Thursday, April 30, 2009

Slumblogging in India

Please get a cup of coffee, iced tea or whatever your drink of choice is and take the time to read some of the entries I'm about to link you to. These are some of the best things I've ever read about poverty and our responsibility to respond. But they're so good because they're written from the perspective of people like you and me! Normal American Christians. Scared to go to a third world country. Scared to fly overseas. Scared of how they would react.

Compassion International sent five prominent bloggers to India (where they are now) to blog about their reactions to the poorest of the poor and the work of the 'church' in desperate situations. I think, like me, you'll be amazed. Humbled. Motivated to do something.

Here are the bloggers:
Melissa Fitzpatrick (Beth Moore's daughter)
Pete Wilson (a pastor from Nashville, TN)
Robin Dance
Angela Smith
Anne Jackson

I had the privilege of going on a similar trip last year - to Ethiopia. I was scared. I was overwhelmed. And I know someday I'll go back. But honestly, it was not a pleasant trip. It was the hardest thing I've ever done. Yet I know it was God who loved me so much that He knew I needed Ethiopia.

I'm helping with this wonderful ministry - Adoption Ministry of YWAM Ethiopia - where I am a small part of making a difference in the lives of widows and orphans in that destitute part of the world. We just last week completed our first international adoption and the Youngs have a new little boy in their family! A boy given a family to love and nurture him.

We're always looking for people to join us - either in sponsoring a child, going on a missions trip or committing to pray for one of our children waiting to be adopted. I'm not at all ashamed to ask you to get involved - somehow - in the lives of the neediest in our world.

If you'd like, you can check out our blog - That We Might Be Adopted... from Ethiopia.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Mine! Mine! Mine!

This is a picture I took last weekend of a real seagull on the Seattle waterfront. I know it looks fake but it almost bit Lisa's finger.

Wasn't it in 'Finding Nemo' that the seagulls hollered 'Mine!' all the time? (I didn't check my sources before writing this post.) I guess I can relate to those birds more than I'd like to admit. Well, except for the impossibly skinny legs in relation to their bodies.

I want to be more generous and giving. Even when I don't have an abundance of money, I certainly have an abundance of material wealth, a lot of free time and a ton of grace and love I've received that I can give away. I'm praying that God will stir in me some more of His compassion for people. I can be terribly judgmental, forgetting how much God has forgiven me for.

I'm doing some temp work in a large, high-stress office full of busy and important people. The women wear high heels and balance day care and board meetings. The men talk for hours on conference calls and sometimes argue loudly about who's put in more time on the project. I see them look nervously around the corners of their offices to see if anyone heard their conversation with a co-worker and rub their eyes after a long day.

Instead of looking at the outer shell, I'm asking God to help me see these men and women with His eyes. There's probably someone there who's feeling a lot less significant than they appear. Someone with a loved one who is sick. Someone worried about their job security. Someone who could really use an encouraging word. That could be me!

I could get out of my little 'temp secretary' shell and be a light in that place! Whether it's the office, the gas station or the grocery store, my sphere of influence can be a lot bigger if I let the Holy Spirit nudge me to reach out. I'm sick of thinking about what's 'mine' anyway. And that's a good thing!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Thankful for...

Today I'm celebrating some of God's best gifts with Emily at Chatting at the Sky. There so many aspects of my life that I don't fully appreciate because I'm too busy, too distracted or just too wrapped up in myself to take the time to notice very often. Today I'm thinking about how thankful I am for my eyesight! Oh Lord, Your creation is so incredibly beautiful and detailed and fabulous!

And then, of course, there are these crowns of Your creation...

Thank You Lord - so much!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Delighting My Father

I'm thinking today about God's love for me.

I know the love a mother has for her children. I know the unparalleled joy I feel when one of my girls tells me how much they love or appreciate me - knowing they have no idea how much it means to me. So I want to consider God's Father-love for me. Is it really possible that I have the capacity to bring Him great joy when I express my love for or my trust in Him? That I can move His heart when I sing His praise? That I can cause Him to smile with overwhelming love and pleasure by choosing to spend time with Him? Yes! God delights in me! (Psalm 149:4)

Oh Lord, I want to bring You great delight! It's really so simple, isn't it?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Birthday Letters

Melissa, over at The Inspired Room, has invited all of us to join her in capturing special moments in our lives as part of living 'A Beautiful Life.'

I started something when each of my three girls had their first birthday - I've written them a letter on their birthday, highlighting a few of the year's most memorable events or accomplishments. I've also tried to put into words just how much I love them at that particular stage in their lives, what things about them I've most enjoyed, what I see God doing in them and the things I'm praying that God will do for them.

Yesterday, my youngest turned 18, which marked the end of the birthday letters. Sniff. I could cry just typing that.

