Support Vigilante Kindness Through eScrip!

Hi, Vigilantes!

Want an easy way to support Vigilante Kindness through all of the online shopping you already do? Follow these simple instructions, created by our secretary, Lauren, to use eScrip to support Vigilante Kindness.

Support Vigilante Kindness Through eScrip

There are thousands of online retailers participating in eScrip to give back to non-profits like ours. Two of my favorite ways to support Vigilante Kindness are by grocery shopping at Food Maxx and shopping at Target. They’re two of the retailers who give back to Vigilante Kindness through the eScrip program. I also recently supported VK by purchasing a wheelbarrow online from Home Depot and by purchasing beauty supplies online from Ulta. I love knowing that part of my everyday purchases support something good.

Thanks so much for your support!

A Fallow Year

I, the brownest of brown thumbs, have been planting things in my backyard. I planted strawberries in hanging baskets on my deck. They’re already blushing and I can’t wait to eat them. I planted peas, but they’re too shy to make an appearance yet. I also planted potatoes in a trash can. Yep, in a trash can.

As I’ve planted, I’ve learned about dirt. I learned that you shouldn’t plant strawberries where you’ve recently grown potatoes because the potatoes will have leached necessary nutrients from the ground and your strawberries will die of starvation.

I’ve been thinking about dirt a lot and how farmers would plant for six years and let the ground lay fallow for a year (Exodus 23:10). This was practiced by descendants of tribes of Israel-the descendants of God’s chosen people-and not by other tribes.

Nothing would be planted for a full year. The ground would be left to rest, to be fertilized by animal poop, and to recover the nutrients that were lost. My favorite definition of fallow is, “to be let alone.” I love the idea of just leaving the soil alone, of not touching a single grain, or tilling even a row.

Some years we just have to be let alone.

I don’t know about you, but I just survived that kind of year. A year where I got pooped on a lot and it felt like my very bones were leached dry, a fallow year for sure. So many of us on the board of Vigilante Kindness have been navigating fallowness this year, a year where nothing new was planted, a year of letting the soil sit.

I’m incredibly bad at letting the soil sit. I want to do what I want, when I want, but planting doesn’t work that way and neither does following God. That’s a sure way to kill the things you so desperately want to grow in your garden and in your life.

After a year, the farmers would come and tend to the soil. First they’d pull out masses of overgrown, thorny weeds, removing any remaining thing that would suck water and nutrients away from the new crop. Then they’d till, turning the ground over, breaking it up, letting in light, letting in air. The ground would be noticeably darker than the year before, fertile and ready for seeds.

Vigilantes, I didn’t know how to tell you about this year, how to tell you why I didn’t go to Uganda and why I’ve been quiet. I’ve been laying fallow. Maybe you have, too.

Did you know that the root word for fallow is the same root word for Sabbath and that both mean to rest? So rest I did. I didn’t go to Uganda. I didn’t start any new projects. I said no and I listened when God said no to me, which was difficult because I had some thorny pride that needed to be yanked out by the roots.

But the beauty of leaving a field fallow comes at the end of the year, comes in the recovery of what was lost, and in the eventual green of new growth.

A verse that’s been on repeat in my mind is Hosea 10:12.

“Sow with a view to righteousness, reap in accordance with kindness; Break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord until He comes to rain righteousness on you.”

Isn’t that just the best news? In the hardest of times, you can wait with expectation because the time for tending to the fallow ground is coming. Your parched bones can stand with buckets at the ready for the Lord to rain down righteousness on you.

The NIV translation says it a little differently:

“Sow with righteousness and reap the fruit of unfailing love.”

In the throes of my horribly hard year, I can say in my soul that I have known and felt the tender, unfailing love of God.

I hope you have, too. If you need a reminder, come on over, I’ll let you pick the best strawberries and I’ll feed you trash can potatoes. I’ll sit with you-dusty, dry, worn out, fallow, utterly lovely you.

I’ll remind you that you’re God’s chosen person, that it’s good and necessary to rest, and that the time will come for you to break ground again.

New VK Projects and 101% on Giving Tuesday

Happy December!

The close of the year is an exciting time at Vigilante Kindness. We’ve wrapped our projects from the previous year and have taken some time to consider, pray about, and begin the baby steps of planning new projects for the coming year. I’m giddy over our projects for 2016!. Some are familiar projects we’re continuing with and others are brand spanking new opportunities. I hope you’ll take a sec to pop over to our Current Projects Page and read all about them, but for now I’ll just say they involve pigs and tractors and feminine products-oh my!

