Please note that this video contains violent images from the protests and may not be suitable for children.
One of my dear friends is in the Ukraine right now and I have been anxiously praying that she and her loved ones stay safe and that the situation resolves peacefully, though that that second part is looking less and less likely. It is getting more and more press coverage – every other news story on the radio this morning was about Ukraine. The international community needs to speak out. We need to demand peace for Ukraine.
I stand with the Ukrainians fighting for freedom.
So I saw this tip today on pinterest. It said that if you refrigerated nail polish for about 15 minutes, it would make it go on smoother. I was intrigued by this, because I didn’t think that would be the case.
So I decided to test it out. I took my nail polish and stuck it in the fridge, right there next to my milk. Then I waited 15 minutes (and watched The West Wing while I was at it).
While I was waiting, it occurred to me that I should have painted one hand first as a room temperature control. Oh well. You live and you learn.
Anyways, after the 15 minutes passed, I tested it out. I did find that the nail polish did indeed go on very smooth, whether or not it was smoother is hard to say because like I said, I didn’t test it first. But if you are finding that the nail polish you want to use isn’t going on very smooth, it might be worth a shot to pop it in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
This, however, did not improve the fact that I suck at painting nails. Lol. I’ve always wanted painted nails, but I’ve never had the steady hands for doing it.
So here are my nails, and like I said, ignore the not so decent job painting them – I’m no pro!
Bonus: Painting your nails really helps to brighten up a suck-tacular snowy winter! Spring can come any time now
My friend Aude has been working closely with American Refugees Committee for as long as I have known her. I was curious about who they were and what they did, so I interviewed her about them.
Tell us a little bit about the American Refugee Committee (ARC).
ARC was founded in 1979 in Chicago by Neil Ball, a Chicago Business man. It is a disaster relief organization, now based in Minneapolis, that helps refugees and displaced people due to war or natural disaster. It is a non-sectarian organization that works in 3 phases: Emergency Relief, Recovery and Reconstruction. Their programs are built from the ground up: they work with people at the most vulnerable point in their lives, when they have lost everything. They go into situations where they assess what the basic needs for people are. After bringing life-saving supplies, they reach out to the community and work on programs to improve the life of people.
In 2013, they helped 3 million people in 10 countries affected by conflict or disaster.
How did you get involved with ARC?
In May 2010, I attended a talk at a library where the CEO, Daniel Wordsworth explained what ARC did in the aftermath of the Earthquake in Haiti. I was inspired by their work, did research about the organization, and reached out to them. The first year, I organized 6 speaking engagements for the staff to come talk about maternal health. After that, I visited their headquarters and one of their Directors told me I should be doing the speaking for them in the Chicago Area. Since then, I have given talks to schools, rotary clubs, senior centers and have attended activism days with my daughters to raise awareness about refugees around the world.
What is it about the work that ARC does that just tugs on your heart strings?
There are many things I love about ARC:
-Their staff is amazing. They are passionate, caring for people around the world, and always try to be innovative.
-90 cents of every dollar goes directly to the international programs. Transparency about their budget.
-They hire/train on the ground directly or create a cash for work program in some countries so it helps the economy, instead of having a huge team of aid workers that could be costly: because the people who know more about what is needed to improve are the people who live directly in the refugee camps.
-They give a voice to women and make sure they are cared for through training, micro-loans, and health care vouchers so they can support their families.
-The revenue and support mainly comes from grants (US Government/United Nations/Others) so they have to use the money and be accountable that it was used for the specific needs and programs.
-The money received through fundraisers is to help in case of wars/disasters to send out teams and put in place relief then recovery. (like Asian Tsunami/Haiti Earthquake/Hurricane in the Philippines/Assistance in dire situations in Syria, South Sudan, and the DRC)
-They create innovative programs by asking their staff: they recently created the Changemaker’s Award by asking the around the globe: “If you could do one simple thing, what would you do to make the ARC experience better for the people we serve?”
-The best part is reading comments and seeing the smile of people whose life they have impacted. You can tell they changed lives for the better.
What can other people do to get involved with ARC?
Check out their website www.ARCrelief.org or their facebook page. Connect with an ARC staff member. They are supportive of any idea you have to help raise awareness, from giving a talk, to organizing a fundraiser or having a conversation about refugees and the organization.
Anything else you want to add?
Volunteering has changed my life for the better. I found my passion and decided to get involved with the organization. I did a lot of research to make sure that I could see the impact of projects done in Chicago for example. I feel like I am part of the ARC Team and very proud to work with such brave people who think first of saving lives.
I want to take this time at the end to echo and expand on what Aude said there at the end. Volunteering is such an important and life changing thing you can do and I encourage you to volunteer somewhere. Wherever your interests and passions lie, no matter what your skills, there is an organization out there somewhere that could use them and would be extremely grateful to you for getting involved.
I also have to add another note. I was concerned with what I read on ARC’s website that they might be distributing oral contraceptives and Aude very kindly contacted the people she knows at the ARC to ask them. She told me that her contacts say that they try and respect the country that they are in and their national guidelines, but in some places they do distribute oral contraceptives. This made me deliberate for a long time about whether or not I wanted to post this, given how I feel about oral contraceptives. Ultimately I decided to post this because I believe in people having the right to be informed and because I also believe those people have the right to make their own choices once informed, even if they disagree with my choices. And I say this especially knowing that not everyone in my synod agrees and not even all pro-lifers agree. I will be, however, dropping them a (polite) note expressing my concerns because I would love to be able to support them one hundred percent without concerns or reservations.
