This may come as a huge surprise, but I’ve decided to swap my Louis Vuitton bag (also known as the handbag of shame and manipulation) for this bad boy from Target for the next six days.
Believe it or not, I actually let Scott pick it out. He’s since informed me that he would do a million joyful jumping jacks if I got rid of Louis and toted this guy around on a full-time basis.
He’s also made it known that he’d like me to buy a pair of Chuck Taylors, start wearing hoodies from American Apparel, and get more in touch with my “earthy side”.
I didn’t have the heart to explain to him that I don’t really have an earthy side. Although deep down, I’m sure he already knows that. He’s simply in denial and has resorted to buying me satchels as a last-ditch coping mechanism.
But here’s the part where I break down and admit it: the Target bag is starting to grow on me. It’s comfy to wear, the neutral fabric goes with just about anything, and it’s capable of holding my usual supplies with additional space for my iPad, my camera and 19 tubes of lip gloss.
Yes, I’ve been known to carry around 19 tubes of lip gloss. You know…for emergencies.
But back to the bag — I’m starting to think of it as pretty great addition to my accessories closet. It’s durable, practical, and most importantly, it was under $20.
Why on earth would I desire such a bag?
Because I’m going to South America! In fact, as you’re reading this, I’m probably mid-air on a flight to Quito, Ecuador, where I’ll be spending the next week.
I’ve mentioned the trip many times on the blog (including all of the shots I needed to get in preparation for my travels), but I haven’t really explained why I’m going, or how this adventure came to be.
Here’s the scoop: I’m traveling to Ecuador with World Vision, a Christian non-profit organization that does all kinds of incredible work, but is probably most well-known for their child sponsorship program.
Did you know Scott and I each sponsor a child?
This is Solomon…he’s a 9-year-old boy living in Kenya that I am so thrilled to be sponsoring.
And this is Belinda. She’s the nine-year-old girl Scott sponsors who lives in Zimbabwe.
Sponsoring these kids has been such a blessing. A life-changing experience for us, and hopefully for them as well. It’s more than just a meaningful way to give, it’s about fostering a special connection, a relationship with your sponsored child.
The great thing about sponsoring a child through World Vision is that you not only are helping the child you’ve chosen to sponsor, you’re also helping to benefit their entire community. Their parents, siblings, neighbors, friends, teachers…everyone! Sponsorship helps bring clean water, nutritious food, health care, education, spiritual nurture and so much more to these children and their families for only $35 a month.
Such a small amount, yet it’s enough to change (and in some cases save) lives.
That’s less than a date night with Scott would cost.
Less than a tank of gas.
And way less than that new pair of shoes at Nordstrom that I really don’t need.
Yet its impact is so incredibly significant–a concept that never fails to completely blow my mind.
People always ask me if sponsorship is real. My answer?
It’s absolutely real! In fact, it’s the entire reason for this trip!
I won this trip as part of a contest at World Vision. For each friend or family remember you could get to sponsor a child, you would earn one entry in a drawing to “see sponsorship in action”. I was able to help six friends and family members decide to become sponsors, and much to my surprise, was selected at random as the lucky winner!
While in Ecuador, I’ll be visiting four different communities that are benefiting from sponsorship. I’ll get to meet sponsored children, hear their stories, and see the way World Vision sponsors have been able to help in transforming their lives, and their communities.
I’m also expecting to come face to face with some very sobering stories. I know I don’t have to explain to you that as Americans, we are so incredibly shielded from the extreme, devastating poverty that runs rampant through many other parts of the world. I don’t have to explain it to you, because you already know. But chances are, you often times forget.
I know I forget. Almost every single day.
As I scroll through this blog post, I see a photo of me, posing in my comfortable bedroom with my new handbag that I’m joking about because it wasn’t very expensive and certainly isn’t glamorous.
And then I see an excessively indulgent pile of lip gloss that has to be worth at least $150.
And then I see their beautiful faces.
Two precious children who have too little, while I have too much.
Two precious children who not so long ago, may not have had access to basic essentials such as clean water, nutritious food, and necessary medical care.
Two precious children that quite possibly see more hardship in one single day than I will witness in my entire life.
The contrast between my frivolous, selfish photos and their sweet little faces makes me feel disgusted with myself.
And I should feel that way.
But I also feel inspired.
Inspired to remind myself and others that true joy does not come from having the best handbag or the funniest blog.
Inspired to live a life that is about people, not about things.
Inspired to realign my priorities.
Inspired because there so much more that I can do to help.
But I don’t just want to talk the talk. I want to walk the walk.
Which is why I’m sharing this video from World Vision with you. I truly hope that you’ll do more than just watch and feel joyful. I hope that you’ll watch and feel inspired. Inspired to commit just $35 a month to literally changing the life of a child.
Pretty incredible, right?
We’re just getting started. Want to join us? Sponsor a child today, and become part of something that’s so much bigger than its $35 a month price tag.
Changing gears, I’ll be returning home this Saturday. In the mean time, I’ve scheduled daily posts and even have a few surprise guest bloggers! And of course, I can’t wait to update you with the details of my trip once I return. Have a great week, blog friends!
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