POETRY & WORDS :: Let’s Be the Uncommon Ones


Gina Munsey | Oaxacaborn blog for Uncommon Goods | Fresh Tulips, Mexican Blanket, What I Love About You & Soapstone Platter

I’m hearing it more and more lately, this idea that repeatedly sharing beautiful corners of your life is deceptive, because the viewer isn’t able see what’s hidden around the edges — this idea that the sharer, by selective portrayal, is perpetuating a view of reality that isn’t representative of the human condition.

Gina Munsey | Oaxacaborn blog for Uncommon Goods | Fresh Tulips, Mexican Blanket, What I Love About You & Soapstone Platter

I don’t think I buy it. I think instead, our preoccupation with beauty is precisely because of our human condition.  It is because we are broken that we long for wholeness. It is because of the darkness that we crave the light. It is because of the chaos that we ache for order. It is because of life’s temporal nature and inevitable death that we rejoice when new life comes into the world.

Gina Munsey | Oaxacaborn blog for Uncommon Goods | Fresh Tulips, Mexican Blanket, What I Love About You & Soapstone Platter

I hear women talking, in that sometimes-cruel way women do, mocking the writer whose blog is filled with anecdotes of small joys, mocking the photographer who sees the one sparkling thing while rust and dust ravage on. “It is not realistic,” they chide. “It doesn’t show the whole picture.” “No one really lives like that,” they laugh. “You should see my house.”

But I don’t want to join them.

I’m not an optimist by any stretch of the imagination and yet — I don’t want to join them. Has the world really become so bleak that we need to mock the light?  Has the world really become so dark that we now say the one who points the way to beauty is shallow?

I don’t think that’s the way to live this “one wild and beautiful life”. [1]

Gina Munsey | Oaxacaborn blog for Uncommon Goods | Enamelware Ladle from Yugoslavia

Gina Munsey | Oaxacaborn blog for Uncommon Goods | Fresh Tulips, Mexican Blanket, What I Love About You & Soapstone Platter

Instead, let’s set out to see beauty. The kitchen sink may be filled with dishes, but the sun is catching the single blossom on the cactus just so, and let’s celebrate that. The corner chair may be heaped with clean laundry, but the wind is pulling at the curtains just the tiniest bit, and the just-budding branches tap against the window with every ebb and flow of the breeze, so let’s celebrate that. Your child maybe screaming and you may be exhausted but just look! She’s alive and she’s miraculous, so let’s celebrate that. And even — oh especially! oh, give me strength!– in the face of death, we can’t erase it. There will still be piercingly bright sun and there will still be blueberry pancakes and the seasons will still change and time will still march on. We can’t reject it all.

It’s ok to see the beauty and the brokenness, side by side.

Let’s set out to create beauty. Eat on the living room rug with the nice dishes in the middle of the week — not because it’s been a good day, but because it was a bad day. Serve breakfast in bed even though your kids will definitely climb onto the tray and spill it all, and the people on Instagram might whisper, “No one actually does that.”

But that’s okay.

Gina Munsey | Oaxacaborn blog for Uncommon Goods | Kokeshi Ceramics, Dala Horse, What I love About You Book

Let’s be the ones who do the things no one else does.

Let’s be the wild ones. Let’s be the uncommon ones. Let’s be the ones who are a little bit of light, a little bit of crazy, the ones who aren’t afraid to shout “Glory!” at that one glowing cloud on the horizon when the rest of the world is fixated on the storm. <3

Gina Munsey | Oaxacaborn blog for Uncommon Goods | Fresh Tulips, Mexican Blanket, What I Love About You & Soapstone Platter

About Uncommon Goods :: Every purchase you make from Brooklyn-based Uncommon Goods supports one of four non-profit charities, meeting needs from early literacy to supporting survivors of war. The online marketplace is curated with creativity and individuality in mind, partnering with independent designers and artisans around the country to offer a huge range of handmade items, gifts, home goods and art, and other curiosities.

