Tag Archives: global community

Weekly $5 Challenge: The Red Fred Project

CTA1 Our weekly challenge to give up a fancy cup of coffee or a weekend beer and use the money in an unusual and worthwhile way.

(We do the research for you,  and as a group we make a difference.)

This week we bring you The Red Fred Project:


The Red Fred Project is a collaborative, story-making endeavor to publish 50 books created by 50 children with critical illnesses across the 50 states.

The idea is to allow these beautiful and creative children to be able to allow their imagination to go wild and come up with a story that will be created into a book by a group of professionals. The professionals are simply there to work for their child who is by all means the creative boss.


Many of these children have medical conditions that will not allow them the same active lifestyle as other children, and in some cases the children are not expected to have a regular life expectancy due to their condition, but the challenges they have faced in their young lives have made them so full of wisdom, so thoughtful and discerning; they have something to say. We need to allow them to express their message, and I think sometimes the most important lessons are told by children. That is why this project is not only for the child, but allows those lessons and their wisdom to be shared with others.


The book will do more than that for the family, though. The book royalties will be a way to help parents pay steep medical bills, as all proceeds go straight to them.

Donate your $5 here.

Pledges of $5 will get you:

THE UNDER TWIN: a hand-on-the-heart and kiss-in-the-wind thank you, as we say your name aloud and list you on our website thank you page! YOU ARE WONDERFUL!


Definitely check out the short video below:

Water Changes Everything


Meeting with the Minister of Water. -Photo by Lori Dorman

On our final day at the Aregash Lodge in Ethiopia, the owner came over and said, “God works in mysterious ways… The Water Minister of Ethiopia surprised me with a visit today. He came all the way from Addis Ababa.”


Water Demonstration. -Photo by Lori Dorman

We held an impromptu meeting at the lodge where the minister and his associates sat and watched a filter demonstration. This was the first time he had seen such technology and was in awe. He showed us the chlorine tablets they had been using and lamented about the issues he had with them.


Meeting with Minister of Water, Awassa. -Photo by Lori Dorman

He then connected us with the local minister of water for Awassa, where we came up with a solution for a village in the surrounding area that need clean water desperately.


Water Demonstration in Awassa. -Photo by Lori Dorman

This community was in the area we heard had airborne diseases, and there happened to be quite a severe sandstorm the day we arrived to implement the filters. The weather was extreme, it was a totally different feeling from the other implementations. The crowd looked on interested, but not very happy.


Rural Sidama. -Photo by Lori Dorman

This was probably the worst well we had seen. The water level had decreased a lot and the options were uncovered stagnant water in the dry sandy area. The people complained of the taste and how they were getting sick. This was the first time where we visited a location where the people looked hopeless. This was because they had reached such dire states, and the community had become somber.


-Photo by Lori Dorman

As soon as the water was filtered, we began handing it out to the children who were severely dehydrated. They all patiently waited their turn, but as soon as they were handed the water and reassured there was more where that came from, they became to drink with such fervor that clear drips of water were falling down their their faces as the women of the community looked on with intense satisfaction.


-Photo by Lori Dorman


-Photo by Lori Dorman

We were all surprised how quickly the mood changed. There were cheers, smiles and a swarm of people around the filters learning how to use and clean them properly.


-Photo by Lori Dorman


-Photo by Lori Dorman

The leader of the community left us with these words:

“This changes everything.”

Learn more about why water matters and how you can help by visiting WavesforWater.org

Why We Should Embrace the “Extreme Parenting” title


Probably before, but ever since Time Magazine’s “Mom Enough” cover came out, people have been labeling parenting practices that are similar to or in alignment with “attachment parenting” as extreme. Most of us laughed it off because there was a clear disconnect between what the families’ lives were actually like in these “extreme parenting” scenarios and what society thought went on in their homes. It was (and still is) such a foreign concept to so many Americans, that the general public can only make an assumption based off how it is portrayed by journalists and other media who are ignorant on the topic. So, as “AP parents” most of us have let it all go without further explanation.

However, I’m starting to change my mind about the title. I don’t think it has to be seen as negative.


Confusion with terms given by the media

One of my friends from the Ventura County Nursing Mother’s group made a comment about the “extreme parenting” title we had just received.

She questioned why it was wrong. “Maybe being extreme isn’t so bad. Our country loves ‘extreme sports’ and considers it heroic when one pushes boundaries and labels it ‘extreme’ in a positive way.”

