I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas holiday yesterday with family and friends (if you celebrate Christmas, of course), and a lovely day off otherwise!
Our family had a wonderful time together yesterday. And then this morning the youngest woke us up warning he was about to puke. Which he then did.
After the worst was over, I told him I was so sorry he was sick and he looked up at me with his adorable smile and said, "At least it's not Christmas!"
Way to look at the bright side, kiddo. :)
A BYU grad and former CIA and Homeland Security agent, Tim Ballard saw too many children in impossible, tragic situations because of sex trafficking. He grew tired of the limitations he was under working for government agencies, and founded Operation Underground Rescue, a 501(c)3 dedicated to rescuing child sex slaves all over the world.
Here's a short CBS Evening News report on one of their operations.
Sitting in our comfortable middle-class homes, sex slavery can seem so foreign, so unreal, and therefore easy to ignore. But it is the living reality for thousands of children both in the United States and elsewhere. I can't think of a more noble cause than modern abolitionism.
On Monday, we took the boys shopping for Christmas presents for each other. For the first time, we decided to take them to Santa Express, a fundraiser for the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery, a wonderful resource for our community. According to its mission statement, "The Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery improves the lives of children by providing immediate refuge and safety and ongoing family support in an environment of unconditional love."
After parents fill out a form detailing how much money the kids can spend, volunteer "elves" are matched with each child to take them shopping among the items available and then to help them wrap the presents.
All proceeds all go to benefit the Crisis Nursery, which provides a safe haven for at-risk children for anywhere from a few hours up to three days at a time. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, there is always a Family Support Specialist available to talk and refer families to other community services as well. They also run free parenting classes.
The Nursery is always in need of supplies: diapers (especially larger sizes), formula (especially the specialty or allergen-free kind), craft supplies, toiletries, food. (Read their current wish list here.) And of course, monetary donations are always gratefully accepted as well.
The Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery is a wonderful organization that makes a tangible difference to vulnerable children and families in our community. I'm glad to support them.
How many times have you averted your eyes rather than acknowledge the homeless person holding the cardboard sign next to you at the stop light? I think we've all felt the discomfort that comes from ignoring another human being obviously in need, but wondered if handing out our change is really helping the situation. That's why I was intrigued to learn about Brigid's Cloak, a small, local organization that arranges "outreach runs" on a weekly basis, distributing food, hand warmers, hats, gloves, and other supplies to the homeless in the Spokane area. What a beautiful, humanizing action!
I was signed up to participate in a run last week, but unfortunately the organizer injured her foot and had to cancel. I'm really looking forward to giving it a try in the new year!