Tag Archives: dressember2014

Day 23

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I am about out of things to write about for Dressember and revelations.  I decided that the next few days I would do some incentivizing your giving to my campaign.

I know not everyone can give but for those of you who can I would like to offer this:

Everyone who donated $10-$49 I will give a 5×7 print of one of my photos. I will post several photos over the next 9 days here on my blog for you to choose from.

For everyone who donates $50 or more we need to have a conversation to determine your 8×10 print. I will get you my personal contact information so that we can see what photo you might want.

This is my thank you to those of you who have donated.

Here are today’s three photos to choose from.

For sale

For sale

Matt. 6:26

Matt. 6:26

"To the moon"

“To the moon”

Here is a link to my Dressember campaign & IJM: Dressember is a visable way to support the end of slaveryIJM helps to end slavery

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#unselfie or #selfish

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Yesterday started with me thinking about what to write, yesterday.

I wrote in my journal, planned what I would talk about and then yesterday.

Yesterday I did few and many things. yesterday

So many things, yesterday

I didn’t blog yesterday.

Yesterday was day 21 of my daily writing for Dressember. Yesterday

So today I will write about what I was going to say yesterday.

School was out Friday and thus began our glorious winter break.

One of my co-workers said, “I know you’ll be glad that this is over tomorrow.”

“Why?”

“Well you won’t have to wear dresses anymore because we won’t be at school.”

“No, this is Dressember.  That means a dress a day the WHOLE month of December.”

“So you have to keep wearing dresses?”

“Yes”

“Man, I feel sorry for you.  I couldn’t do that.”

I keep running into people who are fastidious about their diet, exercise, work ethic, religion, etc and “do it” every day without fail or accolades yet never complain. However,when they hear I am wearing dresses for 31 days straight they balk at that as if it is something virtually impossible without people paying attention.

It is as if (without putting words in their mouths) they are expecting me to stop wearing dresses because “people” aren’t around to notice.  This journey, while it hasn’t been about others noticing ergo #unselfie, it has been rather selfish.  It has been about my learning about myself without the necessity of others attention.  No-one really needs to notice my growth for it to happen.  I have grown.  I have changed.

It has been a scant 22 days since Is started this but I am already planning next year, already thinking of what to write in my blog in January that will keep my new 40+ subscribers interested, & how else I can work to end slavery around the world in the next 334 days.

I know that despite the presumed attention I have received from friends and followers, “no-one” knows what I am doing. Oh, there are those in my inner circle, those who are participating in Dressember, & a small minority who are curious, but on the whole (out of the several hundred (700+) friends I have on facebook they have NO idea!)…

That doesn’t matter because I am not doing it for them.  I want them to know, yes.  But it is not for their praise or attention that I am wearing a dress.  I do not have a need for attention or praise (although most of us, me included, need that and we lie to ourselves if we say we do not). I do have the need to change.  Don’t we all?

I do not consider myself a selfish person (most of the time). I feel I am fairly giving in many ways.  This exercise of spending the month of December focused on slavery has made me feel…. well…. selfish.  I have several dresses that I have rotated through. I do not have 31 dresses.  I have worn several of them several times over. I am able to wash them when every I want.  I am taking photos of myself everyday (except yesterday when I forgot). OF MYSELF!

I am then aggrandizing myself

1. to widen in scope; increase in size or intensity; enlarge; extend. 2. to make great or greater in power, wealth, rank, or honor. 3. to make (something) appear greater.

by promoting my instagram, blog, twitter, & facebook accounts to tell what I am doing.

I have to constantly remind myself; Mother Teresa didn’t set out to aggrandize herself.  In fact, her aggrandizement only meant that the impoverished were finally seen as humans who needed love and care.

I am by no means Mother Teresa.

I cannot even hold a candle to her kind, humble spirit.

But what I am is one human who had no intention to make much of myself, just like Mother Teresa.  My only goal here is to let as many people who will listen know that human slavery still exist and in a grander proportion than we believe.

If you have read any of my blogs and have learned that you can help by seeing what IJM is doing, by donating to my campaign supporting IJM this Dressember, or by spending some time in prayer for the enslaved,those who would set the free, & the slavers then I have done my job.

My job is to reach one.  To help one person see that this is wrong and we should be doing something about it.

