2 Weeks of Sacrifice with Blood:Water Mission

July 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

Does everyone remember my post featuring Blood:Water Mission from last week?

I am happy to announce my decision to participate in the 2 Weeks of Sacrifice program Blood:Water Mission sponsors.  The basic idea is to give up drinking anything but tap water for 2 weeks.

 The goal is to:

  1. Become more appreciative of how easily accessible clean water is in the United States.
  2. Save the money you would normally spend on drinks throughout the 2 weeks and send it to Blood:Water Mission.  Considering that every $1 gives 1 person water for 1 year… think about how so little [in our eyes] can create a huge impact!

I am hoping to start sometime soonwhy the delay?  I was wondering if any of you would like to take this journey with me!?

For both seasoned and new humanitarians alike this should be easy peezy!  Such an effortless and simple solution to such a serious problem.  Just think if you save $1 a day, that would be $14 at the end of two weeks… which would mean 14 lives that you have positively impacted!

I don’t know about you but I think cutting out the Coke Zero [mmm] and the sweet tea for two weeks is well worth the cause!  Besides what a healthy initiative!

Leave a comment below if you would also like to participate in 2 Weeks of Sacrifice.  I will send an email with the “logistics” of the fundraiser.  I will also create an email group for everyone who participates to send updates on the process and the savings!   Then at the end of the two weeks the blog will announce how much we raised as a group + testimonials and personal stories from you!!  

So start thinking about how important soda/coffee/tea is to you and consider joining this initiative!  Then pass it along to your friends and family as well! 

Bethany

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It all began in Switzerland… European Adventure Part 1

July 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

I am so excited!!!!

I cannot wait to tell everyone all about my European adventures from Summer 2010.  As I mentioned before in the little bit of background about me, I travelled to the Dominican Republic in 2005.  It was my first real taste of international traveling… I immediately fell in love with it.  There are hardly any words to describe the delight I have in traveling.  It is this delight and love that pushed me to raise money for four years to study abroad.

Studying abroad will always be one of the best experiences of my life.  It was without a doubt unforgettable.  There were so many choices to be made in order to  study abroad– should I go for a summer, a semester, an entire year?  Where should I go?  When should I go?  Should I try to travel while I’m there, etc etc.  My mind was constantly changing on what I should do.  I finally decided that I would study in Florence, Italy for an entire month during the Summer of 2010.  Knowing that a meager four weeks would not be nearly enough for me, I recruited a travel partner [a fabulous one at that] and we planned a European excursion for the 2 weeks before the program.  I will admit that planning this trip basically consumed my life for the months prior– but it was completely worth it in the end.  I will leave our route a surprise as I recapture the experiences of the trip.  I hope you enjoy my stories, advice, and pictures [note that I did not have that great of a camera].  And as you may notice by the title… our first destination was Zurich, Switzerland.

May 16, 2010

Our plane left around 1 pm for Zurich.  Because they are 6 hours ahead, we would be landing in Switzerland around 8:30 am.  I remember being on the plane… furious because I couldn’t sleep.  Anxious to get there.  Nervous to be away from home for 6 weeks… away from family, friends, my church, and of course, boyfriend.  I remember thinking at one point, is this the right decision?  Obviously it was too late for second guesses.  I blame most of this worry on my mother [naturally] because she she is a worrier by nature [usually for good reasons].  But more likely it was sparked because at that moment I was entering an entirely different world from my own.  And while this truth is incredibly exciting, it is also equally intimidating.  I was about to go backpacking around Europe with a girl I barely knew and I was admittedly a wee bit scared.  However, all of that changed the next day…

May 17, 2010

To me, this picture is the perfect description of Switzerland and the way it makes me feel.  Completely beautiful, natural, clean, happy, lovely… basically any positive adjective that you can think of.  

Alyssa and I safely arrived in Zurich without any problems.  We were able to take a [very expensive] taxi to our hostel and check into our room several hours early.  It was nice to be able to put our stuff down, change out of our nasty airplane/airport clothing, and freshen up a bit before hitting the streets.  Alyssa and I agreed that we would not have jet lag– we knew we couldn’t afford to waste any valuable time sleeping.  So despite only getting 2 hours of sleep on the plane we made a full day of exploring the streets of Zurich together.  We grabbed a map, a coffee, some Swedish bakery treats, and were on our way.  Deciding to ramble our way into the main city, called “Old  City,” was probably one of the best decisions we made during the entire trip.  We wondered through neighborhoods, alleyways, walked along the waterside of Lake Zurich, and saw some of the most beautiful scenery we otherwise would have never seen.  Like the picture above.

Alyssa and I made a pretty great team.  We were both interested in doing and seeing the same things.  Plus, we were really able to get to know each other throughout the whole trip.  There was hardly a silent moment between us during the two weeks that we travelled and we became great friends.  I would travel with her any time, any day, any where if she asked me!

