Archive of ‘Faith’ category

Three Years Living With Dogs

It’s been three years living with THESE dogs. Three years ago, hubby’s best friend from high school passed away suddenly. Needless to say, it was a shock to us all.

In his will, we inherited his dogs. We just lost our beloved Beagle of 14-years, and were ill-equipped in handling an 80-pound black lab, named Thor, with territorial issues. Our youngest, who was 5-years-old at the time, was scared to death of this massive dog. The two have since became best buddies, and Thor has lost 10 pounds. He is still big, black, and threatening-looking that I don’t worry too much about a home intruder. We also call him Thor-bee-licious.

The other dog is a 10-pound toy poodle, named Rocco, who peed on everything! I had a toy poodle as a teenager, so you can imagine how much I love this dog. He has received a few nicknames as well, like cutie pie, Fluffy McKissens, and Prince.

It’s been three years of dog training, kennel training, acupuncture for allergies (for the humans), special diets, one torn ACL (Thor), and lots of vacuuming up dog hair.

They say given enough time, everything works out. Although, with the help of Bark Busters, there is room for improvement when it comes to Thor’s territorial issues, but he has come a long way. Rocco still pees on everything..so, I guess we need a lot more time there. One thing is clear, these dogs have become a part of the family.

Living with THESE dogs has been a crazy ride and unexpected blessing. Uh, most days.

rocco

Rocco desperately needs to be groomed!

thor

Thor has his eye on the prize…a Milk Bone!

Not Every Little Girl is Celebrated | Gendercide in So Asia

I have two daughters. The first took nearly two years to conceive. Oh, how we tested, tried, and waited. We found out she was a she on 9/11. That 9/11. Is it possible to feel overwhelming sadness and joy on the same day?

We painted walls in girl appropriate colors, bought little girly clothes, registered at Babies R Us, searched for the perfect girly name. When she was born, she almost forced me to deliver in the hospital parking lot. When we held her in our arms for the first time, she was the picture of perfection. Perfectly bald and beautiful.

My pregnancy and delivery with my second daughter was slightly different…it was more difficult. However, we repeated the whole process of painting, buying, primping, and anxiously awaiting her arrival. When we held her in our arms for the first time, it was hard to believe we held perfection for a second time. She too, was bald and beautiful.

Our daughters are perfect. I can’t think of anything better than having daughters. And, personally, there is nothing better than holding a bald baby girl. All my opinion, of course.

In some parts of the world, holding a newborn daughter in one’s arms is considered unfortunate, a waste, a disappointment, unloved. This is heart crushing.

Isaiah1

In some cultures, daughters have zero value. That’s hard to hear if you have grown up in America. But, it’s the sad reality of millions of girls in South Asia.

There is no baby shower celebrating a girl. There is no joyous birth announcement. In South Asia, a girl is not to be celebrated.

That is 600,000 dead babies every year simply because they are a girl. [Gender-based abortion, or Gendercide, is what it is called. Abortion based solely on the gender of the baby.]

Girls who are born into this world, face hatred and abuse from the ones who should love them unconditionally. They face the real possibility of sex trafficking, child labor, bride burning, and oppression. They spend their entire life being told they are unloved and unwanted.

UNWANTED.

UNLOVED.

ABUSED.

ABANDONED.

GENDER-BASED ABORTION.

SOLD FOR SEX.

Crimes against girls and women are frightening and sickening to hear, but it needs to be said.

Gospel For Asia made this amazing movie called Veil of Tears. This movies sheds light on the plight of girls and women in South Asia. I am warning you, keep the Kleenex close by when watching this movie!

It’s not all despair, though. Because of generous supporters, GFA is working to change cultural attitudes toward girls. They are spreading hope in girl’s lives through the love of Jesus Christ. Hearing of Christ’s love for them, when they have been told they are unlovable, has changed the hearts and minds of those who need it the most.

It only takes planting one small seed to grow Christ’s love.

GFA is speaking for millions of suffering girls, and taking action to change the lives of future girls through sharing the Gospel.

My daughters are the most precious people in my life. Every girl deserves to have someone who feels that way about them. Do you want to help change the life of a girl? Then, click here to learn more about Gospel for Asia and how they are working to share God’s love with those most in need.

*I am a Gospel for Asia Blogger. The more you know, the more you can make a difference. Become a #SmallSeed today. No deed is too small. Small Seeds, growing in faith and compassion.

