Friday, February 18, 2011

Freedom Friday and yet another reason why I wish I was a ballerina

I love to dance.

I wish that I was a dancer - a trained one.

Many times when I am listening to music I dance in my head.

Some of my most intimate moments with Jesus have been me dancing in a room all by myself.

I just really enjoy dance - all kinds.  And so I went on YouTube to see what I could find in the world of dance and raising awareness of the issues of human trafficking.  There was definitely not enough in my opinion.

Just one more reason that I wish I was a trained dancer - so that I can choreograph dances and post them on YouTube for people like me :-)

Here are some good ones that I did find:

I love this one.  This right here is why I wish I was a ballerina :-)

Here is another good one:

This is a piece performed by girls who were victims of trafficking

I love to dance (but I guess you got that by now) and I love to watch dance.  

In fact, one of my favorite shows is So You Think You Can Dance.  I have decided that they need to do a number on human trafficking.  I would love for it to be a contemporary piece by Mia Michaels or maybe a lyrical hip hop by Nappy Tabs.  I believe the day is coming...maybe this next season :-)  In fact, if anyone knows how I can contact them, let me know.

Dance is wonderful.  It can tell such a tragic story with such beauty and grace.  I love that.

If you are a dancer, twirl, leap, and be graceful for me  - and use your gift to raise awareness.  I want to see more videos on YouTube :-)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Freedom Friday - The Chocolate edition

With Valentine's coming on Monday, chocolate companies stand to make a big profit.

I wanted to write another Freedom Friday post to expose what many people don't know about chocolate.  There definitely is a darker side to chocolate.  Check out this trailer for a documentary called "The Dark Side of Chocolate":

The Ivory Coast in West Africa is a huge producer of cocoa (the main ingredient in chocolate).  In this region it has been made known that children are used in working cocoa fields.

Many of the major chocolate companies use cocoa from this area, which means that the chocolate that you eat could have involved exploitation of children.  Some companies to be aware of are:
Dove :-(  This one has always been my personal favorite chocolate
Russel Stover
These are some of the big names that should be leading the way in making fair trade chocolate.

One organization called Stop the Traffik has launched an initiative to target Nestle in imploring them to create more fair trade Chocolate products.  You can read more about it here.  Some points of action through this initiative are:
- Send this letter to the managing director of Nestle
- Use your Twitter account to raise awareness.  Tweet your concern using @Nestle and #haveaheart
- Buy fair trade chocolate and when doing so use this coupon to let people know why

In my research today, I also came across this article about Hershey.  It's a really good read with some good information (or really bad information when you think about the fact that there needs to be more action).

Here is another video that I have been watching.  I have actually not finished watching but definitely wanted to include it in this post.  It is a BBC investigative report on the problem of child labor on cocoa farms:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

While many companies need to make lots of efforts to become fair trade, we can know it is possible through those who do produce fair trade chocolate.  Take a look at this page to know where you can buy  chocolate that is ensured to not involve slavery in it's production.

Half the battle is raising awareness and that is what this post is about.  Now you know.  I am not in any way trying to make anyone feel guilty.  Any feeling of conviction is of the Lord, but definitely not guilt.  If you have a year's supply of chocolate from Hershey's, I am not in any way suggesting you throw it away.  I would say eat and enjoy :-)  

I bring up this issue so that we can be wise consumers in the future.  I really do believe that much is happening in the world to end modern day slavery.  I believe it will end in my lifetime.  I serve a God of hope and I know that He moves on my behalf when I ask Him to set the captives free.  So I seek freedom and commit to "be the change I wish to see in the world."  This little blog post is one of my action points in being the change.

PS - Here is another good article that my friend Stephanie posted on Facebook.  Thought it was worth adding.

Freedom Friday

This Friday I wanted to share a short video that I came across the other day.  I think it gives a really good short overview with some facts on modern day slavery.

I also want to highlight this shirt that I found on the Free the Slaves website here.

I love it because one of my favorite quotes is:
"Be the change that you wish to see in the world." - Mahatma Ghandi
Oh yeah, I AM the change.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The coolest quilt ever!!!

