While the world is striving to attain perfection, I realize the only perfect One took my place, as a perfect sacrifice, on a cross. Through Him my weaknesses are made strong. I'm not afraid to be different, because I AM different. I'm a child of The Most High. I can be imperfect because I am loved by a Perfect God.

Praying for Direction. Lift by Prayer. Working for Peace. Labor by Power. Driven by Love. Love by Patience. Living by Faith. Live by Presence. Held by Hope. Learn by Faith.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

How To Forget

Yesterday I succeeded in pretending I no longer care about someone. Fact of the matter is, he probably didn't even notice. You see, it was his birthday and i successfully didn't wish him a happy day.

I know it sounds really childish and petty. However, to me, birthdays are kind of a big deal. It means so much to me when people remember. Unfortunately I'm sure that's not the case with him.

I guess what it boils down to is that I'm well on my way of walking out of his life. I want to know that I meant something to him. I want him to miss me, to know that our friendship meant that much to him.

Not just him... but with the 4 friends I've lost this year. Maybe everything was just a waste of time. But, if I meant something, and they're still getting along just fine, I'd really like to know the secret.... to being ok after someone who was a huge part of your life is no longer a part.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Forfeiting Peace

So tonight we had a worship spectacular. My uncle sang at the end. One of the songs he sang was What a Friend We Have in Jesus. It was like I was hearing that song for the first time in my life.

What a Friend We Have in Jesus : when I've been surrounded by people, but feeling so alone.

All our sins and grieves to bear : I.don't have to handle anything on my own.

What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer : I can tell Him everything. In fact, that friend I've been searching for, who knows everything about me, my thoughts, emotions, its Him!

O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
take it to the Lord in prayer.

Can we find a friend so faithful
who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden,
cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge;
take it to the Lord in prayer.

Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In his arms he'll take and shield thee; thou wilt find a solace there.

This last part... Wow. My heart has just been feeling so beat up and bruised lately. My aunt defriended me on Facebook... As much as I say it doesn't bother me, it still hurts. We're family...

Healing takes time.

However, in the mean time, God has hidden me to protect me, but He hasn't forgotten about me.

My dove in the clefts of the rock, in the hiding places on the mountainside, show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely. Song of Solomon 2:14

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Infamous Question

When I was in Argentina one of the first questions people would ask upon meeting me was "tienes un novio?" - "do you have a boyfriend?"

The answer was no, and I never really thought much about it, having an understanding of their culture. However, all of that was a year ago. Now, I'm a year older, seen one of my longest friends become a mom, the other one get married, I'm also less 4 of my close friends, and now have a grasp on what direction my life is going. < all of that and I'm still Stephanie...single.

I worked with a girl for the first time about a week ago. After working together, she stalked me on Facebook, then sent me a message saying she thought I was "AMAZING". Monday night we worked together again. She happened to blurt the question "why don't you have a boyfriend??"

I could have told her about all the wasted emotions on a guy who didn't have the decency to communicate with me. How for the last year my heart has been beat up by someone who I thought cared about me. Instead, I looked at her, smiled and shrugged.

But in my mind it hit me, like a hurricane of bricks. I couldn't tell her all of that because in reality, its a messy situation.

Truth is, I don't like messy.

So am I single because I don't like messes, and relationships get messy? Maybe... In a sense... Yes.

I look at the people around me who are in relationships and quite honestly they are so dysfunctional.

To sum it up: these people have settled. I refuse to settle!

Dr. Seuss said "it's a troublesome world. all the people who are in it, are troubled with troubles almost every minute....You ought to be thankful, a whole heaping lot, for the places and people you're lucky you're not."

And I am, I'm so thankful I'm me. I know I have a lot to offer.

Be courteous to all but intimate with few and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. this is my advice from George Washington on dating.and friendships.

I understand that no relationship will be perfect. It can't be, because its made up of two imperfect people.

is it too much to ask for a person who is perfect for me?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Music of Praise or Praise of Music

Let me preface this post by saying that I am a music person. I grew up playing the piano and singing. I currently sing in church and listen to music almost all the time. However, this has been something God has laid on my heart, and I will do my best to accurately convey what I am feeling.

Whiteestate.org Accurately depicts the Role of Music

The Power of Song. --The history of the songs of the Bible is full of suggestion as to the uses and benefits of music and song. Music is often perverted to serve purposes of evil, and it thus becomes one of the most alluring agencies of temptation. But, rightly employed, it is a precious gift of God, designed to uplift the thoughts to high and noble themes, to inspire and elevate the soul.

As the children of Israel, journeying through the wilderness, cheered their way by the music of sacred song, so God bids His children today gladden their pilgrim life. There are few means more effective for fixing His words in the memory than repeating them in song. And such song has wonderful power. It has power to subdue rude and uncultivated natures; power to quicken thought and awaken sympathy, to promote harmony of action, and to banish the gloom and foreboding that destroy courage and weaken effort.

It is one of the most effective means of impressing the heart with spiritual truth. How often to the soul hard-pressed and ready to despair, memory recalls some word of God’s, --the long-forgotten burden of a childhood song, -- and temptations lose their power, life takes on new meaning and new purpose, and courage and gladness are imparted to other souls!

As a part of religious service, singing is as much an act of worship as is prayer. Indeed, many a song is prayer.

A Weapon Against Discouragement. --If there was much more praising the Lord, and far less doleful recitation of discouragements, many more victories would be achieved.
Let praise and thanksgiving be expressed in song. When tempted, instead of giving utterance to our feelings, let us by faith lift up a song of thanksgiving to God.
Song is a weapon that we can always use against discouragement. As we thus open the heart to the sunlight of the Saviour’s presence, we shall have health and His blessing.
To Impress Spiritual Truth. --Song is one of the most effective means of impressing spiritual truth upon the heart. Often by the words of sacred song, the springs of penitence and faith have been unsealed.
A Means to Conserve Christian Experience. --Evening and morning join with your children in God’s worship, reading His Word and singing His praise. Teach them to repeat God’s law. Concerning the commandments, the Israelites were instructed: "Thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." Accordingly, Moses directed the Israelites to set the words of the law to music.

If it was essential for Moses to embody the commandments in sacred song, so that as they marched in the wilderness, the children could learn to sing the law verse by verse, how essential it is at this time teach our children God’s Word! Let us come up to the help of the Lord, instructing our children to keep the commandments to the letter. Let us do everything in our power to make music in our homes, that God may come in.

"speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord." (Ephesians 5:19)

"But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them." (Acts 16:25)

The book of Psalms is a book of songs -- songs of many diverse topics, such as worship, jubilation, praise, lament, Messianic prophecies, judgment, etc., all set to music. God fully desires and expects that we sing songs to him and about him as long as they praise him.

