Archive of ‘Faith’ category

Marriage is…

If you are a Sex in the City fan, like me, you might remember the little episode where Carrie has writer’s block. She is so desperate for a story that she contemplates writing a comparison between French fries and men.

That episode reminds me of where I am right now. I am deep into writer’s block and actually wrote a post about my quest for a new can opener that actually works. That is what we call ‘First World Problems’, people. Fortunately for you (and me), I wrote that one in my head and not in pixels.

Instead, below is a a post that I first wrote in 2010. It may be old but it is still relevant today. And, it’s one of my most popular posts entitled Marriage Is…

Marriage is

Marriage is…grocery shopping together to save a buck
Marriage is…vacuuming the carpet
Marriage is…emptying the dishwasher, then refilling it
Marriage is…taking turns cooking dinner
Marriage is…putting the kids to bed, tag-team style
Marriage is…balancing the checkbook and paying bills
Marriage is…respecting each others requests
Marriage is…when the dryer dies and the mini van needs brakes
Marriage is…sharing your hopes and dreams with someone
Marriage is…sharing in the homework chore with the kids
Marriage is…putting your money together for the common good
Marriage is…listening when the other person talks
Marriage is…really listening
Marriage is…hanging out on the front porch on the swing
Marriage is…running to the store to pick up milk, late at night
Marriage is…watching your kids play, together
Marriage is…sharing in the disciple of the kids
Marriage is…faith in the future
Marriage is…growing old together
Marriage is…changing and growing together
Marriage is…emotionally supporting of another person
Marriage is…having someone to let off steam to
Marriage is...loving someone, even when they are not at their best
Marriage is…having someone to kiss everyday
Marriage is…we, not I

Marriage is…not always pretty and romantic. It’s not what you imagined. It’s not always happy days and passionate nights. It ebbs and flows with life. It’s valleys and hills. It’s a roller coaster ride…with laughing, crying and some screaming. Don’t disrespect it. Don’t take it for granted. Celebrate it. Enjoy it.

* * * * * *

Some great additions from reader comments:

  • Love is a choice
  • Marriage is a choice
  • Great understanding makes a great marriage
  • Great sex doesn’t hurt
  • Marriage is not all bliss, all the time

Whether you are married or not, what would you add to the list? After almost 20 years of marriage I would add, marriage is a marathon. Pace yourself. You will get exhausted and want to quit, but you have to push on to find your stride.

*Aqua wedding cake photo: StockVault.

 

World Water Day | March 22

One of my pet peeves is when I see someone (cue a certain member of may family who will remain nameless) leave the water running for no apparent reason. I get it, we take fresh, clean water for granted. With a quick turn of a handle, it’s right there.

In an age where clean water is so easily accessible for us, there are still millions who can only get water from a filthy pond. And, walk several miles per day to collect that water.

Today is World Water Day. Millions in Asia are without clean water.

  • 3.4 million people die each year from water-related diseases.
    That’s almost the entire city of Los Angeles, CA.
  • Diarrhea is the second leading cause of death among children under five in the world. Around 1.5 million deaths a year, nearly one in five, are caused by diarrhea, which kills more children than malaria, AIDS, and measles combined.
  • Globally, women spend 200 million hours a day collecting water. This is equivalent to building 28 Empire State Buildings each day.

THIRSTY FOR CHANGE? | Read how you can help provide clean water to villages in Asia and share Christ with them through Gospel for Asia. Be a part of bringing clean water to villagers in Asia by donating to the Jesus Well Project, or purchasing BioSand Filters that provide 98% clean, filtered water today.

DONATE NOW

Small Seeds Doing Good | The Prom Dress Project

This post comes from my friend and co-worker. She is a Small Seed doing good works.

In one of the most under-served areas of the Denver metro area, Liz is on a mission to make a difference in young people’s lives. To show them there is a better life for them, there is someone who truly cares what kind of adult them grow up to be.

They are not just a statistic.

Their story matters.

