Sunday, May 8, 2011

Somebody's Mama

I have started a "mommy blog" of sorts.  You can find it here.  In honor of Mother's Day, our non-profit, His Healing Helping Hands International Ministries (4 H. I. M.) is launching a project.  Read below for more information about how you can be involved: 

If you are receiving this message, you’ve got a mama.  A lot of you already are mamas, and many of you hope to be one day.  I am excited to announce a new project of 4 H. I. M. called “Somebody’s Mama.”  I hope you’ll want to be a part!

The concept behind the project is this: women all over the world are dealing with complex issues such as lack of education or proper healthcare.  These issues often lead to more complex issues like cyclical poverty and human trafficking.  Anyone who works in the world of humanitarian aid will tell you that the best way to find a solution to these problems is to empower women.  In developing nations, women are marginalized yet remain the backbones of family and community structures.  

With “Somebody’s Mama,” we want:

1) To bring awareness to issues affecting women across the globe.
2) To create a community of people who care deeply about finding real solutions.
3) To turn ideas into action.

Most of you know me well enough to know that I have been involved in worldwide humanitarian work for most of my life.  During this season of my life (the one where I take care of small children full-time), I am not able to actually GO and DO the hands-on work involved in improving the more marginalized communities in the world.  I decided it was better to turn the frustration into inspiration.

Because of my background, I’ve got a lot of connections with non-profits and ministries that are already doing tremendous work both locally and globally.  There will never be a lack of need.

I want to invite you to celebrate Mother’s Day this year by helping Somebody’s Mama.  We (4 H. I. M.) are collaborating with the Bushenyi Alliance for Rural Health & Development (BARHD) to help some mamas in Uganda.

Recently, BARHD built the first maternity ward in Kyeibanga, a village in southwest Uganda.  They are attempting to build latrines and a “placenta pit” for the maternity ward.  We can all appreciate the importance of having sanitary latrines at a hospital, I’m sure, but you may be wondering like I did what a placenta pit is.  In Uganda (and in many places in the world), blood-born diseases exist at staggering, sometimes pandemic, rates.  The pit is quite literally what it sounds like—a pit for the disposal of placentas where the placentas can sanitarily biodegrade.

We can provide this for the women of Uganda for $2,500.

Somebody’s mama will have a bathroom rather than a hole dug in the ground to use after giving birth for $2,500.

I have personally given $250 toward this project, and I urge all of you to think and pray about how you can be involved in the completion of the Placenta Pit Project.

There are 3 ways to give:

  1. Visit  Click on “Help Now.”  Click on “Donate Now.”  Choose “New Donor.”  Fill in the appropriate information.  On the drop down menu labeled “For the benefit of,” choose “Somebody’s Mama.”  (Your information is safe, and no one is going to start spamming you!)
  2. Mail a check to:
4 H. I. M.
2410 W. Memorial Drive, Suite C #133
Oklahoma City, OK 73134

3.  Facebook me, and make a coffee/breakfast/lunch/Jamba/dinner/play date with me, and bring the funds with you!  I am always up for some girl chat and fundraising.

PLEASE let me know if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions.  This project is new, but the problems aren’t.

Thanks in advance for all that we’re going to do together!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Leia J.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Why There Should Be a Dating Site for Houses

If this is your first time to my blog, welcome!  Secondly, you should know that I am slightly consumed right now by my cross-country move.  We are transitioning from Charleston Air Force Base in SC to McChord Air Force Base in WA.  This change could not be any more drastic...I mean, unless we moved out of the country.  Or to the moon.
I’ve made a little chart comparing and contrasting Charleston, SC and Tacoma, WA:

Charleston, SC
Tacoma, WA
Sunny 10 months out of the year
Rainy 10 months out of the year
Sweet tea
As RED as red can be
As BLUE as blue can be
Nicknamed the “Holy City”
Least “evangelized” state in the U. S.
Black people
Asian people
Everything comes fried
Everything comes rolled
Hootie and the Blowfish

