A Celebration of Courage

Absolutely beautiful story of a courageous girl who spoke out.As they called her name…Catalina…my heart pulsed. She tentatively walked to the small, makeshift podium in the IJM office of Guatemala City.

 IJM is a human rights organization fighting for justice for the poor. Much of their casework focuses on human trafficking for the sex trade and other forms of slavery, as well as all sexual violence against children. The Guatemalan office deals exclusively with sexual abuse of young children whose photos I can’t share for their protection, but so wish I could.

I struggled hard to make eye contact with Catalina as she approached. She looked down and sideways, almost hiding from the attention. I wanted to hug her, to put her at ease, but knew I was not permitted to make that first move for physical touch. I could only respond which was against the burning desire in me to grab, and hold, and affirm.

Catalina, like every girl in this room, had a story.

My earlier involvement with IJM left me expecting to meet very young girls trafficked into the sex trade, but I was not prepared for this. The betrayal many girls in Guatemala City encounter is the sexual abuse from their daddy. The cultural acceptance of this in many communities disturbed me at my core.Speak up

Their story was one of trauma and repeated abuse. Some of the girls in this room were only as tall as my hipbone. Others faced those already difficult tween years with injustices that will take a lifetime to overcome. Each story was different, yet the same.

I looked around the over-stuffed room filled by the precious faces of young girls who eagerly anticipated this day.

They wore their Sunday best. One child pulled her hair off of her face with 4 ponytails just like my daughter did when she was 7.

They were excited and ready for The Ceremony.

This Pinning Ceremony is sacred, and I felt it by simply being in the room. It represents much more than simply receiving a pin.

This ceremony comes after a girl has testified against her perpetrator. Rather than shame and re-victimization, they are celebrated for the bravery in speaking their story. Their courage marks the beginning of healing and restoration.

This sacred moment brings light to where darkness once reigned, and hope to a place of brokenness.

As Catalina approached me, I separated the pin so I could attach it to her shirt. I soaked up the compassion in her social worker’s voice as she spoke words of truth over this child. Her lawyer also applauded her bravery.

My eyes filled with tears as I attached the pin, “I am so proud of you, Catalina. You are courageous and strong!” And with that I got the hug I had been longing for.

My heart ached for the girls but the next moment simply broke it in two.

Each mother in the room, one by one, read a letter they had written to their daughter. I couldn’t imagine the words I would speak over my own daughter in this situation.

Every mom wept as she read the stirrings of her heart over her child. The Spanish words came so fast, I could no longer follow along, yet I understood the mixture of pain and pride perfectly.

It was almost too much for me.

The love of a mother is an amazing thing. It fights. It protects. It sacrifices greatly. I watched as they held each other in a way that said “we survived.”

I was frozen by the strength evident in this bond.

As the last girl left, she turned to wave one last good-bye. My eyes locked on that well-deserved pin attached to her shirt, and I shook my head yes.

The pin reads, “I am a Hero”.



I’d love for you to learn more about IJM.

My first trip with the International Justice Mission was almost a decade ago.  I’ve seen their ongoing fight against injustice first-hand in Cambodia, the Philippines, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, Kenya, and now Guatemala. I’ve held 6 year-olds rescued from brothels. The organization is extremely dear to my heart. These videos capture some of the difference they are making in lives around the world.

Talk about it. Share it. Join the conversation against human trafficking and slavery.

Just 2 weeks ago, 333 people were rescued from slavery from a brick factory in India. Here’s their update.

This is the story of another girl in Guatemala City named Griselda.

A story of 6 girls being rescued from inside a brothel wall.

NBC report on Cambodian girls as young as 5 being used as prostitutes


50 Adorable Ways to Love on your Family

Absolutely LOVE these ides on fun ways to love on your family. \the House of HendrixFebruary is that month that makes me want to stage a LOVE ATTACK on my family!

I don’t believe you can over-love people. Sometimes it’s quiet and subtle, and other times it’s loud and, in my case, obnoxious.

The ever-inspiring Bob Goff, author of Love Does says,

“Do not save up love like you’re trying to retire on it. Give it away like you are made of it.”

I want my family so saturated in my love, there is no doubt in their minds where my heart is at.great Love leaves little doubt.

These 50 gestures are simply fun, memorable ways to infuse love into our families. Combined with those quiet, intimate moments of intentionality, our families are certainly going to have their love tanks filled this month.