I had always taken the label of “extreme parenting” from the media as a similar label they give to groups like “Muslim extremists” (essentially a risk to society). But it dawned on me, “Muslim extremists” aren’t really Muslim. Just as Westboro Baptist Church members aren’t really Christian. The media’s impression of attachment parenting – “breastfeeding children until they are teenagers” or “physically forcing unwilling children to co-sleep for the mother’s own narcissistic fulfillment” (again, dad is never blamed or mentioned, because in media defined AP, he doesn’t exist except to be the subservient member of the household). Anyway, the media’s portrayal of “extreme parenting” – that’s not parenting, I would say that meets the definition of abuse.

As any “AP” parent knows, the misinformed public portrayal of “extreme AP parenting” is the antithesis to how AP families are actually raising their children.


A history of embracing unflattering labels

The word “christian” had an unfavorable start. In 45 CE, the followers of Jesus were very present in Antioch. During this time, people in opposition or who were not followers of “the Way” used the Greek word Christianos (Christian) to describe Christians (or followers of Christ). “ianos” was used to describe a slave of the name connected with it.

The label was attempting to be derogatory, but the people following “the Way” ended up using the word to describe themselves because they would like to emulate their true master (but by no means considered themselves a slave to Christ). When followers of Jesus embraced the term “Christian”, the label lost its power to be derogatory.


What is positive about being an extreme parent?

Being an extremist isn’t wrong when spoken about in the right context.

Martin Luther King. Jr once said, “The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be… The nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.”

If we are to truly embrace a label that was inappropriately given to us by a misinformed society, then we should try to embrace and live up to what could be the positive ideal for the term.

As extreme parents (and this includes almost all parents, and definitely surpasses the AP label) we are extreme because:

  • We fight against social constructs that attempt to shame us into one-size-fits-all parenting.
  • We parent without apology.
  • We support the right to parent in all healthy ways that differ from our own style of parenting.
  • We encourage creativity and individuality of our children and one another.
  • We defy social constructs by parenting for not only our child’s individual needs, but the unique needs of our family as a whole.
  • We see how parenting to the best of our ability touches on all human rights, not just the human rights issues we encounter in parenting.
  • We listen to criticism with a hearing ear, and sift through ignorance and productive criticism while doing our best to not take it personally.
  • We understand that parenting is personal, unique, and evolving.
  • We embrace and accept the parenting practices of all cultures, while not glorifying or vilifying any particular culture or region.
  • With respect, we observe and engage with our global community. We learn from one another and change to evolve our parenting styles and practices into the best it can be from the knowledge we have gathered from past and present. We understand that by doing this, we are setting the foundation for our own children to improve on parenting by taking from us, and also learning from one another.

If you look to our current trends and outlook on parenting, the above ideas are most certainly extreme.

You Have Given a Miracle This Christmas- Clean Water

We had the Waves for Awassa Event in Los Angeles on World AIDS Day. (December 1)

After water filter Demo- Which one would you rather drink?

Jack, from Waves for Water, gave a water demonstration and showed videos of what can happen to a community when it’s given what every human needs access to- clean water.

When he was done speaking, a couple who attended (fellow adoptive parents, but that is all I will say so that they can remain anonymous) asked us when we were planning on going.

“March at the latest.” I replied.

Jack jumped in to say, “We will go tomorrow if we raise the funds. It is like saying, ‘Help, my house is on fire!’ and you have the resources to put it out. You wouldn’t wait around to help your neighbor in peril.”

His response was met with, “Then, if you raise $5000 we will match it.”

It was met with an outpouring of applause. The woman replied with, “Well, it needs to be done.”

This was the first time I had met this couple, they came as guests of two of our best friends. What I found so moving about their giving was that it came through as genuine. Their giving wasn’t about themselves or the recognition; it was about meeting a need. They knew it had to be done and they were doing it. Nothing more, nothing less. And by matching the donation, it gave incentive for others to give.

Which brings me to…. I have great news for everyone!

Stocking Market and the donations that have come in from Fayye Foundation plus the matched funds by the couple have given us the enough funds to allow Jack to travel alone to deliver filters to Ethiopia on Wednesday! 

That means you all have stepped up to deliver life-saving water within a week of announcing it! YOU did this!

