A Note from a Palestinian’s Wife

Hi, my name is Dori. I’m 27. I’m American and I have family members dying in Gaza. Over 25 family members have died in less than two weeks time. I have not even had the chance to meet them. I should clarify they are not of my flesh and blood, you see, I am married to a Palestinian man. They are his relatives, his blood, but when you marry someone their family becomes your own. I can’t say I know their names, their ages, or even that I could recognize their faces. Yet, my lack of memories haunts my hurting heart. I don’t like war; I dream of hope, peace and love. But in days like these, when so many heart-breaking things are taking place in our world, I struggle to feel others are hoping with me. Days- when empathy and love are lacking and judgment and anger blinds.

I wish I could protect my husband from the lack of awareness and the hatred. I wish I could say these things weren’t alive and well in my home country, culture, or with in Christianity. But I see it. Forget politics. Are we to show lack of disdain for human life? Even in a community known to defend the unborn, is this community supporting the death of innocent people? What is our definition of justice? Where is our love? Should I have to listen to my husband re-tell me a stranger’s questions such as, “So you guys are the ones bombing Israel?”

I know one thing, though I struggle, I pray for peace and hope in our world. The unbiased kind, the kind that only comes from a loving God’s heart.


Black Tulips

Some of you already know my sister, Dawn, has been writing a book. It’s thrilling to see a life dream of hers come true. She is self-publishing and needs your help to reach her goal. Go here to find out more about her book and donate to help her publish.:

http://www.youcaring.com/fundraiser_details?url=dawnsbookpublishingprepurchasingbooks&fundraiser_id=934

 

Enjoy a little excerpt from her book while you’re at it. :

“  Posted on 02/23/2012 by Dawn Richardson

La la la. . . here is another tasty excerpt from my book. Tasty like mudpies, the real ones.

 ¨¨¨¨¨°º☼º°¨¨¨¨


Gus


When my paternal grandma was a young mom running a bar in Friant, California people called her “Gus.” “Gus” was her middle name. And Gus kept a shotgun beneath the counter to ward off rabble-rousers and angry, drunk men. My grandma was tough, and sweet as cornflakes with a fifth of the sugar jar poured on top (my mom never let me have sugary cereals, but at Grandma’s the sugar jar was a condiment to breakfast every day). At Grandma’s indulgence and imagination had their playground. And I wore blue jeans and my ultra-cool 70’s t-shirts with glittery decals (things my mom thought were “not feminine” and therefore, I wasn’t permitted to wear in my civilian life.) At Grandma’s I was free – free to let my eyes be as wide as my heart, my legs as long as the trees, and my mind as wild as the endless fields of grass that surrounded my grandparents’ home in Placerville, California.

Every visit to Grandma’s began with two things: a tour of her garden; and a vast supply of Folger’s coffee cans and empty pie tins. My grandma had an astounding love for flowers and the loving green thumb to nurture them to their destinies. Each time as we walked her garden she told me the names of the flowers and asked me to name a flower in each color in the rainbow then to find that flower in the rainbow of her front yard. I loved the treasure hunt. Black always stumped me though. “Grandma THERE ARE NO BLACK FLOWERS.” I said definitively. “Yes, there are,” she slyly responded, “I don’t have any, but lots of flowers grow black: daisies, tulips, geraniums, dahlias….” My all-knowing eyes swooped open and looked from my four foot frame to my grandma’s four foot six frame, “I’ve never seen any!” “Well, just because you haven’t seen any doesn’t mean they don’t exist,” her words wooed my imagination. And so it went on, every couple months I visited my grandparents and every couple months we had this conversation. And then everything in my seven year old life changed one Saturday afternoon. She got black tulips.

That day, after our usual black dialogue, she said, “Come over here….” and I followed, intrigued. “Look, Dawn” she said, pointing. And there they were. Black tulips. I felt the door of possibility on the house of my life fly from its hinges. Anything was possible. It didn’t matter if I had seen or experienced something or not. The unthinkable existed somewhere. I was convinced. If I could dream it, it could exist. I was always a dreamer, but now I knew my dreams were seeds to a reality to come. I was unstoppable. And my ability to see beyond what my eyes could physically see held the power of faith and hope that would change the world.

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen,

but on what is unseen.

For what is seen is temporary,

but what is unseen is eternal.”

2 Corinthians 4:18

Eyes.

I thought my eyes
Were my eyes
Until I realEYESed
They weren’t
My mind
Disneyland in dream form
My spirit
The ocean in hope form


 
 
 
 
 

Those were my REALEYES.


 
 
 
 
 

And as for the Folger’s coffee cans, well those were for frog-catching.  As for the empty pie tins, those were for good ol’ fashioned homemade mud pies – the kind with real mud. The only real kind of mud pies.

