Monthly Archives: February 2013

AWARENESS: Guest blog and giveaway!

During this first month (of many) of different challenges and fasting, we have been meditating over some ministries and organizations to bring awareness.

One of my favorite new friends, Sarah (check her out at Flying Kites!), has so kindly offered to guest post on the blog today AND provide a giveaway!  Check the end of this post for entry information.

Prepare your hearts for this, readers.

Sex Trafficking.

Get this:

-Did you know Sex trafficking commonly involves deception, kidnapping, rape, and sexual enslavement of girls (as young as 6!) and women? (Link)

Did you know it’s one of the fastest growing crimes in the world? (Link)

-Did you know nearly 2 million children around the globe are currently forced into sexual exploitation? (Link)

Did you know 300,000 children in the U.S. alone are at risk every year for commercial sexual exploitation? (Link)

-Do you want to stop reading this?!?!

Yeah, I hear ya. It sure sounds less messy to pour myself a cup of coffee, put my feet up and flip through a magazine.

So, do I brush this great injustice under the rug and pretend it doesn’t exist? Do I wallow in guilt because there’s nothing little-ol-me can do about it? Both these responses are unhealthy and go against what the Bible teaches about the oppressed.

So WHAT can be done?

Did you know one of the best things you can do to help end Sex Trafficking is EDUCATE YOURSELF?

Simple, huh?

Little-ol-me started educating herself and you know what happened? My heart started to ache and I started to pray. Prayer changes things.

I’m not an expert on this subject, but I wanted to introduce an amazing, Christ-centered ministry called Tiny Hands International

Tiny Hands is doing unbelievable things in Jesus’ name – focusing much of their efforts on intercepting sex traffickers in Nepal who are trying to smuggle vulnerable girls into India. To date, over 5,000 girls have been rescued!!

Go ahead and check out their website, but here are just a few things I love….

*Want to “spiritually adopt” a girl? Check out “One Girl Prayer Initiative” . A $10 donation will get you a hand-crafted bracelet and a prayer card with the name of a girl who’s been intercepted. I wear my bracelet almost 24/7 and it is a great reminder to pray for Tiny Hands.

*How about a cute purse (plus more!)? Check out the “Freedom Products” where 100% of proceeds go toward Tiny Hands’ Children’s Homes, Anti-Trafficking Efforts & Women Empowerment Ministries.

*Read Sold by Patricia McCormick. Although Tiny Hands doesn’t actually sell this book, I first heard about it through them. Sold is a novel based on true life stories of exploited children in Nepal. It is written from the viewpoint of 13-year-old Lakshimi. It’s explicit, yet tactful and most of all: it educates. I always encourage people to read it and pass it on. Think how many more prayers could be offered on behalf of God’s vulnerable children?

*Watch Meena’s Story. This will take that HUGE number of sex slaves and make it so incredibly REAL. It’s worth the 5 minutes it takes to watch. (video)

*Why not become and advocate for Tiny Hands? (link) It’s basically what I’m doing right now – spreading the word about how to help!

Thanks for taking the time to read this post and to Rachel for promoting such Christ-centered ministries!

God Bless you all! Sarah

SO powerful.  Let’s not hide behind our sinful excuses of why we CAN’T do something, and start making advocacy and global-care our priority! (for more information, see Matthew 28:18-20 and all of Acts)

Sarah is graciously donated 2 copies of Sold for a giveaway!

3 ways to enter:
1. Comment on this blog about what you are going to do to be an advocate for women and children stuck in sex trafficking

2. Begin following this blog to stay in our fellowship of challenge and radical living and comment that you have done this

3. Post a link to this blog post on facebook and leave a comment on here that you did it

Sarah and I will come up with an exciting way to choose the winners by TUESDAY and they will be announced on WEDNESDAY MARCH 6TH!

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The Food Challenge

So we’re wrapping up February and the Clothes Challenge!

I’ll have 1 more post at the end of this month by a Guest (my friend Sarah) and a GIVEAWAY!