If Jesus Had a Facebook Account…

Do you spend more time ‘liking’ status updates of people you hardly know, more than liking the One who knows you best?

Do you spend more time keeping up with the Kardashians than keeping up with your Bible study?

Do you follow more blogs than you follow Peter’s example? (This blog excluded, of course.)

If you answered YES to any of these questions, you may be in need of a divine social intervention.

The NFL debate, celebrity photo hacking, viral hashtags, oh my. There is so much to distract us on a daily basis; information at our fingertips, literally.

Our cell phone beeps with alerts that beg for our attention.right.now. We just can’t resist swiping our phone, can we?

But, there is someone else who, through all the chatter, is trying to get our attention…Jesus.

What does Jesus have to do to connect with us? Open a Facebook, Twitter, an Instagram account? Dying for us wasn’t enough?

Would He tweet “Frustrated with human-kind and their constant distractions.”?

Would His Facebook status read, “Missing you.”?

Would that get your attention, or at least a ‘share’?

What would happen if we spent as much time in His presence as on social media? What would we gain? Would we truly follow Him?

[Thumbs Up Graphic Source]

 

Bible Journaling | Works for Me

I may have mentioned once or twice (or more) how I like to highlight books I am reading. I highlight passages I don’t want to forget. I take notes in the margins. This is why I can never lend out my books to friends. Who wants to read a book with highlighter and notes written all over the pages?

Bible journaling

Even my Bible doesn’t escape the highlighter. I take notes in the margins too. I am not limited to the highlighter; I have even drawn pictures, used stickers, Washi tape, and attached note cards.

Bible journaling

I recently discovered people like me; expressing their love for their Bible in a very artistic way, turning it into an art journal, while spending time in the Word. Kindred spirits, we are.

Turns out there is a name for this thing that I do. It’s called Bible Journaling. If you can’t resist journaling, or taking notes, right along scripture, you can purchase a Journal Bible. It has extra large side margins for journaling or art.

Bible journaling Bible journaling

My mom gave me this Bible. It doesn’t have a wide margin, but that hasn’t stopped me from journaling in it! There are many different ways to study the Word. Not everyone would choose this approach. Some would never write in their Bible, others get out their big-girl watercolors and go to town! I say, “Do what works for you.”

I haven’t experienced a lot of anxiety about writing in my Bible. I know others who do. Maybe that is because I have written in books for a long time. I am a rule breaker that way.

I am careful not to cover up the words. I still want to read my Bible, after all. Others are comfortable creating with wild abandonment. Creating art for Him.

Bottom line | Do whatever you do that brings you closer to Him. Do it with happiness. Do it with love. This is your time spent in the Word. It is your time with Him. Doing it for the glory of the Lord is not wrong.

So, there you have it: Bible Journaling. Who knew? It works for me.

* * * * *

Check out these bloggers/artists who are sharing their love for the Word and their art too: Greta Sutherland and Shanna Noel. Need more inspiration? Click over to my Pinterest board entitled Bible Journaling.

myGFA

#SmallSeeds | Give Bibles to those who have never hear the Good News. Only $4 buys 8 New Testament Bibles, and $3 delivers a Bible to those most in need in South Asia. This is MyGFA.

Your Monday Morning Coffee Break | Life is Short, Live it

red lipstick

Because Life is short…

Rock your red lipstick.

Do what you can, let go of the rest.

Let go of regret.

Avoid drama.

spider web

Tell your story. Even if you think nobody is listening. Your story matters.

Have faith everyday.

Be an encourager. Big or small.

path walk

Walk your own path.

Nowhere in the Bible does it say, “You’re on your own. Figure it out.” Trust in the Lord.

Drink water. Eat right, but also eat ice cream like a kid.

Ignore haters. Be you. Everyone else is taken.

Give yourself (and others) a break.

Surround yourself with positive girlfriends.

black and white photos

Be in the moment. Put down the cell phone.

Eat chocolate…daily.

Do at least one thing a day that makes you happy.

Don’t take yourself, or life, too seriously. Laugh at yourself.

coffee

Know that you are strong.

Stop comparing yourself to others. Seriously, just stop.

Pray everyday.

Start before you have all the answers. “Say yes, and you’ll figure it out afterwards.” Tina Fey

leaves on porch

Do that thing you’ve always wanted to do.

Don’t post everything on social media. Some things are best left unsaid.

Don’t waste your emotional energy worrying about people who don’t like you.

