23 May 2016

a giveaway for good!

{image via london calling blog}

last week, my sisters and i visited st. paul’s cathedral together. as we quietly wandered aisles saturated with beauty and holiness, we were stopped dead in our tracks by a piece of graffiti art nestled into a sunlight streamed corner, standing boldly in striking contrast to its surroundings. we soon realized the painting was a madonna and child representation, like many others in the church. but instead of being depicted as clean and pristine and glowing in marble or mosaic, mary and jesus were depicted in this painting as modern-day refugees – dirty and cold and despairing.

i was struck by this image. it bubbled up feelings that have been piercing my heart lately, especially as i’ve considered the millions of refugees around the world - tugging feelings of gratitude and guilt, of disturbance and desire. as i’ve been earnestly endeavoring to live my own unique (and outrageously privileged) life the best i know how, i’ve been compelled to find time and space and methods to give some of my tremendous abundance of security and sustenance to alleviate some of others’ tremendous lack of security and sustenance.

but i’ve found that finding and acting on ways to help can be so tricky and can get so overwhelming. what and to whom do i give?? how do i give in a way that is worthwhile, when my efforts feel like such tiny drops in such a huge sea of need?? how can i make an impact without quitting my everyday life and devoting myself completely to a cause of relief (which is sometimes what i really want to do, but i know living my own life in my circumstances is where i really need to be)?!

i’ve decided over and over that the maxim of “you can’t do everything, but you can do something” is true and good. and i realize over and over that i should drop my tiny drops in that wide sea whenever and however i can. they will be measly and seem silly and feel minuscule, but they will be real nonetheless, and somehow worthwhile.

we can incorporate giving of our abundance, to other humans in dire need, into our everyday lives. we can transform what we already do regularly into something that helps the world.

that is what go jane give, a rad new website (that i’ve been linking to repeatedly in recent blog posts!) can allow all of us to do so easily. go jane give provides a platform for anyone to turn their everyday skills and/or activities into fundraisers for worthy organizations/causes. my friend meg makes a little bigger batches of baby food (that she’s already making for her little boy anyway), sells the goods to others, and allows all the proceeds to go directly to a fabulous organization working with the world’s most vulnerable refugees. my sister saydi, a portrait photographer, is adding extra shoots to her calendar and providing her services for free in exchange for donations to the same organization. my eleven-year-old niece hazel is pledging to be silent for one hour for every $25 that others donate to her go jane give fundraiser – to help silence the refugee crisis, of course! there’s endless possibilities for using go jane give for good.

i was recently offered to partner with pinkblush maternity and host a blog giveaway - so that someone out there reading this can have $75 worth of darling maternity clothes for free! and i realized that i could turn even this into an opportunity to do a tiny bit of good. and so, with the help of go jane give, i’ve created a giveaway for good!

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all the information about this giveaway, and steps you can take to win!, can be found on my go jane give page. check it out, make a very small ($3! -- or larger, if you want!) donation to refugeepoint, come back here and leave a comment, and then cross your fingers for luck to win! i’ve been wearing a couple of pinkblush maternity pieces throughout my second and third trimester, and i absolutely love them – so comfortable, stylish, and perfectly suited for a growing belly :) there are so many cute options for dresses and tops and jeans for the bump at pinkblushmaternity.com. $75 credit there would be so wonderful for any mom-to-be.

in london and at lake bled in slovenia wearing pinkblush!:
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i'm really excited to see what happens with this experimental giveaway for good. i hope everyone who is reading this, regardless of if you have any interest in maternity clothes, is inspired even just a liiiiittle bit to donate, or even better, to think of a way you can transform talents and interests and everyday activities into a simple fundraiser for a cause you care about. {there are tons of ideas on how to do this on go jane give}

because our tiny drops are drops of good indeed.

20 May 2016

a new world travel chapter and blog page!

one of the things i am most dripping with passion about is world travel - for a lot of different reasons. i love traveling because it keenly teaches me about the stunning diversity of humanity (and the natural earth!).  i love traveling because i love coming home, and because it enhances the elements of my day-to-day life. i love traveling because it can be incredibly challenging and stretching. indeed, traveling is tremendously and uniquely enlightening, enriching, engaging and ennobling.

i am extremely privileged to have been afforded opportunities to travel around the world since i was a very small child. when i was six months old, my family lived for a summer in japan, and we spent several months of the next year living in england. a few years later, we went to the phillippines. when i was seven, i was deeply impacted by poignant experiences working with my parents and siblings in orphanages in romania and bulgaria. as a twelve-year-old, i hiked around machu picchu; as a thirteen-year-old i summited mount kilimanjaro; and i have vivid memories of the evening of my fourteenth birthday strolling along the ponte vecchio in florence. this smattering of experiences, combined with many other domestic and international travel adventures with my family throughout my childhood, implanted in me an intense wanderlust. i have been really lucky to be able to continue to feed my passion for travel throughout my twenties.

