When the Siren Sounds

Station 21 Firehouse The Atlanta Fire Department’s Station 21, offers a variety of services beyond firefighting and fire rescue. Citizens can have their blood pressure checked and obtain and learn to install child car seats, water conservation kits and fire alarms. The station also serves as a safe spot for domestic violence victims. Station 21 has a proud history, dating back to the 1940’s.

IMG_9491However, it isn’t for any of these reasons that I was first introduced to the men. For the last 3 years, they have faithfully come and shared with the Preschoolers where my son attends. There are only a few children in each class, but that doesn’t deter them. They show up and run through a demonstration of fire safety and first aid just as they would to a packed auditorium. The Chief even attends and facilitates the talk.IMG_9436

I am so grateful to each one of them for investing in the lives of these little ones. Each little IMG_9538boy now wants to “fight fire.” These guys are hero’s in our community. I would be lying if I said that I do something for them on a consistent basis. I think about it often, but rarely act on it. I plan to do better going forward.

For anyone who has schooled aged children, I cannot recommend this enough. They walk through each step of putting on their suit. All while talking to the children in an effort to diminish fear of the mask and oxygen tank.IMG_9544IMG_9550IMG_9553IMG_9554IMG_9556IMG_9558After he’s suited up and ready, the children are allowed to touch the mask, suit, helmet, while he continues talking to them, explaining what each piece is and why it is important.
IMG_9559IMG_9561IMG_9592IMG_9587This is so helpful in the case of an emergency. The children are learning not to be afraid of a rescue worker trying to help them.

At one point Rogers’ gear was sitting unattended by the truck.IMG_9466
Any time I see a firefighter’s helmet, a worn American flag, or hear the sound of their personal distress signal, I am instantly taken back to 9/11. All of those who were lost. The days of multiple distress signal units being heard from the rubble. It’s haunting.

To think that the same men and women who are saving people’s lives everyday would take time out to come share with us and take pictures with the children, is humbling and so incredibly appreciated.

When we took the boys to the station to deliver a thank you from the preschool children, the men were more than accommodating. They showed us around the station, let the boys take a picture with them and even slid down the pole. It is a memory that will remain at the forefront of my boys minds for a very long time.

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Who in your community is serving fearlessly to protect those you love? What can you do to appreciate them and their daily sacrifice?

Five Minute Friday: Rest

RestAhhhhh. I take a deep breath in and slowly exhale preparing for a few tranquil moments of meditation. Rest.

Last night a beautiful young friend and I were discussing this very thing. I watched as tears ran down her checks and onto her blouse. She wiped them away with the sleeve of her sweater while saying, almost in a whisper, “I just don’t feel as close to God and I’m not sure how to get back.”

One thing I’ve learned in my years of running is that when I feel distance it is not He who creates it. It is I.

For me, I can’t always reconnect without meeting Him under the circumstances of rest. Being still. Opening my hands to the heavens. “Here I am, Lord. I just want to sit here a while…in your presence…where restoration can be found.”

Exodus 14:14 says, “The Lord will fight for you. You need only to be still.” Why is being still so difficult?

I looked into the eyes of this remarkable young woman who, though just out of her teens, has played the role of mother, provider, protector and spiritual leader for her siblings since a very young age and therefore doesn’t know what it feels like or even how to be still.

I encouraged her to open emptied hands to the heavens, fully expectant of the blessings He would flood down, filling not only her hands, but her heart, mind and body. Pour out her cares to the God who formed every detail of her being in the womb of the mother who would leave her soon after. Allow someone else to bear her burden. Even if only for a while. Renouncing the illusion of control.

 Surrender, to me, is the epitome of rest.

Do you find time for rest? Is it difficult to be still? Join Lisa-Jo and a community of participants over at Five Minute Friday and tell us your story.

In It to End It

fb_profile3Yesterday I disappeared…from social media, that is.
And as ridiculous and spoiled as it sounds, it was incredibly difficult.
I realized how often I quickly scroll through Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest on my phone while sitting in traffic, in the carpool line, at my kitchen table, in the drive-thru at Starbucks, before falling asleep…crazy right?

It was eye-opening and heartbreaking to think of how technology has become so second nature that it’s a reflex when so many have no voice. When I want to say something, often of no importance, I hop on one of my many social media outlets and “express myself.” Yesterday, I had to stop multiple times throughout the day from logging into the loop of instant updates.

As I sit here on my chenille sofa, typing on my MacBook Pro, with a cup of hot tea at my fingertips (to help soothe the cold I feel coming on), I am forced to think of the 27 million people for sale. And it took tearing my grip from social media for 24 hours to really get my attention.

So…you may be thinking, WIIFM? Which, if you aren’t familiar with that acronym it means, “What’s In It For Me?” (We all ask it whenever faced with a difficult decision.)
Well, that depends on you. Honestly, I don’t know my part in all of this. I don’t know where my place is and how I can be an ember amid massive atrocity and unfathomable evil? The one thing I know to do is share it with you. The one thing I can do is write. So today, here in this place, I will raise awareness with my voice, for the many who’ve been silenced and left without choice. Today, I will do what I can with what I have.

What can you do? First, remember this quote that strips us of excuses while hopefully inducing laughter, “If you think you’re too small to make a difference, you’ve never been to bed with a mosquito.”

Next, watch the short clip below, think about the faces fading in and out on the screen…picture someone you know in one of these hellacious scenarios…what would you do? Where would you start? Will you share this information on your blog, website and in your social media circles? You may not think it’s a lot, but it’s so much more than nothing.

Every picture you click on in this post with the End It logo will take you to their website. I will also have a button on the right side of my site with the End It logo that will lead to their website as well.

For more information and facts on slavery, you may download these PDF documents taken directly from the END IT website. Thank you.
fb_cover4Slavery Facts
Slavery Has A Face
END IT Manifesto
Rave Card