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The holiday dichotomy

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This is the season that causes people to feel a pull toward joy. A joy that for some is contrived and painful. There, in this season of supposed joy, is a deep grief that loss brings.

A loss of a person you love or hate, an animal that was dear to you, a job, etc. It could also be the loss of a relationship that was deemed important at one point. Now looking back with fondness on the better days you sorely miss it.

The songs in the stores and on the radio. The decorations on the streets, on the houses, & seemingly everywhere. They are a constant reminder of what you have lost and the pain you are feeling.

It is strange that in the most wonderful season of all walking around hearing that it is the hap-happiest time of the year and many are not really “feeling” it.

But that makes it so trite. Not “feeling” it? No, they are grieving and life has taken a turn in a direction they did not expect.
The hard thing is that this feeling is hidden as far down as the person who is experiencing it wants it to be hidden. No one ever has to know about the pain if the griever doesn’t want anyone to know.

Joy is an easy thing to fake. Show up to a party, laugh, engage in lively banter, meet new people, eat and drink too much. No-one needs to know that the pain you feel this to me of year is real and harmful to you and the people around you.

It is interesting that people in grief are expected to cover their pain so that others can “enjoy” the season and not have to worry about the “downers”.

I feel like this months conversation about slavery is like this grief joy dichotomy. Isn’t it something that December is the month that was chosen to raise awareness to this cause?

The month where we buy mounds of stuff for people who may already have loads of stuff.

The month where we have parties celebrating different holiday times.

The month where we cherish time spent with family and friends.

The month where we pull our hair out in stress due to financial issues or lack of ability to please others.

It is the month that was chosen to shed light on the people who are bought and sold on a daily basis.

It is a month where every morning I put on a dress and think about why I am wearing a dress.

We don’t want to see the slavery. We want to have the whole world at peace and in happiness for this one month during the year.  But that is the dichotomy.  That is what makes this month sometimes a farce.  It is why this HAD to be the month to raise awareness for this cause.

Slavery is a hidden ill in society.  It is something that is hidden so deep that we don’t have to see it if we don’t want to.  We can easily go on enjoying our parties and fun this month.

It’s like the sadness that is so pervasive this holiday; “a downer”.

If we don’t face it now it’s not like it is going away.  We need to look at it and take a stand, do something, help others that are outside our safe zone.  We have to look at it square in the face.  IJM helps us do that.  They tell us that they have freed and helped in after care 18,000 people.  They have convicted 770+ people who were slave owners.  They are making a difference and shining a light on the problem even in this month.

You can help too.  Look at what IJM is doing and see what you can do with them.  You can donate to my Dressember site where all the proceeds are going to help IJM and their mission.  You can also pray for those enslaved, their owners, and the people who are working to free them.

Yes, I said pray for their owners.  We can talk about that next time.

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This sweet little face is that of the daughter of one of mah honks. I love this girl to the moon and back!

19 down ~ 12 to go!

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I have spent the last 3 weeks working Monday through Friday.  I work at a high school, in case you hadn’t noticed from previous blogs.  It’s funny what students notice.  It’s also funny what happens when you engage with them.

I have been trying not to be impatient with my students this week.  It has been hard.  They have been a little squirrelly due to the 2 week break that is now here.  They have also had changes in schedules both here and many times at home.

There are concerts to attend, cookies to bake, projects to complete, unit tests to study for, & so many other things that make this holiday lovely.

Some of my students moved, found out about illness, lost their homes, made bad life choices, forgot about projects, didn’t study for those unit tests, and many other things that may not only make the holiday less lovely but also the life that comes after the holiday.

The last three weeks at work have been good and my eyes have been opened to their conditions in and out of school.

I came to a startling realization this morning when, at 6:00 AM my husband went and gently woke our younger son up so they could make fresh salsa for the cultural experience they had today at school.  Ethan helped his dad make salsa and my mom helped him carry it into his school this morning and give proper storage and warming directions to the teacher for this afternoon.

My children have had that sort of support their whole lives.  They do not know what it looks like to have their safety or well being jeopardized by anything!

While I am fairly certain (notice I do not say 100% certain) that I do not have many students who are held in bondage against their will or who have been sold I am certain that I have quite a number who have not known the certainty of the love and support my children have had their whole lives.

To have both a parent and a grandparent go out of their way to take food to a school party is something many of my students do not understand.

