Posts Tagged ‘Faith’

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.

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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.

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.

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*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.

Merry Christmas to You…

I designed a Christmas card this year…but in my quest to do less this year I became a total slacker. I also didn’t get a few presents mailed out in time either, or even ordered in time….they will arrive after Christmas, which kind of defeats the purpose. But, hey, that’s not what is important, right?

If I had order and mailed my Christmas cards, this is what it would have looked like:

Christmas card design

Photo by ReasonYou Photography

May you have a Merry Christmas, and a joyous New Year!

 

Making Macarons and December Daily Stuff

The prettiest of the cookies has to be the Macaron. This little French cookie is one I don’t bake well. And, by ‘don’t bake well’, I mean I bake something that resembles a hockey puck than a Macaron.

DecDaily-MacaronBox

Kit is full of promise

Oh, I’ve tried…and failed. But this year I spied this little kit at, where else, Target.

It spoke to me. It said, “Nous allons faire des biscuits!” (Let’s bake cookies!)

*** Insert random December Daily photos here, which have nothing to do with Macarons. ***

DecDaily-Rocco

I can’t help it if Rocco loves his ugly Christmas sweater…

DecDaily-Starbucks

Starbucks treat almost too pretty to eat…almost

DecDaily-Socks

Fuzzy socks to keep their tootsie toes warm

DecDaily-Party

New party shoes for the school Christmas party

Back to the Macarons…

DecDaily-Macarons

Chocolate Macarons with mint filling (3 ‘good’ cookies)

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advent

In the true spirit of Advent, here’s something I learned this week following along with the Advent Bible study at She Reads Truth:

Bethlehem means “House of Bread”.

In Hebrew, Beth•lehem is two words, Beth (House) & Lehem (Bread). Jesus was born in the House of Bread…and 33 years after his birth, He would break bread with his disciples saying, “Take, eat; this is My body.” (Matthew 26:26) 

Reading this kind of stopped me in my tracks. His perfect irony is amazing, isn’t it? Maybe you knew this little tidbit already, or maybe, like me, you are hearing this for the first time. Either way, be still and let that soak in a moment. Because it’s pretty awesome.

You can read the full post at She Reads Truth.

Practicing Intentional Gratitude is Important

NOVEMBER-PecanCheesecake

Mini Pecan Pie Cheesecake

November… It’s the calm before the rushed craziness of December. It’s a time for family and friends. It’s a time to openly give thanks for all we have…even if we have financial problems, health issues, are struggling emotionally, whatever, there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for.

Human beings are funny. We tend to think more about what we don’t have, rather than all that we do have. It can be tough to drop that bad habit called ungratefulness.

There is no better time to practice intentional gratitude than in the month of November. After all, November gets the distinction of having a whole day dedicated to giving thanks.

Scientific research shows that giving thanks makes us happier. And, we NEED a lot more happy in this world!

Let’s get started, then.

How do we apply intentional gratitude to our daily life?

  • Give thanks to the Lord in all that you do.
  • Don’t overlook the simple things in life.
  • Practice, practice, practice gratitude. Daily.
  • Unload what you don’t need to someone who needs it.
  • Pray everyday.
  • Talk a walk. Breathe fresh air.
  • Write it down. Count your blessings. Keep a gratitude journal.
  • Be kind to others. Say thank you…a lot.
  • Focus on what is really important.
  • Give compliments daily.
  • Be generous with others. They will be grateful too.
  • Get involved in a cause that is important to you.

That is a few ways to start applying daily gratitude to your life. Intentional gratitude takes focus and practice. But, I promise, once you start practicing intentional gratitude it will become a healthy habit. You will find yourself noticing the little things that you previously took for granted. Today, start making gratitude a part of your daily life.

Thirty Things: 30 Days of Gratitude | If you missed the FREE gratitude checklist and quote, you can download it here. It’s not too late to play along!

 

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