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Tips to Rock Gratitude

Tips to Rock Gratitude

Rocking GRATITUDE in our adult lives is key to truly flourishing (and having more fun). Fulfillment, positive relationships, confidence, compassion and purpose are intensified in our lives when we practice the habit of being grateful. Dr. Caron Goode says, “Grateful people are happier, more resilient, and less depressed.”

It all sounds so EASY right? Of course it does. It’s very easy to be HAPPY and GRACIOUS when times are good – when we are getting what we want and feeling satisfied and uplifted as a result.

JOY, HAPPINESS + FUN ARE ALL BUILT ON GRATITUDE.

But how do you react when things go awry? When you are disappointed? When you are hurt, angry or rejected? It is in these moments when we really need to SHINE our light of gratitude. To own the experience, learn from it and move forward.

“WHAT? Feel gracious in a pissed off moment like this? Do you have any idea how mad I am right now? Seriously!” I hear ya.

And if you are in that place right now, or have been in the past, remember that, “THIS TOO SHALL PASS.” (It really, really will.)

It’s HARD to be grateful when the twist and turns of daily life seemingly smother our best intentions. The snowball effect of negative thoughts born from frustration, a sense of lack of control, over-commitments, minimal valued personal time and deep-rooted belief systems can, and do, completely UNDERMINE our ability to FEEL grateful.

BUT! Grateful people (those with a positive and resilient mindset) do have a more fun and flourishing life experience. They just do.

Here’s some tips I have gathered from knowing, and coaching individuals with a life-enriching mindset of GRATITUDE.

1. DO IT DAILY
While enjoying the first sip of your hot latte, soaking in the bath or driving to work pick a ritualistic time DAILY to think of one thing you are grateful for. Gratitude is a mind-set, a positive perspective that, with practice, will become a life-altering must-do habit.

2. DON’T JUST THINK IT. DO IT. 
Gratitude is a verb (ignore the whole dictionary noun ‘thang). It takes intention and action to exist. What have you done today to show you are grateful…..for the people in your life?…..for the circumstances you are living?…for your health?….for yourself? If you desire to take charge of your well-being you are going to want to start actively expressing, through action, what and who you are grateful for. TODAY. Not tomorrow.

3. BE GRATEFUL FOR THE DIFFICULT TIMES 
If there is one thing I have noticed about grateful-minded people –they don’t wait for the silver lining…they actively create it.

Always remember to enjoy the journey!

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Love Beyond Borders

Love Beyond Borders

ith love in the air and February 14th in sight, I find myself thinking “Really?! A big teddy bear and box of chocolates? I don’t need that to feel loved!” I mean Valentine’s Day brings lovers to celebrate, and friends to cheers, and more chocolate, teddies and flowers fill the front displays of stores.  I get the whole thing. I distinctly remember as a child Valentine’s being a very exciting event, one with much anticipation and extreme preparation. I can recall the immense pressure to pick the prettiest and most perfect Valentine’s cards. I remember spending 20 minutes in Superstore with my mom, obsessing on if I would pick the Disney Princess or the Minnie Mouse cards. It was a big deal! I had to go home and write the names of all my class mates on each one, seal the envelope with a little sticker, attach a chocolate and have them ready for delivery to their paper made “mail boxes”. Oh good old elementary school days!

It’s quite amazing how the meaning of holidays change as we change in our lives. Now I am in my 20’s and engaged, and truly Valentine’s does not elicit the same gravity and attention it used to. I mean sure it’s nice to get chocolates, and some special treatment or even a dinner out, but heck I want that EVERY month, not just on February 14th! I am lucky enough to be engaged to the sweetest man there is who takes the liberty to celebrate our love every week to every month with a special date, and I feel everyday when we talk that we are celebrating. Now I might just be young and in love, but the truth is, not just the holiday based on St. Valentine, or the second weekend in February is necessary for acts of love, or massive teddy bears and chocolate. I see love as a daily act. I see love as a choice, and I also see that many holidays, not just February 14th, make me feel that immense thankfulness I have for the ones I love. I feel that same love on Christmas and Thanksgiving, at weddings, at my grandparents’ house, at my parents’ home, and in my brothers’ company. I feel love when I speak to those who appreciate, honour and choose me in every season, whether that’s the second week of February or not.

“Love is about lifetimes. It is year round, month-long, week-long, day-long, in every second of every day. Love is a journey and a choice. It is choosing those around us, to honour and always be kind, to be courageous enough to love beyond borders.”

