Bill and I just returned from a crash course in microfinance in the Dominican Republic. Somehow we were invited on the HOPE International President’s Trip, somehow we decided to go, and it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We are amazed at the people we met, from the HOPE and Esperanza employees, to the associates, to the fellow President’s Trip attendees. We are just grateful for the opportunity. In a nutshell, Esperanza provides Christian-based microfinance services in the Dominican Republic. When HOPE decided to work in DR, they discovered that the better mission would be to support Esperanza’s efforts that were already in place. It seems to be a terrific partnership. (And as a donor, you have to love an organization that doesn’t feel the need to recreate the wheel!) Honestly, we just got back this afternoon and we are still kind of reeling from so many great things that we saw this weekend. But let me leave you with three thoughts for tonight: About the HOPE and Esperanza employees: total commitment.. Read More
Yesterday, we met a lady who took a microfinance loan from HOPE and Esperanza to start a clothing business. It did not go well. In fact, it failed. She regrouped, prayed, thought, and used the remaining money to buy a freezer. She now sells her complete ice cream inventory of $50 (US) every TWO DAYS. She is improving her home and has a savings account. And she is so proud of what she has built. Ten thousand stories like that. I can’t wait to tell one or two more. God is so good. Internet is extraordinarily limited here, so this will be my only post direct from DR. Sorry for no pictures…but I’ll have so much to share when we get home.
With any luck, I’m actually in the Dominican Republic right now, visiting people who have benefited from the miracle of microfinance with HOPE International and Esperanza. I’d like to share a couple of videos: We are looking forward to sharing more this weekend!
Clarity! Actually, it’s any writing that helps. Stacks of journals…solid evidence that I used to write. A LOT. And then I drifted away. I’ve found in the past couple of days that this mulling, on the page or screen, helps a good bit with clarity. I was getting ready to have a difficult conversation and was feeling muddled. So I started listing out all the points I needed to make. When I started my list the points felt disconnected, random. But a picture emerged as I wrote. Much like the really complicated dot-to-dots that you might have done in the fourth grade, not the easy-peasy kindergarten ones. I went into that conversation confident and, even better, clear. Clear where we needed to go, clear on what the situation truly was. Here’s to more writing, and more clarity! Have you noticed anything like this in your writing life? And what should I do with all those notebooks?!
…because you said you’d do it 31 days in a row. That’s where I am. About 3 weeks ago, I got something in my eye. Dust, maybe. Later that day I noticed that the side of my face was swelling, in particular the lymph node right by my ear. So I made an appointment to see the doctor the next day. She saw some debris, rinsed and prescribed an antibiotic to be extra careful. By Sunday I was in terrible pain and skipped church to go to urgent care where I was diagnosed with cellulitis. More drugs and more eye drops. The next day the swelling still wasn’t down, so I called the eye doctor and went in. Pink eye! Of course. How strange. No one else had gotten it, and it hadn’t spread to my other eye. But, okay. Stronger antibiotic and steroid. Tuesday, I woke up around 4 am with terrible stabbing pain in my eye. It would water just from the pain. The effort to see sent.. Read More
Blogging makes me notice and record. I love that! Some scenes and a couple of memories from today… One Matthew (Tenth Grade) has an assignment requiring him to identify a deity, a tragedy, and a bad leader from a civilization. He drew…Native Americans. Which is totally cool for the deity–tons!–and a tragedy–the Trail of Tears, HELLO, we live in Georgia. But when it came to the bad leader, he couldn’t find one! There are a ton of lists of great Native American leaders, but not one whisper of criticism of a possibly less-than-stellar Native American leader. Apparently they were all fabulous! His teacher said he should just pick the least good-sounding one. An assignment falls prey to political correctness. Ha. Two The college letters have started to pick up for Matthew. Every day brings one or two. Today there were four. Paige (Seventh Grade) eyed the stack of mail on the counter, sighed, and said, “I really just think Matthew should ignore all of that and live at home after.. Read More
This was today’s Proverb on Daily Audio Bible (which is something you should really discover if you haven’t already. Different post. Ahem). Talk about getting smacked between the eyes. I think I could now re-title my month of writing as “31 days of honesty,” because that’s been my problem. I want to unpack this verse. It might take a couple of posts, even, because there is just so much going on. I feel very out of practice in my writing, so that I can’t even get to the important nugget here, but I hope I can get close to some of what this verse is making me see today. When I first heard the verse today, I thought about how refreshing and sweet it can be to get an honest answer. More than that, it feels intimate. The person who is answering feels comfortable in expressing their honesty to me, and knows I won’t reject them because it. Just like a kiss on the lips–vulnerable and sweet and loving. And.. Read More
If I’m actually going to blog, I need a few things around here. First, an “About” page. I love looking at other people’s pages! An interesting and informative about page is actually one of the most likely reasons I’ll add a blog to my reader. So I guess I need one. For my post today I created my “About Me” page. Please click on the tab up there to check it out, or this link should also do the trick.
Scenes from this weekend, so far: Today, right now, is my favorite age for all my kids. I love them so much, just like they are now, and if I could freeze them like they are right this second I would. Except. Last week, and last year, and five years ago, I would have told you exactly the same thing. Well, maybe not for the one in 6th grade. Sixth grade kind of stinks. But in general, I marvel every day at how much I love where my children are right now. If I had been able to freeze them, I would have loved it. But I would have missed out on the incredible blessings of who they are today. That’s what I learned. If I get too caught in loving all my circumstances right this second, my happiness will be shattered if anything changes. And it WILL change. Instead, I’ve had to choose to love who my kids and husband are right now, in this moment. And it’s a.. Read More
That’s my son on the field! In the white jersey. Well, one of them, although I do love all those boys bunches. We spent the evening more than an hour away from our home stadium, bringing it to another team 55-39. It was a little closer than we would have liked. In spite of this being the first Friday in October, this is Matthew’s first game of the season. The week before our season opener he suffered a concussion in practice. Concussion recovery is a big deal, bigger than we understood. Lots of missed school days, lots of sleep, and absolutely no physical activity for far longer than a strapping teenage boy wants to admit. He did it, though, and got to return to the field with the full confidence of his coaches and doctor. Do I worry it will happen again? Heck, yes, and so does he. But he loves the game and his team and it is worth the risk. So we show up on Friday nights and.. Read More