One Million Thumbprints

In about 6 weeks, 15 women (and one man!) of varying ages, stages, and professions from across America are converging at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania’s “mountain of light.” They will share in a daunting but exciting 5-day journey through 4 climate zones, over 38,000 steps, to summit at just over 19,000 ft on March 8, International Women’s Day. Why? Each of them has a slightly different answer to that question, but all have come because of one woman’s plea to “tell the world” about the violence she and her sisters in war zones have experienced and continue to experience. Three years ago, One Million Thumbprints founder, Belinda Bauman, sat in the presence of several survivors of sexual violence in the DRC. One woman’s story, her petition, has since ignited a new movement of peacemakers. Esperance, a woman from a small village in the Congo, watched her husband die at the hand of rebels. She was violently raped and would have died if her sisters hadn’t rescued her. Across a blank sheet of paper, Esperance, who cannot read or write, had her pastor write the words: “Tell the world.” Then she stamped her thumbprint underneath. Esperance’s thumbprint became Belinda’s mandate: violence against women in war is violence against me. One Million Thumbprints (1MT) is a grassroots campaign that is joining forces with companies like World Relief, Today’s Christian Woman, and WE International. 1MT seeks to aid women who’ve been affected by sexual violence in warzones in two specific ways: 1) Advocating the UN and other governing bodies to follow through on resolutions and laws passed to protect women in conflict zones. 2) Partnering with and building the capacity of proven organizations already on the ground in these countries. These programs meet practical needs (food, clothing, shelter, and trauma assistance), help stabilize communities (through training in negotiation and peacemaking), and provide sustainable long-term solutions (such as economic and educational development, micro-savings and micro-finance, farming co-ops, and refugee resettlement). “I realized that no matter where violent conflict occurs, it has the capacity to destroy everything, from the tiniest baby to the infrastructure of an entire society,” said Lynne Hybels, one of the climbers on the upcoming trip and wife to Bill Hybels, the founding and senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church. 1MT’s inaugural event, the Mt. Kilimanjaro Climb for Peace, is an effort to raise awareness and funding for programs on the ground in Syria/Iraq, the DRC, and S. Sudan through our implementing partner, World Relief. If you haven’t gotten involved with the campaign yet, it’s not too late. You can donate your thumbprint (your voice) online, give a gift to the campaign, and share about this important event and cause on your own social media outlets. Let’s stand together, and do what Esperance asked: Tell the world that violence against women in war zones must end.womenfullyengaged2

what is your relationship with food?

Introducing (1)

Whether you’re working to get your body “swimsuit ready”, have given up on eating healthy, or just can’t decide what to eat and what not to consume – here are some thoughts to consider… Today I’m posting over at Grace Table as part of our summer book reading club – we’re studying A Meal With Jesus by Tim Chester.  Please join us over there and share your feelings about food, grace, and meals with friends.

a hippie baby in the sunshine waiting on her mama

i was nearly 3 years old, bathed in sunshine, waddling up and down the sidewalk in front of our pink house.  mom must have sent me outside so she could finish getting ready.  maggie was by my side, she was my companion; an old-english sheep-dog, sugar magnolia was the closest thing i had to a sibling back then.  looking down at my feet, watching out for weeds pushing up through cracks in the sidewalk, my eyes fell upon not baby shoes or sandals, certainly not shiny vinyl sunday shoes, but hiking boots – the mini version of what both my parents wore.  they were factory working, swing-shift enduring hippies, so naturally they dressed their only child in a similar fashion.  above my chubby, dimpled knees was the white cotton hemline of my slip-dress.  august was hot and sticky, so while my tender feet needed protection, the rest of my pudge was clothed in nearly sheer white cotton.  it wasn’t an actual dress, but a frilly, somewhat fancy underslip.  likely the slip was a rebellion against my grandmother’s instructions or an ironic nudge at tradition.  ladies wear slips under their dresses, so my mama made sure i wore a slip, though that steaming day, only a slip.

the light breeze puffed up my dress and i loved the image, the beauty of white cotton fluttering in the afternoon air.  if i squint my eyes, i can still see that little layla bonni blue, lost in thought, hugging maggie, skipping up and down the cracked cement path – waiting and waiting some more on my mama.

i’ve spent a good amount of time waiting on my mom, and now many days she’s waiting on me.  there’s a tension between us that has had an ebb and flow for many years.  we have wrinkles in our dresses, some would say.

please join me here as i unfold, unpack, and ask our saviour to help me smooth out the wrinkles, iron out the creases, and carve out space for story-telling, grace, and healing.  welcome to this place.  let’s journey together.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Sparkling or Still.”

I can take about 3 sparkling days before I need one that is still.  The Sabbath is an automatic, no questions asked day of rest (after morning worship, toddler class, and lunch).  I am thankful that our Creator gave us a day of rest.  Sometimes I long for another peaceful day built into the week.

Sometimes a peaceful day includes a nap, other times curling up with a book (falling asleep reading), watching a film with my husband and kids, or lugging out the crafty materials can be soothing.