How to Find Friends Who Share Your Passion For Freedom

We’re working our way through the Essentials for the 21st Abolitionist. So far we’ve talked about having a new perspective and new messages.

find friendsLast week my four year old son decided to play with four decks of playing cards all at once. He spread every last card across the the playroom floor. When I asked him to clean up, the mess only grew. The task was too much for him to handle alone. When my daughter and I came alongside him the task became easier, even fun.

Fighting for freedom is the same. This mess is too big for anyone to face alone. It’s overwhelming. To be in this fight you’re going to need a friend.

I have a few friends who ‘get it.’ They understand why I only buy fair chocolate and fair coffee. They know that for me this fight isn’t far away, in another country, under someone else’s control. These friends know bringing freedom to people is close to my heart. They are the ones who encourage me when my resolve slips or I start to feel like the task is too big.

If you’re new to this journey you’ll need a friend too. Let me share with you some ways to find other people who are passionate about freedom.

  • Pray. Ask God to light a fire for freedom in others and help you connect with them.
  • Start a book club or small group around The Hole in Our Gospel, Refuse to do Nothing, or another book about injustice in our world.
  • Host a Noonday Collection Trunk Show. This is a great way to find friends who love fashion and justice as much as you do. You can even post your show to Facebook for a wider reach.
  • Look for groups that already exist. Perhaps your church has a ministry to the homeless you can join. Women of Vision has chapters all over the US. Connect with your local food pantry or shelter. You’ll find people in all of these places with a mission for justice.
  • Enter a charity race. Broadcast on your Facebook page that you’re looking for friends who want to run a marathon, walk a 5k, or run in an obstacle race to raise awareness about human trafficking. You might be surprised at those who are willing to join you.
  • Finally (if I may) invite people to read Intentional Jane. All are welcome here. You may find a friend when someone likes or comments on a post you share.

What to do When People Don’t Get It
There will be people who do not understand your passion. Some people will see no reason to change their shopping habits, research brands for fair labor practices, or donate to the cause of freedom. You will encounter people like this everywhere you go. When you speak up about ending slavery people may look at you like slavery ended with the Emancipation Proclamation and You. Are. Nuts. Perhaps they will tell you to stop watching the news, how it’s just not practical for them to live that way, and the problem is to big for any one person to make a difference.

If you’re like me, you’ll wonder why they can’t see the importance of freedom for everyone. Your desire to learn and live like freedom matters will grow in your heart and you may feel slighted when others do not join the fight for what seem like selfish reasons.

My advice, walk gracefully and live your convictions. Explain your choices – without judgment – and offer to buy them a fair trade coffee and chat about freedom whenever they’re ready. Your resolve to act will do far more good than guilt tripping or shame.

Be a joyful agent for change. Others will come eventually. Just keep living like freedom matters. And until you find a friend in your neighborhood, I’m here. I get it. Let’s be friends.

How have you found friends who share your passion for freedom? How has having a friend helped you on your journey?

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Where We Find Common Ground

Common Ground 1Today I have the privilege of writing over at Blithe, a Blog. I met Tammy Moyle on Facebook, of all places, we’ve clicked and become fast friends over our shared heart for justice and love for Jesus. Tammy writes about living life full of the joy only found in Christ at Blithe, a Blog.

Where We Find Common Ground
As the morning sun peeked through the window, she stretched, reaching for the spot next to her in bed. To her surprise the space was cold, unoccupied. She scanned the room but he was nowhere to be found. She closed her eyes, drifting back to sleep. Without warning the silence shattered, her door burst open, and an angry mob poured into the room.

“Get up! You’re coming with us.” He spat the words in her face. “We know what you’ve done and now you’ll pay.”

To read the rest of this entry head over to Blithe, a Blog.

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Reclaimed Wood Bench: A Mini Tutorial

Over the past two years we have systematically removed and replaced the fences on all three sides of our house. We knew they would need to be replaced when the fence on our western property line blew over and had to be tied to a tree to stay up. Yes, that happened.

I’m a little funny about throwing things out when I think they might be useful. In high school, we had an old rocking chair in desperate need of new upholstery. I loved that chair and was determined to refurbish it. (My parents had other plans and that rocker is now at its final resting place. It’s better this way, I promise.)

