Compassion International

Let’s Not See the Incompatibilities, but Rather, the Possibilities!

Some days, I long to be a little girl again (I’m the one smiling in the middle), to go back to that time when I had no worries, no stress, and my little brown teddy bear that sang “Jesus Loves Me” was all I needed to rest my eyelids at night.

Those were the days: to be a child!!!!

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Fast forward thirty years, and our lives are filled to overflowing with everything BUT God these days. We get so distracted by life, and work and school and select soccer games and the carpool lane and the drive through at McDonalds and Starbucks, that we forget we are truly God’s children and He is our true Father.

Ah, “to be a child,” I just said, but isn’t that what we are today? That has never changed. We don’t have to go back in time to be a child. 1 John 3:1 concludes, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”
So, what does that mean?

SEE what great love! We saw it when we should have been listening in church; we couldn’t focus, yet Jesus had mercy. SEE what great love! The evil thoughts we had of that one person who did us wrong, but our Lord provided grace, in the midst of that horrific thought. Ultimately, we saw it on the cross, the cross of Calvary where Jesus took our sin, and died in our place. SEE what great love! Yes, I see the great love the Father has lavished on us! We are his children!  It brings tears to my eyes!

We ALL are his children, and that means that not a single one of us is better than another.

That means that we have the responsibility to love one another.

Lord, forgive us for the bazillion times we don’t.

1 John 4:7 “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.”

My, my, how often we look down upon someone who is different than us? Different thoughts, different politics, different clothes, different dialect, different skin color, different shape, different, different, different! So we ignore them, or pass them by, or stick our nose up, or disrespect. But, all are His children! Aren’t we? Yes, indeed.

“Our Savior… wants all people to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Not everyone will want t be  a part of God’s family if we treat them like dirt or worse yet, “crap.”  My prayer is that we would humble ourselves and love one another; that we would be like that little child who doesn’t see the incompatibilities, but rather the possibilities of having another great friend!


If you haven’t yet taken the opportunity to get to know a child of God who is need through Compassion International, I encourage you to take time and  go to the following website. Take a look at the thousands of children of God who are in need of a friend like you and be a sponsor today!

Loneliness Stinketh!!

I vividly remember moving to Texas for the first time sixteen years ago.  My Dad and I drove pretty much non-stop from Wisconsin, all the way to the great state Texas. I first stepped foot on Texas soil, in Texarkana, Texas!  It was exhilarating, and a day to behold.  God was sending me out of the Mid-West, across numerous state lines, almost to the country of Mexico, to a city in which I knew no one.  I could have never prepared myself for the loneliness that was going to enter my heart that day.  It was the beginning of countless and lengthy separations from the ones I loved, and each parting leaving a deeper hole in my heart and cementing loneliness in my soul.  Sixteen years later, that painful ache still manages to creep in each and every time I take that last peek around my shoulder, as my family drives away from the airport. Too many times, my salty tears washed away their vision long before they ever drove away.

Yes, indeed, loneliness stinketh!

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(Saying goodbye to my niece and my mom at the airport.)

Are you beyond busy and find that you never even get to engage in an important conversation with your family?

Are you checked out from life?

Are you so absorbed with your career you have no social life to speak of?

Are you a stay at home parent who has yet, in ten years, to converse with someone older than one in elementary school?

Are you and your spouse seeming to live on separate planets?

Are you single?

Are you a widow or widower?

Well, then you already know the agony of aloneness.  It hurts. It lingers.  It paralyzes. It controls. It stills our hope.

Imagine, then, the loneliness and hopelessness, of a young child in India, who has been taken from his or her home and bought or sold into child trafficking.  “According to UNICEF, child trafficking is defined as “any person under 18 who is recruited, transported, transferred, harboured or received for the purpose of exploitation, either within or outside a country” (wikipedia).  This is horrifying, God-less! Ladies and gentlemen, it is truly not good for us to be alone, and thank Heavens, we were not meant to be alone.

God absolutely, positively, created us to be in a community!