Pause. Enjoy the simple things.

Life is short…live it.

myGFA

Join me in being a #SmallSeed. Do something small that is good. Grow in faith and compassion.

If you are reading this via email, I incourage you to hop over and check out the new look of the blog.

9 Things This Week…

I would like to say it’s been slow around here… This week has been nothing but slow. It has been C-R-A-Z-Y!

9 things this week…

  1. Two trips to the ER. Hubby has kidney stones, and anything that can bring a grown man to tears, on his knees, making deals with whomever will take the pain away, well, it’s enough for me to say, “Kidney stones suck!” You can put that on a t-shirt.
  2. One procedure to help those little ‘ol kidney stones on their way out, requiring an over-night hospital stay.
  3. One missed cross country meet.
  4. Several nights of little sleep and too tired to cook a decent meal. Do Goldfish crackers count as a meal?
  5. Forget about running the vacuum cleaner across the carpet…
  6. Planning a soon-to-be 8-year-old’s birthday party…in 2 weeks! What?!
  7. Plans for a weekend trip to Leadville canceled. We missed the Aspens turning this year. :-(
  8. One quilt and fabric show with a friend…Just a few hours to think of nothing and looking at pretty fabric!
  9. Instead of a trip to the mountains, we had a craft day.
Fall Button Tree on Canvas by Alex

Fall Button Tree on Canvas by Alex.

Craft Day Mess

Craft day mess.

The flowers making the transition from vibrant summer to fall.

The flowers making the transition from vibrant summer to fall.

A gift quilt pieced.

A gift quilt pieced.

New favorite shoes by Parker.

New favorite shoes by Parker.

The one cross country meet I did attend 2 weeks ago...

The one cross country meet I did attend 2 weeks ago…

And that wasn’t even everything!

I know we all have crazy weeks, or months, or years…but sometimes I have to ask, seriously? That’s when I am even more grateful for my framily (friends who are like family), who pick up the slack for me, without fail. Because I have no family here, these people (you know who you are) are even more important and loved. And, who I owe a giant steak dinner…just as soon as hubby is feeling up to it!

When Your Kid Messes Up

Ever have one of those days when your kid messes up in a big way that it boggles your mind, leaving you to only ask, “Who are you and what have you done with my kid?”

I think I hear a resounding, “Heck, Yeah!”

A phone call from the school with my tween crying on the other end of the line; rambling off the day’s events that lead up to one very bad decision.

A decision that she “should have known better.” Yet, here she was, in the counselors office, being made to call home and confess her wrong-doing.

This school deals with most infraction by using the Love and Logic strategy first. I won’t go into details about the incident, because that would be public shaming my child, and trust me, she had enough guilt laid on her this weekend without me writing about it here…along with a little “hard” labor of housework! Fortunately, the school choose L&L first, otherwise there might have been a suspension in her very near future.

Why Love and Logic?

Love and Logic is “…an approach to raising kids that provides loving support from parents while at the same time expecting kids to be respectful and responsible.”

This may not be a surprise to parents out there…kids live in the moment. They make mistakes. They don’t think rationally.

Kids don’t think about consequences. They don’t think how their actions, even if they thought it was funny or a joke, affect others.

As the old saying goes, “If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?” The answer is, YES. Because they leap before they think.

Scientifically speaking their frontal lobes have yet to develop fully, which won’t happen until they are in their early 20s. Why is that important? The frontal lobe is believed to be where critical decisions between right and wrong is processed. Cause and effect is just not in their brain…yet.

This would explain why a kid would think it’s a good idea to jump of the roof of the house, onto a trampoline, and (hopefully) land in a swimming pool…

L&L parents and educators do not lead with anger, threats, or intimidation; because kids are a work-in-progress. Kids need guidance as they grow and develop.

They will mess up. We all mess up.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t consequences for their actions. It just means that there is understanding, talking about their wrong and making better choices, and how they could have handled the situation differently. We could all use a little love and logic in our life.

SOURCES | Love and Logic, Brain Connection

 

Seek the Light

Seek the light

LIGHT.

It’s the morning dew glistening at sunrise.

It’s the shadows cast through a window.

It’s the hope in the dawn of a new day.

It’s the reflections on a lake that shimmer like glitter.

It’s the glorious painted sky of sunset He created just for you.

It’s the light that shows us the way.

It’s the light that reclaims the darkness.