I include all of the above simply to ensure not to discount the effectiveness of music. I also do not want to be mistaken. I whole heartedly believe that the use of music in praise is biblical.

However, I have two points. 1. The power of music and also 2. Music's importance

Music forms a part of God’s worship in the courts above, and we should endeavor, in our songs of praise, to approach as nearly as possible to the harmony of the heavenly choirs. Singing, as a part of religious service, is as much an act of worship as is prayer. The heart must feel the spirit of the song to give it right expression.

Music was made to serve a holy purpose, to lift the thoughts to that which is pure, noble, and elevating, and to awaken in the soul devotion and gratitude to God. What a contrast between the ancient custom and the uses to which music is now too often devoted! How many employ this gift to exalt self, instead of using it to glorify God! A love for music leads the unwary to unite with world lovers in pleasure gatherings where God has forbidden His children to go. So, that which is a great blessing when rightly used, becomes one of the most successful agencies by which Satan allures the mind from duty and from the contemplation of eternal things.

How silly is our thought process when we use Godly music to get us to a Godly mindset and help usher in the presence of God, but we think there is no effect on us when we listen to other types of music?!

Let's take a spiritual look at the history of music.

Lucifer is a fallen angel who was the head of the ministry of music in Heaven when he was in heaven. It has been said of him he was the most beautiful of ALL angels and he was the director of the flow of music there (Praise and Worship).
Of course, now he no longer is….. but there are several scriptural references throughout the bible the denote his previous authority over music when he was in heaven. One is
Isa.14:11 – “Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee.”
This verse is speaking of his fall from heaven, and how all of the glory he had, and the gifts he had fell with him. The noise of thy viols indicates the stringed instruments he had charge over. Throughout the bible in passages in the books of Ezekiel, Job, Isaiah, even Psalms upon speaking of his past life…it tells us he was the minister of music there.

Lucifer was basically a walking talking musical instrument.

Ezekiel 28:13 - Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: THE WORKMANSHIP OF THY TIMBRELS AND OF THY PIPES WAS PREPARED IN THE DAY THAT THOU WAST CREATED.
14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering CHERUB, from the midst of the stones of fire.
These were the same words that were spoken of lucifer in
Isaiah 14:11-14 (11 All your pomp has been brought down to the grave, along with the NOISE OF YOUR HARPS; maggots are spread out beneath you and worms cover you.)-(New International Version)
King James Version
12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee

The Seraphim (singular “Seraph”), mentioned in Isaiah 6:1-7 , serve as the caretakers of God’s throne and continuously singing his praises: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts. All the earth is filled with His Glory.” It is said that they surround the throne of God, singing the music of the spheres and regulating the movement of the heavens as it emanates from God. It is also said that such a bright light emanates from them that nothing, not even other divine beings, can look upon them. It is said that there are four of them surrounding God’s throne, where they burn eternally from love and zeal for God.

The Seraphim have six wings; two covering their face, two covering their feet, and two that they fly with.

Unlike other Seraphim who had six wings, Lucifer was featured to have twelve wings.

The Cherubim (singular “Cherub”) are beyond the throne of God; they are the guardians of light and of the stars. It is believed that, although they are removed from man’s plane of reality, the divine light that they filter down from Heaven still touches the lives of living things.
They have four faces: one of a man, ox, lion, and eagle. The ox-face is considered the “true face”, as later on in Ezekiel the ox’s face is called a cherub’s face (Chapter 10). They have eight conjoined wings covered with eyes, and they have ox’s feet.
Cherubim are considered the elect beings for the purpose of protection. Cherubim guard Eden and the throne of God.
Their rank among angels is uncertain but they are always categorized in the First Sphere. Some believe them to be an order or class of angels; others hold them to be a class of heavenly beings higher than angels. Cherubim are said to have perfect knowledge of God, surpassed only by the love of the Seraphim.

The Cherubim are mentioned in Genesis 3:24 ; Ezekiel 10:17-20 ; and 1 Kings 6:23-28.

Since Lucifer/beelzebub seemed to have been greater than the other beings, he is thought to be the chief of music.

So it is obvious that Lucifer, at the very least, contained something akin to musical instruments – the tambourine, the flute, and the harp all within the confines of his own body. Since Lucifer is a created being, he was originally created with instruments to provide beautiful music for none other than the glorification of God. Lucifer, being the most authoritative and superior angel that he was, at best, was also probably the angel of music.

The point of this study is to see, purely from a theological view, if in fact Satan has a connection with and a direct influence on music, which has become undoubtedly clear that he does. Ironically, it is amazing how easily he can create discord in the music department. A song isn't done right : attitude.  Someone else gets to sing a solo : attitude. I don't like who is singing a certain song : attitude. I don't like the song we are singing tonight : attitude.  The musicians can't get their act together : attitude. The drums are too fast/slow/off beat : attitude. etc. Every time an attitude comes up, our worship is affected. Not just the worship of the singers/musicians but also of those in the "audience". If we aren't worshiping, how can we lead others into worship?

We must remember that some, not all music, can come from evil sources no matter how lovely, beautiful or pleasing it may sound to the ears. For we know that the devil can masquerade as an angel of light (II Corinthians 11:14).

As mentioned above, the devil can be an imitator. We've seen in the Bible, in Genesis 7:10 Aaron threw down his staff and it turned into a serpent (at the instruction of God)  However in verses 11 and 12 Pharaoh called his own wise men, sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians did the exact same thing.

Music, I believe, has a twofold purpose. To glorify God or not, it’s as simple as that. As we have seen, music was initially created for that purpose up until Satan’s rebellion. What he has done with music from that point on becomes a whole other issue.
Conveniently we can see the devil doing the same thing (imitating) with music. What was created for God's glory has been twisted and is sending other messages that does not glorify God. 

I recently had a conversation with a friend about this: This friend and I have connected because of our love for music. He mentioned going to to a concert to see a band. No biggie, the concert would be in a bar, and it was ok, because he can be a christian everywhere he goes. While the flesh side of me agrees with him, another part of me asks what kind of witness that would leave, and what sort of temptations am I setting myself up to face? I will reitterate: A love for music leads the unwary to unite with world lovers in pleasure gatherings where God has forbidden His children to go. 

Besides, what type of music would be played there? Is it Godly music? I think it would be safe to assume not. Since it's not feeding God's spirit in us, what part of us is it feeding? Our flesh.

What goes in the body is what comes out through the way in which we live our lives.
He went on: “What comes out of a man is what makes him `unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery. – (Mark 7:20-21)

So ask yourself

"Do I know what kind of music I'm listening to?"
"Do I know what kind of music my kids are listening to?"