Genesis 2:18

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

Ecclesiastes 4:9:12

“Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

My heart truly aches for people who are lonely.  I grievously hate seeing living souls broken.  My heart cries because I have Compassion for them. I began this blog explaining the ache that enters my heart when I am separated from my family. It is painful, but, I have honestly never experienced the kind of loneliness an aspiring thirty something feels, who decides that he is so invaluable he choose to end his life, or the kind of loneliness that a young child would experience who was sold into child trafficking.  Thankfully, I am not in that category.  By the grace of God, upon moving to Texas, I  became a part of an amazing family: my church family.  These men, women and children didn’t know anything about me.  I was from a completely different culture. I dressed differently. I talked peculiarly. I was just not like them.  And God-forbid I didn’t use the words “ma’am or sir.” Yet, somehow this loving community embraced me.  They loved me with a gracious and forgiving love from the very beginning and showered me with affection.  I am so blessed to be a part of a Christian community, in which  God created us to be.

Sadly, millions do not have this privilege.  Millions and millions of people in America and beyond are paralyzed by loneliness.  They do not have a loving Christian community to impact their life.  But, you can change that today.  Romans 12:16 says,

Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Romans 12:16

Often children living in poverty feel alone and isolated.  But, thanks be to God, when a child is sponsored through Compassion International, the loneliness and isolation fades. Not only do you create a way for a child get further away from the trap of child trafficking, but you also provide the privilege of placing them in a loving Christian church family!

I know that many of you are skeptical of organizations similar to Compassion, but I am here today, nearly seven years after sponsoring my first child and researching Compassion as a Child Advocate, to express that being a child sponsor is life-changing and Compassion International is a fabulous, trustworthy organization!!! Sponsoring a child is a way that we can do what God has commanded us to do in the Great Commission:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  Matthew 28:19-20

Beyond the command, did you hear that promise?  God said,  “Lo, I am with you always to the very end of the age!”  Amazing how The Almighty reminds us that He is in control and that He will provide for us!  I know this from personal experience, yet…

 Satan battles with me daily in an effort to tear my trust away from God.

Yet another reason that a loving, Christian community is so essential.

I now sponsor three beautiful girls from Africa.  Three years ago I moved into my dream house, a townhouse, double the rent. Three months after moving in to my apartment my car engine literally blew up, and I had to buy another “new to me car.”  Last year, I decided to start saving money for a trip to Rwanda, so my twin sister and I could meet two of my sponsored children, one of whom is also an identical twin.  On occasion I like to end the ache of missing my family and visit them, which means I have to fly across the country to see them.  And while I budget obsessively, I still worry how God will provide?  Fortunately, when that worry comes to roost, God counters, and always declares, “watch me!”  That I am, Lord Jesus!  My eyes are fixed upon You, the author and perfecter of my faith” (Hebrews 12:2).  Man, how I long to have a perfect faith!  To perfectly trust God, and to no longer worry! Can you imagine how peaceful that would be? Amazing!

Like me, you surely have questions…

How will you be able to sponsor a child for the first time or anytime for that matter?

How can you be a part of making disciples of all nations when you are saturated with worry?

“Lo, I am with you always to the very end of the age,” God promised!

Matthew 28:20

Sponsoring a child for $38 dollars a month may simply not be the best fit for you and your family.  However, there are many other ways you can support children and families in need through Compassion International.

God will provide a way!

Please prayerfully consider ending the loneliness of even one.

Check out the following link to learn more!

http://www.compassion.com/default.htm

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Shooting For the Stars!

It was Spring.
But it was Summer I wanted,
The warm days,
And the great outdoors.

It was summer.
But it was fall I wanted,
The colorful leaves,
And the cool, dry air.

It was Fall.
But it was Winter I wanted,
The beautiful snow,
And the joy of the holiday season.

It was Winter.
But it was Spring I wanted,
The warmth,
And the blossoming of nature.

I was a child.
But it was adulthood I wanted,
The freedom,
And the respect.

I was twenty.
But it was thirty I wanted,
To be mature,
And sophisticated.

I was middle-aged.
But it was twenty I wanted,
The youth,
And the free spirit.

I was retired.
But it was middle-age I wanted,
The presence of mind,
Without limitations.

My life was over.

But I never got what I wanted.

“Present Tense” by Jason Lehman

I will never forget these words falling off the lips of Luci Swindoll in October of 2010. Still to this day, I do not ever recall being so aware of God’s presence as I did at that moment, nor have I ever been so overcome by emotion in a public venue, but there I was in the middle of the Alamodome hunched over, weeping. “My life was over. But I never got what I wanted.”  THAT was going to be me and the reality leveled me.  Have you ever felt this defeated?

