Tag Archives: faith

Thanksgiving. Day 9.

Today I am thankful for

Peace

that passes all understanding

Hope

even in the darkest times

Love

in all of it’s various forms

Faith

as small as a mustard seed

Joy

that is indescribable

Laughter

that is contagious

Patience

and the ability to be still

Wisdom

for making tough decisions

 


Mondays.

Every Monday for the last four Mondays an email assignment has popped up in my email. Those assignments have allowed me to not only share about some pretty amazing people but to become part of an amazing group. There were incentives to participating in Compassion International‘s Blog Month but that is not why I contributed. I wrote because of the challenge. I write still because I cannot stop.

We sponsor a child, from Haiti. 

Without writing for Compassion International over the last month I wouldn’t have the knowledge and understanding I do now. I also wouldn’t have taken the steps to get to know other bloggers who do what I do. There are bloggers out there who I may have very little in common with, save two things:

We all love Jesus.

We all sponsor a child, some more than one.

Sponsor.

That is a fun word. My boys thought it meant they were getting a brother, something akin to adoption. And, they did. Although, our sponsored child is not coming to live with us he is still very much a part of our family. Every day we pray for each other and for our kiddo and if by chance I forget {we are still pretty new at this} the boys will stop me and say, “Mommy don’t forget the boy we’re helping raise and teach about Jesus! You know, the one who lives in Haiti!”  {Typically they call him by name but I am still uncertain how much, if any, information I am at liberty to divulge via the internet.}

Our goal for blog month {September} was to get 3,108 children sponsored. When it was all said and done our total was 3,159 children sponsored. We not only met but exceeded our goal. What an amazing opportunity! We have this chance to speak life, love, and Jesus to these little people!

For the last month, I have greeted Mondays with expectancy, awaiting the newest challenge each week. Now that those assignments are complete, and our goal has been met, I am not finished. I have found a new way to begin my week by taking some time to think about, pray for, and write about my sponsored child.

Mondays have a new meaning.


Compassion.

I made an executive decision.

Instead of showering my children with presents for Christmas we are going to step outside the box. Don’t get me wrong. We will still celebrate Christmas but this year I’m striving to make the meaning of Christmas hit home for my boys, something more than presents under a tree.

We are adding to our family.

This is a HUGE deal.

Many of you may not know that I am a blogger for Compassion International. Now, I will fess up and say I have not blogged consistently over the last year. There are many reasons and excuses I could come up with, all true, but none more true than I just didn’t take the time. I am hoping to change that this month.

You see, this month is being deemed as BLOG MONTH for those at Compassion International. It is a month where I, along with my fellow bloggers, will be encouraging our readers to sponsor a child. Each week will have a new topic related to sponsoring, an act that is life changing. I have noticed, however, it has become increasingly difficult to encourage something I do not participate in myself. We do not currently sponsor a child. 

That is changing.

We will be sitting down over the next couple of weeks, as a family, in order to choose a child we can sponsor and watch grow as my own children grow. As soon as we have chosen a child to sponsor I will post about him or her here – as much as I can anyway. Hopefully one day we will get to meet this, as of yet, unknown child. I wish we could help them all.

This is where YOU come in.

With all of the natural disasters that have hit around the world there is a much greater need than ever before. If you have the desire to help a region but are not sure how please consider being a sponsor. Sponsoring is easy. It only takes a few minutes to get set up and I can promise you it is one of the most meaningful decisions you will ever make.

I’ve heard it said many times over:

You may not be able to change the world

but you can change the world for one person.

That is exactly what sponsoring is; changing a child’s world.

FOREVER.

Like I said, it’s a HUGE deal.


Where Were You?

There are many infamous days in our history.

JFK’s assassination.

Pearl Harbor.

The OKC bombing.

Just to name a few. These are days that regardless of everything else we remember every detail of where we were and what we were doing at that exact moment.

9/11 is one of those days we will always remember every detail.

I was asleep when my mom called from South Dakota and told me to turn on the tv, to any news channel. Normally I would have said, “later” and gone back to sleep but she had that tone of voice that you don’t argue with. I turned the television on to see the smoke billowing from the first tower and just in time to watch the second tower get hit.

My initial reaction and the first thing I remember asking my mom is, “What’s gonna happen to my brother?” There was never a question of whether he would go. It was a matter of when. Just a few years earlier my brother had enlisted in the National Guard. By a fluke of accidental miracles he was never deployed.

 

 

 

Later that morning I headed to work. First day out of training at a new job. I remember people calling in and complaining about President Bush preempting everything. Eight hours later I was so drained from watching the events of the day and dealing with people’s selfishness. I know more than once I reminded people how we felt when the OCK bombing happened and that the attacks on the World Trade Centers, the Pentagon, and the crash in Pennsylvania were much worse than anything we’ve encountered before. They didn’t want to hear it. In the days following, however, things changed. The overall attitude of customers was one of ‘how can I make this better?’ instead of ‘it’s all about me’.

Life changed in that moment.

For thousands of people, lives were flipped upside down. The people lost were mothers, fathers, daughters, sisters, sons, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. Each person has a face, a story, a life that was cut short.

To the Soldiers, EMTs, Firefighters, PD’s, other public service agents I’ve not mentioned – thank you for your time and your sacrifice to help those in need. You are true heroes.




Boys vs. Girls.

Not long ago I was in the doctor’s office with ZigZag and was struck by something I’d never truly considered before. Here was my son, waiting for his appointment, being a bit rowdy with the toy trucks and completely oblivious to the fact he’d taken over the waiting room from a quiet little girl who ran to her mom as soon as ZigZag began to play. Fortunately it was a slow day and we were the only people in the office aside from this little girl and her mom.

Maybe it’s because I have boys.