So while I've just (hopefully) adequately explained the power of music, I believe we have put too much emphasis on the importance of music ministry in the churches of today. 

Music is designed to be for the glory of God. Our music is NOT going to save someone. Besides, if we are completely honest with ourselves, there are other churches and organizations who have much better means to put on a show, program, have the best singers, and musicians. 

The purpose of the church is to share the Gospel and God's love to a hurting, lost, and dying world. Music can only share the gospel and minister to people if we get them inside our buildings, and it can only do that if spirits are right, and our music is truly glorifying God, not for self gratification.

What am I getting at? 
I'm glad you asked. 

EPHESIANS 4:11-13   And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12   For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13   Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

This is the five-fold ministry. I believe that this needs to be in effect in ALL of our churches today. Verses 12 and 13 explain what the five-fold does. If I'm not mistaken, I do believe that simply uses other words to depict the purpose of the church. 

Now, if you read that passage closely you will notice that music, music ministry, singing, playing instruments etc are not listed as part of the five-fold ministry. That being said, I don't think one ministry needs to be elevated above another. However, I believe the five-fold is essential to the growth and revival of a church. 

If you choose a random person and ask them if they would rather sing a solo or teach to kids, most would choose sing a solo. Why is this? Teaching is part of the five-fold ministry, it is passing on knowledge-biblical knowledge, for perfecting of the saints and edification of the body of Christ. 

It seems we have put a stigma on being used in the church. You have to have some sort of musical talent in order to be used of God. At a young age, kids dream of being able to sing, or play the piano. We even have programs where the kids get to sing special songs. But this is demonstrating that only music is important. 

What if we had a special week where kids were able to "shadow" those who do live the five-fold ministry. Spend the day with the pastor, see the preparation, share their time in prayer. What about helping a Sunday School Teacher prepare a lesson, and also the follow through-helping teach that lesson. Spending time with an evangelist, understanding the time and energy that is spent in prayer and preparation before a service. Maybe we should even let the kids help those who clean the church. This might teach the kids a little about respecting the house of God. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Confession of Love

Senior year of High School, myself and three of my friends had to do an ethics project. Our topic? Human Trafficking.

Yeah, I know who really knows anything about it? It doesn't happen, well maybe it does, but definitely not in The Land of the Free. I'm not sure any of the four of us knew what we were getting into.

Two weeks later we gave a two hour presentation on the topic, complete with a slide show, handouts, and a guest speaker from World Relief. The class was captivated and the teachers were impressed. We got the only A they have EVER given on an Ethics Project.

Does it end there? I really don't think it's possible for me to look at pictures like this:

Children are abused in Pedophile Rings

human trafficking Human Trafficking and People Smuggling: Transnational Crimes
Children are forced to work in poor conditions with little or no pay

Women are forced to work in poor conditions for little or no pay, and are also sexually exploited

and not expect my life to change. But really, what can I do? I'm just a twenty something girl. Trying to live my life, follow my dreams.... what dreams I know of...and trying to follow what God wants me to do.

CNN is currently doing a Freedom Project. This is one of the articles they posted.

Abolishing sex slavery by helping one girl at a time

By Jim Kavanagh, CNN

Atlanta, Georgia (CNN) - When Christine Caine talks about human trafficking, she speaks without punctuation, the words and sentences and paragraphs pouring out in a rushing stream that reflects the Australian's passion for rescuing victims and eradicating the crime.

In 2007, Caine, a globe-trotting evangelist and motivational speaker, was walking through the airport in Thessaloniki, Greece, and saw numerous handmade posters with pictures of young women who had disappeared.

"I thought, 'How could you have so many kids missing? How could this be possible?'" she told CNN.

And then someone clued her in: These girls were victims of human trafficking.

"I thought, 'Human trafficking? That doesn't happen, that's ridiculous,'" she said. "Then I went online and did some research, and I was stunned."

Estimates of slave numbers today range from about 10 million to 30 million, according to policymakers, activists, journalists and scholars. (Related: The challenges of counting a hidden population)

And according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 79% of human trafficking is sexual exploitation.

Caine recounted witness reports of girls being placed on platforms and sold in auctions reminiscent of the slave trade in the U.S. in the 18th and 19th centuries.

"No human being has the right to buy and sell another human being," she said. "People are not commodities for sale."

In some Greek brothels, Caine said, trafficking victims who get pregnant are smuggled across the border to Bulgaria, where they give birth and the babies are sold into pedophile rings.

"You begin to wonder: How depraved can humanity get?" she said.

But rather than sink into despair, Caine, 44, decided to do something about it.

In 2008 she founded The A21 Campaign, which focuses on sex trafficking in southeastern Europe. The name derives from the goal of "abolishing injustice" in the 21st century. The task seems overwhelming, but the focus is on helping one victim at a time, Caine said.

"The kind of girls we work with are girls that are taken, stolen, brutally raped and then often sold into brothels and forced to service up to 35 or 40 men a day," she said. "They are sold for money, and it's slavery. It's modern-day slavery."

'Why didn't you come sooner?'

She related the ghastly story of a young woman from eastern Russia who was one of 60 girls and women duped by a fake employment agency into signing up for non-existent jobs in the Greek islands.

They were crammed into a shipping container, where half of them died en route to Turkey. The survivors were locked in apartments, where men in police uniforms raped them for days.

The victims were put on tiny boats to take them to Greece, but when the Greek coast guard approached, the traffickers tossed most of the women overboard “like excess baggage,” Caine said. They all drowned, she said.

The traffickers got away with five women, who were forced to work in an Athens brothel. Acting on a tip, Greek authorities raided the brothel and rescued the women.

The Russian woman was brought to The A21 Campaign's shelter the next day. She didn't trust Caine or the staff, thinking they, too, might be slick-talking traffickers. She asked why Caine had gotten involved, and Caine told her how the posters in the airport had prompted her to action.

"I'll never forget how she looked at me and, with tears streaming down her face, she said to me, 'If what you are telling me is true, if you really care about us, then why didn't you come sooner?'" Caine said. She could offer no good answer.

The A21 Campaign has shelters and transition houses in Greece and Ukraine, and plans to open a shelter in Bulgaria, Caine said. Each shelter can accommodate 12 victims, and each house can support a total of 12 victims and staff.

The facilities have a "post-trauma restoration process" in which victims receive medical and psychological care, legal assistance, and vocational and life-skills training aimed at keeping them from being re-trafficked or falling back into the sex trade for lack of options, Caine said.

"I really believe there is a life beyond everyone's past, and there is a hope and a future. And if you commit to the process of restoration, you can overcome the obstacles and hurdles and the pain and the suffering and be made whole," she said.

