Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sweet Sleep

Few things make more difference in the health and well being of a child then a good night of sleep.

Sweet Sleep is a faith based organization which provides beds to orphaned and abandoned children around the world. They serve children in Moldova, Uganda, Northern Uganda, and Haiti.

Here is the story behind Sweet Sleep...

"In July 2003, Jen Gash was part of a mission team working with orphans in the Eastern European country of Moldova. Her first image of the orphanage came in seeing a pile of mattresses stacked in a corner. The mattresses were only about one-inch in thickness. The smell coming from the mattresses was overwhelming. Jen would later learn the mattresses were 17–47 years old and the 700 children growing up in Moldova’s largest orphanage had only 430 beds and mattresses to share—meaning many children slept two-to-a-bed.
Jen’s heart grew heavier as she sat with the children on their beds each day. Their exhausted metal beds were only the size of a cot. The tired metal springs were sprung and almost every bed sagged in the middle, making it much like a metal hammock. Many children did not even have mattresses and used old wool blankets as a barrier to the harsh metal springs.
Throughout the week, Jen prayed earnestly as she sought to understand what she felt God was asking of her. One evening, during the team’s prayer time, someone prayed for the children to have “sweet sleep” and Jen began to cry. She sensed God confirm a call in her life to somehow work to provide for this specific need of the children she had fallen in love with during the week. In her own prayer time that evening, God brought those words back to her as He continued to affirm His intentions for His children to sleep sweetly on mattresses and beds that would no longer harm them.
On the plane home, Jen decided to read some scripture. She reached for her Bible and opened right to Proverbs, where one particular verse seemed to “jump” off the page. The verse was Proverbs 3:24: “When you lie down you will not be afraid; when you lie down your sleep will be sweet.”
Once back in Nashville, Jen began sharing her vision of “a bed for every head” and immediately received Sweet Sleep’s first donation.
The rest of the story is ministry."

Something as simple as a clean mattress can protect children from a myriad of issues. When children sleep on soiled beds, paper thin mats, or cold, hard floors they are more susceptible to biting insects and disease. The statistics are staggering:

  • 1 in 5 of all childhood deaths is caused from malaria. 90% of these children are in Africa alone.
  • A sagging or misshapen mattress may add tension to a child’s joints because their bodies rest on the mattress for hours at a time. Even if a child sleeps well on a bad mattress, these injuries to their bodies only make them weaker.
  • Old mattresses or scraps of foam are breeding grounds for bed bugs and allergens that contribute to startling increases in respiratory diseases, including asthma as well as rhinitis, eczema and bed bug bites.
  • When children continuously do not get enough sleep it affects their health, makes them tired during the day, hinders their ability to do well at school and leaves them more prone to disease.

 Sweet Sleep's provision of mosquito nets brings peace and security to children who are so afraid of contracting malaria.

How you can be involved...

Contact Sweet Sleep to arrange a trip for your family or group.

Take a look at the options for giving. We are always looking for creative ways to help our boys be "others minded". The $8 and $10 options seem like perfect opportunities for children to purchase gifts with their own money for these precious children for Thanksgiving or Christmas gifts.
  • $8 provides a mosquito net to orphans in Africa or Haiti.
  • $10 provides a Bible to an orphan in his or her language.
  • $50 provides a bed and bedding for orphan resettlement kits in northern Uganda.
  • $125 provides a healthy, comfortable new Sweet Sleep bed for a child in Africa.
  • $167 provides a complete Sweet Sleep bed for an orphan in Haiti.
  • $200 provides a comfy Sweet Sleep bed for a Moldovan orphan.
Sign up to be a part of the prayer team or to receive monthly news letters.

 100% of the profits from the Sweet Sleep store go to provide beds,

Sunday, September 2, 2012

So, while we are talking about Christmas...

When I can, I love to get my Christmas shopping finished early. It makes the season much merrier, doesn't it? The Internet has helped with that. The Internet has also helped with our family's goal of purchasing dual purpose Christmas gifts whenever we can. The first purpose in our gift giving is to share love with the people we love, of course. The second purpose is to fight injustice against the people God loves.

I know so many of you have those same desires for your gift giving. So, whenever you decide to do your shopping, early September or late November, I hope you will keep these places that fight against trafficking, poverty, and many other injustices committed against the poor on your list of places to shop.

Does your family have a Christmas Eve PJ tradition? How about a pair of these for mom. They are beautiful and every purchase fights human trafficking. Check out their clearance page for fantastic deals!