Check back on Thursday 🙂

 

Before we wrap up the clothes, I want to prepare us for March’s FOOD CHALLENGE

This month’s challenge can look any way you want…fasting from a particular food, type of food, way of spending ON food…or being more intentional about what you are purchasing or what you are eating

My sweet, spectacular husband and I are going to be choosing 10 food items to eat from for the month of March

Here is our unofficial list:

chicken

eggs

broccoli

apples

peanut butter

onion

berries

bananas

bread

greens

What do you think?!

I’m still trying to figure out our ‘freebie’ list…

It will include salt, pepper, and olive oil…but still deciding if including salad dressing or vinegar is acceptable…plus juice for smoothies and milk for every day consumption

Thoughts? Feedback?

We also have a few situations where we may momentarily stray from our foods…but I have my gals giving me feedback on those circumstances and then I’ll reveal them to you for your judgment thoughts and views

Prayer request for this month: THIS IS GOING TO BE HARD.

You’re reading a blog from a gal who LOVES her sweets.

Since Novemeber I have uncovered an obsession love for baking…to accompany my long-time friend of over-indulgence enjoying desserts 🙂

So pray that I don’t crash and burn daily with this challenge.

After considering my list, however, I realized that I will be able to enjoy me some homemade peanut butter banana ice cream! I think I may be able to survive…

 

So – who’s with me?!

What will your challenge be?!

What do you think of our list of foods?!

I’m really excited to see what God does in my heart this month…coupled w/the groundwork he’s laid during the clothes challenge and the scripture memorization we are challenging ourselves w/in Late Night Girls Bible Study – it is bound to be a gloriously difficult month of growth!

 

Reflection on what we worship

What do we worship?

This month’s challenge has been so revealing…

I have 71 articles of clothes hanging in MY part of our closet

And 14 pairs of pants and shorts

7 ‘pajama’ pieces

17 folded t-shirts

12 pairs of shoes/boots/tennies

8 pairs of sandals

and an entire 5 drawer dresser full of undergarments, and workout clothes

40 pairs of earrings + 33 other accessories

And I didn’t get out my box from under the bed to count the clothes that are only ‘summer’ worthy

OR MY 2 BINS OF MATERNITY CLOTHES

Yikes.

We’re talking close to 300 THINGS that I own (or do they own me?!) to cover myself with and in

That’s not to count that since I read 7 by Jen Hatmaker in October I have probably halved a wardrobe that I naturally am constantly reducing…

I wish I had a tally of what has cycled in and out of my closet in the last nearly 5 years since I’ve lived here…of how many articles I have mindlessly spent money on to wear/use for such a short period of time

So, while I can say that this challenge hasn’t been difficult to actually pull off…it has certainly been mind-altering and life-changing

Please, God, let it continue to change my life!  Do not let me return to impulse-online-shopping…to finding my worth in adorning myself to impress others…or to cover up the ugliness that is really in my heart – not on my skin

Transform me.

Watch this music video by Jimmy Needham – Clear the Stage (Thanks, Rachel, for sharing this!)

The ones I love the most

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In December we got some family pictures taken by Christina Connelly

We so enjoy spending time with her – since we’ve been friends for such a long time…we are always catching up and telling stories in between the clicks of her camera 🙂

This was an especially fun ‘shoot’ because Sully was big enough to interact a little!

I love having these memories to hold on to – Thank you Christina!

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The halfway point…

Our halfway point of the clothes challenge was Thursday!

By now we have 16 days past us and 12 to go 🙂 (Hello, shortest month of the year!)

I wanted to compile some thoughts from the 4 other gals doing this challenge with me to recap how God is moving in us and using this to challenge us!