Although Caine is a prominent preacher with an Australian megachurch, The A21 Campaign is not just for Christians, and the shelter staff doesn't try to convert trafficking victims, she noted.

While few people would publicly endorse human trafficking, we assent to exploitation every day by our consumer choices, Caine said.

"It happens when the world closes their eyes and pretends something isn't happening," she said. “We want a whole lot of goods and services and we don't really want to pay, but it's got to come from somewhere.”

Many products are cheap because they’re made by 5-year-old children working 19-hour days for no pay, she said.

"When you no longer care about the process of how something gets to you but you just want the end result, then you close your eyes to what's going on."

Awareness at the local level

The A21 Campaign has almost 16,000 followers on Twitter, and its Facebook cause has more than 46,000 members. The campaign's website lists 21 things individuals can do to fight trafficking and aid victims. These include buying fair-trade products, volunteering, lobbying politicians, and organizing fundraisers and awareness groups.

One such group is Louisiana State University's Tigers Against Trafficking.

The group's first awareness and fund-raising event was a 5K run; the group's members would have been happy if 10 people had registered but were astonished when it ballooned to 360 participants, said LSU fourth-year law student Natalie LaBorde, who co-founded TAT in 2009.

That first effort raised $10,000 for The A21 Campaign, she said. Other events followed, with about 75 to 100 volunteers working every event, LaBorde said.

"I am so passionate about A21," she said. "I mean, that's like my other family."

LaBorde became involved in the movement while spending a year working with another of Caine's ministries in Australia. She was there when Caine returned after seeing the posters in the airport in Greece and conducted some of the early research that led to The A21 Campaign, she said.

LaBorde returned to Baton Rouge in 2008 with a new mission.

"I knew I had to find a way to connect university students with this incredible cause," she said.

"Our thing is to address trafficking on a global and local level," she said. In addition to A21, Tigers Against Trafficking works with a local group called Trafficking Hope, she said.

Tigers Against Trafficking has helped students establish similar groups at four other colleges, as well as Baton Rouge High School, LaBorde said.

"One of the most exciting things about Tigers Against Trafficking is seeing it live on" after she and the other founders graduate, said LaBorde, who hopes to become a human rights lawyer.

Caine: Don't try to do everything

Caine said she was in court recently for the trial of a trafficker. The judge asked the defendant why he engaged in human trafficking.

"People are so much easier (to traffic) than drugs," the man replied. "The sentencing is a lot less, and you can just kick them and they'll do what you say."

"I can't even believe somebody thinks like that," Caine said. "That's the dark side, that's the evil side. But I think, by and large, most people would think that's very evil and say we've got to stop that from happening.

"My job is to help put tools in people's hands and say, 'Yeah. Together we can stop that from happening.'"

"Often, I think, because we think, 'I can't do it all,' we end up being paralyzed. So we do nothing," said Caine. "But if we understand we can't do everything but we all must do something, and we all find the one thing that we can do, then we'll find that together we will all make such a huge difference and we'll be able to put a stop to this."

Do you feel angry? Disgusted? Outraged? Want to do something? I was reminded of how I first felt when I learned the gruesome details of The Modern Day Slave Trade.

I decided I was going to volunteer at World Relief. Needless to say, I got distracted...and maybe a little scared, and didn't go.

I'm reading a book called A Woman's Passionate Pursuit Of God  In it the author, Karol Ladd, describes a "woman who lived with a singular focus and a passion for Christ. Amy Carmichael was sold out to the Lord, devoted to prayer, and committed to serving Christ through helping others in need.  She was a woman with depth of insight and a desire to live for God wherever He called her."

Convicted? I certainly am. I definitely need to step up my prayer life and be committed to helping others in need. However, Amy's life work doesn't end there.

"Born in 1867 in Northern Ireland, Amy developed a compassion for people at a young age and had a true sense of social concern. At the age of 17, she began teaching a Sunday School class to the girls who worked in the local mill in Belfast.  The class quickly grew to over 500 ladies, yet at the age of 24, Amy felt God calling her to the foreign mission field. She began her missionary work in Japan with a fervent desire to win souls for Christ, but after 15 months, she had to leave Japan due to illness. Amy didn't allow a few little interruptions to stop her from spreading the gospel [that would preach!!] Eventually her missionary work took her to India, and it was there she became aware of the terrible plight of the young girls sold into temple prostitution. Amy soon became know as Amma (the Tamil world for 'mother') because she courageously began to take in and protect children who had been sold into child prostitution."

Does that sound familiar? She became aware then she took action. Once again I was convicted and reminded of Modern Slavery.

Then I got to thinking, yes.... that's kinda scary :P

Remember my post about my dream (<-- link)? Well I have an open mind... What if:

I can do all that with my local church
I can travel to other places helping get similar things set up
I can include my burden for human trafficking: after all women are abused and children are affected
I can partner with World Relief and help refugees

I cannot do any of that. I can take action, I need God's favor. Join me in praying for this. Next Thursday Laurie and I have a meeting at World Relief to get information and to see if we can work something out. :)

God wants a multi-cultural church, and a church that reaches out to those who are hurting. I want to do my part.

Confession of Love

My Vow: Whatsoever Thou sayest unto me, by Thy grace I will do it.
My Constraint: Thy love, O Christ, my Lord.
My Confidence: Thou art able to keep that which I have committed unto Thee.
My Job: To do Thy will, O God.
My Discipline: That which I would not choose, but which Thy love appoints.
My Prayer: Conform my will to Thine.
My Motto: Love to live - live to love.
My Portion: The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance.

Teach us, good Lord, to serve Thee as Thou deserves; to give and not count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to toil and not to seek for rest; to labor and not to ask for any reward save that of knowing that we do Thy will, O Lord our God.
-Amy Carmichael

*** If you want more information about World Relief or The A21 Project <--- here are the links, as well as throughout the post.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Slow Fade

The same thought has popped into my head three times today, so I decided I might as well blog about it.

I was playing with Ginger earlier today. I would hide her bone under me. She would run from side to side trying to get it. But I always blocked her, good defense, lol. Finally she stopped playing, snuggled up next to me, let me pet her and started licking me.
           She quickly moved in to get her bone.

I can't help but wonder if that's how we are with the devil. We play these little cat and mouse games. But it's ok as long as we have the advantage and everything is on our terms.  Then we become comfortable, and we let our guard down. We are no longer playing with the idea of sin, but we have given in to the temptation and become distracted by the pleasures of sin. The next thing you know, the devil is running off with your soul.

I'm doing a study on Ezra and Nehemiah. They responded to problems with prayer. When Nehemiah began his work, he recognized the problem, prayed right away, and then acted onm the problem.  Prayer and action go hand in hand. Through prayer, God guides our preparation, teamwork, and efforts to carry out His will.

