Posted on 11. November 2011

Links to love

I’m so in love with life right now.  I know, I know I sound like one of those annoying perky people that are just dripping in smiles and giggles.  But I am!  I feel like in this season of thankfulness I have never been more aware of all that I have to be thankful for.

I realize nearly every “problem” I have is a rich people problem.  And when I see the amazing colorful leaves outside I can’t help but remember HOW BIG GOD IS and how crazy it is that he cares for even me. 

What is there NOT to be thankful for?

Here are some really cool links reminding me more about what I love, whom I love, and the crazy big incredible God who showed me how to love.

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An INFP Goes To Church|
38 random acts of kindness for her 38th birthday
Let all that you do be done in love
You and me- simple artwork for the master bedroom

Follow me on Pintrest to see lots more lovable links! 

What are you loving right now?

 

Posted on 7. November 2011

Rich People problems

US and Canada represent 5% of the world’s population but almost 30% of the world’s wealth.  Africa is home to double the world’s population yet only 1.5% of the world’s wealth. (source)

Yet when polled, 98% of American’s considered themselves NOT rich. 

Rich is a moving target one that apparently only 2% of Americans (the richest countries in the world) feel they ever reach. 

If you were to ask me if I were rich I would have said no...but I think I had a perspective problem. 

From Craig Groeschel’s book “weird” he met a young man who heard “stories” of rich people that lived like this:

“There are some people who are so rich, they own a car!  I think it’s only 3 to 5% of people in the world so not many, but some people are so rich, they own TWO cars!  Some of these people even have a house for their cars!  It’s called a garage, ...then they get in their cars and they eat at restaurants, they are so rich they pay other people to make their food and serve it to them!...Some of these people are so rich they have special rooms in their home just for their clothes!  Nobody sleeps in there, only clothes on hangers and shelves like a store.  Some are so rich they have a closet for the man and for the woman.  Clothes for hot weather, cold weather, some for work, some for church.  It’s crazy! “

What’s crazy is how blind I have been to how MUCH I have compared to how little so many others have. 

What’s crazy is how I sit here in my comfy pajamas and type on my computer, the hum of the TV in the background, a full belly, and pretend I don’t have it made!!

I am realizing how BLESSED I am and thinking twice before I complain about ANYTHING.   I am shifting more toward living in gratitude instead of want. 

Here are some things I could be prone to complain about lately:

21519_thumb

  • I backed my husband’s car (because we have two cars) into the side of the garage (because we have a garage).
  • I can’t decide what to wear because I have so many choices! 
  • And my house could use another de-cluttering.  Because we can afford “clutter.”


I will take these “problems” any day over not knowing where I will sleep or if I will eat tonight.


Check out Rich Word Problems.  It’s a blog dedicated to all the humors stuff we complain about like:

  • I lost my phone and it’s on silent
  • I just updated my status with important news, one hour later, no comments. 
  • My computer is operating at least 1 second slower that it did yesterday. 

unhappy-person-computer

  • I just got used to the old facebook and then they changed it again!

Let’s encourage each other to live in gratitude and laugh at all of our “rich people problems.”

We have a LOT to be thankful for.

What is something silly you have complained about lately?  

Posted on 26. October 2011

Kisses from Katie

Today’s post testimony of Katie Davis.  Recently Catalyst conference couldn’t keep her book on the shelves!  It  has become a NY times best seller.  Read her story to find out why:

Katie Davis, beautiful girl next door from Tennessee.  She was homecoming queen, drove a convertible, and planned to go to college.

After high school she went to Uganda for an opportunity to teach kindergarten at an orphanage in a small village.

It was supposed to be a 10 month commitment.

She experienced  poverty, hurt, and oppression on a whole new level.  She knew she had to do something, anything, to help. 

“Mothers feed their children dirt or the dregs from the local alcohol distillery, or they sneak out at night and sell their bodies in order to put a little food on the table in the morning. Babies are left in pit latrines. People are degraded, robbed, raped, and lied to, and a large yellow sun sparkles on the vast expanse of the Nile River. It is horrifying. And yet God is before all things and in Him all things hold together, and even in the hard and the ugly there is beauty.”

