Monday, August 4, 2014

Beloved

"I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine" Song of Songs 6:3


That's my guy. We've been dating for over 14 years and he put a ring on it over 10 years ago. We've literally become adults together and have moved 8 times, between two countries, two states and 7 cities. And yes, I still swoon when I see him walk in the door from work each day. Call me a romantic, but he's my dream man and God knew what He was doing when He hooked us up. God's cool like that. 

Last month we had the opportunity to help a photographer build her portfolio as she recently decided to shoot these 'Beloved' style shoots. {Check her out here!} I was super excited because we have never had a professional shoot before! The idea behind this style is that you create an experience by choosing a location that suits you, and then the photographer asks very personal questions without giving any styling or positioning advice and you just answer the questions and talk to each other. She brought up memories and stories that we hadn't thought about in years and we experienced moments that I'll never forget. 


I was so surprised at how natural it all felt and especially how Phil gave each question a lot of thought and shared from his heart. Did I cry? Yes, yes I did. Being forced to just stop and look into each others eyes without any distractions (besides the click of the shutter) was so good for our marriage. It made me think, why don't we do this weekly, even daily? Not the photo shoot part, but the looking into each others eyes part. Because we have an email to read? Or a status to update? Maybe it's because we have to catch up on the last 4 episodes of our favorite show or because we have to text 4 people at once, most of whom we haven't even had a face-to-face conversation with in weeks, maybe even months.

It's not worth it y'all. We need to call out the unnecessary distractions in our life and get rid of them. Those moments with my husband were worth far more than any TV show or social media website. The little moments with my daughter are more valuable than any phone call or email. What's wrong with our culture? We would rather text something to someone than hear their voice or see their face? Yet we are so lonely. 



We have to be intentional. If you're married, maybe each week you plan a little date where the phones are turned off. I've already decided I'm not bringing any distractions to the dinner table. It's been great! We talk. I know, right?! Or better yet, make dinner together! Phil and I watch a lot of cooking shows together so I was thinking that one night we should grab some random ingredients in our pantry and make dinner, since we're basically professionals after the hours of TV time we've invested!

And when it comes to friendships, we've got to make the time for each other. Even if it's short, with kids in tow. We need girl time! Maybe it's just a meet up at the park or lunch at your place! Just do it already! I just recently joined a community group through the Thrive Moms ministry. We've only met a few times but have already built relationships through the Facebook group. I've already been able to pray for and encourage women I have yet to even meet. That's definitely the good that comes from social media, but now I want to know their faces to put with their stories! So we are all trying to be intentional in getting our kiddos covered so we can have a night out every couple of weeks. 



The joy and love that comes from a true relationship, is so worth it. We just don't know how many days we have, so why waste even one of them? What do you do to make time for relationships? What are the things that distract you from investing in the people you love? How many blogs have you read on this subject that have made you say, "That's right, blog writer! I'm so motivated to make that change!", and then never even take the first step? A lot? Yeah, me too. Let's make a change! For reals. 

Love ya. Mean it!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Eight

A while back I shared about how we became sponsors through Compassion. {Click HERE to read that post.} In the right side bar you can see the faces of our two precious children. Those two pictures sit directly across from where I sit each day on the couch. Their pictures humble me, motivate me and most importantly, they lead me to pray. It was through a time of worship that I was led (along with a handful of teenagers at a summer camp) to sponsor.

Reading their letters and seeing their drawings every couple of months inspired me to do more. So I became a Child Advocate. Since I've had opportunities to volunteer at events where hundreds of children get sponsored. It brings me to tears every single time. When setting up the table there are always a few faces that just tug at your heart. I just love it when those particular packets get snatched up by an enthusiastic new sponsor!

Here's the thing. Living in North America we can lose site of what poverty looks like. Even though it's in our very own neighborhoods. Check out these horrifying statistics. {Taken from Compassion's website HERE}


  • Worldwide 600 million children are living in extreme poverty.
  • The cost of eradicating world poverty is estimated at 1 percent of global income.
  • Almost half the world — over 3 billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day.
  • The poorest 40 percent of the world’s population accounts for 5 percent of global income. The richest 20 percent accounts for three-quarters of world income.
  • 1.6 billion people — a quarter of humanity — live without electricity.
  • 6.9 million children under five years of age died in 2011, nearly 800 every hour.

  • It takes very little for us to make a huge difference in the life of a child. I love how Compassion actually goes to the local church and equips them to reach their community. Just $38 per month enrolls a child into the program in their local church where they are mentored, prayed for, and loved on regularly. They are given food and water and they will be able to stay in school or maybe even attend for the very first time. The child will then have basic healthcare and they will be taught proper hygiene. And the investment you make into their lives through the relationship you build will be forever life-changing. You may be the first person to tell them they are loved. To tell them you believe in them.

    Are you inspired yet? Well I have 8 beautiful little faces sitting next to me on the couch. I wish they were next to me in person, but they are pictures sitting in a packet. They need a sponsor. What is so cool is that the five children in Africa attend the same center as our two sponsored kids! I already have a handful of friends who sponsor in Ethiopia and Kenya as well so if one day any of us are able to go, we will be able to send things along with them!

    Look at these faces...



    Which one will you choose? I know, I made it really hard for you! You can also click HERE to look at other children needing sponsors if you want a specific country or even birthday! Maybe it's hard because you're just barely making ends meet. Well I can promise you, that we have been there and God always provides. Make the small sacrifice and sponsor today. You won't regret it! Please post a comment or email me to make your commit today!


    Thursday, July 10, 2014

    Reversals


    What an incredible season of life this has been for me. It's new and exciting every day. Elli is learning something new by the minute it seems. She is almost 11 months old and she is crawling, standing (with some help), babbling and even getting out a few words, I got my first kiss on Tuesday, and her personality is busting out! And she's a goof, like her Momma. Surprised?

    For 9 years I waited for this season to come. I didn't know what it would look like, but I knew I had a deep desire to be a Mom. Only by the grace of God, I never had the feelings of fear or worry during the long wait, but I did begin to think that His plan may not include having a biological child. We left it in His hands and in that time God opened our hearts to foster care and even adoption. It was a challenging time in our lives, but rich with lessons and opportunities to be used by Him.

    In Genesis Rachel was in such despair over her barrenness that she felt like she could physically die. But like many stories in the old testament, through divine intervention there was a miracle that turned that despair into rejoicing! Whether it be the struggle with infertility, a job loss or a struggle with addiction, we can be encouraged that our God is a God of great reversals!

    "Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and opened her womb." Genesis 30:22

    He remembers you. Not always in your timing, but in His-and it's perfect. Be encouraged friends, He is faithful. His plans are far greater than ours could ever be!