That sort of support allows a freedom to be who you want and to pursue a life of freedom and choice.  That sort of freedom can also be very scary without close conversation about direction and purpose (we make sure we try to give the proper guidance).

What is fantastic is that they have me (and the other teacher and support staff) at our school.  My students share information with me that I can either counsel them on or send them to the right person who will be able to counsel them appropriately.

It is nice to be the person they see and then walk in the room (actually having been looking for me) with a “hang dog” look on their face to tell me something they think they did wrong. It is nice to tell them they are over reacting or that they aren’t and they have a chance to change their direction.  It is also really  nice when I can challenge them to do better and BE better.  I always smile when they call me mom because they have no idea what calling me mom allows me to do 😉 they just trust me enough that they want me in the inner circle of confidence.

I love that I am able to reach them on a different and life lesson level not just on a textbook and test level.

That is what this whole month has been about, so far, right?  A chance for others to have a different life? A chance? A choice, finally? A change?

If you haven’t already check out the change IJM is making in the world.  It has been amazing what the 700 staffers around the world are able to do with the money that people like you and me give to their organization.  This month the dresses you have been watching me wear are similar to a 3-day or a 5-k that other people do.  Mine just last a lot longer! I am wearing dresses so that I can help raise awareness about the 29.8 million slaves in the world and also raise money to rescue them.  I am also spending time in prayer and meditation about their plight and the courage it takes IJM to find them and rescue them. My friend wrote a fantastic holiday meditation book called O Antiphons.  While is it about the holiday the tip that you leave on Noisetrade will benefit IJM as well.  You should check it out!

Will you join me? Hit any of the links above to find out more or to give.  If that isn’t something you can do then I know you can pray. That is something we all can do.  A short simple prayer of supplication for freedom and courage for those who need it most.

Thank you for joining me so far….only 12 days left in this journey!

PS aren’t my students adorable?!

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My 3rd period senior class.

Just blessed

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So cliche.

At Christmas we say such cliche things.

You can look at and say, “Man, I am so over that!”

Or you can say, “Oh tradition!  So wonderful to have the same things said at this time of year.”

Some may even choose to just go against the whole idea of anything anyone has ever done and say, “Festivus for the rest of us!” (HA! Seinfeld, gotta love some old school sit coms.  They just don’t make them like they used to.)

Anyway, all I have to say today is that I am just blessed.

Blessed to live in the US

Blessed to work for the public school system

Blessed to worship how I like

Blessed to have friends over for dinner in the middle of the week

Blessed to go see movies with my son

Blessed to have 3 beautiful children

Blessed to have an amazing husband

I am just blessed

As cliche as it sounds, I am.  I am blessed! Part of my family just had a fantastic dinner with a family we have gone to small group with for the last (almost) 4 years (in Feb.). Lauren and I have shared so much and our boys are such good friends.  It is nice to have a closeness with a family, share a meal, & a faith.  So blessed.

The thing about being blessed is that many of us have no idea how blessed we are.  We take advantage that things will always be the way they have been. We shouldn’t, we should savor every moment.

I try to remember how blessed I am without being arrogant about it.  I try to look at the gift of life, liberty, & pursuit of happiness I have been given and remember that not everyone has those blessings.

This month I am reminded of that as I talk to people about IJM and my Dressember event.  I ask if they are reading my blog and tell them they should.  I ask if they know that there are 29.8 million slaves in the world today.  When they say no and get that far aways look in their eye, I just encourage them to come here and read about my self discovery.  I hope that they are and that it is ok to not realize.  It is ok to still be learning about the world.  No-one is expected to know everything about everything.  But once you are exposed to it you can no longer feign ignorance.  I am trying to learn and do.  I am trying to teach so others can help too. I am not perfect.  Never will be.  I am not better than others, that’s not my thing.  But I do want to be better than I was last year.  I want to share what I have with others.  I want others to be blessed.

Uncompartmentalize

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In life I have been so busy at times that I compartmentalize my friends and the “church”, “work”, “school”, and so on. Friends never came home with me.  And if the truth were to be told I never wanted to let them in.  I had a full life with my family and the outside friends made the other components of my life nice but I didn’t want to be burdened with them in my home.  They are all excuses because I have now realized that I do need those relationships (well, some of them) outside of their compartments and I like them too.  I am trying to be more intentional now that I know.  Being a good friend is hard when you are also a compartmentalizer. I have to learn to uncompartmentalize in order not to treat people in a manner that I do not want to be treated.