-Katie Davis describing Uganda (source)

One night, in January 2008, a mud hut down the road from the orphanage collapsed on three small orphans during a rainstorm. Davis couldn't find any living relatives willing to take any of the girls, and she refused to send them to an overcrowded orphanage.

Three days later, the youngest called her mom. 

Davis then rented a house to accommodate the three girls. Over the next 18 months, 10 more girls moved in, all from different circumstances. 

Today, 22 year old Katie is the mom to 13 girls and living in Uganda.  Believe it or not, that is just the beginning of Katie's ministry!

Katie_Davis_4 katie davis

She has established a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization called Amazima Ministries International.  In the Luganda language, Amazima means "truth."

Amazima offers a child sponsorship program, matching orphaned and vulnerable children who are unable to afford schooling with sponsors anywhere in the world. Sponsors pay $300 per year to send one child to school, providing school supplies, 3 hot meals each day, spiritual discipleship, and medical care.

Originally planning to have 40 children in the program, today the program sponsors over 400 children.

Katie also reached out to the Karimojong people of the Masese community. The poorest of the poor, and losing their children to malnutrition and starvation at an astounding rate. She started a feeding program to the community, nourishing over 1,600 children. This allows the children to attend school and therefore not go to the street to beg. Also provided is medical care, Bible study, and general health training.

As friendships developed with the Karimojong people, Katie wanted to help the women in the village provide for their families. She initiated a self-sustaining vocational program to empower these women to make unique Ugandan magazine bead necklaces. They are also taught money management skills. The necklaces made by the Karimojong women are purchased and sold in the United States. (Christmas gifts anyone??)

kisses from katie 

Katie says, "People tell me I am brave. People tell me I am strong. People tell me good job. Well here is the truth of it. I am really not that brave, I am not really that strong, and I am not doing anything spectacular. I am just doing what God called me to do as a follower of Him. Feed His sheep, do unto the least of His people."


If you would like to win a copy of her book share this on your facebook or twitter and leave a comment to let me know you did!  Find out more about Katie at her blog, Kisses from Katie

kisses-katie-book

del.icio.us Tags: testimoniies,uganda,missions,missionary,faith,orphans,adoption
Posted on 17. October 2011

Redeeming Halloween

Costumes and trick or treating, and ghosts and ghoul everywhere. Where did it come from?  Am I a bad Christian if I want to join the party?  I did a little homework and here’s what I found out:

Halloween has a questionable past no doubt, but so do I so I’m not one to judge. :)

It dates back to the medieval times with the Celtic people marking the change of the light of summer to the darkness of winter when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts.  Apparently a lot of people died this time of year so there was much symbolism in warding off death. 

You can also trace the origin of Halloween back to the Christian tradition of celebrating the lives of Christian martyrs on the anniversaries of their deaths. Pope Gregory  dedicated a chapel in St. Peter’s Basilica to “all saints” on November 1.  This became All Saints Day, otherwise known as All Hallow’s Day. The night before became All Hallow’s Eve.  Hence the name Halloween. 

As Christianity moved through Europe the two collided. The organized church would commonly move a distinctively Christian holiday to a spot on the calendar that would directly challenge a pagan holiday. The intent was to counter pagan influences and provide a Christian alternative. But most often the church only succeeded in "Christianizing" a pagan ritual--the ritual was still pagan, but mixed with Christian symbolism. That's what happened to All Saints Eve--it was the original Halloween alternative! (source).

What to do? Mark Driscool suggests at every holiday we must choose to Reject it, Embrace it, or Redeem it.

redeeming halloween

Rejecting it won't change anything, or anyone.  Embracing it makes us just like the world, so I vote we Redeem it!  And here are a few fun ideas to help!

