Month: February 2014

Do Something. End It.

I guess for years I lived life blind to the fact that human trafficking exists in this world we live in today.  I did not realize it was an issue until the 2008 Liam Neeson blockbuster “Taken” tackled the theme.  I remember seeing previews for “Taken” that drew me in and made me want to watch the movie.  (Nobody kicks butt like Liam Neeson.  Well, there is Chuck Norris, but I digress…)  As someone whose heart has been touched by childhood sexual abuse cases, I still couldn’t bring myself to watch the movie.  Eventually curiosity and friends reviews gave way.  I watched the movie.   When it ended, my heart was crushed.

A myriad of questions crossed my mind.  Don’t we live in the 21st century?  How could anyone be capable of allowing such a thing to happen?  Haven’t humans evolved?  Don’t we understand right from wrong?  When it comes to human trafficking, how could the lines ever be blurred?  Why isn’t anyone talking about this?  Why did it take a movie to bring awareness to the issue?  What can I do in my little part of Hickville, USA to make any difference at all?

Most of those questions remain unanswered.

I do know that the key to any revolution begins with education.  We must educate ourselves on the facts of human trafficking.

Facts like – there are 30 million sex slaves around the world today.  Facts like – this is happening in our own backyards (yes, even in Hickville, USA!).  Facts like – for it to end, we have to care enough to get involved.

So how do we get involved?

  • Learn more about the issue.  This goes back to educating yourself.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.  If something doesn’t seem right, ask more questions.
  • Don’t be afraid to do the right thing.
  • Partner with an organization that is already established to bring awareness to this cause.
  • Use your talents – write, draw, speak, etc….  Whatever you do, use it to shine the light on this topic.

dosomething

Today is SHINE A LIGHT ON SLAVERY DAY.  Today a simple way to bring attention to this issue is to draw a red “X” on your hand.  When someone asks what it is for, share the facts of human trafficking with them.  Help make others aware and together we can put an end to the child sex slave trade.

For more information on human trafficking or to learn how even you can make a difference, visit the links below.

F.R.E.E. International

Abolition International

End It Movement

Don’t be guilty of being the person who says, “Someone should do something about that.”  Be the person that says, “Whatever it takes, I’m going to do something.”

I Once Was Lost

Being a regular volunteer at our local animal rescue group, I constantly meet new animals.  I am always curious to the plight that led them to BARL.  Were they abandoned?  Were they lost?  Is anyone looking for them?

I have my own stories that I have witnessed first hand –

Like Clifford.  Clifford was a Golden Retriever that stood almost to my hips.  His former owners decided they no longer wanted him.  They left him tied to a tree and offered him no more food.  A neighbor noticed him – emaciated and miserable – and took action.  Through a series of events, he ultimately came to live his last days with our family.  He was our first therapy dog.  He was the one that started us out in the world of rescue.  His existence made a difference in our life.

Then there is Puff.  Puff was an American Eskimo Dog that was scheduled to be euthanized at a pound three hours from us.  She was high on the list, her days quickly dwindling down because she was labeled as aggressive.  Because of a deep rooted love for this breed, we decided to bring her to our home.  When we picked her up we were  informed that she barked non-stop – which is why she’d been left at the pound – and because of her noise making abilities came complete with her own bark collar.  Living in a pound with fifty other dogs and wearing a bark collar, every time a human came through the gates to visit the canines, she was sent into chaos and confusion by the high pitch the collar emitted.  Thus she associated humans with punishment and humans deemed her as aggressive.  Once home with her, I removed the collar.  She jumped in my lap and licked my face.  We fostered her until a new home could be found.

Other dogs I don’t have as clear of an idea of the situation they are coming from.  Like Taffy.

Image This past weekend I received the above picture in an email.  The message with her read,

“We found this sweet girl the other night. She’s pretty calm. She might make a good therapy dog. I know she’s not a pom just thought I’d share her with you. I’m going to be super picky with where she goes, she’s going to stay with us until the perfect home is found. She’s not afraid of our dogs and doesn’t mind our cats. She hasn’t had any accidents in the house and slept in bed with us all night curled up by my feet.”

The email was from one of my fellow friends in rescue who knew that we’d been looking for just the right dog to fill the void in our therapy dog outreach since Scarlet’s retirement.  I’d wanted something smaller than a Golden Retriever simply because of the ability to transport.  I’d been leaning toward a Pomeranian because of their cheery disposition, but something about that sweet face reached a depth in my heart.  Maybe she needed us.

The first day at home she followed each person each time someone left the room.  The second day wasn’t much different.  She accompanied me when I took my fifteen year old daughter to her dance class that night.  After Dacey exited the truck and walked into the building, Taffy stood in my lap watching and waiting until she came back.  It is that which causes me to feel that she was abandoned.  She’s seems to be afraid each time someone leaves her presence that they will be gone for ever.

But she is also calm and accepting of strangers – humans, dogs, and cats alike.  She is picky and will only accept certain foods.  She always hops at our dinner plates which leads me to believe in her former home she was fed from her owners hands.  That isn’t allowed in our family.  She is also well mannered and knows basic obedience.  She walks at my side with or without a leash, comes when called, and sits and stays.  It is that which causes me to believe she was at one time someone’s precious, spoiled baby.

So how did she come to be – alone, abandoned, filthy, and scared – on the side of the road?  Did her owner pass away and she was cast aside by remaining family?  Did the kids quit showing interest so the parents didn’t want the burden of her any longer?  Maybe she had an older teenage daughter – like mine to whom she has quickly bonded – that left for college leaving no one else to love her?  I guess I’ll never know for sure.

What I do know is that her plight isn’t a whole lot different than mine.  Like Taffy my former life had left me feeling alone, abandoned, filthy, and scared.  Jesus found me.  He promised, “I will not leave you or forsake you.”  He said, “Child, you are mine.  I have called you by name.”  Jesus loved me, cleaned me up, and gave me a new life.  Like Taffy I am now secure in what my future holds.  I have been given hope.  And like Taffy, Clifford, and Puff –  I once was lost, but now I’m found.

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Taffy and Connor resting under my desk while I work.

The Truth of Happily Ever After

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We’re taught from an early age that one day our knight will ride in on his white horse and then – and only then, life will be perfect.  Then and only then will we live happily ever after.  The dream of such a possibility is a delusion.

The world constantly tells us that  ‘happily ever after’ is only attainable when you marry the perfect spouse, drive the best car, have the most beautiful home, and the dream title at your dream job.

Happily Ever After is not a state of being.  It is an attitude.  It a choice of the heart that no matter what life throws your way, you are content.  It is living at peace with who you are, where you are, and with what you have.

Philippians 4:11-12 tells us,

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

Our happiness should never be dependent on another person or set of circumstances.  True happiness is found only through a relationship with Jesus.  Jesus told us in John 14:27,

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

When the peace of God dwells in your heart, happiness abounds there as well.

One day the Prince of Heaven and Earth will return on a white horse to rescue all of those who call on His name.  He will set us free  from the chains of sin and death.  At that time eternity will become our happily ever after.  And that’s better than any fairytale ever told.