Monthly Archives: December 2011

A classic Christmas story goes Veggie!

I am usually a stickler on no-Christmas-stuff-until-Thanksgiving-is-done rule. I want to experience one holiday at a time -- mixing pilgrims with Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree is just too much for me!

But, this year, I caved.

In November, I opened up my mailbox to find a new VeggieTales DVD -- a Christmas Veggie Tales movie, "The Little Drummer Boy." I couldn't tell my kids to wait several weeks before we watched it, right? Right?! We had to sit down immediately and see what Bob and Larry were up to!

And I'm so glad we did.

Compassion | Blog 6 of the 12 blogs of Christmas

For years, I never understood Christmas. Admittedly, I was a bit of a Scrooge. It just seemed like the whole thing was a farce.

Every made-for-TV movie I watched between Thanksgiving and New Year’s preached the same gospel: “It’s not about presents.” But then, every Christmas morning, I was inundated with presents. It didn’t make sense. Someone was lying.

Everything you want?

My parents, and probably yours, would conclude every December 25th with the same nervous question: “So… did you get everything you wanted?”

Are you kidding me? Everything I wanted? Is this what we want to teach our children about life? That you can get everything you want?

The gift of subversion | Blog 5 of the 12 blogs of Christmas

I have a friend who likes Thursdays more than Fridays. He also is a bigger fan of Christmas Eve than he is Christmas Day. Kinda weird, right? But his reasoning is that the anticipation of good things is usually better than the realization of that goodness. But it actually makes strange sense when you think about it.

I remember more than one birthday or Christmas morning when I’d get this lingering sense of depression when I realized that all of the excitement of waiting was over. While my cousins and friends tended to be package rippers, I drew it out as long as possible, hoping in a way that the good feelings would go on indefinitely.

Giving back | Blog 4 of the 12 blogs of Christmas

For me, the true spirit of Christmas is about taking the time and space to reflect on God’s love for us – a love so great that He would come to live among us. Emmanuel . . . GOD WITH US. It’s a profound and comforting notion.

This Christmas, we will be reflecting on the blessings God has given us. It’s impossible not to consider our journey, as Christmases past were such difficult markers of the long wait to complete our son’s adoption. And yet, in those times, God was still with us.

We anticipate a joyous Christmas this year. Our family is complete, our lives are full of blessings. Still, the memory of difficult holidays is fresh.

The beginning of the end of AIDS

Last week, the world commemorated the 23rd annual World AIDS Day -- a day in which we remembered the 30 million lives that have been tragically lost, showed solidarity with 34 million people around the world living with HIV, and, most importantly, rededicated ourselves to the cause of ending the epidemic.

I had the privilege to attend a forum sponsored by ONE and (RED) at George Washington University entitled “The Beginning of the End of AIDS” that was simulcast live by YouTube. Among the participants were President Barack Obama, former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., Kay Warren, and Bono.

What I don't want for Christmas | Blog 3 of the 12 blogs of Christmas

In today's world, Twitter, Skype, and email have become the most common means of communication. So an old-fashioned handwritten note is particularly endearing. When I received Joy's submission for our 12 blogs of Christmas project, I was pleasantly surprised that it was crafted on a yellow note pad, in neat cursive, purposefully handwritten. And, as I would expect from Joy, straight from her heart. -Lindsey Talerico-Hedren, managing editor for the WV blog

What only God can do | Blog 2 of the 12 blogs of Christmas

Years of being blessed with a low checking account balance forced me to rethink my approach to Christmas. Those were not easy years as I tried to tell myself that Christmas isn’t all about the presents, while fearing that my family would consider me cheap or inconsiderate.

A budget gift is a budget gift.

In a happy case of irony, my focus on gift-giving led me back to a better conception of Christmas.

If art thrives on limitation, gift-giving followed suit. If I only had $10 to spend on each person, I had to ask very different questions for gift-giving, the most important being: “What would this person never buy for himself/herself?”