Even still, I didn’t want to toss out the wood from the fence when there were projects to be made. Projects like this bench that now sits in my entryway.

reclaimed bench 1

Here’s how I did it: (The edited version)

  1. Measure and draw. I went to my entryway and measured the space for a perfect fit. Then I drew out my plan, including measurements.bench drawing
  2. Sand the wood. The old fence boards were weathered and splintering. I gave them all a good once over with the palm sander before cutting them.
  3. Cut your pieces. I cut every piece except the cross pieces that would attach to the legs (the 8 inch piece above). I wanted to measure that one after the legs were in place.
  4. Build your frame. (See photo.)Bench 2
  5. Stain everything. I chose a dark stain because I was working with different types of wood and wanted a more uniform look. The dark stain worked well for this. Follow the instructions on your stain so you’ll know how long to wait before step 6.
  6. Paint everything. This is a quick and dirty job. I like white but don’t let my taste keep you from being adventurous. This colorful bench was the inspiration for my project. Be brave.
  7. Sand again, lightly. That’s it. No new instructions here. Why are you still reading? Move on, reader.
  8. Assemble your bench. (a) Place the wood for the seat and nail in place. I used painters tape to keep the wood in line… worked like a charm. (b) Attach your legs. (c) Complete steps 1-7 for your cross pieces and then attach them as well.
  9. Finish coat. I used a wax over the whole bench but you might choose a polyurethane coating or some other method.
  10. Put a pillow on it and enjoy! The. End.

reclaimed wood benchSupplies For this Project

  • Old Wood. Check local lists like Craigslist for people giving away old wood. Or, tear down your fence.
  • Measuring Tape
  • Tools: I used a Drill, Compound Miter Saw, Table Saw, Palm Sander, and Nail Gun (with nails)
  • Painters Tape
  • Gloves to keep your manicure looking sharp.
  • Stain (and something to apply it. An old t-shirt works well.)
  • Paint (and paint brush)
  • Finish Coat (I used a wood wax.)
  • No mad carpentry skills required. I’ve used a table saw approximately three times in my life. Two of them were on this bench. You can do it.

Note: Watch your finishing nails. According to the US Department of Labor, nails are known to be made by forced labor in China. Read labels and choose wisely.

Know what I really love about this bench? It’s made from something broken. When what was once used to divide yards, homes, and people finally fell apart it was able to become something new, a place to rest in our entryway. This is the piece that greets our guests. Instead of dividing us it says, “Welcome. Take your shoes off and stay awhile.”

I hope someday you get to see it in person.

Congratulations to Steph Fisher! You won the copy of Jen Hatmaker’s Interrupted. E-mail me at IntentionalJane (at) gmail (dot) com and I’ll get it in the mail to you ASAP!

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Why “Interrupted” Should be the Next Book You Read

I am so excited to be part of the blog tour for Jen Hatmaker’s re-release of Interrupted.

If you ask Jen (I say like we’re friends and she knows me – ahem, hint, Jen) she will tell you that this is her favorite of the books she’s written. She will tell you to skip 7:An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess and read Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity. Now I know why.

If you were here, in my house, I would urge you: “Stop what you are doing, right now, and read this book. Or, if you have time, sit there, drink your lemon-mint water and I will read it to you.” Seriously.

But you’re not here. And, because plagiarism is against the law, I will not be reprinting every single word for you, though I am tempted. It’s just that good.

Interrupted ReviewA few things about this book.

It’s an easy read. Not that it won’t leave you thinking or mess with your comfortable life but you will find yourself coming to the end of one section and not wanting to put the book down before you move on to the next. You’re going to want to know what happens… and you’ll stay up way too late to find out. Fair warning.

Jen is intelligent, funny, engaging, inspiring and authentic. Can we be friends, please?

For Christians: Interrupted is going to mess with your come to church, listen to a sermon, attend a Bible Study, go about your business, comfortable, Jesus-loves-me, people will come to church when they’re ready to get their life together Christianity. It messed with mine in the very best way.

Interrupted is like someone throwing open the door to my stuffy, religious closet and declaring, “Look, Girl. When Jesus said to clothe, feed, and attend to the needs of the poor he meant it. And he didn’t mean it for someone else. Get going, there’s work to be done. It’s totally going to wreck your life and you are going to wonder why you waited so long.”

Not a Christian? I don’t know for certain, but I suspect you will find this book refreshing. As if someone in the Christian camp called us out on our need to walk our talk and didn’t just take a seat in the pew afterward.

Jen Hatmaker is talk and action and she does it with style.

I highlighted, made notes, bookmarked, read aloud to my husband and otherwise devoured no less that 50 different sections of Interrupted.  The part I can’t seem to shake? Three simple words.

Belong. Believe. Become.

Even now those words bring tears to my eyes. Maybe you’re like me. You’ve been in church so long you can’t remember the last time your faith felt new, fresh and alive. You’ve been doing stuff for Jesus because you’re a good Christian and good Christians volunteer at church, teach their kids to sing praise songs, post Bible verses on their social media feed and on and on it goes until you’re so exhausted from being a good Christian you forget that you’re here because God loved you first.