One week later, my sister asked me to participate in the Chicago Triathlon with her and my brother (who at the time, was serving in Iraq). This couch potato and anything but an athlete,  said, “yes!” My journey to train for the triathlon also turned into my organizing a support group for families of soldiers overseas called “Walkin’ While We Wait.” It was a way to encourage healthy living and trusting God, so rather than “weeping, whining or worrying – we walked!” It is amazing how God’s hand was at work and  the dominoes began to fall. Had I never attended the Women of Faith 2010 gathering and heard those words, I know with certainty that I would never have said “yes” to my sister’s request, I would have never had the courage to start this organization and I would never have begun a journey to healthy living.  The domino effect continued as I soon became the proud mama of two amazing schnauzers.  I had always wanted to have two dogs, but never allowed myself the satisfaction, and so I  finally got my Chip and Charleigh Anne! That year I also  made it a priority to travel to see my family (who live 1500 miles away from me) returning home four separate times. Sticking with the family theme, these transforming words, along with the encouragement of the Holy Spirit gave me confidence to step out in faith and sponsor three children from Africa through Compassion International, something I had always wanted to do.  This one phrase, “My life was over but I never got what I wanted” had shaken me to the core and moved me to do more in that one year and the years following than I had done in all my previous 30 years combined.

Tonight, “Present Tense” stopped me cold again.  I began to wonder what Mukademari Beatrice, Uwineza Jacqueline and Blessing Muthoni dream about becoming? I wondered what my nieces and nephews and all of my precious students long to be?  I wondered if  they are shooting for the stars or if they regularly feel defeated like I had for most of my life?

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As a little girl I rarely remember feeling strong and courageous.  Oh, who am I kidding?  As a grown woman I feel very much the same way.  It is a struggle to live in the present. Unfortunately too many of us, children included, sit in the past and wallow in our fears and self-pity.  I heard a mother share that in the midst of yet another faux pas, her six year old son shouted in exasperation, “Mom, I messed up again…I just want to die.” How can a child be so riddled with defeat and hopelessness that he doesn’t want to live? My heart aches beyond understanding, and my lips pray for the precious children in this world. They need permission to shoot for the stars, and encouragement when they fall short.   Ladies and gentlemen, we have a responsibility to rally together and supply them with that blessing!

As I visited with students today after school (our first week of school for the year is complete)  most students were already counting down the days until Thanksgiving Break.  I wonder if my girls in Africa have ever felt the same way?  From their letters,  I surely pray this isn’t the case.

“We are doing exams that end the school year. I am always grateful for the love you show me. Keep praying for me to perform well.” – Mukademari

“My schooling is going well and I am preparing for second term exams” – Uwineza

“At school it is going good. I am in primary 4. I did well in term 1. I request you to continue to pray for me to study well.”  -Mukademari

“Someday I would like to be a Pastor and preach the Gospel” – Uwineza

Because of Compassion International and my sponsorship, my girls are able to freely attend school which “provides them with Bible teaching, health screening, hygiene and nutrition education, physical exercises, field trips, games, opportunities for community service, scholastic materials, tutoring and school and home visitations” (compassion.com) Each time they write they talk about school and what they learn. Their words encourage me! I pray that they would know what beauties they are and that they are dripping with potential.  Unfortunately, the statistics are stacked against them, and billions of others.

Did You Know?

(www.crin.org, http://www.unicef.org, http://www.childinfo.org)

  • Worldwide, nearly 80 percent of primary-school-age children attend school. In least developed countries, this figure is around 66 percent.
  • The largest out-of-school population is in sub-Saharan Africa, where around 45.5 million children of primary school age are out of school.
  • Of the 67 million primary-school-age children who do not attend school, 53 percent are girls.
  • Worldwide, only 49 percent of children of secondary school age actually attend secondary school.
  • Of the 49 percent of secondary age students who do not attend school, 52 percent are girls. The world’s functional illiterates include more than 130 million children who do not attend school, 73 million of them girls.

I don’t want my girls or any children to succumb to the false reality that they are worthless. I don’t want them to reach the end of their lives saying, “my life was over, but I never got what I wanted” (Lehman, Jason).  I want them all to finish school, and be who God created them to be!!!! I want them to live in the present and  shoot for the stars without fear!

I pray, also, that you and I can live in the present and take full advantage of the opportunities set before us!  Furthermore, when we falter or fail, may we love each other enough to pick each other up, offer forgiveness and keep movin’ toward those stars!

Join with me and pray for my girls.  Better yet, won’t you consider sponsoring a child (by clicking on the previous link) so you can save one more child from being a statistic and change the end of his or her story from “My life was over and I  never got what I wanted” to “my life was over and I DID everything that God wanted!”

 Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Meet My Blessing!

My deepest apologies for not blogging recently.  I know the importance of consistency, however, if you are a writer at all you understand that one cannot force words on a page. Sometimes they come and sometimes they don’t. Regrettably,  words have not been free-flowing the last few weeks, so I simply stepped back.  Today I finally found the words to introduce you to my “blessing.”  To fully understand the significance of this “blessing,”  I encourage you to read my previous blog, titled A May 11th Blessing! It will help you fill in the blanks.  So without further ado, here she is…

Meet My Blessing!

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Her full name is Blessing Muthoni!  She is four years old, and she lives with her mother and father in the African country of Kenya.  She is in preschool and one of her main duties at home is to take care of the animals.  Her father is a farmer and her mother stays at home to care for Blessing.  Blessing’s birthday is May 11, which is significant. Blessing shares the same day of birth as my first child, (aka: dog) Zacchaeus.

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The whole story is once again found on my previous blog, A May 11th Blessing and unless you read it, none of the following will really make any sense.

So, my moment of truth finally came this past Monday, June 2.  I’m not going to lie.  It took me numerous attempts to muster up the courage to call Compassion International, as I was instructed, to see if Blessing had yet been sponsored.  Two months have passed since I first discovered her packet at the Matthew West Concert.  I spent many, many nights tossing and turning in bed, praying, for this precious child, and on June 2, 2014, I was “blessed” to sponsor her.  I dialed the number, sweating with anticipation.  I asked the daunting question, “Has anyone yet sponsored Blessing Muthoni?”  After a few minutes of silence, the man on the other end of the phone said, “No, ma’am, would you like to sponsor her?”  I hesitated for a moment, and then asked him to send me her information.  I am convinced my indecision was Satan taking one last opportunity to swoop in and keep me from trusting God.  “Would you like for me to add her to your sponsorship?” he inquired.  I remained silent.

Could I afford to pay another $38 a month to support Blessing?

I still refused to answer, confirming that Satan is an incredible deceiver and he was on the move.  I asked the man from Compassion to send me Blessing’s information.   He agreed, and we ended the call.  I NEEDED TO see her face.   I was Krabby McCrankypants all afternoon and evening.  I could have saved myself all this trouble and simply not called at all, however, God was convicting me.  The cost of not doing what God was calling me to do would be too great a burden for me to carry.  Late that evening, I sat at my computer, logged in to my Compassion account and came face to face with my “blessing.”

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My heart raced, just as it had over two months ago.  My heart pounded, just as it had in the wee hours of the morning those many sleepless nights.  My heart throbbed, just as it had those hundreds of times I prayed for guidance from my Heavenly Father.

“Lord, if I am meant to sponsor Blessing, then make a way!”  

He did!

Just a month early, God reminded me, I had canceled my gym membership.  Now, let me digress for a moment and iterate that gym memberships are good.  They are great, except in my case, when you pay for it, but don’t actually use it.  Can you relate? I prefer to train on my own, which I do regularly, so I was paying for something I didn’t use.  My gym membership was $32.46 a month.  Sponsoring Blessing through Compassion is $38.  That is a difference of $5.54, people.

Shall I assert that is a HUGE DIFFERENCE!

The DIFFERENCE is that one four year old little girl in Kenya will now finally have the opportunity to go to school, eat nutritious food, and learn about our Savior, Jesus, because I had the courage to do what I already knew God was calling me to do two months ago, sponsor Blessing!

The difference of $5.54 a month is a risk I am willing to take, to impact Blessing and her family.  After all, in just two short months, she has already had an extraordinary affect on mine.  Meet my Blessing!  She is now one of three children I sponsor through Compassion International.

Won’t you consider making a difference too?

 

 

A May 11th Blessing!

In the midst of the busyness of life, I am constantly thinking about and praying for my girls in Rwanda.  If this is your first time reading my blog, welcome!  I sponsor two girls from Rwanda, through an organization called Compassion International.  Mukademari Beatrice and Uwineza Jacqueline are precious children of God, and I am incredibly blessed to be their sponsor!

child_of_the_one_true_king_by_kitsunetengu-d6401ly

This week, more than any other, I have come home exhausted from work, yet all I desire to do is to talk to my girls.  Unfortunately, we can’t physically talk to each other.  Graciously, Compassion provides an incredible online letter writing resource, which allows me to log in and write to my girls, any time my little heart desires.  This week my little heart has desired to write to them every single day, so, that is how I have ended each day.  This in turn makes me desperately long for the day we finally meet face to face.  I have hope that I will meet them in person in October of 2015!  At least that is the plan, so please pray that God would provide a way for me to get to Rwanda!