One of her many projects is The Prom Dress Project at Aurora Central High School. This event brings stylist, low cost (really low cost) prom dresses to those who can’t afford a fancy, high-priced dress. All this to make girls feel like Princesses for one night.

She is one person doing good things right where she is. She is making a difference.Tentatively, round two of The Prom Dress Project is scheduled for April 1st.

• • • • • • •

With a Humble Heart…

Today was Day ONE of The Prom Dress Project 2015.  The amazing women of Friends of Aurora Central High School Alumni Association showed up.  In grand fashion.  With a humble heart, I’m happy to say that we helped prom become a reality for seventeen young women.  I didn’t know what to expect, and honestly, I am the type of person that is really outcome oriented.  I see black and white, so very little gray… just ask my husband.  This is what I know. Seventeen young women had the opportunity to experience what it is to have someone come alongside you and show kindness, to know that we’re all a part of the same tribe.

The women in my cohort, oh my dear gracious, there just isn’t enough that I can say about a group of women that just “get it.”  From those who donated their time, to those who donated their talent with a few stitches here and there (you know who you are girlfriend), to those who offered their treasures… It just didn’t get better than today.

I didn’t sleep well last night, nerves I suppose.  Wondering if this little event would be successful.  We were expecting the local media coverage from our community newspaper, would we have a story to tell?  Today is a day we have a story to tell, about young women that deserve our best, an interested adult who is invested in their story, their future.  Today we had a story about women who make a difference, and I am grateful they are mine.  With a humble heart…thank you, to the young ladies that we served and to the ladies that I had the pleasure of serving with.

By the way… We’re hoping for Day TWO on April 1, 2015.  No Foolin. #alwaysatrojan

*You can check out Liz’s blog here. Or, if you want to know more about The Prom Dress Project, connect with her on Facebook.

For Strong Women Everywhere

This post is dedicated to strong women everywhere…and one in particular…my mom. She is many things, including caring, strong and beautiful, but possibly her greatest trait is her deep spiritual relationship and trust she puts in the Lord. When the day comes that she meets Jesus, he will have her wings ready and waiting for her.

…29 Many daughters have done nobly, But you excel them all. 30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. 31 Give her the product of her hands, And let her works praise her in the gates.” Proverbs 31:29-31

In this world it is easy to become enslaved to upholding worldly appearances of fame, fortune, and beauty. We work hard to make our outsides look more beautiful while our insides rot away with sin. Outwardly beauty and charm will only get you so far in this life, and this life is like “a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” [James 4:14]

My friends, our days are numbered here on earth, each one is a blessing. Find joy and kindness in your days. Once we are gone from this earth, it is not the end; there is an eternity waiting for us.

How we prepare for it during our time here on earth will determine what kind of eternity we enjoy.

Ladies, you are strong and amazing and beautiful. Seek the One that matters most, and your inner strength and beauty will radiate outward; this cannot be matched by fame, fortune, or physical beauty.

Work to develop your character and relationship with the Lord. This matters much more than anything material of this earth. Have a blessed weekend.

LINKING UP | Holley Gerth’s Coffee for Your Heart and Faith Barista’s WhiteSpace. Please check out these amazing women who are sharing their heart and love for Jesus on their blogs.

Guarding Your Heart Against Social Media

To grow my blog, I must network using social media. Or, so I am told.  But, is using social media bad for your health? Are you guarding your heart against social media?

Social Media Break Up

I’ve had a Twitter account for a few years, but really didn’t use this social media as it is intended. I am a natural introvert, which is the opposite of ‘social’ media.

Mostly, Twitter was linked to my blog. A tweet was posted when a new blog post was published. That’s about all I did. After a few years I had total of 62 followers. 

In social media terms that is LOL, literally.

Six months ago, I started a little Twitter experiment. I used, engaged, tweeted, retweeted, and commented on Twitter to gain followers, and ultimately blog readers. In six months I went from a lonely 62 followers to 350 followers. Still, laughable, but it was an improvement.