God loved you first. He said, “We belong together. Here is all of me given up for you, my everything, so we can be together. I love you. You belong with me. Do you believe it?”

And then, when you believed it, he spoke over your life with love, “I have a whole new story for you. It looks like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Come with me. I’ll lead the way. Come, become what I’ve called you to be.”

Belong to Believe then Become as opposed to the message we’re really good at sending, “Believe to Behave then Belong.”

Jen says it like this:

“When we lead with doctrine before love, we brutalize the spirit of the doctrine we’re prioritizing.”

She goes on to write:

“Theology very naturally follows belief, but belief rarely follows judgment.”


What I took away, so clearly, from Interrupted was that as believers it is our job to love before anything else. Not to keep our faith hidden, but to allow the love of Jesus we so readily profess and vehemently defend to be the driving force of our lives. Love like Jesus loved.

That love looks like a woman caught in adultery not being condemned. It looks like reaching out to touch the sick. It looks like becoming a servant of all. It looks like heading to the party with the ‘sinners and lawyers tax collectors.’ It looks like loving your enemy. It looks like sending the message, “Come as you are, you belong in my life. If it costs me everything, I want you here.”

And then, when love has been established and judgment is demolished, “Here is the Jesus I love so dearly. You can know him too.”

Belong to Believe then Become.

Are you convinced yet? Do you want to read this book? I hope so.

I have a copy for one of you. Oh yes I do.

Enter to receive a copy of Interrupted by leaving a comment here telling me why you want to read this book. For a second entry become an e-mail subscriber to Intentional Jane and leave a comment telling me you subscribed. Want to enter three times? Share this post on Facebook and leave a comment letting me know you did. (If you’re reading this via e-mail you’ll have to jump over to the blog to enter.)

I’ll choose the winner at random on August 25.

To sweeten the deal I’ll include a hand drawn picture from Little Jane (and a note from me).

I hope you win, read the book, and pass it on! 

This giveaway has now ended. Congratulations to Steph Fisher! Thank you for entering.

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Essentials for the 21st Century Abolitionist: New Messages

This post is the second in a series called Essentials for the 21st Century Abolitionist. You can find the first post, on a new perspective, here.

This week my children are at Grammy’s. I have 6 whole days to myself. Oh yes I do. I’m using part of this week to redecorate my son’s room. Poor boy, his space has always been an afterthought. It’s time to make his space feel special.

You know what I really want in his room? A trampoline. The boy needs to bounce like water needs to run downhill. I’ve found several that will work in his room but none, small enough for a bedroom, with any sort of message about fair labor practices.

Confession: I almost decided just to buy the one I want, almost, but I have a new filter for how I purchase. It goes beyond asking what I want and can afford. Now my purchases are filtered through this message: “We will only purchase what we can reasonably believe has done no harm.

In other words, whenever possible we will investigate our purchases for responsible sourcing and make the choice for fairer products. My internal messages about how to shop are different than they were just a few months ago.

New Messages

To be advocates for a world without slavery we will need to change our messages.

Five messages I’ve had to replace:

  1. Buy more. On Sale. Black Friday. We’re consumers. Shopping is the other American pastime. In our home, we’re learning to change the filter on the message of consumerism from buy more, buy often to, “We will only purchase what we can reasonably believe has done no harm.” Even then, we’re learning to get only what we will use, not more. Emphasis on learning.
  2. Death toll rising. War. Famine. Trauma. The more I learn about the hurt in our world the more there seems to be. If I’m not careful about the groups I follow on Facebook, the stories I hear on the news and the books I read I become overwhelmed. I find myself feeling small, unable to effect change. To help combat these feelings I filter my input for messages full of truth (the gritty hard to handle stuff) and hope (how change is happening).
  3. God provided _______ for us… He’s so good and loves us so much. This message rings hollow when I think of believers worshiping on dirt floors or, more recently, people fleeing for their lives with little more than the clothes on their backs. Physical blessings are not a reflection of the depth of God’s goodness or His love for us. When He gives us more it is not because He loves us more. I’m learning to remove the filter of physical blessing from the expression of God’s goodness and love. God is good. His faithful love endures forever.
  4. This problem would be solved if they would just…. Slavery and poverty are complex, intertwined issues which will not be solved when those other people decide to act on simplistic solutions. As much as it is in my power to effect change, freedom and the complexities that come with it are my responsibility. 

Have you found your internal messages changing as you learn more about the hurt in our world? What are some of your new messages?

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Essential Tools for the 21st Century Abolitionist: New Perspective

If we want to see change happen we need a new perspective.

