Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day - Small changes lead to big impacts

Hi everyone! My name is Dani. I'm a guest blogger from www.sunflowersandacacia.com

Here are a few things about me just to introduce myself. 

  1. I recently married the cutest man in the world. This is our first Valentines Day in person together - because last year he was in his home country of Ethiopia. 
  2. I love God and people SO much; it's what I live for.
  3. I try to be a simplistic writer and connect with others through words. I am so thankful that blogging is a great platform to do this! 

I am so excited to be here today to share something that I am passionate about: LOVE. I know it's the season of love and some people are head over heels and others are just so ready for this season to be over. I'm hoping this post will shift some perspectives and change some hearts. 
I've gone over this post over and over again. I keep trying to find ways not to make it sound cheesy. Then I remember: "wait it's Valentines Day, it's a super cheesy holiday!"

I must admit, ever since I can remember, I never understood the concept of Valentines Day. I just couldn't wrap my mind around running out buying chocolates, flowers, and a stuffed animal only once a year for the person you supposedly love most. I didn't quite get it until this year. This is what I've come to understand: Valentines Day should just be a by-product of the love you have for a special someone. This is not the only day to do something drastic for them. It's just another day to extend love in a special way to someone who is special to you. It seems small, but it's actually huge to the person on the receiving side. 

Small changes lead to big impacts.

This seems so simplistic, but many of us don't get it. It's easy to run and hide away from making small impacts simply because we don't feel like we are doing much. When we buy from Scarlet Threads or donate twenty bucks to a missionary, we don't truly understand the difference we are making. Our minds can't comprehend how buying an apron or how twenty dollars can quite literally change a person's life. 

As I've scrolled through various social media platforms this weekend, I've noticed all the people, places, & objects that have been converted into "Valentines." One such example was found on an animal dog rescue website. It read "no need to be lonely on Valentines Day, there are many valentines waiting for you in our animal shelter, come adopt one!" This really got me thinking about those who do really struggle with this holiday. I remember the years before I got married were I struggled with loneliness. 

I want to propose this question: What if your valentine is not someone you're head over heels for? 

What if it's the man in China hand crafting ornaments for your Christmas tree?

What if it's the woman in a remote village sewing aprons for women in a country she will never visit? 

What if it's a child living in a third-world country who would light up at a letter from you? 

Could we possibly shift our mindsets and push past all the ideologies that make up this holiday? 

Could we start a movement of love that extends far beyond February 14th? Could we tell ourselves that our purchases and contributions do make a difference? Can we choose small impacts that create lasting change? 

This Valentines Day, I challenge you to change some perspectives and shift some ideas in your heart. I wonder what JOY and LOVE you may feel by simply extending joy and love to another who could use a little recognition and love. 

I have seen the faces of children and women who receive a simple letter or a simple gift. It means more to them than could ever be put in words.

So, this Valentines Day, I invite you to be a part of this movement of love. I invite you to support Scarlet Threads, a friend in need, or a stranger. 

Extend love and then sit back and watch the impacts it creates. 

Happy Valentines Day, We love you and are so grateful for the small impacts you are making.

"...in humility value others above yourselves,  not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." -Philippians 2:3-4


Please feel free to visit our guest bloggers personal blog at www.sunflowersandacacia.com

Friday, February 5, 2016

Happy Chinese New Year!

Chinese New Year starts Monday, February 8th, and until a few years ago, I never really thought about the holiday. Like many celebrations in other countries, it was “off my radar.”  Then, in 2013, my son, his wife and our four grandblessings moved to China and began working at New Day Foster Home outside of Beijing. Suddenly, China was on my radar.

Because many of our artisans live with their families in China, I wanted to learn more about the holiday and how it was celebrated, so I interviewed our Scarlet Threads liaison, Leeann.

She was gracious enough to share her experience with us. Here’s what she had to say:

"We usually celebrate the New Year starting on January 23rd. We call this ‘Lunar Day.’ We start cleaning all of the house, doing the washing, and shopping. We kill a pig, chicken or sheep, fry churros, fry meatballs, meat, etc.  On New Years Eve, we hang red couplets on our gates and doors.

“Also on the eve of the New Year, all the family gets together to have dinner.  After 20:00, we will watch TV-watching the new year celebration programs, and at 24:00, we all eat dumplings together and then set off fireworks! Most of the young men stay up the whole night, and we leave the lights on all night.


“On the first day of the New Year, we will have a dumpling breakfast together, and then we go to the homes of all our friends and relatives and say, ‘Happy New Year!’  They will give the kids money or candy!
“Before the 10th day of the first lunar month on the calendar, we mainly play cards together, visit with friends and eat together. This is relationship building time, it is the main holiday when people will return to their hometown to be with friends and family and spend time together. We will go back to work after the 10th.

“For us, the New Year means that everything is new….we welcome the new day and look forward to peace and hope; a chance to forget all the old things and start the new!”

Speaking of "new," Leeann just gave birth to a beautiful new baby daughter, named SunYue. Congratulations, Leeann! Happy New Year, indeed.