In the beginning, I found inspirational tweeps out there. (Tweeps, that’s what we call followers.) But, the more I used it, the more useless chatter filled my brain. 

Also. People can be really nasty when hiding behind a keyboard. The kind of stuff that makes my heart race.

The million dollar question? Did I gain more traffic to my blog from Twitter? The simple answer is no, although it’s a little more complicated than that.

Not only did the traffic to my blog not increase from Twitter, but I wrote less because I spent so much time listening to the chatter, drama queens, haters and trolls. (Trolls are what we call bullies and not-so-nice people who pick fights.)

I know some who say Twitter is dying; I don’t think that is so. There are a whole lot of people who still use it, and use it well. I am sure there are companies who have great success with it too. 

Right now, for the health of my heart, I am breaking up with social media.

Why for my heart? Our heart is at the center of who we are.

In Hebrew the word “heart” means “the essence of our inner-self, the totality of our thoughts, feelings and will”. According to Solomon, we live out of our heart.

Proverbs 4:23 (NLT) is a plea from a father to his son to guard his heart from evil influences and wrongdoing.

It’s easy to justify having to have social media links on my blog…everyone’s doing it, that is how people connect nowadays, or that’s how you grow your readership.

The justifications I make for not guarding my heart against social media really don’t pass for good reasons. We must filter what goes into our hearts. The decisions we make every day must deepen our relationship with Christ. Whether it’s what we read, how we speak to others or what we post online because “…it determines the rest of your life.”

Social media is not good for my heart, so I am taking a hiatus. I might be back some day, and if that day comes, I will be more careful about the chatter I listen to and follow.

A social media hiatus for me means Twitter, is gone. Facebook, is gone. Google+, is gone. Instagram, will remain private. Pinterest, will remain public.

It’s almost unheard of to say ‘no’ to social media, but it’s what I feel I need to do, for now.

How are you guarding your heart against social media these days?

Author’s note: I am not saying social media is evil and will be the downfall of human-kind or anything. So, if you love Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, whatever, keep doing it. And, of course, if you like to share this post on social media, you still can with the buttons below. I am just saying it’s not working for me right now. And, remember, what you post online never really goes away. Ever. Images: The heart graphic above was created by using images found at Vecteezy.

LINKING UP | With Holley Gerth, Coffee for Your Heart. Read amazing women blogging and linking up there!

The Power of Prayer is Real

Have you ever prayed for something that you wanted/needed badly? Have you ever prayed for healing, whether for yourself or a loved one? Were those prayers answered? I have, so I know the power of prayer is real.

It’s not to say those prayers were answered just the way I wanted, because God answers prayers, and sometimes the answer is “No”. But there is always an answer.

Which brings me to ask, “How’s your prayer-life?” My hubby says he has trouble praying for himself because he already has so much more than others. So, he prays for others. Lifting up others in prayer is a great thing.

Let me introduce you to someone who knows personally the power of prayer. Her name is Sister Mary.

power of prayer

For years, Sister Mary suffered from painful stomach aches. Doctors couldn’t help her. The pain was so great, one night she made the decision to take her own life. On that night she meet someone who would change that decision, and her life forever.

His name was Jesus.

Since meeting Jesus in a vision ten years ago, Sister Mary has used the power of prayer to help the sick and suffering in her small village. She has prayed for thousands, transforming their lives and hers. Jesus has a way of doing that.

Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29:12

As followers of Christ we are called to pray for others. Prayer is one of the best ways to strengthen our relationship with Him.  By the way, He wants us to ask for help, when we need it, too.

So, maybe you are like my hubby, and don’t want to pray for yourself, but want to pray for others. He can change the lives of others through your prayers.

Power of prayer

Here are some ways you can put your prayer life into action:

Pray for Widows. The treatment of widows in South Asia is unimaginably horrific.
Pray for Abandoned Children. Countless children in Asia have been discarded, aborted, and abused, but they are not forgotten.
Pray for Asia’s Youth. Did you know that 40 percent of India’s 1 billion people are under the age of 18?
Pray for Missionaries. Everyday missionaries in South Asia risk their lives as they share the love of Christ with others.