We will also be going back for a larger water mission in March, but this will (as Jack says it) “put out the fire” for the area of Argisa, where people are losing their lives to dirty water.

More good news:

Everyone who donated to Stocking Market should receive their gift from Ethiopia (God willing) BEFORE Christmas. Jack will be going to collect each handmade item during his filter mission. If you want to participate click here.

H2OPE For Ethiopia | Clean Water Project

As most of you know, we are working with Waves for Water on a clean water project to bring rural Argisa, Ethiopia much needed filters to create access to safe drinking water. We were recently updated on the severity of the water related diseases of the area. What we were told has made us realize that time is of the essence. We are now trying to bring 100 filters to the area as soon as possible to prevent any more senseless deaths from water borne illnesses. 

What we are doing: 

I wanted to give a huge thank you to Laura Greene of Likely Lola Designs for coming up with such a fun image to attach to this project.

Thank you to everyone on the I Am Not the Babysitter Facebook Page for collectively working on the name! I hope you all realize this has become a community project. Knowing we are not alone is keeping the momentum going. I hope you feel as connected with everything we are doing as I do, because we truly could not do this without all of your support and partnership.

Here is the image:


If you want to add this to a blog post or the sidebar of your site to help us fundraise, simply copy the link below:




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Celebrating Christmas Without Presents



This year we are starting the tradition of forgoing traditional Christmas presents. As extreme as it may sound for some, we feel it is absolutely right for our family.


Christmas 2011


For me, all of the excitement leading up to Christmas Day is what I love the most.

First, we have Halloween, which, for us, ends up being more about buying pumpkins and dressing up than anything else. It’s a costume party to kick off the season: fun.


Second is Thanksgiving. This always has been my least favorite holiday, but I’ve learned to appreciate it for what it is… The month of November makes me think of rustic farms, fall harvests, fresh apple cider, and the smell of cinnamon and pumpkin pie.


All other holidays lead up to the big event – Christmas. I go into full nostalgia and tradition mode during this time. Even getting a holiday themed coffee is a big deal for me. I love the food, the smells, family reuniting, and the spirit of the season.


The problem is when Christmas Day comes.  We have presents piled high in anticipation of Christmas morning. It takes a few hours to open them. Sometimes it is stressful occasion, sometimes it is euphoric, but it only takes a few hours and then the holiday crash hits. It’s over. There is some sort of Christmas hangover mixed with depression (and for some people major debt) that sinks in once everything is over.


As Christians, we are aware that we are missing the entire point of the celebration. To me, Easter has always been a more important holiday (faith-wise) than Christmas, so I guess that was my reasoning behind partaking in all of the gluttony.


I spoke to my family about this and everyone agreed how we were celebrating hasn’t felt right in awhile. We’ve decided this year we will be opting out of presents for each other. Not only is it unnecessary, we want to teach our children (who are given more than needed throughout the year, but especially on this day) that this day is not about them, solely.



But, I don’t think the secular traditions I’m enjoying are the part that really needs to be worked on. It’s the day of Christmas itself. We have gotten so lost in giving within our protected circle of friends and family that I feel we’ve lost the intrinsic meaning of this entire season. I don’t even mean celebrating the birth of Jesus (which most theologians believe was actually in mid-late spring). I am speaking more about what the birth represents. It is everything Jesus had taught us from the time he was born until he was crucified. It is community and fellowship with one another and celebrating the faithfulness of God. It is true global community and human redemption.


There is personal joy in this day that should never be condemned, but it is about coming together in full community with others. I would even argue it is about giving, because of the self-righteous connotation the word holds for me, personally. It’s about loving one another. It is reciprocal. We are blessed to give and to receive. Our culture has taught us “it is better to give than to receive,” but I feel those words teach subtly that we do not need to rely on one another if we are (by Western standards) successful in life, but we should give and feel good about ourselves. To me, the idea behind “it is better to give than to receive” perpetuates the myth we should all have a lack of dependence on human beings, and also gives the impression of a self-importance that detracts from everything good about true philanthropy (which by true root definition means to love human beings).


Now that we have decided to not exchange presents this year, we are taking the next step to try to figure out what the day will hold for us. Since we are preaching about community, that is exactly what we are going to do: spend time with others out of our comfortable social circle of friends and family. We have to decide exactly where and what we will be doing. This is not a charity case, we don’t believe in that. We are going into the world to be a part of it.


