Mental Post-Its

Thoughts, Notes and General Mental Mayhem


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First Visit: Center for Civil and Human Rights

photo 2Yesterday my friend Emily and I visited the new Center for Civil and Human Rights here in Atlanta. It just opened last month, so we were pretty excited to see it for the first time.

The second floor is about the Civil Rights movement here in the US. They have managed to include some good interactive portions so it’s not solely standing and reading. The most memorable part, to me, was the lunch counter demonstration. You sit at a lunch counter with a screen in front of you full of images from the era of inside sit-in protests and the reactions to them. But then you also put head phones on, close your eyes and place your hands on the counter. As you do, sound begins to feel your ears. It puts you in the place of the demonstrators. You hear people mocking you, yelling at you and even whispering in your ear. It’s eery how real the whispering feels, like it’s on your own neck and right next to you. My eyes, and so many others I saw, were filled with tears as I stood up, with a little better understanding of what that reality was like. Of course, there is also an emphasis on Atlanta and Georgia. The local info was really interesting, as I wasn’t that aware of how things played out here in Atlanta. While there was tension, as there was everywhere in the South, it remained well, more civil. It was, in fact, a stark contrast to the horrible things you heard from so many other areas in the region like Alabama and Mississippi. It really set the tone for Atlanta to become a more modern and progressive city. Martin Luther King, Jr. and numerous other activists and organizations were located here, but I never thought about the demonstrations, bus rides and the like happening in other cities and states because they weren’t needed as much in Atlanta. We even heard a older black woman sharing her personal experiences of growing up in the South and the things she faced with a few others. If it hadn’t looked odd, I think we would’ve both just followed her around the whole place!

Almost the entire third floor was reserved for Human Rights. It had some really cool interactive elements, including mirrored holograms when you walk in. You scroll through different types (Christian, Muslim, Blogger, Activist, Gay, Woman, Child, etc.), press one, and then hear personal stories of people who have photo 1had their rights violated all over the world. These are not the people who have books written about them, but are just as important. Their stories matter. There is also an Offenders and Defenders wall where you can see the heroes and villains of human rights. It was heartbreaking to see the number of lives represented in the Offenders section—millions and millions of people over the last century. But just as inspiring on the other side of the wall to see how many people’s lives were made better by the Defenders. After that, there was also a section on supply chain, showing you how your everyday purchases can help and hurt others. I’m really glad they included this part as it shows everyone’s involvement at an individual level and what to do about it. It doesn’t matter if you care about these issues or not, you still play a role in them. At the back of the main room, there is also a political freedom map which shows you countries where people are free, partly free or not free. There are also smaller exhibits on the role of technology and media, and touch screens where you can learn more about specific issues that are important to you. I also really liked that they told you ways to get involved in issues with the amount of time you have available.

The first floor, which we only really discovered as we were bout to leave because you actually enter the building on the second floor, was a MLK photography exhibit. Unfortunately, we ran out of time and were unable to see it. But we’re both looking forward to returning soon! I think this floor will have rotating exhibits.

My favorite part of the visit, I think, was watching a father escort his two elementary-aged sons through the center. He stopped and told them, in their language, what things meant and how important it is for them to know. It was the sweetest, most encouraging thing. After all, what good am I to this movement if I never share it with anyone else? Maybe the most impact I’ll have on these issues is telling someone about it with a greater capacity than myself to do something that creates change.

I love that this center is open and here where I live. If you are in the Atlanta area, be sure to stop by and bring others with you. If not, plan on making a trip. (For those of you with families, it’s literally beside the Aquarium and World of Coke.) It was encouraging to see the place crawling with people, young and old, with many colors and backgrounds. The website says an average visit is 75 minutes, but if you are truly interested in these subjects, plan on much longer. We were there three hours, and could’ve easily spent another!

Unlike many museums I visit, I think I would’ve been happy to sit at the door all day and just ask everyone who entered why they were there. There would have surely been some fascinating stories!

I also felt a strange sense of connection to everyone around me. It was a place of like-minded people. We were there because we believe in the mission. We were drawn there because people matter. I don’t think we gathered there because of any particular names on the walls, but because those walls were needed. We mourned, we celebrated and we were changed.


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Book Reviews: Where Am I Wearing? Where Am I Eating?

