Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Awash in Grief

During this month of thankfulness as I consider all that the Lord has given me and my family, my heart is heavy with sorrow for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. I cry out to Jesus for relief for those who had nothing to begin with and are left with less than nothing--not even a blank slate on which to reconstruct their lives. Loved ones are dead or missing, and aid trucks are doing the best they can to meet a need that is too great.

Meanwhile, I drink hot cocoa in my warm home, safe from the storm, my child asleep in his bed.

I do not feel guilty for the gifts I'm blessed with, but I feel responsible for the family of humans on this planet that Christ calls me to love. I know I am to be a steward of what I've been given, and that he calls me to give to those in need. To do any less would be to deprive Jesus himself of food, water, and shelter.

Please, I am urging you to consider a donation to Compassion International or another relief organization in the Philippines today to help provide some relief to the families there who desperately need help.

Help Children Affected by Philippines Typhoon

Matthew 25:21-46
31“But when the Son of Mand comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. 32All the nationsewill be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.
34“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
37“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
40“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,f you were doing it to me!’
41“Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.g 42For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. 43I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’
44“Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’
45“And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’
46“And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Prayer Request

Hello fellow bloggers and Compassion Sponsors!

Today is day three of a U.S. federal government shutdown, which means that all "nonessential" government employees are furloughed. My post today will be a little different than before. Today I'm simply asking for prayers for my family and for other government employees who are affected by the shutdown.

My husband and I are both federal employees. We work for a great agency, and we would love to be at work doing our jobs. We have lots of great co-workers who also rely on the income from their jobs to pay their bills. Right now we have zero income. The closure affects not only us, but also those in the private sector whom we would ordinarily support through purchases of goods and services.

On the bright side, I'm able to spend more time with my son, get some things done around the house that have languished for a while, and get a head start on some Christmas gifts. On the downside, I'm praying this doesn't continue for very long so that it has minimal impact on our overall financial well-being.

Please pray for all of the government employees and contractors impacted. I've no doubt many of us are sponsors of children around the world.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Note to Self

Our Compassion blog assignment this month, as we celebrate Compassion Bloggers Month, is to write about what we would tell our childhood selves if we could go back in time and visit ourselves.
That's me in the back--the one with the GIANT Glasses
There are so many things I would tell my younger self. For one, I would hug myself fiercely and assure myself I am fine just the way I am. "You know that person who said you can't dance?" I'd tell myself, "Well she's wrong." I'd assure myself that all children are awkward at one time or another, and that I'd grow up to be just fine ~ that one day the scales would level out.

I'd assure myself that it doesn't matter if I can play sports well (I couldn't, and still can't and guess what?? I don't care!); it doesn't matter if I don't have brand name clothes (my mom & dad, wisely, refused to buy into the latest trends); it doesn't matter if I find reading preferable to playing the latest video game (okay, so then the latest video games were PacMan and QBert but hey, who's keeping tabs?).

I'd tell younger self that the high school sweetheart who is going to break my heart is just getting out of the way so I can find the love of my life later on.  I'd tell myself the crazy roommate who made my life miserable was just encouraging me to move into a house (albeit a really run-down, creepy house) with a friend who would become a sister and stick with me for life, and who would introduce me to my future husband and the father of the greatest little boy I've ever known.

I'd tell my younger self to wear sunscreen, that I really WOULD care later on when my skin started to show wear and tear, but that when it comes down to it, enjoying the day in God's bright sunshine is preferable to hiding inside in order to preserve my vanity.

I'd tell myself a little secret--that nearly everyone is afraid they don't know what they are doing, and that they expect to be "discovered" as incapable or incompetent at any minute. I'd tell myself it's OKAY to mess up, and that failure IS an option, and not always a bad one.

I'd tell myself not to be afraid to ask for help-that it's okay not to know how to do everything all the time the right way the first time you try it. I'd tell myself that making mistakes is not only normal when you are learning, but it's the ONLY way to learn.

I'd tell myself to treasure every moment with my dad; to record in my mind the memories, big and small, because he wouldn't be with me nearly long enough.

Most of all, I'd tell myself to really examine the life of Christ and who he is. I'd tell my younger self to cast aside who others say he is, who others tell me he is, and to answer the question Jesus asked Peter in Mark 8:29... "'But what about you?' he asked. 'Who do you say I am?'" I'd encourage myself to think hard about what made Jesus different from prophets and wise men who existed during the time he was alive. What made his message different? What set his life apart? In what precise way was he a rebel in his community?

