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I sent my kids to school this morning. The older two, that is. The youngest has decided I make a great jungle gym as I try to peck out a few words before we start the long list of things that didn’t get done during summer vacation.

But instead of to-do lists and chores, my mind keeps flashing pictures of children like Arminda, above, who were abandoned by their parents and left to die in the streets. I see the children in the Horn of Africa who have seen no rain in 3 years.

I can be thankful for things like seeing my children off to school, school buses, children who cook their own eggs, melted egg turners, and eating lunch at school (I have a first grader this year). I no longer take water and mattresses and carpet and tile and hardwood flooring and drywall and shingles for granted. But that doesn’t seem like enough any more. The gratitude in my heart must go somewhere outside of me, outside of us.

We are giving what we can — sponsoring children, donating to the famine relief in Africa, donating clothes and toys to local charities. But even that doesn’t seem enough.

So I offer up my words. These words.I write. And I pray that God will use these words to open the door of your heart, to stretch out your hand to love the hopeless, the abandoned, the forgotten. This is my gift of love to them too, pouring out of my gratitude for what God has given.

It is my call to you — join me. Pour out your gratitude in a tangible act of love.

Sponsor a child.

Donate to famine relief.

When you do, email me (or if you’ve already done so) — it would really encourage my heart. joy at joyinthisjourney dot com

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{Today’s post includes gratitude list items 423-434.}

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Sponsor in Bolivia