The Post About More Than Raising Awareness

Last month, people across the Internet drew a red X on their hands to shine a light on the continued existence of slavery across the globe. A good thing.

As someone who's worked in nonprofits for a long time, I know the value of those events considered "friendraisers." We always need folks in the know about the causes we care about. 

However, the next steps are the meat of the matter to agents of change. Finding ways to prompt people to care in word AND deed. Nicole wrote about those who never make it past the red X in this thought provoking post about slacktivism. 

Sex trafficking — the forced prostitution of women and girls — is a billion-dollar industry. It's not just in brothels in Taiwanese back alleys (my initial vision of it.) It's happening in America. It's happening in Birmingham.

That brings me to my friend and blogger, Rachel Callahan, who's decided to go beyond the red X.

Rachel is putting hands and feet to her support of this cause by launching Picture Birmingham, a site to sell her images of the Magic City and other great places with all proceeds going to support The WellHouse. The WellHouse is a faith-based organization offering immediate shelter and transitional housing to women who have been trafficked, are prostituting, or otherwise sexually exploited.

And the photographs are stupid good.

My first order from the site was this set of notecards. Gorgeous.

I wanted to do more than just spend all my stay-at-home-Jamie money so I contributed one photo of my own of this snazzy city. 

This was a particularly dark time in my life because I ran my first 5K at Sloss Furnaces. I won't be doing that again.

You can snag a print or canvas of my photo and dozens more at Picture Birmingham and go beyond the red X. Also consider liking PB on Facebook or following Rachel on Twitter.

RABBIT BONUS: If you use the code "rabbits" at Picture Birmingham, then you get 11% off any purchase through March 31. 

Disclaimer: I don't get any kickback for this post, except Rachel's kids might like me more than they do now. 

{images: Picture Birmingham and Jamie}


The Post About Waiting Not So Patiently

Do you write a to-do list each day or week?

As an ADD survivor, I've never been that ambitious. I tend to have lists that focus on the next hour. And there's bargaining even in that short bullet list. "Jamie, if you reply to email for 45 minutes then you can watch 15 minutes of cat videos."

Since I'm still a Stay-At-Home-Jamie, my life looks different. Being unemployed has added all these hours to my day. Some are spent being productive doing freelance work or volunteering or spending time with neglected family and friends.

But some of those hours are spent very aware of feelings I've ignored. The loudest is anxiety.

While I was working full-time, I just plowed ahead through long work weeks trying to be more than my job description required. I'm a recovering people-pleaser who struggles with "no" and generally nods in agreement and then competes to be the best, fastest, and most. But all the "yes" often lands people pleasers somewhere between mediocre and burned out.  

The end of almost every day of the past every year has been spent racking my brain for the task I forgot or the person I overlooked or the project that needs one last moment of attention.

That anxiety lingers even now, almost three months later. I have to remind myself, often out loud, that I don't have a job. There's nowhere to be. There's no schedule. This immediately births a more paralyzing stress - I must find a job. I must talk to people who can help me find a job. I must learn to answer questions people ask about me finding a job.

Job, job, job.

God prompted this storyline, so I've been waiting on Him to wrap up the cliffhanger. Waiting not-so-patiently.

This past week, the patience had been more difficult to access. Of course, God sent me messages in response.

I stumbled on this quote:
"Most times, the waiting really isn’t about the waiting, it’s about becoming." Lindsee Eddy

Then I stumbled on this passage in Isaiah:
Why would you ever complain or whine, saying,
“God has lost track of me.
He doesn’t care what happens to me?”
Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening?
God doesn’t come and go. God lasts.
He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine.
He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath.
And he knows everything, inside and out.
He energizes those who get tired,
gives fresh strength to dropouts.
For even young people tire and drop out,
young folk in their prime stumble and fall.
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.

And no surprise, God text messaged me through a friend on Tuesday who didn't know how toxic my anxiety was becoming:
"Last night I was in my kitchen asking God like why oh why are you making her wait??? Come on now!? (I was a little ticked, lol!) and I clearly heard him say, 'I'm not making her wait. I'm letting her rest. This is my holy rest, my gift!' A season of rest is right and fitting. It's his gift to you, preparing you for his next."

So I don't have to rush or be anxious. I can rest. There's no task or person or project or job that matters more than now.

Focus on the becoming, not the waiting. Rinse and repeat.

What are you anxious about? Do you struggle in the waiting?  What's your "cat video reward" for accomplishing tasks?
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