Unique gifts featured in these photographs include the handmade Hot and Cold Soapstone Serving Platter c/o Uncommon Goods [shop more gifts for women here] and the fill-in-the-blank What I Love About You journal c/o Uncommon Goods [shop personalized gifts here].

Gina Munsey | Oaxacaborn blog for Uncommon Goods | Fresh Tulips, Mexican Blanket, What I Love About You & Soapstone Platter

Additional Credits :: Flokati Sheepskin Rug: Shades of Light | Mexican Blanket: Thrifted | Hmong Textile Pillow: Boho Pillow on Etsy | Owl Mug: West Elm via Four Hands Creations on Etsy | Enamelware: Vintage, Made in Yugoslavia | Handmade Kokeshi Doll: See Through the Mist on Etsy | Stencil Art: 26:PM

Uncommon Goods | Website | Facebook | Instagram

Disclosure of Material Relationship: I received products from Uncommon Goods in exchange for publishing this post. I was not required to present or promote any specific products. All the photographs, opinions, and experiences shared here are in my own words and are my own honest evaluation. Please be assured, I only accept sponsorship opportunities for brands I personally use and/or would recommend to close friends and family, and I will always disclose any such relationships.

ADOPTION :: The Drop Box Film (Korean Pastor Lee Jong-rak’s Baby Box) in Theatres March 3, 4, 5


The Drop Box Film // in theaters nationwide March 3, 4, 5 | Adoption, Korea
Image Credit: The Drop Box Film

I remember when I first read a news article about Lee Jong-rak, the South Korean pastor who built a small street-facing deposit box on the front of his home.  On a sign on the front of the box, Pastor Lee wrote, “This is a facility for the protection of life. If you can’t take care of your disabled babies, don’t throw them away or leave them on the street. Bring them here.”

And people did. People brought babies there.

In the night, in the dark, in the cold, in the heat, in the spring, in the winter, in all hours and times in between.

Since 2009, people have placed more than six hundred babies there.

The Drop Box Film - Arbella Studios Photo
Image Credit: Arbella Studios

Six hundred.

There’s something about this baby box — something about Pastor Lee’s reckless, wild, all-in, risk-everything love — that won’t let go of my heart.  Of course the baby box is not the answer to all the issues, to all the problems, to all the hurts and wrongs in the world.

But the drop box is life to the one child who is placed there. “The babies that come to me,” says Pastor Lee, “are the ones who’d otherwise die.”

And now the story of Pastor Lee, the story of these children, will be in theaters across the United States on March 3, 4 and 5.

See a list of theaters near you playing The Drop Box Film: check show times and purchase tickets.

Website | The Drop Box Film  // Facebook // Twitter // Buy Tickets

Give Diapers, Bottles, Hope, and more to Pastor Lee's Drop Box Babies

P.S. You can give diapers, formula, wet wipes, bottles, straws, cups, clothes and more to Pastor Lee’s drop box babies! Read more about the Kindred Image Boxes of Hope project.

POETRY & WORDS :: The pirates would like to worship Jesus


The kitchen lights are switched on, the dishes are in the sink, the washing machine is whirring, there’s laundry on the floor, and I’m leaning over a to-do list, panicking over the tickle in my throat and how much I have to do this week. Aveline is in the living room in her pajamas, kneeling down on the brown and grey rug in front of the little stable of twigs and moss that’s held together with nails, kneeling there in front of the baby Jesus.

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She’s singing — not reciting, but singing — words as they come to her. The music is so pure and so real and so full of worship. She runs off, and comes back pulling a pirate ship behind her. “The Lalaloopsy would like to worship Jesus!” she shouts. “The pirates would like to worship!”

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Because that’s how it should be, you know — no, no, that’s how it is. He didn’t come just for the shepherds of ancient yore, to be tucked neatly into a storybook and a creche to decorate our mantles and our church foyers. He didn’t come to live forever safely next to the haloed holy family. He didn’t come for the perfect, for the sinless saints, for the angels in the winter sky. No, he came for all of humanity, all of us, every single one in every corner of the world.