With that said, my heart has been pining for yet another child from Compassion.  Her name is Blessing Muthoni, and since I discovered her at the Matthew West Concert in April, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about her or praying for her.

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Have you ever had a person pop into your life for a millisecond, and then “poof” they are gone, but no matter how hard you try to put them out of your mind, you can’t?

Well, Blessing is that for me.  Firstly, her name is “Blessing.”  According to babynames.co.uk, “Blessing is a feminine name of English origin and comes from the English vocabulary word which connotes the idea of a God given treasure, or a fortunate event.” I mean, really? A “God given treasure!”  Who wouldn’t want a “Blessing” in their life from God?   Second, she is beautiful! As I surveyed the child packets on the Compassion display table, something inside of me made me pick up her packet. I was mesmerized by her, and then…I saw her birthday: May 11!!!  The significance of her birthday being “that” day took me aback.  Actually it paralyzed me.  Blessing shares the same day of birth as my first child, (aka: dog) Zacchaeus.  And, no, he wasn’t “just a dog.”  That personification is simply not true, and is frankly offensive.  In 2000, I had just moved to Texas, thousands of miles away from my family and friends, and in my loneliness, I needed a  companion.  Zacchaeus was always there for me.  He listened. He unconditionally loved me.  He licked the tears from my eyes.  He made me better.  His death, eight years later, was tragic, and I still regularly grieve his loss.

So back to the Compassion table at the Matthew West concert.  Blessing’s packet was in my hands, and the reality of her birth date formed a massive lump in my throat.

Could this be God’s way of saying I could finally “let go” of the guilt I have been holding on to over Zacchaeus’ death?  

I picked up the packet numerous times, but couldn’t muster up the courage to sponsor her.  I questioned whether or not I was financially able to sponsor her, and I didn’t want to just sponsor her for a few months and then return her as if she was just some piece of paper.  She, and all of the sponsored children, are real children who live in poverty. Sponsoring a third child would be a huge commitment, and while God seemed to be hitting me between the eyes, I couldn’t take the plunge.  I did, however, write down her name, birth date and her sponsorship number, in case I needed it for later (wink, wink).  Eleven days later I was in a wreck. I immediately concluded, “Hmmmm, that must be an answer to prayer? Had I sponsored her, I wouldn’t have been able to afford to continue sponsoring her,” because I anticipated that I would have to buy a new car.  However, God provided.  My car was fixed and restored, and my insurance is in process of settling.

 The very day after my accident, I volunteered for yet another Compassion event.  Once more there was a table full of child packets, but I couldn’t stop thinking about Blessing.  You see, there is only one packet per child, so once a person takes that particular packet, there isn’t another one.  There was no chance Blessing would be on that table. Her info would only be on the Matthew West concert tour.  Even if one was to go online to Compassion.com to try and sponsor her, that person wouldn’t be able to. Trust me,  I looked.  Well, that settles it; there is only one packet per child, and Blessing wouldn’t be there to sponsor.

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Fast forward yet another few weeks, I was awakened, in the wee hours of the morning, and Blessing was all I could think  about!!  My mind and heart had not yet settled.  I was desperate to force Blessing out of my thoughts, but to no avail.  I imagine this must be what it is like to be a real mom.  You have a specific child shaped place in your heart for each of your children, and no matter how desperately you want to sleep or focus on yourself, you can only think about your children.  What a beautiful thought! In my 2am slumber, I wrote to Matthew West’s manager.  I wrote to David “Chili” Childress, Matthew West’s bass player, who was in charge of the Compassion table at our event, and I wrote to Compassion.  Yes, I am obsessive compulsive!  I wrote to seek peace in my heart. I needed to know if Blessing had been sponsored.  Matthew West’s manager told me that only Compassion could answer my questions, and on May 1  they did.  Blessing had not yet been sponsored, but her packet was set to be on display for a huge Compassion Sunday event.  I would have to wait for a few more weeks before they could confirm if she had been sponsored at that event.  The day of reckoning is June 2!  I have been instructed to contact Compassion as soon as possible on June 2.   They will know conclusively, at that time, if Blessing has been sponsored, and if she is not, then I can become her sponsor!!