Some candid comments:

Day 2: I said “I hate this” (very classy of me, huh?!) and after many emails and jokes and encouragement, Lydia blessed us with this perspective:  Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves…       1 Peter 3:3-5

Day 5: From Lilli on the topic of having jewelry/accessories when speaking in front of a Mom’s group: “I don’t think anyone noticed. Good lesson for me. We think people care more than they do”

Day 11:

Lessons from Lydia:

1) I really don’t need as many clothes as I think are necessary…I’m actually getting along pretty easily with only 10 items!
2) I’m saving time and energy b/c I don’t have to think about what to wear.
3) People really don’t care about what i’m wearing
4) It’s OK to leave the house in sweats…dirty sweats…and stained up clothes.  Most people don’t even look twice 🙂
Lessons from Rachel M included:
1. The struggle to keep everything clean!
2. Overall boredom with what we chose (HERE, HERE!)
3. Really pay attention to the ‘rules’ because socks DON’T count……oh poor Rachel…one pair of socks for the first 7 days and sacrificing them some days so they’d be clean for others… 🙂
Lessons from Stephanie:
1. No one really cares what I have on – no one.  No one has said a word.
2. I can get by with a lot less – however, today is maybe not such a good day to ask because I’m just kind of annoyed – I know – it’s not a godly characteristic, but I just wanted to put on something different today and more layers.  I’m freezing!
3.  This challenge does make me thankful (although based on the previous paragraph one might not hear that.).  I am thankful to live where we live, to be able to provide for our family, but by no means does this give me permission to be greedy and frivolous.  I’m just realizing that I take it for granted that I can just go to my closet and yank another shirt off a hanger and throw it on b/c I get food on it or someone wipes grimy hands on me or I lift the beaters out of a bowl to soon.  I’m thankful for the laundry we are able to do so easily and quickly!  Thank you God for all the provisions you give me & my family – help me not to take them for granted and to share with those who have so much less than me.
Since then:
I had sent out an email a few days prior to Valentine’s Day suggesting we get a ‘pass’ for a date night with our hubby…and after hearding everyone’s response’s, especially Lilli’s (Lilli, you are so superior to us…so much holier… 🙂  ), I decided that maybe I wouldn’t take the pass…or maybe I’d wear some accessories (my poor neck and ears have been BARE from scarves and earrings!) to spice up my very dull nice outfit (black shirt and jeans).
Anyways…all of this to say – is that what started out as somewhat inconvenient has turned out NOT to be difficult for me at all.  Many of us had previously cleaned out our closets and I bet, come March 1st when we re-enter those closets and stand in open-mouthed wonder at what lies in front of our eyes, we’ll be cleaning them out again 🙂
I pray that I will be moved to not spend my money so freely on clothes and shoes and accessories in the future, but to really meditate on what I NEED vs. what I WANT…and to take those desires to God.
It’s all about seeking out what is in our hearts…and the reasoning behind our motives…

And for those of you who are curious – March will bring us to the food challenge!

More on that, soon 🙂

“Grandma made me beautiful”

The other day I was telling Mylin ‘God made you beautiful’

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She and I repeated the phrase several times

Then she said:

“Daddy made me beautiful, Mommy made my beautiful, and Grandma made me beautiful”

I replied with, “yes, honey, we all had a part in it!”

And she ended it with, “Grandma made my hair”

Ok…

🙂

8 months and 92 years

This past weekend, Sully turned 8 months old!

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He likes to cover a room by rolling and scooting backwards, and as of Sunday – he can pull himself forwards now! (uh. oh. now is when they can learn how to ‘hide’, but haven’t learned how to tell us where they are yet!)

He has 6 big white shiny teeth in his enormous-straight-across-his-face smile that looks so much like his daddy and also a bit like his Uncle Adam (so my mother tells me…)

He enjoys randomly shrieking to both surprise himself and also get our attention (which is immediately followed by above stated ridiculous grin)

He LOVES his big sister and his dog, Eme (they both smother him in kisses from time to time)

He is precious, predictable, and such a joy in our lives – I can hardly remember life without – and definitely can’t imagine it!

A new friend he (and we) has made is our neighbor, Virginia

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She’s 92, feisty, adventurous, generous, thankful, independent, and thoughtful

We absolutely LOVE visiting with her and listening to her stories of traveling all over the world, hearing about her favorite biographies, and how she used to swoon over Gary Cooper when they regularly saw him when she lived in California 🙂

She is an absolute treasure and we’re so thankful to God that she is our neighbor and we’ve been put in each other’s lives!