I sincerely hope you have a wonderful week and are treated wonderfully with all the glamour and elegance that Valentine’s brings. Moreover, I hope you are treated with kindness, warmth and love everyday of your beautiful lives. 

Love always,

 

Rachel

Mango and Moose

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Self Love Tips

Self Love Tips

Ah it is the month of LOVE! I adore this time of year because it’s an excuse to celebrate all things cupid, hearts, red, chocolate and of course LOVE. While it is a celebratory time of appreciating and showing love for partners and family, it is also the PERFECT TIME to intentionally focus on self love too.

Give me a mental high five and YES if you could use some self-love lovin’.

Who’s with me? Of course you are!  But wait…. this self-love thing is just soooo much easier said than done. Especially for many of us who have schedules so busy it can seem impossible to get our needs and me-time met.

Pom Pom Scarf from Mango + Moose

After many, many (many, many) months away from the gym since my last baby was born, I decided to go to a class last Thursday. ME TIME! YAY! I announced it to my entire family. I added the class into the shared family calendar. I was determined to get to that class because this class was not just about burning calories, it was about STAKING MY CLAIM to me time!

The class was set to begin at 6:45pm. At 5:45 pm my 16 month old was asleep on my chest with a high fever. Sooo….that class will have to wait. I admittedly got a little mommy-frustrated (we are human right?). I will get to that exercise class another week. In the mean time, I have a checklist for all us busy people out there to lean on when feeling like a little self-love is in order. Take a look and circle at least three you can do this month to celebrate AMAZING you.




SELF-LOVE CHECKLIST (it’s the mindset of self-care)

  • Thinking and acting with kindness.
  • Focusing on empathy, gratitude and love, for yourself and others.
  • Eating a cookie. Enjoying it GUILT FREE. Really, really enjoying it…and then NOT eating ten more.
  • Moving your body. Yes…exercising. Not because you have to, not because you want to lose weight, but because exercising makes your body stronger, healthier and full of energy (walking around the mall counts…yes it does).
  • Meeting a mom who has an “amazing” body and NOT feeling less than or jealous.
  • Taking 5 minutes a week to watch the clouds roll across the sky – once a week! You can fit that in.
  • Following your gut instinct—even when logic tells you otherwise.
  • Fuelling your body with powerful nutrition.
  • NOT starving your body with unsustainable, no-fun fad diets. Seriously. They are no fun.
  • Embracing humility and growth.
  • Being open to the beautiful, chaotic, intense and uniquely awesome evolution of WHO YOU ARE.
  • Accepting what is reality.
  • Remaining hopeful of what will be the future.
  • Understanding your stories of the past. And then letting them go, gently.
  • Expecting respect from yourself and others.
  • Feeling happy about your body while clothes shopping. Every body is different and should be celebrated regardless of your size and shape. Decide to feel good about yourself. Yes it is a choice.
  • Investing in relationships that matter in your life. Starting with the relationship you have with yourself.

Take yourself on a date this month and celebrate your life in a way only YOU can. Enjoy your me time.

Always remember: YES YOU CAN.

You are entitled to a respectful, loving relationship with yourself. Show the love. xoxo

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Meet Jerry

Meet Jerry

Jerry is one of our Haitian Artisans. He supports his mom, dad and five siblings from his work as a quality control manager in Haiti (one of our Artisan Partnerships). The interviewer is our very own CEO Tanya Donahue. 

This short video shares his story.

“When you buy our products just put in your mind you support us; you support us to find more opportunity so that our dreams can come true.” 

This is your purchasing power making global impact. One amazing human at a time. The impact is real.

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Words of Wisdom from Benson, a Haitian Leather Artisan

Words of Wisdom from Benson, a Haitian Leather Artisan

Straight from the streets of Haiti – This story demonstrates why we at Mango and Moose support Fair Trade and believe in ethical business as a way to move our world and people forward through restored hope and dignified work.

It is our privilege to share this story from one of our Haitian Artisan partners.

The dialogue is between MK, the founder and director of the cooperative, and Benson, the amazing Artisan who worked tirelessly to make our entire Mango and Moose Natural and Black Leather Tote collection.

 

Here is his story:

MK: One day a few years ago, I was traveling with Benson to Port Au Prince in the car. I came to love these one-on-one times in the car with this young brilliant person. First he sleeps for an hour, but after that I can count on him for some great conversation. Now I’ve gotten to where I will pull out my phone and hit record when he starts talking.