Most of the girls we know have brothers so they can hold their own but boys and girls are so different! I know. I know. That’s kind of a ‘duh’ moment for most of you.

This little girl was so completely shy. She hid under her momma’s legs and played with one of the smaller cars. By the time she was called back for her appointment she had stepped out a bit – she was playing ‘catch’ with ZigZag by rolling the cars back and forth to each other.

But it dawned on me, my son didn’t even notice her until I pointed her out. Not that I’m trying to marry him off at the age of five or anything like that but that he was so wrapped up in his world that he couldn’t spare even a moment to see someone else.

Often times we, as Christians even, get so entirely wrapped up in what’s going on around us – in our own little worlds – that we don’t notice those around us. Those people we love to keep up with on Facebook but only if their status update shows up in our news feeds. Or those who we see only at holidays or birthdays, family reunions or funerals. Or those we talk to only when it pertains to our own dire need right at that moment.

When is the last time you called someone just to say hello?

and truly meant it in a ‘just saying hi’ kind of way?

Or smiled at a stranger?

Or helped someone carry their items?

Some things I’ve learned recently by stepping outside of myself to check on the well-being of others:

Two amazing people are officially parents and bringing their son to his forever home as I type this.

One amazing young woman left her home for Wales to spend the next nine months training in a foreign country to be a missionary to Africa permanently at the end of that time.

Many of my friends are engaged or pregnant – too many to count at this point! (Thank you Oklahoma Blizzard!)

The point is

the world is bigger than you and me

Period.

It’s bigger than all of us and it’s time we set aside our own agenda’s and started actually caring about those around us.

I can hear you now, “but what can I do? I’m just one person”.

So is Jesus.


A Playset Raising.

Back in the pioneer days if a family needed a barn, house, or other necessary building built they’d have all of their friends, family, and neighbors travel out, camp out on the homestead in their wagons and work each day on building whatever was needed until it was finished. We did something similar recently.

Several weeks ago my dad bought this massive playset for my boys. You know the kind, made of wood with a rock wall, slide, swings, a too tall tower, etc. And then we had weeks of seemingly non-stop snow and below zero temperatures. So, building this was postponed until the weather was in a better mood.

It came in 4 boxes that remained stacked on our back porch through many weeks of snow and below freezing temperatures. Finally it was warm enough to build it completely. We thought it would be fairly easy. In theory, each of the 4 boxes was a complete section to be joined with each of the other 3 boxes once they were all together. Not so.

Each box was full of wood. So much wood. And all of it was numbered so we began by sorting the wood into matching piles based on whichever numbers were stamped on them.

Then we started reading the directions. Or rather, my dad read the directions and the rest of us did as we were told. Ha! I want that job next time! Our progress went something like this:

Putting the roof on was … interesting. We laid the whole thing over on its side in order to reach the roof area and to attach those boards. Made it a teeny bit easier to do than trying to stand on tippy-toes at the top of a ladder drill in hand. Once the first roof (yes, first – there were two) was all on we stood it up and called it a day.

On to day two. We started with the second roof – again by laying it down and drilling the roof boards on. One plus to laying it down: made it much easier to undo and redo the boards that slipped a bit out of line. And then came the picnic table. Yes, this thing has a built in picnic table. We were somewhere in the middle of securing the boards that would soon hold the benches when the wind picked up (somewhere around 60-80 mph I’m guessing) and the whole thing started lifting up! So what did I do? I sat on it. Okay, I wasn’t the only one who put my weight on it as there was no way we were letting this thing blow over and potentially destroy all our hard work. Oh, and for the record, the finished project is much more weighted and stronger as well as anchored into the ground really well so it won’t be blowing away any time soon.

Finally, it was time to add the “fun” stuff. You know, the swings, slide, rock wall, and a few small ladders to move between the three levels. Yes, in case you hadn’t see that in the pictures, there are three levels to this thing. The top one is roughly the same height as out attic floor. Aye-yi-yi! That’s tall! Fortunately, I know just how sturdy all of those pieces of wood enclosing the top level almost completely are as I’m the one who secured them all.

The finished product is so much more fun to play on than it was to build. Building it required reading many pages of instructions and sometimes disagreeing with how things went together; meant hitting myself in the head with the drill a few times and scraping my hand on concrete; waking up for a few days with sore muscles in places I’d forgotten there are muscles. It also meant seeing some of the biggest smiles on the boys faces.

Now we just need the weather to cooperate for more than five minutes so we can all go out and enjoy it!

Some thoughts I had while building this:

* Why can’t children come with a manual?! It would be so much easier to raise them if we knew what to say or do and when. Then I smacked myself and said, “that’s exactly what the Bible is”.

* I also thought about how God takes us and molds us to be who we are supposed to be for Him. If something doesn’t line up right, He works on us until we relent to His way and get things lined up again. I consider each learning experience to be the equivalent of each bolt and screw in the playset. Each one holds us to the memory of how God helped us in a particular situation just like each bolt and screw holds that playset together. Individually it seems as though there are just random pieces lying about but when put together they form a masterpiece that only the Master can create.


Image.

Let me ask you something.

  • Are you a nice person?
  • Do you yell at your mom?
  • Hang up on your ex?
  • Get cranky with your kids?
  • Roll your eyes when people ask what you deem “stupid” questions”?
  • Gossip with your friends?

I’m not asking you this to find out if you are truly a nice person or not. Stick with me here, I have another question for you.

If you said yes to any of the above questions, would you still do that if there were camera’s following you 24/7?  If you knew that your actions and your words were being recorded and blasted around the globe in various media outlets, would you still be the person you are today?

Is that the image you want people to see? Is that the person you want to be known as?

If you answered no to those last two questions, let me ask you this; why aren’t you the person you want people to see?


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