Watch this inspirational video entitled “When Sister Mary Prays”. Then, humbly lift up Sister Mary in prayer.

You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed you [I have planted you], that you might go and bear fruit and keep on bearing, and that your fruit may be lasting, so that whatever you ask the Father in My Name, He may give to you.” John 16:15

Do not doubt the power of prayer.

* * * * * *

*I am a Gospel for Asia blogger. I am not paid for my posts. I feel blessed to share inspirational stories like this one with my readers. GFA is a Small Seed. Photos courtesy of GFA. You can learn more about GFA here.

A Love List for Jesus

Because we don’t say “I love you” enough. Because sometimes we ‘forget’ to say it. Just in time for Valentine’s Day…A love list for Jesus. Because it needs to be said.

I love Him

  1.  He said the truth, not what people wanted to hear. He wasn’t afraid to call out the Pharisees on their bad behavior. Luke 11:37-44
  2. He is dependable in His own time. John 11:38-44
  3. He is an encourager. Matthew 6:34
  4. He is compassionate. John 8:1-11
  5. He is calm in the storm. Mark 4:35-41
  6. He didn’t care what others thought about the company he kept. Matthew 9:11
  7. He forgives. 1 John 1:9
  8. He lost his patience a few times too. Matthew 21:12
  9. He endured the worst of human-kind had to offer on the cross, yet He did it all for us. 1 Peter 2:23-25
  10. His family tree is full of broken people, just like all of us. Matthew 1:1-17

Because it takes writing a list of things I love about someone that reminds me how much I love them. Thanks to Pastor Steve for this little assignment.

So, what would be on your list?

LINKING UP | Faith Barista // Missional Woman // The Jenny Evolution // Holy Splendor // Simple Moments Stick // My Freshly Brewed Life // Sandra Heska King // Click on over to read inspirational words written by women for women.

Take Stock in the Here and Now

We are one month into 2015. Thirty-three days of resolutions, one words, plans, and lists.  It’s a good time to take stock in the here and now.

And, the here and now is winter. Just when I was thinking spring was just around the corner with 70º degree weather, Mother Nature slapped us in the face with 8″ of snow this past weekend. Old Punxsutawney Phil spotted his shadow, so it’s official, another six long weeks until spring.

The term taking stock originates from ‘stock taking’ when farmers in the ye ‘ol days counted their stock, equipment, tools, etc. They took inventory of their assets. Taking stock can also mean assessing ones life to decide what to do next (which is what I think Phil is actually doing); or taking stock by counting ones blessings in life.

Taking Stock

I am pausing for a moment and taking stock in all the little blessings that may go unnoticed day-by-day.

Loving: Parker being so creative and sweet and thoughtful and silly and loving and…just wants to have a sewing day with mom only. I am cherishing this before she grows up and doesn’t think I am the coolest person to hang out with on a cold winter day.

Needing: An acupuncture treatment for dog allergies. Seriously.

Meeting: Friends at Starbucks to give blog advice and chat. Really, wonderful.

Creating & Sewing: Planning to sew new pillow cases. I have a long to-sew-list for 2015. But, before that I used Alex’s old t-shirts to make a few throw pillows (pictured above).

Link loving: #Create inspiration: Simply Me // My Art Journal // Oh Happy Day // Brave Girls Club

Watching: Alex playing basketball for the first time. I haven’t been this teary-eyed since she last competed at figure skating. Why do I do that? A good friend is her coach. So loving that, too.

Sharing: I am sharing a story for an e-book that a fellow blogger is working on. Lord willing there will be more news about that in the coming months. The Lord is blessing this woman in many ways!

Struggling: What do I write and do next? What is Your plan for me, Lord? I could use a clue right about now. Thanks so much. Amen.

