Monday, November 26, 2012

A River of Blessings

Hello Monday.

Yesterday I had the privilege of hearing my brother teach at church. He had the tough job of tackling a subject none of us really wants to talk about, especially in church - money. Money, like Monday, kind of gets a bad rap. It's said that money is the "root of all evil." Money is also called a "master," and it's up to us who we're going to serve - God or money. 

But I digress...

In the midst of his teaching on money, my brother shared about a Jewish tradition called Havdalah. During Havdalah wine is poured out into a glass until it overflows, then a prayer of blessing and thanks is given to God for creating the vine that created the wine.

This visual representation of blessing really struck me as profound.

I often visualize my glass as half-empty or half-full depending on the day. (On Monday, I always try to see it as half-full, otherwise I'll be miserable.)

The truth is, my glass is neither half-empty or half-full. My glass overflows. Is my life filled with struggles and things/situations that I must overcome? Absolutely. But, oh, my life is filled with so many blessings. So many that if I were to sit down and count them, it would take days or weeks to name them all.

Yes, it's Monday and it can be difficult to choose to find the good and the beautiful on days like today. So today I choose to visualize a glass of wine overflowing into a river of blessings. Because that is the truth of my life - it is filled with a river of blessings.

As you look at your life, is your glass half-empty, half-full, or overflowing?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Changing the World, One Child at a Time

Growing up, I was much like any other girl. I dreamed of one day finding the man of my dreams, getting married, and having children. I doodled hearts and flowers on the sides of my spiral notebooks with the name of my latest crush, circling our names together with hearts, declaring we would be together "4-ever."  My close friends and I would daydream about our perfect lives, including our perfect children. We imagined how many children we would have, even going so far as naming them. (I was to have 4 children - a set of twins, Tyler Ray & Taylor Renee, a boy, James, and a girl, Mercedes.)

In my early twenties, I gave up the notion of "finding" the man of my dreams and vowed to wait for God to bring him to me. I prayed for my future husband, and continued to dream of one day having children. In those days, my life revolved around serving God on the mission field, and my heart became open to the idea of adoption. Many of my missionary friends had either been adopted into their family or were adopting children from all over the world. At some point, I committed my heart to adopting, if God ever opened a door to do so.

At thirty, my husband and I were married. We have been married for just a little longer than 5 years, and we have no children of our own. Instead of dreaming to have four children, my heart says one would be more than enough to love and cherish all the rest of my days. Perhaps a little girl to dress in pink frilly clothes and matching bows in her hair. 

This year, my heart opened to another idea of "having" children. There are thousands of children across the globe who have families, moms and dads who love them, but cannot meet their daily needs of food, water, and education. Children whose families live on less than $2 a day. Children whose needs can be met through a simple gift of $38 a month. Children whose lives will forever be impacted by that gift, and the encouragement that can be sent through letters and pictures, prayer, and maybe - some day - through finally meeting face-to-face.

In September, I began sponsoring an eight year old little girl named Mounika from India. She is absolutely beautiful, and I'm honored to be a part of her life in some small way. My dream for this little girl is to grow up and fulfill her dreams, whatever they may be. My hope is that her life will be so impacted by the love of Jesus that she will forever be changed, and she will be a beacon of hope to those around her. 

This past week, a group of bloggers traveled to Peru to witness firsthand the Compassion International ministry near Lima. One particular post from Shaun Groves caught my eye, and I want to share it with you in hopes that you will be inspired. Sometimes we think in order to change the world we have to do something huge. But, Mother Teresa says that "small things done with great love will change the world." Read Shaun's post and know that sometimes changing the world comes by doing something small, like sponsoring a Compassion child.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Good Attitudes Make the Day Better

Another Monday come and gone.

The office was crazy and chaotic, more so than normal due to being short staffed. The phone did its normal thing - ring off the hook - and the door never seemed to stay closed as people came to do business.

It wasn't anything that a caramel sundae from Dairy Queen couldn't fix. ;)

What made today a good day wasn't the ice cream, though. What made today good was the simple fact that the staff - all four of us - maintained a good attitude throughout the day. We worked together as a team. We made sure to help each other so that no one felt stressed out or overwhelmed.

Working together is a wonderful thing.

If you're anything like me, I'm independent and hate to ask for help. I think I can do it all by myself.

The truth is, I need help from time to time. I need a team of family and friends, folks I know I can count on to ensure that I don't get stressed out or overwhelmed.

From the beginning, God knew that man would not do well to be alone. He knew we would need each other. I don't know about you, but I'm thankful for God's wisdom in this.

Aren't you thankful that God chose to create mankind & not simply man?

Monday, November 12, 2012

All Things New

Oh, Monday.

One of these days I hope you'll give me a break.

I mean, really. Can't we just get along?

On this rainy, dreary day, I'm not even going to pretend there's anything good about you. The sky is doing for me what I cannot. Crying, cleansing, refreshing. Doing only what God can do.

He makes all things new.

That's my only hope today. In my life, the life of my family & friends, the lives of those only He knows.

What's your hope for today?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Adventure Awaits

Ah, Monday.

A week ago I couldn't wait for you to be over.  But I've been waiting for this Monday for a couple of weeks now. It's going to a good day. A day full of fun, friends, and first-times.

Today has officially been dubbed "Ted Dekker Day."

(As I typed that out, a scene from Empire Records flashed before my eyes.... "It's Rex Manning Day.")

Ted Dekker is one of my favorite authors, and today my best friend and I are taking a mini road trip to Kentucky to meet him at one of his book signings!!  If you've never heard of him, may I suggest a few books? The Circle Series are, in my humble opinion, his best books. Then there's the Lost books, Skin, Three, Forbidden, Mortal. Last night I started reading The Priest's Graveyard, and though I've not finished, I highly recommend, because it's so good!  My husband, who is not a reader, started reading Bonemans Daughters a few days ago and loves it.

Today, on another Manic Monday, adventure awaits!  

Hope you all have a blessed, adventure-some day.  Feel free to tell me about it in the comments below!