“The reason why women effect so little and are so shallow is because their aims are low,
marriage is the prize for which they strive; if foiled in that they rarely rise above disappointment…” - Sarah M. Grimke (1792-1873), Abolitionist, advocate for Women’s Rights

Ouch. Has much changed in 150 years? The media and our culture want to paint us as fickle, consumed by beauty and distracted by shiny objects. We’re sold the message that to be whole we need a man, a pill, a diamond, a spa day, and/or a glass of wine. Que the catchy jingle. Go on your merry way.

This message is appealing because wanting something like freedom is a big, scary, overwhelming, audacious goal. And, let’s face it, being a freedom fighter isn’t exactly the lucrative career your mamma wanted you to pursue. It’s just plain easier to have smaller more culturally acceptable goals. And who doesn’t want a diamond and a spa day?

If we are courageous enough to want change, we have to do better. We need to keep our eyes on the goal. It’s essential that we have eyes to see the world through the lens of freedom. We need a new perspective.

Four ways to adjust our view:

  1. Look in the margins. We’re trained to look away and ignore the hurting. To fight for freedom we need to begin looking for the hurt and injustice around us. Look in the shadows and the margins for the ones overlooked and forgotten.
  2. See people, not issues. Most of us know injustice by it’s names in the headlines: prostitution, immigration, poverty, trafficking and the like. What we don’t often see are the people. People with names, families, hopes and desires. People like us. Certainly, be savvy about the issues at hand but always remember the most important element is not the politics or posturing. What’s most important is the people.
  3. Notice connections. Be aware that the product you receive has a story. Clothes don’t grow on racks in the store. They’re connected to a production line, the very bottom of which is highly susceptible to exploitation. Chocolate is made of sugar and cocoa beans two commodities in high demand. Both of which are known for their ties to child and forced labor.
  4. Watch, read, follow, repeat. Educate yourself about the depth of this problem by reading books, watching documentaries and following along with humanitarian agencies. Then do it again. The more I read and see about oppression and exploitation, the stronger my conviction becomes. This problem is ours to tackle. Ours.

Recommended Resources:
Not For Sale – David Batstone
The Hole In Our Gospel – Richard Stearns
Refuse to Do Nothing – Shane Moore & Kimberly McOwen Yim

Information About the Chocolate Industry – The Art of Simple
Photos That Bear Witness to Modern Slavery – Lisa Kristine, TED Talk.

How have you found a new perspective for the hurting and oppressed? In what ways has seeing oppression changed you? Share with me in the comments.

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What Roller Skates Taught Me About Making a Difference (and what’s going on around here)

Two years ago my daughter bought her first pair of roller skates for two dollars at a yard sale. She had no idea what she was getting herself into when she boldly strapped those wheels to her tiny 5 year old feet and set off to skate with the neighborhood girls.

Those girls, several years older than my little Jane and more experienced skaters, took her by the hand and helped her along. They encouraged her, gave her tips, let her try it out on her own, and picked her up when she fell.

Learning how to “do” lifestyle justice feels a lot like learning to skate all over again. These comfortable, live-for-yourself, American-dream, Polyanna patterns I’ve been living in for so long are no longer satisfying (perhaps they never were) and finding a new way to travel is proving to be trickier than it looks. I’m a little steadier on this road than some and not nearly as steady as I’d like to be, but here I go and there’s no turning back. Because freedom matters for everyone.Roller Skates


From here on out Intentional Jane is a blog where comfortable, apple-pie, macaroni and cheese, grocery shopping, baseball, soccer, baby wipes and diapers, mini-van, ‘can-I-still-make-a-difference’ moms like me find resources for living out a mission to bring hope to the oppressed. (If you’re not a mom you’re welcome here too.) Because freedom matters for everyone.

I want you to know: I don’t have all the right words for this, I’m not very far on this journey, I’m going to make mistakes, and I’m not going to let fear keep me from moving forward.

Come with me as we dive in and use our considerable blessings to effect change. Together we will learn to shop, eat, travel, play, and live so that others can be free. Like William Wilberforce in heels or June Cleaver meets Joan of Arc, we’ll be a force to be reckoned with.

We only have to decide that we are no longer willing to just be aware that slavery and poverty exist. We must allow awareness to change our behavior.

No matter where you are on this journey, you are welcome here. I’m going to be your neighborhood friend along the way. Your questions, comments, arguments, thoughts and concerns are welcome here. I will encourage you. I will share what I’m learning with you. I will be here when this road gets rough. I will remind you that freedom is always worth the fight. Because freedom matters for everyone.

I’m so glad you’re here. It’s time to lace up and learn to skate.

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