WhereAmIWearingBookJacketIf you like social justice, you’ll like these books. If you are the teensiest bit curious about the origins of your food or clothing, you’ll like these books. If you like to learn, you’ll like these books. If you like to read, you’ll like these books. In short, a lot of people should give these books a good read.

I’m not quite sure how he did it, but author Kelsey Timmerman has done a smashing job of blending information and humor with an overall narrative you want to continue long after you’ve put the book down. I loved both of these books, and have recommended them to a mess of people since reading them.

In Where Am I Wearing?, Kelsey travels from Honduras to Bangladesh to Cambodia to China to find out the genesis of his favorite clothes: jeans, boxers and flip flops. He takes you through the process of tracking down where his clothes are made, and then into the factory themselves. He speaks to the workers both on the jobs and in their homes.

Eating-Cover1In Where Am I Eating?, his follow-up book, Kelsey explores the humble beginnings of his family’s favorite and most common food and drink. His adventure takes him to coffee fields in Columbia, a cocoa plant in Ivory Coast, a banana plantation in Costa Rica, a lobster boat in Nicaragua, and the apple orchards of Michigan (via China).

Both books are completely eye-opening. I definitely had some thoughts, opinions and preconceived notions going into these books. And they changed me. I thought I was doing a pretty good job of researching supply chains (the process by which goods are made), but Kelsey helped me go deeper. Now, I must admit there are some areas where I have more questions than I’d previously had answers. But I believe I have also created some better habits. If these books do one thing, besides make you laugh, they’ll make you think.

I’ll give you two examples:

  1. I was Miss Western Culture holding up my picket sign for “No Child Labor!” before Wearing. But, his book makes you realize that there is so much more to the face, however young, of the issue. It’s a systemic issue, not fixed over night by the banning of goods or mandates set by those on the other side of the world. In cultures where it is normal for kids to work because the adults have already passed their prime, families could starve. Well…that’s not an outcome I want either. There are layers to this issue. I don’t like it, but they’re there. There are so many things that need to happen in those societies before/during/after children are pulled from the work force. Mindsets have to change. Hearts have to change. And people fear change. So, what am I to do? You know, I am still not 100% sure. I know one thing that has to happen is that I have to be informed. So, I learn and I research, and I make the best choices I can with the information I have. And that’s where I’ve landed…for now.
  2. I used to work at an eco-organization, so I thought I had a pretty good handle on food supply. I know what harsh chemicals are used to grow and treat food, and what we label “food” which could more adequately be described as a science experiment. So, I thought I was ahead of the curve on this one. But again, I realized how short-sighted I had been. It made so much sense when reading it. It felt more like a “duh” moment than an “a-ha” moment. And that was because I’d been buying regular produce for thick-skinned items because the chemicals hadn’t reached the food. I’d buy organic for thin-skinned because they were treated with chemicals. Well, despite my efforts and proclamations to be a good global citizen, I’d completely neglected that the people working in the fields with the thick-skinned items (ex: bananas) had been doused in chemicals. I hadn’t given them a whole lot of thought. But I certainly don’t want anyone to be harmed in the process of getting food to my table. I want to know that these items improve their lives, not send them to the hospital or lead them to an early death. So, what do I do now? I buy organic and local as much as I can.

 

You may be reading this thinking that it’s all well and good for me, but it costs a lot of money to buy organic or a lot of time you don’t have to research clothing. And I get it. I do. I was there once upon a time. But friends, ignorance isn’t bliss. I know the decisions I make when I purchase impact others, and I want those to be good decisions. I do the research and I buy organic because I have personally made it a priority. We all find time, energy, effort and money for the things we decide to make a priority. That’s a fact. Start small.

This is not a guilt trip. It’s just an attempt at a conversation I feel needs to happen. Like I said, these books are funny and honest. Kelsey doesn’t set out to provide you answers and three steps to better buying decisions. He is curious, and he takes you along for the ride. You’ll feel like he’s a friend by the end. I honestly think you’ll want to be a part of the conversation after reading these books. (By the way, Kelsey is very active on social media, so yes, you can actually have a conversation with him. He’s awesome.)

There is good news, however. There are more and more companies who care. I think by making these more informed decisions, we are telling businesses that we want to see more ethical production take place. And I think that’s the best way to move forward.