I am beyond anxious!   I don’t know what the Lord has in mind.  There is a very good chance that Blessing was sponsored at the Compassion Sunday event on May 4.  There is also a window of opportunity that she wasn’t sponsored, in which case, I could sponsor her…just $38 a month.

I tell you  that, to tell you this…

In the book of Jonah, we learn that God told Jonah to go to Ninevah. Out of fear, as well as a bit of his own selfishness, he went the other way to Tarshish, embarking on a frightening trip overboard. Jonah found himself inside the belly of a great big fish for three days. Needless to say, he was under a great duress, and surely he didn’t sleep much.  He also did A LOT of talking to God.  Jonah learned the hard way, that when God speaks, you listen!

So, how do we know when God is speaking to us?

If whatever you are “hearing” from God is aligned with what He says in His written Word, the Bible, then, you might could say that God is speaking to you.  If it is not, however, aligned with God’s Word, then you must accept it is not God.

I have been doing a lot of talking to God through prayer.

I am still uncertain.

But one thing I do know is this. God encourages us in His Word…

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.  Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.” Proverbs 3:5-10

Hmmm? Now if that doesn’t give me a lot to think about, then I don’t know what does?

Maybe you are struggling with a decision?

Pray for wisdom, strength and guidance!!  God will, as He promises, answer your prayers!  

Won’t you also join me in praying for God’s will to be done with Blessing?

The Adventures Continue…

My deepest apologies. It feels like a decade has passed since I last blogged.  Life happened, but today, I wanted to take time to update you on more of my 37 Adventures For My 37th Year of Life!

Adventure #10 – Serving at the Compassion Table for Matthew West and Mercy Me Concert

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One of my greatest passions is the non-profit organization called Compassion International.  Not only do I sponsor two beautiful girls from Rwanda, but I am also a Child Advocate and have the privilege of working at Compassion tables at local Christian concerts. The purpose is to “use my  gifts and influence to raise awareness of the needs of impoverished children and encourage others to respond to the biblical mandate to love the poor.”   This we do, not because we have to, but because we know God has asked us to take care of those less fortunate,  and furthermore, we know first hand what a blessing being a sponsor is!  Both concerts were AMAZING, hundreds of children have been sponsored, and I am having the time of my life serving in this capacity! FYI: I continue to feel God moving me to sponsor yet another child through Compassion, but in light of the next adventure, I want to be sure I am being financially responsible, because once I commit, I am committing to sponsoring these children for their lifetime, not just a few years.

Adventure #11 – Car Shopping

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Well, I never intended to have this as one of my adventures, but God certainly has a sense of humor.  About a month ago, I was in a car accident. By the grace of God I was not injured severely, but my car was nearly totaled, and while the insurance went back and forth about whether or not to “total” my car out, I decided to be proactive and start looking for another one.  In the mean time, and I mean, MEAN TIME, my insurance provided me with a brand new 2014 Hyundai Elantra to drive around for sixteen days.  Nice move!!!  I mean, do the car dealerships give the car rental places some sort of incentives? “Hey, this chick just got in a wreck so be sure to give her the newest version of the car she presently has.” (wink, wink – Insert snide laugh here.)   Well, I fell in love with the rental and specifically the Desert Bronze variety while shopping around.  I have  since decided to keep my “green machine” (also a Hyundai Elantra) for a bit longer, as they did not total it. But I still covet this beautiful car (see above).  My car shopping experience was one that I wouldn’t recommend a person participate in on a regular basis.  The games, hoops, and sometimes ridiculous conversations you have to go through caused me great anxiety.  On a positive note, I believe when I am finally ready to sign on the dotted line,  I will know exactly what to do and not to do to get the best deal.  But holding true to my values, I wish to follow Dave Ramsey’s tips for purchasing a car…so cash it will need to be when the time comes.  Check out the video below for Dave Ramsey’s Tips!  This video is a wealth of information. No car note for this chick-a-dee!

Adventure #12 – Lupus Walk for Team Sandy

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In April I joined a group of friends and participated in the “Walk to End Lupus Now” in honor of my friend Sandy.  We organized “Team Sandy” and enjoyed a beautiful day in God’s creation, walking for a great cause!  Please continue to pray for Sandy and the hundreds of thousands of others who struggle daily with this debilitating disease.

Adventure #13 – Road Trip!

