Friday, April 15, 2011

In 48 hours...



In (a little less than) 48 hours I'll be somewhere over the ocean, hopefully fast asleep.


In (a little less than) 48 hours my suitcase will be packed. It will have to be, because it will be in the belly of an airplane, and I'll be somewhere over the ocean, hopefully fast asleep.


In (a little less than) 48 hours I'll know for sure what clothes I'll be wearing for the next few days, because I won't be able to change my mind, because my suitcase will be in the belly of an airplane and I'll be somewhere over the ocean, hopefully fast asleep.



In (a little more than) 48 hours I'll set foot on another continent for the first time in my life.


In (a little more than) 48 hours I'll have rising thoughts and wonderings and questions that have never come to me before, but will then because I'll set foot on another continent for the first time in my life.


 In (a little more than) 48 hours I'll be scrambling to keep track of everything I'm experiencing and probably get a little frustrated at my lack of organization because I won't want to lose or forget all the rising thoughts and wonderings and questions that will come from setting foot on another continent for the first time in my life.


And I will be in Kenya.
And I will be speaking to women about freedom... about hope... about identity... about value... about calling...

...about JESUS.

And I will be (already am) so happy.
And I will have gone (am going) because YOU have sent me there.

Thank you SO MUCH to all of you who are (and have been) supporting me with prayers.
(I need them!!!)
And thank you SO MUCH to all of you who have supported (and are still supporting) me financially so I could go.
I. could. not. do. this. without. Y.O.U.

And I CANNOT do this without my incredibly great GOD!!!
How amazing He is, this Reminder of Dreams and Restorer of Destinies.







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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

National Pro-Life T-Shirt Week



Yesterday started National Pro-Life T-Shirt Week!!!
It's April 12th-17th this year.
But... I started early. On Monday. Because I could.


Ummm... I didn't take any pics because it was a full day.
Except this one, with my awesome friend Jenn who was visiting from the far away land of Caaleeforneeaaaaa.


Yes, you see my shirt?


I AM A PERSON
Equal Rights for Preborn People.


And yesterday I wore this...


...which you may remember from last year when I wore it here (lookin' funky) and here (lookin' sassy).


Well, this year I have a new one to add to my collection (the one in the first pic) that was generously sent to me from the American Life League.
You can get your own by going to www.npltw.com!
(Fyi, they have the green one in tees AND sweatshirts... which, I'm dying for a sweatshirt. You can surprise me and send me a medium. Hint, hint. 
Wait. 
If I make it totally obvious then it's not really a "hint," is it?)

And, if you don't have a Pro-Life t-shirt, just make your own!
Go buy a plain white men's undershirt.
(I prefer v-necks.)
Get a sharpie.
Write LIFE on the front.
OR you could go get some stencils and fabric spray paint and go to town.
(I may do that later today.)


The thing is, if we don't stand up for the rights of the preborn, who will?
As Reagan so famously said, "I've noticed that everybody that is for abortion has already been born."


As science advances and technology becomes more sophisticated, the argument that life doesn't start until a baby is outside of the womb has become antiquated and fully disproven.
Those supportive of abortion can no longer stand on science to defend their position that a fetus is not a human being...
because science has proven that it is.
Living. Moving. With a personality. With desires and preferences and feeling...
inside a mother's belly.


But, really, that has never quite been the argument.
That's been the excuse... the facade... the smoke screen.
Society does not want to face reality, so it comes up with grandiose reasons why it's okay to take the life of an innocent child.


And someday, standing before the Judge, the excuses of inconvenience... 
there's too many of us already... 
she just wouldn't be a good parent...
the child wouldn't have a good life anyway... 
the ultrasound showed there was something wrong...


will all just be that... excuses.
And the truth will remain that lives were taken, children were murdered, and we stood by.


I'm not going to stand by, I'm going to stand up.
For those who can't defend themselves.
For those who are silent among us.
For life.