At grandma’s being imaginative went hand-in-hand with getting dirty. It was all part of the process – scrambling on my knees to scoop up froggy friends with my bare hands, naming them and placing them in coffee cans – usually just for a day or two before releasing them again. And I always made sure I fed them. They weren’t prisoners-of-war, they were friends over for a slumber party (granted, they were not allowed inside the house, but they did sleep right next to the front door in their newly assembled apartment complex). My grandma also kept coffee cans because she chewed tobacco and used the cans as spittoons. For this reason my grandma didn’t smell very grandmotherly, which seemed awesome because it made her more like a Wild West cowboy than an elderly woman. And everyone knows a weekend with a rough n’ tough cowboy is more exciting than a weekend with a plain ol’ grandmother.

The mud pies were really fragrant too – especially after I baked them in my “imaginary” oven. My grandma insisted my pies were the best ones she’d ever eaten. And I knew she was telling the truth. My pies tasted like whatever you wanted them to taste like – you could envision the best pie in the world and there it was, in a pie tin on my grandma’s porch, just waiting for you to grab a fork from the kitchen and dig in. The only limit to the flavor of those pies was in one’s mind. And I knew my grandma’s mind was mischievously alive and therefore, my pies were the best in the whole universe.     ”


Hope & Ashes

The last of the girls I worked with in India graduated from the program today. She is going to be working with Freedom Firm’s jewelry making business, Ruhamah designs, in another city in India. My heart is so happy. I feel like a proud mama. I cried when I found out.

I’ve whole-heartedly missed her and the other girls. There is something about the silliness and life she brought when I was around her, the girl I named Hope* in my blog. It’s really what her name means. The name she chose for herself. She really taught me a lot…

There is redemption. There is hope.

Life is what you make it. Beauty can truly come from ashes.

(Hope* taking a break after helping with horse therapy)

Check out Ruhamah’s latest designs here: http://www.ruhamah.in/


FREEDOM WEEK!

Hi friends,
It’s been a while. I wanted to let all of you central valley dwellers know about something extremely exciting that is going on in Fresno this week! It’s called Freedom Week- something that I have been hoping and praying for the past year or so especially. It’s a week dedicated to the awareness and desired end of sex trafficking here in the central valley. Yes, it even happens here.  I am proud of Fresno and the organizations involved in this project to be unafraid of talking about this issue and acting on it. This is an excellent opportunity to become more educated on sex trafficking and forced prostitution. The events include awareness meetings, prayer, workshops, film screenings, and music and art advocacy. I was able to see one of the documentaries, “Nefarious,” this past October and am excited for its use here. It’s a harsh reality… but it is a reality with hope. I would like to challenge those of you who have had a desire to know and do more regarding this worldwide issue to attend at least one event. What an exciting thing to be able to be a part of here in our city!

 

Check out the schedule for the week here:

FREEDOM WEEK.


Elephant appreciation day

I’ve found myself missing lots of little things about India lately especially. Things like drinking real chai, munching on food the girls have made, and watching Hindi movies (I watched my favorite Hindi film last night with my sister and apartment mate which thrilled my heart). I even miss the feeling of so appreciating the more Western meals I got to eat… like the night I ate Domino’s pizza just days before leaving Ooty. Ultimately I miss the beautiful faces I met while in India… the smiles, jokes, laughs,  the slow bits of freedom I saw in their dark eyes, and the realization that love is greater.

I discovered today is elephant appreciation today. Hilarious.
http://www.himandus.net/elefunteria/eday/eday_main.html

I wrote the beginning and end of the children’s story early in the summer, but have struggled with how the middle is meant to be written. I’ve had ideas from the beginning, but it’s the most challenging. Lately, I’ve been seeking God more in this, because I already know I can’t do this in my own power. It’s still amusing to me that I’m even writing a children’s book. 🙂 I’ve learned more and more about the hilarity of God and his workings this summer- maybe more than ever. How appropriate that today is elephant appreciation day and I am missing India while trying to gather more inspiration for my cry for freedom, elephant filled children’s book.

As always, I so appreciate the encouragement, prayers, and feed back I’ve had from you all. I can’t believe the amount of views my blog has had. Even in the past few weeks that has been free of new posts, I’ve been shocked by how many views I’ve had. (I’ve had 1,673 views since I began this blog 11 months ago!) It encourages my heart more than I can say. Incredible.


Buy a “I heart Baghdad” shirt and join the hope movement!

My sister, Dawn, is selling “I heart Baghdad” shirts… support her trip/move to Iraq and the hope movement! (her website: http://hopeiraq.com/)
$12 THIS WEEK ONLY!!!!!!!! ORDER YOURS TODAY!

“I ♥ Baghdad”
in Arabic
“with outrageous hope”
in English on back

Buy the shirts here:

http://www.etsy.com/listing/74711519/i-heart-baghdad-shirt

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Sakaal Times article

Sakaal Times Pune has an article where sex trafficking in India is discussed and Freedom Firm, the organization I volunteered with in India, is highlighted.