This is the beginning of a blog I wanted to write 7 months ago. Now that I re-read that paragraph I see that I have been a little more intentional recently than I every thought I would be.  I have allowed more people to enter my life.  Like, in a real way not just surface.

In November we had a house guest. Nope, that’s a lie.  We had family come and stay with us for a week.  The reason why I said she was a guest is because, though I call her my daughter, she has never slept at our house before.  She chose us to be her parents after she was well into adulthood and married. She came to celebrate our familyhood for a week prior to the crazy holidays of owning a bookstore.

Having someone stay in our house is not something “we” do (as a family rule).  It allows people to see who we really are and the facade may fall a bit and you may see us for who we really are.  We have had other family live with us and that didn’t go very well.  One of them moved out 4 and 1/2 years ago and now we really don’t speak.  The other moved out and now has a job that keeps her busy so we don’t see her either.  Now, granted they stayed for a year or more….but it still was family who stayed with us and it didn’t end well.

Allowing someone we cared about to stay with us, even if just for a visit, was a stretch.  But, it went well, I think.  She hasn’t stopped talking to us and has mentioned coming back again ❤

We are having dinner guests tomorrow.  That is also a stretch for us.  We are relatively private people after we get home.  We like our space so much we don’t even really know our neighbors.  But we have a meal planned and we are excited to have a family we care about to our house.

I know for myself the compartmentalizing was easy for a long time.

My work was miles away from home and I didn’t really have the same lifestyle as the people I worked with.  I had young children and a mortgage, they were single and lived in apartments.  It was a different phase in life for the people who were in my circle.

My church was a place I went on Sundays only.  The people all worked and I didn’t want to bother them during the week.  I was very involved with my church and loved it and the people but it didn’t leave its cubby hole of Sunday mornings.

If I am honest this way of living is still the easy way out.

Now, I foray out and try to incorporate people into my life. I am finding that my eyes are opening up to the fact that there are things and more important people outside of work, church, home, repeat.

I am seeing that there are needs outside the little circumference that I run around in like a hamster (most weeks).  They are needs that I can fill most of the time.

Dressember has started to help me see more often that I need people just as much as people need me.  We need to support each other outside our out comfort zones.

While you are enjoying what this season of joy and stress has to offer spend a few minutes praying about your compartments. Who do you need to start letting in a little more?

Think about the people who I have blogged about this month who are enslaved and don’t have the luxury of compartmentalizing.  Pray for them. Learn about their plight. Better yet, help our the dressember donation campaign to help release people from slavery.

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It is day 16 and I am more than half way done with my campaign. Make sure you check out IJM and Dressember to learn and support the cause.

A new dress

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I woke up late again.

Seriously, is this a Dressember thing?

Maybe it’s because I am staying up late blogging after my family goes to bed.

They are so distracting during the day.  Wanting this and that.  A girl can’t get a break to write. 😉

But maybe it is just the writer in me that wants to stay up late when inspiration strikes best then the sleep deprived teacher gets up late for work.

Due to waking up late I wore a dress you haven’t seen yet.  I know the dress I wore on 12.13.14 was new but you knew that was coming ;).

Anyway, the dress today wasn’t a new dress it was just one I hadn’t planned on wearing this Dressember.  It is to summery. You know the dress that has the amazing color and is sleeveless? The maxi that wants gold sandals and makes you feel like a Grecian princess? Yeah, that’s the one I wore today.

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Ok so maybe the sitting, the cat, and the c cardigan don’t really show off the princess BUT what you can’t see is the polka dotted leggings OR the polka dotted pink and green fuzzy socks.

Really this isn’t about the dress but I am having fun owning my own quirky style of clothing (or is it I need to have clothes on, quick, what’s clean?)

Today one of the assistant principals said, “I heard you were doing a dress thing?”

We were in the bathroom and I proceeded to tell her all about IJM and their mission in life and the fact that after they rescue the enslaved people they give them after care and make sure they are reasonably safe.  She seemed impressed by that part.  I don’t think many of us give a thought to what happens after.  Are they given a safe place to go or do they just get released to fend for themselves and we all rejoice? Let’s be honest, most of us don’t think about people who are living in slavery every day.  We don’t consider that our clothing may have been made by slaves.  The dress I am wearing in this picture may have been made by slaves.  I am coming to an awareness that most of us to not want to face because it is a hard pill to swallow.  Where did my clothes come from? I don’t like to shop for clothes much anyway but now when I look for clothing I am questioning their origin.

