Susan Badeau

There are only two lasting gifts we can give our children - one is roots, the other is wings

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Sue writes blogs 2-4 times per month under two threads.  The first, "Building Bridges of Hope" offers reflections, insights and tips for professionals, parents, caregivers and others who work with children who have experienced trauma and their families.  The second, "Hope for the Journey" offers devotional reflections on the insights, questions, and applications Sue gleans from her own spiritual journey and Bible study."

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Compass for Compassion

Posted by Sue Badeau on February 16, 2016 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (0)

"There are many great needs in the world – people who are hungry, without clean water, abused, homeless, wounded – the list goes on and on. It's easy to become overwhelmed.

Jesus calls me to compassion, but where do I begin?In the face of such overwhelming need, can I really make a difference?"

Please visit my friend Dawn's page to see the blog I wrote about being living with compassion: http://bit.ly/1ol1QM7

Clean Heart, Renewed Joy SAMPLE

Posted by Sue Badeau on February 9, 2016 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Please enjoy this sample entry from the book, Clean Heart, Renewed Joy - now on special $5 off during Lent!  Order  http://www.suebadeau.com/apps/webstore/ here:



Excerpt from the Introduction - About that Image on the Cover

In addition to associating your daily reflections with music, including visual images that have personal meaning in your own life will bring value to your study. The images may include photos or other forms of artwork and visual expression.


The cover selected for this book demonstrates the value of images. In the spring of 2012 my husband and I experienced the death of one of our sons. We were in a deep season of grief when dear friends provided us with an opportunity to spend a long weekend at their cottage on a lake. We embraced this opportunity for a personal retreat and prayed that God would use it to guide us out of the valley of grief and into the next phase of our life journey. The first morning we were there, I went outside for a walk along the lake. It had rained the night before. I noticed raindrops clinging to tiny buds of yet-to-be-born flowers. This image stirred a great sense of hope and joy within my spirit. This simple image captured the promise and power of cleansing, renewal and new life. Every time I see this image I am reminded of the gift of hope and insight God gave to me on that day. When I embarked again on a study of Psalm 51, this image came to mind and symbolized the essence of the lessons I took away. While I hope that you will enjoy this particular image, I pray that God will provide each of you with your own image or images that can serve as powerful reminders of God’s love, mercy and grace in your own life. 


Excerpt from Day 3 – Lovingkindness

Read Verse  Psalm 51:1(a) Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; Today, let’s focus on the word translated here as “lovingkindness.”


In other translations this is also translated as constant love, steadfast love and unfailing love. Love that does not, cannot and will not fail.


We live in a world where nothing is constant and everything fails. We’ve all heard the statistic that nearly half of all marriages end in divorce—do we realize this means 6646 divorces per day in our country? On any given day there are 400,000 children in our nation’s foster care system, and each year over 23,000 of these children “age out” of the system with no family—no one to care for them at all.


These are just two examples demonstrating that in our homes, in our families, in our communities love is rarely constant, love frequently fails. If we add in statistics about child trafficking, domestic violence and homelessness the weight of love’s failure is staggering. As I seek to love and minister to others in the face of such brokenness, how can I possibly truly comprehend the depth and reality of God’s unfailing love?


I pray that during this period of reflection and prayer, I will come to know, experience and be utterly astonished by the depths of God’s unfailing, constant and steadfast love, and I pray that you will be astonished too! Take a moment to reflect on what “unfailing” love means in your life and jot some notes in your journal.


A song for reflection today is “Unfailing Love” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SheFMy98pqk



Who is my neighbor?

Posted by Sue Badeau on November 16, 2015 at 5:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Sweet little newborn, skin as soft as dew on the petal of lily-of-the-valley: you are my neighbor


Children laughing, playing, crying, hungry, thirsty, bleeding, reading, running, sleeping, staring with vacant eyes, traumatized, acting out, acting in, acting up, falling down - precious little one; you are my neighbor


Young man with your pants slung too low, your music too loud for my taste, a hoodie shielding your eyes and your heart, please hear me: you are my neighbor. Young girl with the tatts and scars – please know, you are my neighbor