In Nehemiah 7, he assigns people to stand guard of the wall they rebuilt. Some were sentries, but everyone kept watch on the wall outside their house. He told them to keep the gates closed during the hottest part of the day.  They were protecting themselves and doing preventative measures. If one family didn't watch their portion of the wall, that would have been a weak spot for the enemy to come in.

If you're not listening to the Man of God, or protecting yourself, then you will find yourself susceptible to the enemy. When you are not using preventative procedures, you become a weak spot. This leaves the people around you less strong, and also allows the enemy to creep in. Then the battle comes from inside, not on the outside. Think of it as The Great Trojan Horse. The enemy wreaks havoc, creating confusion, causing dissencion, stirring up strife, resulting in spiritual death.

It's a slow fade.

Be careful little eyes what you see

It's the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the strings

Be careful little feet where you go

For it's the little feet behind you that are sure to follow

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away

It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray

Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid

When you give yourself away

People never crumble in a day

It's a slow fade, it's a slow fade

Be careful little ears what you hear

When flattery leads to compromise, the end is always near

Be careful little lips what you say

For empty words and promises lead broken hearts astray

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away

It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray

Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid

When you give yourself away

People never crumble in a day

The journey from your mind to your hands

Is shorter than you're thinking

Be careful if you think you stand

You just might be sinking

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away

It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray

Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid

When you give yourself away

People never crumble in a day

Daddies never crumble in a day

Families never crumble in a day

Oh be careful little eyes what see

Oh be careful little eyes what you see

For the Father up above is looking down in love

Oh be careful little eyes what you see

Monday, June 6, 2011

Surpressing the Symptoms :: Eliminating the Issue :: Preventing the Problem

Well, there's been a lot going on lately. Not really in life, but definitely in my head. So, brace yourselves, because this is going to be a long post.

First of all, Sheena is 3 days overdue. Baby Evelyn needs to come out NOW! :)

The remainder of this post will mostly be of a spiritual sense, at least what's been going on in my spiritual life.

Things haven't been the greatest lately. It just seemed like everything was a constant battle. I was frustrated with so many things. There were so many doubts in my mind. I wondered if this was really important. If that really mattered.

I still went to church. I still worshipped with the music. I still prayed. My routine stayed the same. Then I was able to surpress the symptoms of my heart, daily growing colder. My routine satisfied my need to feel God's presence, But it didn't stir my spirit enough for me to change.

Last Sunday Nate preached his first sermon, and did an excellent job. He talked about the 7 spiritual sacrifices. There was an altar call, many people were touched and going to the altar to pray. I was in the sound booth running the visual media. I just kinda sat there. So many thoughts were running through my head. I was wondering what happened. When did it get this bad. At what point could I not realize I was wrong and swallow my pride and cry out for God's help. Yet here I was. Trying to fight off conviction. Finally I couldn't hold back any longer. Every part of me needed to just be broken, to feel God's incredible mercy and forgiving love. With tears streaming down my face I made my way to the altar.

To no surprise, the doubt kept going through my mind. What if God doesn't meet me there? What if this is like all the other times? What if everything I've been thinking is right? Then Pastor came over and prayed for me. He was speaking words of restoration, of faith, releasing expectancy. Then Amy came over. She prayed words of encouragement and restoration. That I wouldn't forget what God's promised me. He's given me too much to simply forget about me now. Then Larry came over. Sometimes I think Larry is always reading my mail. He prayed about a fresh anointing, renewing my spirit, a stronger burden and a greater passion. To "lehgo and let God". Then Sis. Randol came over. She quietly, and passionately prayed for me. Speaking to the deepest depths of my soul. She prayed against all the doubt that had crept into my mind. I can't really summarize what she said. My heart was renewed, my flesh was broken, and my spirit felt whole again. I could feel God's presence overwhelming me.

Four separate confirmations that God is not through with me. I'm so thankful He is patient. After service I found a couple letters in a side pocket of my purse. One was written in July 2007.

"As I begin to feel God's calling strong and stronger on my life, I know God has something great for my life. But I can't do what He wants me to do. As I look over my life, and do a little inventory, I realize it's because I'm holding on to something. There's this part of my life that I keep from God, because I want total control of it. My relationships. I feel like I have to make a decision. My flesh tells me not to, but my heart has such yearning for God, I cannot pacify the feeling any longer."

Even though that was four years ago, I realize that STILL holds true in my life. Looking back, I've surrendered some relationships, only to pick up others. They say you should surround yourself with people who have common goals. On a spiritual level, I have not done that. Most days I feel like I'm stuck in quicksand, constantly being pulled down. Letting go of my relationships scares me. What if I'm all alone? However I've made a decision. I'm eliminating the issue. I'm limiting exposure to these relationships. I've identified the cause and now I've started a progressive work to become stronger.

I also found another letter. It was written in August 2008. It's basically a letter of personal spiritual goals, and also things I would like to see in the youth group.

"I want to see us united as a youth group. Not necessarily on the same spiritual page, but with common goals. I don't want us to be 'stirred but not changed'.  We have become spiritual whores (referencing a previous message). We come to church and pray through, but only to relieve our conscience. Then, we go back out and make no changes to our daily lives. Our struggles remian the same, and we make no attempt to change our lifestyle. How long before God gets fed up with the emotional roller coaster? I want the youth group to know that it's okay to be separate, not just in person, but also in the person you portray yourself as. I hope, as a group, we can open our arms to the youth around us every day, and accept them...as well as each other. I was us to be a youth group that wins souls and will stand for waht we KNOW is right. When we come to church, I want us to worship God and create an atmosphere where those who can't worship God, feel His presence to receive the touch they need."

It makes me "proud" to know that as a youth group a lot of these goals have been met. They do an excellent job of creating an atmosphere of praise and worship. Keep it up!! :)

"I want to be more confident in who I am spiritually. I want to be able to discern God's voice... when He wants me to do something, I want to be comfortable enough to follow through, without fear. I want to be able to let go of my past. I feel as though I'm fighting a battle...and most times I feel like it's right between my ears. I also want to be more compassionate to those around me who are hurting. I want to reach out to my peers, to lead by example. However, not just my peers in the youth group. God can only fill as many vessels that are empty, and I want there to be plenty of empty vessels."

Ironically, this poem is a completely accurate description of everthing going through my head, and everything I feel/fear. Pastor preached on Sunday about a Balm in Gilhead. What I got out of the message was preventative measures. Staying prayed up, continuing in fasting will prevent a lot of problems, and also help me grow and move on.

Dear God,
Why do I keep fight you off?
One part of me wants you desparately,
Another part of me unknowingly
Pushes you back and runs away.