One day we were driving along and he said to me:

BENSON: “MK, do you know how to keep poor people poor?”

MK: “No, Benson, I can’t say that I have ever thought about that. How do you keep poor people poor?”

BENSON: “Give them everything they need.”

MK (thinking): What? Where is he going with this?

BENSON: “Give them food and clothes and houses. Give it to them and never ask them to do anything for it. That way they never develop their own capacity. That way they never grow and they will always need you. They will stay dependent on others and remain poor.”

MK (thinking): Sure wish I was recording this right now, but if I pull over and turn on my recorder he will likely stop talking so freely.

BENSON: “If you had come to Jubilee and met me and saw me as a young man from a poor family with many children, and you had begun to bring clothes and food to our house, instead of seeing me as a young man who has skills and is intelligent with great capacity, where would I be today? Where would I be today, he asked again before answering. I would not know my capacity to build a company and make beautiful products. I would not be who I am today – a leader in my community and a provider for my family.”

MK (thinking): How could I have not seen him that way? I wonder how many other Bensons there are within clear view in our everyday lives. How many people with great capacity do we not see every day?

Visiting with him yesterday in his workshop and seeing the new space he is building now to double the size of his space once again, I am in awe.

I admit that sometimes his faith and optimism are so much bigger than mine that he makes me a little crazy. He preaches faith to me! When I am looking at the bank account, he is looking at the faithful record of God.

I will always count it as one of my life’s greatest honours to call this young man a friend.

There is so much more I could say about him. I could tell you the ways he is mentoring other entrepreneurs and raising up leaders in his community. I could tell you the smart ways he is investing in his own company and bringing local investors together to invest in other start-ups.

He and those like him are real change makers, this I know.

Shared with you by Mango + Moose Admin

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The Importance of Ethical Fashion

The Importance of Ethical Fashion

Today, I wanted to discuss why ethical fashion is important.

In today’s society, you’ve probably heard claims that are rising in popularity, particularly about ethical fashion. Many companies, brands, and singular individuals are saying how necessary it is to support ethical companies, live sustainably, and become more eco-friendly.

If you’re new to this specific world, or have really only heard these things in passing, you may be wondering what it all means, and if it’s really important, or just another trend to follow. As a social entrepreneur myself, and being apart of a company full of Artisans, social entrepreneurs, and general do-gooders (being Mango + Moose), I can assure you that these things ARE important.

My family and I lived in Haiti from 2015-2017, and as a result, I was able to see the impact of supporting ethical and small business directly. It was actually because of our time in Haiti that we were incredibly inspired to create Mango + Moose in the first place. Haiti was beautiful, and also humbling, because our time there further taught both my family and I the importance of valuing simplicity, beauty, and most importantly – humanity.

The best way I can think to describe the importance of ethical fashion (on a personal level) is: when you shop at these nearly-monopolized stores, it is difficult if not impossible to see the impactor trust the goods were made in fairness to all. When you shop ethically, sustainably, and small, you often see and feel the impact. Business owner search out to say “thank you”. Small gifts are added to your purchase ingratitude. Social entrepreneurs share stories and pictures to their social media pages and emails to show how YOU, individually, have made a difference -both for them and their business as well as for the makers.

That’s not the only example of why ethical fashion is important, though. It goes beyond this and is much deeper. Ethical fashion is also important to support because it puts  big “NO” and “STOP” signs on ‘fast fashion’.

If you aren’t sure what fast fashion is, don’t worry, I’ll explain:

Fast fashion is essentially ‘trends’. It’s clothing that gets swapped in and out of stores within a months’ (or sometimes even weeks’) time. It’s clothing and accessories that often violate workers rights by forcing them to overwork, wastes water, overuses energy consumption, hurts the environment, and wastes materials to create items that will be worn a maximum of 2-3 times.

As you can see, it’s not a good thing.

And it’s been prevalent. Thankfully, more and more people are turning to ethical companies and purchases. You may be wondering what makes something ethical. Allow me to clarify:

Ethical fashion is a large term that can have many different purposes and elements, depending on the environment and company in which it’s produced. However, ethical fashion is essentially the protection and fair treatment of workers, their rights, as well as promoting their livelihood and sustainability. Ethical fashion also takes into account the environment, animals, water, and waste – usually attempting to do no harm to them. Ethical fashion promotes environmental awareness, worker and farmer safety, and is (in my personal opinion) how the fashion and accessory industry SHOULD be run.

After all, we only have this planet that is inhabitable right now, right? So why not take care of it and its inhabitants? That’s my philosophy behind supporting ethical fashion; I believe it’s the future of the next generations.

