Friday, April 30, 2010

Small Change will Make a Difference!

Angel, Helene-Honduras
A few weeks ago, in honor of Angel, a Helene kid we got to know I participated in "One Day Without Shoes" virtually. Virtually, because I was barefoot on the street, driving and at work, until I spent the evening with a friend at the hospital. Didn't think I could pull off the bare feet there.

The idea of the day is to raise awareness and to get shoes for kids around the world. Here are the facts:
- In some developing nations, children must walk for miles to school, clean water and to seek medical help.
- Cuts and sores on feet can lead to serious infection.
- Often, children cannot attend school barefoot.
- In Ethiopia, approximately one million people are suffering from Podoconiosis, a debilitating and disfiguring disease caused by walking barefoot in volcanic soil.
- Podoconiosis is 100% preventable with basic foot hygiene and wearing shoes.

I posted on facebook that I was participating in the barefoot day and Anne May, whose family is currently serving at the Karibue Centre in Thika, Kenya posted a note on my wall that the kids around the center are in need of shoes. So via my facebook wall I announced that we were going to collect quarters in my cowboy boot at work on Sunday. The goal was that we would raise enough money for new shoes for 60 kids, approximately $120. Families saved money, kids took money out of their accounts and parents matched it, people cleared out their penny jars and asked me not to total it after one week but to extend to a second Sunday. Yesterday Mike and I dumped the really heavy nearly overflowing boot in to a change counter and the Sunset community gave (drum roll please) $240!!!!! We will be depositing the cash in to Ian's account soon so they can buy shoes for the kids who will be heading to school soon. THANK YOU so much everyone who donated!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Janet goes to college

I've been toying with the idea of returning to school for several years. Every year something has prevented me. This year, nothing stands in my way, so when my friend Julie invited me to join her for a seminary visit, I jumped at the chance.
A guest speaker, Tom Shiave, Pastor of Gateway Baptist spoke on the topic of wisdom and discernment.

He began by having each student introduce themself and share a little. Who are you and what do you do? Seminary style.
About half the class are the college students you'd expect. The other half are, as Julie says, non-traditional students. All ages, ethnicities, such a wide variety of stories. I found being in that environment SO exhilirating and interesting. One check in the Pro column for returning to school.

Then he asked us to share someone we knew who was wise. This was awkward because the first person who came to mind, was Julie, my host. She has a way of looking out and up when I am mired in the muck. Eventually I did share much to her disgust. Humility is also a quality of wisdom. :-)

Then we talked about what wisdom isn't.
It isn't the ability to figure everything out or know why things are the way they are or what will happen next. Sometimes I really pressure myself to be this person.

Then, we talked about what wisdom IS.
It IS good common sense and right judgment. It is knowing WHAT to do, understanding or better yet perceiving practical things. The ability to make good decisions. It IS living skillfully in whatever actual condition you are in. It IS the ability to choose the best means to the best end.

If you were asked to name the wisest person ever... would you say Jesus? Yet, 1 Cor. 1:24 says that Christ is the power and the wisdom of God." Christ was the image of God applied and lived out as a man. Man we have redefined waht smarts and intelligence are in comparison to the life of Christ.

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. James 3:13-18
So, how do I become wise?
A. Understand who God is and who I am instead. Acknowledge my smallness and distrust myself.
B. Be realistic about life, look at it as it really is.
C. Look for wisdom, seek it out
D. Pray and ask for it.
E. Make God's word a priority
F. Seek good wise counsel - find a mentor and read alot!
G. Listen to the words of Jesus (the wisest man ever)
H. Evaluate my decisions, what could I have done better?

So, there you have it. 90 minutes of seminary condensed.

What else I learned today, is this. I dont know if I can do my real life AND school. This one class gave me lots to chew on and there is no homework due. I just dont know if i have enough room in my brain or life for school right now, even if I absolutely would love it. Where would it fit? What would have to move or leave my schedule and priorities? Would it be... wise?