1 JOHN | [6-7] If we claim that we experience a shared life with him and continue to stumble around in the dark, we’re obviously lying through our teeth—we’re not living what we claim. But if we walk in the light, God himself being the light, we also experience a shared life with one another, as the sacrificed blood of Jesus, God’s Son, purges all our sin.

[8-10] If we claim that we’re free of sin, we’re only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. On the other hand, if we admit our sins—make a clean breast of them—he won’t let us down; he’ll be true to himself. He’ll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing. If we claim that we’ve never sinned, we out-and-out contradict God—make a liar out of him. A claim like that only shows off our ignorance of God.

heart clouds

Light

light path

light2

Seeking the light means living an authentic life. It means being who we are. It means being honest with ourselves about our own struggles with sin. Living in the light means living the truth, not who we once were when we lived in the darkness of sin and ignorance.  Living in the light means to stop making excuses for our struggles with sin. In means to stop blaming others when we have only need to look in the mirror.

God longs for us to live in the light. Don’t be afraid. Seek the light.

RECOMMENDED READING/VIDEO | Confessions of a Good Christian Girl: The Secrets Women Keep and the Grace That Saved Them

Want to Live Happier? Practice Gratitude

Background Image Source: StockVault

Background Image Source: StockVault

 

  • Dinners al-fresco on the back patio.
  • Long walks after dinner.
  • Flipping burgers on the grill in the pouring rain.
  • Acupuncture treatment by a friend.
  • My little sister’s encouraging words.
  • Woohoo’s from Parker at gymnastics.
  • Great books that make you think.

These are just a few of the things on my 1000 Gifts list. Typically we give thanks during the November/December holiday season. It’s a down-right tradition.

Like a hearty bowl of soup on a cold, damp autumn day, giving thanks fills us up. So, why reserve the attitude of gratitude for just one time of the year? What if we gave thanks year around?

Happy people actively exercise gratitude and choose to live with an attitude of gratitude.” ~MindBodyGreen

Simply put, expressing gratitude makes us happy.

Need more incentive than “just being happy” to express your gratitude? How about better sleep. Would you take that?

(more…)

A Christian Girl Walks into a Bat Mitzvah…

Psalm 133

Background Photo Source: WikiCommons

No, it’s not a joke with a punchline. I was recently invited to share in a friend’s Bat Mitzvah.

I am a little ashamed to say I have lived a rather sheltered Christian life. I grew up in a Nazarene Church. For a time during my teenage years I was exposed to what I can only describe as a doomsday Biblical Church. As an adult I attended a Nazarene Church for many years, and currently attend a non-denominational Christian Church.

There was this one time I attended Mass with my one Catholic friend. And Jewish? Well, I have eaten Latkes and Brisket…but that is as close as it gets. I read about other religions, but I haven’t had much personal experiences with different faiths other than my own.

So, when I was invite to this thing called a Bat Mitzvah, I was excited to learn more about the Jewish faith.

WHAT IS A BAT/BAR MITZVAH? It is the “coming of age” ceremony in the Jewish religion. The teen or pre-teen is considered an adult in the Jewish Community. For boys this is at 13-years-old, for girls it is at 12-years-old.

It was an honor to share this momentous occasion with these friends…even if I had no idea what they were saying because the ceremony was spoken mostly in Hebrew, with some English thrown in for us non-Jewish.

Mostly I was impress with the young lady, Sydney, at the center of her Bat Mitzvah. She spent countless months learning Hebrew. To speak in front of a room full of people, in a language she just learned…well, it’s impressive!

When most 12-year-olds are a little distracted these days, she had the determination to push forward, even when it got really hard. Maybe it’s the mother in me…I got a little teary-eyed just watching her, and she’s not my kid!

My take away from this experience is Jews and Christians have a lot in common. We may disagree on who Jesus was (and other points), but fundamentally, Jews and Christian believe and worship the One, almighty God. We both believe in extending love to one another, and our enemies. We live by forgiveness, grace, and the same moral codes.

Jews and Christians share a common heritage, after all, Jesus was Jewish. We have the same desire to have an intimate relationship with God. And, that is good enough for me.

So, if you ever have the chance to share in a religious ceremony other than your own, don’t shy away from it. I hope that you will embrace it, learn from it, and who knows, you may realize you have more in common that you thought.

Thank you my friends from allowing our family to share in your special day.

* * * * *

LINKING UP with Holley Gerth’s Coffee for Your Heart.

1 2 3 16