He’s here for the blue-haired Lalaloopsy,

for the circus-performer,

for the sword-wielding pirates,

for the stowaways and the untouchables, hidden in the depth of the ship’s steerage,

for me.

And here I am, like Martha, “distracted by all the preparations that had to be made” [1], in danger of taking this miracle for granted.

So come. Come, everyone one of us. Just as we are — with our baggage and our stress and our burdens and our imperfections — come. Here’s here.

Oh, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

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LIFE IN PHOTOS :: Our Tiny Tree


Our tree is tiny and simple — sparkling silver and white and blue, with an exquisite little porcelain doll my best friend brought back from Russia. The tree’s not huge, or even made of real tree, but it’s tucked away under the blue-light-wrapped windows, on a white woolen rug that looks like snow, and makes Aveline so happy.

To me, that’s perfect.

(Do you remember this feeling as a child?) Oaxacaborn / Gina Munsey blog

Oaxacaborn / Gina Munsey blog
Oaxacaborn / Gina Munsey blog

“Shaggy branches curve / Down to the heads of children / Beads shine richly / Overflowing with lights…” “Гнутся ветви мохнатые / Вниз, к головкам детей / Блещут бусы богатые / Переливом огней…” -Raisa Adamovna Kudasheva

SCANDINAVIAN CHRISTMAS :: Dalahäst, Dala Horse


Ah, dalahästar (that’s the plural of dalahäst…I think).  I love them. Is it cliche? I don’t even care!  : )

Giant OUtdoor Dala
Dala horses in the snow (perhaps at Skansen Park?) via Hasenohr on Flickr

Cross stitch Dala
Cross Stitch Dala via Kitschn Stitchin

Dala Horse print
Dala Horse Print via Red Stuga on Etsy (based in Minneapolis; where else?!)

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“How Swede It Is” Dala Horse and Kanelbullar Magnets via Red Stuga

paper mache dala horses
Papier Mâché Dala Horses via Posh Chicago

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Henning Trollbäck’s Dala Horse Poster via Fine Little Day

Dala Zoo
Dala Zoo (Giraffe and Moose) via Hildas Hem

Chalk Dala
Chalk Drawing of Dala Horse via Dirtsas Studio on Etsy

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Dalahäst-tillverkning (Dala Horse Manufacturer/Factory) Sign Liz Highleyman on Flickr

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Copper Dala Horse via Fischer Fine Arts on Etsy

via Oaxacaborn on Instagram
A Dala horse vignette in my home.

Want to decorate a Dala horse — or maybe introduce your kids to this creature? Here’s a great FREE printable Dala horse template from Make Learning Fun! You might also be interested in this video of how Dala horses are made, or last year’s Dala horse round-up.

God Jul!

CHRISTMAS :: 5 Simple Golden Decorations


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Golden Triangle Banner DIY via Almost Makes Perfect

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Golden pipe-cleaner geometric ornament DIY via Smile and Wave

Spray Painted Golden Pine Cones
Pinecones, spray painted gold via The Sweetest Occasion

Star_GarlandStar Garland via Fleur and Stitch

Golden_Candlesticks
Golden Candlesticks via Emmas Designnblogg

Do you choose a color scheme for Christmas? It can sometimes help the decor from feeling overwhelming and cluttered. This year, we are enjoying silver and blue decorations — but I love gold and white, too!

CHRISTMAS :: 18 gifts that matter for #GivingTuesday (and every day)


#GivingTuesday is a terrific opportunity to look up and away from ourselves. Of course, this outlook shouldn’t be confined to just one day a year, but I can’t argue with a movement that encourages us all to reach out. And so, in celebration of Giving Tuesday, here are eighteen different ways to give a gift that gives. A gift that loves. A gift that matters.

For more information about a particular gift, simply click on that photo.