I guess I am in a little bit of a quilting infatuation.  I had blogged here about a spot in a quilting online course that I wanted to win...and I didn't.

At least I am not sad alone.  My good friend and official quilter (she is in the finishing stages of her first quilt), Karisse, did not win either.  I wish that we were still roommates so that we could cry together.

So all that talk about quilting really is leading up to what I think is one of the coolest ideas on adoption fundraising ever!

It is the Push for Pita quilt project.  You can read about it here.

And I know that after reading about it, now you are dying to get a quilt square yourself, so now you should click here.

Think about it...this precious little girl is going to have this quilt with all of these names on it.  Many of these names belong to faces that she will never see but they mark people who love her and want to see her in a family that will provide for her and lavish her with so much love.  Now, don't you want to be one of those names.  It's only $5 and you will be helping to place a little girl in a loving home.

Ah, I just can't get over how much I adore this quilt idea.  I have decided to bank it for when I adopt a little girl with pigtails from China ... someday (it's been on my heart forEVER).

Also if you have some shopping that you need to do, check out the "Push for Pita" store here.

I know that there happens to be a certain someone who has a birthday coming on March 25.  That certain someone just happens to love 
These earrings

This adorable wreath

and this cute journal

Pretty pretty things at the Push for Pita store :-)  Go check it out.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A trip into Red Velvet heaven

This is the last of the posts that I promised on my post Christmas blog here.

It's a long time coming, but here is my account of visiting a store that I have been looking forward to making an appearance at for a long time.

Last summer I was introduced to the Red Velvet phenomena when I signed up for an art journaling online e-course by Elsie and Rachel.  It was tons of fun and was the starting point to opening my eyes to some really cool blogs.

Through this online course, I did not only learn about art journaling (which is really fun) but through following the course teachers, I also learned about the Red Velvet store.

Hmmm, turns out that Red Velvet is not just my favorite cake anymore.  It is also one of my favorite stores now.  My sister and I were in Missouri visiting my grandparents over Christmas and I told her that we HAD to take a side trip to visit the Red Velvet store in Springfield, MO.

It was so much fun.  Here are some pics my sis took at the store:

Elsie blogged about making Fort Lovely here.

Cute dressing rooms.  I apologize for the not so wonderful quality on the pictures.  Demi was snapping away (not that she is not a good photographer.  I just realize that these are not that great)

Mmmm...sweets and bubble tea :-)

Demi and I had a cupcake and some bubble tea.

Pretty pretty dresses.  Oh, if only I was skinny and had money :-)

I love that owl statue :-)

The front window display.

Hmmm.  Good times.  I left feeling very content and loving the very pretty clutch that I bought.

For those who are not fortunate enough to be able to visit the actual store, don't be in too much despair. They recently launched a new website and it is really cool.  Check it out here.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

On the to do list

There are many things in life that I want to learn and master.

I love sewing and love fabric and would love to learn how to sew fabric into lovely quilted things.  Hence the reason for this blogpost.

The wonderful Rachel of Smile and Wave is giving away three spots in her new Modern Patchwork quilting e-course.

Oh how I am hoping to be able to win a spot.  Go check out the course here.

Looks really cool doesn't it :-)

You want to sign up don't you?

Hey while you are at it, you can sign me up too...unless I win.  Winning is cool :-)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Roll with it

Here is a little post that I promised awhile ago here.

While I was home for Christmas (forever ago, I know, but still very much on my mind) I got to spend lots of time in the kitchen.  One of the recipes on the agenda was making homemade yeast rolls.

I had never done bread from scratch and was very excited to pull out my great grandmother's recipe circa 1930's.  Ahh, when life was a little more simple (see previous post on the simple life).

(Me and my great grandmother Musa)

So I pulled out my hoop skirt, pearls and apron to set about in the kitchen.  Actually that's a lie.  It looked a little more like this:

I do love every opportunity to wear an apron :-)

The party started with the little party in the packet.  This stuff:
It's alive!!!

There was mixing, and sifting and adding ingredients (which I can't share with you because I don't actually have a copy of the recipe with me).