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I never take a road trip with little to no preparation, but upon receiving my car back after a 16-day hiatus , I decided to test out the fine work done on my car, and drove to College Station and back for a former student’s wedding! It was a beautiful outdoor ceremony and fabulous reception.  On the way to the wedding I was stoked to stop at Buccee’s, which if you are unfamiliar,  is an exceptionally clean and obnoxiously big gas station the size of Texas. Think mall-size, here.  It is an incredible place and while I have stopped here many times on youth trips, I am unable to slowly peruse the shelves and look at every single item deciding whether I need it or not, because I am working.  Finally, this road trip allowed me to take my dear old time and enjoy the Buccee’s experience!  I really wish I could have been a fly on the wall in “that” brainstorming session when someone spoke up and said, “I have this idea.  We are going to create a gas station the size of a mall. We will have a mascot, a beaver, and people will love him. They will even buy bumper stickers and nightgowns with his face on it.  Yeah! If we build it they will come.”  Ummmm, yeah right! Well, the naysayers can squawk all they want because Buccee’s is HUGE and thousands go there, including me.  Ahhhh, I can hardly wait to go back again!  I definitely see another road trip in my future!

Adventure #14 – Biggest Loser 5K

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I ran my fastest time for this 5K race – 31.42!!  To say I was excited is an understatement.  If you have been following my blog at all, you might remember that I had originally signed up to run my first Biggest Loser Half Marathon, but due to a five month illness, I was unable to do so. Rather than completely bowing out of the race, I chose to run the 5K instead. I am so glad I did! I also got to meet Dan, Jackie, Vinny and Bobby, former Biggest Loser Contestants. I was star struck and paraded around like a giddy, twelve year old school girl, but I didn’t care!  They have each been an inspiration to me while watching the show, and I was gushing!

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Adventure #15 – Vegetarian “Meatless” Salisbury Steak

May 2014 002I know what you are thinking.  Disgusting, right?  Wrong?  While on my latest 21-Day Standard Process Cleanse, I was inspired to try different foods and while searching for recipes to make with lentils, I came upon this gem!

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I would highly recommend going out of your comfort zone and trying different recipes. I would have never, ever tried this before, but I did, and I liked it! A LOT!

Stay tuned to my blog for more updates on my 37 adventures for my 37th year of life!

With God All Things Are Possible…

One thing I cannot deny about myself is that I easily freak out about things.  There is just something deep inside me that prevents  me from having peace and serenity in the midst of a storm and I so wish it weren’t true.   I worry, fret, agonize, cry, overthink, stew and basically torment myself with concern on a regular basis.  Maybe you can relate?

A few years back I chose to sponsor a child, through Compassion International.

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Up until that time I never believed that I could actually afford to sponsor a child, and I struggled to take the plunge and do so. However, in February of 2009  my faith took action and I trusted that God would provide. Not only would I sponsor Mukademari for a year or two. I promised to sponsor her and love her for her whole life. No excuses. Now fast forward to 2012, I was living in the same one bedroom apartment that I had lived in for twelve years, and was finally considering making a move to a bigger home, but I also felt God calling me to sponsor another child.  This, of course, meant I would pay considerably more for rent and be committed to sponsoring not only one child, but two.   I agonized over how I would be able to afford to move into a new house and still financially support both Mukademari and Uwineza.

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But God was about to show me his undeniable power and control!

In April of 2012 I moved into a beautiful and spacious town home which I adore.  In June of 2012, only two months later, my car, which literally had zero problems up until that point, blew up on me while traveling from Houston.  It was the middle of the night, I might add.  Just four months after sponsoring Uwineza and just two months after moving into my new townhouse, I had to purchase a new engine for my car.  Over the next six months, the “new” engine would prove to have been a big mistake. I was left stranded over and over again on the highway and the car was in the shop more than it was in my possession. By the time January came, I had already invested the amount of a new car and sadly, I didn’t even have a car that worked.  I decided to sell the “money pit” and bought a friend’s car, only to have more problems with that one.  I was exasperated and frustrated beyond measure.  Daily, I lamented, “I can’t financially do this.” Yet, in the midst of this turmoil and financial burden, I continued to sponsor both of my girls from Rwanda, Africa, and God continues to provide.  Isn’t it embarrassing that when we take time to reflect on our lives, it is obvious that God has got everything under His control?  Yet, in our sinfulness, we find it just too hard to accept.

This Sunday, May 4,  is Compassion Sunday.  It is also Uwineza’s 8th birthday!

