Charity begins at home they say- in thought, word and deed- and I think that is very true. Start with a smile and a kind word- and move forward from there.
In today's world many different organizations raise funds to help those in need. Bell ringers stand by doorways and hope that Christmas shoppers will be generous with their funds. Even fashionable clothing retailers do what they can to help raise funds for those in need. That is how I ended up with this adorable paper mache "Story Ornament" Elephant this Christmas.
I found him in an Anthropologie catalogue while looking for a fashionable sweater to buy for my daughter for Christmas. I get a HUGE kick out of this little trumpeting elephant covered in newsprint words. Seems a fitting symbol for the deluge of words brought on by the information age- AND I very much like idea of helping Haitian artisans rebuild their lives, their homes, and their country.
When in Jordan this past September, one of my husband's relatives (cousin Mohammed's mother- a delightful women I had never met before) gave me a beautiful cross from Bethlehem.
Symbols make our world more interesting and interconnected. Art history books can devote pages and pages to the meanings of a painting. Some symbols are obscure and harder to fathom, others (like the cross, or the star or the crescent moon) are quite well known.
The last cross I received as a heartfelt gift came from my grandmother who gave me a book mark that is made of three book length long strands of narrow white ribbon, each strand of ribbon with a small golden charm sown onto the end. A cross, an anchor and a heart: Faith, Hope and Charity.
Charity is love- and generosity.
A friend from many many years ago sent me a link last month to a charity in Jerusalem that I find intriguing and exciting.... Palestinian artisans are making Christmas symbols out of the lambs wool from Bethlehem sheep.
Thanks to the Internet I was able to order some to give as gifts (as well as some to keep for myself) and they arrived here just in time for Christmas...and my heavens are they popular ! Every one who sees them and touches them is utterly enchanted. The workmanship is suburb. Each item is charming- and so very symbolic.
Sunbula is a Jerusalem-based nonprofit Fair Trade organization that supports Palestinian craft producers -- women‘s groups, artisan cooperatives and disabled people‘s organizations. By promoting traditional handicrafts locally and internationally, they support economic self-help efforts of those living in difficult conditions in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, and the Palestinian minority inside Israel.
Sunbula is Arabic for "spike of wheat," the flower that makes bread. As the name symbolizes, Sunbula helps people provide themselves with the gift of a more dignified life.
Each one of their product is made by hand with care, and in the spirit of preserving Palestinian craft traditions.
Go shop at their 2 fair trade shops in Jerusalem or visit their Online Craft Market for hundreds of beautifully crafted items Palestinian embroidery, olivewood carvings, home decors, jewelry, and more!These felted wool ornaments feel good to touch- and they are so lightweight, and unbreakable. Although I suspect a naughty kitten might have fun pulling one to pieces... all the more reason so buy more than one just in case!
I like olive wood ornaments too, both for my own home and to give as gifts to friends and family.
Some holiday decorations are simple, others are much more complex, like this music box I got a few years ago- made in Palestine... turn the star and it plays the Christmas carol Silent Night.
In growing a garden for Palestine today, I have to keep hoping for peace, even though sometimes it seems that is getting harder and harder to do, with so many extremists, bigots and imbeciles (on both "sides") dominating the conversation at every turn. Thankfully there are many others- many better, brighter, more compassionate and realistic men, women and children who are hoping for peace too- a just and lasting peace for every one's sake.
There are good and decent people here, there and everywhere, hoping and quietly, gently doing what they can to help make Palestine a reality. A real country with real jobs for real people- not a rally cry but a sovereign nation state where Palestinians are fully free to rebuild their lives and homes... fully free to live in peace- and earn a good living. Fully free to simply be.
Today, here in America we can find and buy Palestinian crafts and souvenirs- but in time we might also be exploring sophisticated computer programs or security advice made in Palestine. There is no limit to what might be.... New inventions and new technology or new ideas that radically change our world and the way we do things can not be predicted. But we can help create an environment where more people are more able to make the most of their time and talents.
If you are an American citizen looking for ways to invest in a real Palestine be very very careful about what you invest in- and (who and) what you promote. Spend both your energy and your money wisely.
Times change- and life moves on. Sometimes it is in very unexpected ways. Sometimes the change is shocking- but sometimes it is barely noticeable.
And sometimes it is REALLY hard to find a family photo where everyone is actually looking towards the camera!
Every year we celebrate any holiday, no matter who we are or what we are celebrating, it is at least a little bit different than the last as our children grow up and we age... Some years the change is huge- loved ones die and we miss them horribly, wishing they were still with us.
Fact is money can not buy the best things in life.
- Growing Gardens for Palestine
- Planning a garden is one step towards planting it ...
- "Come, I'll tell you about Palestine"
- Honoring Arabic & Arabic Calligraphy
- Poem in Your Pocket Day is April 17th
- Poetry continued-
- Lavender ...
- Bulbs & Birdhouses
- Getting distracted by snow geese
- Embroidered keepsakes
- Going Green for St. Patrick's Day
- Seeds of hope and connection
- A good priority
- Poppies & Palestine: 60 years of forced exile-Time for Return
- The Garden Center
- Mid East Market
- In all Connection (Key shaped poem by Anne Selden Annab)
- PERSISTENCE : "And my heart flies..." Mahmoud Darwish 1941-2008
- The Day The Palestinian Poet Darwish Died
- Ibdaa 'to create something out of nothing'
- September flavors - books & films proving that Palestine is real- and Palestine is right!
- A poem on Al-Awda
- ...Universal Echo
- Autumn leaves
- It's October- a good time to start thinking about hats
- Discovering our Shared Heritage... & please get out and VOTE!
- Be the change you want- DARE HOPE !
- ...To be True
- Christmas Lights
- Giving Gifts
- Anniversaries- and Accountability
- Christ was a Palestinian
- Rivers of paint...
- Connecting the Human Family Step by Step...
- The Mathematics of Terror
- We need a Golden Rule Peace for Israel and Palestine
- A Palestine To Return To ... poem by Anne Selden Annab
- The Arab Peace Initiative
- Freedom to me is ... (a poem)
- An Eastre Story... a visual poem celebrating Spring
- The American Task Force on Palestine
- "Where, after all, do universal human rights begin...
- Playing God ... poem by Anne Selden Annab
- Ibtisam ... a poem by Anne Selden Annab
- Darwish & Dickinson
- BUILDING PALESTINE: THE INDISPENSABLE STATE FOR PEACE...ATFP GALA 2010
- Music Therapy
- Dear Ziad
- Internet Tourism
- Garden of Paradise... antique maps, illuminated manuscripts, engravings, art, etc @ ATFP December 7 & 8th Winter Bizarre