Seeking Submissions: Hunger

It is November! A time for food, family, and fall! Here at Searching Sophia’s Pockets, November is also the time to talk about hunger. Physical hunger is a humanitarian issue, it is an issue of faith. But although we will highlight ways to fight hunger, like through Heifer International, we are also going to discuss other kinds of hunger, metaphorical hunger, spiritual hunger, hunger for love, acceptance and more.  So we are asking for your submissions on hunger this month.

If you are stuck for where to start your submission, here are a few questions to get you started:

  1. What are you hungry for in this life?
  2. Have you ever fasted? What was it like?
  3. Read Autumn’s post on fasting, and tell us would you fast for Thanksgiving?
  4. How are you fighting physical hunger in this world?

We want to know! The world wants to hear your wisdom!

With Wisdom, Love …and Lint,

Autumn and Jenni

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5 Ways to Give More Love This Valentine’s Day

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Valentine’s Day is often turned into something commercial, but at its heart, Valentine’s Day is about sharing as much love as you can. So, here is a list of five ways you can give more love this Valentine’s Day:

  1. Attend a V-Day show. V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. Their shows, put on all over the world this month include “The Vagina Monologues” and “A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer” by Eve Ensler. You can find shows near you using their handing V-Spot locator. The shows make great dates, and fun self-love gifts.
  2. When you give your loved ones gifts from Heifer International for Valentine’s day, not only do you get the “aww” factor of looking at the cute faces of cows, sheep, and chicks, but you also get to help end world poverty and hunger. You get to give a gift to someone you know and someone you have never met.  Now that’s a lot of love.
  3. Send someone you love and e-card from Scarleteen this year and you share more than just your feelings. Scarleteen provides young people essential information on sexuality, love and sexual health. A gift to Scarleteen means you are helping young people make better choices about who to love and how to share that love. Plus, you might learn a tip or two for your own love life.
  4. If you want to really share the love this Valentine’s day, then One Family Honduras should be your Valentine. One Family Honduras helps one family at a time in Gracias,  Honduras to get access to excellent education.  You donation helps adorable kids like Karla, Ada, Sergio, and Stefani gain knowledge that will change their futures.
  5. Want a gift that keeps on giving and gives back? Well then Kiva is your way to give more this Valentine’s day. Give your loved ones $25 Kiva cards and they can choose how to share that love with people around the world. When the loan is repaid, you can give it to someone else. Talk about a chain of love!

If you still want more ways to share your love check out our Spare Change page. We all have wisdom and love to share, so go ahead…

 MAKE YOUR LOVE GLOBAL

The Top 10 Tradition

We would be remiss to end this month of exploring tradition without addressing the “Top Ten” tradition. As 2013 comes to an end we all want to look back at what the year has held. We have selected ten posts, not because they are the best, or the most popular, but because they have represented some important moments from 2013. Even though we have only selected ten, (hey! it’s tradition!), the top thing to remember from 2013 that everyone’s journey is special and filled with wisdom, love …and lint.

  1. A Crazy World — A beautiful post about life and loss in war-torn Syria
  2. Mosaic — An artistic representation of the beauty and the diversity of humanity
  3. Eating our Values — A post about living one’s values through what one chooses to eat
  4. Creating Spirituality — A poignant post about religion, creativity and spiritual experiences
  5. In Defense of Prayer — A story about grief, confusion, prayer and atheism
  6. Doomsday for DOMA — A post that marks the end of the Defense of Marriage Act in the United States
  7. Heifer International and My Brother’s Gifts —  A sweet post about keeping a loved one’s spirit alive
  8. Manu Temple — A post from Jenni Taylor about a beautiful exchange in India
  9. Strangers and Angels — a post from Autumn Elizabeth about a beautiful exchange in Chicago
  10. The Proverbial Women —  the post that started it all…

Loose Thread: Thankful Thoughts

Melody Beattie once said,

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.

For our part, we here at Searching Sophia’s Pockets are, as always, grateful for all of you. And for sandwiches, and candy, and the possibility of ending hunger with Heifer International.

So, we invite you to share something you are thankful for with the community of Searching Sophia’s Pockets.

What’s your thankful thought for the week?

Heifer International and My Brother’s Gifts

Today’s post from Jenn Schultz Simmons, who works as a pastor at  a church in Springfield, Mo. Jenn gives us a personal look at Heifer International  and how her family chose to keep their loved one’s spirit of giving alive. Her poignant words remind all of us that our lives create ripples of change, and that our generosity lives on long after we are gone. 

