The little girl is my great grandma! Circa 1890
I hold my Danish and Lithuanian immigrant ancestors in hero status because I'm privileged to know a little of their stories of coming to America in 1860 and 1903, and what they left behind in the old country.
I know my great, great grandma Rasmussen (pictured above) was uncomfortable speaking English because she wasn't familiar with the language and didn't want to be laughed at.
I know that great, great grandpa Rasmussen didn't believe his children when they told him about skunks, until one day out in the field he tried to catch a kitty. "They convinced him," cousin Tina wrote!
I know the names of all of my great, great grandparents without having to think about it. I know the names of great, great aunts, uncles and distant cousins. I know family history and stories of how my grandparents met.
It's a blessing to know where, and who, I came from - to know all that makes up who I am today.
The sad part is there are 153 million children today who will never know these kinds of names or stories because they are orphans.
This past August I travelled to Franklin, TN for a writers conference. While there I was privileged to have lunch with Joshua Becker from Becoming Minimalist.
He told us about a new project he's been working on that will change the way we care for orphans, and will officially launch this Sunday, November 1.
Joshua has a dream to see orphans living in a family environment as opposed to an institutionalized orphanage. They will experience a home with 7 to 9 other kids with two adults in each home as parental figures to mimic a family. This will help the kids experience community and a loving environment.
The Hope Effect
Having read Joshua's blog for awhile now, I've been motivated to eliminate a lot of stuff from my home - I’ve given lots away. I've thought carefully about spending money and whether or not I really need an item that has caught my eye. I don't want to trade stuff for stuff - I want to trade stuff for savings, or time, or relationships. [Read more about that here.]
As Christmas is drawing close - only 56 days away - I'm already feeling the stress of having more stuff and clutter coming into my home. I'm also feeling the stress of buying more stuff and clutter to give to other people.
As a way to eliminate some of that stress, I'm supporting The Hope Effect, and I'm asking you to help me.
How You Can Help
I've set up a fundraising page - Be Real's Christmas for The Hope Effect - with a goal of raising $1200! Yikes! That's a stretch for my little community of you faithful readers and friends, but I believe we can do it. Whatever you can do to help would be awesome, whether it's $5 or $500 or something in-between. You decide. My campaign runs through December 31 of this year.
I know you may already have other organizations you support this time of year and I don't want to take their place. No prob, bob! But then could you help raise awareness for The Hope Effect by sending a tweet or posting on Facebook with the link: http://my.hopeeffect.com/kathyfannon You never know who among your friends can help!
Christmas is all about family - and what could be better than helping orphans experience family? I'd rather have that than more stuff. And somebody you will never meet thanks you for a piece of your Christmas!
Again, you can donate by clicking here: Be Real's Christmas for The Hope Effect
Here are a few more places you can learn about The Hope Effect:
Please share this post with your social media network and let's help the orphans experience family!