Plus, there is beauty in sentiment – reaching for a bracelet that I know was handcrafted by a talented Artisan based in Kenya and knowing I’ve supported both their craft and livelihood, rather than something that is flimsy and plastic from a big box store.

I think it’s incredibly important to consider our actions as consumers. Take a deeper look at where we are purchasing from, what we are purchasing, and (if possible) the values, environment, as well as ethics of these companies; what we find my be surprising and call for change.

If you would like to start supporting ethical fashion + accessories but are not sure how, please consider taking a look at Mango + Moose. Our ethical and sustainable fashion, as well as Fair Trade Practices and support of artisans, will definitely inspire you.

Thanks for reading! Remember: BE the change you wish to see!

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In Real Life

In Real Life

Ready to IRL and LOL more in 2019?

As the resident Passion Igniter it’s my job to teach LifeTools to help people get EXCITED and PASSIONATE about who they are and what they do. This is fun for me as I myself get all kinds of excited and passionate about…many many things (just ask my hubby). Perhaps because of the motivational, personal development feminine world I live in, I seem to swim in a gigantic pool of never ending meme’s and inspirational quotes. My own personal personal and biz mantra is YES YOU CAN! Some days I am fully connected to that message while others I simply turn my frame around. It’s a mood thing J

As an avid “swimmer” of all things inspiring and motivational it’s not common for me to come across a new-to-me abbreviation that makes me stop…think…and feel all forms of YES in my core. But it did happen. Just the other day. While mindlessly scrolling through Instagram.

IRL

IN. REAL. LIFE.

It was mentioned in an off comment from someone responding to another person’s post. Something about getting out and enjoying IRL. In. Real. Life. The abbreviation instantly resonated with so many things I have been thinking about over the last few months. In. Real. Life. REAL LIFE. Like in the here and now. Ahhhh this is my theme for 2019.

Many of my coaching and business clients spend a great deal of time “working” the online world. Growing their tribes, investing in their digital communities, providing value for cyber connections. I get it. I do the same. At this very moment I am writing content for people I don’t know in hopes of offering nuggets of inspiration and positive life strategies. And while YOU are very real (thank you for reading this!) there is no real life connections between you and I. I am sitting in my office by myself writing this while you are probably scrolling on your phone or computer casually reading these words.

[Side note. It is no accident you are reading this right now.]

While there is great value in all the wisdom shared online there is also something missing from digital connections. It’s the chemistry of real life energy being shared between two people. The contagious uplifting sense of connection that can only happen live and in the moment. That is the power of investing time IRL. Real life connections need to be nurtured. For many of us being busy and online has eroded our focus and investment in being with others….in real life.

Could you imagine this post being read by someone in 1980? They would be most likely thinking, “What in the world is this woman saying? What could possible get people to stop talking with and hanging out with each other?”. Oh I’ll tell you 1980’s person with big bangs and acid wash jeans. We blame it all on the Internet. Online worlds that capture our minds and satisfy our immediate needs but starve our spirits of human connection and relationships. Don’t worry it won’t be happening to you for a few years yet.

I digress. This post is NOT a rant on how technology has taken us away from each other. There are many ways that it has helped and hindered us. No this article is about IRL. And how learning a simple catchy abbreviation has shifted and set my focus for 2019.

I’m not abandoning my online world of amazing inspiring memes and cool kitty cat videos. I am simply focusing more on IRL. In real. Life. More in-person networking opportunities (even though it can be so hard to get out when it’s dark in the winter!). I am setting measureable goals of attending 2 networking meetings and 1 social event every singe month.

HOW WILL YOU ADD MORE IRL INTO YOUR NEXT YEAR?

Not only am I going to focus on IRL I am going to add more LOL. That’s Laugh Out Loud (I know…you know that one!). Seriously. It’s time for me to get less serious. As a determined diva of doing it all I sometimes forget to have fun. To let go of expectations that weigh me down by holding me back from new adventures.

I NEED MORE ADVENTURE. DO YOU?

Today my kids all ran out to play in the snow. In the spirit of IRL and LOL I found my long lost snow gear and actually went outside with them. Their shocked faces as they said, “Mom you are coming out too?” was evidence that I need to do this more!


More adventures. More fun. More LOL. More IRL.

Because if I don’t do it for myself no one will do it for me. So join me in creating adventures that feed your spirit and invigorate your life experience.