I also want to thank Aude for agreeing to be interviewed. I really appreciated it and I loved learning more about ARC.
I saw this Tolkien quote this morning and while I’m not the biggest Tolkien fan, I think he’s on to something.
I don’t know when it happened, but crying has somehow gotten a bad rap in our society. It’s seen as a sign of weakness – especially if you’re a man. It’s not a desirable quality, that’s for sure.
But why is it that way? What exactly is wrong with crying? Is it just someone showing a strong emotion that we don’t know how to handle? We tend to have to keep our emotions under wrap unless they are pleasant ones, because if they aren’t, not a lot of people want to hear about them.
And to be honest, I am a crier and sometimes I hate it. It does make me feel weak, even though there is nothing wrong about it. I mean, if the most powerful man to ever walk the face of this earth, Jesus, can cry over the death of his friend, why have we made crying something so weak? He cried even though He knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead, because being fully human, He still felt emotions. They are a part of the human experience, not a weakness.
We are uncomfortable, I believe, with strong displays of emotions because we haven’t been taught how to handle them in ourselves. But emotion in and of itself is not bad. Can our emotions lead us to do bad things, things we later regret? For sure, they absolutely can, but that doesn’t make the feelings bad.
Everyone wants to walk around pretending like they have no feelings, bottling it up because it’s not always socially appropriate to express feelings. But I want change that. And I think to change that I have to start by being okay with my own emotions. So I want to apologize if my actions are in the wrong, but I do not want to apologize for feeling things.
Human beings have emotions. Let’s remember that and try to treat others with compassion when they express them.
91. Getting beautiful flowers for Valentine’s day
92. Having a hubby who loves me, not only on this day, but every day
93. Watching Dom learn new words every day
94. Stritch English Trivia Night
95. Hanging out with two good groups of friends in one night
96. A strawberry smoothie
97. My toddler Tula arrived
98. Reading books with my little man
99. Supportive and lovely internet communities
100. Sunshine and being above zero degrees
Dear Other Mother,
There are so many things I want to say to you. You are like me, you know, but you are also different, but I’d like to think we are more alike then we are different, that we are just friends waiting to happen, rather than strangers passing without smiling.
There are a lot of things I want to tell you. Because I don’t think we hear these things enough. I know you are working so hard to do the best for your kids. I know that you are often facing the day with not enough sleep, yet you get up and face the day anyways. I know that, more than anything, you worry about your child. But it’s okay to relax mama, your child is going to turn out just fine. You love them. Your love is bigger than all the goof ups and mistakes, your love is big enough to cover that major bump and that tummy ache.
I hope you know how much your children love you. I know sometimes you give and give without being sure of that, especially when they are little and can’t tell you, but they love you so much. Even when they are mad at you, they still love you.
I want you to know that even if your choices are different, I hope that we can still be friends. I want us to come to an understanding that we are both doing the best for our kids as we know it at that time.
I also want you to know I’m here for you. If you need a friend, I’ll be there. If you need to talk about your struggles as a mom, I’ll be there. Let’s do this together. There is power in community. You don’t have to do this alone.
A mama hoping to be your friend
Sometimes, we can use the internet for evil. But sometimes, we can also use the internet to do a world of good. Sometimes companies will partner with organizations and give money just for tweeting or other simple actions that you can take on social media.
Which is what Fifth Third Bank is doing. They have a lot of ways you can participate. The biggest one is if you open a checking account with them, they will give $150 to Stand Up to Cancer and $150 to you when you meet their conditions (always conditions with the banks, you know). But anyways, if you aren’t in the market for a new checking about, or you’re like me and there are no branches even remotely near you, you do have other options.
If you upload a photo to their site or use the hashtag #PaytotheOrderof on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Vine, they will donate $1 to Stand Up to Cancer. All of our dollars together can make a mighty amount, for something that takes you 30 seconds or less to do. So far they’ve given $534,000.
Find out more with their full conditions here. I’m off to get tweeting!
I know I just did one of these, but I’m feeling like another one. There is just so much on the Internet worth sharing, as you can probably guess I feel if you are friends with me on Facebook. And I also know how much I appreciate when my content is shared. Seriously, if you love a blogger or blog post, share it, it makes them feel special. Anyways, as per usual, just things I found interesting. Enjoy and have a good Tuesday.
1. ‘Book Buddies’ Where Kids Read to Cats to Blame for Cute Overdose
2. Why P&G Changed the Tone of Its Ads This Year
3. ‘Chameleons of the Sea’ May Benefit Soldiers on the Battlefield
4. Sochi Z!
5. When Dolls Can Dream
6. B. C. Father Welcomes Healthy Newborn Son, Born Weeks After Wife Declared Legally Brain Dead
7. Shirley Temple, the Model Child Star
8. 15+ Sight Word Games for Kids
9.Teaching Kids to Organize Their Time
10.How to Build a Creative Environment