After about a 30 minute walk from the hostel we finally reached “Old City” and I think both Alyssa and I were taken back, not only by the beauty of the city, but by the realization that we were in Europe– it was super surreal.

One activity that Alyssa and I made a habit throughout the trip was climbing to a very high point in every city.  In this case one of the church steeples– Grossmünster– which is the church with the double steeples on the right.  

Once again, doing this every where we went, was absolutely amazing, and definitely worth the hike up all those stairs.  Once we got to the top we could see everything more clearly and for miles and miles.   It was amazing how the view from the top completely changed the perspective of the beautiful churches from the street.  It was so much easier to appreciate their beauty when you could see all of the architecture.  The day was absolutely perfect.  We enjoyed every second of walking around… taking it all in.  By the end of the day… after running on 2 hours of sleep… we were exhausted.  I think we both fell asleep by 9:30 pm.  It was the most incredible day to start our adventures and it really set the stage for the rest of our trip.

Keep a look out for Day 2 of my fantastic adventures in Europe coming soon!!

Bethany

In Living [Room] Color

July 25, 2011 § 16 Comments

Hey y’all.

I wanted to share with you guys some of my inspiration for color in my living room!  I use a lot of color… basically every one you can think of.  I believe color can make or break a room.  In my living room I wanted to make sure it was not matchy matchy, I wanted it to be… lets call it “elegantly thrown together”.  Which is actually pretty easy to do since I’m a college student and I use what I’ve got and buy things that are on sale!  I have achieved the look I wanted with  new items, newly renovated items, and also a lot of things that I’ve had for years.  I think it is a lot of fun to bring it all together to create a unique and personal vibe.

Take a look at it below:

A lot of my inspiration came from the following three pieces: The first bit of color[inspi]ration is this trunk I bought around 3 years ago at HomeGoods [of course] and I still luuuuurve it so much.  It pretty much captures all the colors used in my living room to a tee!

Secondly, I really loved my table cloth that I got from Target about a year ago.  I loved the combination of colors and really wanted to try to capture that combo with the rest of my living area.

And finally, my last bit of inspiration came from this vintage paper I bought when I was in Florence, Italy.  Once again I loved color’s role in making this piece stand out.  When I saw it, I knew I had to have it… not even intending to frame it.

It wasn’t until I saw all three  pieces together that I knew I had something really going with my color scheme [if you can call basically all the colors a scheme].  I  house-shopped, combining a lot of knick knacks I already owned and picked up a few things at Marshalls or HomeGoods. Which amounted to basically everything on the walls, windowsills, and side tables.

Tying the rest of it together was pretty easy!  It simply required taking the old boring brown from the furniture and jazzing it up.  I tackled the couches first by adding some color with bright and fun pillows and making a new slipcover for an old ottoman.  You may remember those recent posts which you can find here and here.   Just those pillows alone brought a lot of pizzazz to my living room without being too overbearing.  

The next step was painting some hand-me-down furniture from my parents’ house.  Isn’t that old [ginormous] atlas fun in the coffee table?  Plus, it brings out the colors of the room too!And a little bit of blue and new hardware for this side table!
The final step was adding a rug which I found at Lowes for $25!  It is a lighter shade of the blue that I used to paint the table above!
And here is the finished product:
And all together again:
I’m certain that I will continue adding pieces here and there… maybe a few more pillows, etc etc. BUT I am so pleased with how everything has come together.  It really speaks to my personality and the things I really enjoy in life!
Let me know what y’all think! And tell me what you use as color[inspi]ration for your home!!
I hope your Monday was colorful 🙂

Bethany

PS. Check out http://www.projectrejuvenate.net to keep following my adventures in design 🙂 

 

Blood:Water Mission

July 21, 2011 § 2 Comments

I first want to start off by saying imagine living in a place without clean water… no water to drink, shower in, brush your teeth with… etc etc.  Think about how much we take for granted clean water on a daily basis.  Yet unsanitary water is a reality for so many people around the world… I am so excited to share with you an organization who is trying to eradicate the water crisis in Africa called Blood:Water Mission.

Today is going to be a great post because this organization inspires me on so many levels.  Like I said yesterday, Blood:Water Mission was the first international relief organization I ever really learned about.  At the time I thought it was like one of the most revolutionary and incredible things I had ever heard of.    It will always hold a special place in my heart and I will always think the work they do is absolutely amazing.

Blood:Water Mission began with a band you may have heard of [they have won a grammy and all], Jars of Clay.  The band was touched by the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa and noted the connection between battling AIDS with the need for clean water.  In 2005 they started the 1000 Wells Project in the United States to raise awareness and funding to provide clean water and sanitation to 1000 communities in Sub-Saharan Africa.  They promoted the project through this equation:  $1 = 1 year of clean water for 1 African  Sounds simple & cheap enough right?  The project was completed in 2010 after raising millions of dollars through individuals, churches, clubs, and organizations.