Then I'd tell myself to take that spirit of absolute LOVE and apply it to my life and to those around me.

I still struggle with all of those things today. I struggle with the negative messages that pound us through the media we consume with a passion that, if applied to the message of Jesus, would serve to transform the world in a positive rather than negative way. I struggle with the message of unachievable perfection that surrounds our culture. I struggle with the message that money is everything, that we have to look, talk, and think a certain way. I struggle with the need for control and approval. I hope to help my Compassion kids and my own son avoid some of that struggle by sharing with them the small amount of wisdom I've gleaned so far in my life, though. If nothing else, I want them to understand that they ARE loved, not just by me or by a friend or family member, but by JESUS himself. I want them to understand that they are loved JUST as they are, and that their greatest mission is to spread that love to all those around them.

Please help the Compassion bloggers this month by reading and sharing our blogs, and by sponsoring a child today! You can share the love of Jesus and change lives, one child at a time!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


WOW, I have been so busy I have neglected my blog for a bit. Fortunately, part of the business has been with my ETSY shop, which has raised over $600 for Compassion so far (thanks to amazing customers who love Compassion and who have supported me!), and writing my fabulous Sponsored kids who continue to amaze me with their insight and beautiful spirits!

My own son has also kept me busy by becoming a PRESCHOOLER this week!  Wow! Time flies so fast.

 This past Sunday our amazing pastor at Calvary Baptist Church spoke about Paul and his message to the church from prison in the book of Philippians. During the course of the message, the pastor talked about four things that we often idolize, or allow to come between us and a full life in Christ. Those four things, he listed, are our desires for Comfort, Approval, Control, and Power.

We want to be comfortable, to be free of stress and have all the "creature comforts" we can accrue. Sometimes we strive for comfort at the expense of following Christ's direction in our lives.

We want the approval of others, often to the point of denying our true nature as children of Christ because we yearn for others to look up to us.

Many of us are afraid to lose control of our environment, our daily schedule...we grab for control and when we can't control a circumstance we are ruled by fear and anxiety.

Finally, power can easily become the sole focus of our lives, striving for more and more at the expense of other people, even those we most love. In our reach for power we can often compromise our ethics and our relationship with Christ.

As I listened to the sermon, it ocurred to me that these are all things our sponsored children lack. Most, if not all, of our sponsored children lack comfortable surroundings, clean running water, soft beds with multiple sets of sheets and downy pillows, air conditioning, plenty of food...  Most of our sponsored children lack the approval of the greater community because of their poverty. Most of our sponsored children have no control over their daily lives-they wake, and they are at the mercy of circumstance. Finally, the most powerless among us are children, and those children in poverty are the least powerful of all.

As I thought about it, I thought--no wonder God loves these children so much. They are the category of blessed spoken of in the Beatitudes. They embody who God would like us to become in spirit--blank slates, unfettered by material possessions and power, open to his true Love.

I am so humbled to be part of the lives of these children. I know that they will bless me in a multitude of ways they will never know. I only hope I can bless them in some small way so that they can move forward in God's will and share his love with their families and communities.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


Media. We have so much access to information - more than we've ever had before. We can Google anything, Facebook with friends and family thousands of miles and oceans away, shop online, and read all the latest news on equipment no bigger than the palm of a hand. Access to all this information can be fun, and may seem freeing. I remember having to actually (gasp!) go to a library and look in a card catalog for an encyclopedia for basic all I have to do is flip on my phone and with a few taps I've jumped down the rabbit hole of the internet.

The problem with access to so much information is one of discernment. It's awfully easy to get lost on the information superhighway, or bogged down with the excess of bad news that perpetuates in cyberspace.

Here's a ray of hope... Media thrives on bad news. Regardless of your bias, regardless of where you live, bad news sells. We are a species driven by adrenaline, and bad news gives us a small adrenaline rush governed by fear. With brains that are unable to adapt as quickly as technology progresses, we process information the same way we did when it moved at a snail's pace--traveling via word of mouth or pony express. The kidnapping on channel 10 becomes an iminent threat in our brain; the robbery at the convenience store seems an inevitability.