"Enough! You've corrupted justice long enough,
you've let the wicked get away with murder.
You're here to defend the defenseless,
to make sure that underdogs get a fair break;
your job is to stand up for the powerless,
and prosecute all those who exploit them."
-Psalm 82:3-4 (msg)


There are so many women among us who walk around grieving and deeply wounded by the effects of abortion.
Every single day they feel a piece of their heart missing, an absence that they don't understand and can't reconcile.
Society tells them, "You're fine."
"You didn't do anything wrong."
"That will go away with time."
These women ache and struggle with an emptiness they're told they shouldn't have, yet it persists.
Many fall into deep depression and become empty and lifeless.
Or they numb the feeling with anything they can find.
Others become so bitter and hardened to emotions; 
so angry that they explode at anything and anyone at anytime.


And they can't understand why. 


There is hope.
There is help.
And your heart can be healed.
There is a God, and He has forgiven you... all you need to do is ask and accept it.
There are groups of women who want to walk through this with you. Hope, healing and health is possible... if you're willing to walk it out.


Because we can say that it's simply a choice, and that it doesn't affect us after we walk out of that clinic, that doctor's office.
But that, too, is a lie... a facade... a smoke screen.
It's affecting you. Deeply. And it will your whole life.


There are resources out there to help you.
Know that you are not alone.
Know that you are loved.
Know that you are called and set apart and created for a purpose in this world.
Know that you of all people have a powerful and effective voice to call society on its lie.
To expose the facade.
To clear away the smoke screen.


"Don't be bluffed into silence by threats of bullies. There's nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life -- body and soul -- in His hands."
-Matthew 10:28 (msg)


Call the bluff of society's threats.
Stand up.
Be heard.
Show people that there is another way, there is hope, there is freedom, there is life...
and life to the full.


LIFE
It's what God gave you.




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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Homemade Haunting



I think one of my issues with books is that I want to read great writing with a great story, but I want it to count for something in my life.
As in, bring some kind of realization or encouragement or...
I think I struggle spending time on something (With something?) that may tickle my imagination's hunger but doesn't leave any healthy deposit in my heart when it's finished.
And having a degree in Writing and Literature means I've read far too many books where I waited for something wonderful, and then realized something depressing and negative had taken root instead.


(Am I nuts? I don't think so.
No, I'm not nuts.
You totally know what I'm talking about, here.)


I want more from books that I read... which is probably why I'm so selective on what literature I let consume parts of my days... 
and why I'll flip between fiction and non-fiction. 
Fiction for the story, non-fiction for the deposit.


Then something comes along that is both.


When I began reading Homemade Haunting, Rob Stennett's third novel, I have to say I was a bit wary.
I was excited, because I love Stennett's writing style... but the same question lingered, "There are so many things I should be giving my time and attention to... is this worth either?"
(Besides, I'm kind of a weak-knees horror reader.
Anything supernatural has a tendency to mess with me. I'm just sayin'.)


The way Stennett crafts his stories is exactly the way our brains flow.
Thoughts interrupting thoughts.
Explanations and interpretations breaking through the main event.
So, reading Homemade Haunting is like reading your thoughts dictated onto the pages in front of you, making it easy to enter into the life of the characters... and dangerously difficult to put the book down.
And Stennett's hits-you-before-you-know-it humor woven throughout makes the horror aspect of the book completely digestible for people like me.
(Thanks, Rob.)


The glorious thing about a Stennett novel is the main characters are so... so Everyman.
It could be you. 
It could be me.
And the story develops as they give way to their flaws... our flaws.
In Homemade Haunting, I watched as the main character, Charlie, so easily opens his family up to the influence of what every rational human being fears most: evil.
I was upended at every literary turn thinking, "Oh, how could he? That could never be me. I would never..."