Besides Kelsey’s books, here are some other resources to get you started:

Free2Work (Website and App: The website has reports on clothing, coffee and electronics)

Purchase With Purpose (Web link: I helped author this one.)

Better World Shopper (Website and App)

Good Guide (Website and App)

If you know of others, please fill me in!

 

And thank you to Kelsey, for these amazing books. I can’t wait to see what you write next!

 


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Apologies

My sincere apologies for being away most of the last two months. It’s been busy, and all of the sudden, one or two weeks turned into June and July.

 

To catch you up:

My company’s conference was held April 30-May 2, 2014. Over 6,000 family ministry teams gathered here in Atlanta to hear how to “Say YES to the Next Generation.”

OC14 highlights

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I went to Clarkesville, TN, to visit some of my very best friends for Memorial Weekend. One of my favorite places to hit is their farmers market.

Dickens family

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My father passed away in June. It was a very hard loss for my family, but we know he is in heaven and are grateful he is no longer in any pain.

Dad Photo Highlights

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I attended my company’s first summer of High School Camp. A couple thousand students and leaders descended on Panama City Beach and Wilderness at the Smokies to learn how to listen to the positive and wise “Voices” around them.

photo(1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I bought a Prius! It’s been mine for a week now, and I’m having a lot more fun driving than usual. (More details coming soon on this process!)

Prius 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then I had several friends drop in and out of town over the last few weeks from Tennessee, Texas and Arkansas. They kept me pretty busy, and laughing!

 

So, that’s been my summer so far. How’s yours going?

Hard to believe it’s almost over, but looking forward to the fun things I have on my calendar for the fall!

 


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Orange Tour Registration Opens Today!

©2014 The reThink Group, Inc. All rights reserved. www.ThinkOrange.com

©2014 The reThink Group, Inc. All rights reserved. http://www.ThinkOrange.com

Say YES to the Next Generation

Save $40 per person off the regular price for TODAY ONLY! Pay only $49 per person (lunch provided)

OR, register for both the Orange Tour and 2015 Orange Conference at the same time and save! Pay only $259 today only—a combined savings of $149 per person off of the regular rates.

 

When you “Say YES to the Next Generation,” this year’s theme, it means you say yes to tension, collaboration and debate. There are important questions church leaders wrestle with every week. In fact, many of the questions in ministry are tricky to navigate. This year’s Orange Tour will help attendees discover the best way to answer these questions.

Tour stops for 2014 include Atlanta, Ga., Minneapolis, Minn., Seattle, Wash., Windomar, Calif., Lancaster, Penn., Washington D.C., Detroit, Mich., Indianapolis, Ind., Kansas City, Kan., Charlotte, N.C., Austin, Texas, Dallas, Texas, and Tampa, Fla.

For more information, please visit OrangeTour.org.

If you want some convincing, read Rob Cizek’s article about 7 Things Your Team will get from the Orange Tour at: http://bit.ly/1jKmVLP


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The Orange Conference Live Stream—It’s FREE!

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Over 6,000 of you will be joining us in Atlanta next week! And while we’d love for everyone reading this to be here in person, we realize that’s not always possible. So, we’d like to offer you the next best thing: tune in online! FOR FREE! You’ll be able to see on- and off-stage action, including session streaming, speaker interviews, mayhem and hi-jinx, resource updates and giveaways—and maybe even win a ticket to OC15!

Be sure to RSVP for the Live Stream to receive additional information and special offers. We will not spam you, or sell your info. That’s just rude.

And don’t forget to invite your friends to watch with you!

A full Live Stream schedule will be posted just prior to the conference on this blog.

And if you’re super excited about the Live Stream, but tend to get a little distracted, text “LIVE” to 404-445-2198. We’ll send you text updates about what’s happening, reminders and important info. But we promise not to message you like a sixth grade girl at a One Direction concert.

The Orange Conference, a conference for entire family ministry teams, will be held April 30–May 2, 2014, in Atlanta. Over 5,000 key influencers—senior, next gen, student, children’s and preschool leaders—will gather to experience the power of “Yes,” and learn new insights into influencing the faith and character of the next generation. For more information, please visit www.TheOrangeConference.com.

 

REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION FROM ORANGE LEADERS.

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