I am, in any way, worth the price paid for me. But that price was paid. Christ chose to die for me. And I'm thinking that fact, in and of itself, gives a whole lot more validity to my identity from God than from the world.
I just want to go through each day remembering and believing that. But I struggle with it a lot.
Any body got any words of advice or encouragement on this topic?
On to the numbers.... I went to the scales this morning with the thought of no changes for 3 weeks on my mind. So I stepped up and the scale showed me:
A pound and a half for the week. I'll take it!
And, a small reminder, I'm still looking for some partners to pledge donations to Love146.org so we can get the matching funds. The current pledge amount still stands at $155. If we get to $210, we get $210 in matching funds. If we get all the way to $420, we get the $210 PLUS another $210 in matching funds. That would double the pledges to $840...
So, if you can spare a few dollars, Love146.org can really put them to good use.
Photo credit to Shermeee.