All you mothers, all you fathers. Grandpas and oomas and nanna’s and pops: When you kiss your little one at night with a hope and a prayer for a better tomorrow, when you say Je t’aime, te amo, ich liebe dich, nakupenda, xushm aweit, Ami tomake bhalobashi, te dua, Bon sro lanh oon – you, you too are my neighbor


Hard working men, women, working the land, healing the sick, starting the fires, stopping the fires, teaching the children, burying the dead – you are my neighbor


Confused, depressed, hearing the voices I don’t hear, you, walking without shoes, you, yes, you – you are my neighbor


Running like the wind, rolling by in your wheelchair, seeing with your fingers, hearing with your hands. With all your strength and frailty you are my neighbor


Building walls, building fences, behind bars, hurdling over bars sojourning near and far – you are my neighbor


Old woman with wrinkled skin, gnarled hands, aching feet: you are my neighbor


Brother, sister, stranger, alien, cousin, friend – you are my neighbor


Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, Atheist, peace-maker, peace-breaker - lover of the sea and the sky, hunter, fisherman - you are my neighbor


You, you who live in Philadelphia and Vermont, New Mexico and Hawaii, Alaska and Alabama, Maine and Minnesota, Syria, Paris, Kenya, Mexico, Lebanon, Cambodia, Japan, Sudan, Iraq, Switzerland, Germany, India, El Salvador, China and you who live nowhere, hiding, running, praying you will have a home one day – you, too, are my neighbor.


May I always be a good neighbor to you. With grace, humility and love, may it be so.

 

 

All Who Labor

Posted by Sue Badeau on September 7, 2015 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (0)

I

n the end, it is about the labor.


Not the cook-outs, beach days or parades. 


In the end, it is about honoring everyone who works.


Works with their hands, with their backs, with their minds, with their spirits. The origins of the day are filled with bloodshed and controversy about labor - the right to organize, to be paid, to self-determine how the sweat of your own brow will be used.


But in the end, we labor on. 


Returning from Kenya, I am reminded at how very hard so many people around the world do indeed have to labor just to survive. The amount of work that goes into ensuring a clean cup of water is available for the child who thirsts in Kenya is something we take for granted here in the U.S.

Some of the labor is physical - building a chicken coop and caring for chickens.


Some requires brain-power, teaching wriggly toddlers how to read, count and recognize their colors. 


Much of the labor we humbly witnessed in Kenya takes great emotional strength and courage - to work through and push on past wounds to make a better future for the children. Courage to put yourself out there day after day offering bananas for sale so you can clothe your children. Courge to walk a mile or more across a dusty field to come to church or school, gather with others, learn and experience joy.


There is also labor of the spirit. It takes hard work, yea, Labor, to press on and believe in the face of daunting odds and overwhelming need. Yet the spirit dances and sings and overflows, spilling laughter and love and joy even in the dustiest, hardest places. 


Today, this labor day, I honor those who labor with a renewed understanding of how great is the courage it takes to labor with integrity and how sweet is the rest that comes after such labor.


"Come to me all who labor, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28



Kenya Asante Sana

Posted by Sue Badeau on August 29, 2015 at 3:45 PM Comments comments (0)

We have returned from Kenya with full hearts and overflowing spirits. Thank you to every person who supported this trip through your donations, thoughts, prayers, and encouraging words.  Our team leader, David Ching, blogged each day of our trip and those blogs, with photos, are posted on the Imara website. Read on below for more about our amazing experience. Its a little long, but I hope you will enjoy it!  I will be posting a few more blog posts in the weeks ahead reflecting on some of the lessons learned and wisdom gained as a result of our trip. Stay tuned.

 

Kenya is a dramatically beautiful country with stunning mountain views, lush green areas, dusty fields, brilliant flowers and of course magnificent animals from the smallest yellow birds that graced our breakfast veranda at the guest house where we stayed to the jaw-dropping elephants and rhinos. But the most wonderful part about Kenya is the heart and spirit of the people. We met people who are kind, funny, faithful, smart, talented, hospitable, eager to learn, grace-filled, forgiving, sweet, serious, and warm. The poverty is deep – deep, deep, deep, yet the richness of spirit and the generosity of the people is deeper still. From the very first moment when we met Carol, the founder of Imara, greeting us at the airport when we arrived, to the last Matatu driver Nicholas who took us back to the airport 2 weeks later, we were in good hands and made many friends we hope to stay in touch with for a long time to come.

 

Imara International is an incredible program, providing safety, healing and hope for teen moms and their babies who have nowhere else to turn. The six young women and their precious children have formed a family, together with the hardworking Kenyan staff, Carol, the founder, and her sidekick, Sandy. We were enormously impressed by the dedication, respect for culture, and continual optimism portrayed by Carol and her team. The young women, in spite of horrific past experiences, are the very definition of resilience and they each have unique personalities and talents which are being honored and nurtured. From singing to baking, painting to sewing, learning science to caring for farm animals, everyone contributes. What is most meaningful is that this program keeps mothers and babies together, it is not an orphanage, it is a trauma-informed, family-oriented, family-strengthening program. It gives me great hope to see this approach to caring for very vulnerable youth and babies achieving such incredible success just a few short years since its founding. Carol has a vision and a heart to serve many more and new land has been acquired to make this dream a reality in the not-too-distant future (as funds come in). But for now, the warm, loving and healing family atmosphere at Imara is a testament to what is possible with faith, a dream, a vision, hard work and support from near and far.

 

And of course the babies stole our hearts. From Bella who was just learning to smile when we arrived and couldn’t quite stop smiling by the time we left, to Caleb who is a mini NFL linebacker, to Gabe with his ready smile and dimples, Lewis who loves being read to, and Ruthie and Gift, full of impish mischief and energy, they are growing and thriving.

 

We came to work, and work we did. During the course of our stay our small but mighty team of 4 adults and one 10 year old built a walkway, a chicken coop, and a school desk with individualized cubicles. We re-covered several tables, and did many art projects including stunning decopage tables and a full size Noah’s Ark mural on a local church Sunday School wall. We painted many interior walls, peeled hundreds of tomatoes, fixed clotheslines and garden plots. Together with the Imara young women and staff we planned and executed a Vacation Bible School camp for over 30 children held at a local church in the village of Nanyuki. The beautiful faces, exhuberant voices and genuine joy expressed by these children who came streaming across dusty fields on foot to join the camp will stay with us for a very long time. We tutored and taught lessons from reading to science with the teens, and spent many moments reading books with babies. We shared some of our favorite recipes from home and learned some new Kenyan recipes as well.

 

It wasn’t all work and no play. We also spent delightful chunks of time playing wonder ball and other games with the children. We had a spectacular one-day field trip to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy where our safari guide deftly took us through dusty trails to show us elephants, giraffes, zebras, wart hogs, rhinos, gazelles, chimps, baboons and many other animals in their own habitats. Alas, we were unable to see any of the great cats – lions, or cheetahs or tigers – but we imagine they may have been watching us.

 

We ate such fabulous food. Our guest house host, Sophy G, made sure we had a hot and hearty breakfast each morning and a table filled with meats, vegetables and the best roasted potatoes ever for dinner each night. Lunches were traditional Kenyan fare at Imara where we experienced Ugali, multiple versions of kale and some of the best cabbage we’ve ever had! Carol and Sandy treated us to dinner at their home one evening where the fresh pineapple tasted like sunshine and twice we ate in restaurants – one owned by Sophy, called Cape Chestnut, a fun, funky, homey Nanyuki social spot with great food and friendly people, and the second time at the most amazing restaurant ever – the Trout Tree, which is literally built in a tree and where they serve up whole trout freshly caught from the waters below. A couple of Hyrex and several Colubus monkeys in the surrounding trees kept us entertained while waiting for our food. On our last night in Kenya, back in Nairobi, we ate at the Westgate Mall, newly re-opened after the 2013 terrorist attack. So much to absorb.

 

We had many moments to “ponder in our hearts” throughout the trip, but none more poignant than our last hour at Imara when a miraculous reunion took place. A young mom who had been at Imara and left nearly a year ago with her baby returned. There are many private circumstances I cannot go into here, but know that her return was nothing short of a “prodigal son” (daughter) moment and the laughter, tears, hugs and pure joy with which she and her daughter were received back into the fold will remain in our hearts forever.

 

We do hope to go back one day. In the meantime, we are committed to continuing our support for this program, and for the Nanyuki Vineyard Church in town where we held the VBS camp. We hope you will join us in supporting this amazing and important work. You can do this directly through the Imara website or email us if you want to know more about how you can help and what the specific needs are.

 

Thank you again for your faithful support.  Asante Sana.

 

 

Renewed and Refreshed

Posted by Sue Badeau on August 26, 2015 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (1)

Greetings! This blog has been on a bit of a hiatus as my family and I prepared for and then participated in a short term mission trip to Kenya.  We are back and I look forward to re-launching my blog on a weekly basis. In a few days, I will post the first of a short series of blogs that will describe the lessons learned while in Kenya. For now, I want to offer you two more of my blog posts that were published on other sites recently -

 

Yesterday, Dawn Wilson featured my blog about improving sibling relationships on her "Upgrade Your Life" site here - as you prepare for the back-to-school season, I hope this blog will give you some good ideas to help ensure that sibling relationships in your own families can be nourished and strengthened.

 

Also, my publisher, Helping Hands Press, published a blog I wrote with tips for writers entitled "Writing While Walking" - enjoy!

 

I hope you will read both of these and post a comment on those sites or over here on mine. Anyone who posts a comment will be entered in a drawing for a free copy of one of my books! 

 

Talk to you soon and more about Kenya coming shortly . . . .

 

READ, COMMENT, WIN! Spring Guest Blogs

Posted by Sue Badeau on April 23, 2015 at 3:50 PM Comments comments (0)

I am a guest blogger in two spots this week.  First, with my publisher, My Helping Hands Press -

 

"God never closes a door without opening a window.'- http://ow.ly/M1B4Q

 

Second, over at my friend Dawn Wilson's site, "Upgrade Your Life" I talk about how parenting can be a lot like gardening - 3 tips for parents:

 

Check them out and leave me a comment here between now and May 1st for a chance to win a copy of my newest book, Clean Heart, Renewed Joy (also available on Amazon and other places where books are sold!)

Elementary

Posted by Sue Badeau on February 20, 2015 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)

I’m a fan of mysteries.


And who doesn’t love a good Sherlock Holmes “whodunit?” So it wasn’t much of a stretch for me to become a fan of the television show “Elementary.”


Last night, I watched a new episode of Elementary.


This morning I read a powerful blog post by Michelle DeRusha.


Both, in different ways, asked the question, “Are some lives more valuable than others?”


In the TV show, an attorney who helps companies determine appropriate compensation for the families of “wrongful death” lawsuits has developed an algorithm to quantify the dollar value of each life. The life of a young, rising corporate executive whose life is cut short before realizing the fullness of his years of enormous earning power is valued at twenty or thirty million dollars, whereas the life of a school teacher, truck driver, elderly or ill person is valued at a mere couple hundred thousand.



When he is quoted describing the logic of his formula, he comes across as crass at best, or, according to Sherlock, as “despicable.”


And yet in the world economies, we do exactly this don’t we?


Whatever our yardstick – net worth, nationality, morality, skin color, ability/disability, age – we value some lives more than others. Even those who claim the moral high ground do it.



We may despise the sound of it, yet to some degree, we are all guilty, yup, that includes you. That includes me.


DeRusha’s blog was prompted by the reaction this week to the horrific beheading of twenty-one individuals in Egypt. Human beings. People. Sons. Brothers. Husbands. Friends. And all were Christians. This slaughter was evil, no other word for it.


And it would have been equally evil if they had not been Christians. Evil is evil. Evil is no respecter of human economies.


In God’s economy it matters not whether you are rich or poor, strong or weak, Christian, Jew, Muslim or Atheist, male or female, black or white, gay or straight – you have value.


Equal value.


It’s elementary.


And one of the beautiful yet profound mysteries of life and of faith.

5 Tips for Upgrading Your Love Life

Posted by Sue Badeau on February 19, 2015 at 11:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Yes, it is true - Valentine's Day has passed. But trust me, it is never the wrong season to spice up your love life - Thanks to Dawn Wilson's "Upgrade with Dawn" blog, I had the opportunity to share my top five tips. Hope you will enjoy "Five Tips for Upgrading Your Love Life"


I'd especially love it if you'd leave a comment with your own favorite tip!



Grow Your Child's Wonder at Christmas

Posted by Sue Badeau on December 11, 2014 at 11:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Delighted to be the guest blogger at "Upgrade with Dawn" today - check it out: 


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