Posts Tagged ‘Faith’

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!

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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.

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Light

light path

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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

Older and Wiser?

AnniversaryPoladoid

When we were dating. Polaroid Frame by CZ Designs

Nineteen years.

That’s how long my hubby and I have been married.

I had a starry-eyed view of what my marriage would be at 25 years old. Being that 19 years is a long time, I am definitely older, but am I  wiser than when I said, “I do.”?

Grandma: You know, when I was nineteen, Grandpa took me on a roller coaster.

Gil: Oh?

Grandma: Up, down, up, down. Oh, what a ride!

Gil: What a great story.

Grandma: I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn’t like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it. ~from the movie, Parenthood.

That is the speech Grandma gives Gill in the movie, Parenthood. She was talking about life being like a roller coaster ride. The same can be said for marriage.

In the beginning you are excited, ready for the ride.

You hit a few bumps and reality sets in. You realize marriage is not going to be a smooth ride, like a fairytale, despite what Disney has told you.

And, now you are freaking out a little bit, wondering what you got yourself into.

There will be bumps on the track that you didn’t anticipate, that’s part of the ride. There are hardships, illnesses, sacrifice, and tough decisions. There are ups and downs, hair-pin curves and loops that turn you upside down. Good thing you have someone next to you to hold your hand!

You may get scared because it is not the ride you expected. There may be times you want the hell off this ride!

Marriage takes love, patience, forgiveness, faith, trust, and maybe a seat belt. It’s not for the weak of heart. It’s not what you imagined. It’s not always happy days, passionate nights, or a smooth ride. It ebbs and flows with life.

Marriage is a roller coaster ride…with laughing, crying, and some screaming.

Don’t disrespect it. Don’t take it for granted. Celebrate it. Hold on for the ride.

And, if you sit back and go where it takes you…you’ll get more out of it.

 

 

Reaching the Most Unreached | myGFA

Do you wish you could be a part of reaching millions with Christ’s love?

There are people who are doing just that in small ways. I would like to introduce you to these people. August edition of Small Seeds is brought to you by Gospel of Asia and myGFA.

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Clara | Turned her love of sewing and her 18th birthday into a campaign for sewing machines for 19 women in Asia. Clara’s “Not Just a Hobby” campaign meant survival for those women who benefited from her generous heart. And, the best birthday gift of all is giving to someone in need. Read Clara’s story here.

Claire’s Church | Goal to raise $11,000 for church building in Asia. By the way, Claire is only 7-years-old! Churches not only provide a place of worship, but also is a symbol to the community of security and permanence. Read Claire’s story here.

Walker/Sali Wedding | Goal to raise $1,800 to fully fund five missionaries for one year. Although James and Rue set up a traditional gift registry, they found it in their hearts to prayerfully ask for a donation to help others too in lieu of gifts. Read their story here.

What I want you to know today:

97% of these unreached people live in an area called the 10/40 window. Yet, every $20 in the Western church, only 1¢ goes towards sharing the Good News in the area of greatest need. The 10/40 window also holds less than 1% of all Gospel literature and Christian broadcasting.

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Image courtesy of GFA

Why reach out? Because God reached out to us. It’s that Simple. It is our privilege as believers to share the Gospel with others.

How do we reach out? Over 85% of Asian countries do not allow Western missionaries to share the Gospel. However, thousands of national missionaries are committed to reaching their own people, no matter the costs.

What can you do? These missionaries need support from Christians around the world to share the love of Christ. GFA sends 100% of the money donated for work on the mission field to the designated project campaign. Nothing is taken out for administrative costs in the West.

myGFA

What’s your role in missions? I often ask myself this question. Not everyone can, or are called, to serve in the field. My mission? Bringing the Word of God to South Asia with Bibles. Can you imagine being a Christian but not having a Bible to study the Word of God?

