The Rose That Grew From Concrete

$400 of Free Clothes from Panache Box – A Giveaway

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We have such a cool giveaway for you today.

Panache Box offers stylish kids clothing from around the world, delivered right to your doorstep. The clothing is selected by Panache Box professionals to meet their high quality standards and European sensible style.

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With Panache Box you receive ten pieces of clothing for one flat rate per season.

You can either have Panache Box customize a box for you or you can build your own box using their system.

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What You Could Win:

Panache Box is giving away one of their personally customized boxes worth $400!

meme1Get Yours Now

The fall season for Panache Box runs during the month of August. So, if you want your fall box, order now and use code BABYSITTER for $50 off a box! If you miss the cut-off, box building won’t be open again until the winter season.

Connect with Panache Box

Check out their instagram: http://instagram.com/panachebox

Videos on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/panachebox

Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/PanacheBox

 

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Racism: Our Progress and Our Problems

 

“As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation — either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.”

                         -Martin Luther King Jr.

This is a day to reflect on how much progress we’ve made since the days of segregation and how much farther we have to go to  fight racism.

 

This past week, I’ve gone back through some things being managed on my page. It was brought to my attention that someone tried to report a photo of Samuel and me:


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At first unsure what it was, I discovered this person probably either 1. tried to report it to Facebook to get it removed and accidentally used the feature that contacts the owner first without knowledge I would see it. or 2. Wanted to let me know he found this photo inappropriate, and in a sense, bully me.

 

I wasn’t going to make any assumptions as to why this person disliked this photo so much. Maybe it was a mistake, maybe they hated the quote, or there was the extremely upsetting possibility it was the fact that Samuel and I have different skin tones.

 

Then I was directed to the comments on the photo:

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(There were more comments made by this person, but they were upsetting and I don’t think necessary for this story. We have since removed all comments from this person to protect their identity.)

 

It is clear from the comments that the reason this photo was reported was because of racism.

 

Brian and I have taken note the past few months regarding what we’ve observed. Racism is still active in our country. It is everywhere. Thanks to people taking a stand for intolerance, like Dr. King, we have seen policies change and people not only demanding each human is equal, but believing it. This education of many should be celebrated, because it is truth. Nevertheless, racism has not been eradicated, especially in more diverse areas like Los Angeles, far from it! What I’ve noticed is that with more and more people taking a stand for intolerance, the volume has been turned down, but that doesn’t mean it has been turned off. Racism is insidiously incorporated into daily life. This is unnerving, because subtle forms of racism can sometimes be even more damaging than loud rants by people clearly viewed by society as racist.

 

bf6However, the volume stays on a high level on the internet. Cyber bullying, especially in regards to race, seems to be flourishing. We have provided the intolerant and angry with an open forum to the world to freely express their hate anonymously and without consequence. We are allowing hate speech. I understand the importance of our First Ammendment, but I also believe it is being abused, and this is heartbreaking.

Should we be demanding social media sites and online news publications monitor their comments and have restrictions? I used to say no, there shouldn’t be restrictions. When the Pathways cover came out and I saw the “N-word” being used to describe Samuel, my child, in hundreds of comments on major news blogs and websites. I started realizing that this has nothing to do with free speech anymore. This is about harassing and belittling human beings, taking away their worth through words.bf7

Why does hate speech matter? To put it into perspective, when I hear or see racial slurs, especially  the “N-word”, I think of Emmett Till, and the open casket his mother made sure to have at his funeral so the world could see what racism and intolerance had done to her child. I think of how Emmett became the representation of so many others murdered by hate, and how for so many of them that was the last word on earth they heard. That ugly, ugly word, and what it supports. It needs to stop.

 

 

 

 

Today deserves to be a celebration, but I also believe today should inspire even greater progress.

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over 8,000 people will receive access to safe drinking water for the first time – thanks to you

Thanks to everyone reading, this is the message I am able to deliver to you:

By the end of this week, Argisa, Ethiopia will have clean water!

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Most of you know that you all raised, over the course of one week, the money we needed for our first phase of the Ethiopia project. That, in and of itself, was a miracle.

Jack, from Waves for Water, boarded a plan on December 12, and I have just been informed he has landed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Jack will be bringing 80 Sawyer filters to the rural village of Argisa, Ethiopia on Lake Awassa. This is where Sister Donna Frances has been living for the past decade. She lives in an area with an extremely high malaria rate, flooding, famine, and drought and is committed to living with the people without bringing in too much western influence.