  • Download this cute pumpkin carving for FREE!  For every stencil downloaded, Better Homes and Gardens will donate $2.00 to The Humane Society, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Rebuilding Together, and  March of Dimes up to $5000.00 per charity! Thanks Graceful home!

image

  • Reverse trick or treat.  Our church does a really cool thing with the children’s ministry where they go to lower income neighborhoods and give out candy and toys and just play with the kids. 
  • Give fair trade candy.  “Candy with a conscience” they call it.  The chocolate industry is one of the most corrupt.  I am probably not going to win a lot of friends by saying that but check into where your candy comes from.  If not fair trade, Mars or Nestle products are good choices.  They voluntarily provide child labor-free chocolate. Hershey, not so much.
  • Spend time with your family.  Do something fun and “fall-ish” together.  Lots of ideas here.
  • Dress modestly.  I’m not one to grow my hair long and strictly wear long skirts but seriously ladies, you are God’s precious daughter and way to beautiful to wear “costumes” that are so skimpy. 

* Update.  Great comments on this one! 

  • Jamie suggested redeeming Halloween by taking advantage of the huge opportunity to minister to the community while the neighborhood is out and about, coming right to our door. On the one night that everyone comes to me, I don't want to have my lights turned out. We are also redeeming the Holiday this year is by taking our youth ministry trick or treating for canned food for the homeless shelter

Evil spirits are no more active and sinister on Halloween than they are on any other day of the year.  But "greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world" (1 John 4:4).

What do you think about Halloween?  What are your plans this year?

Posted on 11. October 2011

Jesus needs a better advertising campaign

The Barna Group, a respected Christian survey organization, recently asked young people to identify which perceptions they most strongly associate with Christianity. The three most commonly agreed-upon were: anti-homosexual, judgmental, and hypocritical.

god hates fags

Westboro Baptist church has made headlines with their “God hates fags” philosophy where they protest soldiers funerals.  Also making headlines are abortion clinics being bombed & protests for nearly everything under the sun.

At almost every event with a large crowd you can find “the megaphone man” yelling about hell and eternal damnation. 

All in the name of Jesus?? 

If this is the Christianity the world sees than no wonder many people are not interested. 

My dear friend Katelyn posted this awesome quote:

I have decided to stop letting political and religious organizations represent me on the issues. I have decided to represent myself, and in so doing I hope to accurately represent Christ.

-Mike Foster “Unchristain”

Dear friends, Forgive us. Forgive us for the embarrassing things we have done in the name of Jesus.


We are imperfect people for sure.  Our attempts to model Jesus are clumsy at best.  He calls us, imperfect and broken, to transform us so we are no longer the same.  We just don’t always leave the old us behind. 

Please don’t reject Christ because of Christians.  We are still trying to wrap our head around the God of the universe wanting to make disciples out of us. 

Despite our misrepresentation, Jesus was a pretty amazing guy. 

He was the preacher of all preachers yet you could find him dining with some of the worst “sinners” of his day.  Mark 2:15

He was the King of all the universe yet he was born to regular people in a palace no wait, a manger.  Luke 2:7

He deserved servants and crowns, yet he washed his disciples feet. John 13 1-17

He is the only one that was or ever will be worthy of all the fame and fortune of the world, yet he was a servant. Mark 9:35

He spoke love into the people no one loved. John 4

He would touch those no one else would touch. Mark 1:40-45

He did nothing wrong, but he never tried to defend himself. John 18:28-38

He could have had a thousand Angels come to take his place on the cross, but he took mine instead.   John 19:28-30


 I want to invite you to consider that maybe the televangelists and street preachers are wrong — and that God really is love. Maybe the fruits of the Spirit really are beautiful things like peace, patience, kindness, joy, love, goodness, and not the ugly things that have come to characterize religion.

-Shane Claiborne


The Jesus I know is turning the world upside down with his love.  The less I get in the way the better he can “advertise” through me. 

Have you ever witnessed a not so great "advertisment" for Jesus?

-Katie

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del.icio.us Tags: christian,jesus,PR,advertising
Posted on 6. October 2011

The story behind the barcode

As long as I can remember I have been a bargain shopper.  My mom taught me to shop for bathing suits in the September and winter coats in May.  I have never been a stranger to the clearance racks or couponing.

But here I am in turmoil over my purchases.  I am realizing there is so much more to consider than just a good deal. 

barcode

I just read the Social justice handbook.  It was an amazing eye opening book encouraging action over apathy.  A quote:

Everyday we are confronted by challenging societal problems, from poverty and institutional racism to AIDS and homelessness.  It can all seem so overwhelming.  But while none of us can do everything, all of us can do something. 