Do you love Christ? Do you long to make a difference? Even the smallest contribution can make a huge difference in someone’s life today. That is the concept behind Small Seeds. Do something small today, and grow in compassion and faith in a big way.

START TODAY | Join the Small Seeds campaign, read about the above campaigns and join, or start your own campaign today!

Learn more about the great Unreached here.

*I am a Gospel for Asia blogger. I do not get paid for my endorsement; this is something I am passionate about writing. All information and stats are sourced from GFA.

 

Inspiration For Your Weekend

Wizard of Oz 75 years

It’s the 75th Anniversary of The Wizard of Oz! Pop some popcorn, mix in some M&M’s, turn out the lights and have a movie night! Because, “There’s no place like home.”

Ann V Quote

Um, great minds think alike, I think. Thanks Ann Voskamp. Need some spiritual healing? Click on over to Ann’s blog this weekend.

GFA Isaiah Verse

Photo courtesy of GFA. Verse added by me, courtesy of Isaiah.

Sarah Bessey reminded me of something very important. Not that I really forgot, but sometimes we ‘turn off’ the evil in the world because our heart can’t take it. Remember what is worth fighting for, and what is not. What makes a difference, and what does not.

May you have a blessed weekend. May you look up and around and see that there is beauty around you. May you guard your heart against the evil in this world. May you pray for those who are fighting their own battle against evil.

An Open Letter to Our Elected Officials, No. 2

Dear elected officials,

It is with a heavy heart that I am writing this letter. I had high hopes for you. I had hoped that you would make good on your campaign promises. I believed you when you said you would change this country; make it better, greater, safer, stronger.

You said you could fix the health care system with ObamaCare. In order to do this the insured had to become uninsured to then become reinsured under the new health care reform. I would like you to know that it is the end of July, my husband and I have yet to receive our insurance cards under the new plan. I have spent almost nine hours of phones calls, mailing forms, taking forms to an office, sitting on hold to get YOUR new and improved plan. When I can buy a house easier and faster than health insurance, there is something wrong. Did you sign up for the same plan you forced me to? Of course, you didn’t.

You promised us safer communities for our children. Over the July 4th weekend 67 people were shot in Chicago alone. Eleven people died in one weekend! That is in Chicago, not Iraq. What are you doing for the children of this city? What are you doing to help the law enforcement combat the crime there? You post signs with #BringBackOurGirls, but where’s your #SaveChicagoChildren? Don’t you own a home there, President Obama? This is your town, right?

South American children are being exploited, abused and dying crossing the border into the U.S. You are housing these children at an estimated cost of $2.28 billion, while not allowing journalist to report the condition of the camps. You Tweet comments and hold up protest signs as if these children are not human beings. What these children need more than anything is compassion from the American people, not to be used as pawns in your political games. By allowing these children to stay in the U.S. you are a willing accomplices to more deaths. Mixed in with these children are dangerous gang members. Can you tell the difference?

You asked us, the people, to tighten our belts. You told us we must make sacrifices. You said there will be tough choices in the future. But, I ask, what sacrifices have you made? You have added to our national debt, closed government while still taking a paycheck, and taken expensive vacations on the taxpayer’s dime. Mr. President, you have taken 141 days vacation since taking office. “The typical U.S. worker at a private company gets 10 days of paid vacation and six paid holidays per year.” Do the math. Although, I believe everyone, especially you, needs down-time, you are oblivious to the cost of your expensive trips. We paid for that trip to Maui, Martha’s Vineyard and elsewhere. You owe the American people a thank you note.

You have broken your promises time and time again. The American people are tired of being thrown under the bus. We are tired of being lied to. For the good of this country, and my family, I must make some tough choices come election year. Unless you change your self-serving ways you will be asked to clean out your office. Go stand in the unemployment line that you helped create. Meet the people you should have been working for. Look into the faces of the struggling American families you promised to help. Ask them how they like the change in this country; the change in their lives.

Don’t wait until it’s too late.

Sincerely,
American Registered Voter

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