Category Archives: Give

Who are Refugees? — part 2


Zeina, a Syrian refugee who came to Detroit in 2012 with her mother and younger brother.

This is part two in a series. To read Part 1 first, click here.

I’m sitting on my bed, deciding where to go to breakfast with my husband on a Sunday morning.  We slept soundly last night. I will brush my teeth, take a hot shower (as long as I like) and have my choice of clothes to wear for the day. Then we will go get breakfast and enjoy each other’s company for the rest of the day. The safety and comfort of home is a normalcy in my life and community, as is the freedom to go and do whatever I like.  This is not the case for refugees. These simple everyday things are exactly what they are seeking — a place that will allow them to simply be.


a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.

Here are two stories about two groups of refugees after their relocation to the United States and Canada. Continue reading

Who are Refugees? — part 1

Elena, a 14-year-old Honduran refugee fleeing gang and sexual violence in her country.

Elena, a 14-year-old Honduran refugee who fled to Mexico to escape gang and sex violence.

The new President’s executive order on immigration has provoked a lot of discussion about immigrants and refugees. In the midst of this, and to help us develop informed opinions, it is important that we remind ourselves who these refugees are.


a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.

Continue reading

Teaching Kids to Give


The boys learning about giving, money and people in need.

Our three and five year old are no strangers to volunteering. Both my husband and I have strived to get them involved at an early age with giving back. That said, it is a challenge. It’s difficult to help kids understand why there are so many people in need all while keeping it age appropriate. This year, we tried to up the ante with the boys by talking to them about who they wanted to give their own money to. Continue reading

2016 Giving Party Update

My lovely little niece with one of the care packages we put together. Each had toiletries, granola bar, V-8, pair of socks, beef jerky, hand warmers and a $5 McDonalds gift card.

My lovely little niece with one of the care packages we put together. Each had toiletries, granola bar, V-8, pair of socks, beef jerky, lip balm and a $5 McDonalds gift card.

“No one ever became poor by giving.”
—Anne Frank


Here is a quick recap on our Giving Party for 2016! I’m sorry it is so late! If you don’t know,  The Giving Party is an annual party we throw each year where we focus on giving to others in our community. We invite our family and friends to give to a handful of our favorite charities, as well as bring canned foods and toy donations for those in need around the holidays. Below is an update I sent out to everyone that participated this year. If you are interested in being involved next year, please give us a holler! We plan for next year to be even bigger and better and would love for you to join in. Continue reading

Ask for Generosity


Photo by Meja Petric, courtesy of

This Christmas, we decided to do something different. It was my husband’s idea. He was inspired by the images of refugees fleeing war and the contrast between those in need and the oncoming glut of excess that seems to follow Christmas. He said, “Why don’t we have a party where the whole idea is about giving to others?” We decided to call it a Giving Party. We had no idea if anyone would be interested. It is a busy time of year and folks are already stretched thin with their time and wallets. We gave it a go anyway. Continue reading

Help Syrian Refugees Now

Syrian refugee children, 2013. Photo courtesy of

By the end of August, the United Nations estimates that 6.5 million Syrians have been displaced and 3 million have gone to nearby countries to flee the civil war and ISIS. Of the 4,088,078 who have registered, just over two in five are under age 11, and half of those under age four. Now in its fifth year, the war in Syria has killed around 222,000 people. This is one of the worst refugee crises in world history and the international refugee aid system is straining under its weight. Continue reading

An Atheist and a Christian Walk into a Bar…

A photo of said atheist and Christian. photo by Jackie Hobbins.

A photo of said atheist and Christian. photo by Jackie Hobbins.

I’m a Christian and my husband, Mike, is an atheist. This one fact about our relationship seems to be a fascinating conversation starter for many. I used to bring it up bashfully,  depending on the audience. In short, in Mike’s work community–he’s a research scientist–religion is not always viewed favorably, whereas in my own religious community, admitting you are married to a non-believer usually brings on a flood of ensuing pity and the predictable “Oh, don’t worry dear, he’ll come around.” Continue reading

Venus Rising

Sandro Botticelli's The Birth of Venus, c. 1486.

Sandro Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus, c. 1486.

My husband and I have two young children and, for several years, we just were not exercising. For a pair who used to run marathons, play rugby, and climb mountains, this was a big life change. But, it was not conscious one. Sure, the thought of getting fit crossed our minds, but that happened rarely—we were simply too busy wiping bums, cleaning up spilled milk, and trying to get two small humans to sleep through the night. Often enough though, it bothered me when I couldn’t fit into pants I’d worn before, or could but questioned whether or not they were too tight. Those moments chipped away at my confidence in my own body, but I trained myself to keep pushing them aside or focus on something else. Getting out of shape is like that—it creeps up on you like a silent cat waiting to pounce.  Continue reading

Teaching Compassion


photo by Jackie Hobbins

It is one thing to teach your kid how to eat with a fork, or pee in the toilet—not easy feats, but at least there are some concrete steps. But how do we teach compassion? Whether or not you have kids, you are no doubt an Auntie, Uncle or maybe just a good friend to another family in your neighborhood, and it most definitely takes a village to raise a child.

Our boys are 1 1/2 and 3. Though the hubby and I have done lots of volunteering, we weren’t sure if they were old enough to start doing that sort of thing with them. So, when there came an opportunity to feed some homeless folks that stay at my church on Saturday nights through the winter, we thought, why not give it a go?

At least once a month, we spend a couple of hours on Saturday making breakfast burritos to serve early on Sunday morning. It is becoming a new family tradition and I think, one of our favorites. The first time we did it, our three-year-old Tommy helped. He got a lesson in personal hygiene, cooking and you guessed it, compassion. The conversation went something like this: Continue reading