by my count, i've now visited fifty nine countries on six continents. {there's so many different and non-agreeing lists of countries out there! the boy and i accept the list on the "been" app we have on our phones as our standard for counting :) } every new place i visit (and, indeed, each place i make a return trip to!) further teaches me how incredibly awesome this earth is. i'm so, so very grateful to have been able to see so many fascinating and beautiful corners of our planet.

the past year and a half has been particularly travel-heavy - a truly fantastical chapter in my travel history. and soon an entirely new stage of life and travel will begin. although the boy and i definitely plan to continue traveling as our family grows, the dynamics of our explorations will absolutely change after we've begun the greatest adventure of all - parenting. as we're getting ready to turn that page, i thought it would be worthwhile to gather the documentation that i've made on this blog of my travels all in one place.

and so i just published a new "world travel" page! - you can access it by clicking on the link on the floating navigation at the top of this (and every) page on my blog. i've also included the graphic i created for the page below. not all of the listed countries are clickable, because i visited them before i started blogging! i'll continue to update this page as our travels continue and i hope it can be a useful resource for travel dreamers and planners.
{because i know how much thought and work can (and should!) go into travel planning, i am always very happy to answer questions about the experiences i/we have had around the world, so don't hesitate to contact me via a blog comment or email (charity eyre at gmail)!}

i hope you all have a happy weekend!
here's some of my favourite quotes about travel for your friday afternoon:

“to my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – bill bryson

“traveling is a brutality. it forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. you are constantly off balance. nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” – cesare pavese

 “travel does what good novelists also do to the life of everyday, placing it like a picture in a frame or a gem in its setting, so that the intrinsic qualities are made more clear. travel does this with the very stuff that everyday life is made of, giving to it the sharp contour and meaning of art.” – freya stark

{globe image via courtneysnowden on instagram} 

19 May 2016

sisters in london!!!

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living really far away from most family members and closest friends can be pretty heart-wrenching.
especially when huge life milestones like having a baby are happening.

up until recently, i hadn’t felt the pang of distance or much homesickness since we moved to london ten months ago. that brand of tender hankering had been abated by years of living in different states than my parents and siblings, the security of being married to my best friend, several consecutive months traveling abroad, visits from loved ones, and the excitement of living in a really spectacular place.

but a real heartsick twinge hit me a couple of months ago when i thought about not having a special gathering with women i've long known and treasure – a baby shower! – before our little one arrives and we start our family. i started missing my sisters and my kindred spirit friends back in america quite fiercely! and as my pregnancy progressed and the hugest life transition started getting closer and closer, some pretty thick homesickness started to settle in.

then, my beloved sisterfriend amy offered to throw me a baby shower!
amy lives with her husband and four daughters in chelmsford (about an hour outside london), and has known me literally since the day i was born. she and my sister saydi have been bffs since they were three, and amy was practically part of our family growing up (and still is today!). the boy and i love, love, love the schwartzes (amy’s family) and have spent christmas and some other wonderful times with them over the past ten months. although i wish i saw amy (and her family) more often, it has been such a blessing and joy to live close to her.
and when she told me she wanted to organize a shower for me and baby boy, my homesick heart was so so soothed – even though the women i am very closest to wouldn’t be around, i was thrilled to have an opportunity to celebrate with amy + new london friends.

about six weeks ago i got an email from my sister saydi. it was a forwarded confirmation of travel for two from boston to london! saydi texted me and said “saren and i are coming to your baby shower!” i was so so so so surprised, absolutely overjoyed, and incredibly touched that two of my sisters would come across the earth to be with me at this special time.
they flew in last thursday morning and flew out yesterday afternoon. i really can’t express how much it meant to me to have them here.

we had an awesome six days together!!! of course we were missing our other sister, shawni. her daughter’s high school graduation fell on the same week as the baby shower, so she couldn’t come. we were definitely incomplete without her, but she’s coming to london with her family next month! and amy was the perfect stand-in fourth sister (because really she’s like a fifth sister anyway!).

i’ll share more photos from the shower and our sisters’ week in london when saydi and saren send me the ones they took, but for now here’s a smattering of (mostly iphone) snapshots from our time together. i’m tearing up right now writing this because i so wish that time wasn’t over and because it was just so special  (that’s such a trite word, but there’s no other way to describe it!) to be together here in london just weeks before baby boy arrives.
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