So, see?  It’s different.  And, friends, different is good.  It’s not that I didn’t like living in Charleston--I really did, but I’ve got a threadbare gypsy soul, and squatting in one place for six years has been tiresome.  Where’s the adventure?  Where’s the NEW?
Now that we have our assignment and report-no-later-than date of August 15th, I have been scouring the internet for houses all over the Olympia and Tacoma areas.  I’ve seen new construction and gentrified turn-of-the-centuries.  I’ve seen sprawling five-bedroom monsters and down-sizing bungalows.  I’ve looked at houses, condos, townhouses, and even apartments (if someone doesn’t buy our house in SC, we may end up in a studio to avoid the poor house).  I have left no real estate stone unturned.
And this is what I’ve learned.
Buying a new house is a little like dating.  In the beginning, this is what my dream house looked like:
  • At least 4 bedrooms
  • At least 2 bathrooms
  • 2-car garage
  • Playroom 
  • Breakfast nook/eat-in with window seat and view 
  • Fenced, landscaped backyard
  • Landscaped frontyard
  • Security system
  • Master suite with his/her closets and sitting room and/or library
  • Master bath jacuzzi tub and separate shower, dual sinks
  • Laundry shoot
  • Finished basement and/or attic
  • Updated kitchen with stainless steel appliances
  • Hardwood floors, carpeted bedrooms
  • Close to highly rated elementary school
  • Close to Target, Jamba Juice, restaurants, concert venues, and the public library
  • Close to a county park, dog park, water, and mountains
  • Close to friends who already live in WA
Much like what my dream man (if I was still in the dating world) would look like:
  • Has a stable, secure job
  • Has a good relationship with his family
  • Has similar belief system: politics, religion
  • Can articulate short-term and long-term personal goals
  • Is comfortable with silence
  • Is comfortable in a group of people he doesn’t know
  • Is 6’ or taller
  • Has dark skin, light eyes, straight teeth
  • Is fit--healthy and muscular, but not so chiseled as to make me feel insecure
  • Has good taste in music and movies, but not a hipster
  • Loves to read--books, not just magazines
  • Plays well with other people’s children
  • Is well traveled
  • Is open to living abroad
  • Cooks, cleans, and doesn’t care if I don’t
  • Doesn’t snore or sleepwalk
  • Doesn’t use excessive amounts of tongue when kissing
  • Doesn’t have flat feet
  • Has strong, callused hands
  • Doesn’t wear girl jeans
  • Is a Yankees fan, or is open to becoming one
  • Doesn’t like Nascar
  • Can spell receive without using spellcheck
And just for fun:

Shut up.  He's my age in real life.
Okay, but there are rules.  You can only be Batman.  If you break character and Christian Bale starts talking to me, you're out.  Got it?
Every time.  Every single time.
Okay, fine.  But you've got the same rules as Christian.  Don't open your yapper.
Sure, why not?
Now, I have several friends who are in or nearing their mid-thirties who are completely fine with being single, and that is great--and kind of rare in the middle of the country, but I also have a lot of friends whose ovaries are screaming at them, “PLEASE USE ME BEFORE I SHRIVEL!” and their lists have dwindled with time to:
  • Breathes
  • Has a job
  • Doesn’t stink
Much like my house list has dwindled to:
  • Has walls
  • No dead bodies
  • In Washington
Looking for houses was immensely thrilling when it was all theoretical, but now that I’m going to actually have to pick one--I am baffled.  I mean, it’s a good problem to have--there are SO many choices that I’m having a hard time figuring out exactly what I want.  
I have two friends, Sarah and Ali, who are both scouring their respective neighborhoods for the perfect house for us.  I kind of wish they would just pick one for me.  It could be like Extreme Makeover: Washington Air Force Edition, and I would just show up, and everything would be perfect (except I would probably reorganize the books on the shelves and take away a few of the extraneous knick-knacks, but other than that, PERFECT!).
What makes it harder is the doing it on my own part, and I keep having dreams that we get to our new house and major things are wrong--like there isn’t a kitchen or there’s someone else already living in it.  In these dreams, Scott looks at me with a furrowed brow that says, “No kitchen?  Really, Leia?  You didn’t think of that before we paid $4 million dollars for this townhouse?”
In all seriousness, I am ecstatic to be moving and looking forward to the stress of it all.  Now, who wants to help drive the U-haul across the country?  Anyone?