Read the article here: http://epaper.sakaaltimes.com/SakaalTimes/16Jul2011/Normal/page6.htm


The elephant in the room

So, I may or may not be writing a Children’s book. {insert laughter} Never, ever, would I have imagined myself writing any kind of book. But, here I am. What am I writing about? What’s my vision? Well, I am writing a story about sex trafficking to raise awareness among kids (and parents). I’m sure you are thinking… hmm, interesting topic for a children’s book… how will that work? Well, it will be metaphorical and symbolic above all and meant to provoke thought, hope, and action.

It all started with elephants. I noticed images of elephants seemed to be popping up everywhere and then I was reminded of the phrase “an elephant never forgets” via a song and my mind immediately went to the girls I spend time with in India and how they, and all of the children and women like them around the world cannot be forgotten. So, the main character in the story will undoubtedly be an elephant. Elephants are really interesting to me- they’re known to be very intelligent, but yet they are such unsuspecting funny looking creatures. It makes me think of kids and how so often they are overlooked and not given the credit they are due for their wisdom and creative minds.

Then I had more ideas here and there and reminders of some prophecies over my life that were given last year. Some of which at the time I really wasn’t sure about their accuracy or what they meant. One was from a friend of my sister’s who told me she saw an image of me writing something… and that something seemed to be children’s books. Even then I laughed it off. This prophecy as well as some others that (now) seem to be related to this book writing were recorded and I have been re-listening to them lately.

It has felt like such a shock wave. So unexpected. And now it seems each day I have ideas for this book… ideas about the story as well as the illustrations (my dream is to have a rescued girl illustrate it!). It feels like this has all come tumbling through thin air, but I know it must be part of the bigger picture of what God has for my life and my part in the end of the global sex trade.

I have to say- all of the encouragement and positive feedback I’ve had from my blog has given me a sense of hope and confidence that I can do this. Even announcing it on my blog points to my faith hanging on a tree’s limb. Sex trafficking and it’s surrounding issues have been such an elephant in the room of our world until recently. Thank you to all my readers and supporters who haven’t been afraid to see this HUGE elephant!

Here goes nothing! (or here goes something!)


He knows.

I thought you may all be interested to know that today I was re-calculating all of my India expenses (to the dot, instead of ball park) and just figured out that $1,172 was given in a church offering and my living expenses in India: $1,172.58! hahaha! My flight cost $1,574.60… So, my flight + living expenses= $2,827.27. And then I had about $50 dollars in oversees transaction fees. The total amount given in support: $2,880. HA HA! 🙂 🙂

Just a reminder that God knows what He is doing! He is in control. He’s faithful. He’s good.

He used many of you to send me to the girls to love in to their lives.

And yesterday, I got to meet with a group of people from Bethel Church here in Redding that is starting a group home for girls that have been in the domestic sex trade and rescued. All because of a girl I met at a BBQ… I got to encourage and share with them my experiences so that my input can give them a better picture of what the program will look like. And I am invited to the next meeting! Ha! I am thrilled and excited where this may lead. I am planning to live in Redding for the summer, but who knows what will happen?

He knows.


Hope for Iraq

I’m a believer in Hope… whether that is hope in an end to forced prostitution, true freedom and change in France, or for a city torn apart.
Baghdad-
Many people have a negative reaction when they hear this word,
but it’s just another city.
It’s another city in need of tremendous love and Hope… and the beauty is that Hope is real. I know this more than ever after my experiences with rescued girls in India. Hope is real. So, if Hope is real why not believe in it? Why not bring it to Baghdad? My sister Dawn’s heart explodes with Hope to do just that. Below is a way in which you can help her make this happen.
——————————————————————————————————————-

“The person with the most hope has the most influence.” 
– unknown

Hello glorious friends,

When I was a child I thought I was born to lead a revolution, now I am sure of it. 

It’s a HOPE revolution. 

There is HOPE in the Middle East. There is HOPE for Iraq.

And so I am gathering a momentum of people who will stand with me and with heaven and say,
“I LOVE BAGHDAD WITH OUTRAGEOUS HOPE.”

Right now I am selling t-shirts which say, 
“I ♥ BAGHDAD”  in Arabic on the front and “with outrageous hope” in English on the back. They are available in white and black.
i-heart-baghdad-white.jpg     i-heart-baghdad-black.jpg

This is part of the fundraising for my trip to Baghdad this autumn. 

I need your help to get the word out. Would you help publicize these shirts and the HOPE movement for Iraq by sharing the link below via email, facebook, twitter, blogs, personal websites, word of mouth, etc? Also, if you want to order 10 or more, you will get $1 off of each shirt. So, if you have a youth group, prayer group, class, church etc that wants to join the HOPE revolution, let me know. 

The regular price of each shirt is $20 (shipping is included within the US). 

ATTENTION: ORDER AN “I ♥ BAGHDAD” shirt by JUNE 1 and get 10% off by using THIS COUPON CODE: ISAIAH668

THANK YOU oh so very very very very much!
As one of the top U.S. Admirals in Baghdad said in response to my Outrageous Hope project,
“WOW! God really is doing something amazing in Iraq!”
AMEN. And it’s going to get infinitely MORE amazing.
– Dawn Richardson