In other exciting news, today if you donate to Vigilante Kindness via the PayPal Giving Fund, your donation will go a lot further.

PayPal-Giving-Fund-300x225

Normally VK receives 97% of all PayPal donations, but today we’ll receive 101% of every donation. So if you’d like to make a donation before the calendar year ends, or if you know an organization seeking to make a donation, your donation can do a just little more good today through the PayPal Giving Fund.

I’m thankful for how seamless PayPal makes our transactions and thankful that they’re giving back to Vigilante Kindness today. Most of all I’m thankful for you, Vigilantes, for falling in love with the people and places we work with and joining us in committing acts of Vigilante Kindness.

 

Meet Becca McKinnon: Teacher, Photographer, Vigilante

Happy Cyber Monday, Vigilantes. I’m told today is the best day for shopping for Christmas presents online. In the land of teachers, today is known more as, Please-God-Let-My-Students-Have-Gone-To-Bed-At-A-Reasonable-Hour-Last-Night-Day.

I digress.

Since it is Cyber Monday, I wanted to let you know of some ways you can shop online while also supporting Vigilante Kindness. You can, of course, buy any of the remaining paper bead jewelry, paintings or poetry anthologies from our store. You can also buy Bravelets bracelets or shop at AmazonSmile.

But there’s one more way you can shop online while supporting the work we do at VK. We’re big on using our gifts to serve others and I love when you email, message, call, stop me in the grocery store and tell me about your gifts and talents and how you want to use them to partner with us. Seriously, few things make me happier than when the work we love to do collides with what your gifts and talents.

Enter Becca McKinnon.

You know her as half of the couple who shoved money in my hand before I left for Uganda the second time with the directions to “find a kid in need.” That money became a mattress for a kid in need.

Becca teaches with me, poor thing, but her passion is taking photographs. She takes photos that leave me awestruck. Seriously, just look at this one of Balanced Rock.

Balanced Rock by Becca McKinnon
Balanced Rock by Becca McKinnon

I can’t even talk about the photos she snapped of my favorite oak tree on Millville Plains Road.

So when Becca asked me if she could donate part of the proceeds of her photo sales to Vigilante Kindness, I was definitely on board. When she said she wanted to give Vigilante Kindness 50% of the proceeds, I nearly passed out. She actually asked if 50% would be enough and it was all I could do to sputter out, “Y-y-y-yes, fifty percent is more than enough.”

So on this Cyber Monday, while I’m wrangling sleep-deprived children, take a minute to pop over to Becca’s site. Even if you somehow have superhero willpower and don’t purchase anything, you’ll be glad to see the beauty Becca captures through the lens of her camera.

Thanks, Becca, and thanks to all of you Vigilantes who use your gifts and talents to partner with VK in doing the work we love.

Paper Beads & Paintings Now For Sale Online!

jewelry & paintings for VK website-8

Dearest, patient online Vigilantes, the long-awaited day for you to purchase paper bead jewelry online is finally here. In case you simply can’t wait another moment, pop on over to our store to shop. I’ll wait here.

Because of seed money donated by Vigilantes prior to my last trip to Uganda,  Vigilante Kindness was able to purchase 1,000ish gorgeous paper bead necklaces and bracelets. I bought up every bit the women of Bungatira created and I thought surely 1,000ish pieces would be enough to last us for sales for a year.

I was wrong.

So very wrong.

I brought them to one local speaking engagement and had 2 small jewelry parties and POOF! all but a few pieces were snatched up before I could even breathe, let alone get the pieces loaded vigilantekindness.com to sell.

Honestly, it was a great problem to have. Once again, Vigilantes, you completely knocked my socks off with your generosity and support for the people we’ve come to love in Uganda.

The good news is that there are a few lovely pieces remaining and the even better news is that this year’s jewelry sales have guaranteed that this project is now self-sustaining. It makes me want to jump up and down a teensy bit. Okay, more than a teensy bit.

Before you head over to buy some beautiful paper bead jewelry, please take 2 minutes to see how the paper bead jewelry is made.

Loving you with all my liver,

Alicia

P.S. While you’re there you can check out the three remaining painting we have for sale by Ugandan artists Calvin & Seddrick.

Vigilante Kindness Evening of Stories

Hi, Vigilantes!

