I have followed photographer/speaker/author Karen Walrond at www.chookooloonks.com for several years and I love her photography and the tone of her writing. She is very soothing. She also provides links to her favorite songs on her playlist, which has introduced me to some fun new (to me) musicians. In December, she is offering a guided journal type writing course called Advent of Light and since I was looking for a way to focus some time on writing, I signed up. I’m already behind, because life is busy, but thought I’d take a few minutes to pound out a few words from Day 5’s prompt: Wonder
At a Cub Scout Pack Meeting in November, parents and Cub Scouts alike were asked to think of something they were thankful for and write it down on a paper leaf, then attach it to a large hand drawn tree. Later, we would share with the assembled group what was written on our respective leaves. Many of the adults and children said they were thankful for family or for Jesus or friends. The Cub Master leading this discussion praised each person’s choice. Truly, family and Jesus and friends are things to be insanely grateful for. What was I grateful for that night? Indoor plumbing. This was met with a sort of “womp-womp” expression from the Cub Master. She quickly recovered and agreed that indoor plumbing is indeed something to be grateful for, but I could tell she was looking for more noble ideals.
But I stand by my choice. I marvel every day—seriously—that I have clean water flowing through pipes that are inside my house, and it is easily accessible in multiple places throughout. In seconds, I can have hot water for a shower or to wash my hands. I have clean water to drink from taps on both floors of my house. I don’t have to leave the comfort of my home or brave the weather to use the bathroom. I have machines hooked up to hoses and pipes IN MY HOUSE that clean my dishes and clothes! It astounds me that it is possible and that I’m lucky enough to possess this technology that provides this most basic of human needs—clean water.
I follow another blog, called We Are That Family, written by Kristen Welch, founder of Mercy House Global, a charity that empowers women and mothers around the world to provide for themselves and their families. Kristen co-founded a maternity home for pregnant teens in Kenya, with a Kenyan woman, Maureen Owino. Their mission was to preserve families and prevent orphans, to rescue girls who had been sexually abused and found themselves pregnant. Kristen and Maureen set out to provide a safe haven for these expectant girls, where they could both heal and prepare for the births of their babies. Kristen and Maureen felt very strongly about saving lives—and that no child deserves to grow up in an orphanage. Their philosophy is that it is better for children to have one loving, dedicated parent than to have none at all. While they offer support and resources and facilitate opportunities for emotional and physical healing and preparation for giving birth, they help the girls with their academic studies and teach them a trade, so they will be able to support themselves and their babies. Kristen’s blog posts about her trips to the toughest parts of Kenya and Maureen’s trips to the States shine light on the disparities of wealth and resources. She has written about how things she takes for granted in the States are simply overwhelming to her Kenyan friend and colleague. She says this not only reminds her of how much ease and convenience her life in the States provides, it reminds her to do her part to share what she has and work for and celebrate the successes of her Kenyan girls. Kristen admits to being often overwhelmed by the difficult lives and heartaches of the young women she loves and works for, and that many times the stories and circumstances of the girls make her feel hopeless, but she carries on in her work because even though she can’t do everything, she is not excused from doing something. She says what helps her keep perspective is to remember to marvel at what is possible.