WHAT IS ON YOUR LIST OF TO-DO’s THAT WILL MAKE YOUR LIFE MORE FUN?

I challenge you to make your New Year Resolutions more about New Year Adventures.  YES. YOU. CAN.

I would love to hear how you are adding intentional fun memories into your life over the next year? Please share below!

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Small Tweaks. Big Changes.

Small Tweaks. Big Changes.

Sometimes when I see the miles wide islands of garbage and waste in the ocean on TV I feel small. I feel small when I watch documentaries on countries torn apart by war. The image of a doll amongst the rubble breaks my heart and makes me feel powerless at the exact same time. When I hear about my friends Dad who has stage 4 cancer…I feel small. I have learned that my internal response to bad things in this world is to….yap you guessed it…feel small.

One of the biggest gifts of working with Mango + Moose is that I have learned this simple truth: I can make big impact with small changes.

I CAN. Little ‘ol me. You can too. It’s not about travelling to another country and helping to build a school (that is pretty cool though….I mean WOW!). I can’t do that with 4 kids and a biz to run. It’s not about NEVER buying clothes from big discount superstores ever again. That’s tough too when I need to stay in budget.

I can make BIG IMPACT by making small tweaks in my purchasing power choices and daily habits. It’s actually an exhilarating and motivating new way of approaching life in general.

And here is what I am finding most liberating about my own personal mindset shifts when it comes to making a difference. This little statement has helped me jump off the diving board into the socially conscious lifestyle. Ready?

IT’S NOT AN ALL OR NOTHING THING.

I have consciously chosen to use more reusable containers in my kids lunches BUT….I still get my steeped tea in a disposable cup every morning. I can’t quite explain it but my tea tastes better that way.

I have consciously chosen to buy more clothing for my family from the thrift store to help reduce and reuse. I am learning all about the fashion industries negative impact on the environment! BUT….I still buy new clothes from my favourite stores (especially for me).

I have consciously chosen to buy less toxic and more all-natural cleaning products for my home. But….when the stomach flu hits I am the first to pull out the Javex Bleach and any disinfectant I can find in my cupboards.

I can make positive global impact for the environment by tweaking daily choices even if I am not “perfect” or “totally committed” all the time.

What small tweaks to your regular buying and living habits can you make to support helping the environment locally and globally?

How about your purchasing power? Ready to create positive change just by tweaking WHERE you buy your gifts and household items?

If you love to shop the Socially Conscious Shopaholic Challenge might just be for you!

Note: The Socially Conscious Shopaholic Challenge is something I just made up. But it makes me feel better about shopping all the time. I hope it serves you well too J

The more I shop the more I become aware of the amazing companies who are combining the sale of goods with IMPACT. From the environment to supporting artisans to providing resources for marginalized groups there are so many options to use purchasing power for good.

Remember, you can make BIG IMPACT by making small tweaks in your purchasing power choices and daily habits.

Here is just one powerful example from our own Socially Conscious Lifestyle Brand Mango + Moose:

MEET TARA // Tara is one of our partners in India and is one of the many lives impacted by the sustainable practice of making handmade goods. SHE CAN have a smile on her face because the working conditions are excellent, because she is paid a fair wage and because with that she knows she is cared for. SHE CAN support her family and know she respected. SHE CAN go to work everyday confident she is SAFE.

Just by choosing to purchase from Mango + Moose you are directly impacting Artisans like Tara. I don’t know about you but that makes the whole shopping experience so much more rewarding. Truly it is a WIN. WIN experience for everyone involved.

So on the days that I feel small and powerless I remind myself that to create more light and love in this world I need to be light and love myself. From arranging meetings to involve less driving around to spending time with my family to buying from companies that turn purchasing power into positive impact….every choice makes a difference.

Little tweaks make BIG IMPACT. What will your impact be?

Cheers to your own socially conscious adventures!

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The Best Gifts to Give this Holiday Season

The Best Gifts to Give this Holiday Season

At Mango + Moose, we know how important the holidays are. They’re the perfect time to spend cozied up and drinking hot cocoa with your family members, loved ones, and friends. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or none of the above (and celebrate alternatively), there really is no better time of year to enjoy festivities and spend time with those you care for.

With the holidays, we also know they’re a time of gifts: giving, exchanging, and receiving. This can be a little stressful, especially when shopping for those who have seemingly everything. In North America, where Mango + Moose is primarily located, many people have an abundance (if not an overabundance) of material possessions. It can be difficult to know what to gift someone who is either hard to shop for, or you can’t think of much they’d want (or need). 