I, like most Americans, buy my clothes on the cheap or at sale prices.  I don’t “have” money to spend on expensive clothes.  But do I have money to spend? The answer to that is yes. Yes I do! Could I work towards trying to spend my  money with more conscience? Yes I can.  It is a choice like every other one we make in the day.

Will you join me in making a choice this month?  Instead of buying something you may not need will you help out my donation campaign?  That is what dressember is all about for me.  It isn’t about all the pictures of me wearing dresses.  It isn’t about my quirky sense of style.  It is about helping to free slaves from around the world.  It is about justice for those enslaved and about helping those who cannot help themselves. Will you help?

The busiest season of all…

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…Is the holiday season.  It doesn’t matter what you celebrate.  I happen to celebrate Christmas in all it’s glory.  We enjoy time worshiping and fellowshipping with family, friends, eating delicious meals together, and of course the giving and receiving of gifts.  My children are old enough to know exactly what they want and usually pick it out.  We have always had a very limited budget on their gifts and have made that clear to them.  We started this when we couldn’t afford much but continued the tradition because we didn’t want Christmas to become a “want” fest or a “pout because I didn’t get it ALL” fest.

This limit means that they sometimes can choose to have grandma and mom collaborate on a gift that may be more expensive than my budget allows. It also means that they can connect money from birthday past or future to get a larger gift.  The limit also makes them very aware of the cost of their toys and the power of thinking about how you spend your money.

Our family has always been a giving family.  We have family in El Salvador that we help on a regular basis.  It is nice to know that they benefit from what we are able to give.  Recently we have also been helping out a family from our community with some basic needs and building relationships. I believe that our frugality in giving to our children (during holidays) has allowed us to save and be able to give to others more generously.

The hardest part of the holiday’s is BUSY-ness.  I hate that we are so busy during this season of the year.  So busy that we wake up tired, go to bed tired, don’t get done what we want to (see boxes of Christmas ornaments STILL in boxes in my living room), and then end up feeling incredibly stressed out and cranky.

I want that to stop.  I want to have an afternoon like I did today.  I went to visit a friend because our boys had a sleep over.  I kept looking at the clock thinking that I had to rush but time nearly stood still for 2 hours. We chatted and laughed.  We listened to each other and chatted with our children.  It was a wonderful rest in an otherwise incredibly busy time of year.

Tomorrow I go back to the grind.  We have 5 more class days left until “winter break” AKA Christmas break for 2 weeks.  That will be filled with busy too.  (I know I will eventually write about that so you’ll have to wait and see what that busyness looks like.)

The best part of all this busyness is that I can control my busy.  My friend at work had nothing planned for the weekend, on purpose.  She decided that she needed to control the busy in her holiday season.  I admire that ability to control the busy.

What if you couldn’t control the busy? What if there were someone telling you when to wake up, when and what to eat, if you could sit or stand to work, and you had no choice but to listen? That sort of busy you couldn’t control.  I know I have said this statistic before but the number kept rolling around in my head, according to IJM there are 29.8 billion people in slavery.  They are kept busy without controlling why or how they are busy.  It isn’t because they are taking children places or making fun gifts for family and friends.  It isn’t because they are working at a job they love.  It is because they are in bondage.  I am trying to help make a difference for people in bondage.  I am asking that people who read my blog this month learn more about modern human slavery, say a prayer for those who are fighting slavery and those who are in bondage, or donate to my giving campaign. I am wearing dresses all month.  This is way out of my character but it is my choice.  I am able to choose to wear a dress.

Please consider stepping out of your comfort zone this month and learning about this human tragedy that is a very real and pressing issue.

What a wonderful Saturday!

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Today began with an alarm that was set for 6:22 PM.  I had a meeting to be at at 7:30 am and a friend who needed a ride to the meeting coming at 7:00 am. ACK!

Still wore a dress though.  Didn’t feel like it and it would have been so easy to just wear some sweats and a tshirt.  It was 29 degrees when I went out this morning.  Not my kind of dress weather.

