Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Because this is the busiest season of the year for me and I'm barely keeping my head above water, I'm late to the party, but last week was World Immunization Week! It was also Shot@Life's first birthday! (Next year, I'm totally making a cake.)
Want to know how you can support global immunization programs in the developing world and not spend a dime?
1. Take a walk.
Seriously. Download the Charity Miles app, pick Shot@Life as your charity, and hit the streets. Every 4 miles you walk/run vaccinates a child. (It keeps track - you don't have to do 4 miles all at once.) You can treadmill or cycle too. (No driving. That's cheating!)
2. Share the love.
Until May 3 (3 more days!) share the daily Global Mom Relay post on your social media networks and a $5 donation is unlocked for each share made to Shot@Life. That couldn't be easier. How many $5 shares can we get from Laundry for Six readers and their friends? Ready, go!
3. Eat gelato!
This isn't completely free, but if you're local, go to the new Dolci Gelati shop in Takoma Park and order the Shot@Life flavor (vanilla/pistachio swirl). Fifty cents from every order goes directly to Shot@Life.
Do you know how much it costs to vaccinate a child in the developing world? $5 for measles. The cost of a latte. To keep a kid from dying of measles. (Remember when I had the measles? I thought I was going to die. It's horrible.) For $20, a child can get ALL their vaccines. $20 - you can't get that kind of bang for your buck anywhere!
Shot@Life, the UN Foundation, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Rotary International, and many others are doing amazing things with preventative health care in the developing world. I am in awe of some of the people I have met and work I have learned about since becoming a Shot@Life Champion.
I feel passionately about this because I know how very blessed we are to have vaccinations for our children in this country. And herd immunity. And antibiotics. And pediatricians. I feel like I owe it to other mothers in the world who don't have those things to do my part, as little as it may be, to share the wealth with them.
Every 20 seconds a child dies of a vaccine-preventable disease. I think about that every day. We are better than that. The means to bring healthy childhoods to kids in developing countries is there. It just takes all of us pushing it along.
Push with me. Share a post. Walk 4 miles. Meet me for some gelato!
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
|The volunteer project that ate my spring break.|
I've spent the last week or more weighted down by volunteer projects. I try to pick carefully and not overload myself, because my most important volunteer job is my kids. But there are days, like yesterday, where I feel swamped and over-committed.
Last week, I read this provocative post by Jen Hatmaker, And Then the Conference Uninvited Me to Speak - it's about church and religion and Jesus and there's so much to pick apart here... I could write a whole post just about my thoughts on church right now... but I'll get to that another day.
She talks about churches (you could insert "communities" here) serving and supporting their members. And while that is well and good, there is so much more to be done in the world. Starving babies, human trafficking, racism, injustice. Serving ourselves is... well... self-serving.
It made me take a good hard look at the volunteer jobs I've taken on. And not surprisingly, almost all of them are ones that make MY world, and my kids' world, better. And by world, I mean "world," not "WORLD." Do you know what I'm saying?
Most of the work taking up my free time is in support of things I love about my little world. Reasons why we chose this neighborhood in which to raise our kids. Keeping traditions from my own youth alive. Sports, school, neighborhood organizations.
There's nothing wrong with those things. They're good. All of them. It's part of what makes up our good fortune. So many people around the world with so much less can't even dream of fundraising events and cotillions and swimming pools. We don't have to eschew them as trappings of the developed world or the middle class. And we shouldn't take them for granted - we are truly blessed. Those things don't happen without lots of good-hearted, generous volunteers who give their time to keep our world running. Those are the things I'm doing. And I'm proud of that work...
But I also feel a strong call to give my time to projects that give me absolutely nothing in return. To serve communities that cannot serve themselves. Whose members don't have the time, or organization, or money, or whatever it is they're lacking, to do it themselves.
Jesus solved the wine shortage at his friends' wedding, but he also touched lepers and befriended loose women. People who had nothing to offer him. Who had no community to lift them up. Radical.
There's got to be a balance in there somewhere.
Where I can give back to my community, but also give to those whose needs are essential and basic, and who, without us - the fortunate, the middle class, the haves - me - you - have nowhere else to turn.
I've been reading The Flower Patch Farmgirl and The Stanley Clan. Two families who moved to the heart of the 'hood to serve the people living there. Yep. Left the suburbs and the good schools. The dream house. Safety. Radical. (Check them out.)
I don't know the answer. I think, really, this post is just asking the question.
How do we do this? How do we balance? What can a suburban, minivan-driving mom of four, who does her best to make her "world" a better place do to make the "WORLD" a better place?
Friday, April 5, 2013
It started with everyone waking up late. (My fault.) And subsequently getting to school late. (With lots of yelling along the way.) I got to a meeting late (lingered too long over my morning coffee) which became unexpectedly contentious. (If you know me, you know I hate contentious.) The day went on with miscommunications, missed deadlines, wandering attention, and poor time management. And I didn't have time to eat lunch, so I was the kind of grouchy that comes with lack of sleep and low blood sugar.
I picked the kids up at school, cringing because what I really needed all day was a nap and a 2-hour stretch of laundry-folding to get my living room cleaned up. Instead, I got a carload of cranky, overtired (my fault - missed their bedtimes the night before), overburdened kids. There was homework, a project, a letter from the principal, instrument practice and a dance class. And no food in the fridge and no plan for dinner and fighting, oh LORD the fighting, and ohmahgah is it ok to open a bottle of wine at 3:30 in the afternoon?
I was so preoccupied with all the ways the day had sucked... that I had failed. Starting with the night before, to the morning of yelling and the afternoon sinkful of dishes, and the evening impatience, that I couldn't get myself out of the muck.
Sitting here days later (because I've written this post 3 times now and lost it each time), it's easy to see what might have helped. A 20 minute walk, some loud music and a quick clean up, ice cream, a hot bath. It's also so easy to see how much my mood set the tone. Yes, my kids were tired and cranky too. But dealing with a growly, fractious mom who couldn't find the reset button, just sent us all circling down the drain of discontent. Ended only by an early bedtime and an alarm that was properly set for the morning.
My only hope, after putting a day like this to bed (literally), is that I'll do better the next time. I'll at least search for the reset button, if not actually find it. That I'll take a deep breath and put my own irritation aside to sooth my kids out of theirs. That I'll remind myself that even though I'm flawed, I'm still full of grace, sometimes buried way down deep. That I'll remember that each and every day, even the sucky ones, are a blessing. Maybe hidden under tattered paper and crumpled ribbon, but a gift nonetheless.