But, the reality is, we all make our own choices... that seem mostly okay at the time.
We all open ourselves to something(s) in order to better ourselves... our career... our families.
The issue is, what are we opening ourselves up to?
Or, what is it that we think we're opening ourselves up to?
And what horrors lurk behind our false belief that we're in control?
Stennett weaves his words in such an unassuming way that you don't even realize this book in so many aspects could be about you until you're almost done with it.


The deposit of self-examination, hidden between the pages of a great story.
So worth my time.


Bottom line: I'm hooked.
I loved it and I'm hooked.
You will be, too.
I read my first Stennett novel a few months ago, The Almost True Story of Ryan Fisher: A Novel, and I knew I had potentially found an author worth my time.
But, I'm not normally a love-at-first-site-girl... unless it's shoes.
I would definitely classify myself as a like-at-first-site girl, but you've got to prove yourself for anything more.


Stennett has done exactly that.


His second book (remember, Homemade Haunting is his third), The End Is Now, has sat awaiting my attention since I unwrapped it Christmas morning.
I think I'll go pick it up right... about...



You can get your own copy of Homemade Haunting here, along with Stennett's other novels.
You can delve more into the mind of the author here.


**I was not compensated in any way for posting this... unless you count getting a book as compensation. Then, in that case, I was. But, it's awfully hard to read and review a book without having the book.**




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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Africa Update



(You can read the story here.)

I leave for Kenya in a week and a half.
Most days I still can't believe that I'm going! It just seems so crazy...
but so...
...so...
right.


I'm traveling with three other women, and we're going to have the incredible opportunity to speak at a women's conference just outside of Nairobi.


It's going to be a whirlwind trip, and I KNOW an amazingly God-ordained one.
In the last few weeks our family has been facing some pretty out-of-the-ordinary challenges (car, health, family, job), which just reminds me that we have a very real enemy who does not want me to go to Africa.
Or, he at least wants to distract me and derail my heart for these women.


Well, that's not gonna happen.
Because my God is bigger, and He's the One who's sending me.
He's already won this battle!!!


I'm asking you, my faithful readers, to partner with me on this grand adventure.
Would you please invest in my trip by praying?
Truly, there is nothing more important than being covered in prayer as we go.
*For health and safety.*
*For provision.*
*For protection over myself, my team and my family.*
*That the words our team speaks would not be our own, but that we would speak God's heart to these Kenyan women. (Matthew 10:19-20)*
*For unity as we "Go, ye, therefore..." (Matthew 28:19)*


Quite a few people have asked where I'm at with finances for the trip.
Provision is happening!
Thank you SO MUCH to those of you who have stepped in and invested in these beautiful African women by giving financially!!!!!
God promises that when we pour out, it will be given back to us... shaken down, pressed together, overflowing. Nate and I have seen this proven true time and again.
I do still need $1755.
So, if you were thinking of investing financially, feel free to do that at any time. *wink*


"God's gifts and call are irrevocable."
Romans 11:29


I'm living proof.
I'm living proof.


And when the going gets tough and there is a fight for my destiny and the gifts and calling that God has placed on my life,
I'm not going to run and hide...


Oh, HECK, no.
I'm going to be bold and courageous and wear the armor of God with confidence (and maybe even make silly faces at my enemy) and say, "Whatever. My God is bigger. HE'S got MY back. You ain't got nuthin' on me, foo'!"

(Me & my adorable nephew Rocky.)


"You can stand me up at the gates of Hell but I won't back down."


Are you with me?
Are you with me???







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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

What's your ___________?

There's a passage in Luke 9 where three different people want to follow Jesus.
Now, I've always thought Jesus' response was a bit harsh.
I mean, Jesus, they want to follow You... they just want to say goodbye to friends and family first... or bury their dead father.
I mean, that's reasonable, right?
Why were You so abrupt with them?

But, the thing is, how many of us have stuff we want to take care of first and then we'll follow Jesus?
Or, how many of us want to follow Jesus, but when the going gets tough...
(Jesus never promised safety, He promised freedom. He never promised comfort, in fact, He said things would get quite uncomfortable when we stand as a voice of Truth.)
...we decide we don't really want to be in for the long haul as much as we thought.