These letters are all sealed in a box I've kept for each girl, to be given to them... I'm not sure when. But now I want to write to them directly, sharing in real time what I love about them and see God doing in their young adult lives. This marks a change in our relationship that's been coming for quite a while now. I have three young women who I'll always be 'Mom' to but I also have three beautiful friends who I treasure as such.

I don't know what their reactions will be when they read those birthday letters. They don't even know about them (until now). But I'm so glad that I've recorded for them my heart-felt thoughts and prayers. It's one thing I think I did right in what is surely a long list of parenting mistakes and failures. Thank You Lord for that!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pizza Dough

Here is my recipe for an easy pizza dough that my family loves:
Printable recipe here

1 1/2 c warm water

2 Tbl oil

2 tsp sugar

1 1/2 tsp salt

4 c bread flour

2 tsp yeast

1 Tbl Italian seasoning

I put all this in my bread machine on the dough cycle and forget it until I'm ready to assemble the pizzas. But I've also made it in my Kitchen-Aid mixer and let the dough rise in a warm place. This recipe makes 2 pizzas. Top with your favorite red sauce, cheese and meat or vegies - or - spread with pesto and top with peppers and cheese for a yummy 'green' pizza. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.

Salon Phobia

Please tell me I'm not the only woman who's afraid of her hair stylist.

He's really a nice guy and quite good at what he does. But he is very passionate about hair - how often to wash it (never every day), how to trim bangs (twist them into a single bunch and snip with your scissors pointing upwards toward the ends of the hair) and which styling products to use (professional grade only). I've never told him I break all the rules.

I have to wash my hair every day or I end up looking like it is plastered to my head. I've trimmed my own bangs for years, snipping across my forehead at various angles I learned in junior high geometry. And I buy my shampoo at the grocery store when it's on sale if I have a double coupon. I'm sure he already knows all of this as he can probably tell by the damaged, hacked-up condition of my hair when I come in. I don't know why I feel like a 3rd grader who pushed someone off the merry-go-round at recess.

I have flat, heavy hair and one day I got the inspiration to purchase a pair of 'texturizing scissors' to give my hair some 'lift' on the top. (Yes, I bought them at the dollar store but they work!) But I haven't had the courage to use them since I've started going to this hair stylist. I know he'll immediately notice my handiwork and he might tell me I've ruined my hair or how can I possibly expect him to help me when I pull this kind of stunt?
The thing is, I can't go in for a cut right now as we're saving up for food and shelter. So... I may just DO IT ANYWAY and risk the scolding I'm sure to get the next time I go in.
How about you? Any people (aka. hair stylist) pleasers out there? I won't tell.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Spring in Our Yard

"The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth... It is the same with My word. I send it out and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to and it will prosper everywhere I send it."
Isaiah 55:10-11

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Check It Out

A few random blog posts for you to read. When you have a minute. Assuming you have a minute, that is. (Maybe I have too many minutes lately!!)

Mary Beth Chapman on a new meaning for 'empty'

Jon's excellent take on humility

I guess I won't complain about my dog after reading Pioneer Woman's Cow In The House

My friend Sally and her family are living in Kenya for a year with International Justice Mission. One of their blog posts last December still makes me laugh - Kenya Believe It?

And another funny one from Big Mama.

Happy Easter Evening!

Thursday, April 9, 2009


I have always struggled with Easter. I've wanted so much for it to have all the meaning and 'feeling' that I thought God intended. But I never seemed to feel all the things I thought I should be feeling. It's my lifelong struggle between head knowledge and heart-felt devotion.

This year, finding ourselves in a place of desperate trust, the words and truth in the hymn 'In Christ Alone' have helped me to remember just how utterly blessed I am to be found in Him, experiencing the love and security that He purchased for me on the cross. Literally, where would I be without Him? If He didn't withhold the giving of His own life for me, will He not also give me everything I need?

Remember who He is.
Remember what He's done.
Remember who I am in Him.
Remember His great, outlandish love.

In Christ Alone
Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2001 Kingsway

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all
Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
Till on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For ev'ry sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the pow'r of Christ in me
From life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Town Hall for Hope

On Thursday April 23rd, Dave Ramsey is presenting a free event, simulcast live and hosted by many churches in a ton of cities across the country. He'll discuss the economy, recession and unemployment and offer his insight into where he thinks we're going from here. Dave has helped thousands of people get out of debt and begin living in "Financial Peace" through his seminars and books, my husband and I included.

Jeff and I first attended a Financial Peace class at least five years ago and following the principals in that class has meant that we've been able to cover our monthly expenses by funding various spending categories, budget and even actually SAVE MONEY! Really! We were privileged to get to lead the class after that, watching various people in our groups find great joy in finally getting their financial lives in order!

Dave is very fun to listen to, very practical and very honest. He tells it like it is! I'm so excited to hear him talk about hope! Go here to find out where the event will be broadcast in your area. Spread the word!
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