You’re invited to an Evening of Stories on October 17th from 4:30pm to 6:00pm in the Community Room at the Redding Library. I’ll be sharing stories and photos from our latest adventures in Vigilante Kindness in Uganda.

Paper bead jewelry and paintings from our Ugandan artisans will also be for sale that evening.

This event is free and open to the public.

If you’d like to help out at the Evening of Stories, please email me at vigilantekindness@gmail. com. We’re in need of people to help with some light set up, to prepare snacks, and to man the paper bead jewelry table.

I can’t wait to tell you stories and show you photos of all the great things your generosity has done. This evening is a small way of saying thanks for partnering with us in acts of Vigilante Kindness in Uganda.

Fondly,

Alicia

Doable Things

On my last day in Gulu I saw Sister Rosemary for a few minutes. I hadn’t seen her since my first trip to Uganda-before the story of her life became a best seller and a movie, before she became a world renowned speaker and before Time named her one of the 100 Most Influential people.
Sister Rosemary is an enigma to me. She’s hilarious and down to Earth. She drinks Guinness like a fish. She’s a devout nun. She’s the essence of warmth. And Sister Rosemary gets things done because when she gives you a direction, you follow it.

This is what led my mom and I back to her home at Saint Monica’s Tailoring School on our last day in Gulu. We’d run into Sister Rosemary and some of the good people at Pros for Africa at a cafe in town the day before and Sister Rosemary invited us to visit her. By the time we left the cafe, her invitation had become an agreement that we’d come. And when Sister Rosemary tells me to do something, I drop everything and do it. She’s the kind of woman who inspires equal parts fear and awe in me down in my trembly parts.

On the day we visited, my mom and I found her sitting on the step in front of her house picking out lace to cover the coffin of her cousin who had passed away the day before. Even in her grief, Sister was welcoming and warm and insisted on showing us the pop tab purses that had been made with a donation of soda pop tabs my mom had brought to Uganda to give to Sister Rosemary. 
 After showing us where and how the purses are made, Sister Rosemary gave each of us a purse, an unnecessary and lavish act of generosity considering how much each purse would sell for and how much revenue that would bring to the school. 
We only stayed a few minutes because funeral preparations are elaborate in Uganda, but before we left I told her how much I’d appreciated what she said in her interviews on the girls who had been kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria. She thanked me and said, “We must speak of doable things.” She went on to explain that so often we speak of large problems and large solutions, but really we should focus on small things each of us can do to care for each other, to extend kindness, to wash the muck off each other with a little grace.

Sister Rosemary runs a school for women, many of whom were forced to be child brides of LRA soldiers during the terrorizing insurgency led by the warlord Joseph Kony. On campus there’s a sewing school, a culinary school, a health clinic, a restaurant and a host of other opportunities for the women of Uganda to learn life skills. What Sister does is incredible, but she would be the first to tell you, she’s taking one small step at a time, just trying to follow the will of God. When she speaks of doable things, it’s because she’s living them day in and day out.

On the day of our visit, we hugged goodbye and I promised to visit Sister again when I return next year. While my mom and I waited for our boda driver to get us, I ran my hand over my beautiful pop tab purse, a purse sewn of small doable things.  


As I pray for direction for Vigilante Kindness, pray for direction for this upcoming school year, and frankly as I pray for direction for my life as a whole, I’m praying Sister Rosemary’s words and asking God to give me that same heart for doable things.

Maybe you’re overwhelmed by the problems of the world, frustrated in your job, exhausted with worry for your family, or just plain asking for direction. Sweet Vigilantes, let’s commit to speaking of small doable things and then doing them.

Are you with me?

We’re a rag-tag group of people vigilantly pursuing self-sustaining educational & employment opportunities with and for students and their families living in rural communities in developing countries. We believe in asking hard questions like, “What do you need and how can we help?” We believe that communities know their needs better than we do and that it’s our job to listen. We’re big on being kind for the sake of kindness and we believe that even the smallest acts of kindness can make a big difference. We believe in keeping vigil over one another and watching for opportunities to help, no matter how far off the beaten path those opportunities take us. We’re vigilant in our belief that God has given each person unique gifts and that one of the highest forms of worship is using those gifts to serve others. We believe God has a purpose for each life and Vigilante Kindness is our purpose. Join us as we live out wild adventures in service of God and others. Join us in committing acts of Vigilante Kindness.