Sunday, March 17, 2013

taking a trip

I'm going to Lebanon in June.

I am part of a team of 15 people from my church who are going to serve in the poor communities surrounding Beirut. About half of the team will be working with a children's ministry, running a summer-camp-like experience. Some of the team will work on a building project for the Near East Initiative. I will be serving in the refugee community.

There is an enormous refugee situation in Lebanon due to the civil war that rages in Syria. As of March 13, there are said to be near 750,000 refugees in Lebanon. Almost a million displaced people crammed into a country the size of Western New York. Lebanon isn't the only country receiving refugees, there are refugees in Turkey, Jordan, and Iraq, along with nearly 4 million homeless Syrians who are still in Syria. Nearly a quarter of the Syrian people are displaced.

I have been following the news about Syria for over a year. I read the news every day; I read about children freezing to death because they don't have even the simplest tent to sleep in at night, because they don't have clothing that's warm enough. I read about them starving and contracting typhoid because the only water that is accessible to them is poisoned with sewage. I read about the women; wives, daughters, mothers raped and murdered. I see their photographs, and their wide-eyed faces are the faces of my own babies; the women are my friends, the dead soldiers wear the faces of my husband and brothers.

These people are so very real, and my heart is broken for them.

They have been discarded, thrown away by their corrupt government, murdered by thugs, starved by a hunger for power.

Whatever you do for the least of these, you do for Me.

So I will go, and I will do. Maybe I will serve food, give clothing, hand out clean water, scrub the toilets... I really don't know what my job will be. Yes, I would be thrilled to not scrub toilets for seventeen days, but if seeing this white American girl scrub poo is what I need to do to show the love of my God to people who have nothing, then so be it.

Part of going on a mission trip is raising money. This trip costs about $4000, not including renewing my passport, all of the immunizations, and other random expenses that will pop up along the way. One of the opportunities the team has is to sell Twice Cleansed organic olive oil soap. It has three ingredients: olive oil, water, and lye. Olive oil soap is wonderful for people who have dry, itchy skin. You can click here to read more about the soap, and to make a purchase. A single bar is $5, and a 4-pack is $20. It takes a whole lot of soap-selling to reach $4000, so I would love if you would share the link with your social media circles.

If you aren't interested in soap, but would rather just make a donation to support my fundraising efforts, please let me know, and I will provide you with my paypal address or send you one of the fancy donation envelopes that the church provides. (Fancy donation envelope = tax deduction, btw.)

And as much as I appreciate your financial support, I ask you to pray for my team. We are fully aware that we are travelling to a dangerous place, and that there will be enormous demands on our mental and physical abilities. If you are not a pray-er, we'll take your good thoughts and intentions.

Have questions for me? I'll do my best to answer them in the comment section, unless it's something a little too personal to share with all the interwebs, in which case I'll send you an email.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

organize now challenge: the medicine cabinet.

I'll be honest: I was kind of surprised when I saw that the medicine cabinet was going to be a destination for the Organize Now! Challenge.

But then I opened the medicine cabinet in the bathroom* adjacent to our kitchen and took a good, long look. What an enormous quantity of crap in a wretched tiny little space.

*This is not our main bathroom. That one is upstairs, and houses the tub and our laundry facilities. We don't actually have a medicine cabinet in that bathroom, just a linen closet and some shelves, and all of our stuff up there is pretty organized, so that'd be no fun for anyone.

did  you think i was going to remember
to take a messy photo? silly.

don't even ask how old that
contact solution is. really.

So. I emptied the lot of it into a super fancy box, and I sat myself down on the throne and proceeded to transfer a good 80% of it into the trash can. Jennifer says to start by pitching anything that's past the expiration date, unfinished antibiotics, old razors, and random nonprescription meds that you just don't use. 

why we don't have nice things, #593:
because kids can't operate antique
light fixtures

 Please note the bare light bulb to the left of the mirror. The light bulb used to be hidden by a lovely milk glass sphere, but it seems the short people did not appreciate the milk glass sphere. I found it shattered on the floor. Two days later, I found the sphere from the light on the right side of the shattered in the sink. No points were awarded that day


the finished product.

Et voila! On the top shelf, we have a few bottles of nail polish, some Angry Birds adhesive Bandages (they're technically not band-aids), and a bottle each of children's tylenol and children's advil.

Middle shelf, some essential oils and a bottle of naproxyn (that's generic talk for Aleve.) My neurologist has forbidden tylenol and ibuprofen for me, so we only have the naproxyn. Nobody's sad about this, because it works better and doesn't destroy your liver or give you rebound pain.

On the bottom shelf is The Mister's beard trimmer (yes, he does trim it once in a while), a little thingy of dental floss, an antique soap box, and some Winchester Gun Oil, which is likely there so The Mister can oil his beard trimmer. He wasn't home when I was cleaning, so I am waiting to dispose of it. There's also a mug holding a few tubes of ointments: arnica gel, neosporin-ish stuff, etc. Jennifer recommends putting loose items in zippy bags, but I know I will be fishing them out of the sink seventy-four times a week, and I'm just not into that.

Jennifer also suggests installing a magnetic strip on the inside of the medicine cabinet to store tweezers, scissors and nail clippers. GENIUS. Another excellent idea is to sort your medicine cabinet out once a year to control the clutter that will probably build up.

Want to see what the other participants are up to this week?
Jennifer Ford Berry

***Please forgive the whacked out photo placement. I messed with it until I had exhausted my supply of bad words, so it's just going to have to be what it is.