Eating: More fruit in winter. And coffee.

Reading: My goal is to read one book a month. Check The Red Tent off the list. I highly recommend it, too. We are reading Junie B. Jones with Parker. We have read all of the book series with Alex, now it is Parker’s turn. And, I have started Gone Girl.

Planning: Alex’s 13th birthday celebration this week. She’ll officially be a teenager, even though I have been calling her a teen for the past six months.

So, what are you taking stock in?

From Widowed Child Bride in Nepal to Hope

My daughter will be 13-years-old in two weeks. She’ll officially be a teenager. Which is exciting and terrifying at the same time.

She enjoys playing basketball and soccer. She is artsy, creative, and has a love for words. She is smarter than me at her age. She can be goofy and she can be serious. She is a loyal friend, and encourager. She is fun-loving and can cook a mean batch of scrambled eggs.

What she will be when she grows up, I don’t know. Will she attend college? Art school? Be a Starbucks Barista? Her possibilities are endless. Although, she hasn’t been making grand plans for her future yet.

One thing I do know is she is not ready for marriage.

SOME GIRLS ARE CHILD BRIDES BEFORE MY DAUGHTER WILL LEARN TO DRIVE.

Imagine being a child bride in Nepal at the age of 14 and being taken away from your friends and family. Imagine by the age of 21-years-old you had lost your husband to illness, buried your young daughter from malnutrition, leaving you to fend for your two daughters all on your own.

There is no family to offer support. No women’s programs to turn to. No food bank or soup kitchen to feed your children. No transitional housing for your family, let a lone a women’s shelter to offer a bed.

Imagine being completely on your own. ALONE.

Sounds depressing, right? But, this is not that kind of story. Yes, it’s full of unimaginable heartache, but it’s more than that. 

This was the story of Shiuli. A story of survival, hope, and the love of Christ. Click here to GFA to read her amazing story.

*I am a Gospel for Asia Blogger. I feel blessed that I may share stories of women, such as the one above, with you. GFA is a Small Seed, growing faith and compassion through their good work and love for Christ. Story and photo used with consent from Gospel for Asia. All Rights Reserved.

When Insecurities and the Messy Middle Collide

It’s the kind of thing that leaves my fingers frozen on the keyboard, staring at a blank screen. It’s when insecurities and the messy middle collide that has me stopped cold, not knowing what to do next.

These are days when I believe my story is not big enough, or brave enough, or tragedy-to-redemption enough. It’s just vanilla.

There’s nothing wrong with vanilla. I love vanilla, especially when it’s in the form of ice cream and topped with chocolate sauce, but vanilla is predictable. It’s perceived as ordinary, boring, safe. It is the crowd pleaser. Most people like it, but it’s not going to change the world, shake things up.

And, even though I worked hard last year, writing, networking, researching, I still doubt. This writing thing? Does it really matter? Does anyone, besides my mom, really care?

That doubting voice is working hard like it is her job. “Nobody wants to read vanilla.”, she says.

So, the doubting voice is there. Then there is the messy middle. It is when you have too much time, and sometimes money, invested to give up on your plan/goal, but you are not sure what to do next.

It’s when you set goals, lofty goals, and met them, but you forgot to plan what to do after that point. It’s like when you hit a plateau in weight loss. You’re trying like heck on the treadmill but all you’re doing is wearing out your shoes, the scale not moving.

Both are equally frustrating but when the two meet? Houston, we have a problem.

That’s where I am at right now. The insecurity of the messy middle. Doubting myself and this plan. Is it His plan too? Is the plan worth pursuing?

There will always be doubt…it stinks to be human sometimes, but the doubt shouldn’t be crushing.

Psalm 56: 3-4
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?

Don’t fear the messy middle. Pray, then keep moving through it.

My dream is not someone else’s dream. It’s unique to me. Yours is unique to you. Believe that. Trust your gut and trudge through the messy middle. When insecurities make themselves at home, kick them out and move on.

At least that is what I am telling myself.

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