  1. Tell your child how much you absolutely adore being their mommy.
  2. Enter your child’s world for an afternoon. Let them teach you how to master Minecraft or perfect your cartwheel.
  3. Make your man a card. Save money and add sentiment with this one I made over at Bloglovin’ by Jenny Collier. I absolutely LOVE it.50 adorable ways to love on your family.
  4. Refer to your husband as your boyfriend in front of your children. Watch them giggle.
  5. Leave love notes for your children on their pillow. Love notes on the bed
  6. When you are dropping your child off in car line for school, keep driving. Have a mommy/child Day doing all of your favorite things.
  7. Decorate the car with love.Decorate the inside of your car
  8. Surprise your husband at work. Give him a simple kiss and then leave.
  9. Have your children write what they love about their siblings.
  10. Make scrumptious heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast. Try this delicious recipe for Strawberry & Sprinkles Buttermilk Pancakes by Averie Cooks. Strawberry and Sprinkle Pancakes by Averie Cooks
  11. Throw down your little ones and kiss them to death.
  12. Throw in some tickles for some extra fun. (even my 12-year-old lines up for this)
  13. Look your loved one in the eye every time they speak.
  14. Give a stack of  “Open When” letters that your husband or teen can open when…. (life love lauren)Give your man a stack of letters that he can "Open When"...
  15. Remember your teenagers still need your hugs and physically touch.
  16. Order a heart-shaped pizza from Papa John’s.
  17. Play Valentine Minute to Win it Games. (Here)
  18. Talk about unconditional love. Explain that nothing they ever do can make you love them any more or less than you do now.
  19. Leave sticky notes in unexpected places. Leave sticky notes in unusual places.
  20. Show up at school unexpectedly with a special lunch treat.
  21. Call your mom or Grandma, and thank her for the ways she has been a role model for you. Remember the legacy from which you came.
  22. What ever your child is passionate about, become passionate about it too. It’s an opportunity to connect. If they run, run with them. If they’re into abandoned mine shafts (just saying), watch the countless YouTube videos with them.
  23. Make Blessing Jars for each member of your family. (the Complete Guide to Imperfect Living)Things that we love about you Blessings Jars
  24. Remember the rules of hugging.When hugging a child, never be the first to let go.
  25. Let your children catch you flirting with your spouse.
  26. Have a girl’s day with your daughter and get your fingernails painted together.
  27. Leave sweet notes around your child’s room for them to discover. Leave liitle love  notes around your child's room for them to discover. "You are my Happy!" the House of Hendrix
  28.  Buy something pretty for your husband’s eyes only.
  29. Add a little love to dinner with these adorable roasted potatoes. Easy recipe by Haniela. Add a little love to dinner with these adorable roasted potatoes. Recipe by Haniela.
  30. Tell your kids funny stories about when they were babies.
  31. Cover your trampoline with chalk hearts and then jump with them.
  32. Let your lips do the talking for a good morning message (and laugh uncontrollably when your child walks in as you are sitting in the sink kissing the mirror)Kiss a heart into your man's bathroom for a fun and flirty surprise.
  33. Send a fruity love note to school with edible markers. (Cake Whiz) You can buy edible markers here.Use edible markers to decorate lunch box fruit for a fun surprise.
  34. Learn how to speak their language. Here’s the Valentine’s I made for my boys this year. You can print it here.Printable Card for your video game lover. I'd Pause my Game for you the House of Hendrix
  35. When your child is talking back, model gentleness, kindness, and most of all love.
  36. Tell your man you woke up wanting to kiss him.
  37. Let your daily rituals speak love. Let your coffee do the talking with these sweet mugs
  38. Spoil each other. Give this adorable book of Love Coupons! Print them at I Heart Naptime.What an adorable and simple gift. Print these Love Coupons by I Heart Naptime for a quick and very appreciated gift.
  39. Hang twinkle lights over your bed frame.
  40. Leave a note on their laptop.
  41. Use window markers and draw hearts on your child’s bedroom window.
  42. Add a memorable touch to activities you are already doing together. My tough guys have been doing devotions and story time in the attic… just because.Add a memorable touch by simply changing up the venue for things like story time.
  43. Send text messages through out the day that each start with,  “I love you because…”
  44. Ask your child if their love tank is full.
  45. Create a sidewalk chalk path of love.Create a path of love with sidewalk chalk hearts
  46. Speak their Love Language. Jen’s husband’s was Words of Affirmation so she did this.A heart of affirmation. A sweet idea for a spouse.
  47. Send a mid-day note in their lunchbox so they know you are thinking about them and excited to see them again.Send a mid-day note in their lunch box.
  48. Let your hugs linger.
  49. Speak truth into your child with Mirror Messages. You are SOUL beautiful. Speak truth into your daughter with mirror messages.
  50. Love Extravagantly even when it’s hard. Whether through a gentle whisper or heartfelt action, may our families know the depth with which we love them.

Joyfully, Allison

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Refreshment for your soul

Want an instant soul refresher? Here are 5 videos that will inspire you to see the beauty in the human spirit this holiday season. Love the generosity and acts of kindness that surface  during the Christmas season.I am surrounded by inspiration this week and I can’t wait to share some things with you! If you’re part of our Facebook community, I have shared some of these there.

My absolute favorite story is of a woman in my town who began a Thank You Project to find and thank the people who saved her son’s life after a car accident which had taken the life of her husband.
Grab a tissue and watch where gratitude leads this precious woman.  Kellie is also a beautiful singer/songwriter. You can check out her website and blog here. 

The power of generosity – A Homeless Man gets the “Winning Lottery” ticket – or does he?


Check out the mission this man is on. It’s a secret social experiment to see how people would respond. How I wish I was there that day!

Click here for Post if not appearing.

How badly I want to do this! Any local takers want to join me?

 This morning a song came on the radio that I cry to every December.  I instructed my kids to listen to the words. The song ended as they got out of the car for school. My older 2 kids jumped out, but my youngest son lingered. I felt his hand rest on my shoulder from behind. I turned and saw tears streaming down his cheeks. “I love you so much Mommy!”  My heart melted. You will understand after you watch.


One of my All-Time Favorite songs is Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. This version has been adapted to the Christmas story.

If you have any posts or pictures you think I would enjoy, I would love for you to share them with us on our Facebook page.

May we slow down enough this advent to see the beauty that surrounds us and add a little light to those faces that need it.

Joyfully, AllisonSoul refreshersfb