Ok, so I apologize, because this is going to be a long (and image heavy) post, but I just don't know how else to share all that I've encountered this past week. Even still, I know I am not including everything.
This past week was incredibly inspiring and I truly feel that I was able to rest, find my creativity again, as well as recharge my batteries. Before leaving for this trip I just felt so drained and I needed time away to regain some composure and motivation. In coming home after a week, I feel that I found more than I ever thought I would!!! So bear with me, I know it's a long post, but I feel there is SO much I need to share with yall in blogland! :)
The week started with it being administrative's day and one of the attorneys brought us all flowers. I loved mine and it totally matched!!
Thursday night after work I drove 4 hours down to St. Pete, FL where my bestie and I met up to attend a Christian conference on social justice. Now while I know not everyone is Christian, please don't tune the rest of this post out because of that or think that it might not be something interesting for you.... The whole concept of social justice is something that I think a lot of us think about and feel strongly about. The conference was called A sustainable faith and there were over 100 people there for the entire weekend, hearing lectures, praising God, talking and getting to know each other, learning about struggles going on all around (state, nation, and world), and just loving each other. It was incredible. I met so many wonderful people, bought so many awesome books, heard so many awesome talks, and for once in a long time felt at home and comfortable to talk openly. The conversations happening were just incredible. Especially when you have speakers like Shane Claiborne (in picture below).
Shane Claiborne is such an awesome guy and if you've never heard of him before, check him out here. Not only does he believe in taking a stand and helping and loving everyone around him, he lives that way. He's such an incredible guy and you can just feel the love he has for others and God.
The conference also had a few workers from Immokalee, FL., a place where tomatoes are picked. The workers discussed how horrible the conditions are for them, which is incredibly heart breaking. They have to fill numerous amounts of buckets (that when each are full to the maxium weigh over 30 pounds) just to make 50 dollars (annually 7500). They don't even reach the poverty line. They have asked big companies to pay more for tomatoes and while many fought over it, big companies like Burger King, McDonalds, Whole Foods, and Taco Bell (remember when we boycotted them??) have agreed to pay more. While that is amazing, there are still places like Publix (FL's main grocery store) refuse. All the workers ask is 1 more cent per pound, which means we the customers would only pay 1 cent more per pound we buy' yet, these workers' salaries would DOUBLE! Can you imagine? And Publix refuses to get involved. Sadly, it's even more tragic than that. Most of these companies don't agree to help, when they are even told the horror stories of how some of these workers are treated as slaves. Slaves, in Florida in the 2000s!!! They are locked in trailers and their shoes are taken away from them so they can't run away. There have even been accounts of sever beatings to the point of death.
These workers though, are so full of faith and love and have such faith that they will be taken care of, but they still fight for justice and they asked us, which means even you to join them. They gave us a letter to take to Publix when we do our shopping to give the manager to pass along telling these stories and bringing attention to what needs to be done. It's great that we can help by sending letters. I've already sent one, and I have a few more Publixs around here to go! But you can join (if you have Publixs around you!!)
There were a million other stories and outreach ministries that touched my heart, but I will save them for another post as to not overwhelm anyone. However, I feel that this helped jumpstart my journey in getting my passion back. I feel so passionate about helping. I'm sick of reading and learning and not doing. I want to do! What about you??
LEARN MORE about the conference at:
Later on in the week (between catching up with old friends and my old hometown) Leigh and I went to hear Donald Miller talk. It was awesome. We helped clean prior, set up the green room (which included making his coffee...which is a nerve wracking task for gals that don't make much coffee, but are trying to make coffee for a guy from Portland....) Then we got to work his merchandise table, meet him, get autographs and I walked away with his newest book. I can't wait to read it!!! He's such a great author, and if you haven't already, check him out! (his picture is below). His talk was inspirational and reminded me of how truly important it is to dream, even if our dreams seem insane, unthinkable, impossible...we still have to dream them.
Before I went (yea, sorry for the bit of back and forth) I got to baby-sit my sisters kids. I love them so much and they always put a little smile on my face (except for bedtime.... the littlest HATES going to bed, which I understand, but even signing her to sleep with "All My Loving" by The Beatles didn't help (my mom use to sing that to me when I was little)).
We still had a blast though, making cupcakes, playing games, taking pictures, dancing, and cuddling. :)
The end of my week was spent in South Florida, my old neck of the woods. It was sooo great being back.
This is my bestie, Leigh's dog. He's so adorable. He thinks he's a person and loves to sleep on you, even though he weighs over 100 pounds.
It also rained horrible Monday, so Leigh and I found ourselves just lounging around and watching silly tv like in the good ole days. :)
I can explain this picture....it's from the movie Runaway Bride and to make herself look silly and cheer up her friend she does a pose like this. Leigh and I do it too, to cheer each other up. :)
*This is Leigh's bike. I wanted to steal it soooooo badly. Isn't it a beauty?
And I love her place. Her mom just redecorated because of a flood, but it's sooooo amazing now. It's so simple and inspirational and gorgeous. Well here are some pictures, you tell me what you think. :)
(my favorite part- her closet is a HUGE bookshelf. so great!)
I also got to visit this lovely craft store. My dad took me here when I was little and it's amazing. It's huge and as soon as I walked in I felt like I was in heaven. Plus it was good to remember my dad there too.
While I hated saying goodbye to Leigh and my other friends and family down south, I was kinda ready to come home and start DOING. I have so many goals and dreams to accomplish. And....my birthday is next week. :) :) Of course, I dearly miss those faces and that cafe con leche. YUMMY.
If you actually read this whole thing, I feel like you should get a cookie. Thanks for caring! If you didn't it's totally cool. I'll try to shorten my posts. But I just had so much to share (and that wasn't even the half of it).
Hope you've had a great week! And TGIF!!!!