What is there in me that
So contradicts my desire for you?
These transition days, these passage ways
are calling me to let go of old securities,
To give mmyself over into Your hands.

Like Jesus who struggled with the pain
I too, fight the "let it all be done."
Loneliness, lostness, non-belonging,
All these hurts strike out at me
Leaving me pained with this present goodbye.

I want to be more, but I fight the growing.
I want to be new, but I hang on to the old.
I want to live, but I won't face the dying.
I want to be whole, but cannot bear
to gather the pieces into one.

Is it that I refuse to be out of control,
To the the tears take their humblling journey,
to allow my spirit to feel it's depression,
to stay with the insecurity of "no home"?

Now is the time. You call to me,
Begging me to let You have my life,
Inviting me to taste the darkness,
So I can be filled with the light,
Allowing me to lose my direction
So that I will find my way home to You.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Day 9 :: finally

I'm sorry it has taken me so long. I promise I'm going to finish this blog challenge... Even if it takes me 18 years lol

shout out.....positive thoughts.....healing energy....and an abundance of prayers to my twin, confidant, and favorite singer who is in the hospital. Aaron, i love you! And I'm definitely coming to see you in the morning when i get off work.

Well the world was supposed to end on Saturday....obviously it didn't. One thing it did do was get a lot of people talking about the rapture. Was I worried the world was going to end? No. The bible says that no man knows the day nor the hour...but that brings me to another thought....

Tonight Vita and I went to Starbucks while we were there a tornado warning was put into effect. Tornadoes were being spotted from Davenport and headed to moline. ....Where we were...then to the towns we live in. So we decided to stay put. I said what if god came back with this storm...a day after the prophesy....like - hah joke is on you! God does have a sense of humor. Vita was jokingly making dying confessions. I asked her if her heart was right. Now I'm going to be honest and say i silently asked myself the same question. Really....the answer scared me.

I am not a bad person....but truthfully life just gets to ya sometimes. Being involved in and close to ministry....there are times when i definitely dont agree with everything. I get frustrated and sometimes even hurt. That's been the case lately. It seems like I've had the worst attitude and have been too frustrated to even care. This storm helped me realize that. Im not saying things are going to get better overnight
...but im certainly going to work on it.

My inspiration is one of kirk Franklin's new songs...

Before I Die

I'm feelin' real good cuz it ain't over
Right before I die I gotta live
Live out my dreams so
I can be what
He planned for me not just for me but
so they can see much more of Him
and less of right before I die I gotta
Love my enemies,
forgive the past and set 'em free
so I can free
free up the things
every blessing God has for me
see it's for me, not just for you
I had to learn from what I've been through
I can't go through that way again
be hurt by you that way again
It's not the end

I used to be afraid to die
I used to be afraid to try
cause I was too afraid of knowing
what failing looked like
but the son came to give me life
now I feel like I can touch the sky
I'm ready if you're ready
Get up and live right now,
right now, right now right now, right now, right now, right now Get up and live right now, right now, right now right now, right now, right now, right now

Right before I die I gotta Change
change how I think
change how I speak
I'm not the same
so when I speak you don't hear the pain
no longer weak with no one to
right before I die I gotta
Become more like you
to count the cost
cause I was lost
that's why I praise you
you're the only God
I don't know what they do

But I know..


So the next time you think of me
and you wonder where I would be
without each blessing that helped me to see
Life is much more than things
and how you live is more than how you sing
when I die what did I really mean,
I mean Say what? Say what now?
As we proceed, to give you what you need
somebody, anybody, everybody, scream


Lord have mercy
I told you it ain't over for you
I see you livin
I see you makin' it

Right before I live I have to die.


day nine: what do you want to be remembered for?

If you have read any of my other posts...you probably already
Know the answer.

I Want to be remembered for being a positive change/influence in someone's life.

I want to be remembered for being a cheerful person. Someone who was passionate.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Another Break Blog : Day 8

How do you stay entertained when you're snowed in?

Lol I'm not sure if entertained is the best word, but I definitely stay busy.

I pretty much do everything I never have time for:

catching up on laundry
Reading agood book :)
enjoying a nice bubble bath
catching up with a friend: unfortunately I'm terrible at keeping in touch.

Weeeeeelllll its Wednesday...if you don't know what that means, it means I go to church, have cor practice, then go to Mcdonalds with Lance, Vita, and Laurie.

We have kinda become our own little support group. Inspiring each other to make goals and live out our dreams. Maybe that sounds a little cliche, but it really has worked. :)

Tonight Vita preached her first message in HER spanish lol . She said "abren sus bibliotecas! No, wait! Bibilias." We're pretty sure she meant biblias :)

What is a life with out friends? A dull one that's for sure! I may not have the most friends....but I'm certainly blessed with a few great friends!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Day 7

How do you stay focused on a task?

I pretty much just make up my mind and keep the end goal in sight.

I'm working my second night :) I made a new friend. This is my break.

By the way.... I haven't given in and texted....or done any chasing :) ya'll should be proud! Let me tell you, it has been hard! I think the worst part is realizing there hasn't been any communication. It would seem that maybe I'm not as important to him as I thought I was.....or what he was to me. Maybe its time to realize I deserve better and move on....easier said than done tho.

Speaking of moving on, its time for me to get back to work!

Much love,

Monday, May 16, 2011

Day 6

 Are you stressed out right now? If so, about what? If not, how do you control the things going on in your life?

Hmmm. I really don't think I'm stressed right now. I mean: 

  • I've paid off all my debt
  • I passed my state tests
  • I recently got a job
  • I've accepted that sometimes people move on and walk out of your life
I don't really think anyone can control the things going on in their life. Really, things happen, and the only thing that matters is your response to it, and what you learn from it.

The hardest thing to do is accept things, but I've learned that the sooner you accept circumstances the better off you are.

  • Bad things happen.
  • People hurt you.
  • You get rejected.
  • Thing don't go according to plan.
Welcome to the Human Race  (the only race where there's no winner. we all meet the same judgement at the end of it)

on the upside of it though,

  • Good things happen.
  • Special people can show up at opportune times and help heal open wounds.
  • You can make a difference in someone else's life.
  • God's plan ends up being WAY better than our plan.

I guess that's the only way I make it through those trying and stressful times. There is always a silver lining.

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.

Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Day five

Do you prefer to talk, text, or a different method of communication?

Wow....umm I love texting, but only because its convenient and I can multitask lol.
But in reality I much prefer talking: in person, or on the phone. I think its a sign of commitment, it shows that you're willing to actually take the time to talk to someone. It is much more meaningful

On a side note: I am currently at work. Lol don't fresh out im on an hour break. Writing in this blog is what is keeping me awake. So if at any point I start rambling: you can figure out why. I'm in the process of eating stake lucky charms, drinking cold coffee, and listening to Kirk Franklin. :) its a good break :)

30 minutes left on break....what to talk about....

