A Slurpee-Free #7QT

— 1 —

slurpee

I don’t even like slurpees that much (it would be one more thing to report on LoseIt) and face my coach’s nitpicking. I give her plenty of material about which to nitpick (case in point: a recent comment read “you could have had three cups of broccoli for the calories you spent on that rice pilaf”). But I do love the tie-in of today’s date (7/11) with the fact that 7-Eleven stores are giving out free slurpees today. There is no shortage of sadness in Tallahassee that the nearest 7/11 is in Jacksonville (2.5 hours away).

— 2 —

Control A good male friend is going through a tough time emotionally, following the breakup of a relationship. One of the topics we came around to when discussing root causes was the perception some women have had that he has a need to control things. And compassionately I say, as a platonic friend, they have a point. When I dipped my toe in the waters of bringing this up today, the logical next question was “how do I change it?” I guess the good news is that awareness is the first step. The bad news is that the second step isn’t clear nor is it easy. Maybe part of the truth lies in the fact that at 55 and not having been married, maybe he can choose to not change a thing. But to be in a marriage or long-term relationship, he needs to learn to see things as these woman have seen them. This is going to be a tough nut to crack. Walnuts

— 3 —

Four have become five. My father-in-law moved in with us in early June, after a hospitalization during which it became clear he was incapable of continuing to live on his own. This is one of those situations that, if I were not personally in the middle of it, I could see being fantastic blog material, full of observations ranging from the profound to the mundane, with a filament of love woven throughout. But I haven’t figured out how to discuss it without messing with his dignity and, frankly, I feel way too close to the situation to make any perspective-filled observations (yet).

— 4 —

Is it July 18 yet? My daughter and I will be traveling to Boston on July 18. She has been invited to a gathering of “the Tenleys, an event put together for people named Tenley (I think they’re all females) to meet the woman we all consider the original Tenley, Tenley Albright. I’d be lying if I didn’t say this is literally a dream come true.

— 5 —

Is it July 21 yet? I suppose the answer to this is “no,” since the answer to question #4 is “no,” but besides the excitement of the Boston trip, we will be heading to New York City after Boston (with a stop in Connecticut in between). We will be doing Tea at the Plaza, something neither of us has ever done, and I can’t wait!

plaza

— 6 —

More Than Miles. Tomorrow I will be running a 4.5 mile trail race. The trail is called the “Swamp Forest Trail” and it has rained a good bit today, so the “swamp” part will be assured! Tomorrow also marks the 1 year anniversary of my match with Gareth, a young man who has MCAD, a mitochondrial disorder. We were matched through I Run for Michael. Why does it matter that an almost-50-year-old back of the pack runner dedicates her miles to a child hundreds of miles away? For me, as a mom, it matters to support another mom (and dad) whose child faces such difficult challenges. It matters to support a young man who, despite the challenges of his MCAD, still gives back to others (he has coordinated a “Get Up and Go for Mito” walk the last two years. The group has many more runners than it does children to whom miles can be dedicated. If you know a child / individual who wants a runner, click here for more info.

IR 4 Gareth Cropped

— 7 —

Christopher has support! The last time I participated in #7QT, I wrote about Christopher, a little boy in El Salvador who I was asked to discuss in my blog as his family hoped to get a sponsor from Unbound for him. I just learned that he has been sponsored! I am so happy to hear this. Would also love your prayers as I will be volunteering at Good Shepherd Catholic Church here in Tallahassee this weekend as an Unbound priest discusses the program and shares information about sponsorship. It is always exciting to see people start their sponsorship journey (and to talk with people who have been sponsoring for a while already). Having the opportunity to go to El Salvador in June and see the program in action helps me visualize the program’s operations clearly and I am grateful for that trip.

The #BlogUnbound Team

The #BlogUnbound Team

 For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

(I am also pleased to link this post up to Faith Along The Way’s Saturday Soiree.)

The Big Green Pen Is Taking a Big Trip! #BlogUnbound

elsalvador

“I tried carrying the weight of the world
But I only have two hands”

These lyrics from Avicii’s song “Wake Me Up” represent an approach many of us take when issues in our lives need to be resolved, whether they be relatively “small” personal challenges (“how am I ever going to get that birthday party planned?”) or relatively “big” global quandaries (“what can I do to eradicate world hunger?”).

For those “small” personal challenges, life has been trying to teach me for a long time now that it’s incredible how many people are willing to pitch in and help with just a little bit of guidance, encouragement, and (here’s the important thing) the fact that I need to ask in the first place.  For the “big” global quandaries, an organization called Unbound (formerly Christian Foundation for Children and Aging) adds so much more than my two hands to the goal of making a difference for people who are in poverty.

I have been involved with Unbound since my in-laws started sponsoring Silvia twelve years ago. I met Silvia and her mother in July 2011 when my daughter, Tenley, and I went to Guatemala on a Mission Awareness Trip. That’s when we started sponsoring Estela, also from Guatemala, and gained a first-hand knowledge of how our monthly contributions are used and how the letters we exchange with our sponsored children are an important part of the bond between sponsors and sponsored individuals.

I am thrilled to announce that I will be joining Unbound on a Blogger Trip to El Salvador June 1-6.  Details about the 3 other bloggers, 2 journalists, and 2 Unbound staff members who make up the team for #BlogUnbound can be found here. My goal as a participant on this trip is to make it come alive for those of you who can’t visit an Unbound site in person. I will be blogging and sharing about the trip via my social media channels before, during, and after the trip.

I will tell you unreservedly that one of the appointments on my itinerary that I am most excited about is meeting Stanley, a three year old child with muscular dystrophy who our family has decided to start sponsoring:

Stanley

I will be meeting Stanley and his family on my first full day in El Salvador, at his home.  On Tuesday, I will meet with the health committee of a mothers’ group, and on Wednesday, I will meet with a college student who commutes five hours a day to take classes. My fellow travelers will get to see an eco-stove in use, meet sponsored children and aging, visit families who sell clothing and homemade jewelry to make a living, and cook local dishes.

Through my long-time involvement with Unbound, I have come to believe wholeheartedly in its sponsorship model. I know that $30 a month can change lives. I know that the $30 is not in any way a “handout” — it is a way to provide help to people who want to make their lives and the lives of children who rely on them for support more stable and hopeful. I am particularly enthusiastic about the programs that teach people skills that they can then use to support themselves.

Believing in this model as I do, I hope to use this trip to El Salvador to become a more knowledgeable messenger and more energized motivator to link additional hands together to lighten the load of people who are struggling under the weight of poverty.

Between now and June 1 when I depart, here are a few resources to learn about Unbound:

Unbound’s webpage can be found here.

Visit Unbound on Facebook here.

Visit Unbound on Twitter here.

Visit Unbound on Instagram here.

Read some of my previous posts about Unbound here, here, here, here, and here.

Tenley meets Estela, July 2011

Tenley meets Estela, July 2011

unbound one