Being a student of International Studies, I have been lucky enough to learn about International Development– what works, what doesn’t, what should be done, etc etc.  I am proud to say that Blood:Water Missions does it in a pretty incredible way, which is made obvious by their mission statement:  empower communities to work together against the HIV/AIDS and water crisis in Africa.  One thing I have learned in my studies is that development/relief needs to be localized.  If you are simply giving someone a handout there is no empowerment which in turn creates a cycle of dependency and poverty.   This is one thing that Blood:Water Mission understands.  In their fight against both the HIV/AIDS and water crises, BWM takes these steps of action:

  1. Empowerment: BWM hopes to work with communities to realize their potential, self-worth and capabilities to lead them on a path of improvement.
  2. Partnership:  BWM works with local organizations– building this partnership is one of the most crucial steps in the entire process.  
  3. Implement:  It is only through empowerment and partnerships that BWM is able to implement its water and HIV/AIDS programs.    
To learn more about how BWM works click here.
Another great thing about Blood:Water Missions is that they make it super easy for you to get involved… not only do they have events basically completely planned out for you [here] they also provide you with a ton of resources [here].  
They are also pretty easy to keep track of… check out what progress is being made and how incredible this organization is through their blog [here].
I encourage all of you to explore their website [which is extremely appealing to the eye, who knew web graphics could make you drool?] and learn more and more about Blood:Water Mission.
If you feel like they are an organization worthy of 30 seconds of your time… I want you to check out the Side Bar on your right… there should be an easy-to-see widget that makes it super super easy to help BWM.  Simply click on it do one activity [usually just a 3 question survey] and provide 37 days of clean water to an African!  Pretty easy right?!?
Happy Thursday to everyone!!
Bethany

Background: Humanitarian Spirit

July 20, 2011 § 3 Comments

Here at Project Rejuvenate, we not only want to rejuvenate your spaces with fun decorating ideas and DIY projects… we also want to inspire you to see the world and give back to the world! 

Ever since I was a little girl I’ve had an inner desire to help those around me.  I remember one year I gave all my birthday money to the Duke Children’s Hospital Drive.  I don’t say this to brag, I am just pointing out that God has deposited in me such a deep yearning to reach those less fortunate that even as an 8-year-old helping sick kids meant more to me than buying the latest toys.  Every desire in my heart comes from Him.  This desire grew when I was a teenager and pushed me to become involved in international relief.  I can’t pinpoint the exact moment that I knew helping people in developing countries was what I wanted to do with my life but I know it revolved around 4 events:

  1. I travelled to the Dominican Republic right after I turned 16 with a local church.  While we were there we worked with kids and traveled to many different villages ministering to people.  My eyes were opened to different cultures– I loved being immersed in a place that was so different from my own home.  This trip sparked my interest in travel, but it also showed me how people live, maybe survive is a better word, in the developing world.  I was so moved by it I started to try to find ways that I could get involved… which leads to #2
  2. I read this amazing book called Mountains Beyond Mountains which followed Dr. Paul Farmer’s journey helping impoverished Haitians by providing medical care.  What started as such a small [yet amazing] project turned into something much, much larger.  Now Dr. Farmer is recognized and respected on a global scale.  His impact has reached much further than Haiti and now practices in many countries.  This project turned into an amazing and inspiring organization called Partners in Health, check out more of what they do here.
  3. Also around that time I watched the DVD, Invisible Children.  The DVD followed children of Uganda, victims of civil war –Either forced into becoming soldiers at such young ages or orphaned and living on the streets with no supervision.   Watching the DVD completely broke my heart and it made me realize that there is so much going on in the world that we are not even aware of.  [Maybe it’s not a small world after all?]  Invisible Children as an organization has grown a lot since then… but I’ll probably talk about that more later.
  4. The fourth event was that I learned about Blood:Water Mission— perhaps the first international relief agency I ever knew.  This organization was so inspiring to me at that time I even did school projects based off the organization.  I loved what they did and how they did it.  Which leads me to my next post… look out for more information about Blood:Water Mission tomorrow.  I’m so excited to share with you about this amazing organization and perhaps the easiest way in the world that you can get involved.

I hope this helps explain where I’m coming from and gives some background to where I’m going.  It’s my deepest wish to be able to travel and see more places around the world– and to be able to learn about ways to help in a positive way.  When those days come you better believe I’ll inform you on my journey!   

Bethany

P.S. Do you remember those defining moments in your life– ones that would impact what you do for the rest of your life?  Do you believe God has deposited in you a deep desire to do / be / have something?  Share with me in the comments below!

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