Image Map Provide EDUCATION IN CHINA Provide for FOSTER FAMILIES IN CHINA Provide ORPHAN CARE IN CHINA Provide MEDICAL CARE IN CHINA PROVIDE REFUGEE RELIEF around the world PREVENT human trafficking and exploitation Provide CLEAN WATER around the world FEED A HUNGRY BABY for a week PROTECT vulnerable women Provide WARM COATS AND SHOES CARE FOR Romanian orphans SUPPORT a crisis pregnancy center in Taiwan Sponsor a baby in a TAIWANESE ORPHANAGE Provide SURGERIES for infants and children in China Provide EVERYDAY NECESSITIES for care centers in China Sponsor the EDUCATION of a child in Ethiopia Build a HIGH SCHOOL in Ethiopia Provide a VOCATION for an adult or care for a child

1. Love Without Boundaries | EDUCATION | Provide education and school access to at-risk children in China ($10+)

2.Love Without Boundaries | FOSTER FAMILIES | Provide a family environment through foster care to orphaned and at-risk children in China ($10+)

3.Love Without Boundaries | ORPHAN CARE | Provide access to care, hope and healing to orphaned and impoverished children in China through LWB’s programs ($10+)

4. Love Without Boundaries | MEDICAL CARE | Provide medical care and surgeries to orphans and infants/children whose parents would not otherwise be able to provide care. ($10+)

5. Samaritan’s Purse | REFUGEE RELIEF | Provide tents, heaters, food and more to displaced people ($125+)

6.Samaritan’s Purse | PREVENT HUMAN TRAFFICKING | Provide education in at-risk locations to empower potential victims to recognize and avoid exploitation and trafficking. ($100+)

7. Samaritan’s Purse | CLEAN WATER | Provide a water filtration system to give 3,500 people access to clean water ($20+)

8. Samaritan’s Purse | PROTECT VULNERABLE WOMEN | Provide literacy classes, maternal/child health education, protection and support for victims of gender-based violence, and more. ($30+)

9. Samaritan’s Purse | ONE WEEK OF FOOD | Provide food for a baby or nursing mother for one week. ($9+)

10. Samaritan’s Purse | CLOTHES & SHOES | Provide warm coats, clothing and footwear to displaced people in refugee camps. ($25+)

11. Anchor of Hope Romania | FOSTER CARE | Provide family-like environments and other vital care for orphans, abandoned babies, and at-risk young people in Romania. (Any amount) To give directly to Christian & Marie Burtt, full-time missionaries serving in Romania with Anchor of Hope, click here.

12. Taiwan Xi En | CRISIS PREGNANCY HOME | Provide nurturing care for infants and expectant mothers at the Taiwan Xi En House of Hope. (Any amount)

13. Taiwan Xi En | SPONSOR A BABY | Provide diapers, formula, clothes, shelter and caring nannies for abandoned and at-risk infants 0-2y at the Taiwan Xi En Orphanage. ($50/mo)

14. Show Hope |  SURGERIES | Provide heart, cleft lip and cleft palate surgeries to orphans and infants/children in China. ($65+)

15. Show Hope | EVERYDAY NECESSITIES | Provide diapers, food, and clean drinking water to the special needs orphans living at the Show Hope care centers in China. ($12+)

16. Adami Tulu + Ziway Project | EDUCATION & FOOD | Provide access to education and nutritious meals for a school-age child in Ethiopia. ($19/mo)

17. Adami Tulu + Ziway Project | HIGH SCHOOL EDUCATION | Provide the resources necessary to build a high school so the Adami Tulu + Ziway students can continue their education. (Any amount) Or, donate in honor of a loved one, and send a card to a friend! ($20+)

18. Lifesong for Orphans | WHERE MOST NEEDED | Provide life-giving care for children, and sustainable micro-business opportunities for adults, in Bolivia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Ethiopia, Liberia, Zambia, Cambodia, India and Ukraine. On #GivingTuesday [2 December 2014] only, your gift to Lifesong for Orphans will be multiplied 4x through a matching grant when you give using this link. (Any amount)


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LIFE IN PHOTOS :: Everyday things


“Everything is fine —

the first bits of sun are on

the yellow flowers behind the low wall.” -Billy Collins
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“Report from the subtropics:

for one thing, there’s no more snow

to watch from an evening window…

no hexagrams of frost to study

on the cold glass pages of the bathroom.