With that being said, we’ve compiled a list of the best gifts to give this holiday season. 

The best part about this list? It can be a wonderful way to connect with your family members, friends, and loved ones who you *do* want to give gifts to, but also provides opportunities to help your community to your fullest capacity. Without further ado, let the gift ideas flow! 

Gift #1: Something They’ll LOVE from Mango + Moose

What could be better to give than a handmade artisan gift? With over 15+ categories of items to choose from, you can head over to our site and browse for something your loved one will love. We have TONS inventory from different countries, with a variety of  products from accessories, home, bags, kids + baby items, and more! 

Gift #2: Donations to Causes You Support

For the person (or people) in your life who have everything, consider donating in either your or their name as a gift to them. This can be to causes you both support or they support; it’s a wonderful gift for people who have everything or can be difficult to shop for. Not only are you giving them a gift, but you’re also giving your community a gift, too!  

Gift #3: Volunteer Your Time + Connect with Loved Ones!

Volunteering is a GREAT way to give back, and to spend time with someone (or people) you love. Volunteer your time at a local food bank, soup kitchen, shelter, or anywhere else your time and help would be valued. 

Gift #4: Experiences

As society leans more and more towards simplicity and minimalism, experiences can be the perfect gift to give this holiday season! To give you some ideas of experiences you can gift, think: movie tickets, tickets to a museum, gallery, or exhibit, a hot air balloon ride, coffee or food gift cards, sports (ice skating, rock climbing, bowling, etc.), or even a massage or facial.

Gift #5: Something You Can Do Together

This can be as small as a boxed puzzle or something bigger, like a trip you can take together or as a family/group. Giving the gift of doing something together can be a great way to not only connect, but also adventure!

No matter what gift you give this year, we’re sure it’ll be perfect! If you do decide to purchase material items for the holidays this year, try to keep in mind the importance of shopping small, ethical, and sustainable! Small steps or actions towards socially and environmentally conscious living really *do* make all the difference.

Thanks for reading, and Happy Holidays from the Mango + Moose Team! 

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Burden My Heart, so I will Act

Burden My Heart, so I will Act

What kind of world our we leaving our children AND what kind of children are we leaving the world?”

It is common to hear that people don’t let their minds go to “that Place”, by this they mean the place of horror that others are currently enduring. A place where others are exploited, used and sacrificed for the sake of greed and depravity.  They know it is a reality and they know it is awful but they truly can’t or won’t let their minds linger in this place or even venture toward it. I can understand this. 

Several years ago my prayer was “God burden my heart with the things that burden your heart.” After many months of God answering this prayer and giving me a glimpse my tearful prayer was “Stop God, please make it stop. I can’t take it.” 

I was living in a beautiful home with an amazing view of our city lights and each night as I lay in bed I could see what should have been a lovely expanse of light below. But instead I couldn’t forget the images of Bombay and how similar the city lights also looked from above. And then as the lens zoomed in on what lay below, the grit of the street below the glowing lights, the Red light district in all its horror of human suffering would silently scream at me. Millions of miles away, safe in bed in Kelowna BC, I couldn’t stop the torrid of images every time I lay to sleep.  I had to ask God to stop it for me; I had to ask Him to help me be a part of stopping this horror for those women, children and yes men living in such a reality.

Now, many years later I still go there. I still go there in my mind. I still imagine that it is my children. I still imagine that it could have been me, and that is how I fight. The reality of this dark world still haunts me, and I am thankful for this as it keeps me motivated. But I am also thankful God did give me reprieve. He doesn’t allow me to see all, to know all. He shelters me from being Him and invites me to be obedient to Him and to do my part. 

So when I think about our world and I think about what kind of children I want to leave this world, I think of a servants heart, of loving others even when it hurts, even when we have to sacrifice and risk it all, go blind and move forward – even when it is dangerous to do so. I think of raising men and women to be moral, to be leaders, to have faith and to be solid in their foundation. 

“I suppose I’ve never been afraid of dying but how tragic it would be to live a long healthy life of security and never lay down all that I am for the one who saved me to begin with.”

I am not the final answer, none of us are. This is not the end of the story and for that I am grateful. But for me, I continue to breathe in and out each and every day, I get out of bed, I put one foot in front of the other and I persist. I persist in the pursuit of equality, of loving others as myself, as I would my own children and my own family. I whisper to the broken- hearted with each step I take “I see you, You are not alone, You are not forgotten.” Together may we rise to meet this call.

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