Water has been a huge stress on Sister, but no longer. Everyone in the village will now have an overabundance of safe drinking water.

I was excited to also hear from Sister Donna today. I had written her quickly to let her know Jack was on his way, and was worried she would not receive my email before he arrived.

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What I love about this letter is how genuinely surprised and excited she is by all the different kind of cloth diapers that the village received from you guys:

“Hi Jamie, wow, I just arrived in Awassa and read your Email.  Today is the 12th of December, so they will arrive tomorrow. WOW, really exciting…Do you have a phone number for them?  I will wait for them here in Awassa, they will arrive on which day do you know?  Exciting, exciting.

Also 4 packages of diapers came; two full of colorful snap type diapers, and a box full of new Gerber prefold diapers, 5 packages… OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH what a god send, and there was a full box of diaper pins with them.  Lots of thick folded liners to go in the snap pants, soakers of knit wear, and just about all one could imagine under the rainbow.”
Loving thanks for helping me in Gods work with the children,
Sr Donna

We started this in October. It is now December, and in that time frame you all have single-handedly made a tremendous impact in a small village thousands of miles away from where most of you call home. Instead of water that brings death, you have provided water that gives life. You have also met the needs of the area with cloth diapers! While we have a long-term goal of bringing out an EC expert (still need to find someone willing to come with us in March), for now you are meeting the immediate need with hygiene and comfort.

Way to go, guys! I can’t wait to update you more with Jack’s pictures!

Waterlink Africa: Water Changes Everything

Clean Water Projects Image 2Did 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 donation has the potential to give 20,000 people access to clean water. Every dollar counts.

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Christmas Stocking Project: Use Your Stockings for Good

stocking market clean water projects

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

During the holiday season, there’s a lot of tradition in exchanging presents. We want to embrace our traditions and also be able to give back. Here’s our idea: instead of stocking stuffers, let’s put every dollar that would go towards those small gifts towards clean water for our friends in Africa. $10 that would have been spent on stocking stuffers could give life-altering water to ten people.

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. Also: 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.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. There are some children who walk daily to get water are unable to attend school, and adults are unable to put hours into a paying vocation. 

You can help!
This Christmas, we can save one child, mother, brother, father or sister by donating as little as one dollar. 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.

Your donation is going directly to our March project to bring clean water to a rural area is Southern Ethiopia, called Argisa. We are in close communication with Sister Donna Francis who has been living in the area for many years and has provided empowerment and housing for young girls in the area called Heartland. Recently, the situation has become dire and time is of the essence. Here is one of her last messages to us:

We have had typhoid repeatedly during the last 2 1/2 months, Masame and I, and the kids at Heartland, also repeated malaria caught in our livers.  Filters are a hope…but we haven’t been able to get them implemented yet.  We could use 5 at Heartland to meet the use for kitchen and drinking, with 30 kids coming, it would be good!!  The villagers are in a terrible need as we are the people who live on the lake shore.  The town where we go to get pipe water, treated by the government, is 2 km away, and we go when it is running to get drinking water.  This source was turned off for 2 months last year when the government demanded taxes for the water.  The town refused, and the water was stopped, and the people told to drink the lake!  We were sending donkey carts round trip over 50 km to get good water for drinking, and at 10 times the price!”

One dollar brings clean water to one person for over a decade. No amount is too small, and it will make a difference! We do ask for a minimum of $10 to receive a gift from Africa in return. However, if you even have 50 cents to give, it will assist  this project insurmountably. Please click below to donate:

 

 




 

 

 

What color is Zoe?

This is a guest post for iamnothebabysitter.com. We encourage voices of all mothers on the topics discussed on this blog. The views and opinions may or may not be those of iamnothebabysitter.com, but we encourage and welcome respectful debate and the opinions of all mothers.

Those eyes

I haven’t really talked about this with a whole lot of people.  In fact, mostly just my husband.  When we first started dating in 2004, I was 23 and optimistic; yet, very aware that transracial relationships weren’t that common, especially where we lived in upstate NY.  Walking hand-in-hand in the mall, I was always on the lookout to see if people were staring at us.  Now 8 years later and living in Los Angeles, that just seems funny.  But back then I was also more self-conscious than I am now.  I’ve come a long way… or so I thought.