No black sweater to pull over my head

while I wait for the coffee to brew…..

And the birds with those long white necks?

All they do is swivel their heads

keeping an eye on me as I walk along.” -Billy Collins

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“This love for everyday things,

part natural from the wide eye of Infancy,

part a literary calculation” -Billy Collins

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“yes, there would be enough light

to read a book or write a letter at midnight” -Billy Collins

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“the day mirled and clabbered

into the thick, stony light” -Billy Collins

CHRISTMAS :: “Naptime Diaries” Advent + Print Collection


Are you familiar with Naptime Diaries? They have the neatest art! And this year they have a GORGEOUS Advent collection. I mean, it’s really something — prints, calendar, devotional.

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And here are a few of my favorite prints from the latest collection —

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Do not be afraid / I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.”

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The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?

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Sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”

So full of hope and GREAT JOY, isn’t it? View more here.

MONDAY’S PRETTY THINGS :: Decorating with Christmas Tree Branches


Every Christmas tree doesn’t have to be a big, Costco-sized production. Here are some lovely ideas to use small, table-top trees — or even the extra branches you might have leftover after trimming to fit into the tree stand!

My Lovely Things on Oaxacaborn's MONDAY’S PRETTY THINGS :: Decorating with Christmas Tree Branches
Tiny tree in the hallway via Anna Truelsen / My Lovely Things

Nora Lill on Oaxacaborn's MONDAY’S PRETTY THINGS :: Decorating with Christmas Tree Branches
Fir branches in jar of water via Nora Lill

Christmas Tree Branches as Chrismtas Trees via A Barefoot Day on Oaxacaborn's MONDAY’S PRETTY THINGS :: Decorating with Christmas Tree Branches
Evergreen branches in mason jars via A Barefoot Day

waltherogco_dk on Oaxacaborn's MONDAY’S PRETTY THINGS :: Decorating with Christmas Tree Branches
Cut tree in glass vase via Walther & Co

Design Chaser - Tabletop Christmas Tree, wooden, and wire geometric on Oaxacaborn's MONDAY’S PRETTY THINGS :: Decorating with Christmas Tree Branches
Table-top Christmas tree with wooden and wire geometric ornaments via The Design Chaser

Princess Pine in Clay Pot Anna Truelsen on Oaxacaborn's MONDAY’S PRETTY THINGS :: Decorating with Christmas Tree Branches
Princess pin in clay pot via Anna Truelsen / My Lovely Things

Noralill Branch in Jar on Oaxacaborn's MONDAY’S PRETTY THINGS :: Decorating with Christmas Tree Branches
Evergreen branch in jar of water on tin tray via Nora Lill

Fika on Oaxacaborn's MONDAY’S PRETTY THINGS :: Decorating with Christmas Tree Branches
Small tree in Swedish enamel bucket on windowsill via B.I.B. And I spy pour-over coffee! The whole photo series is here, and it’s lovely.


Have a photo of Scandi-inspired Christmas loveliness? Send it to me, and I might feature it on the 4th Annual Scandinavian/Nordic Christmas Series! Click here to find out how.

SCANDINAVIAN CHRISTMAS :: Advent Calendar Ideas


Whether you spell it advent calendar or adventskalender — or even  julkalender  — we’re just two weeks away from December 1.  Time to get this Scandinavian Christmas series underway!

The first advent calendar example comes from Elisabeth Heier in Norway. She made this kalender tree from painted white boards — and then attached the paper bags to the tree using nails and wire. It’s really striking — and the black and white design keeps it from looking too cluttered.

Elisabeth Heier Kalender Tree via SCANDINAVIAN CHRISTMAS Advent Calendar round-up on the Oaxacaborn blog
Advent Calendar Tree / Kalender tre via Elisabeth Heier

This next advent calendar, from The Merry Thought blog, cleverly strings up an evergreen bough and then decorates with tiny plywood-covered matchboxes. The full tutorial can be found here.

