First . . .
Meet my daughters, Thing One and Thing Two. You can tell we’re related because they’re eating chocolate.
Like most Americans, our family is addicted to the heavenly brown stuff. We add chocolate chips to our pancakes, chocolate syrup to our ice cream, and chocolate sauce to our fruit. We celebrate with chocolate birthday cakes, chocolate santas, and chocolate bunnies.
Don’t even get me started on my use of chocolate as a comfort food.
Now . . .
Meet Richard. He’s there on the left.
Richard and another child slave are just leaving a cocoa plantation where they have been working all day. Richard carries a pesticide tank on his back, and his body is covered with a skin disease.
These boys were lured away from their homes with promises of good fortune. Instead they got hard labor, hazardous conditions, no pay, little food, and no hope of returning to their families.
Both boys have scars from accidents involving the machetes they use daily. They do not attend school, and they have no idea what becomes of the cocoa beans they harvest.
Neither of them have ever tasted chocolate.
Sobering, isn’t it?
The Ivory Coast, where these boys work, exports 36% of the world’s cocoa beans. It is estimated a quarter of a million children work on cocoa farms in that country alone. (source: DanielRosenthal.com)
A decade ago, the world’s largest chocolate producers pledged to stop buying their chocolate from slave traders, but they have been VERY slow to comply.
However, there’s an easy way to know if the chocolate we buy is “Fair Trade,” meaning it contains only chocolate from non-slave plantations.
Look for this symbol when you buy your chocolate.
By buying certified Fair Trade, we can know our chocolate does not come from farms incorporating child slavery. If, as consumers, we demand a change in our chocolate’s supply chain, large companies will pay attention. (source: TheMarginalized.com)
For more information on Fair Trade products, and to locate fair trade stores near you, visit FairTradeUSA.org.
I’m new to this, so if you know of good links or other information, please leave a comment.
They tested God in their heart by demanding the food they craved. Psalm 78:18
My son proposed to his girlfriend last week in front of the student body and faculty of his small Texas college. He got down on one knee, held up a ring, and told her he couldn’t live without her.
Our family and hers had been expecting a proposal, but not one so romantic, so touching, so public. Since then, I’ve watched the video approximately nine million times–first, a fuzzy phone video, then a professional video made by the university–and I’ve memorized every word and analyzed each facial expression. Their obvious love warms my heart.
But my favorite part of the proposal? The part that brings tears to my eyes every time?
An auditorium filled with cheering students. Girls with tears on their cheeks, screaming at the top of their lungs. Boys with deep throated chants, pumping their fists in the air. All for two of their friends making a commitment to each other.
That’s what makes me cry the most.
It gets me. Knowing there are still kids in our crazy mixed-up country that will celebrate marriage, praise purity, and rejoice with the vows of their friends. And they will do it loudly, with tears streaming down their cheeks and their fists pumping in the air, and they will not be ashamed.
Rejoice in the wife of your youth. Proverbs 5:18 (NASB)
If you have attention deficit (like me), forward to 3:00.
Media Credits: photo courtesy of Dr. Philip Camp/video-Lubbock Christian University
Family size is tricky to figure out.
Or should we even try? Some couples leave it in the Lord’s hands, while others calculate ovulation down to the minute so they can determine not only the birth date of their baby, but also the gender.
Maybe you’re strategically planning your family.
Maybe you’re contemplating what lies in store as you wait for God’s small gifts.
Maybe you’re looking back on your parenting years and wondering what on earth happened.
In a nutshell, here’s my take on family size:
1 child - You and your spouse have complete control of the situation. The odds are forever in your favor. Should a parent become _____ (insert appropriate adjective), no worries! the other parent is available to intervene. The child is well cared for and feels constant love and affection, though occasionally your bundle of joy may slightly prefer one parent over the other.
2 children – It’s one-to-one now. That seems reasonable. Things are still under control, as long as the parents support each other, practice patience, and take plenty of Tylenol. Everyone is happy here. No parent is left without a child to cuddle, no child is left without a sippy cup fetcher. All is well.
3 children - Now you’ve gone and done it. You’re out numbered. No matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to control all of them at the same time, and at least one child is always scurrying away from you at record speed. The children begin to feel a loosening of the reins, and respond accordingly, testing the boundaries.
4 children - No noticeable difference whatsoever. Once you’re outnumbered, all control is lost. You might as well try for a football team.
5 children - Or perhaps a basketball team.
Wouldn’t you know, there are no Bible verses detailing the perfect family size, so I’ll leave you with this one instead (slightly out of context):
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Phil 4:13 (NAS)
Photo credit: (silhouette) Group of People, Vlado, freedigitalphotos.net
My family and I were introduced to YOGA over the holidays, and we were instantly hooked. No, that is not my husband and me in the picture, though I sort of wish it were. (I opted not to post a picture of myself in a yoga pose, because I don’t want you to click away from my blog).
Since then, I’ve heard every YODA joke imaginable. For example:
“Where’d you put the Yoga DVD?” “Ah . . . take you to it, I will.”
As I press forward in the new year with my exercise routine, I’ve noticed I relax while doing those stretches. Not only am I working out, I’m slowing down (another New Year’s resolution).
So in my frantic attempt to meet goals, I stumbled on the similarities between Yoda and yoga. I mean, OBVIOUSLY Yoda was an avid yoga-er. Think of how calm he was, how thoughtful, how in control.
If I keep this up, I could in fact, become Yoda.
For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 1 Timothy 4:8
I’m the one on the left. My sister (and protector) is on the right. This may have been the first year I didn’t cry when I saw the big man.
As you finish your holiday preparations, be safe and enjoy!
During the ice storm that struck north Texas earlier this week, many of my friends bemoaned the fact they couldn’t get out of the house. They had cabin fever.
That phenomenon never hit me.
On the contrary, this introvert was THRILLED to be locked in my house. For once, I could stay home, ignore my responsibilities, and not feel guilty about it.
I sat by the fire, did some writing, and watched my kids play in the “snow”. Oh . . . and I ate. Lots.
We usually have one ice storm per year, but I’m sort of hoping we have another when the rest of my kids are home for the Holidays.
Here’s a peek at my people. And . . . here’s an out-of-context Bible verse: