Headed to HAITI!

I am thrilled to announce that – after almost 3 years with Trades of Hope – I am going on Trades of Hope vision trip to HAITI! I will be traveling with 12 other Compassionate Entrepreneurs from around the country between March 23rd – 29th to visit our 2 artisan groups there.
Despite being a resource-filled country with beautiful people, colonization and natural disasters have caused Haiti to have an overwhelming number of “poverty orphans” – children whose parents turn them over to an orphanage because they can’t afford to care for them.

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Finding Balance in a World of Screens


I have had multiple conversations with my fellow parenting friends over the years about how to maintain balance with our kids’ screen usage.  My wiring has a difficult time micromanaging (especially four kids) with timers, charts, daily check-ins, etc.  It’s very difficult for my personality to do the same thing every day – except breathe and that’s involuntary.   I’m more of an “ideas” gal, so I came up with a little saying that I’ve generally stuck to. In the spirit of raising balanced humans, I typed, printed, and hung a little diddy that says:

Read, work, and clean before you play or screen.”

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Save your Cereal boxes this Summer!

Happy Summer!  (I’m doing a summer cereal box drive locally, but there are directions at the end for how to do this wherever you are!)

I am collecting big cereal boxes (12 inches or taller) for artisans in Haiti who use them to make paper beads for their beautiful necklaces, bracelets and earrings.  They are in constant need of cereal boxes and go through them about as fast as they come in!

Trades of Hope works with women at The ApParent Project in Port Au Prince, Haiti – an “un-orphanage” that is helping with the Haitian orphan crisis by providing sustainable business to parents who would otherwise give up their children to orphanages because they were unable to feed and care for them.
So please save all your THIN (they have to roll them into beads), BIG (12 inches or taller) and colorful cereal boxes in an appropriate sized box, flatten them out and cut off top and bottom flaps, and drop them off to me on the Eastside on August 20th.  (Contact me mid-August for my address.)
Consider donating a few dollars toward shipping to Rays of Hope International, a sea container ministry in Michigan that takes care of all the customs and documentation needed to ship to Haiti.
If you don’t live here locally but would like to do this with a group and just ship them out sooner yourself, follow these detailed instructions:
Otherwise, let me know if you plan to do this and/or if you have any questions.  
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And check out the beautiful handiwork that our Haitian artisans are creating!
Thank you for saving what would normally be discarded to transform it (and the lives of our artisans) into something beautiful!
With Compassion and Hope,
Melanie Sunukjian
Compassionate Entrepreneur
Trades of Hope

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Care Street Bags


Care Street Bags

My 10 year old daughter did one of her weekly presentations for our Classical Conversations homeschool co-op on helping the homeless by creating care packages to keep in your car to hand out to people on the street who are in need.  That was a long sentence.  As care packages for people who are currently living on the street, we came up with the name “Care Street Bags.”   Continue reading

In Praise of Posture


Photo credit: proactive4pt.com

During the last three years I have become more observant of the negative effects our technological, sedentary culture has had on our collective posture.  I have also learned how interconnected our posture is with the rest of our bodily functions (like breathing, digestion, circulation, etc.) And I have gradually improved my own posture through a number of helpful exercises.

My Posture Story

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Lenten Landmarks


The 40 days of Lent symbolize the 40 days that Jesus spent fasting and praying in the desert. But that number 40 was, in turn, meant to remind us of the 40 years that the Israelites spent in the desert. The Church has always seen in the Israelite’s journey from Egypt to the Promised Land, from bondage to liberation, an apt image of the Christian’s Lenten journey from Ash Wednesday to Easter.

– Albert Holtz, Pilgrim Road:  A Benedictine Journey Through Lent

When it comes to celebrating holiday seasons, we like to mix it up around here.  (In other words, Mommy goes through phases.)  And Lent has grown into a special time of teaching the kids and preparing our hearts for the gift and victory of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

The Spirit of Lenten Past has led us to many enjoyable semi-traditions over the years:  Continue reading

The Armor of God


We are part of a wonderful homeschool co-op called Classical Conversations.  It involves a lot of memorization of a wide variety of subjects and my 4th grader is particularly thriving at it.  (The Timeline Song is a family favorite!)  One of the passages we are memorizing is Ephesians chapter 6, one verse each week.

We just finished the section involving the armor of God and had a fun time creating armor out of cardboard, duct tape, and a silver bowl most recently used to catch our stomach flu offerings…  ={ Continue reading