But, in the long haul is where the blessing is.
In the long haul is where the full life comes from.
We don't want to face persecution, so we bow out of standing up for Christ...
and then wonder why our life lacks fullness... lacks vision...
lacks adventure.

"The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."
Luke 9:58

Man, Jesus. Why are You sounding so reality-check to this guy who wants to follow You?
Oh, because we need a reality check. Because You're not going to lead us to believe that it's all roses and rainbows...
following You means that we won't always be welcome where we'd like to be welcome.

We say, "I'm just going to take care of these family issues, and then I'll follow You, Jesus."
("Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father." Luke 9:59)
"I'm just going to go say goodbye to a few people, and then I'll follow You, Jesus."
("I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home." Luke 9:61)
Really?
What are we waiting for?
We always have excuses... even ones that seem valid.
But, the thing is, there's nothing we need to do before we follow Him... we just follow Him... as we are.
It's not about doing this or doing that or being this or being that.
It's not about rules or religious acts or "setting things right."
It's simply about having a relationship with Him.

"Just let me do __________, and then I'll follow You, Jesus."
"Just let me take care of...
"Just let me hang out one last time with...
"Just let me finish...
and then..."

"But as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the Kingdom of God."
Luke 9:60

What are you waiting for?
What are you thinking you need to do/finish/wrap-up before you commit your life to the only One who can bring you fullness of life?
What's your _________?

It starts now. Right where you are. Not after you do __________.
Jesus wasn't being harsh, He was saying that we don't need to go tend to these other things before we follow Him.
We just need to follow Him.
Drop everything and follow Him.

"He who has lost his life for My sake will find it."
Matthew 10:39

If you're wondering what your life is lacking, where the adventure is, where your dreams have gone off to...
maybe you should just lay down your life, right where it's at, and follow the One who brings life.

"I have come that you might have life, and life to the full."
John 10:10








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Friday, April 1, 2011

Blog-hopping

Great reminder from Michael Hyatt, because you're either "in a crisis, coming out of a crisis, or about to go into a crisis."


Oooooo... Love, Maegan does it again. Gorg-or-ORgeous (wedding?) shrug (or what will be one).
So simple!
But, rather time consuming.
Anyone want to make one and send it to me? *wink*


Those mossy letters I've been seeing around? I guess I'm not the only one who loves them.
Thrifty Decor Chick did a great little piece on how you can make your own for way less than the $80 you will spend at Pottery Barn to acquire them.
Now, truthfully, I'm not going to do this project.
I'm just going to look at it and love what she did.
But, maybe one of you will dive in and try it?


I have a friend who is, like, a papercraft QUEEN.
So often I'm like, "How in the heck does she create this amazing stuff?"
I wanted to introduce her to you, so go meet my incredible friend and college roommate, Kelleigh.
(Me thinks she's kind of famous in the papercraft-digital-scrapbooking-blogworld parts.)


I've been checking out www.bigisthenewsmall.com, a blog by Scott Williams.
Some interesting stuff.
His recent post on the fundamental flaw of leadership really made me stop and think... and realize how many times I've made that critical mistake... and how often I witness leaders making that mistake.
Wow.
Maybe you should check it out, too?


And, because all blog posts are better with pictures...
even though I don't always post them *whoops*...


I wasn't dreaming of summer... but after being in California and on the beach, warm weather is on my mind a bit more.
Which means a nice wedge is also in my thoughts.
Like these Stevens, which you can find here. *drool*
Mmmm... with a nice khaki short and white dress shirt opened to an orange tank, brightened by a long, delicate gold chain with charms?
Yes, I think so.
Maybe I should steal Amie's fedora to wear with this outfit.
Yes, I think that, too.




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In the very near future...

Wow. Just around the corner...



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