The Merry Thought - Evergreen Bough Hanging Advent Calendar via SCANDINAVIAN CHRISTMAS Advent Calendar round-up on the Oaxacaborn blog
Hanging Christmas Tree Branch Advent Calendar via The Merry Thought

Starting with a plain tree, and adding one decoration per day until the tree is filled at Christmas — what a good idea! This filigrantrae is Danish-inspired and comes from Nalle’s House blog. Bonus: her post has a full tutorial if you want to make your own dowel tree, although this ideas would work with any small tree.

Nalle's House DIY Wooden Dowel Tree via SCANDINAVIAN CHRISTMAS Advent Calendar round-up on the Oaxacaborn blog
Danish Wooden Dowel Tree via Nalle’s House

Most of the advent candles I’ve seen in my life are a group of four candles, one for each advent Sundag leading up to Christmas. But I love the idea of a single large candle measuring the days, turning the candle into a daily tradition rather than weekly one. In fact, Tina over at Copenhagen’s Traveling Mama, has observed that’s the norm in Denmark!

Traveling Mama Advent Candle Numbered for Days via SCANDINAVIAN CHRISTMAS Advent Calendar round-up on the Oaxacaborn blog
Advent Candle Numbered for Days via Traveling Mama

If you have an accessible staircase bannister, you could make that the focal point for your advent gifts, like Swedish blog Fröken Knopp did with newsprint and twine. (P.S. How cute is that painted floor?)

Fröken Knopp Advent Calendar on Staircase via SCANDINAVIAN CHRISTMAS Advent Calendar round-up on the Oaxacaborn blog
Staircase, Newsprint and Twine Advent Calendar via Fröken Knopp

I can hardly get over Vibeke Design’s stunning advent calendar shop display. Paper cones, edged in lace, hung from a lichen-covered hardwood branch. Oh, so pretty!

Vibeke Design Christmas Shop Display in Sweden, via SCANDINAVIAN CHRISTMAS Advent Calendar round-up on the Oaxacaborn blog
Advent Calendar Display via Vibeke Design Christmas Shop in Sweden

How are you planning to celebrate and decorate for advent this year? I’d love to hear! And if you need more ideas, here are more advent calendar ideas and even more advent calendar ideas!


Want to contribute to the 4th Annual Scandinavian/Nordic Christmas Series? Click here to find out how!

POETRY & WORDS :: Where I was when the Berlin Wall fell


November 9, 1989 —  I’ll never forget that day 25 years ago — well, I didn’t hear the news until Friday morning, the 10th, over breakfast in West Germany. The night before, East German Communist Party spokesperson Günther Schabowski suggested, without much oomph — almost accidentally, it seemed — that travel between East and West could happen “from now”. [1] Humanity surged toward the barrier, climbing over it, smashing at it with axes and hammers, and waiting in endless lines at the now-open gates, disbelief in the air. It’s emotional for me even now to think about this exodus, the pieces that held up the regime crumbling, the people locked in for years. People died trying to cross that wall.

In a giant cloud of exhaust fumes of two-stroke engines, hundreds of East German cars wait bumper to bumper in front of the West German checkpoint Helmstedt to enter the west, Nov. 11, 1989. In front of the eastern checkpoint, the cars wait in line for a distance of 30-40 kilometers, a West German policeman said. The ride from Berlin to Helmstadt (about 200 kilometers) would last about 11 hours. (AP Photo/Claus Eckert)

In a giant cloud of exhaust fumes of two-stroke engines, hundreds of East German cars wait bumper to bumper in front of the West German checkpoint Helmstedt to enter the west, Nov. 11, 1989. In front of the eastern checkpoint, the cars wait in line for a distance of 30-40 kilometers, a West German policeman said. The ride from Berlin to Helmstadt (about 200 kilometers) would last about 11 hours. (AP Photo/Claus Eckert)

“So it was the other side of the roughcast concrete barrier that mattered, the side that people did not spray with aerosol cans but had risked their lives to climb over. The emotional quality of this liberation can only be captured if you can imagine what it was like to live behind that ‘anti-fascist protection rampart’ (its mendacious official name) for all your life, never setting foot in the western half of your own city, and with the expectation that this would continue for years to come.