When I was pregnant, I couldn’t help but wonder what shade my baby would be.  I have very fair skin – my husband says I’m translucent.  His skin is medium brown like milk chocolate.  Would my baby be somewhere in between?  Fun to think about, except I worried if people would wonder if she was mine.  Then I felt bad about it – who cares what people think?  Maybe I’m just a little too sensitive.  But I couldn’t shake it.  A while ago, I read an article in a magazine about a mom who was mistaken for the babysitter on a regular basis.  Would that happen to me?

Fast forward to her birth- after her first breath, the greyish blue tint left and we could see that she was as light as me.  Her skin color didn’t look like she was mixed race at all.  You could definitely tell that she shared physical features with my husband, but not from her shading.  Our friends who visited us at the hospital teased by asking if there was something I needed to tell them.  I honestly wasn’t expecting this scenario.  In my naivety, I didn’t know that mixed babies could be this light.  I mean, look at Seal and Heidi Klum’s kids.  Granted Seal is a lot darker than my husband.  I, at least, thought her skin would be darker than mine.  Early on my husband would comment that she looked darker that day – then the next he said she was as white as me again.  We even asked the doctor if her skin would change.  He said by 9 months her eyes, skin, and hair would be pretty much set.

Gotta protect that fair skin

I recently asked my husband if when he takes Zoe places without me, does he wonder if people question whether Zoe is his.  He said it crossed his mind, but he doesn’t worry about it like I did.  Many people have told us that she looks like both of us.  No one has really said anything out loud about her color.  Is it taboo?  I guess… I probably wouldn’t bring it up if it was someone else’s baby.  But I have made comments to people about Zoe’s skin.  I have mentioned that I thought she would be darker.  I just haven’t told anyone how much I thought about it before.

Big Z and little Z

My husband and I discuss what it’s going to be like for Zoe.  By the time she’s in school, will kids ask about her parents and what color she is?  If we’re still in LA, I’m sure it won’t be an issue.  But what if we were still in Atlanta?  What types of people will she date?  Will she even notice color?

My hope is that one day, as bi-racial marriage rates continue to grow, mixed kids won’t even have to think about or deal with any color issues.  I know racism still exists – thankfully, it has not affected us.  A long time ago, before I was even dating my husband, a member of my family made a comment about mixed babies that I can’t forget.  It bothered me then and still does a little.  Neither of us could have guessed my future.  I doubt that family member even remembers the comment.  You never know the impact and power your words have to help or harm.

Through exposure and experience people’s hearts and minds can soften.  Our society has come a long way.  I mean – we have a President that’s mixed!  I am continuously learning to pay attention to much more than just the color of someone’s skin.  I thought I was “advanced” because I am a social worker.  Life is a better teacher.  I rarely catch myself worrying anymore – I am too overwhelmed with the love and joy I feel when I look at my husband and daughter.

She looks a little darker than me here
at about 2 weeks old

This guest post was submitted by Jennifer at New Mom, New City. In the last few years she got married; moved to Atlanta; had a baby; and then moved to Los Angeles because her husband landed a job in the film industry.  She’s super proud of him and totally excited to live in such a cool city.

“Beige and Brown”

This is Samuel

This is Aram

Samuel and Aram are brothers

They love each other

They act the same

They play the same

They find the same things funny

They are being raised in the same environment

They have the same family, who love them both dearly

But one of the boys will get treated differently by society

Judgements will be passed

People may ignore him

People may harass him

People may be afraid of him

People may want to hurt him

All because he has a little more melanin in his skin than his brother.

Something so silly as a biological function, to protect our skin from the sun, has been the focus of pure evil in our cultural history.

Biologically speaking, race is non-existent. Culturally, race is very real…

Racism is very real.

My dilemma is explaining this to my children. It is so important to address it, even at this young age.

Clearly, there should be age-appropriate language and examples used, but truth is truth no matter how sugar coated it is, and the truth is ugly.

What is vital for our children’s future is that they feel our justice system is color blind (but is it?); it will be served regardless of what skin color they have (will it?).

Time to call out injustice when we see it.

We need to press for change now.

The comfort of being raised up and protected in a community is vitally important, and will affect the entire country (whatever your epidermal hue) in a positive way.

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