My mother walked up the stairs and said, “Heifer, I want to invite our family and friends to give animals in Sean’s memory.” When my brother died very suddenly at at 27 after suffering a head injury and severe trauma we searched for the best way to invite our family and friends to celebrate his life.  Years ago he put the heart donation sticker on his drivers license.  He wanted to be an organ donor. So, when we had to decide how we wanted to honor and celebrate the life of my brother, giving flocks of chicks, ducks, rabbits, and cows was a perfect fit.

Jenn and her brother Sean

Jenn and her brother Sean

Over the years, I have had the privilege to see the work of Heifer International first hand.  In Nicaragua, I had the opportunity to meet families that received pigs, trees, plants, and chickens from Heifer International.  The pig farmer, a mother of three kids,  was so proud of her pig and the way she had changed the lives of those living in their village.  Her children had the opportunity to go school all because of a pig. After receiving lessons about how to care for their pig, they were asked to teach others in their community.  I met their pig as she was about to give birth to the next generation of pigs and impact a whole new family.

While serving at Webster Groves Christian Church, I had the honor of getting to take youth and adults to the Heifer Ranch in Perryville, AR.  Everyday we signed up for new classes and chores.  Some of us learned about bees, others milked goats, while some cut down trees.  One night we stayed in the global village representing many different countries and situations.  There was a refugee camp, an urban setting, and various economic experiences in numerous countries.  Some youth had to sleep on the hard floor while others had a bed.  Each youth was given some resources and then had to decide how to share their resources for the night so that they could eat.  The overall experience at the Ranch gave the youth and adults hands on experience to begin to understand how animals really can change the lives of people and impact communities.

When I first saw the work of Heifer, I asked my family members to buy me chickens for the holidays.  At first my brother thought it was silly to ask for a flock of chicks for people in another country (I mean how do you put that in a Christmas box?), but over time, and with many stories of the difference those chickens made in people’s lives, he began to love it.  Now over the years, we have given flocks of chicks, ducks, and trees as Christmas gifts in our family.

We decided to ask our friends and family to celebrate Sean’s life by giving to Heifer. We realized giving animals through Heifer to families all over the world so that others might have new life was another way to honor my brother’s decision to give new life to others via organ donation.  Now, in celebration of my brother, chickens, pigs,  and heifers will impact new families and communities all over the world.

Heifer International in the Spare Change Spotlight

Today, we introduce another great organization that could use your spare change. Heifer International fights poverty and hunger all over the world, while maintaining a commitment to environmental sustainability.

It is impossible to talk about food without talking about hunger. Some of us are fortunate enough to only experience hunger as a desire to eat, but for those who are served by Heifer International, food means life and continued hunger means death.

We believe all people deserve dignity, opportunity, and a future free from hunger. We believe we provide the tools of transformation to bring about that opportunity.

Heifer International works all over the world to end hunger and poverty, and they need your help. There are lots of ways to get involved via their website, or check out their amazing Gift Catalog. By buying a flock of chicks as presents, you not only help spread the word about Heifer International’s work, but you also actually give a flock of chicks to someone who needs it!

Tomorrow, we will have a personal post about the ways Heifer Gifts can change even the giver’s life.  For today, we leave you with the words of Vineeta Sharma speaking about her experience with Heifer International and their incredible set of values that guide all their work.

I finally got an opportunity to attend the Cornerstones Training taking place at Alwar, Rajasthan, India. The training started with a candle-lighting ceremony. Interestingly, each participant had to light the other one’s candle. By the time the last partaker’s candle was lit, the training hall had kindled beautifully, exuding brightness and positivity reaching every corner of the room and perhaps the corner of our hearts as well! It was a sight! 

I learned that the Cornerstones in Heifer’s perspective are  time-tested principles and values that are followed in order to make development ecologically sound, socially just, culturally appropriate and economically viable. They constitute the holistic approach to development to which Heifer International will always aspire and strive for.

Vineeta Sharma of Heifer India 

Food, Submissions and You!

Well it is November already. The harvest has come in and it is time to eat! We have dedicated this month to the topic of food. So we are asking for your words, foodie photos, and thoughts about the ways we encounter the holy through food. We will also be featuring the organization Heifer International this moth in our Spare Change Spotlight.

Whether it is eating food, preparing food, helping the hungry, or deciding what to eat, we are excited to explore the ways spirituality and food intersect. So send your posts, pictures or ideas, to SophiasPockets@gmail.com

We look forward to hearing from you!

With Wisdom, Love …and Lint,

Autumn and Jenni