This led to a series of time-consuming projects, such as homemade applesauce, unique jams, hot sauce, and framed photographs. Everything was tailored to the specific needs of each person, and in most cases, kept us within our budget.

[caption id="attachment_10609" align="alignright" width="270" caption="Ed's homemade applesauce."]What only God can do | World Vision Blog[/caption]

True Christmas spirit | Blog 1 of the 12 blogs of Christmas

Starting today, World Vision bloggers are linking up to spread the true spirit of Christmas. Our 12 blogs of Christmas represent the creativity, love, joy, hope, memories, and family holiday traditions that keep us connected to the true reason for the season.

Waking up from suburbia stupor -- lessons from a global soccer mom

Meet stay-at-home mom Shayne Moore. She spends her time stocking the refrigerator, supervising homework, and driving her kids to sports practices. In the midst of all that, she wrote a book called “Global Soccer Mom” that’s not about soccer at all -- but about how the "soccer mom" demographic can be global thinkers.

After visiting World Vision's headquarters to share her testimony in an all-staff chapel, I sat down to chat with her about the journey that has led her from the kitchen to the White House. Here's what I learned…

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Was there a specific experience that prompted you to really get out of your seat and take action against poverty?

In 2002, Bono came through my hometown, but not with his band. He came with a bunch of buses, educating people about poverty and the AIDS pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa. Although I considered myself a somewhat well-educated woman living in North America, this was really the first time that I had heard about the severity of the issue.

The presentations from the World Health Organization and the projections about the disease -- that there would be 25 million AIDS orphans by the year 2010 -- really broke my mother’s heart and became a springboard that helped me wake up from my own “suburbia stupor.”

My world was really small. I was focused on my babies, which was absolutely appropriate, and that’s how it should be. But, I don’t think it’s an “either/or” situation. I think it can be “both/and.” So, I just started really raising my head, looking around the world at what was happening with poverty and disease and other families just like my own. And I started educating myself and educating others.

DAY 4: How to milk a cow [VIDEO]

You voted to have Kirsten milk Chooti the cow... and so today, she did! And it went a little something like this....

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“Our journey began…”

This is how the DD Karunaratne, the father, described the impact of Chooti the cow on his family. When they received the cow, their journey began.

For the first time, they did not worry about their future. They had money to focus on health and education, and they had nutritious milk for their children. As he and his wife, Irangani, spoke with me, it was almost like the cow brought with her an entirely new life for the family.

DD Karunaratne is frequently ill. Before World Vision assisted them, they could not afford visits to the doctor, and so Irangani had to work because her husband couldn’t. The work available in their region is intense day labor, for which women are not first chosen.

Not only was it hard for a woman to find a job, but it was hard work and long hours. Despite her work, money was scarce.

Getting to zero: A true commitment to fighting global AIDS

It's an odd thing to commemorate a day like World AIDS Day, during which time more than 1,000 babies will be born with HIV.

World Vision's 2011 World AIDS Day global theme is “Getting to Zero -- Zero New Infections; Zero Discrimination; and Zero AIDS-related Deaths.” It’s an ambitious goal. But we at World Vision see this as a hopeful rallying cry, motivating us to remain true to our commitment to fight the HIV and AIDS pandemic.

This year also marks 10 years since World Vision began its Hope Initiative, our groundbreaking effort to engage U.S. donors and churches around the tragic effects of the virus, especially in sub-Saharan Africa -- the area hit hardest. (This region, which has only 12 percent of the world's population, is home to 68 percent of all people living with HIV.) The Hope Initiative led World Vision to devise new child-focused programs that continue to help AIDS-affected communities deal with the loss of a generation of men and women in the prime of life.

Fortunately, the epidemic appears to have turned a corner. The 2011 report by UNAIDS (pdf) shows the number of newly infected children is down to 390,000 from its peak of 560,000 in 2002, and 22 African nations have seen their HIV incidence decline by more than 25 percent.