What impact is all this bad news having? Depression...anxiety people living in one of the wealthiest nations on the planet. People who are pampered.

Meanwhile, children halfway around the globe are still receiving news via handwritten letter. Living in dust with tin roofs and thin blankets...playing in polluted water, drinking the same, trying their best to dodge the mosquito that might carry the dreaded malaria, these same children trust God, love freely, pray sincerely, and rejoice easily.

Hope. Here's what the media isn't telling you. Today, crime rates in the United States remain at historically low levels according to the Bureau of Justice. In 2010, violent crimes were 1/3 what they were in 1994. The odds of being murdered or robbed are 1/3 what they were in the early 1990s, and the odds of rape have dropped to 1/6 what they were 20 years ago.

Why aren't we celebrating one of the most peaceful times our planet has ever known? Despite turmoil in some areas of the world, we are still remarkably peaceful. In fact, some analysts suggest the world is more peaceful now than it ever has been before. Don't believe it? Forget the individual news reports you see on TV--remember, the media seeks to grab you and pull you in to increase ratings, and bad news sells.  Instead, think about what we know of history... the plagues, famines, great wars, torture, murder, lack of humanitarianism... and think of today.

Hope. We have it. Now share it... turn off the TV, pick up a pen, and share that hope with your Compassion kids!

Friday, July 26, 2013

A Song for the Weekend

Do you ever have a song that has just grabbed hold of you and held you hostage?  This morning, Chris Rice's "Deep Enough to Dream" has arrested my soul and I find myself listening over and over to the lyrics.

One line that strikes me, in particular, is the imagery of the fly bumping the window for the hundredth time because "freedom calls from the other side."  That line has reminded me of how all of our spirits are held hostage here on earth until we are freed by Jesus. Jesus opens the window so we can fly free.

Today I find myself thinking of my Compassion children and how I yearn for their little souls to fly free with Jesus; to soar above their circumstances and to dream in the brilliant colors that Jesus has clothed them in. They are kings and queens, filled with inner beauty and light that no amount of poverty or circumstance can rob unless they give up hope. Let's help fill our children with the brilliant colors of Christ's love through our letters and support!

Need help getting started or know someone else who does? I have some free downloadable writing packets - print them, share them, use them and come back for more. Also, Compassion offers online writing--be sure to use that great, easy tool!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Jesus Loves the Little Children

"Jesus loves the little children...all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world!"

We used to sing that song in Sunday school when I was little. In fact, along with "Jesus loves me," it was the most frequently sung song by little children in the church as far as I can recall. I believed it then, as a small child, and I believe it now.

This morning I looked at my 3 year old son's sweet, innocent sleeping face and I thought about the millions of children living in destitute poverty across the globe. They are all equally innocent and deserving of love, yet they are there and I am here. I am able to wrap comforting arms arou

nd my little boy and reassure him, kiss his wounds, heal his heart. I won't always be able to do that for him but for now, at 3, I have his love and trust and his abiding faith that his daddy and I will care for him and keep him safe.

Unfortunately so many children do not have that magic elixer of a momma's kiss. Sometimes momma is already with Jesus, or sometimes hands that ought to be caressing, loving, healing are hitting in anger and frustration. So many parents can't reassure their little ones that it will be ok. For so many, it's a strugge to feed, clothe, house the precious little ones entrusted to them.

They are there and I am here. But I don't have to sit silently and mourn. I can make a difference. I can be the voice that cries out in the wilderness for these children. I can be the hope, the love, the healing voice they long to hear. So can you.

Yesterday in the mail I received the amazing gift of a lengthy letter from one of my correspondent children, Chavarro. It was an amazing letter, explaining to me that he would have a summer vacation (the letter was in May, so presumably his vacation has come and passed), and that he would spend it helping his mom at home. He likes pizza, hot dogs, and strawberry ice cream. He is a kid. Jesus LOVES him, and so do I. I try to bless him with photos, stickers, postcards, but mostly with words of love, hope, and encouragement. But it turns out, his words of love in return are an amazing blessing in my life and I find myself longing for letters from my Compassion children as eagerly as they long for letters from me!

I believe Jesus loves the little children, and I believe we are called to do the same. Please consider sponsoring a child and whispering words of hope into their life, and be amazed when you find that they bless your life even more richly than you could imagine!