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Compassion Sunday is that one day a year where churches across the world take a Sunday to share the needs of the world’s poorest children.  I know it is not yet Sunday, but I would like for you to prayerfully consider sponsoring a child!  This following video will give you a snapshot of what being a sponsor could mean for the life of just one child.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/83763449″>Compassion Sunday 2014 – Long</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/compassionintl”>Compassion International</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

I cannot describe to you in words what a blessing it is to sponsor Mukademari and Uwineza.  I am praying for God to move your heart.  Maybe you feel His presence but are trying to convince yourself it is just not possible.  I’ve totally been there.  “There is no way I could afford to sponsor a child?”  If you have ever said those words, remember this…With God All Things Are Possible!

Ladies and gentlemen, this isn’t just some “cutesy phrase” tattooed to the outer door of a car.  More precisely, this is God’s deep-rooted and unchanging Word, which is found in Matthew 19:26, “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’  Now it is my personal belief that God speaks to us through His Word, the Bible.  However, I also credit God with the ability, to get our attention and hit us between the eyes, in whatever way he sees fit,  and the other night while I was riding my bike, this was one of those moments !

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With God All Things Are Possible!

 When was the last time you took a moment to take in what “With God All Things Are Possible” means?

Take that moment now, please.

In the midst of zooming from this function to that event, to this game to the grocery store, from the gym, to little Johnny’s soccer practice, from the bank, to your house, from  your other child’s t-ball game to the fast food restaurant, then you suddenly remember you forgot your phone at work and have to start the whole vicious cycle over and over again every single day.  Your stress filled day concludes as you fall war-weary into bed with a migraine the size of Texas.  Yet, even still, a million more thoughts and check lists, fly through your mind, and now you are asking me to consider sponsoring a child?  It is just too much.

What if, instead of trying to count sheep, we would account for God’s incredible promise?

My sister was diagnosed with cancer….With God All Things Are Possible!

My husband died and I have no will to live…With God All Things Are Possible!

I can’t get in to college…With God All Things Are Possible!

My child has an incurable disease and is going to die…With God All Things Are Possible!

My grandfather refuses to believe in Jesus…With God All Things Are Possible!

I can’t have children…With God All Things Are Possible!

My father has a brain tumor…With God All Things Are Possible!

I can’t forgive someone for what they have done…With God All Things Are Possible!

My mom has been gone for three years and I still can’t get over it…With God All Things Are Possible!

I can’t get approved for a loan…With God All Things Are Possible!

My car broke down for the millionth time…With God All Things Are Possible!

I can’t get myself to pray for the President…With God All Things Are Possible!

I’ve been sick and I don’t know what is wrong with me…With God All Things Are Possible!

My child failed the STAAR TEST and has to be held back…With God All Things Are Possible!

I have an addiction…With God All Things Are Possible!

My brother is being sent overseas to fight in a war…With God All Things Are Possible!

My teenage daughter hates me…With God All Things Are Possible!

I am bitter…With God All Things Are Possible!

I don’t think I will ever recover from this natural disaster that destroyed my home…With God All Things Are Possible!

We had to use all of our retirement to help pay off our massive debt…With God All Things Are Possible!

I just can’t get myself to go back to church…With God All Things Are Possible!

I don’t know how I am going to pay the bills next month…With God All Things Are Possible!

I have hatred in my heart…With God All Things Are Possible!

I lost my second job in six months…With God All Things Are Possible!

I can NOT sponsor a child through Compassion International…With God All Things Are Possible!

With God All Things Are Possible!

This is a reality, people, not a dream! With God, all things are possible! Will He heal everyone this side of heaven or instantaneously erase your stupendous debt? Unfortunately, NO.  It IS absolutely possible for God to do those things, however, “yes” isn’t always His final answer.  And while this is painful to stomach, no matter what you are going through God will give you the peace that passes all understanding to get through it, and you can trust that your prayers will be answered…period. Know this also, He answers us in three ways:

1. Yes (It is God’s will!)

2. No (It is not God’s will; He has something even greater in store for you and yours; He will get you through whatever you are going through, no matter how unpleasant.)

3. Not right now (It is not the right time, yet. He is preparing you for His answer.)

So, on this very day, let us join together in prayer, and may we believe, with all of our hearts,that With God All Things Are Possible, because they are!

To learn more about about Compassion International or to consider sponsoring a child click on the photo below…

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WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!