Here is the other thing that even the finest historians struggle to recover: the sense of what people at the time did not know. To those who lived behind it, the Berlin Wall had become something almost like the Alps, a seemingly unchangeable fact of physical geography. Even when things began to change so dramatically in Poland and Hungary, most people just did not believe the Alps could crumble. After all, there was a nuclear-armed empire holding them up. ” [2]

People now tell me I couldn’t have understood what was happening, I couldn’t have known the significance of the day. I wasn’t yet six. And in a way they are right. I can never fully understand what it was like to have lived under East German rule. During that time, I lived in the former Yugoslavia — officially, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia — with an American passport. And I was on the Western side of the wall when it fell.

“It is almost impossible to recreate the emotional intensity of the moment of liberation. For that intensity came from having lived for most, if not all, your life with the aching certainty that something like this was, precisely, impossible.” [Read More: The Berlin Wall: What it Meant to Be There]

But I remember. There is no doubt about that.

And there’s something else: I am going to keep remembering, and keep telling this story. Because I don’t want to forget. I don’t ever want any of us to forget.

POETRY & WORDS :: A cure for #firstworldproblems


We all need something to keep our priorities in order. Something to keep us grounded, for lack of a better word, something to prevent us from wallowing in our #firstworldproblems.

Sometimes, all it takes is to stop focusing on ourselves. I’m preaching to myself here. My daily complaints do NOT constitute suffering.

Not when Naghmeh Abedini has to tell us this about her husband, Saeed [Saeed Abedini is an American citizen from Utah, imprisoned in Iran for his faith.]

Not when these sixty-seven people have nothing left.

Not when I have a family to call my own, and this girl (shown below) has none.

adriana2

Almost every day, a story about a child lands in my inbox, and every time, I read it. Not because I love sad things. Not because I want to have pity. But because the broken parts of this world will never change if we’re too busy holed up in our comfortable little havens. Because the broken pieces will never be picked up if we’re too busy creating ourselves a safe little bubble.

I want to look up. I want to look outward. I want to make a difference.

Because every child matters.

RESOURCES a.k.a. a partial list of the blogs and newsletters I read.

Gladney Center for Adoption’s Waiting Child (Blog)
Subscribe by Email: Click here and you will see the subscription field in the upper right hand corner of your screen

* Taiwan Xi En (Website) 
Subscribe by Email: Click here; only the red ‘email’ field is required

*Bringing Hope to Children (Facebook)
Subscribe by Email: Click here

* Show Hope (Website)
Subscribe by Email: Click here

* And of course, the Ziway + Adami Tulu Project in partnership with Lifesong for Orphans — the organization through we which we sponsor children.

LIFE IN PHOTOS :: Blanket Fort


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I have to stop and remind myself: I don’t get these moments in the frenzy.

I don’t get moments like this if I’m consumed with the tyranny of the urgent, if I’m lost in the self-made chaos, if I measure my worth against how much I’ve achieved or accomplished in the last twenty-four hours.

We’re to run this race with perseverance, yes, but our strength is in quietness and rest. The heart never stops beating, yes, but the stillness between every heartbeat is essential to staying alive.

And I see that stillness in the the way the sun filters through the smudged glass. The way a horse stands motionless in the cool darkness of the county fair, refusing to fear the racket rattling from the midway outside. The way the living room chairs are pushed together, the blankets are tugged from the beds, and her mischievous face peeks up at me through the ramshackle fort.

These are the moments — and yes, He is the God — I want to choose, seek, and hold.

O Thou who art my quietness, my deep repose,
My rest from strife of tongues, my holy hill,
Fair is Thy pavilion, where I hold me still.
Back let them fall from me, my clamorous foes,
Confusions multiplied;
From crowding things of sense I flee, and in Thee hide.
Until this tyranny be overpast,
Thy hand will hold me fast;
What though the tumult of the storm increase,
Grant to Thy servant strength, O Lord, and bless with peace.
– Amy Carmichael