Got home from my meeting and went to a wedding for a very dear pair of friends.  Such a beautiful celebration of love. I made a point of taking a picture with the bride so you could see how beautiful she was today.

On the way home I had to stop and get gas from the “cheap” gas station.

For some reason, we are always in need of entertainment at every moment of our days.  There is a TV on the gas pump that shows news and other clips of interest.  The first time I saw this I was a little ticked that I couldn’t have the outside noise while I pumped gas, have a few minutes away from the constant bombardment.

Tonight, when I stopped for gas I heard an interesting article about instagram.  Apparently they have a lot of people who use instagram. Try 300 million!

What if all those users took a stand for something they believed in as opposed to making it all about themselves?

I have to say I post pictures of food, my cats, kids, and random tchotchkes.  Every once in a while (when it isn’t Dressember) I post pictures of myself but usually there are other people in the pictures.

I had an immediate thought while I was at the gas station: what if all 300 million people posted about freeing slaves once an hour, a day, a week, or even a month?  What if?  People I talk to are surprised that I am doing this project.  Maybe because it is me or the dresses.  I think it is more because of the slaves.  It is something we teach our children is history.  It is the now story though and needs to be addressed.

I know I cannot save everyone who is enslaved but with your help I can help to rescue one. Go to my Dressember donation site, say a fervent prayer for those enslaved, or go and check out the IJM website to see what else you can do to make a difference.

I know today’s blog wasn’t really moving or an epiphany like past posts but seriously, if we are on social media’s we shouldn’t just play the PC line and “not step on toes” but try to show people how much we can love others and use it to help as many as we can.

I am working on it and trying to be brave by stepping out. You should join me.

Exhausted on day 12

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I am exhausted. Like take a nap at work exhausted (I didn’t BTW). There is no reason for me to be exhausted. None at all, but I am exhausted. I started my day planning my nap.

I woke up this morning so tired. I was also cold.  I stumbled out of bed and to the shower.  Turned it on so the water, warm in the basement, could travel up the pipes, cold from disuse for the past 24 hours, and be moderately warm when it hit my back as I washed myself for the day ahead.  The water covered me with warmth like bed sheets keeping me from the cold December morning. I don’t remember most of my shower. My eyes were burning like I hadn’t slept in days. I felt like the morning after being up all night for finals, a baby who wouldn’t sleep, or any number of other reasons people don’t sleep and feel tired in the morning.

I thought about that nap all day. I left work on time and went to my mom’s to take a nap but instead ended up doing other things. When I left to go get my son at school I napped(-ish) while I waited for him to come to the car. Then headed to target for milk (I have teenage boys,  need I say more?). Finally. I get home and to my bed. A nap!

But that was to be put off so I could help get something from the carport and into the basement. Finally, after wanting a nap since 545 this morning….at 455 this evening I get a nap. A laying down, under covers, pillow under head nap. But I could only rest for 20 minutes because I had a wedding rehearsal to go to.

Normally this sort of day would be one to complain about due to having to cram so much into one day. But reflecting on my purpose this month I have no reason to complain.

I get to choose all of those things. I have the luxury of napping. I have the luxury of buying milk for my children. I have the luxury of attending weddings and celebrating beautiful things.

All of this because of a nap.  I wanted to just nap.  I had the blessing of working with students all day at a job I enjoy.  I could quit if I wanted to do so.  No-one would track me down if I quit.  I would be able to find another job with reasonable ease.  I may even make more money at the new job.  I am truly blessed.

In case you haven’t noticed I am raising money for IJM to free people from bondage.  People who do not have the luxury of showers, warm comfy beds, jobs they want to go to in the morning, weddings to attend, and so many things I often take for granted.

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Today’s dress is a repeat.  I am already deciding what next year’s campaign will look like.  I don’t know if in a year I will finally be brave enough to wear the same dress 31 days in a row.  That is a big commitment with all the holiday festivities and teaching high school.  Making the commitment this year to participate in the adventure has been eye opening and refreshing for me.  I am so glad I am not even half way done and more is yet to come. The writing every day is helping me stay focused to my purpose.  If even one person can be freed during the campaign then that one starfish has been saved. I don’t want to take things for granted any more.

That being said, I am still exhausted and I have another long day ahead tomorrow.  I am going to bed.