FYI - the best sifters ever are the vintage ones.  My mom has one that used to belong to my grandmother:

I have determined that I need to own one.  It's an item on my flea market / thrift / antique list.  I will find the perfect sifter someday :-)  And I plan on only spending a few dollars on it.

I learned many things along the journey to homemade yeast rolls.  

I already knew that I love my mom's vintage sifter.

I already knew that I love wearing aprons.

It was confirmed that I like making really old recipes that make you remember special moments of your childhood.

I learned that when you make yeast roll dough, it makes a little crackling sound (kind of like rice crispies):
What is it trying to tell me?

I learned that yeast roll dough really does smell absolutely amazing, even before you cook it:

I already knew that when you make bread, the dough will rise:

The most valuable lesson that I learned on the road to the perfect yeast roll is actually documented in this video:

First of all, mother is not always right.  My mom told me that once you put the leftover dough in the fridge it will not rise anymore - WRONG.  Leading to my second point: if you have leftover dough to savor at a later date, be sure to place this dough in a container about 3 times its size.  Otherwise, it will explode out of the container.  While it makes for a funny family moment, it is a potential mess waiting to happen.

Well, that is about all I have to say about this particular culinary adventure.  

That was fun.  I want to do more food making posts.  

I want my own kitchen that I can cook in at any time.  Soon - hopefully soon.  Be on the lookout for more cooking posts :-)  

Friday, February 4, 2011

Freedom Friday - The Super Bowl edition

Ah, Super Bowl.  I love football.  Though college ball is what really gets me fired up (Roll Tide!  Go Bama!) I do also like to watch pro football.

Super Bowl Sunday is this weekend.  The Packers and the Steelers.

I wanted to write about the Super Bowl in this edition of Freedom Friday to draw our attention to the darker side of this major sporting event.  During this time, thousands of minors are being taken to Texas as victims of sex trafficking.  Each year, the Super Bowl is a large draw for traffickers to sell minors for sex.  It is a form of modern day slavery and I am writing this post so that we may be aware of what is happening in our world right now.  After all, awareness is a huge part of the battle.

This Sunday I encourage us to remember the many young people who are victims of sex trafficking.  I am by no means saying that we should boycott Super Bowl.  I know I will be watching it (and routing on the Packers).  However, we do need to be aware of what is really going on in our world and take action in whatever way that we can.  For me, my action is posting this blog and praying for victims of sex trafficking.  Is there something that you can do to raise awareness and help those bound in slavery.  Something to think about :-)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Simple Life

No, I am not talking about the show with Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie.  I am talking about times when it seemed that life was more simple.

Today I went to Colonial Day at Katie's school.  It's a day for all the 4th grade students to dress up as a profession from the colonial days and share with visitors.

As I walked around the room I was reminded of simpler times.  Not to say that life was easy back then (those folks worked hard) but there was such a simplicity that is so intriguing to me.

Whenever I watch a movie like Jane Austen flicks, I find myself desiring to live many years ago - and not just because I want to marry Mr. Darcy :-)

I want to spend my days cooking in a wood burning stove, practicing music, doing embroidery, and reading.  Oh, and writing letters.  I wish that I wrote more handwritten letters.

I have been fortunate enough to be able to spend time in some pretty primitive living conditions.  I really must say that some of my favorite times have been in villages.

Some of the best fish that I have ever eaten was in a Philippine fishing village.  Fish that was cooked by simply placing it on the roof and letting the sun bake it.

Some of the best bread that I have ever eaten was made in a Moroccan village.  It was cooked by being stuck to the inside of a clay oven.

Oh, and that one time that I ate the bread with butter that was made with milk that came straight from the cow.  I got to help churn that butter...bliss.

Now things just seem to be so complicated.  Microwaves, email, fast food, TV...the list goes on and on and on.  I am grateful for our advancements, but sometimes I just long for simplicity.

Some of my favorite "simple life" moments:

Drawing water from a well

Plucking a chicken

Spending some time living in a hut in a Sudanese refugee camp

The bathroom at the refugee camp (ok, so maybe not a "favorite" moment, but still pretty cool)

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