I found out last night that my friends in Argentina : who got married while we were there : Carole and Jose are going to be parents! I'm so excited for them! The baby is due in January. I told Laurie now we HAVE to go to meet the baby!

I've been following Patti Stanger on Twitter. She has really been talking about not chasing guys, but making them chase you... So I thought about it and it may seem like I'm the one doing the chasing : texting first, calling first, making plans to hang out...well today marks the end of that. Do you think that's acceptable? Is it too much for me to ask to seemimportant to a person? Or am I just being stubborn wanting a guy to text first?

Let me know your thoughts!


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Shout Out :: Apology :: Update :: Day 4

Today is my bestie: Miss Vita Carter's birthday!!! I hope it's everything she's wanted and more!!! This year has brought some experiences, lessons, heartbreak, laughter, dashboard days, road trips, and so much more! I can't wait until we get to listen to our recorded time capsule! We're gonna make this your best year yet!! :)

I'm sorry it's been a few days Blogger was down for technical fixings. Good News: It's up and running again! :)

A lot has happened so I'll briefly fill you in.

Wednesday was my orientation for my new job. I start tomorrow night. I must admit, I'm super excited about it! Ok, and a little nervous too.

If I haven't mentioned it before, I've been taking a Financial Peace class with Dave Ramsey. He has really changed my perspective (and spending) of money :) He talks a lot about advanced planning, being debt free, and building wealth. Obviously, I'm young so if I can practice these principles.... My money will work for me.

ANYWAY... he has discussed retirement and ira's, mutual funds... the whole deal. Well, with this new job I'm required to put 4.5% into retirement, but I can (and will ) max it out at 14.5%. However... regardless of how much I put in, the company puts in........

are you ready for this?

you sure?

it's amazing!

I just about screamed......

.... 11%

Yes that is ELEVEN PERCENT!!!

That is a huge chunk of money! I'm completely stoked about it!

God is so good! Let me tell you what else. He has blessed me.

I have a 90 day probation period for my job. I'll probably completely that around september (give or take), once it's done I get 5 paid earned days. On my one year anniversary: May 11, 2012, I will get five more earned days.

Bottom line? Next May I will have TEN paid vacations days! What does this really mean? Next June I'm going on a TEN day mission trip.... and I will have paid vacation days!!

How can you tell me that's not a God thing??

I was also blessed to recieve some extra money this week. I paid off both my credit cards, my student loan, 3/4 of my debt to my parents, AND set up a fully funded emergency account.

When you're faithful to God, He is faithful to you.

ok... how about our blog challenge now.

Day 4

Share something that makes you smile. It can be anything!

I would have to say three things.

1. Being outside: only in Spring, Summer, or Fall.
    Although, I much prefer summer. Hot enough to spend the days in the pool, enjoying the sunshine, and cool enough to go down by the river in the evenings. Or the weekends camping. Afternoons on the porch, in the swing, eating ice cream with the neighbors.

2. Music

    It's like no matter what your mood is, there is always music to express yourself. When no one else is around... It's still there. Music is the language of the world, the uniting element to every country, culture, gender, generation, past, or profession. When words cannot adequately describe an emotion, music sings the passion.

3. Being with the people I love
    I really don't think this number needs a caption. The people I love can put the smile on my face when it's gone. :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Day 3

What was your BEST accomplishment in 2010? You can only post one, so think hard!

I'm not much in the mood for blogging tonight, so this will be short and sweet.

I can't really think of any MAJOR accomplishments from 2010

I would have to say going to Argentina...it changed my life.

My spanish improved greatly
I met many wonderful people
Made friendships that will last a lifetime
Took pictures that words cannot explain
Experienced memories that will last a life time
Realized there's more to life than my world
Got a new dreamed
Changed my major
Developed new dreams

and almost died in a car everyday, and in an airplane

it may not be my greatest accomplishment, but it is definitely something that has a special place in my heart, and was life changing.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Day 2!

Name someone who deserves more credit than they get. You can also talk about how to change things so they receive more credit, post about this person, how you know them, ways we can get to know them, etc.

I thought about this all day today. I can't really think of ONE person. I've thought of all the people who've impacted my life, as well as the life of others. My conclusion: There is a group of people who deserve WAY more credit than they receive.

These are the people who spend 1/3 of their day investing in the life of a child. They are responsible for the future. They challenge the minds of the young. In some cases they spend more time with a child than the parents. They take an interest in a child. They help them achieve success, mold social skills, introduce diversity, demonstrate tolerance and acceptance and lead by example.

I'm talking about teachers, of all kinds:
Elementary Teachers
Middle School Teachers
High School Teachers
College Professors
Music Teachers
Athletic Instructors
Private Tutors
Sunday School Teachers

Any person who invests time in another person for the betterment of that person.

I think this is sometimes a thankless job. It can takes years to see the benefits of lessons taught. In some instances, people who should be responsible, push the responsibility to the next person.

I want to thank EVERY person who has invested in my life.

Family who has always believed in me and supported every decision.
A Pastor and Church Family who has always prayed for me and encouraged my spiritual growth.
Teachers in School who have taught me so many lessons and challenged the limits of my mind.

Mrs. Schehl: who not only shared her passion for music with me, but also has become a great friend.

Mrs. Cantu: who showed me that I can be a diva princess and still not get my way-but still supported my shoe obsession

Melinda: who likes to take credit for my cooking skill :p although she did teach me how to make scrambled eggs. She's taught me a lot, and been 100% open with me. As I've grown up we've become friends...even through her "vicodin addiction" (JOKE!!! She was never actually addicted to pain killers"

Amy: Who has been the big sister I've always needed, but never had, a friend I've always needed, my mentor I've always looked up to, and my cousin.  She's listened to me vent, knows everything about me, and still loves me, has offered advice...when I want it, and when I need it. Also the mom of my two favorite nephews :)

Mom: Who has been my friend, and has always supported me. We definitely do not agree on everything, and when we get into an argument, it's pretty much an all out war. But Nonetheless, I'm so thankful she is in my life. She has taught me patience, tolerance, understand, and that life is all about timing :)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Day 1

 List 3 countries you'd like to visit and why you would like to go. You can post pictures, an itinerary... anything you'd like.

1. Israel

I'd love to see all the history there. See the streets Jesus walked on. The upper room where 120 people were changed-enough to turn the entire world upside down. I'd love to visit the Wailing wall, where millions of prayers have been sent up to heaven. Of course, I would love to visit an empty tomb.