I remember my dad (who learned this phrase from his dad) would see someone walking past us who may have had a more difficult life than we were experiencing and he would say, “By the grace of God, there goes I.” It always stuck with me because the phrase is rooted in empathy.  We need to realize that we are connected with everyone through global community. Strangers should be viewed as brothers, sisters, friends, neighbors…we are connected. Human problems are our problems. When someone needs uplifting, as their friend, we uplift them. Period. This is not about throwing some money at a “problem” or donating your time serving soup so you can feel good about yourself. 


No, this is about building lasting relationships with people who are sharing this time on this planet with us, realizing that we are connected, and that we could easily be in their place. How would we want to be treated? I would want people who genuinely cared about me helping empower and encourage me so my life could be uplifted to the place where I am living the best I can for who I am. Once we start valuing ourselves and valuing the people around us in the same way, we will all thrive.



Waves For Awassa Los Angeles Dinner

If you’re in the L.A . area we would love for you to come to our Waves for Awassa dinner on December 1, 2012 (World AIDS Day):

Awassa Children's Project image

Awassa Children’s Project & Waves for Water 

are joining together to launch the ‘Waves for Awassa’ project

Join us for a fun and inspirational dinner …

dine on the award winning cuisine prepared personally by Genet,

drink honey wine, Ethiopian beer and more…

Special guest and board member Cara Houck

will speak about the thriving Awassa Children’s Center 

and the future of the Awassa Children’s Project

The inspirational Jon Rose, founder of Waves for Water,

will talk about his organization and the plans

to get clean water to the Awassa community

This is a an event for people who are interested in getting involved with our projects. We want this dinner to be intimate, so we are capping it at 50 people. This is a great time to meet with the heads of the organizations and find out more about what each nonprofit is working on.

For more information or to reserve your seat please click here.


Phase 2 of Our Clean Water Project: Introducing- Waterlink Africa

Did you know? $1 can give clean water to one person for over a decade.

Why is water life-altering?

  1. Unsterile water is the number two killer amongst children. Around the world, fetching water is a woman’s task. Thus, one of the most crucial health issues for women in Africa is the clean water shortage. 1 in 5 children worldwide dies of a water-related disease.
  2. Water is a women’s issue. In order to get access to clean water, women and girls must carry up to 50lbs of water every day over typically 5 miles or more. Carrying this water has shown to stunt growth in young girls which has contributed to the extremely high maternal mortality rate in these areas, but girls and women also face dangers along their way to a water source.
  3. Water improves education and economy. Education has been proven to be the greatest way to improve a community. When kids get sick from water-borne diseases, they can’t attend classes – then fall behind, then drop out. Most students suffer from severe dehydration because they try to drink as little bad water as possible. When the brain is dehydrated, it has a very hard time focusing on tasks such as school work, and chances of success are greatly diminished. There are some children who walk daily to get water and are unable to attend school, and the adults are unable to put hours into a paying vocation. When children have the opportunity to be educated, they can become problem solving members of the community and have a hope of contributing to their society.

Waterlink Africa

Fayye Foundation has teamed up with Waves for Water to pursue a series of clean water projects throughout Africa. The filters that will be installed use the highest filtration rates available, can provide clean water for an entire village for pennies a day, and have a high flow rate which eliminates the need to store water. The filters are self-sustaining and easy to maintain. If cared for, each $50 filter lasts for many years, providing clean water for up to 100 people a day.

waterlink Africa: a chain of friends, spanning generations, from Africa to America and back to Africa. Donor, healer, helper – each link is necessary. Waterlink Africa delivers solutions from inventors to people in need of safe drinking water in every faraway corner of Africa.

Waves for Water and Fayye Foundation are certain that everyone who lacks clean water deserves to have unlimited access via an endless chain of caring, of which each of us is a single link. Experts are confident that the water crisis will be completely eradicated in our lifetime, but the only way we can do that is by every person in the link working towards this cause.

To donate to our first Waterlink project (Waves for Awassa/Project Ethiopia) you can go here. Your tax-deductible has the potential to give 20,000 people access to clean water. Every dollar counts.



The Grumet family’s clean water comes to us through Mountain Valley Spring Water. We love them because their water comes in eco-friendly non-toxic glass bottles, and because they have sponsored this post with a donation for our clean water project in Ethiopia. The community work that companies do is important, so check out Mountain Valley Spring Water to thank them for supporting our global community!




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