Social justice is a huge issue.  One I only wish to be able to entirely explain, but for starters, let’s talk about shopping:

If I were to ask you if you wanted to support a company that had slave labor you would, of course, say no.  But unfortunately every time we make a purchase we “vote” for what we think are acceptable company practices. 

Practices like exposure to toxic chemicals, low to no wages (slave labor), sexual harassment and child labor.  The International Labor Organization estimates that seventy percent of working children are in agriculture – over 132 million girls and boys aged 5-14 years old. Source

It is certainly easier to turn a blind eye to it but if Christians a.k.a. the hands and feet of Jesus don’t do something about it than who will?

But don’t worry, I’m not trying to ruin all your shopping fun.  There is good news and easy ways to examine your purchases before you buy:

Research

Free2Work is a really cool company that grades companies on a scale of “A” to “F” based on supply chain transparency, code of conduct, response to child and forced labor, and overall efforts to empower workers. Plus they have a free ap that lets you easily search for companies making your “research” a snap! 

Good Guide is a similar company only the also grade the company on it’s health and environmental impact.  They have a free ap that lets you scan the barcode!

Had I been a little wiser the last time i bought tennis shoes I would not have bought Sketchers, who have a grade F, and would have looked at maybe some Adidas, or Nikes who have a grade A (Nike’s have come a long way!  Go Nike!).

Buy Second Hand

I’m a big fan of second hand shopping. Yard sales, thrift stores, and hand me downs are all fabulous ways to “shop".

When you buy something second hand the damage from the store (and factory) has already been made.  Second hand shopping means you are supporting a local family yard sale, a church fund raiser, or a charity like goodwill or salvation army.  Plus who doesn’t get excited about a super cute pair of jeans for $1! 

 

Just because we don’t see what our dollars are supporting doesn’t make it any less real. I believe company greed and slave labor is something that breaks God’s heart.  Let us LIVE the gospel with our dollars and “vote” yes to companies that are practicing good ethics. 

Share your thoughts on all this! Anyone have any tips on how you shop ethical? 

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del.icio.us Tags: fair trade,christian,Shopping
Posted on 26. September 2011

ROAD TRIP!

Several years ago Jesus said “come follow me.” After looking at the mess I made of doing life my way, I happily jumped at the chance to go on an amazing journey with the God of the universe.  He promised a truly abundant life where I would never have to search again for meaning or belonging.  In a modern version of our story Jesus and I are on a road trip.  But I’m afraid I am a terrible backseat driver. 

I keep telling Him to turn when He should go straight, I keep asking, “What’s next?  Are we there yet?  What time is it?  What’s the next stop?  Can I see a map?  Are you sure you know where we are going? I really think I should drive instead.” 

 And if that wasn’t annoying enough I have a TON of luggage.  I brought a duffle bag full of worry, a suitcase of insecurity, three bags of selfishness and we are pulling a trailer behind full of fear. 

It’s heavy, it’s a burden, and it’s so much less than what He is offering me. 

road trip

I just returned from a walk to Emmaus.  An amazing journey where I saw the face of Jesus in so many ways. I learned God loves me more than I can possibly imagine

It sounds trite.  We have heard forever that Jesus loves us.  But I don’t think I knew that Jesus loved the REAL me.  Sure he loves the me that seems put together.  But could he possibly love the me that gets horribly impatient when I’m in a hurry?  Me that is selfish?  The me that secretly wishes really bad things to happen to Barney the dinosaur?  (sorry he is annoying).  The messy, unorganized, and forgetful me? 

Believe it or not he does.  HE MADE ME IN HIS IMAGE.  Despite as often as I forget this, and think I know better. The designer knows best how to care for his design. 

He knows where we are going on this journey, I don’t.  He knows what stops we will make, I don’t.  I keep trying to take control but the truth is I never had it anyway. 

He only asks me to trust. 

He’s got this. 

It’s time for me to toss out the luggage, sit back, crank up the radio, and enjoy the trip. Thankful that I know no matter what the next stop holds, I am in very good hands on this journey.

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