2. Ireland

Simply because I love Irish Accents :) I want to take in the sights and explore the beautiful countryside.

3. I know it's not a country, but Africa
I want to see the great pyramids of Egypt.
I want to see the sun set over the nile

I want to experience true African Worship

I want to visit Cape Town

Those are just a few things on my list for Africa. I would also like to visit the jungle, do some exploring, and learn some of the culture.

Picking only 3 countries was quite difficult. Especially when there is such a diverse world I would like to learn all about.

I would truly love to travel back to Argentina to visit with all my friends, too many to name on here. Friends in San Nicholas, Buenos Aires, Marcos Paz, and Rosario. Also I would like to venture up north to ride El Tren de Las Nubes. Train to the Clouds. :) Laurie Thinks I'm crazy since some viaducts are as high as 4,200 m!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

30 Day Blog Challenge! :)

I have decided to do a 30 day Blog Challenge. I think these are some great topics, so here is what my blog will consist of for the next 30 days. Feel free to join me on this journey. :)

Day 1: List 3 countries you'd like to visit and why you would like to go. You can post pictures, an itinerary... anything you'd like!

Day 2: Name someone who deserves more credit than they get. You can also talk about how to change things so they receive more credit, post about this person, how you know them, ways we can get to know them, etc.

Day 3: What was your BEST accomplishment in 2010? You can only post one, so think hard!

Day 4: Share something that makes you smile. It can be anything!

Day 5: Do you prefer to talk, text, or use a different communication method?

Day 6: Are you stressed out right now? If so, about what? If not, how do you control the things going on in your life?

Day 7: How do you stay focused on a task or activity?

Day 8: How do you stay entertained when you're snowed in?

Day 9: What do you want to be remembered for?

Day 10: Write one thing you've never told anyone. Go on... confession is good for the soul. Why haven't you told anyone until now?

Day 11: What are you looking forward to most in 2011?

Day 12: What made you start blogging?

Day 13: If you had a time machine that only let you spend one hour in a different time, what date would you go to?

Day 14: What is the wackiest advice you've ever received?

Day 15: Do you believe everything happens for a reason? Why or why not?

Day 16: What gives you hope?

Day 17: What is the bravest thing you've seen someone else do? It can be someone you know personally, something that you witnessed, etc.

Day 18: What is the most important thing you're putting off? And why do you continue putting it off?

Day 19: Describe for us what your laugh sounds like.

Day 20: Is it always better to know the truth even if it hurts? Or is ignorance bliss?

Day 21: How do you define the word 'friend?'

Day 22: Who are the three funniest people in the world? Who are the three funniest people you know personally?

Day 23: If you had your own reality show, what would it be called? What would it be about? Describe it in detail for us!

Day 24: When teleportation is FINALLY possible, where will you beam yourself first
Day 25: Describe the worst teacher you've ever had.

Day 26: What is something you never believed until you experienced it?

Day 27: If you could go back in time and have a 5 minute conversation with yourself ten years ago, what would you say?

Day 28: What part of life confuses you the most?

Day 29: When you’re feeling down, what music cheers you up?

Day 30: What can't you say no to?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Confessions of a Dreamer

Tuesday, I was in my Financial Peace session by Dave Ramsey. We had moved to the discussion portion. The question was presented: "if money was no object, what is your dream, and what are you currently doing to achieve that dream?"

Nobody was really talking, so I spoke up. I said that I wanted to start a Medical Missions Clinic in Argentina. I changed my major to nursing, specifically for that. The leader of the group, thought that was a wonderful idea, and I should never lose sight of my dream.

Immediately following that statement, someone spoke up and said they think it's funny how our dreams change. At the age of 20, we have dreams, then reality strikes, we work jobs to make money and get by and never end up following our dreams. I responded with "where is the fulfilment in that? You make your money, live a comfortable life. But when you turn back to dust, you didn't change anything. It's not about people remembering your name, but what difference did you make?" Maybe he was simply being realistic, attempting to protect me from getting hurt. Nonetheless, I'm 20....young... I can implement these financial principles then be able to fund/support my dream. Do I want a comfortable life? Yes I do. But I want to change someones life. I want to give someone hope. I want to give someone hope. I want to introduce hurting people to my Healer, lost people to my Savior. I want people to be able to secure their eternity with my King.

I'm sure you all know the power of words. And I'm the pro at over analyzing everything. All night Tuesday, and all day Wednesday. I debated. Maybe he was correct. Why would I have such a big dream? I'm just a no name, spoiled, only child girl living a normal life in the corn fields of the Midwest. What can I do, what can I really offer people? I sat in church tonight and couldn't focus. I felt like God was so far away. I felt completely  misplaced, I didn't belong. I wondered what I was even doing. I regretted not going to school for music, I regretted leaving an Ivy League school for community college. I regretted NOT doing something I've lived my whole life to do. So since I haven't done what I've grown up wanting to do-going to Berklee for music, what else is there for me to do? I'm not being Debbie Downer. I was just questioning my purpose, right here, and right now, especially in this place.

After church and choir practice, I went to McDonald's with Lance and Davita. Laurie ended up sitting at our table. We ended up talking about missions. Laurie and I began to tell Lance about El Salvador. Somehow my dream came up. We talked about how the Church in Argentina already had a huge piece of land donated. The pastor and his wife want to put a crisis center for women who suffer from domestic violence and also teenage pregnancies. Along with that we want the clinic (which would also travel) and an orphanage. At the mention of the latter we had captured Lance's attention. He began to tell us about a burden he has for children. Children who are written off before they ever even have a chance to prove themselves to Society.

We talked about having the orphanage set up in a family fashion. One couple lives in a designated area and "parents" 4-6 children, then you have another couple, and so one and so forth. Then the clinic: setting up in less fortunate neighborhoods, teaching bible studies while people are waiting for care, teaching "Sunday school" for the children while they are waiting, then having a crusade in the evening. Yes we would need musicians :) Even for the orphanage.

Through that conversation (which I realize may not seem much) I was reminded of my dream. I believe I have it and this burden for a reason. Not just to waste my time, talents, and passion in a useless pursuit of a purpose, but to bring hope to hurting. To reach to a lost generation. Jesus has called us to not only be witnesses unto all parts of the world, but he has called us to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, take care of the widows and children, and to be a light in this dark world.

"Too many people want change but do nothing to bring it about. We think that we cannot change anything because of our limitations. It's not enough to feel pity. It's not enough to be saddened by the situations in Africa, Japan, or Haiti. Too often, we just throw money at a problem and leave feeling justified that we have done our part. I can't do that. My conscience doesn't allow me to. I have every intention of making a difference in the world."