Each week these limited edition t-shirts bring attention and a big check to organizations that fight injustice. Stock up on a few for your t-shirt wearing friends and families. They have distinct designs for men and women with unique styles like the racer back tank top and the flowy raglan shirt for women, hoodies, and tote bags.  Here are a few examples of their products, but remember the design and organization change weekly!

  Tote Bag  Mens Crew Neck         Mens HoodieWomens Flowy Raglan

Trade As One

As a child, each year my mom and dad would give my brothers and me a new Christmas ornament as a Christmas gift. We have continued that tradition with our boys. Pulling out the ornament box is one of my favorite nights of the Christmas season.  For the last two years I have purchased my ornaments for the boys and Todd through Trade As One.
Here are a few cute ones currently available:
Newspaper Hearts Bead & Wire Seahorse
Along with the ornaments, Trade As One carries a bunch of other fun gift items as well.

One World

One World, a compassionate fair trade organization, has a wide variety of perfect gift items. Watering cans, aprons, jewelry, food items, stationary, puzzles, and fabulous home decor.

The hand carved gourds, including beautiful nativity displays and ornaments,  made by merchants from Peru, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Bolivia are so beautiful and delicate.  From merchants in India, One World also features many unique metal pieces. The prices are surprisingly reasonable (handmade ornaments starting at $3.50). This would be a great site to visit to locate the perfect hostess gift for all those holiday parties.

3-Piece Gourd Nativity  Crafted by Artisans in Peru  Measures 3-1/2” highEtched & Painted Butterfly Gourd Ornaments from Peru  Measure 2-1/2” high x 2-3/4” diameter



Story Company 

Recognizing skilled artisans worldwide, empowering those artisans to succeed, bridging the gap between the artisan and the customer, and eliminating the divide between the artisan and the customer are the steps Story Company is taking to change stories around the world.

Their new fall line was just introduced and features some pretty amazing products.

Azizi Deep Tray

Timbali Hobo Bag



Mudlove now has a "make your own" option for their MudLove bands. That means you can personalize your band with any word you choose. These would be great of stocking stuffers, teacher gifts, kid gifts, or friend gifts. You can add a meaningful word, date, name, team- you name it, you can add it!

mud love bracelets

Mudlove also carries necklaces, magnets and t-shirts. Five dollars from every purchase goes to provide clean water in Africa.


Light Gives Heat 

Seeing "Africa rebuilt and renewed from the inside out to see people in the West living with Hope" is the vision of Light Gives Heat. LGH has four unique collections. My favorite item is the featured SUUBI D.I.Y Kit. The kit includes:

* SUUBI beads of your color of choice- Currently LGH has 8 color options from which to choose.
*Necklace clasp
*Approximately 52" of line
*D.I.Y instructions

These would be a fantastic gift for all the crafters in your life!


They have several unique necklaces and purses to choose from as well.
BlossomPatchwork Bag

Shona- Crafts from the Congo

One of my favorite things is when friends shoot me an email or somehow share with me about about injustice fighting organizations that might be great for this blog! It really makes me so happy to know when others share this passion. This morning my friend Julie told me about Shona. Talk about perfect timing!

Here is a little about Shona-Crafts from the Congo in their own words: 
We are disabled craftspeople in Eastern Congo. We live in one of the most difficult regions of the world. We work in the face of overwhelming obstacles. Each item we sew is our claim to a better world. A world where we are seen not only for the challenges we face but for the beauty we create."

The artisans of Shona receive 100% of the profit. Aprons, bookmarks (this would be a perfect stocking stuffer), table runners, throw pillows, purses, and more. Here are just a few examples of their beautiful work:

Change Purses: Set of 4Throw Pillow Cover: Blue Sky
Apron: Blue SkySolange mini-doll: pre-order

Feeling adventurous?  Shona has a "grab bag". For only $20 you will receive a collection of 4 unique SHONA bags and purses.  Same great SHONA quality, same artisan postcard, but the colors and styles will be a surprise. These would be fantastic gifts for teens!

Avodah Coffee

Avodah is a Hebrew word that describes action that is simultaneously work, worship and service. Jordan and Jessica started their family run company with the desire to live avodah lifestyle. Because of that desire, a percentage of the profits of each coffee purchase go to support the work of NURU, Freeset, Samaritan's Purse and Compassion International.

Avodah Coffee offers single orgin coffees and original blends with fun names like:

Meet DeadlineSTP
And for the true coffee lovers, Avodah even has a "create your own blend" option!

The Christmas season is not complete without great coffee to share with friends and family. Check them out!

Every purchase makes a difference! 
Happy shopping!